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What makes a great mountain resort?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
I'm trying to plan a trip to one of the major ski resorts (Vail, Whistler, Steamboat, Park City, Heavenly, Breck, Mammoth...others?) and trying to figure out what makes a great mountain resort. Not just "great snow" or "best steeps." Curious...what's better about one place than another, and what do you think makes a mountain town/resort great?
post #2 of 17
Having been to most of the places on your short list, I think there's a bunch of variables that go into it. Which of those variables are important to you depend on whether it's great. Park City has great weather,access, snow, and a cool reort town feel. Whistler has unreal terrain, huge vertical, and also what all seem to agree is a great pedestian village, weather not so great. Each of the others hyas stong and weak points. If a place has enuf strong points, it probably qualifies as a great ski resort.
post #3 of 17

Every great mountain resort must have...

...lots of good brothels
post #4 of 17
having enough terrain to keep you satisfied and interested for a week would be a start. doesn;t matter if it's one mega resort or a few smaller ones. some people like the variety.

having some choices for after hours recreation would be a plus too. decent, inexpensive restaurants, bars or nightclubs without cover charges or anything silly like that.

everything being close enough to not have to require driving would be good too. I heard in Lake Tahoe, they are very strict on DUI offenses.
post #5 of 17
Not having to see parking lots, hotels, or even ski lodges when you're out sliding around. Thats why i like Mineral basin at Snowbird, nothing but terrain. Back bowls of Vail are also like this.
post #6 of 17
top to bottom skiing
trees
trees
trees
true ski in/ski out
the ability to go off and hide
post #7 of 17
There are dozens of all around great ski resorts in US. Depends on what your preferences are for narrowing the field down. If money is no object, you're over 40, want gourmet food, exquisite grooming, and total pampered experience try a fancy lodge at Deer Valley, UT. You can go the other extreme and stay in a Motel 6 in Jackson,, eat fast food all week and ski steep stuff until your nose bleeds at Jackson Hole, WY. It's pricey, but I have a fondness for the Aspen area because between the four mtns and the town it's pretty strong in almost every imaginable quality - diverse terrain, snow conditions, food/bars/nightlife/shopping, mountain scenery, people watching, and lifts & trails usually not too crowded. Having said that, some of my best experiences have been at lesser name places during non-peak times when there happened to be exceptionally good snow/weather. So there are many ski areas that will provide a great experience, just kind of depends on what you're looking for, where you're coming from, and a little bit of luck.
post #8 of 17
Ma & Pa hills are always a good choice if not looking for the resort village. Nice folks, great skiing and a value.
post #9 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by slider View Post
Ma & Pa hills ....great skiing
you and I obviously skied on dramatically different eastcoasts.
post #10 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilT View Post
you and I obviously skied on dramatically different eastcoasts.
yes we did.
post #11 of 17
Ski Terrain X 3
Snow quality X 2
Off hill activity X 1
post #12 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by slider View Post
Ma & Pa hills are always a good choice if not looking for the resort village. Nice folks, great skiing and a value.
(Although I think he IS looking for a mountain resort experience)
post #13 of 17

Each Resort has a Personality--Does it fit Yours?

Each resort has a distinct feel. Vail is trendy, Aspen is frou-frou, Steamboat is laid back. If you are the designer clothes type, go with Aspen or Deer Vally. If you have a cowboy hat, go to Steamboat.
As for the weather, if you are from the east, a huge powder day might not be your thing. It is hard to ski it if you've never done it before. But if you love powder, a huge dump is hard to beat.
The moral? You won't know what you like till you check them ALL out!
post #14 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by elephant View Post
I'm trying to plan a trip to one of the major ski resorts (Vail, Whistler, Steamboat, Park City, Heavenly, Breck, Mammoth...others?) and trying to figure out what makes a great mountain resort. Not just "great snow" or "best steeps." Curious...what's better about one place than another, and what do you think makes a mountain town/resort great?
What I think is a good resort may be a horrible one for you. I like to have plenty of bumpy runs (say, 50%) of different gradien! (The easy ones to show off. The difficult ones to pratice on)

And when you're lucky enough to have a fresh dump, then ANY resort will be a great resort! (even the ones in PA or MA!)

I don't care about bars and such. I usually take a shower, eat and turn in. Sure, good resturants will be nice. But that's just gravy.
post #15 of 17
1. Terrain (for me steep wide open bowls with small to medium size cornices and than chutes)
2. Snow (dry and abundant)
3. ski-in/ski-out
4. Good village

About the weather -who cares? Well, I don`t.
post #16 of 17
A resort that exceeds every expectation you might be looking for. Terrain, Customer service, lifts, lodging, drink, music and food. I like resorts that have a nice mix of resort stuff and local stuff.
post #17 of 17
I hate to be a cynic, but I think it is largely a matter of luck. Having been to all the resorts on you list except Mammoth, plus many more, I think that two people can go the same resort at the same time, or the same person at different times, and have completely different experiences. Variables over which you have no control can completely change your vacation for better or worse. Weather and snow conditions are the most obvious, but on a big mountain you can spend the entire day at the wrong place at the wrong time and expericence bad conditions while others are having great skiing on other parts of the mountain. You meet a guy on chair who tells you about a bar, restaurant, or local event that really makes your trip. You can't plan for that.

I think that all the major resorts have the ability to provide most skiers with a fantastic experience, but whether or not that's what you have is much more of a crap shoot. Your ability to connect with local people probably is more important than the particular ammenities a resort has because that's what is most likely to lead you to the best the place has to offer.
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