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Options for family skiing near Nevada City, CA?

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
Hi Bears,

We are taking a trip out west in Feb. to visit family and friends. It's not a dedicated ski trip, but we hope to get at least a day or two on the slopes. Here's our situation:

• We'll be staying about 20 minutes NW of Nevada City, CA w/family. We have five or six people who will be going. In addition to my wife and me, we'll have our three kids (ages 6, 9 and 11), and perhaps my mother.

• It's possible that we'll spend one night in a hotel/motel (maybe in Truckee?) and hit the slopes two days. Otherwise, it would be a day trip.

• We'd like something kid-friendly. My 9 and 11 year olds can hold their own on intermediate slopes, but my 6 year old is just starting on them and still rides fairly slowly. I like to push myself a bit when I can, but I'll probably spend most of my day with the 6 year old.

• We have both snowboarders and skiers (mostly snowboarders, in all likelihood).

• Given the kid dynamics, a place that offers less expensive lift tickets for beginner/intermediate areas (like Cannon and Stowe in the east, for example) would be attractive.

• More than anything, my kids hate long lift lines, so less crowded places would be good.

Which resorts would you recommend?

If we get some rooms, what city and motels would you recommend? Something inexpensive and clean is what we're after.
post #2 of 5
For least expensive, kid, boarder friendly I would say Boreal. I ski but on occasion go to Boreal especially when it is fully open. Northstar is kid friendly but on the expensive side. Sugar Bowl is close to Boreal and has fun runs on the intermediate side, probably priced between the other two. Boreal has a place to sleep within walking distance to the slopes. I have stayed there. No frills and no eats there. Truckey has a couple in the $100/night range. North Tahoe has rooms a bit more expensive.
Have fun, Feb should be a good time with more snow a comin.
post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 
thanks, mk. I should note that of the priorities I listed, the most important are no crowds/long lift lines, and appropriate, fun terrain for our group. Cost is relevant, but secondary to those. Also, the snowboarders in our group are not really freestylers/park riders.

We'll be going midweek, so perhaps crowds aren't as big of an issue.

I've gotten recommendations from friends for Alpine Meadows and Tahoe Donner, in addition to mk's tips.

Any other thoughts out there?
post #4 of 5
Unless you're talking about Presidents' Week, midweek crowds are a nonissue at any Tahoe resort.

Without weather issues, Nevada City should be about an hour from the Donner Pass resorts (primarily Sugar Bowl and Boreal), and about an hour and a half from the resorts northwest of the Lake (Squaw, Northstar, and Alpine).

Pricing information is available on www.slidingonthecheap.com.

It's hard to be certain, since you've only identified the low end terrain considerations, although I presume that you'll be on the more adventurous side. I'd say Sugar Bowl for a day trip; Boreal might make sense if you're a strictly park and pipe crowd (I'm guessing that wouldn't include your mother), but unless that's how you want to spend your day, you won't enjoy it much. For a really inexpensive, but much smaller option, maybe Donner Ski Ranch -- I think it's $15 midweek for adult tickets, and $30 or $35 for a full learn to ski/ride package.

If you're willing to drive the extra distance, given the cost issues, Alpine probably makes more sense than Squaw, and there are often learn to ski/ride package discounts available online. But here's a Northstar coupon that should help, should you go that route.

Tahoe Donner is a little area that exists for the sake of the vacation homes that surround it. I ski leased one of those homes for two solid seasons and never skied there. I wouldn't think it would be worth a drive.
post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 
thanks, alpinedad. that's very helpful.

the more I think about this, the less cost comes into play. we're only going for two days (could be different places each day), and kids' lift tickets are so cheap out there ($10-12 at most placed I've checked, compared to $32 at our home mountain).

we're not really a park and pipe crowd, mostly freeriders when snowboarding.

we probably won't do lessons, unless my wife and/or mother decide to take one, so the lesson program is not a big consideration.

so basically, we're looking for family-friendly, appropriate terrain not too far from Nevada City (day trip distance of 1.5 hours or less each way would be good).

as for what level of terrain is appropriate, my wife is a beginner and my mother is a novice. my older two kids can hold their own on blue trails at Cannon (which is where we usually go here in New England), and my younger one is just starting to explore some blues there. on a snowboard, which is what I'll probably be using, I'm probably a bit past where my older kids are (can handle all blues and some blacks at Cannon).
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