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Advice for Australian / Austrian family coming from sunny Singapore...

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
 Hi folks...I may be able to take advantage of some time off between work and have always wanted to ski in the USA.  We are a family of 2 adults and 2 kids (9 & 10).  I have searched this forum and other sites and am considering Steamboat Springs or Beaver Creek.  Deer Valley (?) keeps coming up too.

We are looking at around 10 days in one or two spots but will be coming in the last two weeks of January.  I know this is the million dollar question but how's the weather, that time of the year?  It's obviously going to be cold but it is it unbearably cold, dark days etc etc?

Our last few years have been spring skiing in Austria and we have been exceptionally lucky with no lift queues and clear blue days.  We are just a bit worried about the kids losing interest fast if they are too uncomfortable on the slopes (due to the cold, poor visibility etc).

Apart from the better half (she's the Austrian connection) we are beginner to intermediate skiers and the kids hang with us, rather than go to a school (although I like to try and get a private lesson in).  I like the sound of Beaver Creek as it sounds like it has a nice village square and easy access.

Any tips on the weather and recommended resorts would be great.

post #2 of 5
I think any of the resorts you mention are great for your level of skiing.  However I would think that Beaver and Deer Valley would be better options for more activities and skiing options.  I have been to both, however only Deer Valley/Park City/The Canyons with my 5 yr old.  They did a great job with ski schools, but I hear that Beaver and Vail also have 1st class schools.  Both are pricey, however I would think you may get better pricing for lodging in the Park City.Canyons area (as long as you have a car).  I love the town areas of Vail/Beaver and Park City.   Deer Valley is a little quiet, however they have great facilities.   Both of the areas have off piste activities.  My daughter really liked Tubing in Park City - well, actually it's closer to The Canyons. 

So, how is that for an answer??!!!!   You can't do wrong with either Beaver/Vail or DeerValley/ PC/Canyons.  Just remember to add the cost of food into your budget, as accomodations do not include that - not like in Austria.   I would head to either - which ever you can find the best pricing.    

Weather - could be cold...however I was there in mid January and it was in the 20 - 30 range and much colder at night.    Good time, as US schools have long weekend in mid January for M. L King day, and long weekend in mid Feb for Presiden't Day. 
post #3 of 5
 Am an intermediate skiier trying to keep with his now 6+year old. We have skiied Alberta, (sunshine village), Austria (Lech-Zurs) and Alta, Utah. The first two were over easter period, and later, so late spring, snow conditions were fantastic in both. Alta we did in the first week of January. There are far more experienced folks on this forum so I will give you my hearsay, read-say and related impressions. Both Beaver Creek and Deer Valley are supposed to be luxurious by US standards, accommodation, grooming, lift system and prices. I presume they are quite nice, Deer Valley reputedly even has a ski valet ready to carry your skis (Which can be great when one is carrying one's own and the rest of the family's gear!). Note, I'll wager these two places could not match Lech-Zurs in terms of location, expanse of slopes, the lift system, grooming, and class, the inns and hotels in Lech-Zurs are on a different level and the food there is the best we ate anywhere, (hotel montana) and ski-in/ski-out of Oberlech is probably hard to match anywhere on the planet.

On the other hand, from reading, and from this and other forums, Alta has a hidden secret : while it remains one of those storied places with snow quality unlike any other (Except Snowbird, its neighbor to the SE - they are connected, and yes, its better than lech-zurs when it comes to the softness and simply dry flakes, its pretty remarkable actually), and incredible in-bounds terrain with steeps, deeps, trees, and gullies, it has reputedly amongst the best terrain for beginners and intermediates in North America. The Alta ski school is very good, they were awesome with my boy, and we stayed at the Alta Lodge, there are other places to stay, all ski in/ski out (i.e. you take a tow rope or a short lift ride or just ski to/from your lodge depending on which one); Alta Lodge has a special kids program too. The Alta lodges are all Euro style, half-board, quite Rustic and storied, your kid/s will not be bored for a minute, the mountain will blow them away in awe and imaginative wonder.

here are two TR from Utah:
1. This by a few young expert skiiers, note their comments on snow from Vail and Breck, Vail is a neighbor of Beaver Creek, in Colorado.

2. This from yours truly : Its Alta through the eyes and skis of my son:

3. And this is a superbly informative thread on experienced skiiers who have skiied them all, comparing the different places, the variety and experiential value of their views are priceless in my humble opinion, we went to Lech-Zurs after taking into account a lot of what folks said here (and for my boy to ski with our friend Klaus Mair); I had asked a similar question early 09 before we went to LEch-Zurs, got some great feedback:
post #4 of 5
 I am curious to know where OP ended up. 
post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 
 Hi Folks...thanks so much for all the advice here. Unfortunately, we were on the road and I have only just read it!!

We ended up going to Beaver Creek.  I've had a thing for going to Colorado for years, so we took the plunge and absolutely loved it. We broke with family tradition and put the kids in school for two days.  They swapped their skis for snowboards and loved the lessons (we did the same too, by the way).  The kids' instructor was a great young guy, who really got along well with them.  

The locals said they were a bit shy on snow compared to the same time last year, but it was plenty enough for us to get around on and we had some absolutely brilliant days and some, great snowy days too.  Very few crowds, even on the weekends and the customer service really is something to be seen.  Everywhere we looked there was someone from the resort, ready to help.

All up, we had a blast and can't wait to ski in American again.  We are based in Malaysia now though, so Japan or Europe is the likely next stop.  Alta sounds great (thanks Dustyfrog), so that is on the list.

Thanks again...
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