Spring Break 2008

Annmarief

New member
Help....

I am trying to plan a terrific ski trip for spring (april) 2008. I am debating between Whistler,Vail,or Solitude. I really enjoy all three places. I skied both Whistler and Solitude last year; however, I haven't skied Vail since I was in college (almost 20 years ago.) Pros, Cons? Advice? I can afford any of the above, but.....I did grow up in an extremely conservative community....so I am always looking for value!!!!

I would love to do Solitude; however, I have only been there in January (2006 with kids) or February (2007 no kids). My guess is spring break is questionable in April if it is not a big snow year. And, because I have 3 kids, I prefer not to move around a lot. (My kids are will be 9, 9, and 6...but are really good skiers for their age...especially since they ski hills not mountains each weekend). I also have bad knees an I really feel it in the slush if the snow is bad. I am also concerned my kids will not be as excited because I am not sure they are strong enough to climb...a lot of what I have enjoyed at Solitude is Honeycomb & some of the other territory that you have to work for. Honeycomb canyon would be a bit easy....They would like the walls...they would just be worn out with the hike. I like Solitude a ton, I am just worried about the variety that would be available in april. This would probably be our least expensive option. (It also has a positive place in my heart for many reasons.)

Whistler...love it, except the fog. Did it the last 2 years. I think it will be expensive...AGAIN!

Vail....it has been a long time......need advice. An ok deal with the ski club. This is where I think I want to take the family.

My kids like to ski gladed mogul hills the best. My youngest's favorite hill at Whistler is Aurthor's choice...gladed, moguls, black diamond, it was also her favorite when she was 4! But, the moguls were bigger in 2008 than 2007. They also like little whistler bowl. (One daughter LOVES Whistler Bowl...and the jumps...but, not the whole family). They also like Blackcomb glacier. My son's favorite are they gladed blues in Symphony bowl. To add to the problem....I like powder & steeps, my husband likes groomed runs. That said, last year I went on a girls trip to satisfy my Powder/steep skiing needs so spring break was about the family.

Any other spring break suggestions? Looking for good snow, good resturants for a couple of nights, reasonable lodging, low crowds, and decent accessablity. Night life and non-skiing activities are not important. Great ski schools are a plus, but not required.

Thanks
 

Skidog

New member
IMHO its a no brainer. If you come to Utah and ski Solitude and get bored you have MANY VERY close options. Brighton right next door, Alta/Snowbird a mere 25 min away, oh yeah and there's "other" mountains too I think I heard somewhere.... :D

Im WAY biased though.

Good luck and if you decide to come to Utah lets us know we'll all come ski with ya.

M
 

Patrick

Active member
Annmarief":1uqghtn3 said:
Help....

I am trying to plan a terrific ski trip for spring (april) 2008.

No wonder you say "Help"...you're late. Spring Break (April) 2008 was almost 4 months ago. :lol:

Annmarief":1uqghtn3 said:
My guess is spring break is questionable in April if it is not a big snow year. (...)I am just worried about the variety that would be available in april. (...)
Whistler...love it, except the fog. Did it the last 2 years. I think it will be expensive...AGAIN!

April at Whistler is a crap shot weather wise.

Annmarief":1uqghtn3 said:
Any other spring break suggestions? Looking for good snow, good resturants for a couple of nights, reasonable lodging, low crowds, and decent accessablity. Night life and non-skiing activities are not important. Great ski schools are a plus, but not required.

Banff is an excellent bet.
Good snow - check
good restaurants - cheap
reasonable lodging - check
low crowds - check
decent accessability (many shutlle leave for ski areas, no need to rent a car). You would be staying in town instead of hill, unless you stay at the limited lodging at Sunshine. Norquay (smallest) is 15 minutes away, Sunshine maybe 25 minutes and Lake Louise is about 45 minutes. Calgary airport is a 2 hours bus ride away.

April is really low season in Banff, most of the accomodations in the area are geared toward summer tourists. Temps are colder and snow preservation would be better.

We've been to Banff three times, mid and late April. Got some winter powder day and mid winter snow in that mid-April trip. Great times. If you didn't go to Banff yet, you should go. Terrain has a bit of everything for everyone.
 

Marc_C

Active member
Annmarief":475gwy6b said:
I am trying to plan a terrific ski trip for spring (april) 2008.
I assume you mean April 2009? You mentioned Solitude quite a bit - what are the actual dates of your planned trip? Solitude's last day of the 2008 season was April 13. The majority of Utah resorts close in mid-April, with Snowbird being the key (and most years the sole) exception. Since we had a big year, both Snowbasin and Park City went longer than originally planned, but you can't depend on that.
 

Tony Crocker

Administrator
Staff member
Presumably it's a school break tied to Easter week and most resorts will be open.

Utah is good, but you want to be in SLC and choose your resort each day based on weather/conditions. If she's not willing to do that with 3 kids, better somewhere else.

Vail is certainly worthwhile especially with a price break. But it's quite busy with wealthy Latin Americans who all have Easter week off.

Whistler: quite reliable for snow for competent skiers in the alpine. Weahter issues are random, not seasonal, so April's not necessarily much riskier than other times.

Banff: Excellent late season preservatiion as Patrick notes. But not a lot of snow, so can be rocky in low years. Wait until January to book to avoid those years. No problem getting lodging on short notice as Banff has much more summer than winter tourism.
 

jamesdeluxe

Administrator
Tony Crocker":37umidg2 said:
Banff: Excellent late season preservatiion as Patrick notes. But not a lot of snow, so can be rocky in low years.

Not a lot of snow at Sunshine? :?

A 330-inch average + excellent snow preservation + April being the biggest month for snow = $$$. Rocky in April? Maybe at Lake Louise, but I don't see it at SSV.
 

johnnash

New member
Over the last few years, we've skied Mammoth, Summit County, and last spring 2008 Salt Lake City. Mammoth was great, and as Tony's wesite will tell you, is statistically one of the best bets for spring, but it's not an easy trip to get there. Around SLC, we're big fans of Solitude, but I don't think I would consider staying there all spring break. You have more flexibility staying in SLC, and can also get some really good, inexpensive housing. For what it's worth, conditions were good -- basically winter surface conditions -- everywhere we went in the SLC area. In Summit last year, Vail was great, but the front side and even the back bowls were getting slushy by the end of the week. But the Blue Sky Basin area still had winter conditions. I think that's north-facing and seems to holds snow quite well. But the best conditions we found were in A-Basin, which had excellent winter snow (and was still snowing!) except at the very base, which had clearly had some thaw-freeze cycles.
 

Annmarief

New member
Thanks....and yes, I did mean 2009!

Thank you for the advice. Banff is definately on my to do list, but I don't think we are quite there yet. I have three young kids who love to ski all day but get very tired. I would really like to avoid driving much. Which also eliminates SLC unless we ski one place and stay put. I have also noticed a comfort level with the kids if we stay in one place, they are more daring and push themselves harder.

I am really leaning towards Vail. I am trying to get a feel for how the terrain is rated. A very high percentage is "expert". How difficult are the blacks? Over the last 2 1/2 years we have skied Solitude, Snowmass, Aspen, Steamboat, & Whistler. I have seen a definate difference in how a run is rated. I am trying to get a feel for how much of the terrain the kids will be able to ski. (Typically, they can ski the expert hills, but they usually can't ski all of them).

Thanks again!
 

Patrick

Active member
Annmarief":3mlwpilg said:
Banff is definately on my to do list, but I don't think we are quite there yet. I have three young kids who love to ski all day but get very tired. I would really like to avoid driving much.
(...)
I am trying to get a feel for how much of the terrain the kids will be able to ski. (Typically, they can ski the expert hills, but they usually can't ski all of them).

I'm not biased and I don't own or don't earn any commission from Banff. :wink:

I believe that Banff is still an excellent choice ever with the reasons you gave. Banff is so much for so many different skiers.

I've had two trips to Banff, a 5 and 7 days. Trip where I didn't need a car. I travelled with Skican and they were shuttle that picked us up at the airport. Once in Banff, we would used the buses that lead to the three different areas. There is more than one time and bus go around the town's hotel to pick up the skiers. I've told you in the previous post the travel times.

If you don't want to see the bus at all, why don't you stay at the Sunshine Inn and Lodge (or whatever they're called). It's pretty remote and quiet as it's the only real accommodation on the hill. Lift more or less surround the place, our on the hill before people really start showing up.

I always said that Sunshine was a perfect intermediate hill. It's expert is really good also, but someone that isn't confident can gain a lot of confidences here. I also have grade school kids and I thick that Sunshine would be great for them. They could ski alone on the Wawa chair which has a short vertical behind the Lodge or Standish chair where there are a few short steep drops. Great fun. There is also the lift below the treeline (Wolverine and JAckrabbit lifts). Small trails that no one skis.

Of course, there is Lookout Mountain which most of the stuff is blue runs in the alpine. Any intermediate can ski from the top. Goat Eye side would probably in full Spring conditions in April.The first time I skied here, I thought that the scenery and feel of skiing on Lookout was so like the Alps. No real trails, wall-to-wall whiteness.

About Tony's concern about the snow? I wouldn't be worried about Lake Louise in April, even less Sunshine. The place averages 30 feet of snow a year. Sunshine normally has a fixed closing date of last weekend of May, but it has more to do with lack of skiers that anything else.

Trail map

http://skibanff.com/trail_map/main.html

Sunshine's website

http://skibanff.com
 

Marc_C

Active member
Annmarief":3ams0aps said:
I would really like to avoid driving much. Which also eliminates SLC unless we ski one place and stay put.
I guess it depends on what you mean by "driving much", but staying in Sandy or Midvale allows access to any of the 4 Cottonwood Canyons areas in less than 30 minutes, or from a mileage standpoint, under 25 miles. The Crystal Inn in Midvale is no more than 14 miles from Alta.

Annmarief":3ams0aps said:
I have also noticed a comfort level with the kids if we stay in one place, they are more daring and push themselves harder.
But if the conditions are less than what you like, you're kinda stuck.

But like rfarren said, "Go to Vail!" 8) :wink:
 

icelanticskier

New member
SUGARLOAF! best spring skiing in the whole world. come on out cuz no one else is. april in whistler is probably the best weather month of any especially in the alpine. solitude? excellent choice. vail? why not loveland? more snow and better preservation than vail, low crowds, lot's of elbow room and cheap, cheap, cheap, my favorite lift served skiing in colorado especially in april. i skied a week straight of deep pow there in mid april of 95.
rog
 

EMSC

Active member
Well I was holding off on this thread, but now that specifics come up....

I am trying to get a feel for how the terrain is rated. A very high percentage is "expert". How difficult are the blacks?

From your description of your kids abilities, I would think they could handle a lot of Vail's terrain. Not all that much of it is true 'expert' or double diamond pitch. That said, a lot of it does have good solid single diamond pitch and despite the fact that it is Vail, and they do a lot of grooming for the masses (especially front side), quite a bit gets rated 'expert' since it is natural snow conditions (esp Back Bowls and Blue Sky Basin). Back bowls will almost certainly be soft/spring snow (unless in an immediate big storm cycle), Lower front side will be slush and/or refrozen... Leaving, in April, the upper front side and most of Blue Sky for best mid-winter snow (Back bowls can be good if timed right and/or you get lucky with the storm cycle). And roughly as easy as SLC if you did want, say one day trip in there, Beaver Creek or Copper are each ~20 min away...

Your choice obviously. One downside is that Vail is huge and the kids could get disoriented/lost in a hurry if they wander off by themselves... (even if by accident).
 

Tony Crocker

Administrator
Staff member
Agree on ESMC's Vail comments. There is no ability level (except 40+ degree steeps) for which there is not a week's worth of terrain at Vail.

Snow averages (both @ 7,000 ft) 161 inches at Lake Louise and 249 at Sunshine. Agree Continental Divide sector at Sunshine is as spring-reliable as it gets. But Goat's Eye has a lot of the upper intermediate/advanced terrain that they want, and it faces SW. Thus it will lose snow in spring of below average years. The true expert stuff (Delirium Dive, etc.) is not an appopriate recommendation here. Louise has north facing steeps that preserve well. Front side faces south, but has enough snowmaking to keep some trails open to the base even in the bad years. Travel time from Banff lodging is at least as long as SLC-based commutes to Cottonwood Canyons.

Mammoth or Whistler would be good. Given age of kids, I'd go with Mammoth first. Whistler has longer runs with conditions varying by altitude, so stamina is important there.
 

Annmarief

New member
Thank you. So, the blacks at Vail probably won't be more difficult than those at Whistler? At risk of bragging about my kids, they are pretty good skiers for their age. My weakest skier is my 5 year old, at Blackcomb, her favorite hill is Arthor's choice (a black gladed hill) This year, her claim to fame was sking little whistler bowl for the first time. We were just talking today about how we love winter. My 8 year old daughtern is looking for jumps on Whistler bowl, she is my strongest skier My 8 year old son wants twin tips...he loves to jump also, but would prefer some of the gladed blues at whistler (ie symphony bowl area...adagio, etc.). The girls like speed. Their motto is Black diamonds are a girls best friend. That said, all three of my kids would say their favorite run is Blackcomb glacier on snowy day.

My kids have skied 2 spring breaks at Whistler, one at Snowmass, one January week in Solitude, and I took my youngest to Steamboat for Nastar Nationals...and they ski a ton locally in Michigan. I have skied a lot of places, but many of them were several years ago. Also, as a frame of referance, depending on the person, we skied 50-56 days this past year. Not bad for a couple with 8 year old twins and a 4 year old (who turned 5 in the spring).

I am not worried about stamina....my 5 year old skied 8:30-3:30 or 4 for 6 days straight this year....and she had turned 5 in March. She is one tough cookie.

Big terrain is good. I don't worry about losing the kids as we usually ski together out west, my husband in front, then me to pick up any pieces if necessary....the older 2 get plenty of freedom in Michigan. And, the older two are both 8....so they don't need much freedom yet. Hauling skis is not good. Because, somehow it is usually me! I usually push for ski in/ski out.

Do you think the kids, and my husband for that matter, could ski the bowls? I would never put my youngest on Whistler bowl (little whistler bowl, yes, because it is not that long, ...she did it this year). That said, my husband will GLADLY stay on some blues while one of the twins and I go and explore. In general....my kids can ski anything blue, I am guessing anywhere. But, the blacks depend on the resort. And, that I am trying to get a feel for. Also, I am getting a bit of arthritis in my knees....I can't do slush...it HURTS...Badly! Moguls...I will suffer...slush...not worth the pain. Powder, no problem for my knees....too much powder would be a good challenge to have...but very unusual anywhere during spring break.

Advice? Should I book it? Deals are now for spring break....not in December when everyone else is thinking about it!

Oh...and to the guy who said to go to Vail because he would be in Utah... I understand....that is the way we feel about our lakes in the summer! Our beaches in Michigan are amazing...better than the ocean...shush...don't tell anyone! And, I do love Utah snow, so dry and fluffy....my girl friends and I are thinking of a girls Utah trip again soon :) But, in January or February.

Thanks in advance!
 

Tony Crocker

Administrator
Staff member
helpful info on the kids, so I can accurately relate given Adam's fast start at similar ages. It's impressive that you have 3 kids on comparable learning trajectories.

With regard to standards of trail markings, it's no accident IMHO that Vail and Mammoth are mainstream among the range of North American ski areas. These are the standout big areas IMHO if you want a wide range of terrain at all ability ranges. Adam skied Vail in January at barely age 5, with the ungroomed part of China Bowl being his toughest challenge. Your younger one sounds a bit ahead of that at 5 and should be comfortable on most of Vail's single blacks at age 6. Double black at Vail means long, ungroomed and usually bumpy. Double black at Mammoth means 35+ degree steep. Vail is bigger, but in mid-April Mammoth has a decisive advantage in snow conditions, with a much higher percentage of north facing slopes (less slush), particularly on advanced/expert terrain.

Whistler is considerable tougher than average in trail/slope ratings. You've already been there, so you can judge what the kids can and can't ski there. Even though they are good enough to handle a lot of it, I'd go for one of the more mainstream places now. In 3-5 years these kids are going to demand an area with a lot of extreme terrain (Jackson, Alta/Snowbird, Jackson, Whistler etc.). When Adam returned to Vail at age 11, he skied 29K his first day, and at the end of that day asked, "Where's the steep stuff?" He had his first trips to Alta/Snowbird at 9 and Jackson at 10, didn't make it to Whistler until 13.
 

Tony Crocker

Administrator
Staff member
Light and fluffy doesn't matter if there's only 3-6 inches of it so you're bottoming out on every turn. But Vail gets ~30% more snow than most Colorado resorts, so better odds of flotation there.
 

icelanticskier

New member
loveland gets more than vail and with more wind exposure the skiings much better when only 3-6 falls as the wind can work it a bit into a more dense/less bottom out ride. love loveland.
rog
 

Tony Crocker

Administrator
Staff member
Loveland is one of the best western areas I haven't skied yet. I can tell that it has a wide range of exposures, which means in mid-April you're going to have an hour or two to get the fresh powder before the sun does in many places. But at any rate it's not too relevant IMHO for Annmarief and her kids.
 
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