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Help Me Rank Resorts for Family Spring Break Ski Trip

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 
I am just getting back into skiing, and I recently joined a destination club that has a nice collection of ski properties to facilitate my family taking two ski trips a year going forward. Our first trip together will be Spring Break 2009 (March 14 - 21). I'm going with a buddy to Snowmass in a week (wife got pregnant right after I planned the trip back in October).

The way the club's reservation system works, I can and will need to book the 2009 trip next Thursday, the 14th. And since someone may time their submission at 12:00:01 better than me, I need to have my second through fifth choices already worked out.

I'm skiing at a level 5 right now, and my wife will be a bit below that. We will have our then almost 5 year old daughter with us. Some of the properties are 3 or 4 bedrooms, so we may have another couple along with us that will have a 6 year old with them. This will be the kids first time to ski.

Factors that are important to us, basically in order: snow conditions (http://webpages.charter.net/tcrocker818/fam_ski.htm), quality of kids ski school, crowds during spring break, and terrain for beginners/intermediates. Other factors that I probably will need to work out with the destination club and my own research are: proximity of the property to the lifts and proximity to kids ski school (e.g., the Telluride property is near Chair 7 which would not do us any good if we are trying to get never ever kids to ski school). If you have specific information you can share on these last two, that would be great.

So, here are some of my choices (all more or less ski-in/out):

Beaver Creek - Village Hall (3 BR)
Telluride - Owl's Meadow (3 BR)
Copper - Mill Club (3 BR)
Keystone - Red Hawk Lodge (4 BR)
Snowmass - Terrace House (2 BR)
Beaver Creek - Arrowhead Aspenwood Lodge (2 BR)
Deer Valley - Black Bear Lodge (2 BR)
Lake Tahoe - Iron Horse Lodge (2 BR)

Maybe the kids ski school proximity would only be a big deal the first day or two because hopefully by day 3 the little ones will be able to ride a chair and ski down a green to the ski school (like at Copper, Arrowhead, Telluride, etc.). Do y'all think that is a reasonable expectation as far as a first time kid's progression?

I am worried about the front range resorts because of crowding. How bad do y'all think Copper and Keystone will be as far as lift lines and congestion on the slopes that week?

So, how would you rank the above options? Everything else being equal or close to it, I would like to get a 3 or 4 bedroom so we can have another family along with us. In fact, I basically have the properties in order the way I listed them. Anyone suggest I bump up or down any of them?

Sorry for the long post. Thanks for any help you can provide.

Take care,
Cliff
post #2 of 27
Lots of great choices!

Deer Valley: Blackbear Lodge. Great lodge, #1 ski school. Short trip to main street. Great restaurants in Silver Lake.

Snowmass: Terrace House. Good choice for singles.
post #3 of 27
FYI, all, the Iron Horse is at Northstar.
post #4 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by shortturns View Post
Lots of great choices!

Deer Valley: Blackbear Lodge. Great lodge, #1 ski school. Short trip to main street. Great restaurants in Silver Lake.

Snowmass: Terrace House. Good choice for singles.
One concern I have about Deer Valley in mid-March is slushy spring conditions. In Tony Crocker's ratings (linked above in my thread starting post), he ranked Deer Valley a 3 out of 5 for spring beak conditions. His description of this rating is, "3. The transition from winter to spring conditions generally occurs in early March. Even early spring break skiers can expect predominantly spring conditions. However, all terrain is covered, and conditions are enjoyable where groomed or at the right time of day in natural terrain." He also said, "The spring break guidelines are much more reliable year in and year out (than the Christmas guidelines). A poor spring rating means the surface can be ruined by a few warm days, no matter how deep the snow base."

Also, I just talked to a friend who said she and her family went to Deer Valley either last spring break or the year before that and it was very slushy.

Why do you say the Terrace House is a good choice for singles? Size of the units or is it a younger/rowdy scene?

Thanks for the help!

-Cliff
post #5 of 27
My 10-year-old daughter has been doing a spring break trip to Utah with her grandparents for the past three years, and I've never heard any complaints about Deer Valley.
post #6 of 27
I think that you will like Snowmass so much, that you will want to take your family back. Terrace House has a good location, right across from the community pool and a short walk to the slopes. But the units are kind of small.
I wouldn't try to share one with another couple.
post #7 of 27
WOW...like others have said, GREAT options!!! I honestly don't think you can go wrong at all. I think the Northstar at Tahoe resort, not the lodge in particular, is several steps down from the others in amenities and upscale luxuries.

We go to Utah very other year (leaving next friday again) and never have snow issues. I don't ski any more (I board) and have (2) kids that snowboard so we don't go to Deer Valley but it's an AWESOME resort, as are most of the others. I am totally jealous!!

Aside from the fact that you're already going this year, I'd probably choose Snowmass. You have (3) other resort options there including Buttermilk which would be great for the kids in ski school. The big kicker for me is the Town of Aspen....it plain doesn't get any better. Tons of *quality* shopping and restaurant choices.
post #8 of 27
The Summit County resorts are busy on weekends but civilized during the week. I am assuming the lodge you mention is in River Run. This is a great location for kids because the kids ski school is right there. Another advantage of Keystone for the spring is the higher elevation - and the beginner terrain is at the top. Kids can ride the gondola down at the end of the day if the 3.5 mile Schoolmarm is more than they want to handle.
post #9 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SHREDHEAD View Post
I think that you will like Snowmass so much, that you will want to take your family back. Terrace House has a good location, right across from the community pool and a short walk to the slopes. But the units are kind of small.
I wouldn't try to share one with another couple.
Yeah, the club's unit at Snowmass is a 2 bedroom, only 987 s.f. If we go back to Snowmass, we'd definitely not invite another couple along. And that's really the only reason Snowmass isn't a top choice for a repeat visit. May still end up back there if we don't get Beaver Creek Village Hall.

-Cliff
post #10 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JimH View Post
The Summit County resorts are busy on weekends but civilized during the week. I am assuming the lodge you mention is in River Run. This is a great location for kids because the kids ski school is right there. Another advantage of Keystone for the spring is the higher elevation - and the beginner terrain is at the top. Kids can ride the gondola down at the end of the day if the 3.5 mile Schoolmarm is more than they want to handle.
JimH, thanks for the info on the kids ski school location. Yes, the unit is in the Red Hawk town homes, in River Run. I think it's about a 100 yard or so walk to the gondola. I assume from your post, the kids ski school is near the gondola.

K2Rider, thanks for the information and the recommendation!

Thanks to everyone for all the help! Keep the suggestions coming.

-Cliff
post #11 of 27
Thread Starter 
JimH,

I was just studying the Keystone trail map, and it looks like the kids school ski area for beginners is over at Mountain House where the Discovery Lift is. Do they take the kids from River Run to there once you drop them off? Or am I not looking at that wrong?

Thanks,
Cliff
post #12 of 27
Cliff, there is a kids ski school building right opposite the ticket windows in River Run. There is a dedicated beginner area at the top of Dercum Mountain reached by the gondola, and with a magic carpet lift and a VERY SLOW triple chair (to ease loading and unloading). Being at over 11,000 feet, this pretty much guarantees the best spring conditions possible for beginners. And they feel they have been to the "top", even if they ride the gondola back down.
post #13 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JimH View Post
Cliff, there is a kids ski school building right opposite the ticket windows in River Run. There is a dedicated beginner area at the top of Dercum Mountain reached by the gondola, and with a magic carpet lift and a VERY SLOW triple chair (to ease loading and unloading). Being at over 11,000 feet, this pretty much guarantees the best spring conditions possible for beginners. And they feel they have been to the "top", even if they ride the gondola back down.
Good deal! Thanks JimH. Also, I found out that Keystone is expanding the River Run gondola to put it even closer to the Red Hawk unit (from 300 yards down to 100).

Based on the responses here, coupled with the limited flights into Telluride (Montrose), I'm thinking my new order is:

1) BC Village Hall; 2) Keystone; 3) Copper; and 4) Telluride. I've already talked to our friends, and they are in if we get a 3 or 4 bedroom. So a retrun trip to Snowmass and some of the other 2 bedroom locations will have to wait until just our family is travelling. I really do think it will be worth taking a "lesser" resort for this trip to enable my little one to have a buddy with her in ski school.

I appreciate all the help here. Any further thoughts of Keystone vs. Copper?

Thanks,
Cliff
post #14 of 27
Telluride is your best option.

There are no crowds, it's expansive and beautiful. No beginners get knocked around. It's a super learn to ski place.

The condos in Telluride you select are good.

For never-evers, you would need to use the town gondola (12 Min) to get to the Mountain Village for beginner lessons. But soon they could ski from the top of lift 7.

Your Beave Creek selection is a total disaster given how difficult the terrain is at Arrowhead. Are you going to take a 20 min bus every moning up to Beaver Creek base area?? Total time suck. No beginner lessons at the Arrowhead base. Very, very bad choice. The beginners will be miserable commuting more than in their daily lives.

I think Snowmass is a great option. Or Telluride. Both are beautifully uncrowded places.

Copper/Keystone...less recommended. Just not as good as Aspen or Telluride.
post #15 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisc View Post
Telluride is your best option.

There are no crowds, it's expansive and beautiful. No beginners get knocked around. It's a super learn to ski place.

The condos in Telluride you select are good.

For never-evers, you would need to use the town gondola (12 Min) to get to the Mountain Village for beginner lessons. But soon they could ski from the top of lift 7.

Your Beave Creek selection is a total disaster given how difficult the terrain is at Arrowhead. Are you going to take a 20 min bus every moning up to Beaver Creek base area?? Total time suck. No beginner lessons at the Arrowhead base. Very, very bad choice. The beginners will be miserable commuting more than in their daily lives.

I think Snowmass is a great option. Or Telluride. Both are beautifully uncrowded places.

Copper/Keystone...less recommended. Just not as good as Aspen or Telluride.
Thanks for the thougths. That may bump up Telluride for me over Keystone/Copper. The only trouble is the flights into Montrose are limited.

My Beaver Creek first choice is Village Hall in the Village right on top of the Centennial Lift. That's why it is my first choice. For the reasons you mentioned, the Arrowhead property is not on my radar for a trip with never evers.

I'll be in Snowmass tomorrow - Can't wait!!

-Cliff
post #16 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by cliffk View Post
I'll be in Snowmass tomorrow - Can't wait!!

-Cliff
I hope you get in!
post #17 of 27
My opinion is that Steamboat has the best family skiing and kids program anywhere. Too bad it's not on your list.
post #18 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SHREDHEAD View Post
I hope you get in!
You've got me worried now - the storm forecast didn't look that severe. We're flying in to Eagle-Vail and using the CME shuttle to Snowmass. We'll land at Eagle at 11:40 a.m. which should put us at Snowmass by 1:30 or so. The earliest flight I could get in to Aspen was 10:30 p.m., so that's why I chose to go in to Eagle.

We are flying out of Aspen. Maybe we'll get stuck trying to leave! Let me know if you think I have anything to worry about as faring as getting in.

Thanks,
Cliff
post #19 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lars View Post
My opinion is that Steamboat has the best family skiing and kids program anywhere. Too bad it's not on your list.
Lars,

The club has a nice 4 bedroom at Steamboat in the Eagle Ridge town homes that would be a possibility. It is not ski-in/out, but I belive it is only 250 yards to the base entrance. There is a shuttle than runs frequently from the property.

I didn't list this property because it isn't ski-in/out and also because Steamboat is rated a 3 out of 5 for spring break snow. I've also talked to several people that have experienced slush at the Boat in mid-March. Let me know if you've had different experience. The Boat will be on the top of my list for a New Year's trip because of it's family reputation and Tony ranks it a 5 out of 5 for NY snow.

-Cliff
post #20 of 27
Don't overlook Big Sky. Lots of beginner and easy intermediate runs on the lower part of the mountain. Good ski school. One base area so it's easy to meet up again after ski school. No Crowds. Good snow. Enough good places to eat but not dozens to choose from like you find at some resorts. Basic shopping but it's not Aspen or Vail.Can't be beat it if you bring your own party with you. Look somewhere else if you need to be entertained.
Look at Arrowhead, Beaverhead, Huntley and Shoshone among others. Public transportation is not the best.
post #21 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by cliffk View Post
Lars,

The club has a nice 4 bedroom at Steamboat in the Eagle Ridge town homes that would be a possibility. It is not ski-in/out, but I belive it is only 250 yards to the base entrance. There is a shuttle than runs frequently from the property.

I didn't list this property because it isn't ski-in/out and also because Steamboat is rated a 3 out of 5 for spring break snow. I've also talked to several people that have experienced slush at the Boat in mid-March. Let me know if you've had different experience. The Boat will be on the top of my list for a New Year's trip because of it's family reputation and Tony ranks it a 5 out of 5 for NY snow.

-Cliff
I've experienced warm conditions with slush bumps, yes but I also remember skiing there closing days in April with thigh deep powder. Anything, anywhere can be a crap shoot. I stand by my conviction that Steamboat has the best Family skiing and kids programs anywhere in the US. Winter Park isn't bad either.
post #22 of 27
Thread Starter 
I was fastest on the click tonight - just reserved Beaver Creek Village Hall !! I think the Beav is going to be a great place for my little one to learn to ski. The condo is right next to the Hyatt and has access to all of its amenities. The deck literally looks right over the Centennial lift, so it will be a great location.

Thanks to everyone for all the help here.

-Cliff
post #23 of 27
Can we say plush?

Nice, very nice!
post #24 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lars View Post
Can we say plush?

Nice, very nice!
Thanks, should be nice.

Right now having a blast at Snowmass! We've skied 3 and a half days, with 2 more to go. I plan to do a trip report when I get home.

-Cliff
post #25 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by cliffk View Post
Thanks, should be nice.

Right now having a blast at Snowmass! We've skied 3 and a half days, with 2 more to go. I plan to do a trip report when I get home.

-Cliff
When you do Cliff, include ammenities. Such as places you stayed, eateries as well as the ski areas. It always helps others for future trip planning, your opinion.
post #26 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lars View Post
When you do Cliff, include ammenities. Such as places you stayed, eateries as well as the ski areas. It always helps others for future trip planning, your opinion.
Will do!

-Cliff
post #27 of 27
Thread Starter 
As promised, my Snowmass TR, with lots of pics and info on where we stayed and ate: http://forums.epicski.com/showthread.php?t=68727

-Cliff
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