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Advice on Ski Trip with 11 year old son out West

TyWebb

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Looking to do my first trip out west to ski with my son. We're flexible as he's in 6th grade and I have no problem pulling him out of school for a couple of days though a weekend will be included ... holiday (MLK or Prezzie) is not that important.

Looking for advice/suggestions on where I should go. Leaning towards Colorado or Utah but open to all suggestions

- One pass with multiple Mts would be great
- We love them Blues as I'm def not an expert so black diamond/expert terrain is not important but intermediate is very
- We love intermediate tree skiing
- He loves beginner/intermediate terrain parks
- Need to western bowls so intermediate bowls important
- no car so close proximity to major airport important
- prefer to not spend a fortune so affordability is important
- options with smaller crowds very important
- Jan, Feb or March fine .. opinions on historical conditions

Thank you in advance
 

FBGM

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Fly to SLC. Get hotel in Park city for day or two and ski Deer Valley. Plenty of non Gucci hotels for normal rates if you look around. No car needed. Uber it up from airport. 40 min at most from airport. Bus it in town. Could always bounce to Solitude a day or Snowbird a day if needed.

Flights to SlC are cheap. Skiing is close. Crowds and suck on them holidayz you mentioned. But will be any resort.

Your kid can drink the 3.2% beer and not get drunk.
 

BenedictGomez

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That's a lot of boxes to check, the "no car" thing really knocks a lot of places (most really) out.

Up until "affordability" became an issue I would have suggested Park City & Deer Valley, but those lift tix aren't cheap. Though if you have some flexibility on price, that would be a very good choice. There are hotels in PC that have their own ski shuttles to/from the resorts, and there are free bus lines that can take you pretty much anywhere in town you'd want to go.

https://www.parkcity.org/about-us/transit-bus/routes-schedules
 

Zand

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The biggest contradiction is multiple areas on one but no car. This is practically impossible in colorado (except aspen but $$$). Doable in Utah with ikon as you can take busses everywhere but Alta/Snowbird dont fit the intermediate haven at all. Honestly the best area that fits yoyr description is Steamboat. You'll be limited to one ski area but it's not terribly expensive and no car necessary plus a lot more for intermediates.
 

deadheadskier

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Steamboat would be a good choice.

Keystone checks a lot of the boxes too. Though Keystone can get pretty crowded. Have shuttle options to Breckenridge, Vail and Beaver Creek from there. Epic passes very cheap.

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TyWebb

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Thanks for the advice so far gents! Much appreciated and looking forward to more

Didn't realize I'd need car as I thought hitting a few slopes in proximity, though possible, would be easier.

Car rental is now an option to increase my choices.
 

BenedictGomez

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Car rental is now an option to increase my choices.

Then AirBNB in Cottonwood Heights or hotel in Park City, UT & hit a bunch of different ski areas, or a hotel in Silverthorne/Dillon, CO and hit a bunch of different ski areas.
 

Smellytele

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Right where I want to be
SLC shuttle buses. Brighton/ solitude
Or Breckenridge with shuttle buses to keystone and copper. Thinking blues here.


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crank

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Took my son out west for his first time when he was 11. Cheap flights to Denver. Cheap econo car with snow tires rental. Reasonable motel room with breakfast and indoor pool/hot tub in Friso.

We skied Vail, Copper and Breckenridge. Found nice blue trees at all. It was the kid's first real powder experience - he loved it.

Advice: try to not go when western states have a school vacation. We were there during March break and it was kind of crowded.
 

thetrailboss

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Looking to do my first trip out west to ski with my son. We're flexible as he's in 6th grade and I have no problem pulling him out of school for a couple of days though a weekend will be included ... holiday (MLK or Prezzie) is not that important.

Looking for advice/suggestions on where I should go. Leaning towards Colorado or Utah but open to all suggestions

- One pass with multiple Mts would be great
- We love them Blues as I'm def not an expert so black diamond/expert terrain is not important but intermediate is very
- We love intermediate tree skiing
- He loves beginner/intermediate terrain parks
- Need to western bowls so intermediate bowls important
- no car so close proximity to major airport important
- prefer to not spend a fortune so affordability is important
- options with smaller crowds very important
- Jan, Feb or March fine .. opinions on historical conditions

Thank you in advance

Yeah, I agree with what was said. SLC is a good option, but the no car thing means a little more planning and patience. As to passes, if you are considering more than four or five days than you should seriously consider getting one of the "passes" (Ikon or Epic) because it provides access to multiple areas and gives you an entire season at what four or five days would cost you anyway. Walk-up rates are high. Daily discounted tickets at ski shops are going away. You can still get them for SOME areas, but not most anymore. That has been a recent change.

As to your kid, like with mine, it can be hard though when you want to "get your money's worth" and your kid is just done after two hours. Be patient with him. Also realize that jet lag and sleep can impact him. A lot of areas here (Brighton, Alta, Deer Valley, PCMR, Snowbasin, Solitude, Snowbird to some extent) offer enough terrain for both of you to enjoy. Snowbird, however, has more expert stuff and for an intermediate can be intimidating. For what it's worth, SLC has a lot of great non-skiing options for families for an "off-day" (Zoo, Natural History Museum, Aquarium, etc.)

Another pricier option that does have an airport but requires a connecting flight is Aspen Snowmass. Four big mountains in one town and all on the Ikon pass now. But it is expensive and not as many kid options for entertainment (practically none actually).
 

tumbler

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Done this a few times with kids younger than 11 but higher skill level than blues. Fly to SLC and rent a 1 BR condo slopeside or near slopeside at Deer Valley. Get a shuttle van from the airport to DV and have them stop at a market on the way so your food is taken care of, especially breakfast. You'll be up early that first morning. I know, I can hear it now "slopeside at DV is not affordable." It is for a 1 bedroom and not during peak times. The beauty is when your kid gets tired he or both of you can ski back to the condo and rest while you go back out and ski. My kids would go back out later in the afternoon a couple times. I assume he has a phone so he can call you if needed. There is enough terrain in his ability to not get bored and to push him a bit. It is worth it so your day is not cut short.
 

BenedictGomez

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I know, I can hear it now "slopeside at DV is not affordable." It is for a 1 bedroom and not during peak times.

Yes, that was definitely going to be my comment.

Curious how much per night for non-peak & what's non-peak in your example?
 

TyWebb

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So much good in this thread and much appreciated. Car is in the cards now considering what many of you posted. I’ll post along some thoughts without quoting everyone. Flights to Denver or SLC are manageable most of the time with advance notice so those are my only two I’ll consider.

Spoke to a buddy of mine who ski’s like many of you and goes out west 3+ times a year for past 20+ years. Looking at my list he recommended Solitude/Brighton, Cooper, Keystone or Steamboat. As someone wrote he also mentioned the Aspen area but the drive and possible expense of lodging. Will def look at spring breaks for Co and Ut as to not overlap.

We did a 4-day Vt trip and he goes all day so not worried that he’ll be done after a few hours. That said .. 1 BR slope side would be sweet but hotels/ABnB local will also be fine.

Never heard of cottonwood but will check that area out on the net. What is up with DV? Buddy says a solid intermediate but can be hoity-toity. True or not? Also, 8 miles to Park City so I get two Mts which is fine for us.

Experience/Historically best snow conditions for Co and Ut ... Jan, Feb or Early March

Really appreciate the info and look forward to more
 

AdironRider

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So much good in this thread and much appreciated. Car is in the cards now considering what many of you posted. I’ll post along some thoughts without quoting everyone. Flights to Denver or SLC are manageable most of the time with advance notice so those are my only two I’ll consider.

Spoke to a buddy of mine who ski’s like many of you and goes out west 3+ times a year for past 20+ years. Looking at my list he recommended Solitude/Brighton, Cooper, Keystone or Steamboat. As someone wrote he also mentioned the Aspen area but the drive and possible expense of lodging. Will def look at spring breaks for Co and Ut as to not overlap.

We did a 4-day Vt trip and he goes all day so not worried that he’ll be done after a few hours. That said .. 1 BR slope side would be sweet but hotels/ABnB local will also be fine.

Never heard of cottonwood but will check that area out on the net. What is up with DV? Buddy says a solid intermediate but can be hoity-toity. True or not? Also, 8 miles to Park City so I get two Mts which is fine for us.

Experience/Historically best snow conditions for Co and Ut ... Jan, Feb or Early March

Really appreciate the info and look forward to more

Cottonwood is just basically a burb of SLC. It would make for a really lame "vacation" to just show up and stay at a Holiday Inn Express in the equivalent of Malden.

Feb is probably the best month in terms of decent base/cold/snowfall. Bad snow years can leave a lot of rocks in Jan, March will have 1 or 2 warm spells affecting snow quality.

Honestly, for a trip like this I think Park City fits the bill the best between DV and Park City resorts with a cool enough funky town. For Colorado, you want to stay in Vail Breck or Beaver Creek villages and just ski that respective resort, I'd personally be bummed staying in a place like Dillon or Silverthorne next to a TGI Fridays and driving a rental around everywhere. It would be nicer than Cottonwood I guess, but not by much and not really going to feel like a vacation locale.
 

BenedictGomez

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Never heard of cottonwood but will check that area out on the net. What is up with DV? Buddy says a solid intermediate but can be hoity-toity. True or not? Also, 8 miles to Park City so I get two Mts which is fine for us.

The reason I mentioned Cottonwood Heights / Sandy is that it's right outside the mouth's of the canyons that take you to Solitude/Brighton & Snowbird/Alta, as well as the fact that there's everything there a family would need for a vacation (restaurants, shopping, grocery stores, mass transit). Additionally, plentiful & cheap AirBNB options and hotels since cost is a major factor for you. Were cost less of a factor for you, I'd recommend staying in Park City instead.

Deer Valley is hoity-toity, but WTH cares? It's not like you have to partake in wine tastings or foie gras samplers, you're there to ski, and it's a great ski area. Their cafeteria food might be the best I've experienced in America.

I've skied almost every area in both of the options you're considering, and personally, especially with a family, I'd highly recommend Utah over Colorado due to its' convenience and variety, as well as the fact that there's much more to do for a family, as TTB pointed out.
 

abc

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To keep cost down, how about late Jan - early Feb? That should cut the lodging cost a big chunk! Not to mention missing the worst crowd.

Both Colorado and Utah have good intermediate trees. differences between the 2:

Salt Lake City win on the cost front, hands down. Rental car is cheap too. So you can drive to the mountains when the weather is good, hop the bus if the road is bad. Instead of Park City and Deer Valley, I'd focus on the Cottonwoods first. With the exception of Snowbird, Solitude/Brighton/Alta all have decent terrain for intermediates. The biggest potential issue I see is the Cottonwoods access road closure after storm.

Colorado is very good, provided you found decent lodging. Keep in mind the high altitude of the towns though. Can be an issue with altitude sickness.
 

RISkier

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You have a long list but here's a few thoughts: We stayed Frisco, CO one time. Copper Mountain is the closest area and, at least at that time, had pretty convenient buses between town and mountain. Cute town with Victorian style buildings lining the street. If you stay near or on Main street you'd have access to quite a lot of restaurants and such. It's also close to Breckenridge, Keystone, and Arapahoe Basin. Though when we were there the public transportation to those areas was less convenient. Copper, Keystone, and Breck would all offer its of intermediate skiing. We've never been o Steamboat though I think that or Winter Park would be worth taking a look at. Keep in mind that CO is HIGH, and don't just mean because of legalized marijuana. Frisco is about 9,000', Breck is higher. First time we were in CO we both got pretty bad head aches and had some trouble sleeping. Also, the Denver Airport is located such that you pretty much need to drive through Denver and up I70 through some high passes. Road is fine if the weather is good. Traffic can be heavy at certain times. In our opinion, the SLC airport is much more convenient. It's smaller, many rental car companies are right at the airport and can be accessed with no shuttle, it's pretty short drive to Park City or any of the Cottonwoods Canyons resorts. You're also sleeping at lower altitudes and are less likely to experience any significant altitude issues. We (older couple; hell, I'm just plain old at this point) really like PC as a place to stay. PCMR is absolutely huge now that the old PCMR and Canyons resorts have been united. Not as pretty as the Cottonwoods Canyons areas and generally not as much snow, but tons of skiing. An Epic Pass would allow you to ski PCMR. It's been a long time since we've been to Deer Valley but it would offer a very good experience for intermediates. I also think you could take a look at Solitude and Brighton. You could base yourselves in Sandy or Midvale and use the public buses to get to the skiing. That would probably be the least expensive of all options. I wouldn't necessarily ignore Alta for intermediates either. If it's dumping snow it's going to be powder skiing with "today's bumps" on all groomers as well as the off piste, but that's true anywhere. But Alta can be enjoyed by an intermediate skier. I don't think Snowbird is very good for anyone who is not at least an adventurous intermediate. One other general impression, and I am generalizing and it varies from one area to another. That said, I feel the blues in UT often tend toward the darker side of blue. They are more like the harder blues at someplace like Stowe than most of the blues you'd find at places like Mount Snow. Conversely, the blues at most places we've skied in CO have generally seemed to be on the easier intermediate side. One day at Keystone we had lunch with a local who directed us towards some Blacks he said were groomed, nice, and generally not skied much. We got in and they actually had a rope across saying "experts only, no green or blue skiers." It was like Lord or North Slope at Stowe.
 

Boxtop Willie

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Did a trip with 9 and 11 year old sons a while back. Tried to do it on the cheap. Went to SLC (inexpensive and easy from Boston). Stayed in Midvale. no car. at a comfort suites (free breakfast, snacks in evening.). UTA bus stop across the street. Bus up either LCC or BCC. Drops you off at the resort's front door. no hassles driving up canyon roads. Can find plenty of appropriate intermediate terrain at any of the canyon areas. To this day, Solitude is the favorite. Enjoy
 

Bosco DaSkia

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Looking to do my first trip out west to ski with my son. We're flexible as he's in 6th grade and I have no problem pulling him out of school for a couple of days though a weekend will be included ... holiday (MLK or Prezzie) is not that important.

Looking for advice/suggestions on where I should go. Leaning towards Colorado or Utah but open to all suggestions

- One pass with multiple Mts would be great
- We love them Blues as I'm def not an expert so black diamond/expert terrain is not important but intermediate is very
- We love intermediate tree skiing
- He loves beginner/intermediate terrain parks
- Need to western bowls so intermediate bowls important
- no car so close proximity to major airport important
- prefer to not spend a fortune so affordability is important
- options with smaller crowds very important
- Jan, Feb or March fine .. opinions on historical conditions

Thank you in advance

Try looking at the ski areas on the indy pass. it's only $200 and has some very nice places on it out in the wests.


https://www.indyskipass.com


look at flying into seattle, phoenix, juneau or calgary... lots o' options.


You will spend less for a similar experience at a mountain with a smaller brand name. The ones in the canada come with a built in 30% discount via yer friendly exchange rate...
 
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