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  1. #21
    To me, there are few scenes more inspiring than standing at the top of a mountain peak in clear sky, surrounded by a sea of white clouds a few hundred feet below you, with other mountain peaks poking up from the cloud cover. I have been lucky enough a couple of times to experience that.

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    New Jersey
    Quote Originally Posted by 75Crazie View Post
    If you do decide on Colorado or maybe Utah, and if you or your family is new to those kinds of altitudes, do some research on altitude sickness before you go. The NC mountains are no preparation at all for the altitudes of the Colorado ski slopes, in particular, which I believe are at higher altitude than most other North American ski resorts (I'm sure someone will correct me if I am wrong there). Altitude sickness hits some people hard and others are practically unaffected at all, so it's hard to predict if your family will experience it. Headaches and nausea are typical symptoms; they will go away in a couple days or so as one acclimates. If you cannot stage your trip (for example, you're going to Breckinridge but can maybe stay in Denver a couple of days first), you might want to investigate some sort of pharmaceutical remedies (I have no experience at all with these, being one of those that are blessedly unaffected by rapid altitude change and having lived for 20 years at 8900 feet in the Rocky Mt foothills). I do know that non-pharma recommendations include drinking significant amounts of water, staying away from alcohol the first day or two, and trying a hi-carb diet before and during the trip. Sorry, I don't want to scare you, if you follow some of these tips you should be OK, but it's nice to be prepared for whatever awaits you.

    I would say that any of the Colorado, Utah, and Idaho, slopes will give you some breath-taking views.

    I skied Park City/Deer Valley with my daughter a couple of years ago. It had been probably 25 years since I'd skied the west last. While I'd never had any issues with altitude in the past, having skied the peaks of CA/NV/CO numerous times in my 20s, my 53-year-old self was not prepared whatsoever. Park City's base is at nearly 7,000 feet. This means you're not only skiing at altitude, you're sleeping at altitude. That's where the rub came for me. I experienced "periodic breathing" which completely freaked me out. I had no idea what was happening to me when, multiple times over the course of the night I woke up gasping for air. Thought I was having a coronary or something. It nearly ruined my trip. Imagine having such a lousy night's sleep and then getting up and thinking "I've gotta ski Park City now". And then, it happens the next night, and the next night, until you leave. I tried chugging oxygen from one of those aerosol cans, but it didn't help. Perhaps if I'd acclimatized a day or two in SLC at 4,000 feet things would have gone better. Be forewarned!

    I would also say to the OP that Park City would check all the boxes for both downhillers and non-downhillers. Nordic skiing is big there. Additionally, they have a very efficient and FREE public transit system which eliminates the need for a rental car while you are in town. And, while you are there, make sure you ski Deer Valley (assuming there are no boarders in your fam, DV prohibits them). It's a real throwback and a treat.

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    New Jersey
    Quote Originally Posted by Channing View Post
    If you are going mid-December you really need to watch for snow reports. The last few years Park City has taken a little longer to build a base. Steamboat or maybe even Whistler (if Canada is an option) are probably your best bets for early season skiing. That said, on the whole, nothing beats Park City for convenience. SLC has tons of flights in and out and is only 30 minutes from the mountain. Vail / Beaver Creek are both great, but much like Steamboat, EGE has limited flights (one per day for Delta out of Atlanta). If you are not seasoned skiiers, I can't imagine that you are too concerned about the terrain, but in any event Park City / Canyons is massive with something for everyone (and DV is right there for the country club skiing folks).
    Excellent caveat. Park City's home page says winter begins Nov 19th, but I highly doubt that. Their mountain cams show a base of 0-2" right now and today's high will be 50 deg. My trip there was in late Jan when things were in full swing. Early-mid December would tenuous at best.

  4. #24
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Outside Philly
    Some folks acclimate pretty well it some just canít go above a certain elevation no matter how fit they are or how they try to acclimate.

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Bethesda, MD
    Quote Originally Posted by rsvman View Post
    There is definitely a reason they call it Alta!
    Alta is a bit of a unicorn in that it's a) got awesome snow b) it's one of a handful of resorts that don't allow snowboards, and c) there's not a lot of housing at its base. The no-snowboarding rule really affects customer demography - the only young people there are with their parents! I know I'm a crusty oldster, but I liked the reduced number of hellions at Alta.

  6. #26
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    New Jersey
    Quote Originally Posted by bundabergdevil View Post
    Some folks acclimate pretty well it some just canít go above a certain elevation no matter how fit they are or how they try to acclimate.
    Couldn't agree more. What I was trying to get across was that, at least in my case, ability to acclimate declines (dramatically) with age.

  7. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by construe View Post
    I searched but could not find any recent threads about skiiing in the Western US, so I'll ask my questions here. We're a family of 4 with 2 teenage boys. My boys and I have skiing experience only in western NC, and, well, not sure that means much. I'd guess I'd say we're "intermediate", but it's hard to tell when the runs only last a few minutes and there is little terrain to navigate (at least we are used to patchy ice, lol...)

    My wife and I would like to give them some exposure to "real" skiing as an early Christmas present, and so I'm asking folks' opinion about a resort to head to for about 4-5 days of skiing. Ideally, it would provide enough conveniences so we don't have to have a car, equipment (we'd rent there), and also have non-skiing activities for my wife, who doesn't downhill (she does, however, cross-country, so that's an option). We're also looking at early-mid December, so not sure if that early-season time will limit our options too much.

    A quick search from her produced the following list of places: Breckenridge, Park City, Keystone, or Copper Mountain. Open to hearing any and all feedback or suggestions.

    I've been an avid skier for decades and have been fortunate to have skied several areas in the Rockies (I live in the Northeast - land of "hard packed" trails, i.e., ice). I've never skied out West early season and, IHMO, planning a ski vacation anywhere in the US in the early to mid-December timeframe is, at best, a total crapshoot (in terms of snow conditions). Some areas out West MAY have decent to good conditions during that very early season timetable but they may also have terrible to non-existent skiing (even areas like Alta or Snowbird that usually get the most snow of any ski area in the US over the course of an entire season may not have much terrain open in early to mid-December). It's almost impossible to predict at this point in time (even within a month or so of your vacation plans) what areas might have the best conditions at that time.

    To cover your bases, I would look at those ski areas that have extensive snow making (Sun Valley, Deer Valley, etc) and hope that they have enough cold weather to, at least, make snow to get some of their terrain open. I would also look at those ski areas that have other options besides just skiing.

    I'd also recommend the following web sites:

    This site has a "forums" section (somewhat similar to the forums on DBR) and you could ask this question on that board. There are quite a few avid skiers who frequent that site and might be able to give you better advice.

    This site was set up and is run by one of the moderators on the "Firsttracksonline" site and has extensive information about snowfall totals at every ski area in North America, going back over 70 years. Gives you a good idea of which ski areas might have the best early season conditions, based on historical totals.

    Best of luck!

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