Ski with a Group of 30 - United States: New Year 2015/2016


Ski with a Group of 30 - United States: New Year 2015/2016

Started by Darrylhuk in USA - 12 Replies

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Darrylhuk posted Jan-2015

Hey All,

OK - so every year for the last 5 years we have put together a group of about 30 ski'ers (and a handful of boarders).

I am the mug that is the "Group Leader" or so they say. I think I am the only one mad enough to do it.

But now I DO need help
- this year for the first time ever we have decided on expanding our annual trip and going to the US (we have done almost every resort in Europe): please can you experienced US ski'ers give me some guidance - with the following parameters:

1) Group size 24-30 (maybe 34-36 this year)

2) Accommodation type: prefer a Fully Catered Chalet or something similar. Thing is there are 10 kids in the group - so the folks like to have exclusive use if we can of a Chalet - as this allows the kids to pretty much "disappear" and do what they want. We tried a hotel setup one year - but the continual worry of leaving 10 kids aged between 6 and 14 in the rooms a couple of floors up - is not ideal.

3) Lots of snow. As you know many resorts have been hit and miss in Europe over the last couple of years - so something with sure snow and high up?

4) Transfer times - as short as possible. Any advice appreciated here - I am not overly familiar with all the resorts in the US - so want one that has a pretty decent transfer time considering that we would have already been on a flight for 6-9 hours!

5) Good variety of runs. Some of the resorts I have looked at - like Breckenridge - look "boring" but that could just be my interpretation of the piste map? The range of ski'ers are from novice to off-piste. Not saying I need the perfect resort but something that at least has a run or two for each skill level.

6) Travel agent suggestions welcome - if you have used one on the past - let me have their name - I will get in touch. Sorry to the Moderators if this is not allowed - but certainly would love a steer - there is nothing that beats a GREAT agent or operator that you have experienced before - word of mouth is key in these cases!

7) Ski-in and Ski-out - this is pretty key - we all hate carrying our ski's.

8.) Even if the resort is "commercial" we don't mind busy pistes.

9) We are planning on doing 10 - 14 days (as this is our furtherest commute - want to do more than just 7 days) - question is - do the resorts do this? In Europe its pretty much only Sat to Sat or Sun to Sun - so you are doing 7 or 14 and nothing in between? Any thoughts on this? Can we do two resorts - ie one week and then a second week? With a short transfer between the two? Any suggestions if we follow a two resort approach?

10) then just a general list of resorts - I know the biggies: Breck, Whistler, Aspen etc etc - but are there any hidden gems out there?

Thats all for now.

Any guidance - will be appreciated!

reply to 'Ski with a Group of 30 - United States: New Year 2015/2016'
posted Jun-2015

Get the Epic Pass from Vail Corp.

Vail, Beaver Creek, Keystone, and Breckenridge is included. Epic Local will get you 10 days combined Vai-Beaver Creek skiing.

Speak directly with Vail corp for housing details.

reply to 'Ski with a Group of 30 - United States: New Year 2015/2016'
posted Jun-2015

We've done LHR->Denver then a drive to Vail. Vail is right beside the freeway, so you just exit off the freeway and you're there. I've been to other resorts in the area but they were either a tortuous drive off the freeway (most maps make then look relatively near), or not such great skiing as Vail. The ski area is massive and diverse. On-piste catering is good for large groups. Lift queues are generally short and orderly. The relatively pricey skipass does get you a lot of on-piste local guides who will stop and give free advice if you look puzzled or want info. I've always found American instruction good value for money and very friendly and effective (compared to the ESF).

Downsides? Vail overall was more expensive per head than Verbier in the New Year: particularly equipment hire, skipass and accommodation. I got the impression that hotels were more popular than chalets and there are a lot of hotel options to choose from. The other main downside was the inevitable logistics of a long flight and late afternoon arrival in Denver, then a drive in what turned out to be a min-blizzard. We made it fine, but were zonked-out the first 36 hours.

I also like Lake Tahoe and especially Heavenly, but when I've gone it's been on the end of a business trip and I've already been in San Francisco, and could leave in the morning and drive there for early afternoon arival. As I say on another thread, I really wouldn't like to do it directly from the UK - it's a long flight and late afternoon arrival at SFR, and then you have to get through immigration. Then either get a transfer flight to Reno or pick up the hire car and do a 4+ hour drive into the mountains on a single carriageway road. You might find that the Reno connection is out of San Jose which is a fair way down the Bay Area via 101 which would be busy in the evening.
Edited 2 times. Last update at 11-Jun-2015

reply to 'Ski with a Group of 30 - United States: New Year 2015/2016'
posted Jun-2015

Park City Mountain Resort is combined with the Canyons resort, also on the Epic Pass. Hotels right at the ski lifts will give you a great deal.

Have you skied the Milky Way? It would be 1/2 the price...maybe less.

Dave Mac
reply to 'Ski with a Group of 30 - United States: New Year 2015/2016'
posted Jun-2015

Darryl the most difficult aspect here is the New Year factor. It is likely to override the location choice.

The east coast can be a bit iffy for snow. The west coast adds more time,with no additional ski benefit. I would focus on Colorado.

My previous Colorado trips have focused on Breckenridge as a base, and this is likely to be our preferred option for next season. The EPIC pass covers Vail, Beaver Creek, Keystone, Arapahoe Basin, and maybe Copper.

For that number of folk, I would open the enquiry wide. Google the tourist boards for all of these resorts, and if they are smart, they will circulate your query. Also, go through the Tour Ops.

If you end up booking direct, flights will be a big problem, so I would be seeking advice from the flight companies.

Once these two main issues have been addressed you can drop a level to vehicle hire. I would suggest that it is unlikely that all your group will want to go to an alternative day out together, so 3/4 minibuses might be a solution. On the other hand, you might see if you can hire a bus/driver for the week.

You need to start your queries early.

If you have been doing this for years, can you piggy back on to some of the T/Os you have used before?

reply to 'Ski with a Group of 30 - United States: New Year 2015/2016'
posted Jun-2015

Fair play...'almost every resort in Europe'! Not sure you could do that in a lifetime of skiing.

I'm looking at a slightly complicated Lake Tahoe trip next January and Ski Safari are proving extremely helpful.

reply to 'Ski with a Group of 30 - United States: New Year 2015/2016'
posted Jun-2015

Lake Tahoe has been in a drought for three years. Only Northstar makes adequate snow. Tahoe would be very risky just for skiing.

reply to 'Ski with a Group of 30 - United States: New Year 2015/2016'
posted Oct-2015

Howdy from Texas. Read your post about trip in Jan 2016. That is when I take my long ski vacation. Been trying for Heavenly and Squaw Valley for a couple of years just to dry. So Ive been working my way around Colorado last two years. Beautiful mountains and plenty of snow. I usually go first week after New Year.If your renting vehicles your options are a lot better for skiing at some of the resorts off beaten path. Examples with very good lift ticket prices; Copper Mountain, Powder Horn, Purgatory, Telluride, Wolf Creek. I travel from Denver to Glenwood Springs and stay there. $40.00 per night at Ramada Inn. Your within 60 miles any direction of great Rocky Mountain skiing. On Jan 6,2016 I arrive in Mittersill Austria for 14 day of skiing. Been a life long dream to ski there. Hope this helps y'all.

Topic last updated on 22-December-2015 at 15:28

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