First family ski trip

Old Feb 16th, 2014, 05:10 PM
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First family ski trip

I'd like to start planning a 2014/2015 ski vacation with my husband, and 9 and 7 year olds. My family are beginner skiers, but improve with each visit to our local hills. I have been skiing since I was 7. We live in Minnesota and the only time I have been out-of-state is Keystone, when I was 18, so I'm at a loss with the vast amounts of opportunities in the U.S.

I don't have a budget, I do like fine hotels, but hate the snooty atmosphere some provide. We like quaint towns, exploring new terrain and aren't afraid to drive. Your ideas are appreciated.
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Old Feb 16th, 2014, 08:07 PM
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What time of year? The Summit Cty area is always good - Breckenridge, Keystone, Copper. For the 9,7 year olds I like the ski school at Copper. But Breck and Keystone are also good. Copper is a little smaller and easier to manage with young kids and ski school. And you might consider Copper as your base. The main reason I recommend Copper for beginner skis of all age is the skier separation on the slopes. All the greens are to the right (west) blues in the middle, and blacks on the far right. Hard for a beginner to accidentally stumble on to an advance slope beyond their ability.

Breck has a better night life and a wider range of better restaurants but if you have a car you can drive there in 20 minutes or Vail in the other direction in about the same amount of time.
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Old Feb 16th, 2014, 08:37 PM
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You may want to look into Big Mountain in Whitefish, Montana. Down to earth people and great skiing. Non stop flights from Minneapolis to Kalispell and minutes to the mountain from there.
WWW.skiwhitefish.com
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Old Feb 17th, 2014, 02:56 AM
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Check out Park City - 40 minutes from the Salt Lake airport and the roads are always open. Great old - Victorian themed mining town and plenty of skiing opportunities at the three ski areas in that valley. Plenty to do/see for the kids also.

Also like Frisco or Breckenridge at the Summit in Colorado.
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Old Feb 17th, 2014, 04:07 AM
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Can't add any better info than Fmden--Copper is a great ski area. There is tubing, and there is this Woodward at Copper facility. Our grandchildren love it. Indoor trampoline, foam pits, for ski and snowboard trick--or just jumping.

http://www.coppercolorado.com/winter...ard/index.html
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Old Feb 17th, 2014, 05:31 AM
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I'd think about where you can fly non-stop from MSP and then have a short drive--so would consider Park City, UT or Steamboat Springs, CO.
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Old Feb 17th, 2014, 06:49 AM
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And I would think Denver.
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Old Feb 17th, 2014, 07:01 AM
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My good friend has done several family ski trips over the years, and her family loved Steamboat Springs CO and Park City Utah.
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Old Feb 17th, 2014, 08:16 AM
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Whoa, these are a lot of great options - thank you!

fmpden, we're open to any time of year, but it may work best with spring break in March (2015). When do ski slopes open and close in Colorado?

Is Vail snooty?

Montana and Utah skiing have great reputations too. I love researching trips so this is a great jumping off point.
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Old Feb 17th, 2014, 09:44 AM
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March is GREAT skiing--usually lots of snow. Last year we went the end of March/early April, just before the mountain closed.
We used to go to Vail a lot. It has good terrain. AND a lot of shops, etc. I suppose it could be.
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Old Feb 17th, 2014, 09:44 AM
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Colorado will begin opening in late Oct and all will be functioning to some degree by Thanksgiving. Closing is generally within two weeks following Easter. The closing are staggered with about half closing one week and the other half the second week. March is always the busiest because of spring breaks across the country. The last two weeks of Feb can be very good as the snow is close to peak and the spring breakers have not showed up. In March the middle of the week is best with weekends have the additional crowd of local skiers.

Vail is Vail. Have no idea what snooty is? It is just another big ski area with lots of people. If you are just beginners I would not recommend Vail simply because you do not have enough ability to be able to enjoy for Vail for what it is known for - the back bowls and the great high intermediate blue slopes. The front of Vail has a small problem of not having good skier separation. It is easy for a green slope to dump into a black slope. There is always an easy trail across the black slope but then you have to deal with the hotdoggers flying off the black slope over the green trail. I would consider Beaver Creek over Vail.

If going in March to Utah go as early as you can. Park City area is much lower than CO, tends to get warmer earlier, and with the east facing slopes can be mushy by afternoon which is not friendly to beginners. All the ski areas will be crowded in March.

Have had no experience with Montana other than Jackson Hole in Wy and that is no place for beginners. Their green slopes make some of Colorado's blue slopes look wimpy.

Another great slope is Snowmass at Aspen - my favorite ski area. The whole mountain is mostly green and blue with massive areas for wide open cruising. In March you will pay the price. You can fly directly to Aspen or to Eagle/Vail which is about an hour away but has far better air service. Snowmass would be a four hour drive from the Denver airport.

For the record, Breckenrige is my second favorite ski area and it is where I have the season pass. Keystone is very nice and probably could be my second favorite if I spent more time there. However, the parking for day skiers at Breckenridge is more convenient.
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Old Feb 17th, 2014, 10:00 AM
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The other consideration is that there are discount lift passes for the Summit County ski areas available. Makes a difference.
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Old Feb 17th, 2014, 04:03 PM
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I'd avoid the busiest times--Christmas break, MLK weekend, President's weekend if you can.

By early February, the snow cover should be good and the prices more reasonable than at the busiest times.
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Old Feb 18th, 2014, 07:41 AM
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Whitefish Mountain or Big Sky would fit for MT ski areas.

I think the issue with both, though, is that they don't fit the quaint town category. I love the town of Whitefish, but you have to drive to get to the ski hill. There are some nice on-site ski in and ski out lodging options, but the town of Whitefish is down the mountain.

Big Sky has a lot of skiing now that they've combined with neighboring Moonlight Basin. It's huge, and there's a lot to ski! But Big Sky isn't really a town. The ski area has some hotels and condos, a lodge, and some restaurants. If you drive down the hill, there are more condos (on the golf course) and more restaurants, but it's not really a town.

I'd say you'd get the best skiing for your money at Big Sky or Whitefish, but you'd have to give up the additional activities, outside of skiing, and a town that some other areas offer.
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Old Feb 18th, 2014, 08:58 AM
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Crested Butte is quaint, but it's a long-ish drive from Denver.

Telluride, too, but it's even further.

Steamboat is a nice town, not too far from Denver. About 3+ hr drive. You'd want to go there earlier than March for better snow.

Aspen is my favorite 'quaint' town, and has several mountains to ski. About 4 hours from Denver.

Copper is not a quaint town.

Breckenridge is quaint, but Summit County is not our cup-of-tea.
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Old Feb 18th, 2014, 10:33 AM
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You might review this posting

http://www.fodors.com/community/unit...omment-8013888
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Old Feb 19th, 2014, 09:41 AM
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Regarding above posting. Should have clarified. It is an old posting relating mostly to Keystone but the last posting is a positive review of Breckenridge from someone who was just there. Her problems with Keystone is mostly related to being in Keystone over the Christmas/New Year period. Even Aspen is unattractive at that time.
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Old Feb 19th, 2014, 09:47 AM
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We were in Crested Butte for Christmas many years ago. It was magical: Victorian architecture, softly falling snow after dark, and horse drawn sleighs in town.

The week before Christmas can be good, but the week between Christmas and New Year is busy. We've found it's good to ski on the holidays, like Christmas Day, Thanksgiving, etc., because most people take off to eat and watch TV all day.
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Old Feb 20th, 2014, 08:14 AM
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This might be discouraging --------

http://www.denverpost.com/business/c...riciest-resort
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Old Feb 20th, 2014, 08:29 AM
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Not discouraging, really. There will always be travelers who want the 5-star, luxury resort experience. Those hotels are over-the-top spectacular.
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