Tips/suggestions for skiing out west?

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A440
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Tips/suggestions for skiing out west?

Post by A440 » Mon Feb 04, 2019 5:29 pm

We are a family of 4 (2 teens) and the teens would really enjoy skiing out west some Spring Break. We are used to skiing the Poconos and New England resorts. Unfortunately, the only time to go out west would be over Christmas break or Easter break when everyone else has off due to school attendance requirements.
Any suggestions on where to fly, ski/stay without spending our yearly vacation budget of $6,000. Ideally, I'd like to spend under $3,000 if possible. We just need the basics for lodging and close access to the mountain.
Thanks for your help and suggestions.
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dunkmachine
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Re: Tips/suggestions for skiing out west?

Post by dunkmachine » Mon Feb 04, 2019 5:35 pm

Define "out west".

If Colorado or northern New Mexico, I may be able to help.

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RickBoglehead
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Re: Tips/suggestions for skiing out west?

Post by RickBoglehead » Mon Feb 04, 2019 5:38 pm

Fly to Salt Lake City. Stay in a chain hotel. Drive 30- 80 minutes each way to a dozen ski areas.

Note - 4 adults are going to spend $350 - $450 per day just on lifts. With hotel, airfare, rental car and food, your $3,000 budget is impossible.
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A440
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Re: Tips/suggestions for skiing out west?

Post by A440 » Mon Feb 04, 2019 5:55 pm

dunkmachine wrote:
Mon Feb 04, 2019 5:35 pm
Define "out west".

If Colorado or northern New Mexico, I may be able to help.
Yes, that would be great!
I don't know what the future holds, but I know who holds my future.

Beach
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Re: Tips/suggestions for skiing out west?

Post by Beach » Mon Feb 04, 2019 5:58 pm

You would better be served for planning your trip in advance over the summer/fall. Many resorts offer out deals and packages to get you to sign up early. We saved 30% off list lodging in Colorado if you wanted to stay at the same place if you booked today.

I would 2nd the suggestion about Salt Lake City however, it was MUCH cheaper than our Colorado trip this year.

btenny
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Re: Tips/suggestions for skiing out west?

Post by btenny » Mon Feb 04, 2019 6:03 pm

You will need to spend $500 per person or $2K for air fare to get "out west" to Tahoe or Salt Lake or Canada. Lodging will run you at least $300 or more per day for four people. Lift tickets will run at least $80 per day or more so another $360 for four people. Then if I assume you have you own skis and clothes and will spend as much eating as staying at home. So basically I will ignore all other expenses. This brings the cost up to 7 days x $300 + 5 days X $360 + $2K = $5900. So you cannot take all four out west without spending your full budget for the year. Or maybe you can find some great deals on air fare or lodging to make this work.

My kid tells me every winter about his family skiing plans. "Dad it is really expensive to come visit you to go skiing." "We are going skiing in Wisconsin and driving for a weekend or day trip." "We can afford that." Maybe you have to do this.

Good Luck.

criticalmass
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Re: Tips/suggestions for skiing out west?

Post by criticalmass » Mon Feb 04, 2019 6:04 pm

A440 wrote:
Mon Feb 04, 2019 5:29 pm
We are a family of 4 (2 teens) and the teens would really enjoy skiing out west some Spring Break. We are used to skiing the Poconos and New England resorts. Unfortunately, the only time to go out west would be over Christmas break or Easter break when everyone else has off due to school attendance requirements.
Any suggestions on where to fly, ski/stay without spending our yearly vacation budget of $6,000. Ideally, I'd like to spend under $3,000 if possible. We just need the basics for lodging and close access to the mountain.
Thanks for your help and suggestions.
Jackson Hole, Tahoe, Vail/Keystone/Breck/Beaver Creek, Steamboat, Aspen/Snowmass, Telluride, Squaw Valley, Mammoth Lakes, Salt Lake City metro(Alta/Snowbird/DeerValley/Brighton/ParkCity), Schweitzer, SunValley, are all fantastic. There’s lots more too, I didn’t even cover Montana. My preference would be deer valley, but explore other Utah resorts too on the same trip. Best prices may be from a ski club to get great group airfare, lodging, ski passes. Look to see if any area club has a trip in your timeframe, many clubs organize multiple trips per season.

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dunkmachine
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Re: Tips/suggestions for skiing out west?

Post by dunkmachine » Mon Feb 04, 2019 6:22 pm

Best skiing in Colorado (my opinion) is Wolf Creek. But that would take a bit more effort on your part and the logistics would be a bit more complicated.

Fly to Denver, and stay in Breckenridge. You should be be able to find a ski in/out condo or something close to the hill. Ticket to Breck would be transferable to nearby Keystone (or Vail a little further out).

Cheaper option, but less exotic, is to ski northern New Mexico. Taos Ski Valley is wonderful. We love it. Fly into Albuquerque and drive to Taos. Plenty of options of staying on the mountain, in Taos proper, or the drive from Taos to the Ski valley is littered with condos that are relatively inexpensive.

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Re: Tips/suggestions for skiing out west?

Post by Starfish » Mon Feb 04, 2019 6:24 pm

A440 wrote:
Mon Feb 04, 2019 5:29 pm
We are a family of 4 (2 teens) and the teens would really enjoy skiing out west some Spring Break. We are used to skiing the Poconos and New England resorts. Unfortunately, the only time to go out west would be over Christmas break or Easter break when everyone else has off due to school attendance requirements.
Any suggestions on where to fly, ski/stay without spending our yearly vacation budget of $6,000. Ideally, I'd like to spend under $3,000 if possible. We just need the basics for lodging and close access to the mountain.
Thanks for your help and suggestions.
The only way I know to get around the ticket prices is to buy passes that include some Utah/Colorado resorts and some NE resorts you can go in the rest of the winter. But every year they are more expensive, probably around 600$ if you buy them in April for next year.

dsb012
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Re: Tips/suggestions for skiing out west?

Post by dsb012 » Mon Feb 04, 2019 6:26 pm

I'd watch the weather as you get closer to break. Even though February was a bit of a lost cause on the east coast last winter the few major storms that came through in March made New England skiing excellent. There's tremendous base up there already if things go well weather wise VT/NH could be in excellent shape. I booked last minute and we had great weather for 4 days right after Easter in VT and it was cost effective. My wife thought I was crazy as I loaded the car Easter morning in VA in 60+ degree weather.

We are looking at a western trip next year, either Utah or Colorado, I know for the 5 of us with planning way ahead (packages, etc.) it's going to be at least a $10k trip.

IMO
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Re: Tips/suggestions for skiing out west?

Post by IMO » Mon Feb 04, 2019 6:34 pm

If you have a choice between Christmas and Easter/Spring break, you will likely do better if you choose Spring/Easter break at most resorts. Christmas break is much more crowded than Spring breaks, the snow pack at resorts is typically less than ideal over most Christmas breaks. Also with weather being typically better in the spring you'll also have a much better likelihood of being able to ski the entire mountain (vs. large parts of mountains closed for poor snowpack and/or weather issues).

Be careful about what your actual spring dates are for a given year. Many resorts close the 1st to 2nd weekend in April (not due to lack of snow, but lack of interest or not enough crowds to make it worthwhile). So for example, this year Easter is 4/19/19, so many resorts are already closed. Snowpack isn't usually a problem in the spring, some places have huge snowpack in the spring, but huge snowpacks are not always needed for conditions to be great in spring.

Lift tickets are so expensive for "walk-up" rates that the lift tickets can become a significant expense. (Take a look at Vail or Squaw Valley for example compared to say Ski Santa Fe) So much so, that it is sometimes best to try to find "smaller" mountains that have relatively lower ticket prices, or may have "specials" or multi-day tickets that make it reasonable. Some places will allow you to buy a season pass typically after 4/7 that can be used for spring break this year and then used the following season. This could help if you want to come back to the same resort the next year!

Southwest flights are best if they work for you (they don't charge for bags/ski's) and if you cancel for some reason, you can use the funds without penalty within 1 year. Their policy is helpful if you book flights and conditions are bad for your time frame.

Hotels: Typically, if you have to stay on the mountain because of lifestyle inflation/creep, then it's obviously more expensive. If you are willing to do a reasonable drive from hotel to skiing, then there are many more reasonable options to keep things reasonable. I've found that we prefer hotel cancellation flexibility as a primary concern (i.e. just forfeited a non-cancelable ski condo cost due to an unforeseen injury) and these typically are not slope-side.

Car rental prices vs. shuttles. Worth looking into, as some airports are simply much more expensive than others.

If you notice, I've not thrown out specific resorts/ski areas. There are pro's/con's to skiing well known and lesser known mountains. Some people care more about the apres skiing scene, some care about high end accommodations, some only enjoy groomers, etc.

My immediate family has personally skied many resorts in the Rockies/West Coast. Skiing is our thing.
If your someone who wants information about some pros/con's of specific ski areas, then just send me a pm.
Last edited by IMO on Mon Feb 04, 2019 6:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Deblog
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Re: Tips/suggestions for skiing out west?

Post by Deblog » Mon Feb 04, 2019 6:40 pm

This is not out west but for that budget could you drive to mont Tremblant near Quebec. We live in Ohio and drive there and take our skis so no renting of skis. We love skiing there and US dollar has good exchange. We were also able to buy discount lift pass from liftopia.com

You feel like you are in Europe.

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Re: Tips/suggestions for skiing out west?

Post by bloom2708 » Mon Feb 04, 2019 6:42 pm

Consider Bozeman, Montana.

Big Sky and Bridger Bowl are within driving distance. You might be able to make your budget go further/farther there.
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SmallSaver
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Re: Tips/suggestions for skiing out west?

Post by SmallSaver » Mon Feb 04, 2019 6:50 pm

I'm afraid I don't have much advice for big resorts, but if the cost starts to get eye-watering you could pick a smaller mountain with no crowds and a funky feel. Lost Trail in MT has $45 tickets and you won't stand in a single line; a week-long VRBO in Hamilton or Salmon is probably the cost of a single night at Beaver Creek and the area is beautiful. The west is full of these hills. (Full disclosure - I'm a ski crank and prefer them, but they are small and it'll be a much more DIY experience).

Edit, like bloom said above, Bozeman would be good. Big sky isn't cheap, but Bridger is (relatively) and there's plenty to do in town. If you get a VRBO somewhere you can cook, which'll save a ton of money and, to my mind, time and aggravation.
Last edited by SmallSaver on Mon Feb 04, 2019 6:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Tips/suggestions for skiing out west?

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Mon Feb 04, 2019 6:50 pm

I drove from Albuquerque to Taos and ski'd the day. This was when I was in my late 20's and with the elevation, even at base level, walking just from my car to the ticket booth wore me out. I did ski but had a pretty tough time of it. I would consider myself an expert skiier at the time (I taught, did aerial and ballet skiing and raced) and was quite fit (bicycle racer). So all this is to suggest you find a place to stay that's on the mountain or as high as possible to orient to the elevation and lower amount of oxygen.
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Re: Tips/suggestions for skiing out west?

Post by SC Anteater » Mon Feb 04, 2019 7:10 pm

SmallSaver wrote:
Mon Feb 04, 2019 6:50 pm
I'm afraid I don't have much advice for big resorts, but if the cost starts to get eye-watering you could pick a smaller mountain with no crowds and a funky feel. Lost Trail in MT has $45 tickets and you won't stand in a single line; a week-long VRBO in Hamilton or Salmon is probably the cost of a single night at Beaver Creek and the area is beautiful. The west is full of these hills. (Full disclosure - I'm a ski crank and prefer them, but they are small and it'll be a much more DIY experience).

Edit, like bloom said above, Bozeman would be good. Big sky isn't cheap, but Bridger is (relatively) and there's plenty to do in town. If you get a VRBO somewhere you can cook, which'll save a ton of money and, to my mind, time and aggravation.
I sort of agree with this. Also consider Bogus Basin in Idaho -- I've never been but my spouse has (who grew up skiing in Tahoe) and said it was great. On the other hand, you're already spending so much for air/hotel/car that I wouldn't want to cheap out on lift tickets and go to a smaller/more limited resort. If I was spending all that money on a trip I'd want the best ski runs I could find.

My personal fave is Sugar Bowl in Tahoe. Good variety of runs, which is important when you're trying to keep 4 people (possibly of different ski levels) happy. Could fly into Sacramento and get up there in 1/5 hrs. Would have nice spring skiing at spring break, and they've had a ton of snow this month.
Not much lodging there except VRBO cabins though.

3feetpete
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Re: Tips/suggestions for skiing out west?

Post by 3feetpete » Mon Feb 04, 2019 7:35 pm

Try Alta in Utah. I haven't skied there recently but they generally priced themselves less than the major Colorado mountains and it's an incredible mountain. Get there via Southwest Airlines they have reasonably priced flights from the east coast to Salt Lake CIty and they will save you on bags especially ski bags. Book early to get the best fares.

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Lake Tahoe or Mammoth

Post by Socrates » Mon Feb 04, 2019 7:55 pm

Squaw Valley, Northstar....North Shore (Squaw more advanced)... Heavenly is nice is South Lake, Mammoth south of Tahoe

lots of varied lodging. Its still raining out here in Northern California so there will be plenty of snow.
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xenochrony
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Re: Tips/suggestions for skiing out west?

Post by xenochrony » Mon Feb 04, 2019 7:59 pm

For easy access to a lot of HIGH QUALITY skiing, you cant beat flying into either SLC or Tahoe (Reno). Youll have immense choices to suit your particular needs. Christmas can be dicey as some years the snow doesnt start falling until January, in that case youd be skunked bad. SLC has a lower probability than Tahoe for this happening, though last season, it happened in SLC. I dont know exactly when spring break is, but if it is Feb, that is peak skiing quality. Almost no risk for poor conditions. If its April, things can start to melt out and skiing slush is no fun. Of course, it can be full on winter in April, but you never know.

Regarding costs, fly into a major hub to keep flight costs down. If you can, buy a ski package (hotel plus lift tix) youll get a great discount. Even if you dont, advance multi-day lift tix purchase (e.g. from liftopia) can net you some deep discounts, especially at the SLC resorts.

Downside of Tahoe is sick crowds. SLC much much less so. It can also rain at any Tahoe base in the winter (except Mt Rose); never happen in the Wasatch Range.

Have fun!

Ready3Retire
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Re: Tips/suggestions for skiing out west?

Post by Ready3Retire » Mon Feb 04, 2019 8:25 pm

Check out Park City Mountain Resort website for stay and ski packages. Great prices and you can’t beat the convenience of SLC - 45 minutes away from PCMR. I took my family of 4 there 2 different times. Also don’t bother skiing over to The Canyons side.

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Rainier
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Re: Tips/suggestions for skiing out west?

Post by Rainier » Mon Feb 04, 2019 9:13 pm

Some really questionable suggestions on here. Just because its a great place to ski doesn't mean its a great place for a family to ski/vacation.

I questions anybody who is a serious skier that buys lift tickets by the day. Multi-resort season passes can pay for themselves in 4-5 days with just a little bit of planning.

I'm taking my family (2 kids, 2 adults) to Aspen for 5 days of skiing over April break form NYC. My budget is $4,000 and we booked everything in the fall.

Flight - $728 total for 4 people on SW (LGA to DEN)
Car - $600, large SUV for a week
Condo - $1,400, 5 nights in downtown Aspen with kitchen, two rooms
Other Hotels - $300, we are going for 8 nights total, this is for one night in Glenwood Springs, one night in Denver before our flight home and one other night we haven't decided on yet
Food - $1,000, $125 per day for 8 days.

Missing something? Yes, doesn't include lift tickets because we all have the Ikon Base Pass purchased in June. Cost for my whole family was $1,500 and covers all my US based skiing for the year. In this case, 5 days at Aspen/Snowmass are included.

I've done a week in Switzerland the past few years for $8-10k, and that includes lifts tickets and full day ski school for my kids, train, large apartment, and dining out for 75% of meals.

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Re: Tips/suggestions for skiing out west?

Post by FoolMeOnce » Mon Feb 04, 2019 9:23 pm

Ready3Retire wrote:
Mon Feb 04, 2019 8:25 pm
Check out Park City Mountain Resort website for stay and ski packages. Great prices and you can’t beat the convenience of SLC - 45 minutes away from PCMR. I took my family of 4 there 2 different times. Also don’t bother skiing over to The Canyons side.
I like the Canyons side.

As people above said, this would be difficult to fit in your budget without a package deal or a season pass if your local ski area is part of the Vail Resorts family. Tickets at Park City are about $160/day.

btenny
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Re: Tips/suggestions for skiing out west?

Post by btenny » Mon Feb 04, 2019 10:47 pm

OP. I stand corrected. As Rainier has noted you can take your family to Colorado resorts or Salt Lake Resorts for about $4000. You have to buy the Ikon pass or the EPIC ski pass for your family in the late spring or early summer for the next ski season. Then you can go skiing out west for around $1800 for lift tickets for a family of four. That pass will let you go skiing at lots of good Colorado or Salt Lake resorts. Plus I see quite a few low cost air flights from NYC to Denver or Salt Lake at $200ish per person round trip if bought way in advance. So $800ish for family of four for air fare. So $2600 plus lodging ($1400) and a car ($600). So $4K with lots of advance planning..

I like Brighton in Salt Lake for family skiing if you have beginners or almost beginner skiers. If they are low intermediate or better skiers I like Solitude which is on the Ikon Pass. They are both good areas. Alta and Snow Bird are great if you have advanced skiers. All of these areas are easy access from Sandy which is a Salt Lake suburb. You can get a nice VBRO home or condo in Sandy with lots of advance planning.

Good Luck.

WardnerMan
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Re: Tips/suggestions for skiing out west?

Post by WardnerMan » Tue Feb 05, 2019 3:15 am

From your description, if you want to spend less than $3k, then the name resorts are not affordable. There are plenty of lesser known ski areas in the West, for example see Schweitzer and Silver Mountain in Idaho - the latter being the most affordable. I have skied Silver since the early 1990s. These ski areas typically close in early April.

dachshunddad
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Re: Tips/suggestions for skiing out west?

Post by dachshunddad » Tue Feb 05, 2019 4:57 am

I've found Winterpark in Colorado to have attractive prices and great skiing. Of course, that depends on your flight costs to Denver vs other airports.

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A440
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Re: Tips/suggestions for skiing out west?

Post by A440 » Tue Feb 05, 2019 7:26 am

Thanks everyone for all the great suggestions and information.
I've skied many of the places mentioned here when I was in my 20's. I do recall the elevation and lack of oxygen being a factor, especially coming from sea level in NJ. I don't remember it costing an arm and a leg, but I probably wasn't too concerned where I slept or what I ate when I was in my 20's. :D But, the views and conditions when compared to what I was used to on the East Coast were unbelievable! My favorite was Alta. Unfortunately, they do not allow snowboarding, and that wouldn't work for my teens. :|
I wasn't aware that the many of the resorts close in April, so that is good to know. The next two Easter breaks are in Mid April, so that may be a concern. If there are some resorts that do stay open over the Easter break, it sounds like I'll need to up the budget for skiing and cut back on other trips, if that's what everyone in the family wishes.
Perhaps, as some have mentioned, we would be better served staying East and visiting Canada or some of the larger resorts in New England.
I'll need to check out some of the resources mentioned and do some early planning this summer to take advantage of the discounts.
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Rainier
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Re: Tips/suggestions for skiing out west?

Post by Rainier » Tue Feb 05, 2019 6:53 pm

A Few points:

1) By May start researching the Ikon and Epic pass for next season. That will dictate where you go.
2) Even if your break in April is over Easter don't worry, skiing is cheap in April. Resorts are winding down and closing and most people have moved on to spring activities. Eastern ski areas stay open as long as they have snow. Western ski areas mostly close due to forest lease restrictions not lack of snow.
3) Mid April on the East coast is always risky, but it can be good too. I'd look into Killington as they make lots of snow and like to stay open late. They also offer a spring season pass for dirt cheap (maybe $150?). Not sure when it is valid but I believe April is covered.

I grew up as a die hard skier. I've skied everywhere, even went to college in SLC so I could ski. I then moved back to the East Coast after college and didn't ski for almost ten years. Had two kids and when they were about 2 and 4 I got back into it.

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Re: Tips/suggestions for skiing out west?

Post by mc2 » Wed Feb 06, 2019 9:22 am

We are going to Breck in March. We got an epic 4-day local pass and have used all four days at Afton in MN an and will have 4 in Breck. We looked at cost/day and just shaved a day off. Not ideal but 4 days of mtn skiing, coming from the Midwest, is a lot for us.
I think we paid around 1800 for the epic, 1300/5 nightsVRBO and driving out for a few hundred in gas/meals. It’ll be a battle royal me in the minivan for 17 hours but headphones and some 80’s hair metal will get me through.

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A440
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Re: Tips/suggestions for skiing out west?

Post by A440 » Thu Feb 07, 2019 6:52 pm

mc2 wrote:
Wed Feb 06, 2019 9:22 am
It’ll be a battle royal me in the minivan for 17 hours but headphones and some 80’s hair metal will get me through.
This made me laugh and remember one of the best 80's hair metal videos back when MTV only showed videos:
"What do you wanna do with your life...? I wanna ROCK!!" :mrgreen:
Have a great trip!
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btenny
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Re: Tips/suggestions for skiing out west?

Post by btenny » Thu Feb 07, 2019 7:23 pm

Before you commit to April skiing out west beware the modest skiing conditions. The temperature will be 50-70 degrees in the afternoons and 25-35 degrees at night. This makes the ski runs icy in the AM until about 10AM and then good for about two hours and then slushy for about 2 hours and peanut butter sticky for the rest of the day. So basically not good conditions. Plus the off run tree skiing and back bowls are not good due to these poor conditions. This is why many skiers quit skiing and go golfing by April.

And yes many resorts are on public land but they can stay open later if they want. In fact before Vail turned all the resorts into McDonalds many western areas stayed open into May and there was a lot of variety. Not any more. :( :( Now most areas close April 15. But Mammoth Mountain usually stays open into mid May and if they have a good or great snow year they stay open into June. :D :D And a few of my friends go skiing on July 4th some years when Mammoth reopens for a 2 day summer ski festival.

Have a good year and enjoy....

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Re: Tips/suggestions for skiing out west?

Post by IMO » Thu Feb 07, 2019 8:13 pm

btenny wrote:
Thu Feb 07, 2019 7:23 pm
Before you commit to April skiing out west beware the modest skiing conditions. The temperature will be 50-70 degrees in the afternoons and 25-35 degrees at night. This makes the ski runs icy in the AM until about 10AM and then good for about two hours and then slushy for about 2 hours and peanut butter sticky for the rest of the day. So basically not good conditions. Plus the off run tree skiing and back bowls are not good due to these poor conditions. This is why many skiers quit skiing and go golfing by April.

And yes many resorts are on public land but they can stay open later if they want. In fact before Vail turned all the resorts into McDonalds many western areas stayed open into May and there was a lot of variety. Not any more. :( :( Now most areas close April 15. But Mammoth Mountain usually stays open into mid May and if they have a good or great snow year they stay open into June. :D :D And a few of my friends go skiing on July 4th some years when Mammoth reopens for a 2 day summer ski festival.

Have a good year and enjoy....
I'm always surprised come spring that people don't know that they need to use proper wax in spring. Next to fresh winter powder spring skiing can be some of the funnest skiing, especially when corn snow conditions exist (you also need to know what runs/exposures to ski at the right time). I'd personally hardly call the conditions poor. Always wonder with fat ski's and the right wax, why people can't ski/enjoy spring conditions?? Maybe more places would stay open if they had more than the dedicated local season pass holders skiing into April. Frustratingly, I understand why mountains close up from a financial perspective in the Spring. Most "skiers" get their 5-7 days in for the season and are ready to move on to something else come April.

You only have a number of ski areas that stay open past mid April, and those typically don't have snow pack issues. They have poor attendance issues.

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Rainier
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Re: Tips/suggestions for skiing out west?

Post by Rainier » Fri Feb 08, 2019 10:01 am

btenny wrote:
Thu Feb 07, 2019 7:23 pm
Before you commit to April skiing out west beware the modest skiing conditions. The temperature will be 50-70 degrees in the afternoons and 25-35 degrees at night. This makes the ski runs icy in the AM until about 10AM and then good for about two hours and then slushy for about 2 hours and peanut butter sticky for the rest of the day. So basically not good conditions. Plus the off run tree skiing and back bowls are not good due to these poor conditions. This is why many skiers quit skiing and go golfing by April.

And yes many resorts are on public land but they can stay open later if they want. In fact before Vail turned all the resorts into McDonalds many western areas stayed open into May and there was a lot of variety. Not any more. :( :( Now most areas close April 15. But Mammoth Mountain usually stays open into mid May and if they have a good or great snow year they stay open into June. :D :D And a few of my friends go skiing on July 4th some years when Mammoth reopens for a 2 day summer ski festival.

Have a good year and enjoy....
I don't believe any of this is true, maybe in California but certainly not Colorado. It might feel like 70, but I don't think Aspen regularly reaches 70 in April. Yes, it is possible to have these conditions but that would not be the norm for Colorado (or Utah and Wyoming) in April.

The statement about staying open later in the season is also false and I have no idea how Vail got involved. Colorado ski areas operate on leases from the Forest Service that force them to have hard closing dates. Been this way as long as I have been skiing (38 years). In fact, the recent trend is to get the forest service to allow ski areas to operate longer into the season, not shorter.

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Re: Tips/suggestions for skiing out west?

Post by btenny » Fri Feb 08, 2019 6:40 pm

Well Rainier you need to come to California. Things are different. I do not know about Aspen as we have not skied there. But we have skied at lots of other areas in Utah and Colorado. Our snow in Tahoe is different due to altitude and snow water content. And as benchmark I was born in Colorado and have skied for 50 years or so. I owned a condo in Telluride for 25 years. I skied there and other places every winter. Now I have a place in South Lake Tahoe. I have been skiing in Tahoe since 1985ish. I taught skiing at Heavenly for 5 years and skied about 100 days a winter. I still ski about 30 days a winter.

Heavenly was owned by American Ski Corporation from about 1996 until 2002 when they sold the resort and related properties to Vail Corp.. The hill is part forest lease and part private land. Under AMC the hill was open until mid May in 2001. It was open until late April the winter before. I think the closing date on the Forest Service leases has always been variable in Tahoe. It was also variable in Telluride. Sometimes they stayed open into late April, sometimes early April. Mammoth in central California is usually open until May and sometimes to June. Squaw Valley is open to late April and sometimes into late May. After Vail purchased Heavenly they immediately started changing stuff to fit their style and profit first drive. They set the closing date to mid April. They put in high speed lifts everywhere. They fired most of the old staff. They had a big verbal and building permit war with the Forest Service and locals about making wide open runs, cutting trees, etc.. They put in the EPIC season passes and no limits on skiers so the hills became over crowded. Then in 2010 Vail bought Northstar and did the same thing up there.

https://www.google.com/search?q=squaw+v ... e&ie=UTF-8
https://www.google.com/search?q=mammoth ... e&ie=UTF-8
https://www.google.com/search?rlz=1C1CH ... G3JCwpqhNk

As far as Temperature yes it regularly gets to 60-70 degrees in mid April on the hill in the sun with tons of reflected light on west facing hills and clear air at high altitude. It is like a solar oven. In the shade in the trees it is probably only 50 degrees. So open runs are iced over in the AM and then thaw out and get slushy for 2-3 hours and then get sticky due to melt water around 2 PM up high on the mountain. Down near the bottom of the hill it is slushy and fun to ski slush bumps on the Face and other steep runs where the melt water runs off well. There is corn snow in a few places. It is icy in most of the trees due to shade. This limits the area you can ski a lot.

And yes using some special wax or ski preparation helps some. But the big issue is variability over the day.

Enjoy and Good Luck.

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Re: Tips/suggestions for skiing out west?

Post by btenny » Fri Feb 08, 2019 6:54 pm

As I pointed out above Mammoth, Squaw Valley and Heavenly in California stay open later than April 15. I did some research and found some others areas like Alta and Snowbird that are open later. See below. I am pretty sure there are others. Enjoy....

https://www.snowpak.com/utah/salt-lake- ... ning-dates
https://www.google.com/search?rlz=1C1CH ... dflUpKroe8

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Re: Tips/suggestions for skiing out west?

Post by roymeo » Fri Feb 08, 2019 6:56 pm

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Re: Tips/suggestions for skiing out west?

Post by RickBoglehead » Fri Feb 08, 2019 6:59 pm

Been skiing for almost 50 years. Anything later than the first week of April is very iffy. Even the last week of March and the first week of April is iffy.
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A440
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Re: Tips/suggestions for skiing out west?

Post by A440 » Tue Feb 19, 2019 12:55 pm

I read A-Basin is open late, but the conditions run between icy and slushy depending on the time of day. Not too bad if you can drive there within an hour or so and ski for a day, but maybe not good for planning a trip out west that includes airfare, car rental and lodging?
Perhaps we need to re-think skiing late in the spring and ponder whether a trip during Christmas break might be better?
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Re: Tips/suggestions for skiing out west?

Post by White Coat Investor » Tue Feb 19, 2019 1:04 pm

A440 wrote:
Tue Feb 19, 2019 12:55 pm
I read A-Basin is open late, but the conditions run between icy and slushy depending on the time of day. Not too bad if you can drive there within an hour or so and ski for a day, but maybe not good for planning a trip out west that includes airfare, car rental and lodging?
Perhaps we need to re-think skiing late in the spring and ponder whether a trip during Christmas break might be better?
April is probably the cheapest time to go skiing. I ski well into May. It's not February for sure, but it can still be great. We still have powder days in the Wasatch in April and even May.

The cheapest trip is as mentioned above, staying in a chain hotel in Sandy or Cottonwood Heights and buying "local passes" at the local rental shops to Brighton and Alta and driving up each day. But like the others mentioned, it's going to be pretty tough to keep it all under $3K. Maybe if you stay in my basement and if I can get you a few free passes we can pull it off. But staying in hotels, eating in restaurants, and buying full price lift tickets? Not gonna happen.
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Re: Tips/suggestions for skiing out west?

Post by alfaspider » Tue Feb 19, 2019 1:17 pm

A440 wrote:
Tue Feb 19, 2019 12:55 pm
I read A-Basin is open late, but the conditions run between icy and slushy depending on the time of day. Not too bad if you can drive there within an hour or so and ski for a day, but maybe not good for planning a trip out west that includes airfare, car rental and lodging?
Perhaps we need to re-think skiing late in the spring and ponder whether a trip during Christmas break might be better?
If you are an expert skier, A-basin is actually in prime form in late April/early May on a decent snow year. The Upper East Wall has some of the most exciting in-bounds skiing anywhere, and it rarely opens much before April.

Later spring skiing is very hit-or miss in Colorado. You can have spectacular powder, or you can be dodging rocks in the slush. Just depends on the snow year and the weather around the time you ski. In general, I'd rather ski in early April than in early December- at least most of the mountain is still open most of the time. Slush can make for some pretty nice mogul skiing and you can work hard enough to ski in a T-shirt sometimes. Pay attention to what direction the slopes face. A basin is mostly North facing (for example), so it will get a lot less direct sun exposure than the lower parts of Peaks 6/7 in Breckenridge (for example), which face South East (worst case for sun exposure). Pack lots of sun screen!

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Re: Tips/suggestions for skiing out west?

Post by Slapshot » Tue Feb 19, 2019 1:42 pm

As a former teacher, I've done many ski trips over Easter break. I can remember a cheap family trip to Tahoe with a dirt cheap stay/ski package at Harvey's casino. Skied Heavenly in the morning, then lounged by the pool in 70 degree weather in the PM after the trails turned to slush. Now retired, we go to Sugarloaf for our late season April skiing. We wait until late to make plans to minimize poor conditions. With your budget, I wouldn't risk a late season crap shoot out west, especially if you have to plan in advance. The Tremblant option is good. And you should look into Mt. Sainte Anne and Le Massif near Quebec City as late season options. We own at Sunday River, and you can get pretty dependable late season snow there along with some ridiculously inexpensive ski/stay deals at the hotels there. Save the west for mid-winter.
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Re: Tips/suggestions for skiing out west?

Post by halfnine » Tue Feb 19, 2019 3:55 pm

I spent one winter road tripping most the ski resorts out West. For keeping costs down I am going to agree with the previous posters who recommended basing oneself in Salt Lake City or in Bozeman and skiing the surrounding resorts.

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Re: Tips/suggestions for skiing out west?

Post by A440 » Tue Feb 19, 2019 5:23 pm

Has anyone used snowpak.com to book lodging and tickets?
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Re: Tips/suggestions for skiing out west?

Post by bad1bill » Tue Feb 19, 2019 8:56 pm

Colorado guy here- A-Basin is the place to go in April. And you can certainly do it cheaply. Tix on Liftopia for $50 each. AirBnB for dirt cheap in Dillon, Frisco etc. Or Keystone resort. Yes, weather is iffy but Denver is an hour away. Georgetown, Golden, Boulder also close for day trips if it's really lousy.

We're having a great year so far so snow should be good in April (I hope). Ski during the week as it's a zoo on weekends with dogs, bbq's, parties, pot etc. Also no traffic to and from Denver....

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Re: Tips/suggestions for skiing out west?

Post by bad1bill » Tue Feb 19, 2019 9:17 pm

Loveland and (recently announced) Breckenridge also open in April; due to elevation, general snow conditions tend to be best at A-Basin. Breck lodging should also be cheap in April and it's a cute town...

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Re: Tips/suggestions for skiing out west?

Post by bmr12 » Wed Feb 20, 2019 9:27 pm

Like others, been skiing a long time. I live in Colorado and we go for a week (at least) somewhere every year all over the west. It’s kinda fun to sit on a chair in Utah and have someone ask you where you are from and then have them ask “what are you doing here?”

In general, you have to decide how good your family is at skiing and how much terrain they’ll cover, and how important other amenities are (shopping, restaurants, town activities, etc.). If you are only accustomed to smaller ski areas in the East and are intermediates (or lower) then I’d definitely recommend something smaller and less expensive, because the biggest and largest areas are typically more expensive. If you aren’t very good, then you don’t need the bigger and more diverse terrain. Similarly, if you are late to get out to the hill and want to spend time doing Apres Ski or having leisurely dinners, that might affect your choice.

In my case, we tend to spend extra on lodging so it is close to ski-in, ski-out, and then haul up all of our food and don’t eat any meals out. We tend to be out on the slopes when the lifts open and ski and don’t spend much time shopping or hanging out the village/town. It’s harder to do when you are flying in but not impossible, which can help on costs.

For smaller, more local areas then you’d be fine at someplace like A-basin or maybe Copper (not much of a town/village) or Cottonwood Canyons in Utah. If you want the biggest and best places, then look to Vail, Snowmass/Aspen, Park City or Big Sky. Some have nice towns and some (Big Sky) are really all about the skiing.

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Re: Tips/suggestions for skiing out west?

Post by helloeveryone » Wed Feb 20, 2019 11:25 pm

bmr12 wrote:
Wed Feb 20, 2019 9:27 pm
Like others, been skiing a long time. I live in Colorado and we go for a week (at least) somewhere every year all over the west. It’s kinda fun to sit on a chair in Utah and have someone ask you where you are from and then have them ask “what are you doing here?”

In general, you have to decide how good your family is at skiing and how much terrain they’ll cover, and how important other amenities are (shopping, restaurants, town activities, etc.). If you are only accustomed to smaller ski areas in the East and are intermediates (or lower) then I’d definitely recommend something smaller and less expensive, because the biggest and largest areas are typically more expensive. If you aren’t very good, then you don’t need the bigger and more diverse terrain. Similarly, if you are late to get out to the hill and want to spend time doing Apres Ski or having leisurely dinners, that might affect your choice.

In my case, we tend to spend extra on lodging so it is close to ski-in, ski-out, and then haul up all of our food and don’t eat any meals out. We tend to be out on the slopes when the lifts open and ski and don’t spend much time shopping or hanging out the village/town. It’s harder to do when you are flying in but not impossible, which can help on costs.

For smaller, more local areas then you’d be fine at someplace like A-basin or maybe Copper (not much of a town/village) or Cottonwood Canyons in Utah. If you want the biggest and best places, then look to Vail, Snowmass/Aspen, Park City or Big Sky. Some have nice towns and some (Big Sky) are really all about the skiing.
do you ski all over colorado most of the ski season but then do a week long trip elsewhere just for the experience? just curious. we are in texas so nowhere to ski here so this year and last we ended up going to colorado because its closest driving distance wise. (that and Taos)

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Re: Tips/suggestions for skiing out west?

Post by bmr12 » Wed Mar 13, 2019 10:05 pm

We tend to ski whichever pass we have in Colorado, and spend a week somewhere every year. Sometimes it means mostly Summit County, Colorado and then a week somewhere else.

—Posted, however, from Park City, UT after a powder day!

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