Ski resorts in western US?

Old Jun 15th, 2005, 04:43 AM
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Ski resorts in western US?

Hello: We're planning a ski vacation (4-5 days) for the western US (from the Boston area)
for Winter '05/'06 and would like feedback on the best resorts/mountains (we're leaning towards Colorado/Utah.)

My wife is a beginner (very comfortable on greens, hesitant on blues but can make it down.) I'm a bit more seasoned (comfortable on most trails.) The only concern is that we'd like a resort where there are greens that go from the peak(s) (rather than being relegated to the bottom half of the mountain.)

That said, what would the holy grails be in US ski mountaints be? We'd probably want to try two resorts out, with two days of skiing at each, so if there are a couple of resorts relatively close by, I'd be especially interested in them.
Thanks in advance.
Chad
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Old Jun 15th, 2005, 04:51 AM
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I would strongly recommend Park City for a number of reasons:
1. ease of getting there -- it's a nonstop flight from NYC (probably Boston, too) and less than an hour's drive from the airport.
2. 3 resorts in the area -- Park City, Deer Valley and the Canyons. Can't speak for the Canyons, but Park City and Deer Valley have plenty of green and groomed blue trails. I ski at about your wife's level and am very comfortable there. DV also has a great ski school.
3. Cute town. Unlike some place, there is actually a little town at Park City with shops/restaurants/bar/spa for that day when your wife doesn't want to ski again or for some diversion in the evening.
4. On-mountain food is good at both resorts, but downright "gourmet" at DV.
5. DV limits skiiers per day and does not allow snowboarders -- a nice plus for a tentative beginner.

Do a search of this forum for Park City and you will find plenty of info. I learned to ski there (although "learned" might be something of a stretch) and my husband's theory was to take me somewhere nice, where it was warm, not too crowded, etc., so I'd learn to really like skiing.
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Old Jun 15th, 2005, 05:12 AM
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We have skiied Park City/Deer Valley, Whistler, Telluride, Breckenridge and Aspen and Zermatt. However, our favorite ski destination remains the Vail/Beaver Creek area. My family of 4 ranges in skiing ability from greens to blacks and we have found that overall the Vail Valley offers us the most options. One lift ticket allows you to ski Vail, Beaver Creek, Batchelor Gulch and Arrowhead. And, I believe Copper Mountain may also be included in that group of resorts. You really cannot go wrong with Vail.
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Old Jun 17th, 2005, 02:33 PM
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Aspen is my alltime favorite because it offers a fantastic authentic old town and great dining as well as four mountains, something for everyone.

Aspen Ski Company mountains are never crowded, even during the holidays as it is a true destination spot with no daytrippers from large metropolitan areas. You don't have to be an expert to ski at Aspen as there are plenty of green runs from the top of Buttermilk Mtn which is a great tune up mountain for your first day on the slopes. My mom is nearing 70 and only skis green and has no problems at Snowmass or Buttermilk. Her favorite area is West Buttermilk which is practically deserted most of the time. She loves chatting with the young adults who work the lifts. The staff is very friendly on all of the mountains. You can check out www.aspensnowmass.com for links to lodging.

Everyone thinks Aspen is expensive (and there are plenty of pricey options) but there are good deals if you aren't staying over Christmas week. Even then you can get a cheap room if all you care to do in it is sleep. I just booked two rooms for Christmas week at the Pokolodi Lodge, 100yds from the slopes right beside the walking mall at Snowmass. Paid $134/night (before tax) for each room. Sometimes I book directly from the hotel but got a better rate on orbitz this time. We've stayed there twice before. The Silvertree is nicer for not a whole lot more money. I prefer to sleep cheap and eat rich in the Aspen area. Aspen is about 4 hours drive from Denver and Snowmass is about a 20 minute drive from Aspen. There are free shuttles to take you mountain to mountain all day long.

Summit County is a zoo during the holidays with lots of Denver day skiers and people who don't know how to ski and are too cheap to take a lesson. Even more dangerous are the skiers who are inexperienced and are too ignorant of the dangers to have any fear. There are alot of really terrible skiers plunging down areas they have no business skiing. I'm sure its better at off peak times and the towns of Breckenridge, Dillon, and Frisco are cute.

I agree with padbrasher's suggestion for the Vail area as there are many choices of mountains. If you don't like one, try another. I find Vail more affordable and Beaver Creek less so as far as lodging is concerned. Vail sprung up in the 60s and is modeled after a European ski village and is a bit dated looking if that matters to you. Beaver Creek is very new and lodging is beautiful but you'll pay for it.

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Old Jun 17th, 2005, 05:22 PM
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Just to jump on the bandwagon and give you more votes - I think the options the previous posters gave you are excellent.

My personal preference would be the Aspen area, staying in Snowmass. Snowmass is my all time favorite mountain (with LOTS of skiing for ALL ability levels), the logistics of the Snowmass/Aspen area are easy once you get there, and almost all the lodging in Snowmass is ski-in/ski-out (convenient if you wear out early or just need a break!). For your second mountain there, sounds like Buttermilk would be great for what you are looking for.

Second choice would be the Park City area; lots of nice places with plenty of suitable terrain to choose from.

Vail/Beaver Creek would work, too, but I don't like that area as well, for some reason, maybe that's just me. Frontside of Vail seems a bit crowded to me (Beaver Creek is not).

Anyway, all 3 areas are excellent choices, and if you want to keep from going too crazy with options - just pick one of those 3 & go with it!
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Old Jun 17th, 2005, 05:41 PM
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I very much agree with Park City.
Also, Robert Redford has a very small but lovely ski resort for skiiers of all levels called "Sundance". This is up Provo Canyon.
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Old Jun 17th, 2005, 06:23 PM
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I'd vote for Park City. Great ski town, nice choice of resorts, best snow in the West -- although I preference the Cottonwood Canyons resorts personally.

Be aware that what makes a person a good green or blue skier out East might not translate well in the softer snow and powder out west. The skill set is different and it might take some adjustments.

For that reason, I'd say start at Deer Valley, where there is plenty of grooming and you can gradually feel your way out in the loose snow. There is, sadly, nothing close to Western skiing in the East.
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Old Jun 17th, 2005, 06:33 PM
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We did a ski week at the end of March in Deer Valley. We stayed at the Stein Eriksen Lodge and had an absolutely great time. The skier infrastructure at Deer Valley is awesome. Our 6 y.o. was in ski school every day and loved it.

There are lots of great places, but I highly recommend DV. I grew up in Lake Tahoe, on skis before age 5 and have skiied all over the world, and this was a great comparison by any standard.
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