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Looking for opinions on where to take my girlfriend this upcoming March...traveling from Florida.

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 

Hello everyone!

 

I've been planning a ski trip with my girlfriend this upcoming March 14th. I had originally planned on driving to Snowshoe WV from Tampa FL but after reading on here I am having second thoughts. Seems like most people here think it is overpriced and not worthy. Ill try to keep it short and sweet so here are the specifics:

 

  • Driving/Flying out of Tampa FL,
  • Trip will be March 12-16
  • Girlfriend has never been skiing but is very athletic and I think she can pick it up pretty quick. Still planning on getting her some lessons but she is better than me on a slalom ski behind the boat (I realize this is completely different) and I think she will be able to handle it no problem.
  • I would say I am an average skier/snowboarder and can handle all the toughest slopes at the resorts I have been to (Snowshoe/SilverCreek/Sugar/Mont Tremblanc)
  • I have my own equipment but we need to rent equipment for her
  • Time limit, I will only have 2-3 days off work, making the total trip 4-5 days. I can leave early the night before and make it 4.5-5.5 days if needed.
  • I am 23 so I can not rent a car.
  • On a budget. She is just finishing school, I just started full time 5 months ago. Not saying I want to put a trip together for $500 total, but I can't be spending $3000 either.

 

I originally wanted to go to WV because we could drive and save money on airfare. Plus I am sure airlines charge to bring equipment along so if we flew somewhere that would be an added fee if I were to bring my gear. I am still a newbie and this would be the first trip I have planned myself. Every other time I just went along with my parents or my friends parents. Any suggestions on where to go? Thank you!

post #2 of 22

 

If you are on a budget, then the first consideration is travel costs.

 

flights - find your nearest airline and find the hubs. If you can get a $250 ticket instead of $400 you have already saved $300 between you for doing nothing.  For me, the cheapest ski hub airports are always Denver, SLC, Spokane, and Reno.  

 

shuttles - from Denver, SLC, or Reno you can get one-way or two-way shuttle service from the airport.  You can simply check on a handful of shuttle choices from each and see how the prices compare.  I've had good luck with Denver based shuttles over the years.

 

At this point you have an idea what its going to cost you to just get there.  If its too much, you might want to check out the East.  Snowshoe is probably just fine, especially for a new skier who has never been on a mountain.  You'll have a great time there if that's your pick.  They have a few new trails in the past couple years and they have two true 1500 vertical feet trails that should keep you happy.  

 

You've got to remember that the caliber of skiers on this board is very high.  These folks complain about double blacks not being challenging enough.  Keep that in mind when you read these boards.

 

Hotels/lodges - I always check out VRBO.com for my vacations, but I can't say that's the cheapest bet.  Hotels south of SLC that put you in close proximity of Brighton/Solitude/Alta/ and Snowbird are a great cheap option.

 

Rentals+lift tickets these days set you back $120 per person per day.  Any less than premier mountain generally has a much cheaper lift ticket.  

 

All in all, with a package deal through a travelocity or orbitz you might be able to get a pretty nice package in Sandy or Midvale (south of SLC) that gets you flight, shuttle, hotel, and even lift tix for a decent price.  Denver is definitely another great option.  You could ski+stay at Winter Park or in Friscoe (shuttle stops to Keystone, Copper, A-basin).

post #3 of 22


Very well said Michigander.

 

Additional:

From SLC to the resorts is shorter than from Denver to the resorts. Maybe this has an effect on shuttle-prices?

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michigander View Post

You've got to remember that the caliber of skiers on this board is very high.  These folks complain about double blacks not being challenging enough.  Keep that in mind when you read these boards.

True!

biggrin.gif

 

 

Staying at a place where you don't need to drive to each day could be a cost saver. Depends of course on prices in the resorts. Alta/Snowbird is pricey. Staying around PC is cheaper and I believe there's a free shuttle bus between Deer Valley, PCMR and the Canyons.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michigander View Post

Hotels/lodges - I always check out VRBO.com for my vacations, but I can't say that's the cheapest bet.  Hotels south of SLC that put you in close proximity of Brighton/Solitude/Alta/ and Snowbird are a great cheap option.

 

Flying from Europe to the with ski's is an aw-deal if you bring ski's along. Check for airline fairs for bringing ski's with you inside the US. Find out if there are differences between airlines regarding taking ski's with you. Renting could be cheaper.

And remember... you might need bigger ski´s in these areas biggrin.gif.

Or take your snorkel with ya snowfalling.gif

 

Enjoy!

 

post #4 of 22

 Look for Southwest Airlines flights to Denver.  Sometimes $79 one-way.

 

Breckenridge has some of the best beginner terrain I've seen anywhere.

 

VRBO can get you a condo in walking distance to lifts, the FREE city bus system can get you to and from markets, the altitude should preclude consumption of alcohol--all these can make the trip less expensive.

 

No way to do this for $500, though.

post #5 of 22
Thread Starter 

Well I figure it would cost about $150 round trip to drive to WV and back. Good part about that is its cheap and I can pile my gear in the car and not have to worry about a rental for myself.

 

Then again, flying would save a lot of time compared to driving and I with only 4-5 days for the entire trip i would much rather spend 3/4 of a day total in travel time compared to almost 2 days of travel.

 

How much does it cost to travel with a snowboard? My board is pretty old so leaving it behind wouldnt be too big of a bummer. How much does it cost for a rental (without lift tickets)? What are some of the better valued resorts out west near SLC or Denver? I can start keeping an eye for cheap flights. I dont really know how much to factor in for prices. Is there a huge difference in prices comparing East vs West? If the major difference is just airfare I think I would rather just go west for less travel time and hopefully better conditions. Should there still be snow in mid-March?

 

Cliff notes for questions:

 

  • How much extra to fly with a snowboard?
  • How much to rent skis/poles/bindings (and if there is a difference between E vs W)
  • How much for lift tickets (and if there is a difference between E vs W)
  • How much for lodging if I want ski in/out? (and if there is a difference between E vs W)
  • Snow in Mid march (and if there is a difference between E vs W)
  • Does PC=Park City? VRBO?
post #6 of 22
Thread Starter 

Foudn out what VRBO is! Sweet site! Now I just need to find out what areas to look for something near the slopes.

post #7 of 22
Yes, I ment Park City with PC. PCMR = Park City Mountain Resort. Delta uses one piece policy (if flying from Europe; don't know how it is within US). Size of this One Piece doesn't matter. You can easily check there site.
post #8 of 22
Thread Starter 

If I stay in PC, how much of a hassle is it to take shuttles around? Were not very intense skiiers we just want to take it easy and enjoy ourselves which makes me think we want something ski in/out. Anyone have suggestions for reasonably priced places that are ski in/out? Everything on VRBO that I have seen looks better for groups of people and not really a couple.

post #9 of 22

If you stay in downtown PC you can walk to the lift. Shuttle to The Canyons and Deer Valley drive on a regular base as far as I know.

post #10 of 22
Thread Starter 

Ok lets say I can find a good deal to fly from Tampa to SLC (from what I read it seems like the best option for airfare/shuttle prices). Where do I begin to look for places to stay? How do I pick a resort?? Seems like there are a ton to choose from and you all are name dropping so many places I don't even know where to begin. I don't want to rent a car and I want to have a hot tub and be able to ski in/out. Suggestions?

post #11 of 22
Thread Starter 

Everything I find in Utah is $300+ a night for ski in/out and around $90 for lift tickets....what is you guy's secret to find these deals? So far I have checked the canyons, park city mountain resort, solitude and snowbird.

post #12 of 22

Ski in/out greatly increases your cost and is typically a luxury not included when looking for a budget trip.

post #13 of 22

I'm a huge fan of VRBO too, use them all the time for my family trips.   But here's one thing to consider - many if not all of these homes come with a fairly hefty cleaning charge added to the nightly fees.  For longer stays with family-sized groups that's no big deal in the grand scheme. But when it's just the two of you staying for a couple of days, hotels can actually be much more economical. Something to think about anyway. 

post #14 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SKI-3PO View Post

Ski in/out greatly increases your cost and is typically a luxury not included when looking for a budget trip.


So I have noticed. I can do it in WV for around $400 for 3 nights, but in Utah it looks like it turns into $350 a night. Where could I stay in Utah that can give me a decent little room with a kitchenette, hot tub access and not a pain to get to the slopes? Preferably slope access with out having to rent a car.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by GearGuide View Post

I'm a huge fan of VRBO too, use them all the time for my family trips.   But here's one thing to consider - many if not all of these homes come with a fairly hefty cleaning charge added to the nightly fees.  For longer stays with family-sized groups that's no big deal in the grand scheme. But when it's just the two of you staying for a couple of days, hotels can actually be much more economical. Something to think about anyway. 


Its really an awesome site and I am glad I found it from you guys. It seems like in Utah its all geared towards larger groups. I found a few perfect deals in WV but thats well....in WV. Any suggestions for a place with the requirements i mentioned just above?

 

 

 

post #15 of 22

You can catch a public bus to Brighton ski area, but it will take some homework to figure out schedule.  The Brighton Lodge is one of the lowest priced slopeside properties at a major Utah ski area (although it's still not cheap = http://www.brightonresort.com/Plan-Your-Trip/Lodging ).  It's not fancy, but could meet your needs and it's a few feet from a chairlift. The snow and scenery at Brighton is top of the line and the resort has a youthful/non-stuffy vibe.

post #16 of 22
Thread Starter 

Sweet tip!! Definitely going to give them a call. How can I find out more about the buses? It seems like they can take you to multiple resorts for only $3.50 or so. Seems almost too good to be true. Are their long lines to use the bus or does it not come that often or something?

post #17 of 22

UTA bus website:  http://www.rideuta.com/mc/?page=AboutUTA-ContactUs

You can call them or try to figure schedule out via online trip planner.  Or maybe Brighton Lodge people can help if you talk to them.  Buses are cheap, but take a long time to get from airport to ski areas because of transfers and stops, 2 hours vs 35 mins if you drive yourself.  And you have to make sure one is still running that matches the time of your flight arrival/departure at airport.  If you are renting skis/boards when you get to resort, that will reduce stuff to carry on public transportation.

post #18 of 22

Lots of inexpensive motels/hotels in the suburbs near the Little and Big Cottonwood Canyons in Utah.  Many have packages that include lift tickets for the 4 resorts and bus service.   More convenient to have a rental car, but the bus is workable if a bit slow.  Try www.skiutah.com for info. 

post #19 of 22

I used VRBO in conjunction with maps of wherever I wanted to go to determine closeness to transportation/markets/slopes.

post #20 of 22

Nevek - 

 

Here are two options in Park City to look at:

 

1. Copperbottom Inn Condos - walking distance from PCMR

2. The Prospector - maybe not quite walking distance (0.9mi from PCMR, 2mi from DV, 3.7mi The Canyons)

 

I just got back from a single day of skiing at The Canyons with a couple of my buddies.  

 

Flight - $150 - great price

Car - $48/day plus tax,etc.  Cost me $100 with gas - split 3 ways

Hotel -  $184 / 3 guys

rentals - $38

lift ticket - $84 (with tax).  That's $5 off ticket window price by buying at the rental place.

On mountain food - $13 for a BBQ sandwich and a gatorade.  Another $3 for a water later.

Apres Ski -  $12 worth of beer if I split it in 3.

Food off the mountain and airport approx. $78

 

So there's my prices right down to the dollar.  It costs this midwestern skier $472 to go skiing one day in Utah with two others along.  And that's at a premier resort in The Canyons.  If I added two more days it comes out to about $1080.

 

So you are looking at a $2000 trip for you and your girlfriend for 3 days skiing if you go out there skiing.  You might save $200 if you ski at a resort with cheaper lift tix such as Brighton, Solitude, Alta, and Snowbird.

 

post #21 of 22
Thread Starter 

What about Colorado? Southwest is having a sale and airfare is is around $100 cheaper to go from Tampa>Denver compared to Tampa>SLC

 

http://travel.southwest.com/specialoffers/offerDetails.html?id=58494583

post #22 of 22

Summit County is an option (Keystone/Breckenridge/Copper/A-Basin).  Some reasonable lodging options in Frisco, Dillon and Silverthorne.  The free bus (Summit Stage) will get you around, if a bit inconvenient.  But factor in the cost of R/T van for two from the airport and price advantage may disappear.  Car rental rates are very low now in Denver.  Sure you can't qualify? 

 

I still wouldn't rule out driving to WV or NC especially since your GF will be on the beginners slope anyway.  Not the adventure a trip out West would be, but may be all you need.  Save the Western trip for next year when you both can appreciate it. 

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EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Mountain/Resort Related Forums › Resorts, Conditions & Travel › Looking for opinions on where to take my girlfriend this upcoming March...traveling from Florida.