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3 months in US or Canada with Kids

Discussion in 'Passport' started by Toddo, Aug 14, 2019 at 12:04 PM.

  1. Toddo

    Toddo One of Us

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    Doing the early planning thoughts for a season when my LSL is accessible. We are wanting to do a family 3 month "season" in either the US or Canada. Kids will be between 7 and 10 depending on when it happens. We won't be working so working Visa's aren't an issue making US is a possibility, where it wasn't when I have done working holidays in the past.

    Looking for suggestions for possible locations. I have done seasons in Fernie and Big White. Loved Fernie, got over Big White pretty quickly. Some of the things I would see as priorities:

    - Reasonably affordable housing
    - A "real town" with a ski hill, not a fabricated holiday village (thats the main reason I preferred Fernie over Big White), with a friendly and things to do/see other than skiing
    - A mountain that is good for kids progression but also one that I won't get bored with. Powder days are a must, a basic park a bonus for non powder days.
    - Access to other hills for day trips/overnighters.
    - Epic pass option is a bonus cash saver, but not a deal breaker.
    - Nightlife - not looking to party like it's 99, more into pub atmosphere, live sports and brewery type places


    The short list so far:
    - Fernie - Love the place from last experience. Have a local hockey team to support is a bonus. Biggest downsides would be the lack of jumps in RCR terrain parks and fickle weather (rain) at times.
    - Rossland/Red - have spent a few days here and really liked the vibe. Not so sure of stuff for kids to do off the hill? Bonus of being close to day trip options in US is good.
    - Jackson Hole - kid options and accomodation cost the worries?
    - Whitefish - Looks to tick most of the boxes. Don't know anyone who has spent a season there though
    - Breckenridge/Keystone - Mostly on the list due to being on the epic pass which is a good cost saver. Mountains look great, although thinking it might be a bit busy and expensive? have never really had colorado on my options before so don't know too much about it to be honest.
    - Tahoe - Been there multiple times, love the place. not sure it's as great for the kids, has a more holiday than living feel to it. I've stayed south lake every time - maybe staying at truckee might be better? The fickleness season to season is a bit of a worry too. got proper skunked with FA snow last time i was there for 6 weeks and rode park the whole time bar a few days.

    Any suggestions or feedback from those who have done it with kids would be great!
     
  2. gareth_oau

    gareth_oau Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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    6 weeks each in two resorts?

    The only issue there would be two lots of season passes
     
  3. Summit

    Summit Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    A large area would be good considering it's 3 months. Park City is huge by North American standards now that Canyons is linked. Fits a lot of your criteria if you can find cheap enough housing.
     
  4. silva

    silva One of Us

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    I have not spent 3 months there - longest trip was a month but for many reasons (PM me if you like) I would be headed to Whitefish Montana. The only negatives from your list would be its not on the epic pass (I see this as a positive though) and the basic park is basic.
     
  5. chicski

    chicski A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    I loved Breckenridge and would love to spend more time there. Family friendly, does get busy during vacations and weekends, but still not Perisher busy. There is a great free bus service which should help with cheaper housing away from the base area.
     
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  6. gareth_oau

    gareth_oau Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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    For 3 months hopefully you can negotiate a longer term lease rather than shorter term rates.

    Get in early with the negotiations and beat all the winter workers
     
  7. MarzNC

    MarzNC One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Jackson is a fully functional ski town with a very active local airport. Plenty to do with kids off the slopes. For that matter, can get involved in night skiing at Snow King. Finding lodging might be an issue. I've heard that school teachers can't afford to live in Jackson and end up driving over Teton Pass. When the pass is closed due to a snowstorm, the Jackson schools have to take a snow day even if it hasn't snowed that much there.

    I know of someone who opted to retire to Whitefish. That's after skiing all over the world for a few decades.

    Breck and Keystone are both destination resorts for travelers as well as popular with locals who do day trips or stay overnight for weekends. I haven't skied either, mostly because the high altitude of Colorado lodging is an issue for me when taking a 1-week ski trip. Sleeping at over 9000 ft can be an issue for some people. I've heard of a few people who moved to the Colorado mountains but ultimately had to move elsewhere because they couldn't adjust. On the plus side, plenty of skiing options within a short drive. Traffic from Denver on weekends can be very heavy.

    An idea to add to the list is Bozeman, MT. Quite a neat little city. Bridger Bowl is 20 min from the city and is where the locals ski the most. Although it's a non-profit, it's a major ski area with about 2000 acres that has a wide range of terrain from beginner to expert. Big Sky is an hour away. Red Lodge is also popular with families apparently.
     
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  8. MarzNC

    MarzNC One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Certainly plenty of day trip options staying in Park City or SLC. Lodging would be much less expensive in the city. Except on powder days, traffic isn't bad midweek or Sundays. The drive from SLC to Park City is 40-60 min mostly on major highway.

    Park City is a ski town that is great for a ski vacation of 1-3 weeks. Not sure it would stay interesting for a family visiting for 3 months. Does have permanent residents who appreciate the good public bus system. Whether or not SLC fits in terms of things to do in a city would depend on what's of interest.
     
  9. absentskier

    absentskier Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    There is another place in Colorado on the Ikon pass that it almost looks like you wrote your priority list for.
     
  10. Summit

    Summit Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    Might have to reduce consumption at breweries if living at 9,000 ft. Doesn't take many to wake up with a splitting headache if a bit susceptible to altitude.
     
  11. Snowfi

    Snowfi One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    We took kids to Breck/Keystone at similar ages, 8 and 6 from memory. Good points would be variety and free shuttles. Also Vail and other resorts not far away. For us it was week 5 and 6 of our first LSL trip and honestly the kids were over skiing in that last week but not old enough to be on their own. We were lucky enough to have extended family with us and a non-skiing Nanna was happy to chill with them. Happened again 4 years later at Sun Peaks, last few days in week 6 was a write off for them (but their passes were free and Nanna was there too). #thanksmum
     
  12. Toddo

    Toddo One of Us

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    I'd prefer to settle in 1 area and get to know it better and some people for the whole 3 months. Packing up, moving and not being able to take advantage of monthly rental rates would be a negative. Day/short few day side trips to check out other areas would be on the cards for sure.
     
  13. Toddo

    Toddo One of Us

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    Haha - the in laws will no doubt be visiting for some of the trip for those purposes! If we are doing 3 months, we definitely won't be skiing every day of the week though.
     
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  14. Toddo

    Toddo One of Us

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    Care to eloborate? - I'm not very familiar with the CO resorts
     
  15. absentskier

    absentskier Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Steamboat. Will provide some further info later.
     
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  16. ralf_plough

    ralf_plough One of Us

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  17. MarzNC

    MarzNC One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Have your kids been to the U.S. before? Are they likely to go again before they are adults?

    I traveled a lot with my family growing up during the summers because my father was a professor who didn't teach during the summer. My parents had contacts and friends all over the world. Would a couple months in one place, with some travel by car afterwards be out of the question? N. America is a big place with a lot of regional variation for not only the skiing but also the people. I've had the opportunity to do a few "ski safaris" in the American west as well as in the northeast in recent years. If my daughter had been in year-round elementary school with a 3-week break in the winter, would have been happy to take her out west during ski season.
     
  18. Budgiesmuggler

    Budgiesmuggler A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Salt Lake City - big town, cheap housing.

    Within 40 mins you have park city, canyons, deer valley, Alta, snowbird, solitude

    Snow can be closer depending on where you stay.
     
  19. Toddo

    Toddo One of Us

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    We both get a good amount of holidays with our work - work 8 months then get 5 weeks AL, then work 6 months and get a 4 week AL so I reckon as the kids grow up we hopefully will get to visit on a few occasions. Thinking I'd save the more touristy resorts for those shorter trips.
    Side trips and maybe a road trip at the end of the season would definitely be on the cards.
     
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  20. Toddo

    Toddo One of Us

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    40 minutes is a bit further to travel than what we'd really like.

    Park city looks the goods - BUT - I am a big craft beer nerd and the 4% ABV state limit on alcohol is turning me off spending a whole lot of time there o_O
     
  21. absentskier

    absentskier Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    @Toddo

    Steamboat Springs is a nice, laid back western town, 5-10 minutes from the ski resort. Plenty to do on days away from the snow. Cinema, great library, ice skating, bowling, hiking, hot springs, tubing, snowmobiling etc etc.It's a great combination. And two big supermarkets, plus Walmart etc. It is very much a real town, but certainly very closely aligned with winter sports. There's a real winter sports history there and the locals are proud of it.

    There is an excellent free bus system between the hill and town (like there is in most of the big resorts/towns in the US). It works well. Some of the accommodation also has a free private shuttle service.

    The ski hill is good. Very good snow record, high quality snow, excellent intermediate and advanced terrain, a bit more limited than some others in pure steeps, but the tree skiing is exceptional. There are a great many areas to explore that take quite a bit of time to work out. There are a lot of very proficient experts who live there and don't get bored.

    There's a few of us on here who have been multiple times for long stays. @Scooter has done it at least 6 times and will have good insight into the type of accommodation available. He has been able to get fantastic deals on long stay accommodation previously. Here's his first trip report. https://www.ski.com.au/xf/threads/steamboat-ongoing-trip-report.43728/

    Also, the Ikon pass now enables trips to Copper, Aspen, Winter Park, Arapahoe Basis in Colorado (as well as Jackson, Snowbird etc in neighbouring states). A great group of resorts. Last year, we hired a car and spent a week in the Aspen area, staying at a good value place in Basalt. Was a great week in the middle of our 5 weeks at Steamboat. It's only a couple hours to Summit County or Winter Park, further to Aspen obviously.

    I will be back at Steamboat for about a month this Christmas.

    I'm getting all nostalgic now. Here's a pic of my kids on our first trip in 2012/13. And then January this year.




     
  22. Izzy

    Izzy One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Europe out of the equation? Very cheap for long term stays (especially considering current AUD/USD/CAD), and plenty of real living towns with lifts attached. Obviously Chamonix would be high on that list.
     
  23. Toddo

    Toddo One of Us

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    Thanks for that - looks like a great place.

    Have you got a ball park figure or links for monthly rentals large 2br or small 3br?

    cheers
     
  24. Pink

    Pink One of Us

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  25. absentskier

    absentskier Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    A bit limited IMO for a longer stay. Doesn't quite have the intermediate and single black miles of some of the others. Early season snowpack can be an issue too.

    @Toddo another advantage of Steamboat over the Coloradan resorts is that elevation isn't really an issue because you sleep under 7,000 feet.
     
  26. Scooter

    Scooter One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    8 times now at 2 months+ and you know what - would have done it again this coming season in a heart beat :D (Sadly if there was one thing my other half was adamant about regarding the Xmas holidays etc. at the end of the year was that if there was one thing we would be doing its NOT doing a long snow trip :cry: ).

    How did you swing another trip? I thought you were thinking you might be having a break this coming season?

    Hey @Toddo - Very jealous - when were you thinking of trying to organize? This coming season or you just getting in super early to flash out some ideas and start planning?

    To be honest when I organised that first trip to Steamboat I actually started looking at EU - with a 4 and 6 year old and being primarily focused on skiing you wanted reasonable access to the slopes and it wasn't cheap and places were small (and I mean tiny). I switched to the US because I was going to be able to organize accommodation that was 3 times the size for a 1/3 of the cost. Cant remember what the exchange rates were back then so not sure how that impacts things these days.

    I had done a season in Fernie previously because it ticked a lot of boxes for me (snowfall and terrain etc. - Ill make comment below because you state it could be an option) and started with similar reasoning when looking at the US but eventually decided it should be less about me and more about the kids and my research online etc. seemed to suggest Steamboat was a great option for kids so I went with that and you know what - it was great :D Real town with real people and plenty to do on and off the hill. We stayed 3 months that first trip and given I have been back for 7 more trips and would have happily pulled the trigger on another trip its safe to say I would happily recommend it.

    For the record for kids I definitely would have chosen Steamboat over Fernie however with the current state of the AUD/USD Canada has to be a viable option from a simple cost perspective.

    Also for the record I actually don't think Steamboat is that cheap an option when considering US options (both because of the current FX and more generally compared to some other US resorts) - I reckon Whitefish cited above would tick a lot of the boxes for a family 3 month trip and work out considerably cheaper - I know I would have happily looked there as an option.

    In regards to major centers like SLC etc. - Whilst I agree that they would represent much a cheaper option accommodation wise with two kids in tow and the reason for the trip being primarily about access to the slopes I reckon you would be best trying to get accommodation as close (or easy) as possible to the slopes - maybe walk to/from as a min or easy shuttle. This is were places like Steamboat can really shine in that some of the accommodation providers run great private shuttle services to the slopes.

    Anyway, just on quickly to comment. Good luck @Toddo - very exciting. You taken the kids previously to the snow? Where and for how long?
     
  27. Toddo

    Toddo One of Us

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    Good to hear the comparisons with Fernie, as I've done that too!

    The trip is a LONG way down the track - have only just started thinking about it. Aiming for 21/22 season, early planning is going to motivate me to save the $$$ required!

    Yes kids have been to the snow a couple of times only perisher and thredbo so far. They seem pretty hooked already!
     
  28. Toddo

    Toddo One of Us

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    PS. with FX forecasts showing AUD and CAD to continually drop against the USD - you're right - Canada may be the only option!
     
  29. Sbooker

    Sbooker One of Us

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    They do a great job brewing very tasty beers with the 4% restriction.
     
  30. MarzNC

    MarzNC One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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  31. Toddo

    Toddo One of Us

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    yeah i know they do some really good session beers, but drinking 4% beer is like skiing big white. Sure its great for what it is - but there's only so many blue runs till you get bored :D
     
  32. BoofHead

    BoofHead One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Any other European reccomendations?
     
  33. Izzy

    Izzy One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    My pick with kids would be one of the bigger towns in the Dolomites. Selva Val Gardena?
     
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  34. DPS Driver

    DPS Driver One of Us

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    Big difference in exchange rate between US$ & CAN$. When you’ve got your family with you it increases the spend considerably. Canada would provide more bang for your buck.

    Red would be a good option. There are plenty of kid options with the town of Trail just down the road. It also provides good options re easy travel to other resorts both in the US & Canada. Also not far away from Whitewater and Nelson. Ski ticket options available to lower your costs.

    Whitefish would be a great US option. It’s a cool town and getting cooler. An Aussie mate of mine grew up there. Great skiing. Another great US option would be Bend, Oregon and skiing Mt Bachelor. Seriously cool town and big ski area at Bachelor.
     
  35. MarzNC

    MarzNC One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Agree that Bend is a cool town. Only downside is having to drive or take the bus for 20-30 min for skiing since there isn't any lodging anywhere close to Mt. Bachelor. Upside is plenty of day trips to enjoy what the Pacific Northwest has to offer. Portland is about 3 hours for a weekend excursion. A day trip to Mt. Hood to ski Timberline is quite possible.

    Skiing 360 degrees on one huge volcanic mountain is quite a unique experience. Have only spent a few late season days in early May at Bachelor but definitely on the list for a return trip.
     
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