EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › General Skiing Discussion › Colorado with beginner kids: February or April?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Colorado with beginner kids: February or April?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

I need to go to Colorado in either late February or mid April, when my children have week-long school breaks.  My children have been learning to ski and are beginner/low intermediate; this would be their first trip out West.  (I lived in Boulder 20 years ago during grad school and skied a lot then.)

 

I expect that February has more and better snow, but may be colder and perhaps more difficult for children who are fair-weather skiers thus far.  I have good memories of spring skiing in April at places like A-Basin, but I don't remember whether ski areas in Summit County with a greater amount of easier terrain are still open then (Loveland? Keystone? Copper?).

 

Any opinions on late February vs mid April for such a trip?

 

Also, any suggestions for good ski areas where children (ages 13, 11, 8) can ski greens in comfort and safety while the parents are on more challenging terrain that is relatively nearby?  I used to ski A-Basin, Keystone, Winter Park, etc but never had to worry about beginners.

post #2 of 12

Nothing wrong with late Feb, but April in that part of CO for newbie kids is hard to beat; nice weather, low crowds, cheap prices, and generally lots of great terrain still open.  I've had real good luck two recent April's skiing at Keystone, Copper, Loveland, A-basin.  The first three are especially friendly to beginners and low intermediates, but you can take your pick of them or others like Breck, Vail, WP, etc.  Even gnarly A-basin has a day or two worth of fun for beg-int on the lower mountain and parts of Zuma.

If you go in April make sure about ski operations during your timeframe. Believe closing day for many of these resorts will be from April 10-24, 2011 even though they'll still likely have lots of snow.

 

More details:

http://www.dcski.com/articles/view_article.php?article_id=1022

 

http://www.dcski.com/articles/view_article.php?article_id=1212&mode=headlines

post #3 of 12

I've had a blast in April in CO. The snow was more hard packed, but the weather was great, the tickets were cheap, and I got some STEALS on various gear around time, and even at the mountainside shops! I found my Smith Phenom goggles for around $30 right off the slopes at Breck. So, if I was by myself, I'd go February or March (cuz it's cheap for just me), but with the kiddos, I'd go March or April, because you'll save a heap of cash. Oh yeah, and almost zero lift lines in April. I had Keystone almost allllll to myself last time I went. smile.gif

post #4 of 12

You need to define "mid-April".  In general, I agree with most of what has been said about the milder weather and varied "kid-friendly" terrain available in April.  However, most of the bigger resorts (Breckenridge, Keystone, Copper Mountain, Vail, etc.) close in mid-April, more due to waning visitor traffic than lack of snow in recent years (though we've had very little snow as yet, and opening day will be later this year than in the past several). Arapahoe Basin typically stays open until early June, but there is noplace to stay there and a week at A-Bay might be a bit longish.

 

As to terrain, all of the CO resorts have significantly expanded terrain since your days here. All of the big resorts have sufficient diverse terrain at all levels to keep you and your kids happy.

post #5 of 12

agree with last post; Raspritz has it all about pegged to me.

 

We generally enjoy April skiiing, but at least Keystone and Breck (and i think BC, Vail, Copper, W Park) close in April, some as early as tax day.  Though we have had some great days with the kids in April, mostly at Keystone and Breck, last year in particular it was very "soupy" late at Breck, my 10 year old begged off and we were off the mountain by 1230. 

 

However the crowds are always light in April, we have had fun at several places virtually skiing right onto the chairs between runs.  Though Loveland and A-Basin stay open quite a bit later, they often have to scale back their percent of open terrain too quite dramatically, though normally in May not April. 

 

Also another factor, if your kids are used to east coast wet/cold, even February in CO can be manageable --  much drier cold of course.  Guess you just get different experiences in Feb/April, both are good, risks are different too, i.e. cold versus warmth and closing terrain.  IF you can handle the cold and crowds during the Feb holidays, more reliable snow of course. 

post #6 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by job151 View Post

agree with last post; Raspritz has it all about pegged to me.

 

We generally enjoy April skiiing, but at least Keystone and Breck (and i think BC, Vail, Copper, W Park) close in April, some as early as tax day.  Though we have had some great days with the kids in April, mostly at Keystone and Breck, last year in particular it was very "soupy" late at Breck, my 10 year old begged off and we were off the mountain by 1230. 

 

However the crowds are always light in April, we have had fun at several places virtually skiing right onto the chairs between runs.  Though Loveland and A-Basin stay open quite a bit later, they often have to scale back their percent of open terrain too quite dramatically, though normally in May not April. 

 

Also another factor, if your kids are used to east coast wet/cold, even February in CO can be manageable --  much drier cold of course.  Guess you just get different experiences in Feb/April, both are good, risks are different too, i.e. cold versus warmth and closing terrain.  IF you can handle the cold and crowds during the Feb holidays, more reliable snow of course. 

 

That's the almightys way of telling you it's biking season...Feb is MUCH better on average!

post #7 of 12
Thread Starter 
Sounds like April would be good if ski areas are still open. The specific week is April 11 so I'll definitely need to do some research on closing dates.
post #8 of 12

PM me if you want a condo rental around then.  I have one that is truly great, but it's pretty much booked up through mid-March already.

post #9 of 12

Breck is scheduled to be open through April 24 this season.

 

First time I came to Breck was in the middle of April and we experienced a week of mid-winter snowfalls.

 

Lots of choices for easy terrain adjacent to more challenging terrain, but the toughest stuff is pretty much off by itself.

 

post #10 of 12

I really like Copper for beginners and intermediates, the terrain  naturally helps to separate different skier abilties.   There are lots of trails on one side of the mountain that are great for beginners and intermediates and they are not usually to crowded.  Groomed intermediate slopes that are surrounded by advanced and beginner trails are the most dangerous place to ski, just because you have slow skiers and bad skiers skiing way above their heads, and when the two mix bad things happen.  I keep the kids off of these runs when they are crowded and slick.

 

As far as the Feb or April goes the other have pretty much nailed it.  One thing about April is that you will most likley get spring snow.  Ice in the morning and slush in the afternoon.  Hard to beat conditions in February, that being said, I have had some great powder days in April.  You never know.  It's all good.

 

post #11 of 12

Vail & breck are open to the 4/24.

 

Other Vail resorts closing date:  

 

http://www.breckenridge.com/faqdetail/Mountain-Information/What-are-the-resorts-opening-and-closing-dates-for-the-2010-2011-season.axd

 

If you are from the east, Feb will probably have better snow for beginner. Just remember snow plow & soft spring mush. Not a pretty picture. 

 

Do yourself and your kids a favor and enroll them in ski school for the week. Some areas have teen classes specific for the 13 year old. The younger ones will be place in accordance with age & ability. By the end of the week they will all be much improved and had a great time with their peers in class - Parents are such old farts.

By mid to late April, many ski school will not have a full program.       

 

Have a great trip.

post #12 of 12

Agree with the above: better snow probability & your kids are used to the cold, so Feb shouldn't be a problem for them. However, your best lodging & tix prices will be much better in April.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: General Skiing Discussion
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › General Skiing Discussion › Colorado with beginner kids: February or April?