Started by MJD22 in USA 17-Nov-2017 - 6 Replies
Breckenridge town is very laid back and will cater for all tastes.
We went onto Aspen and Vail. Vail is definitely worth a trip, some of the best skiing we have ever experienced, but better to save that until another time as its another 90 mins driving on from Breck. Aspen is still further. Snowmass is worth the effort but the Aspen mountains are a bit disappointing and for beginner skiers too steep.
You will enjoy Breckenridge and want to go back, as we do!!
I had a week in Denver on business and acclimatised to the altitude so was "good to go" as soon as I got there, this year I flew straight in and transfered same day to Breck. What a difference that was. Because you are sleeping at over 9500 ft 2900m ish, I was struggling to get my breath when shallow breathing for at least a few days. Not a problem when awake but woke up continuously. They have an oxygen bar in the high street where you can infuse yourself and sell cans of enriched oxygen everywhere. You won't have a problem if you are reasonably fit but I guess if you are asthmatic then you will have some time getting acclimatised.
The first was as an add on to a working Denver week, where I had a day skiing Keystone. I was heavily criticised for skiing right through until 9.00pm, when the rest of the group had stopped by 5.30pm.
I then planned a CO fortnight. My research left me to believe that I could max the amount of day skiing plus variation with different resorts by staying at Breckenridge. This proved to be correct. We skied all five resorts covered by the lift pass.
On a later trip, this time with Crystal, we stayed 2 weeks in Vail. The skiing was as good as the other areas. However, the Crystal lift pass was 10 days from 13 in Vail, with the other lift pass days covering Breckenridge, Beaver Creek, Keystone, etc. The Crystal rep did not give out any warnings to ensure that we should get some of the none Vail days in early. During the second week, the Vail Pass was closed for most of the week due to heavy snow. This was something we were not aware of beforehand. It cost our group around $500 in extra lift pass costs. Crystals could have forewarned us about this.
We have long standing American friends that live in Vail, they have lived with us in Scotland, and skied with us in Austria. Hence, we are likely to head back to CO again, and probably to Vail. But not with Crystal.
My brother in law lives in Houston, TX and we've done a limited amount of research into linking up a visit with him and then flying to Denver or Salt Lake but the costs were prohibitive (one company quoted $4000 pp).
We have 2 boys (5 and 2) so it's unlikely we'll do this until the youngest has been on skis for a while (the 5 year old is on his 2nd week) but it would be good to have any advice around how people tend to do a US trip. What are the expensive things I can avoid? Are there better resorts for kids than others (given that my wife and I are fairly experienced skiers so will want some terrain)?
If it just costs that much then fine, we'll either postpone or just keep going to Europe but for someone who has mainly used catered chalets in France the cost was astonishing!
The big ticket items were equipment hire and ski pass. Eating, you could moderate the cost especially for children's meals. Car hire from Denver was reasonable (albeit I used a corporate discount from my company - but be sure to get the right cover).
Vail was the most expensive skiing per head (and that includes a hotel in Verbier New Year Week!). It was worth the money, but I think I'd probably give Canada a go rather than return to Vail or Tahoe. I liked that Vail was right beside the Freeway so although it's further than some other resprts, there's no driving up on narrow roads up mountain valleys. We hired a self-catering apartment which may have cost as much as a hotel package, but it gave us space to relax and we could eat in sometimes. I'd say that you can spend a lot in many US resorts, but conversely, they also seem to cater for families and those on a budget as well. So rather like Switzerland, you need to keep an eye on prices before you sit down to eat.
My wife was badly jetlagged for 2-3 days. It's not just the flight and timeshift, but you arrive late afternoon then have immigration, hire car pickup, and then the drive up into the mountains. So it's tiring for an adult, let alone kids. So I wouldn't go for just a week.
That said, the terrain in Vail is very different to Europe - sort of 'wide open' with uncrowded, wide pistes and lifts. And although a bit souless, on-piste food is done well by the Americans: yes, it's busy but not chaotic at lunchtimes and the prices were reasonable with plenty of stuff for the kids. In many ways, I'd say Vail would be good for a very mixed group as there's plenty to choose from. I don't think you'd be disappointed, but you might feel that it had been a pricey trip per head.
I've suggested on a previous thread that an alternative would be a family holiday to San Francisco and then skiing in Heavenly. The SFR bit on the front would allow everyone to de-jetlag and relax, and then you could drive to Tahoe on a quieter weekday, leaving 9-10am rather than the usual 4-5pm if you fly in from the UK.
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