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Resort suggestions for first time out west

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
I've been driving myself crazy researching and putting off posting a thread just like this but I think it's time I turn to the experts. I have a bunch of frequent flier miles to burn through American, and am crazy about skiing. I'd love to take a ski trip out west this year but can't seem to settle on a good spot for our needs.

It'd be the wife and I. I've been skiing for about a year and have been hooked since day one with a trip out east to Sunday River (wife's family is from Maine) and now a hold pass and weekly lessons back here in the Midwest. I do fine on pretty much everything up to the double blacks here (I could get down them as I've gotten down some of the extremely bumped up singles but it's not pretty to be sure) and enjoy the single black trees so that probably puts me at a solid intermediate pretty much anywhere with actual mountains.

My wife has gone skiing with me exactly once. She picked it up quite quickly (links stem christies it looks like) from years of ice skating but tweaked her knee and went in after 4 hours. She enjoys it but being barely past the bunny hill isn't sure how much she'd be up for a pure ski trip.

Anyway, with these in mind staying on mountain somewhere sounds really good - that way she could ski as much as she wants and go in and I could go tackle bigger stuff without her. Since it's not pure skiing something to do after the lifts stop turning would be nice. We're not huge party scene people (our honeymoon was a cabin in the middle of no where in VT for instance) so quiet is fine, but completely dead is pushing it.

With this in mind so far staying at Solitude has sounded good (with the village at night - just enough to do) but a bit pricey (ends up being ~250 per night) . Considered PCMR but concerned about the crowds. Powder Mountain looks great price wise and crowd wise but looks like it completely dies after the lifts stop and seems a bit vertically challenged. Long, open greens would be great. Would love to try some powder (if lucky) but not a requirement. Big Sky looked great but American doesn't fly there. Steamboat looks awesome on all accounts but I'm short on mileage to make it there. Seems DEN and SLC are my best bets. Would like to get lodging under $200/night but still retain that option for her to retire back to the room for a while (or sleep in late while I get some laps in).

Not against off the beaten path as long as American flies there. ;)

Considered hitting VT (ME is out since we'd like it to be pure vacation not a family visit trip) but concerned about the weather/icy slopes for a beginner. Though we love VT as a state. :)

It's looking like this would happen around the first week of March or last week of Feb. Though I'm open to solid spring picks for cost reasons (my Sunday River choice was April 10th or so last year - still a great time!)

Apologies for the wall of text thanks for the thoughts!
post #2 of 23
Thread Starter 
Oh yeah, also have looked at Keystone and Copper as they seem to both have good terrain and lodging but totally not sure about how the evening goes there and the crowds.
post #3 of 23
i haven't done too many places, if only American it may depend too from where your flying.

Brighton is up the road and has some lower costs as well a night skiing.  SLC has always to me been a nice place, if Solitude is a place to lean towards, they may have package deal that with lift will drop you under for the lodging.   Price wise, at $200 a night you can do many a place and would chose somewhere that's had good snow to date, which i haven't kept up with.

If willing to drive a bit, which cuts out loops, SLC always has low cost hotel/motel with lift ticket deals. 

I'm partial to Steamboat, as that's where i learned but their snow totals have been a bit low ... when you considering?   American as most airlines will let you offset lack of FF miles for some cash so considering the difference of a rental from DEN verses paying for FF miles from American may not be significant and perhaps less.  They do have a nice shuttle system as well as a good share of activities. 
post #4 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by pete View Post

i haven't done too many places, if only American it may depend too from where your flying.

Brighton is up the road and has some lower costs as well a night skiing.  SLC has always to me been a nice place, if Solitude is a place to lean towards, they may have package deal that with lift will drop you under for the lodging.   Price wise, at $200 a night you can do many a place and would chose somewhere that's had good snow to date, which i haven't kept up with.

If willing to drive a bit, which cuts out loops, SLC always has low cost hotel/motel with lift ticket deals. 

I'm partial to Steamboat, as that's where i learned but their snow totals have been a bit low ... when you considering?   American as most airlines will let you offset lack of FF miles for some cash so considering the difference of a rental from DEN verses paying for FF miles from American may not be significant and perhaps less.  They do have a nice shuttle system as well as a good share of activities. 


 
This would be late feb early march though I've considered going post April 1st for the drop in price. If it was just me going or if she'd done more 8 hour ski days we'd totally be staying in Sandy or some such and trucking in every day. I looked into the FF miles thing and it seems like about everything else, if I save money one way I make it up with something else. Flight, lift tickets, lodging. =P It's like we can go anywhere we want for $1800 dollars but no cheaper. haha
post #5 of 23
 Assuming you avoid spring break and a three day weekend you'd be surprised how uncrowded a lot of these places will be.  Sure there are people there but the sheer size of the mountain absorbs a lot of people.  If you practice good strategy like getting up early and avoiding the main base areas, well you can have tons of fun anywhere.
post #6 of 23
Keystone, Copper and Breckenridge get mentioned a lot for what you are looking for including lots of fine terrain for noobs and a village.  And all will have good skiing into April with price breaks. Ditto PCMR.
post #7 of 23
I say Utah. To be exact....Park City. Fantastic ski town with great restaurants and great people, everywhere. It's a happening place that is casual. 

I suggest getting a rental, driving in Utah is a piece of cake. Now, I didn't say drive up into the canyons when they are getting 25 inches of fresh. No. On those days you stay around Park City and ski one of the 3 resorts there. You would enjoy them, for sure. And, you don't have to worry about altitude sickness. It could happen most anywhere in Colorado and what a bummer that would be.

Beyond Park City you can easily hit up Solitude for a day. Even Alta for a day would be out of this world and quite easy to get to. Plan on an hour to get to Alta. Solitude out of Park City....45 minutes.

Our trip to Utah we skied 5 resorts in 5 days. Variety was a pleasure, as was the entire trip. The airport was laid back. Our lodging was laid back (check out Kimball Junction). Travelling around was laid back. The skiing was off the charts good and the scenery is world class by any standard. Evenings were great in PC. Not a bad meal all week.

To me, it's a no brainer. Utah. And, you have chosen a great time to go. March and April weather is usually a great time to be out west, though the Park City resorts could be in spring conditions OR getting dumped on with fresh powder.

If not Utah, I would consider Tahoe for that time of year. Once again, lower altitude.

Have a great time and report back with pictures.

Here's one from Deer Valley....
post #8 of 23
Thread Starter 
Awesome thoughts here! Very useful. I forget that not every resort is like the local ski hill that gets twenty minute lift lines every Saturday - also gives me good ideas for noob terrain. =P

However, of course after all my obsessing on how to make this work out west I mention how some random (to me) band is playing Sugarloaf at the end of march and it turns out it's some band she used to go see in Portland in HS in the 90s all the time. Now we have a weekend in Maine scheduled and a day or so with the family to boot. We really don't see them enough anyway. Not to mention we got in for under $1200 including flights (American no longer flys to PWM) lift tickets, and hell even concert tickets! Worried a bit more about conditions at Sugarloaf - but if it's like Maine last year there'll be good snow somewhere to be had no matter what. And if the skiing fails there's always the Shipyard Brewhaus and a band playing.

Now it looks like I may be taking a budget long weekend in Utah solo seeing I still have those FF miles and all.  (though it's always more fun skiing with someone than going alone - it's just that alone I don't have to worry about accommodations much)

Thanks for all of the advice and thoughts. I know I'll be looking back at this around this time next year for a similar trip if this one goes well. I'm excited. :)
post #9 of 23
Not to worry. Sugarloaf will be in great shape. Too often people dis the East with all of the ICE comments. In reality, ice really isn't a problem very often due to the outstanding grooming efforts.

You will love the 'loaf and we expect a full report with pictures when you return home.

Welcome to Maine. Now put the boot in the binding and hang onto your hat and have fun.!!
post #10 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sugaree View Post

Too often people dis the East with all of the ICE comments. In reality, ice really isn't a problem very often due to the outstanding grooming efforts.
 
If you don't have ice, you don't have to groom, and can leave it natural and ski pow and natural conditions- WHAT A CONCEPT!
post #11 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by snofun3 View Post



If you don't have ice, you don't have to groom, and can leave it natural and ski pow and natural conditions- WHAT A CONCEPT!




 

It is just a concept. In the real world not every skier desires to ski bumps. Bumps are the result of not grooming.

Some of us like to go fast. The term packed powder comes to mind.

Rip it.
post #12 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sugaree View Post

Not to worry. Sugarloaf will be in great shape. Too often people dis the East with all of the ICE comments. In reality, ice really isn't a problem very often due to the outstanding grooming efforts.

You will love the 'loaf and we expect a full report with pictures when you return home.

Welcome to Maine. Now put the boot in the binding and hang onto your hat and have fun.!!

Everytime we fly into PWM it's a homecoming. Can't wait to be back up there. Just sad I didn't do more skiing up there when I was up there every other month! =P

 

Being a midwest skiier not too worried about ice and such - mostly want my wife to have as lush and awesome snow as possible. However with her being a Mainer and the snow being there I'm sure it can do no wrong. =D

We'll be sure to get some pictures! I can't wait to try out the `loaf for the first time.

post #13 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sugaree View Post




 Bumps are the result of not grooming.

Some of us like to go fast. The term packed powder comes to mind.

Rip it.

Bumps are the result of too many people in too small an area all making turns in the same place. Try a bigger area (ie, non east) and you'll see (another) of the reasons why the east gets dissed.

Trust me, I like to go quickly, and I like to NOT be on groomers.
post #14 of 23
To answer your original question I would go for one of these

Park City  - Awesome town, good snow, decent mountain
Aspen  - the best of the towns and great mountains but the snow this year...sucks
Steamboat  - Fun town in a funky kind of way and great mountain for all levels except your super duper experts too cool bro-brahs
Telluride  - Best scenery and another funky town but the snow can be hit or miss
Vail  - Huge amounts of every kind of terrain and lots of faux bavarian town fun
Heavenly - but only if you like the casino nightlife and cheesy old school california culture

The snow in both Utah and Northern/Central Colorado is down this year but could pick up anytime.....
post #15 of 23
Thought I could add to the Sugarloaf stoke with this photo.....
post #16 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sugaree View Post

Thought I could add to the Sugarloaf stoke with this photo.....


Oh that looks nasty.

Nasty fun of course.

Stoke achieved. Why did I schedule a trip so far out?

post #17 of 23
Thread Starter 
also, what trail is that?

(doh first messsage held for moderation so "also" doesn't make much sense.)
post #18 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by bnferguson View Post

also, what trail is that?

(doh first messsage held for moderation so "also" doesn't make much sense.)

 


That photo was taken from the King Pine quad looking down onto the trail called... Haulback. 
post #19 of 23
Bumps are the result of too many people in too small an area all making turns in the same place. Try a bigger area (ie, non east) and you'll see (another) of the reasons why the east gets dissed.

Trust me, I like to go quickly, and I like to NOT be on groomers.


snofun3....The more you talk the more I can see that you really don't know much about skiing.

Being from Florida you may be better off talking politics rather than skiing.

Tell me, do skiers from Florida ever advance past the beginner stage.??

Just wondering.
post #20 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sugaree View Post

Bumps are the result of too many people in too small an area all making turns in the same place. Try a bigger area (ie, non east) and you'll see (another) of the reasons why the east gets dissed.

Trust me, I like to go quickly, and I like to NOT be on groomers.


snofun3....The more you talk the more I can see that you really don't know much about skiing.

Being from Florida you may be better off talking politics rather than skiing.

Tell me, do skiers from Florida ever advance past the beginner stage.??

Just wondering.

I think he is just a huge talker with nothin to back it up with...at least I post stoke and show people around all the time.


Quote:
Originally Posted by snofun3 View Post




Bumps are the result of too many people in too small an area all making turns in the same place. Try a bigger area (ie, non east) and you'll see (another) of the reasons why the east gets dissed.

Trust me, I like to go quickly, and I like to NOT be on groomers.
 




Quote:
Originally Posted by snofun3 View Post



If you don't have ice, you don't have to groom, and can leave it natural and ski pow and natural conditions- WHAT A CONCEPT!
 

the natural condition out west of pailed to Vermont and the rest of the northeast this year.

I have done product testing to show it

post #21 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sugaree View Post

snofun3....The more you talk the more I can see that you really don't know much about skiing.

Being from Florida you may be better off talking politics rather than skiing.

Tell me, do skiers from Florida ever advance past the beginner stage.??

Just wondering.




Quote:
Originally Posted by BushwackerinPA View Post


the natural condition out west of pailed to Vermont and the rest of the northeast this year.

I have done product testing to show it



 

Funny guys -

Sugaree - I guess not knowing what you're talking about is in the eye of the beholder. Where I see simplistic nonsense, you apparently assume you have knowledge.

I moved to FL after 40+ years in the NE to avoid the general dreck that is "winter". After the last 20 years doing 40-50 days / year, with less than 10% on the least coast, I knew that I'd miss absolutely nothing by not being there, and in fact, can enjoy the beach or a Hobie on a day like today, when there's a 15-20 knot breeze and 80+ degrees. What are you doing?

In fact, I now have a chance to rest my legs a bit after coming back on Tuesday from 12 days of the dreck that was SLC and Steamboat, and changing clothes for 6 at Whistler starting on Saturday (and you've got a 23-33 inch base AFTER 12 inches of new, that's cute - yeah, yuck it up). So, no, no, I don't know anything about the subject (just fyi - never seen bumps in Whistler bowl, because (I'll type slow here) -not too many skiers in too small an area (got it this time? - oh nevermind)

And yes, some in FL do make it past beginner stage (Maine now appears questionable) - have many more days booked - you'd be welcome to come see for yourself (and please don't slow us down too much).

Pailed - ? Ohhh, Paled, geesh, sorry (PA ebonics I guess), anyway, your grammer is about as good as your geography - I had a great time just after Thanksgiving at Whistler with the 13 feet of freshies - and let's see - most of the least coast wasn't even OPEN yet, correct? So, right "the natural condition out west of "pailed" to Vermont and the rest of the northeast this year" - yup, yo da man, however be advised that there is life outside VT, (and past UT too - IMAGINE!).

Edit - Oh, just for fun, here's the latest regarding who's got the goods (he who laughs last......)

STOWE - Last 7 Days: 1-2" of "packed powder" and loose and frozen granular (REALLY - 1-2"? - oh well, so much for "I ski pow everyday", eh?) Season total 119

Whistler - 7 days, 60 inches, season total 375 inches. And take a look at the forecast db, - it gets even better Just because you have to live with trying to justify marginality doesn't mean we all have to .

Oh, AND btw, it's going off in CA and UT - Stowe, well, you already know what's happening there, right?

So you think you'll make it through this year without getting fired from another instructor job . What'll next year be - assistant instructor at Blue? So, what's on today's agenda anyway, screaming FRENCH FRIES, PIZZA SLICE to some gaper from Joisey to try to make ends meet on loose and frozen granular?- yeah - you da man!

You should both become Alpinezone heroes  - suit your (apparent) "knowledge" better.
Edited by snofun3 - 1/21/10 at 9:18am
post #22 of 23

Have you found your place in the world yet.??

 

Didn't think so. Ass-hats seldom do.

And don't shit on BushWacker. He has contributed here more than most.

 

post #23 of 23
Wow folks what's up with the personal insults?  Snofun3 and Sugaree are correct bumps result from skiers skiing the same runs over again without grooming and without new snow to cover it up.   There are some runs inbounds at certain areas that don't really get bumped because they are too hard for most skiers so they don't much traffic but even those will get bumped up given enough time and traffic between storms with no grooming...

must be some personal history behind you guys.....but stop hijacking the thread and help the OP.
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