need help planning a ski trip!

Old Nov 29th, 2021, 10:28 AM
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need help planning a ski trip!

We are heading out west to ski for college kids' spring break - its been years since I've been out west, so any help is appreciated. Would depart on Saturday, 3/5 until Thursday or Friday, 3/10 or 3/11.

priorities:
- shorter lines/less crowded (I know the I-70 corridor west of Denver can be a zoo on Saturday morning)
- warmer weather
- good selection of intermediate runs
- prefer a direct flight from PHL/EWR
- like the idea of a town or somewhere with ambience (ie. Vail, Telluide, Park City, etc.)

We don't mind renting a car. Can do airbnb or hotels (probably prefer something with a kitchen and a washer/dryer, so either condos or airbnb, but can be flexible).

Leading contenders:
- Telluride: seems to get the rep of less-crowded than Vail, for example.
- Vail: a little worried about the Saturday drive from Denver
- Sun Valley: know nothing about it, but seems to get attention
- Park City?

help. overwhelmed.
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Old Nov 29th, 2021, 10:33 AM
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Park City has the convenience of a direct flight and then only a 45 minute drive. You can use Uber or shuttle as there is free bus around town. Even if you drive yourself it is pretty easy, not too winding or steep and a good wide highway. The skiing has has some upgrade in recent years with the take over by a new company. And the town is great. We have preferred it over other locations for those reasons.
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Old Nov 29th, 2021, 06:59 PM
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Park City is good for a relatively short ski trip.

No need to drive from Denver to Vail. There are non-stop flights into Eagle County Airport (Vail). (PHL: American, EWR: United) Vail Resorts added some new high-capacity lifts to its already massive system, and IMO it's easy to avoid long lift lines. But you'd have to look into your lodging options at this point as Vail tends to book up early. If you don't stay in the Village or Lionshead areas, look for rentals that are on the bus route.

I doubt you'd find non-stop flights into either Sun Valley or Telluride.

FYI, if this turns out to be a "bad" snow year, you may be pushing your luck for good coverage in the 2nd week of March. At the same time, if a storm drops several inches of powder, there will be lines and crowds.
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Old Nov 30th, 2021, 04:50 AM
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laurie_ann Jean thanks for the thoughts!

the idea of a quick trip from the airport re Park City is very appealing!

I didn't think there were direct flights into Eagle. good info! We have found direct flights from Newark to Telluride (we don't mind going to Newark). If we went to Vail, we would stay in the Village - although even those choices are overwhelming. I did find a suite at the Madeline in Telluride Mountain Village that I've booked (fully refundable).

I thought we were in the clear with regards to sports, but just found out that I don't have all the dates. ugh. glad it is refundable. may wait a little bit to make flights.

thanks all.
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Old Nov 30th, 2021, 09:03 AM
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I'm not sure what you mean about warmer weather. That's kind of the last thing you want for a ski vacation in March, as the quality of the snow may not be good. YOu know they can't even make snow unless it's at least below 30, I think. And they won't do it if there aren't sustyained low temps. That's why all the resorts have delayed opening this year (at least a lot in COlorado, and I know HEavenly did also). Snow should be okay mid-March, though, I've been in a couple of those places end of March when things were not so great.

Vail isn't really a real town, it's a ski resort village. But it sounds like you just want some place with stores and restaurants, maybe, and any major ski resort area you are considering will have that.

I think Park City is obviously the easiest for you. It probably is the warmest in that list. It has all kinds of terrain with all the various mountains now since it combined with Canyons. And it's not a bad drive from the airport.

I think because you want to arrive on Saturday, that's going to be a problem as anywhere is going to be crowded. But driving on I70 West is going to be the worst. I personally would pick Breckenrdige over Vail (and you can easily get to Keystone or COpper Mtn from there by free bus).
Telluride is probably less crowded than Vail because it is harder to get to. I didn't know they are nonstop flights from EWR, that sounds like a decent choice considering that.
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Old Nov 30th, 2021, 10:11 AM
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Might be off the wall a bit, but maybe give a thought to Portland OR for access to the Mount Hood area ski resorts. You might even look at Timberline Lodge on the side of the big volcano for a couple of nights, or stay someplace along the route of the Mount Hood Express bus line - Mt. Hood Express (mthoodexpress.com) - if you don't want to take a rental car on potentially snowy roads (chains aren't allowed on rental cars.)


One of the big advantages of this area is that there's lots to see and do below the snow line. The Columbia Gorge waterfalls will be awesome with spring runoff from lower elevations; there are terrific cafes, wineries and pubs in Hood River, and if you want some sunlight, the drive out to Maryhill (around 45 min. from Hood River) will put you in "old west" sagebrush country; maybe you can visit the weird copy of Stonehenge. Google the places on this map - https://goo.gl/maps/hoEcTLTYHACLYsoDA

There are nonstop flights from EWR to PDX or easy one-stop services from PHL.
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Old Nov 30th, 2021, 04:52 PM
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"Warm" is a relative term with regards to ski weather, but I understood what surfmom meant... spring conditions. Some people can handle true winter weather, but, for example, I won't ski in Sun Valley in January no matter how lovely the snow conditions are. It's just too cold for me.

We ski Vail for two weeks every year at the end of February and into the beginning of March. By the end of our trip, it's can be a bit too icy to start early, there might be random bare patches, and the snow at the bottom of the mountain could get a bit slushy at the end of the day. Classic spring skiing conditions. Some years are warmer than others, and spring storms are not unheard of. No guarantees on anything.

surfmom, have you had any problems with altitude sickness? Telluride's base and summit elevations are higher than almost every other ski resort in the U.S. That makes Telluride usually pretty good for spring skiing conditions but harder for acclimating (esp. in a short trip).
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Old Dec 1st, 2021, 06:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Gardyloo View Post
Might be off the wall a bit, but maybe give a thought to Portland OR for access to the Mount Hood area ski resorts. You might even look at Timberline Lodge on the side of the big volcano for a couple of nights, or stay someplace along the route of the Mount Hood Express bus line - Mt. Hood Express (mthoodexpress.com) - if you don't want to take a rental car on potentially snowy roads (chains aren't allowed on rental cars.)

Timberline Ski Resort - YouTube

One of the big advantages of this area is that there's lots to see and do below the snow line. The Columbia Gorge waterfalls will be awesome with spring runoff from lower elevations; there are terrific cafes, wineries and pubs in Hood River, and if you want some sunlight, the drive out to Maryhill (around 45 min. from Hood River) will put you in "old west" sagebrush country; maybe you can visit the weird copy of Stonehenge. Google the places on this map - https://goo.gl/maps/hoEcTLTYHACLYsoDA

There are nonstop flights from EWR to PDX or easy one-stop services from PHL.
Mount Hood was also my first thought. If you wanted to rent a car and drive farther from Portland, you could ski at HooDoo (Santiam Pass) or drive to Bend Oregon and ski at Mt. Bachelor. There is also a bus service that will get you to Bend from PDX.
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Old Dec 1st, 2021, 07:15 AM
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We often skiied Colorado in March for spring break and usually had wonderful snow--sort of sudden storms coming through. AND sometimes the lower part of the mountain got pretty slushy by the afternoon. You really DON"T want "warmer"!! LOL
Wouldn't wait too long to come down on something and make reservations. The airlines may get filled up. The Covid problem is still with us and they seem to have been somewhat flexible in being able to change.
Actually arriving on Saturday in Denvermay be good because you wouldn't be able to ski anyway and by the time you are on the road the traffic won't be going that way (maybe). It will also let you have an acclimation day.
Frisco might be a place to stay. Copper Mountain offers some really good terrain. Take the shuttle bus to the slopes.
How old are the kids? Good ski school at Copper (and of course other places). When we went we always gave the kids at least one day in a ski school even when they skiied the black diamonds.

Last edited by Gretchen; Dec 1st, 2021 at 07:23 AM.
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Old Dec 1st, 2021, 07:43 AM
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You could try the Lake Tahoe area. Stay in Truckee and you are 20 minutes from Northstar, Palisades at Tahoe (formerly known as Squaw/Alpine Meadow) and Sugar Bowl.



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Old Dec 2nd, 2021, 06:23 AM
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I hope you'll get it sorted and have a good trip! Skiing doesn't happen enough for me, since the one close to us got closed down
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Old Dec 2nd, 2021, 01:37 PM
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wow! you guys rock!

Christina my comment about warmer weather was more thinking about things like "Jackson Hole, in general, has colder weather than.... " We will be early March, so hopefully, the snow stays late this year.

As for the Saturday on I-70, as I think through it, I think we will be okay. We probably won't fly Friday night (just too chaotic getting kid home from college and out the door), so we won't be fighting the early bird Saturday am traffic. If anything, we would be leaving mid-day, so hopefully, it would be okay.

Gardyloo tomfuller would love to make Oregon, but that much further of a flight and time change, so probably will save it for another time. Actually, I'm a golfer, and I really want to play Brandon Dunes! (can't find the time.... eek)

Jean I have had issues with altitude, but I am probably not skiing. This trip isn't about me and I'm a wimp and get cold. So I am planning on taking my laptop and devoting time to photo processing (see my Africa thread if you want to see some of my photos). I tend to be lazy and get behind with processing, so I would force myself to use that time. I don't think the kids have had any issues, but that is a good thought.

Gretchen I have hotel reservations in Vail and in Telluride. Haven't made flights yet. Struggling because swim post-season might come into play, but who knows with covid and cut times?!? At this moment, I'm probably leaning towards Telluride and taking the direct flight from Newark. I probably should hedge my bets and pay the extra $$ for refundable fares as my 'insurance'. Right now, flights are pretty reasonable.

Kids are 17 and 20, so not really 'kids'. Would either do two half-days of private lessons or one full day to start. They are both pretty athletic (gymnast/diver and swimmer who can surf), so I think with basic instruction, they will be fine. We haven't skiied up to this point because of winter sports - coaches would kill me if we came back injured, but they are done with HS sports, so no more coaches to yell at me.

Michael love the Lake Tahoe area, but I think too difficult to get there for a quick trip. next time. ◡̈ (awesome pics!)

AaBanks thanks!

Ok, so this is where I am:
- reservations at Telluride (Madeline) and Vail (can't remember the resort). both refundable.
- probably leaning towards Telluride. hoping for smaller crowds there since a little more remote? (Park City was veto'ed by husband. I don't know why.)
- need to book flights and pull the trigger. ach.

thanks all! now I need to figure out rental skis and cute clothes for the girl ◡̈
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Old Dec 2nd, 2021, 08:25 PM
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surfmom, even if you don't ski, you could be affected by the elevation at Telluride. The town is at 8750 feet. I have trouble sleeping at Vail which is at "only" 8022 feet.
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Old Dec 3rd, 2021, 02:31 AM
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Yes about altitude. DRINK more water than you ever have or think you need. Don't forget the sunscreen
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Old Dec 4th, 2021, 11:07 AM
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Where exactly does your flight to Telluride land? Montrose? Because Montrose is an hour and a half drive from Telluride. or does the flight fly directly into Telluride which I guess is possible in the winter.

Have you looked other outdoor activities in the area you are going to? Like snow tubing? or anything else?

and if you are going to go to a Vail resort property like Vail or Park City, you might want to go ahead and buy your passes.
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Old Mar 23rd, 2022, 07:13 AM
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ok, for an update (b/c I always like to read them!)

ended up sending them to Breckenridge and changing the plan slightly. Instead of a family trip, sports commitments got in the way, so it became college kid + friend with my husband. I was at home on dog duty.

+ direct flight to Denver with lots of other flights if one became delayed/cancelled (reasonable price, good flight times)
+ avoided traffic times. drive wasn't a problem/big deal
+ ski-in, ski-out airbnb at a reasonable price. Loved going back "home" for lunch break vs. sitting in a ski lodge.
+ cute town to walk around in.

- cold. eek. colder than I expected. they dressed for it! (also why going "home" was nice for lunch - threw socks in the dryer and got them dry and warm)
- still had to drive over an hour.

overall, they had a great trip! and I now have many ideas for next spring break from this thread!

thanks all!
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