Challenge - Where to Go in North America?

gareth_oau

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I'm now considering my next trip and contemplating USA or Canada (for winter 2011 dammit).

As I'm catering for a family of 6 then i need to be budget conscious.

i note that airfares to the USA (eg LA) are a lot cheaper than to say Vancouver, but once there, are the resorts/accommodation typically cheaper in Canada or in USA, and where are the apres costs better?

I'm seeking a resort which:

- Has good quality ski-in/ski-out condo or chalet accommodation (happy to pay circa A$5k per week)
- has a ski-in/ski-out village with a large range of shops and eateries etc to cater for the apres activities
- is family friendly
has a good range of beginner - intermediate slopes

The CA$ is mor AU$ friendly that the US$, so will this offset the savings that can be made with airfares?

Inital resorts that spring to mind are whistler, BigWhite, Heavenly.

Also, when is the best time to travel, in terms of airfares, accommodation prices, and snow conditions?

Any other thoughts and suggestions?

Cheers
 

parkmonkey

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On a wave or mountain face near you.
Where's Main Street?
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Born2ski

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How long are you planning to go for ?

If you're going to be there for more than a week then you might look at buying the early bird season passes. A few places in the US that had great season pass prices this season were most of the Tahoe resorts and a lot of the Colorado resorts(ie. Epic pass). Prices ranged from $US329-$US599 for adult season passes.

gareth_oau said:
has a ski-in/ski-out village with a large range of shops and eateries etc to cater for the apres activities
Heavenly doesn't really fit this. It has a small ski in/ski out area around Stagecoach lift or a large(Vegas style) village at Stateline but no ski in/ski out there.
For $5k a week it opens up a lot of options so in Tahoe you could look at Kirkwood or Squaw Valley. But I think based on what you're looking for and the money you have to spend you might what to look at some Colorado resorts.

Normally airfares are low season from either 17 Jan or 1 Feb departures, depending on the airline. I think Feb is the best time to travel for low season fares and good quality snow.
Don't expect airfares in 2011 to be as low as they are now, and that goes for the USA and Canada. We currently have the world economic crisis and two new carriers on the AUS-USA route that have brought the current fare wars but I would expect by 2011 these conditions will change.

Others on here can give you the low down on Colorado resorts and I'm sure Main Street will jump in to promote Big White.
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.....
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gareth_oau

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My biggest single cost will be airfares, so once we're there, I expect we'll stay for around 3 weeks.

I noticed that an early season pass in some resorts is the same, or cheaper than buying 3 weeks, so will defintely look closer at that later.

Kinda sad that a season pass in USA/Canada is the same as 1 week in Thredbo :-(
 

Born2ski

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Quick tip: Don't just accept the rack rates you see for accommodation. If you're looking at 3 weeks or more you might be able to organise a monthly rental rate. For example my place at Heavenly is costing $US2100 per month for a 2 bedroom ski in/ski out condo which works out to $US70 a night. Now the rack rate for that same condo ranges between $US175-$200 a NIGHT !! So that's more than a 60% discount !!
 

sly_karma

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Big White has an amazing array of ski in/out accoms, virtually the entire bed base is all on-snow - approaching 15,000 beds these days. I haven't been anywhere in north america with so much on snow accoms. Unsurprisingly, the prices are very good compared to on-snow elsewhere. For a family of 6 you'll love their condo setups. Most have a private balcony with its own outdoor hot tub.

The mtn itself is fairly bland, a well groomed intermediate's hill. I usually find a way to enjoy myself on the odd day I go there, but it's not a Jackson or a Kicking Horse. Family friendly is what it's all about and you'll find they have looked after the details very well indeed. The Happy Valley complex has plenty of off-snow activities for families - skating, tube park, snowmobile tours, cafeteria, pub, steakhouse.

Whistler has a mind-boggling array of terrain but you'll pay at least double for on-snow accoms.
 

Sno4WA

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We do the whole family, intermediate (low advanced) type ski trips - have done Big White, Whistler and this year we are trying Sun Peaks (lots of on-snow accom as well) and back to Whistler. We keep going back to Whistler - had 3 weeks there last year - with so much terrain you don't get bored...plus there is heaps of off-snow activities and an endless variety of restaurants.

If you stay at Whistler Creekside rather than in the Village you get more bang for your buck (similar price to Big White)eg great accom on-snow at the Legends (1,2,3 bedroom condos) and walk straight out the back door to the Creekside gondola (which is less crowded than the village gondolas). Whistler village is a 5 minute bus trip or you can ski down to that base.
 

rodw

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Last trip we did a steamboat/telluride combo. We had what was technically a ski in/ski out condo in steamboat but it was a bit hard for the kiddies who prefered the free shuttle instead (which was handy too). You should easily be able to get accomodation for around the $5k mark at steamboat with all thing included..

Doing the breck/beaver creek combo this year on the Epic pass...taking into account airfares, lift tickets, accomodation and transfers looking at around $700 for family of 3 (child age 9) ie everything except food/drink.....thats just our package though...depending on what you want it could be cheaper or dearer.
 
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gareth_oau

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I just did 9 nights at Thredbo and the accommodation set me back a meagre $10,000.

the US/Canadian prices are looking better and better all the time!!
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tbnext

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Sorry cant help. Being Ski.com PC

My USA answer is "Utah" and avoid Deer Valley, Park City and The Canyons. This is because I think one should ski the world's best on holidays when one is paying to fly. One does not fly to ski groomers. One flys for face shots, or is that just me??

However I went to Whistler once and stayed at the really posh Blackcomb place. Terrific, ski in out, never leave and I loved it. If you have never been to Whistler you should, it's like Mecca for skiers. Being a bit $$ savvy however I would sort of skip its winter olympic year. Just me mind.

Enjoy, skiing is about getting lucky. I'm sort of lucky. If the snows good you will love it, if its so so it's probably still better than Mt Hutt. Enjoy.
 

Seth

I am figure skating
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If you are going to UT, spending a day at DV/PC/TC first up wouldn't be such a bad idea to ease into your stay.
 

Cherry Ripe

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My thoughts..

BW has everything you want except the apres activities, not much in the way of shopping/restaurants.

Whistler, yes ticks all the boxes on paper, if you can get reasonably priced accommodation and it's easy to access.

There are a few places in Colorado that would suit - Steamboat, Breckenridge, Telluride (a bit more expensive to access - transfers etc). These all have proper 'towns', so there are a lot of things to do after skiing.

They will be a bit more expensive than Canada, but can be affordable if you self-cater, they all have quite big supermarkets where you can buy all you need at reasonable prices.

VRBO is a good place to look for accommodation, I find there is a lot of choice of places for larger groups.

I thought Utah was a lot more expensive than Colorado (even comparing to Aspen/Vail).
 

Cherry Ripe

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tbnext said:
My USA answer is "Utah" and avoid Deer Valley, Park City and The Canyons. This is because I think one should ski the world's best on holidays when one is paying to fly. One does not fly to ski groomers. One flys for face shots, or is that just me??

tbnext - if you avoid Park City area, you're not going to get shopping/restaurants (one of the requirements), I can't think of anywhere?
 
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Summit

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tbnext said:
My USA answer is "Utah" and avoid Deer Valley, Park City and The Canyons. This is because I think one should ski the world's best on holidays when one is paying to fly. One does not fly to ski groomers. One flys for face shots, or is that just me??

Park City would be my choice based on the information given. He said intermediate and beginners need to be well catered for.

PC has great apre, they can stay close to the town lift if ski in ski out is important. But the crucial thing is such a diversity of choice by catching a bus. They can ski PC, Deer Valley, Canyons, Snowbird & Alta from their PC base. Plenty of alternatives needed in a 3 week stint. I wouldn't want to ski Steamboat or Telluride for a whole 3 week stint.

Transfers to PC are also easy being less than an hour from SLC airport.

And of course there is the awesome Utah snow.
 
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sly_karma

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SLC and Kelowna are both easy connections from your north american port of entry. Flight times very similar. Resorts are within an hour of both airports.
 

galzigbahn

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Must agree Whistler Creekside is good value,
last run top to bottom at the end of the day is enjoyable and some beers in that massive bar/barn at the bottom is icing on the cake.
 

Annalisse

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try websites like Allura Direct and Owner Direct - that way you can rent a condo/apartment/whatever directly off the owner and it should be alot cheaper that way
 

Oscy

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I have not been, but have family that really rate Sun Peaks for everything you want. The mums dont ski and are happy there for a week or two, the skiiers and kids love the terrain and they say that the accom is great and resonably priced.
 

Summit

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Gareth, maybe you should re-think your priorities.

Staying in one resort in North America for 3 weeks with a high priority on ski in ski out doesn't gel unless you're happy skiing the same runs time after time. The resorts in North America are just not big enough. The resorts that suit what you are after would be in Europe, 3 Valleys & L'Espace Killy for example.

If it has to be North America then I'd be sacrificing a lot of the ski in ski out convenience and stay in Park City & catch buses some days, or stay in 2 or 3 different areas and have mainly ski in ski out in each of those areas. Eg spread the 3 weeks between some suitable Colorado Resorts. Some of the ones to consider being Steamboat, Telluride, Aspen, Crested Butte & Breckrenridge (high altitude is a consideration here though).

 

gareth_oau

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perhaps my use of the word ski-in-ski-out was a bit too specific or optimiticc, I'm chasing on-snow accommodation, but doesnt actually have to be on a run. Its as much about the 'romance' of it as the convenience. a 400m walk to a lift is not a big issue
 

Born2ski

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Summit said:
Staying in one resort in North America for 3 weeks with a high priority on ski in ski out doesn't gel unless you're happy skiing the same runs time after time. The resorts in North America are just not big enough.
North American resorts not big enough ?? What do you think of Aussie or NZ resorts then ?
eek.gif

Yes European resorts are HUGE but I wouldn't exactly call North American resorts small. I actually prefer to stay at one resort for a week or more that way you get to know the resort better and learn about the secret little places.
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gareth_oau said:
I'm chasing on-snow accommodation, but doesnt actually have to be on a run. Its as much about the 'romance' of it as the convenience. a 400m walk to a lift is not a big issue
Now that opens up even MORE options. We stayed at the bottom of the Canyons resort in Utah earlier this year and that was only a few hundred meters to the lifts. And about the same distance to the free buses that took you to Park City resort and Deer Valley. You could definitely get some good value condos around that area and you're only a short free bus ride away from Park City which has heaps of shops and restaurants.
 
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Podlet

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Gareth, not sure if you are familiar with the Utah resorts and how they sit on the Wasatch Mountain Range..... So a little geography....

Little Copperwood Canyon and Big Copperwood Canyon (LCC + BCC) sit on the western side of the Wasatch range, which is also the side Salt Lake city is on. Park City, Deer valley and The Canyons are on the eastern side of the range, at almost the same 'level' (looking on a map).

In LCC is Snowbird and Alta and in BCC is Brighton and Solitude.

Alta doesn't allow snowboarders and I believe they don't have 'safety bars' on the lifts..... eek.

If you want on snow accom, it's available at the places you mention in your first post, but I think not quite what you're thinking of.

From what others have said of Colorado, it might fit the bill a little better. Park city was nice for a week, but for 3 weeks I think you'd get bored, of the town that is.
 

timmyhugecans

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Banff- Nice town,shopping ect good skiing options(can get real cold) sunshine, lake loise norquay.
Whisler... got everthing(olympics)
Heavenly-south lake tahoe, casinos, shopping access to Hevenly,kirkwood,Sierra.
 

Summit

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Born2ski said:
Summit said:
Staying in one resort in North America for 3 weeks with a high priority on ski in ski out doesn't gel unless you're happy skiing the same runs time after time. The resorts in North America are just not big enough.
North American resorts not big enough ?? What do you think of Aussie or NZ resorts then ?
eek.gif

Yes European resorts are HUGE but I wouldn't exactly call North American resorts small. I actually prefer to stay at one resort for a week or more that way you get to know the resort better and learn about the secret little places.
biggrin.gif

We are all different.

If I was going to North America for three weeks it wouldn't be to ski at one resort. Sounds as though you'd be happy in the one resort for 3 weeks, but this thread is about giving Gareth some info to assist him make the decision.
 
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cin

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I've been checking out some of the less well known resorts around Washington and they look great. They also seem to be really good value and I'd imagine alot less crowds than the well known US resorts.

This is the largest resort in washington state, Crystal Mountain, almost 1000m of vertical - http://www.skicrystal.com/

another few I like the look of;

http://www.mtbaker.us/
http://www.missionridge.com/
http://www.stevenspass.com/
http://www.summitatsnoqualmie.com/
http://www.mtspokane.com/
http://www.skiwhitepass.com/

Has anyone skied any of these resorts? Heinz? Paedde?
 
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Summit

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cin said:
I've been checking out some of the less well known resorts around Washington and they look great. They also seem to be really good value and I'd imagine alot less crowds than the well known US resorts.

This is the largest resort in washington state, Crystal Mountain, almost 1000m of vertical - http://www.skicrystal.com/

another few I like the look of;

http://www.mtbaker.us/
http://www.missionridge.com/
http://www.stevenspass.com/
http://www.summitatsnoqualmie.com/
http://www.mtspokane.com/
http://www.skiwhitepass.com/

Has anyone skied any of these resorts? Heinz? Paedde?

Haven't skied any of those resorts, though I have heard of the term Cascade Concrete, not that whoever coined it would have been thinking of a snowy resort like Mt Baker.
 
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Willy

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We were booked to land in LAX before I started the research for a ski resort to visit, so we always had to factor in hire car and or internal flights/transfers.

In the end for my needs (2 kids & +1 who still need some lessons) Big White worked out the best value. BW ticked all the boxes, many the same as you require. The +1 really wanted ski in/out and it is hard to beat BW in that department.

Canada still worked out cheaper even after adding on the Westjet internal flights. This was worked out when the Oz $ was low 70's and the CAD was 93c when I paid for it all. The numbers will work out differently now that the $ is around 84c.

Enjoy the research and number crunching!
 

sly_karma

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The Washington ski areas are well endowed with snow, but like anywhere on the west coast region, it can be wet. (Still better than anything Oz has to offer). A more serious issue for Gareth's needs, though, is that none of these should be considered a 'destination' resort. Crystal might get close, but none of them have the large base area with a full range of accoms, dining and off-snow entertainment options that typically defines a modern full-service resort. The main reason for this is that virtually all are located on National Forest lands and as such depend on leases and the relatively uncertain tenure implied. Large-scale development and national marketing have mostly bypassed the Washington ski industry; its focus is primarily on regional rubber-tyre traffic rather than fly-in destination visitors. Whistler still draws a considerable chunk of its clientele from the Seattle/Puget Sound region, as it best satisfies needs for full facility resort within a 4 hour drive.

Now, I'm not saying people won't enjoy skiing any of these hills, but it would be a rare family who'd enjoy a 3 week holiday at, say, Baker or Stevens, although a few days as part of a road trip would be a great experience. I've skied all but the last two on the list, though it's been a few years for most of them. The closest we have to a local for WA on this forum is Gortonator, he lives in central WA and roadtrips most or all of them each season.
 

Courtup

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I would highly recommend Sun Peaks for the family. We have been there twice - ski in/out accomodation is pretty cheap. The village is very purpose built. Spent a day cross country skiing and snow mobiling when the snow wasn't great and these ended up being some of the highlights of the trip. Big open runs perfect for intermediates. Sun peaks is second largest resort in BC after whistler

Spent 2 weeks in BW last season and one week in Silverstar. The ski passes for these two are connected so would recommend time at both if you go down this path. BW is very good for catering for families. But the villiages in BW and SS aren't as big as Sunpeaks. BW is a good mountain.

Certainly book apartments through private owners such as alluradirect.com we have always had good expirences.

Whistler is good - but it is just so big and commercialise - its a different feel to the smaller villiages. great restaurants though.

I would def do two resorts over three weeks. Take advantage of the "pay 8 stay 10" deals through the travel agencies.
 

currawong

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if you stay at Breck, your ticket is also good for Keystone, A-basin, Vail, Beaver. You need to jump on a bus, but it means there is a lot of variety.

But let's face it, the USA is the pits. Go to Europe for a much better experience.
 

Rush

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IMO Whistler-Blackcomb has enough terrain to keep you interested for three weeks.

On your 'days off' you can go sightseeing in Vancouver, its a nice city with plenty to see and do.
 

tbnext

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I am Utah biased, and Im going back!!!

In Aus I have a thredbo lodge membership, high side, shuttle but pretty on snow.

Uni days slept where I could, within 50kms

Aus now-WILL NOT drive

Utah-6.30, wakey wakey, sure, who got the best snow, lets drive. And I recommend it. Go figure.
 
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