Looking for advice: 1st time in US - where to go?
Living in the US for the coming 2 years, we certainly want to go out to enjoy as much powder as we can during our few vacation days . Basically, we're looking for advice on where to go ... any help would be highly appreciated !
* Current targeted time-frame is mid January for 1 week (in addition, we'll do a few weekend trips in So-Cal if the conditions are good)
* The ultimate location/set-up would be a guide that has a (full service) private-cabin / chalet where we can also leave our son, enjoy the snow with a group and improve our skiing along the way
* Given our location in Southern California, guaranteed powder will require flying anyway, so we'll consider all towns in CAN / USA
* We don't care about the size of the resort. A nice small town with some attractive bowls will do perfectly for a week and that would be our preference (we tend to look for the small options in the Alps as well). But if the advice is to pay the extra $$ going to one of the bigger ones, that'd certainly be an option
* Any advice on good teachers/guide is appreciated as well
Thanks a lot !
I'm kind of the local USA wepowderista and have skied around a little.
Mammoth/June is best access for bigger SoCal spots. Baldy is great when it has snow in the San Gabriels.
Tahoe is easy access, has good snow most of the time, but can be crowded and expensive like Mammoth. There are lodging choices here that might work for families.
Utah is the most consistent for powder and has great airline access. It's easiest to get to Big Cottonwood Canyon (Solitude, Brighton) and Little Cottonwood (Alta, Snowbird) where there is arguably the best consistent powder in the US. But it crowded and expensive at those places. I used to go there a lot, but have been going up to Ogden to ski Snow Basin and stay in Ogden where it's less expensive and more relaxed. Park City is another option there with more resources for families, but snow not as good and it's kind of crowded there.
Further East is Colorado and New Mexico.
Taos New Mexico is a great ski area but can have erratic snow. When it's good it's the best. The Saint Bernard Lodge there has inclusive packages that cover lodging, food and lessons.
Denver has access to the Front Range of the Rockies like Arapahoe Basin, Loveland, Breckenridge, Keystone and Vail. These can be very, very crowded but have a lot of resources and snow.
Aspen is between the Front Range and the Western part of the state but is a really great place. It can be expensive but has a great community and lots and lots of great skiing and resources.
A part of Colorado that I like is down in Southwest Colorado, both Silverton and Telluride. Telluride is my favorite ski resort currently and has fantastic terrain and lifts, a wonderful town. Some years snow is not so good on the lower mountain. But there's a great community there. I think the terrain there, particularly the hike to/skin to access, is fantastic. Telluride is expensive, is best accessed via jet to Montrose through Denver. The Victorian is an excellent lodging choice. Silverton is really different, is guided only expert skiing and a small town which can be great for families with a little kids ski area in town. I'm there a bit and am planning on being there in mid February.
In the Pacific Northwest, around Seattle, there's Steven's Pass, Alpental and Crystal, all of which are excellent, but only Crystal has lodging (which is expensive). It's underrated skiing and this is where I live most of the time. A bit further north is Mount Baker which is a small ski area that gets unreal amounts of snow. Further north, across the border I Canada is Whistler/Blackcomb whose assets are well known.
Further East I Canada, it's worth mentioning Nelson for Whitewater and Rossland for Red as well as Fernie, Revelstoke, Sun Peaks, Banff/Lake Louise and Kicking Horse. We really liked Nelson and Rossland.
Everyone knows Jackson Hole which has arguably the best terrain and great snow but is remote, expensive and overly crowded.
Here in North America, guides are not as often available as in Europe.
But you're looking for a base location and can afford the flights and cost of Aspen or Telluride I think you'd find the best set of resources for a family. You may be able to find a similar set up in Silverton, but it's a much smaller town and kindercare may be more difficult.
*message edited by Chester_Tartsnatcher at 5 Sep 2017 22:26 (1% edited)
Also see http://wepowder.com/forum/topic/236516 and the link there.
If it's just a week you have and you need to commit early, I'll recommend Alta and stay at either the Peruvian or Alta Rustler where room and board is included and there's resources for kids.
Chester, thanks a million for your information, we'll dig through these options with a smile the coming days, thanks !!!