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Snowmass Spring Break?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Opinions needed and tips

I'm too cheap to buy plane tickets this year unless there is a huge sale. So its drive somewhere, went to Wolf Creek last year. I liked it but want some variety. My recollections of Summit County in Spring Break were not pleasant, overly crowded.

12 - year old Blues and Greens
10 - Year old, missed last year, when 8 skied blues and greens
7 - year old, when 5 just learned on a small green slope, snowplow at Brighton (might get him private lessons, I did that for older Son and Daughter at Alta when young, they both pretty much learned to ski in 1 day, seems better than the group grope that I experienced in other resorts)

Wife and I pretty athletic, we ski it all, but really enjoy watching our kids ski.
Type of skiing, my favorite is going in and out of trees and over small jumps and bumps, wife likes high speed groomers and trees. I don't like resorts that kill all the jumps coming out of the woods.
Wolf Creek fit the bill last year, great tree skiing there.
We are cheap, we prefer to stay in a hotel and eat pizza.
I dread overcrowded ski resorts, hence I like Wolf Creek and Utah usually.
I dread slow lifts, but will tolerate them when there isn't any wait.

I was thinking of staying in Glenwood Springs or Carbondale and skiing Sunlight, Buttermilk, Snowmass, option to Beaver Creek. I was thinking of Skiing first day at Sunlight. It seems like a good small resort to get kids going on skiing.

How awful and expensive is Snowmass on Spring Break March 16-20? Any tips on driving and parking to said places? I generally don't like shuttles, like feedom of car. Is Snowmass any good for beginners? It seems mostly Blue and Black.

I haven't skied any of the Apen resorts or Sunlight before maybe its too expensive and Ritzy for me anyway
post #2 of 8

good plan

Somehow your post/question got lost in the election day shuffle around here?!?
Regarding plane tickets, why fly for hamburger, when you can drive to Colorado for steak?
I think you're on to a very good plan. Sunlight will give you a low stress day, Snowmass will give you a huge and excellent place for family and low-intermediate skiing. Believe you'll have to park in a satellite lot and take shuttle to ski Snowmass as day visitors. Not sure if that is true for Aspen Highlands. After your family gets a few days practice, would highly recommend a day at Aspen Highlands. It slants towards advanced terrain, but there are a few long, scenic intermediate routes from the very top. The one place you might want to skip is Ajax Mtn. It is a classic mtn, but not great for low intermediates. But don't skip a stroll through town of Aspen. Fascinating place with a few surprisingly reasonable dining choices. Should be several budget motel choices in Glenwood Springs.
post #3 of 8
Snowmass is never crowded, it's too huge. Tons of high speed groomers. You can also find mandatory air time runs there.

I wouldn't worry about expense, especially that time of year. Search around and you'll be surprised at what you can find. Check out Crestwood Condo's that are in/out, Pokolodi, and St. Moritz in town.

Ask around and you can find cheap eats - one is right next to the Pokolodi.

No slow lifts. Terrific place for beginners. I haven't made it up to their new Elk Camp teaching area. I'm sure it's top notch.

Free cookies, hot chocolate at the top of the Village Express lift. Free coffee at the Ticket Pavilion, free snacks and sunscreen inside.

Park in the Rodeo lot. It's a quick trip to the Snowmass Mall. The buses to Aspen are free til 4:15. If you go in the Mountain Dragon after the lifts close, you may find some forum members there. There's an extensive free shuttle system that goes all around Snowmass Village. It's quick and timely.

You can take the RFTA bus from Glenwood Springs. Get the Express Bus with Linda the bus driver. She drives the nice buses.
post #4 of 8
I think Sunlight/Glenwood would be a great fit for your family. Glenwood is a nice little town and Sunlight would be a great place to warm up. None of the resorts in Aspen will be crowded.

Originally Posted by rmscott_75077 View Post
Type of skiing, my favorite is going in and out of trees and over small jumps and bumps, wife likes high speed groomers and trees. I don't like resorts that kill all the jumps coming out of the woods.

Snowmass is great for beginners, but I bet you would like Buttermilk even better. Buttermilk has more little kid trails through the tree's than any other place I've ever been. They even have a special map of them. Park at West Buttermilk and you can ski to/from the car and its a very nice place to picnic.

4 in a car is HOV in Aspen and you can park for free. I would recommend parking at Owl Creek if you do go to Snowmass.
post #5 of 8
Sunlight is a great place for a family. It is nice and small, so you don't have to worry about getting lost. Once you have the feel of the place, you and wife should have no problem skiing some of the tougher terrain while your kids ski on some of the easier slopes. It's the kind of place where you can leave your bags/cooler/kitchen sink in the lodge without worrying that it will walk away. I would not plan to spend more than 2-3 days there, since it is very small, the terrain is pretty limited. Plus, it's super affordable. You can even do a stay/swim/ski package through the Hot Springs Lodge. Most locals agree that for the price, it's the best hotel in town. You are within walking distance of all the good restaurants, and most importantly the pool, as well as ski shops, liquor stores, etc. Glenwood isn't the same kind of spring break destination as the major ski towns in CO, so you should be able to find reasonable accomodations.

Snowmass will also be fine with the family. Both my brother and I learned to ski there. There is plenty of great terrain for everyone there. Never been to Buttermilk, but I know an amazing instructor there. Let me know if you want his name. One thing to keep in mind is that traffic south on 82 is a real pita on weekdays. RFTA is an okay solution, but it kind of sucks too. Like others have said before, I have never, at any time of year, found Aspen to be crowded. (Well, maybe in town, but not on the slopes).

Beaver Creek is a really easy drive from Glenwood, about 40 minutes. Vail is only another 10 minutes away should you feel the need to spend a day there.

Have a great trip!!!
post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the responses.

I wasn't quite sure from the responses about the driving situation from Glenwood/Carbondale to Snowmass or Buttermilk. The HOV should be an option for me, is it really a crowded drive? IS the traffic people going to work or skiers? I prefer to drive unless its too painful.

I've been to Aspen twice. Once I stayed at Carbondale and once at Glenwood Springs, but I did it in the Summer and in the Fall. I did notice an HOV lane but was shocked because there were no cars.
post #7 of 8
It's mostly people going to work. It just gets really bad right before town because it goes down to one lane. It's nothing compared to what I drive in Chicago everyday.
post #8 of 8

I don't know what your budget is, but you can't beat the Snowmass Mountain Chalet. Ski-in/out at Snowmass for right at $300/nt with included hot breakfast and soup lunch. When you consider how much it costs to eat lunch on the mountain, it's a great deal. Here is my trip report from last year with pics of the place: http://forums.epicski.com/showthread.php?t=68727

I had planned to take my family to Beaver Creek this year just so I would experience a different mountain, but Snowmass and the Chalet are drawing me back there with my wife (2nd timer) and 4 y.o. (1st timer). I'm debating whether to go back there as we speak.

We were there last year exactly on your corresponding dates and will be going this year 3/14-3/21. There was very minimal crowding. One thing last year was an early Easter caused more folks to have Spring Break the same week. Even with that, the lines were practically non-existent. And the lifts are definitely high speed.

Take care,
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