Author Topic: Please suggest good and affordable skiing US destination for Christmas  (Read 12790 times)

Krolik

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 102
  • Age: 42
  • Location: S.Florida
We would love to spend this Christmas somewhere where we could ski a little and teach our 4 year old daughter some basics. I know Christmas time is the most expensive and crowded to go skiing but unfortunately this is the only time we can go.
When I was browsing online the obvious destinations are Aspen, Vail, etc which are crazy expensive.

Do you know less popular skiing resorts in US with decent lodging and ski school for beginner kids which don't cost arm and leg?
FYI - we would be travelling from Miami, FL

Thanks in advance for your help;-)

iknowiyam

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 178
    • The Honest Yam
Re: Please suggest good and affordable skiing US destination for Christmas
« Reply #1 on: September 21, 2015, 01:03:53 PM »
Check out Tennessee or North Carolina. If you want to travel farther then try New Hampshire, Vermont, or Maine - probably all be cheaper than going out west.

AZDude

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1298
Re: Please suggest good and affordable skiing US destination for Christmas
« Reply #2 on: September 21, 2015, 01:22:22 PM »
Try Salt Lake City/Park City, Utah? Never been but I've heard good things. There are a couple in Arizona, but one is quite a drive from the airport and the other might not have snow that early in the winter.

cliffhanger

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 117
Re: Please suggest good and affordable skiing US destination for Christmas
« Reply #3 on: September 21, 2015, 01:24:58 PM »
I'd agree that the Appalachians would be your cheapest option. In my opinion Boone, NC has the best skiing closest to you. The weather, however, may not be cold enough by that time of year; it's really hit or miss. You could also go up to West Virginia for some better weather and bigger resorts while still remaining reasonably priced.

Civex

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 167
Re: Please suggest good and affordable skiing US destination for Christmas
« Reply #4 on: September 21, 2015, 01:33:24 PM »
Big Sky or Red Lodge Montana are much more reasonable than much of Colorado or Utah and are gorgeous. I would check daily temperature averages for end of December, though. I've been to both, but usually in late Winter, early Spring (March, April) and had a blast. Decided to go off season to a different resort in January, and it was below 0 degrees most of the day; only can get in one or two runs before needing to thaw :).

My brother and I both learned to ski in Red Lodge, he attended a kids class ( he was 3-4 at the time) and I had a private teacher, which allowed my parents to enjoy some time to themselves. We both had a blast, and I'd guess the instructors are still good, but my experience was 20ish years ago.

Just saw that you are from FL; so the cost of flying to MT may outweigh savings.

snogirl

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 367
Re: Please suggest good and affordable skiing US destination for Christmas
« Reply #5 on: September 21, 2015, 01:40:26 PM »
Check out Cochran's Ski Area in Richmond, VT.
They specialize in affordable ways to teach your kids to ski.
The place is great, I can tell you how many of my friends learned to ski there.
Plus the family has produced Olympic Gold Medal downhill racers.
They know what they are doing.
I personally have skied there (lifelong skier). 
There are other mountains that are close by ie. Smuggler's Notch, Bolton Valley, Sugarbush, Jay Peak.
Jay is nice because it has an inside water park.  There prices though reflect the perk.
Personally I like Cochran's only because it soooo affordable & you can do other things.
It is close to BTV too about 12 miles.
There is no lodging on site but there are rentals & they made snow. 
There are plenty of places to stay in the area.
http://www.cochranskiarea.com

spokey doke

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 513
  • Escaped from the ivory tower basement
Re: Please suggest good and affordable skiing US destination for Christmas
« Reply #6 on: September 21, 2015, 01:52:03 PM »
There are a ton of smaller and less expensive destinations out there, but many are a bit more work to get to.

I would not at all be confident that there will be reliable snow out east, except at places with extensive snow making resources (and those tend to be pricey).  I am not much for skiing on ice in any case...

Out West, elevation helps quite a bit, and there are many ski hills in less resort-like areas than Vail and Aspen that you can get to from Denver.  But I'm not from Colorado, so I'll let others cover those areas.

I also wouldn't recommend Park City for a cheap ski vacation, but there are quite a few places within reach of the Salt Lake City airport that are much more reasonable for housing and skiing, or a short connection out of Salt Lake.

Red Lodge is one of those small town ski hills, but IMO, harder to get to than others.  Big Sky Montana is outside of Bozeman, and is huge and beautiful, but also not that cheap for skiing or lodging.

Grand Targhee, on the west side of the Tetons and a few hours from SLC is pretty phenomenal, mellow scene, and has reasonable rates for skiing and lodging (they also get a ton of snow, and should be operating at Christmas).  If you stay in SLC, Brighton and Solitude and Alta can be good options up the canyons, and you can get good pretty good deals on lodging in the city right near a major air hub. 

And there are a number of others...including small ski areas that charge quite a bit less but can have more challenges in terms of snow coverage. A number of examples are in the Cascades east of Eugene, Salem, Portland, Seattle, etc..  Others are strewn throughout the Rockies and the Intermountain West
« Last Edit: September 21, 2015, 02:11:41 PM by spokey doke »

Easye418

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 472
Re: Please suggest good and affordable skiing US destination for Christmas
« Reply #7 on: September 21, 2015, 01:56:09 PM »
There are a ton of smaller and less expensive destinations out there, but many are a bit more work to get to.

I would not at all be confident that there will be reliable snow out east, except at places with extensive snow making resources (and those tend to be pricey).

Out west, elevation helps quite a bit, and there are many ski hills in less resort-like areas than Vail and Aspen that you can get to from Denver.  But I'm not from Colorado, so I'll let others cover those areas.

I also wouldn't recommend Park City for a cheap ski vacation, but there are quite a few places within reach of the Salt Lake City airport that are much more reasonable for housing and skiing, or a short connection out of Salt Lake.

Red Lodge is one of those small town ski hills, but IMO, harder to get to than others.  Big Sky Montana is outside of Bozeman, and is huge and beautiful, but also not that cheap for skiing or lodging.

Grand Targhee, on the west side of the Tetons and a few hours from SLC is pretty phenomenal, mellow scene, and has reasonable rates for skiing and lodging (they also get a ton of snow, and should be operating at Christmas).  If you stay in SLC, Brighton and Solitude and Alta can be good options up the canyons, and you can get good pretty good deals on lodging in the city right near a major air hub. 

And there are a number of others...

I was just going to say the same thing.... I would NOT recommend Park City as a cheap destination in any aspect.  Beautiful (challenging) course, but expensive as all.

Anyone know any places near TX?  I was going to look into NM.
« Last Edit: September 21, 2015, 01:59:32 PM by Easye418 »

Krolik

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 102
  • Age: 42
  • Location: S.Florida
Re: Please suggest good and affordable skiing US destination for Christmas
« Reply #8 on: September 21, 2015, 01:56:35 PM »
Wonderful advice so far. Thank you all!

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3057
  • Location: Emmaus, PA
Re: Please suggest good and affordable skiing US destination for Christmas
« Reply #9 on: September 21, 2015, 02:00:47 PM »
Pennsylvania also has some ski resorts, and Christmas is usually pretty cold so they should be more reliable than North Carolina or Tennessee. Ones near where I live are about an hour drive from the Philadelphia airport - Blue Mountain in Palmerton and Bear Creek in...Google calls that address Macungie.

Fishindude

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2124
Re: Please suggest good and affordable skiing US destination for Christmas
« Reply #10 on: September 21, 2015, 02:06:45 PM »
Some nice places in northern Michigan that would be good for beginners and much cheaper than traveling out west.

MountainFlower

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 278
  • Location: Colorado Mountains
Re: Please suggest good and affordable skiing US destination for Christmas
« Reply #11 on: September 21, 2015, 02:11:12 PM »
There is a small area near Nederland Colorado (about 30 minutes from Boulder) called Eldora.  It has an amazing ski school and great beginner area.  It is perfect for a 4 year old.  You can buy 4-pack passes now online on their website that would be cheap for you.  They probably won't be available once the mountain opens.  I think there are plenty of VBRO and airbnb places to stay, like in a cozy cabin.  When you need a day off or a sushi fix, go to Boulder! 

You could also stay in Boulder, but I'd probably go for the full on mountain experience.  Boulder is located where the mountains meet the plains.  There is a public bus that goes from Boulder to Eldora Ski Area up Boulder Canyon, but the canyon can and does close sometimes in the winter for several hours at a time.  Actually, the bus is usually the cause!  Since you are coming from Florida, I'd probably stay nearby and skip that driving.

We have passes to Eldora and enjoy it with our young kids.   Oh, I should mention, Eldora has a reputation for wind.  We're used to it and have never let it get in the way of our fun.  However, I think it's worth mentioning.  If you did stay in the area, you'd be about 1.5+ hours from the larger resorts such as Copper Mountain, Keystone, or Breckenridge. 

Happy to answer more questions. 


Lanthiriel

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 801
  • Location: Portlandia
Re: Please suggest good and affordable skiing US destination for Christmas
« Reply #12 on: September 21, 2015, 03:16:27 PM »
If we actually get snow this year, you should come up to Alyeska in Girdwood, Alaska. It's looking promising--snow is in the forecast for next week!

Mongoose

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2435
Re: Please suggest good and affordable skiing US destination for Christmas
« Reply #13 on: September 21, 2015, 03:49:28 PM »
We lived in Salt Lake City for 8 years. (And are moving back at the first available opportunity).

Park City is pretty pricy. Snowbasin outside of Ogden is much more affordable. They have a kids program (I taught there for a season) and some decent terrain. End of December, all of these resorts should have pretty good cover, especially on the beginner terrain as they have extensive snowmaking. The lift etc at Snowbasin is great for littles. Brighton has an excessively tall seat height on their beginner lift but Solitude is nicer in those terms. You can ride a bus up from the base of the canyon. If you decide on Salt Lake area, I'd be happy to answer whatever questions I can.

Be a little careful with kids programs. Deer Valley (in Park City) has littles riding chairlifts by themselves without an adult or safety bar. I was flabbergasted to find that out. Needless to say, my littles never went there. If such things are a concern, you might want to check things out a bit before settling on a place.

By far our favorite place in the intermountain west is Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. It is pricier than Grand Targee but their children's program was the hands down best we ever found. The beginner runs are fantastic. I will admit to flagrant bias...it is my (and my kids' and DH's) favorite place on earth. If you decide to go to Jackson or Grand Targee, you might consider flying into Jackson, Wyoming. They are about 5 hours drive from Salt Lake and things can get interesting if there is a storm (some roads aren't cleared at all until after the storm is over).

KirstyB

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 21
Re: Please suggest good and affordable skiing US destination for Christmas
« Reply #14 on: September 21, 2015, 09:09:27 PM »
We have just booked Grand Targhee for new year and accomodation rates are very reasonable. Our kids passes are free with accomodation and we can get discount lift tickets on the adult passes so all in all a good deal. We skied Big Sky last year - very reasonable accomodation (when compared with Vail, Park City etc that we have skied in previous years) but expensive lift ticket.
If you can stomach crossing the border (where the Canadian dollar is cheap) Whistler still has one of the best kids ski programs (IMO) and accomodation (while not cheap) should at least be cheaper than in past years.

MDM

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 9609
Re: Please suggest good and affordable skiing US destination for Christmas
« Reply #15 on: September 21, 2015, 09:34:26 PM »
We would love to spend this Christmas somewhere where we could ski a little and teach our 4 year old daughter some basics.
Do you know less popular skiing resorts in US with decent lodging and ski school for beginner kids which don't cost arm and leg?
Some nice places in northern Michigan that would be good for beginners and much cheaper than traveling out west.
There are multiple places along not far from US Hwy 2.  In MI, a good place for a 4yo to learn might be Big Powderhorn.  When she's a bit older (maybe 8?) you can try one in Wisconsin that I really like, Whitecap Mountains.
Going NW from those, http://www.giantsridge.com/ is ~1 hr north of Duluth.
Others in northern MI: http://www.skimichigan.com/

csprof

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 229
Re: Please suggest good and affordable skiing US destination for Christmas
« Reply #16 on: September 21, 2015, 09:43:27 PM »
I also wouldn't recommend Park City for a cheap ski vacation, but there are quite a few places within reach of the Salt Lake City airport that are much more reasonable for housing and skiing, or a short connection out of Salt Lake.

+this.  Alta is much more affordable (and has better powder).  There's relatively affordable housing around the base of the canyon.  Staying up at the resorts can be fun - and if there's a huge snow that closes the canyons, you win big - but it's expensive.  You do get to ski from your hotel room, but it's not a great value-for-dollar except as a short getaway.  You're also closer to grocery stores and affordable supplies by staying down at the bottom.  Be near wasatch blvd, get up the canyon early to avoid the crowds, and it's a very reasonable way to do it.

(n.b. - Alta doesn't allow snowboards, if that makes a difference for you.)

Cole

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 91
Re: Please suggest good and affordable skiing US destination for Christmas
« Reply #17 on: September 21, 2015, 10:04:13 PM »
Loveland ski resort in colorado is my favorite for cheap skiing. I live in denver though so I'm slightly biased.

aperture

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 468
  • Location: Colorado
Re: Please suggest good and affordable skiing US destination for Christmas
« Reply #18 on: September 21, 2015, 11:37:57 PM »
Quote
Loveland ski resort in colorado is my favorite for cheap skiing. I live in denver though so I'm slightly biased.
+1 for Loveland - affordable, but sometimes windy and cold.  If you are looking for more affordable than Aspen/Vail, then you may be looking for the whole ski town experience that those destinations offer.  I would encourage you to look at Crested Butte.  If you want diverse mountains, I would rent in Frisco and pick from Breckenridge, Copper Mountain, Loveland, and Vail/Beaver Creek (splurge). 

You will find Christmas vacation at any of these resorts is very busy and likely pretty spendy - but not as expensive as Vail or Aspen.  When the kids were little we used to celebrate Christmas on the 26th and ski on the 25th.  Slopes were usually empty in the AM and filled only ~1/2 way all day compared to the rest of that week. 

Best wishes -Aperture

Dee18

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1620
Re: Please suggest good and affordable skiing US destination for Christmas
« Reply #19 on: September 22, 2015, 04:52:36 AM »
I took my daughter to NH to learn to ski when she was 8.  The Balsams, where we went, was sold and I don't believe it's open now, but I really recommend a small ski area like that in northern Vermont or NH.  The skiing was very inexpensive, with mostly local people who were not into flashy ski clothes or expensive food.  As long as you aren't looking for much nightlife it's great.  You can fly into Manchester, NH, via Southwest ....probably on miles if you get a new SwW credit card.

jengod

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1220
  • Location: Near LAX
Re: Please suggest good and affordable skiing US destination for Christmas
« Reply #20 on: September 22, 2015, 09:52:37 AM »
High-elevation New Mexico: Taos or Cloudcroft.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Better Change

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 167
Re: Please suggest good and affordable skiing US destination for Christmas
« Reply #21 on: September 22, 2015, 10:23:20 AM »
When I was growing up near Cleveland, I spent many winters skiing in western New York (Holiday Valley, Peek 'n Peak).  Good ski school and plenty of good, long runs for the little ones.

Telecaster

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1905
  • Location: Seattle, WA
Re: Please suggest good and affordable skiing US destination for Christmas
« Reply #22 on: September 22, 2015, 05:21:11 PM »
We lived in Salt Lake City for 8 years. (And are moving back at the first available opportunity).

Park City is pretty pricy. Snowbasin outside of Ogden is much more affordable. They have a kids program (I taught there for a season) and some decent terrain. End of December, all of these resorts should have pretty good cover, especially on the beginner terrain as they have extensive snowmaking. The lift etc at Snowbasin is great for littles. Brighton has an excessively tall seat height on their beginner lift but Solitude is nicer in those terms. You can ride a bus up from the base of the canyon. If you decide on Salt Lake area, I'd be happy to answer whatever questions I can.

Be a little careful with kids programs. Deer Valley (in Park City) has littles riding chairlifts by themselves without an adult or safety bar. I was flabbergasted to find that out. Needless to say, my littles never went there. If such things are a concern, you might want to check things out a bit before settling on a place.

By far our favorite place in the intermountain west is Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. It is pricier than Grand Targee but their children's program was the hands down best we ever found. The beginner runs are fantastic. I will admit to flagrant bias...it is my (and my kids' and DH's) favorite place on earth. If you decide to go to Jackson or Grand Targee, you might consider flying into Jackson, Wyoming. They are about 5 hours drive from Salt Lake and things can get interesting if there is a storm (some roads aren't cleared at all until after the storm is over).

I love, love, love Jackson Hole.   The beginner runs are great and a beginner lift only pass is like $25 or something.   But after that prices go up a bunch, and there is very little intermediate terrain.   My wife learned to ski there as an adult and she's finding it challenging to get off the bunny hill.   If you love the steep and deep, oh man, there is no place better. Did I say I love Jackson?  I really love Jackson.    An alternative airport to Jackson is Idaho Falls, which can be cheaper.  The drawback is you are on the other side of the Tetons (the Targhee side).   While Targhee doesn't have the terrain or setting of Jackson, they usually have better snow.   

I actually learned to ski at Snowbasin.  Back then they sort of just pushed you down the hill and collected you at the bottom  :)  I'm sure things have improved since then.   I skied there a ton, so there is a special place in my heart for Snowbasin even though it has changed great from its history as a family resort.  Several of the Salt Lake resorts are still affordable, Brighton, Solitude, and Alta for example.    I agree that Park City/Deer Valley are worth skipping. 

Other option is Brian Head in southern Utah.  The advantage there is you can fly to Vegas, which is often a cheap place to fly to. 


RichMoose

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 966
  • Location: Alberta
  • RiskManagement
    • The Rich Moose | A Better Canadian Finance Blog
Re: Please suggest good and affordable skiing US destination for Christmas
« Reply #23 on: September 23, 2015, 08:42:01 AM »
I know you said U.S. destination, but have you considered Canada? Our season is longer than most areas in the U.S. and the dollar is a $0.75 so it could make financial sense.

Here are some B.C. resorts I would recommend:

http://kickinghorseresort.com/ Makes sense to fly into Calgary and rent a car to Golden for a couple hours drive.

http://www.skisilverstar.com/ Fly into Vancouver (or Calgary), then drive about 6 hours to the resort. Or take a short connector flight to Kelowna from Calgary.

http://www.sunpeaksresort.com/ Fly into Vancouver, then drive about 4 hours to the resort.

http://www.whistlerblackcomb.com/ Fly into Vancouver, then drive 1.5 hours to the resort.

Daisy

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2091
Re: Please suggest good and affordable skiing US destination for Christmas
« Reply #24 on: September 23, 2015, 09:13:23 AM »
I know you said U.S. destination, but have you considered Canada? Our season is longer than most areas in the U.S. and the dollar is a $0.75 so it could make financial sense.

Here are some B.C. resorts I would recommend:

http://kickinghorseresort.com/ Makes sense to fly into Calgary and rent a car to Golden for a couple hours drive.

http://www.skisilverstar.com/ Fly into Vancouver (or Calgary), then drive about 6 hours to the resort. Or take a short connector flight to Kelowna from Calgary.

http://www.sunpeaksresort.com/ Fly into Vancouver, then drive about 4 hours to the resort.

http://www.whistlerblackcomb.com/ Fly into Vancouver, then drive 1.5 hours to the resort.

Do you recommend the Banff/Lake Louise area? What are good ways to save money at those destinations?

What's the best time frame? Is it too cold in January? Is April too late or is it a long season?

Thanks.

RichMoose

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 966
  • Location: Alberta
  • RiskManagement
    • The Rich Moose | A Better Canadian Finance Blog
Re: Please suggest good and affordable skiing US destination for Christmas
« Reply #25 on: September 23, 2015, 01:00:38 PM »
I know you said U.S. destination, but have you considered Canada? Our season is longer than most areas in the U.S. and the dollar is a $0.75 so it could make financial sense.

Here are some B.C. resorts I would recommend:

http://kickinghorseresort.com/ Makes sense to fly into Calgary and rent a car to Golden for a couple hours drive.

http://www.skisilverstar.com/ Fly into Vancouver (or Calgary), then drive about 6 hours to the resort. Or take a short connector flight to Kelowna from Calgary.

http://www.sunpeaksresort.com/ Fly into Vancouver, then drive about 4 hours to the resort.

http://www.whistlerblackcomb.com/ Fly into Vancouver, then drive 1.5 hours to the resort.

Do you recommend the Banff/Lake Louise area? What are good ways to save money at those destinations?

What's the best time frame? Is it too cold in January? Is April too late or is it a long season?

Thanks.

Banff area is nice and the mountains are great. The problem is it's very touristy and busy and the prices are quite high. I have been to Banff, but not to Kicking Horse. However, some of my friends have been to both and they think the extra 1 hr+ drive to Kicking Horse is worth it. My FIL is an avid skier and flatly refuses to ski in Banff. Lake Louise is very remote feeling because there is virtually no town site, but it's generally very busy on the hill. The snow in Lake Louise is comparable to Kicking Horse with a base of over 100" at minimum.

For obvious reasons, the best time to ski is always during the week and not during Christmas vacation or long weekends if you can help it. January is a great time to ski, sure it can be very cold but that's a possibility from middle October to April. Two years ago I was in Banff at the end of October and it was -15C in town. The weather can change quickly at these hills because of the elevation and the winds changing as they come through the mountains.

Most seasons there is still good skiing in April.

PencilThinStash

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 191
  • Age: 29
  • Location: Chicago Suburbs
Re: Please suggest good and affordable skiing US destination for Christmas
« Reply #26 on: September 23, 2015, 02:34:55 PM »
Posting to follow.

Hardly even fall yet, and I'm already itching for proper skiing weather...

PharmaStache

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 260
  • Location: Canada
  • Peg City 'Stache
Re: Please suggest good and affordable skiing US destination for Christmas
« Reply #27 on: September 23, 2015, 05:37:09 PM »
I know you said U.S. destination, but have you considered Canada? Our season is longer than most areas in the U.S. and the dollar is a $0.75 so it could make financial sense.

Here are some B.C. resorts I would recommend:

http://kickinghorseresort.com/ Makes sense to fly into Calgary and rent a car to Golden for a couple hours drive.

http://www.skisilverstar.com/ Fly into Vancouver (or Calgary), then drive about 6 hours to the resort. Or take a short connector flight to Kelowna from Calgary.

http://www.sunpeaksresort.com/ Fly into Vancouver, then drive about 4 hours to the resort.

http://www.whistlerblackcomb.com/ Fly into Vancouver, then drive 1.5 hours to the resort.

Do you recommend the Banff/Lake Louise area? What are good ways to save money at those destinations?

What's the best time frame? Is it too cold in January? Is April too late or is it a long season?

Thanks.

Banff is nice because you can stay in the town and then go to 3 different resorts- Lake Louise, Sunshine Village and Mt Norquay.  If you do a package with skibig3 they have a bus that picks you up and takes you to the resorts every day too.  January is cold, though (when I went that month, I was FREEZING up at the top after sitting on the chairlift).  We went to Big White (outside Kelowna BC, so harder for you to get to) last year which I think would be warmer in January.  My favourite place is still Sunshine!  We'll be going there again this spring (I think they have the latest spring skiing- until May).

peoria

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 37
Re: Please suggest good and affordable skiing US destination for Christmas
« Reply #28 on: September 23, 2015, 05:51:50 PM »
For Downhill skiing at a bit lower price, I like powder mountain in Eden, UT. Not sure how they are with lessons though.

Have you considered introducing your daughter to cross country skiing instead though? Prices are way cheaper, it is great exercise, and if you find places with rolling hills you can get some of the downhill excitement.    (I also like it because it helps me avoid the wind and cold of sitting on the chairlifts) 

I found a decent ( but dates) cross country ski setup for $50 on craigslist, and I have found a mix of places offering city sponsored multi use trails,  free cross country at some resorts,  up to about $20 a day for a trail pass.  ( Also found discount trail passes on groupon).  Lessons at the places are cheaper too, though I never took any.

Not nearly as crowded either, even on holiday weeks.



RosieTR

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 396
  • Location: Northern CO
Re: Please suggest good and affordable skiing US destination for Christmas
« Reply #29 on: September 23, 2015, 07:07:52 PM »
I know you said U.S. destination, but have you considered Canada? Our season is longer than most areas in the U.S. and the dollar is a $0.75 so it could make financial sense.

Here are some B.C. resorts I would recommend:

http://kickinghorseresort.com/ Makes sense to fly into Calgary and rent a car to Golden for a couple hours drive.

http://www.skisilverstar.com/ Fly into Vancouver (or Calgary), then drive about 6 hours to the resort. Or take a short connector flight to Kelowna from Calgary.

http://www.sunpeaksresort.com/ Fly into Vancouver, then drive about 4 hours to the resort.

http://www.whistlerblackcomb.com/ Fly into Vancouver, then drive 1.5 hours to the resort.

Would these have snow in early Nov? We are planning a trip to Banff for the mountain film fest and could bring boards....

Not to steal the OP's thread though: I vote for Ski Cooper if you're gung-ho on Colorado. Lots of gentle terrain, smaller, friendlier resort, stay in Leadville for far less than resort towns (think BnBs). The plus and minus: a fair drive from Denver, and rather high. Altitude (no idea about substances). This may be an issue with family if anyone is sensitive to altitude because even Leadville's at 10,000ft. Another option would be Snowy Range in Wyoming. I have not skied there but the vibe is definitely more gentle terrain and family friendly. You could stay in Laramie, Cheyenne or Ft Collins for a short drive, with more "town" and less resort (ie grocery stores, probably AirBnB possibilities).
Since there's El Nino the thought is southern tier will get good snow. You could consider Taos NM or Sunlight in Arizona (fly to Phx then couple hrs drive). Snowbowl in AZ seemed overpriced and full of college students.

Goldielocks

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6443
  • Location: BC
Re: Please suggest good and affordable skiing US destination for Christmas
« Reply #30 on: September 23, 2015, 07:21:19 PM »
With Canada's dollar at 75 cents now, try one of the many hills in the Rockies.

For a 4 yo I would go with big white, silver star, panorama, etc.  Banff is quite cold in dec and January.  We go there in the early spring.

Kicking horse and revelstoke look awesome but steep.. If mom and dad are avid I would try that.

Whistler attracts a lot of rich people but is great.
« Last Edit: September 23, 2015, 07:25:48 PM by goldielocks »

frugaliknowit

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1671
Re: Please suggest good and affordable skiing US destination for Christmas
« Reply #31 on: September 23, 2015, 08:30:43 PM »
For purposes of teaching kids who have little/no experience, there is no point in going to a fancy pants resort.  All they need is a bunny hill and decent instruction.  You can find that anywhere.  Go close by your home. 

When the kids (and you) are more advanced, then look at the big mountains.  Colorado and Utah are pretty much the same cost.  Jackson Hole is more expensive (due to increased airfare) and even more advanced.  CA is in a drought, so I'd stay away for now.

Since you live in Fl., as others have said look at the Carolinas and WV or anywhere close.  You could also go to the Poconos of PA, or the Adirondacs of NY (Gore, Hunter, Wyndham, etc.), but that's pretty far.
« Last Edit: September 23, 2015, 08:36:53 PM by frugaliknowit »

Spondulix

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 642
  • Age: 39
  • Location: Los Angeles, CA
Re: Please suggest good and affordable skiing US destination for Christmas
« Reply #32 on: September 24, 2015, 03:56:09 PM »
For purposes of teaching kids who have little/no experience, there is no point in going to a fancy pants resort.  All they need is a bunny hill and decent instruction.  You can find that anywhere.  Go close by your home. 
I completely agree. It'd stink to pay $200 or more in lift tickets to find they get too cold to be out there after an hour.

If you do want to look in CO, look at AirBnB/VRBO rentals vs hotels. Last winter I saw listings in Keystone for like $130 a night within walking distance of the ski lift and in the middle of town. Loveland Pass or Eldorado (as suggested above) will likely be sunny/warmer than the higher elevations, and not fighting traffic up I-70 to the heart of the resort areas.

Edit: Christmas-New Years is one of the busiest times of the year for ski resorts anywhere. If there's any way to go the week before or after you'll save a lot (especially on plane tickets). Also, don't buy too much winter gear. Take a sweater and the heaviest coats you have, and look into renting/buying at your destination. I made this mistake last year trying to find winter coats, boots etc in Los Angeles - it was a pain in the butt, and it turned out to be super cheap (and everywhere) at my destination.
« Last Edit: September 24, 2015, 04:02:14 PM by Spondulix »

kimmarg

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 750
  • Location: Northern New England
Re: Please suggest good and affordable skiing US destination for Christmas
« Reply #33 on: September 24, 2015, 04:15:55 PM »

Be a little careful with kids programs. Deer Valley (in Park City) has littles riding chairlifts by themselves without an adult or safety bar. I was flabbergasted to find that out. Needless to say, my littles never went there. If such things are a concern, you might want to check things out a bit before settling on a place.
I taught at Deer Valley and we never let kids ride by themselves - always with an instructor or another adult and the bar down. 4 year old ride exclusively with an instructor. This was about 8 years ago now... At any rate it is NOT affordable. They did pay better though.

Out east I now ski at Mt.Abram in maine which  is great for learning. Also King Pine in NH.

If you're coming from Florida I have to caution you. How much snow has your child seen? If snow and snowpants and mittens AND skis are new it's easy for them to get overwhelmed. While obviously every kid is differnt kids from southern climates tending to need a bit more time to adjust.

chardog

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 182
  • Age: 55
  • Location: Austin, TX, USA
Re: Please suggest good and affordable skiing US destination for Christmas
« Reply #34 on: September 24, 2015, 07:07:59 PM »
For Downhill skiing at a bit lower price, I like powder mountain in Eden, UT.

I went there for about 10 years in a row back in the day but had not been for about 10 years.  I was looking at their snow totals for a few of the past years and they looked pretty disappointing compared to what I experienced.  I never went at Christmas time.  Would be concerned about snow that early.  The base and peak elevations are fairly low.

It's tricky to plan a ski trip from a place like Florida at Christmas time.  If you want the best chance for reliable snow, check the monthly averages.  You will probably need to pick a place with a higher elevation.

Daisy

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2091
Re: Please suggest good and affordable skiing US destination for Christmas
« Reply #35 on: September 24, 2015, 07:14:42 PM »
Thanks for the Banff comments.  I am also going from Florida so I prefer a pretty decently sized mountain to spend a week at. I'm not sure if those other surrounding mountains suggested can provide a lot of trails to cover that amount of ski time, but I will look into it.

As far as the kiddie for the OP I'd also suggest the northeast or something cheaper as they will be on the bunny hill most of the time. As far as Colorado I think Keystone is a good value in Summit County compared with Vail, Breck, etc.
« Last Edit: September 24, 2015, 08:32:31 PM by Daisy »

FIRE Artist

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 590
  • Location: YEG
Re: Please suggest good and affordable skiing US destination for Christmas
« Reply #36 on: September 24, 2015, 07:23:08 PM »
You might also check out the Quebec resorts, Mont Tremblant, Mont Sainte Anne etc.

california_daze

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 4
  • Location: Durham, NC
Re: Please suggest good and affordable skiing US destination for Christmas
« Reply #37 on: September 24, 2015, 09:00:12 PM »
I live out here in Durham, NC (by way of Sacramento, CA) and imo, Beech Mountain and Sugar Mountain out in Boone, NC are a tad bit expensive for what you get. Usually around ~$75 + rental if you need gear. The runs are short and the lines are long.

Not complaining - it's what we got out here and it's still fun! But I'm sure there are some better value options out there.

I recall skiing at Wolf Mountain over in Ogen, UT being quite cheap (very small runs, but probably great to teach on). Sheesh, I remember it being around $25 bucks about 8 years ago. Snow Basin was another great resort - absolutely HUGE and a ton of fun. Around ~$65 dollars about 8 years ago. Probably went around January and the lines weren't bad. I think everyone was out at Park City.

Good luck and have fun!

KirstyB

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 21
Re: Please suggest good and affordable skiing US destination for Christmas
« Reply #38 on: September 24, 2015, 10:01:11 PM »
Banff / LL are good, but the cold would definitely be something to take into consideration - actually why I suggested Whistler for small children. With it being coastal, it never gets very cold, so is brilliant for small children like yours not used to the cold. We used to take them there from London (UK). Now living in Calgary with a 9 and 11 old and they are better able to keep warm themselves so the -28oC we had last winter was perfectly fine! Lift passes up here are very expensive - something to consider.
Keystone at christmas a few years back was great, and very reasonably priced. If you are planning to ski more than 6 days at a Vail resort, the season pass is actually cheaper than a multi day. We skied breckenridge and beaver creek on the same trip as all owned by Vail.

Daisy

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2091
Re: Please suggest good and affordable skiing US destination for Christmas
« Reply #39 on: September 24, 2015, 10:10:30 PM »
Banff / LL are good, but the cold would definitely be something to take into consideration - actually why I suggested Whistler for small children. With it being coastal, it never gets very cold, so is brilliant for small children like yours not used to the cold. We used to take them there from London (UK). Now living in Calgary with a 9 and 11 old and they are better able to keep warm themselves so the -28oC we had last winter was perfectly fine! Lift passes up here are very expensive - something to consider.
Keystone at christmas a few years back was great, and very reasonably priced. If you are planning to ski more than 6 days at a Vail resort, the season pass is actually cheaper than a multi day. We skied breckenridge and beaver creek on the same trip as all owned by Vail.

Banff/LL - so would you say January would be way too cold for a Florida girl? How about February? Is April too late for good snow?

Telecaster

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1905
  • Location: Seattle, WA
Re: Please suggest good and affordable skiing US destination for Christmas
« Reply #40 on: September 24, 2015, 11:53:07 PM »
For Downhill skiing at a bit lower price, I like powder mountain in Eden, UT. Not sure how they are with lessons though.

I've skied a ton at Powder Mountain.  It is definitely more of a family resort than a destination resort--which is perfectly fine if that is what you are going for.  They tend to have a little more snow, cheaper prices,  and definitely much less wind than Snowbasin, which is just across the valley.

Speaking of valleys, Ogden Valley which is home to both Snowbasin and Powder Mtn used to be an idyllic mountain valley.   After the Olympics it is now a traffic congested, pre-fab mess. Heartbreaking, really. 

denverd1

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 2
Re: Please suggest good and affordable skiing US destination for Christmas
« Reply #41 on: September 25, 2015, 07:09:20 AM »
Not sure where you're coming from but Red River NM and Taos are affordable and good hills. Taos has blown up in the last 10 years but Red River is essentially the same sleepy town it was 20 yrs ago

sent from my Samsoon S5 from the bottom of a mud hole


Krolik

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 102
  • Age: 42
  • Location: S.Florida
Re: Please suggest good and affordable skiing US destination for Christmas
« Reply #42 on: September 25, 2015, 07:45:17 AM »
Thanks again for this great advice. I really appreciate it.

For the past few days I have been researching the costs of flying to the destinations mentioned and skiing there and so far the most affordable option for us is: Jay Peak (VT), Catalooche Ski Resort (NC) or Crested Butte Ski Resort (CO).

I still have a few more destinations to check...

A little background about us: although we live in FL my husband and I are good skiers. I grew up in the mountains and started skiing when I was 3. We also lived in Oregon for a few years where we skied in the Cascades. Our daughter has already spent some time on the snow because we usually go for Christmas to Poland to visit family but this year we had to change our plans.
Ok...back to more research ;-)

honeybbq

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1218
  • Location: Seattle
Re: Please suggest good and affordable skiing US destination for Christmas
« Reply #43 on: September 25, 2015, 09:28:14 AM »
We would love to spend this Christmas somewhere where we could ski a little and teach our 4 year old daughter some basics. I know Christmas time is the most expensive and crowded to go skiing but unfortunately this is the only time we can go.
When I was browsing online the obvious destinations are Aspen, Vail, etc which are crazy expensive.

Do you know less popular skiing resorts in US with decent lodging and ski school for beginner kids which don't cost arm and leg?
FYI - we would be travelling from Miami, FL

Thanks in advance for your help;-)

This is exactly the opposite of what you asked, lol, but -- have you considered Canada? If you are in the US currently, the exchange rate is extremely favorable right now - best in 10 years.

snogirl

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 367
Re: Please suggest good and affordable skiing US destination for Christmas
« Reply #44 on: September 25, 2015, 10:13:43 AM »
Thanks again for this great advice. I really appreciate it.

For the past few days I have been researching the costs of flying to the destinations mentioned and skiing there and so far the most affordable option for us is: Jay Peak (VT), Catalooche Ski Resort (NC) or Crested Butte Ski Resort (CO).

I still have a few more destinations to check...

A little background about us: although we live in FL my husband and I are good skiers. I grew up in the mountains and started skiing when I was 3. We also lived in Oregon for a few years where we skied in the Cascades. Our daughter has already spent some time on the snow because we usually go for Christmas to Poland to visit family but this year we had to change our plans.
Ok...back to more research ;-)

You won't be disappointed with Jay Peak.  They were skiing last year early November.  Their location is in the sweet spot for snowfall, even when no one gets any due the geographic location in the mountains. It is some weird vortex like Mt. Washington having the worst. They just redid the WHOLE resort including road paving.  The owners have dumped a ton of $$ there due EB5.  Now I know the "best" per se skiing is in the West but last year the snowfall in the East eclipsed much of the US.  Damn, Worchester, MA had 225" of snowfall last year.  I have never felt I was skiing ice at Jay Peak.  I am a huge snow fan thus my screen name.  Good luck with your choices.

Krolik

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 102
  • Age: 42
  • Location: S.Florida
Re: Please suggest good and affordable skiing US destination for Christmas
« Reply #45 on: September 25, 2015, 11:11:03 AM »
We would love to spend this Christmas somewhere where we could ski a little and teach our 4 year old daughter some basics. I know Christmas time is the most expensive and crowded to go skiing but unfortunately this is the only time we can go.
When I was browsing online the obvious destinations are Aspen, Vail, etc which are crazy expensive.

Do you know less popular skiing resorts in US with decent lodging and ski school for beginner kids which don't cost arm and leg?
FYI - we would be travelling from Miami, FL

Thanks in advance for your help;-)

This is exactly the opposite of what you asked, lol, but -- have you considered Canada? If you are in the US currently, the exchange rate is extremely favorable right now - best in 10 years.

Yes, I have considered Canada but unfortunately the cost of flying from Florida is killing the savings on the exchange rate :-(

« Last Edit: September 25, 2015, 11:14:22 AM by Krolik »

Threshkin

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1032
  • Location: Colorado
    • My Journal
Re: Please suggest good and affordable skiing US destination for Christmas
« Reply #46 on: September 25, 2015, 11:16:35 AM »
Take up cross-country skiing.  Ski for free!

MustardTiger

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 180
Re: Please suggest good and affordable skiing US destination for Christmas
« Reply #47 on: September 25, 2015, 12:46:08 PM »
There are a ton of smaller and less expensive destinations out there, but many are a bit more work to get to.

I would not at all be confident that there will be reliable snow out east, except at places with extensive snow making resources (and those tend to be pricey).

Out west, elevation helps quite a bit, and there are many ski hills in less resort-like areas than Vail and Aspen that you can get to from Denver.  But I'm not from Colorado, so I'll let others cover those areas.

I also wouldn't recommend Park City for a cheap ski vacation, but there are quite a few places within reach of the Salt Lake City airport that are much more reasonable for housing and skiing, or a short connection out of Salt Lake.

Red Lodge is one of those small town ski hills, but IMO, harder to get to than others.  Big Sky Montana is outside of Bozeman, and is huge and beautiful, but also not that cheap for skiing or lodging.

Grand Targhee, on the west side of the Tetons and a few hours from SLC is pretty phenomenal, mellow scene, and has reasonable rates for skiing and lodging (they also get a ton of snow, and should be operating at Christmas).  If you stay in SLC, Brighton and Solitude and Alta can be good options up the canyons, and you can get good pretty good deals on lodging in the city right near a major air hub. 

And there are a number of others...

I was just going to say the same thing.... I would NOT recommend Park City as a cheap destination in any aspect.  Beautiful (challenging) course, but expensive as all.

Anyone know any places near TX?  I was going to look into NM.

NM skiing is just not as good as CO.  I have done Red River a couple of times and it is not bad and im sure much cheaper.

tooqk4u22

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2196
Re: Please suggest good and affordable skiing US destination for Christmas
« Reply #48 on: September 25, 2015, 12:52:56 PM »
Pennsylvania also has some ski resorts, and Christmas is usually pretty cold so they should be more reliable than North Carolina or Tennessee. Ones near where I live are about an hour drive from the Philadelphia airport - Blue Mountain in Palmerton and Bear Creek in...Google calls that address Macungie.

Also, Camelback....if the snow isn't great or the kids doesn't take to it there is an indoor waterpark.

RosieTR

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 396
  • Location: Northern CO
Re: Please suggest good and affordable skiing US destination for Christmas
« Reply #49 on: September 25, 2015, 01:29:14 PM »
I haven't skied Crested Butte but have heard from friends that it's nice. One caveat: not sure they make snow, so check on that and the usual first opening to make sure it's likely they'll be open. I would think probably (esp if the El Nino predictions come true for the southern mtns to get good snow this year) but obviously better to check than arrive at a mountain covered with 6" of snow.

If you or anyone is hell bent on Summit County, CO resorts, IMO Arapahoe Basin and Loveland Ski Area are usually better priced and *always* have snow, usually by late November. Those are the two that compete to see who opens first, so there will be snow in December. The nice thing about A-Basin is that they have a beginner-only lift (or at least they used to) called Goose something. If you are planning to teach kiddos yourself, a resort with a beginner-only ticket option is great. I taught my sister to snowboard at A-Basin, and at the time it was like $7 for a beginner lift ticket. Good thing too, b/c my mom fell and broke her shoulder on the first run after lunch, so a half-day was all we did. The negative with A-Basin is no town at the base, but you'd be better off finding a deal in Dillon or Frisco for lodging anyway. Loveland Ski Area (not to be confused with Loveland Pass, which is the alternative drive over the mountains that bypasses I-70, or with the City of Loveland, which is on the Front Range between Longmont (MMM's city) and Fort Collins) may have a beginner-only hill but it's got sort of two areas which could be nice: a green-blue area with short runs (below timberline) and a blue-black area with long runs that go way above timberline. The wind can be brutal, so much so that the big run area has "escapes" halfway up (at least some years ago when I went there). The easier terrain area tends to be a little out of the wind though.

Keystone has kind of crappy snow, IMO, though they do make it so it will be open in Dec. Vail is terrible in my opinion...but it's a huge mountain so if you venture farther out you have smaller lines. I have only ever skied there for free or super-cheap (friends who worked at resorts, etc) but would never pay much to go there. Also there's no free parking at all in town. Copper Mountain and Breckinridge are both pretty good-cheaper than Vail with at least as good experiences, and both closer to Denver. However, more expensive than necessary for teaching kids to ski, unless a very good combo lodging/lift ticket can be found. Unlikely at Christmas time.

As for skiing in April, as someone was asking: early April is fantastic! It's usually sunny, sometimes above freezing, the light lasts longer in the day so it feels nicer and the snow is soft. If it does snow, it's often at night for some reason. It's also ideal if you don't want to get up and at 'em right when the lifts open: usually the snow is great by 10am. The crowds have thinned out since everyone is now watching baseball or some such, and prices are accordingly cheaper. If you're not bound by employer schedule or school schedule, early April is about the best time possible to plan a ski trip to CO. Often I've seen 3days for <$100 deals, or really good lodging/ski combo deals in April. I would think further north would be similar or even better, but further south (NM, AZ, etc) may be dicey if they don't routinely have snow last til April. Some CO resorts are open later (A-Basin is usually late April and occasionally makes it way into June) but some must close due to wildlife considerations and the snow gets less reliable after tax day.