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Western IKON trip recommendations

COcanuck

Angel Diva
Hi all you lovely Divas! My family is relatively new to skiing (only my third year and hubby's second), we have 2 kiddos (ages 4 and 7 and they are in their 2nd and 3rd years respectively). I'm comfortable with blacks, steeps and moguls. Hubby is most comfortable on blue groomers. DD is happy to follow me anywhere on the hill and I took her on her first black last season but she is still young and working on stamina. DS likes to "go fast" but is still working on turn/speed control, I'm happy keeping him on greens and blue groomers for the most part.

Hubby and I have the IKON base pass (came free with our Aspen SkiCo passes) and we actually want to try and use it this year. I'm a front-line physician and so I'm very careful with COVID protocols, etc, (wouldn't go if there are state restrictions) but if it is possible to do a trip in mid-February, I can really use the break!

We live in Western Colorado in Glenwood Springs and so we are possibly thinking about driving west into Utah and then north into Montana. Big Sky is possibly on our list for Montana because we want to do some snowmobiling in West Yellowstone area.

Any recommendations for Utah and Montana ski areas/lodging, etc?? Would be thrilled to hear from anyone with tips since we are newbies, thanks in advance!!
 

nopoleskier

Angel Diva
HI! I am an alta-holic- HIGHLY Recommend going to Alta. if you can stay UP at the Mt. I love Goldminer's daughter. (breakfast, afternoon snacks and dinner included in room rate)

Last winter (before shut down) we stayed in SLC. we went to Deer valley- AWESOME, Brighton and Solitude both smaller but fun. then ended up at Alta - you can also ski the back side of Alta- Mineral basin is beautiful skiing and on same day ticket ski some Snowbird- Snowbird is steeper- a lot more busy than Alta (Alta/Deer valley- no snowboards- less people) But it is worth the trip across the top of Alta into mineral basin and up to Snowbirds lodge at the top of the tram.

there are TONS of VRBO's in SLC- We stayed in 'sugar house' area- perfect location had a 4br/2ba for 800/total for the week!!! whole foods, liquor store (closed on Sundays!) everything was close
If you like Mexican the Red Iguana is a must- go early or you will be waiting 1hr or more.

Yes to BIG SKY!!! Plan several days if you can. AND YES go to Yellowstone! we took the "yellow" bus tour- it was fantastic. No public allowed in park in winter must go with guided tour. I wanted to go back to snowmobile into the 'grand canyon' of Yellowstone but it was low snow year.

We stayed at condo at base of Big Sky- town is small. best to be 'at the mt. we could walk over to the main parking lot and jump on the tram right up to the front door- Huntley lodge is slopeside.

Doubtful w/covid I'll be going west :-( have a highly compromised husband and the 2wk quarantine when I return takes me out of skiing 2 weeks.
I can't wait to hear about your trip!! I'll live vicariously thru you!
 

contesstant

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
So, one word of caution about Alta/Snowbird/Solitude, at least for the Utah resorts, is they are requiring parking reservations this year, so it'd be best to try to get slopeside lodging if you can at Alta. I've heard several times parking has sold out or filled up by 10a.m. for the Little and Big Cottonwood Canyons.
Big Sky is requiring IKON passholders to essentially make reservations, too: https://bigskyresort.com/ikon
So, my advice is to research your possible destinations carefully, because this winter is vastly different in many ways.
 

COcanuck

Angel Diva
HI! I am an alta-holic- HIGHLY Recommend going to Alta. if you can stay UP at the Mt. I love Goldminer's daughter. (breakfast, afternoon snacks and dinner included in room rate)

Last winter (before shut down) we stayed in SLC. we went to Deer valley- AWESOME, Brighton and Solitude both smaller but fun. then ended up at Alta - you can also ski the back side of Alta- Mineral basin is beautiful skiing and on same day ticket ski some Snowbird- Snowbird is steeper- a lot more busy than Alta (Alta/Deer valley- no snowboards- less people) But it is worth the trip across the top of Alta into mineral basin and up to Snowbirds lodge at the top of the tram.

there are TONS of VRBO's in SLC- We stayed in 'sugar house' area- perfect location had a 4br/2ba for 800/total for the week!!! whole foods, liquor store (closed on Sundays!) everything was close
If you like Mexican the Red Iguana is a must- go early or you will be waiting 1hr or more.

Yes to BIG SKY!!! Plan several days if you can. AND YES go to Yellowstone! we took the "yellow" bus tour- it was fantastic. No public allowed in park in winter must go with guided tour. I wanted to go back to snowmobile into the 'grand canyon' of Yellowstone but it was low snow year.

We stayed at condo at base of Big Sky- town is small. best to be 'at the mt. we could walk over to the main parking lot and jump on the tram right up to the front door- Huntley lodge is slopeside.

Doubtful w/covid I'll be going west :-( have a highly compromised husband and the 2wk quarantine when I return takes me out of skiing 2 weeks.
I can't wait to hear about your trip!! I'll live vicariously thru you!

Awesome, thanks for the information! You think Alta would be ok for lots of beginner terrain for the kiddos?

I really want to ski Big Sky, I'm originally from Alberta and my family and I have been doing Yellowstone in the winter for years, before they instituted the guiding policies. It is one of my favorite winter trips in the world. I didn't think that we would do it this year so the lottery spots are all filled up, but I have no problem doing the guided tours with the kiddos. We'll do the sledding instead of the bus because of COVID and because it is so much fun being on a snowmobile right next to bison!!

Thanks again for the recommendations, I'll definitely post back if we are able to get this figured out safely :o) You and your husband stay safe until you can get the vaccines!!
 

COcanuck

Angel Diva
So, one word of caution about Alta/Snowbird/Solitude, at least for the Utah resorts, is they are requiring parking reservations this year, so it'd be best to try to get slopeside lodging if you can at Alta. I've heard several times parking has sold out or filled up by 10a.m. for the Little and Big Cottonwood Canyons.
Big Sky is requiring IKON passholders to essentially make reservations, too: https://bigskyresort.com/ikon
So, my advice is to research your possible destinations carefully, because this winter is vastly different in many ways.

@contesstant thanks for the update on the Utah resorts, I hadn't specifically looked into those restrictions yet because I wasn't sure if any of the mountains would be ok terrain for my family. I will definitely look into staying on the mountain if we do wind up going there.

I knew about the Big Sky IKON reservations, I'm hoping to do mid-week there and I definitely will be planning everything pretty carefully because of all the new protocols. It may or may not happen, just wanted to see if people had good recommendations and felt that the rest of the family would be ok on the mountains available!

Do you have any recommendations for lodging in Utah or at Big Sky? Not looking for expensive, just clean :o)
 

teppaz

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Awesome, thanks for the information! You think Alta would be ok for lots of beginner terrain for the kiddos?

I really want to ski Big Sky, I'm originally from Alberta and my family and I have been doing Yellowstone in the winter for years, before they instituted the guiding policies. It is one of my favorite winter trips in the world. I didn't think that we would do it this year so the lottery spots are all filled up, but I have no problem doing the guided tours with the kiddos. We'll do the sledding instead of the bus because of COVID and because it is so much fun being on a snowmobile right next to bison!!

Thanks again for the recommendations, I'll definitely post back if we are able to get this figured out safely :o) You and your husband stay safe until you can get the vaccines!!

Alta doesn't have all that much beginner terrain — it's all off the Sunnyside lift. Much more rewarding for intermediates and advanced. Big Sky, on the other hand, has fantastic rolling groomers that are great for beginners to practice. I love Alta but I'd pick Big Sky over it in terms of terrain variety.
 

contesstant

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
@contesstant thanks for the update on the Utah resorts, I hadn't specifically looked into those restrictions yet because I wasn't sure if any of the mountains would be ok terrain for my family. I will definitely look into staying on the mountain if we do wind up going there.

I knew about the Big Sky IKON reservations, I'm hoping to do mid-week there and I definitely will be planning everything pretty carefully because of all the new protocols. It may or may not happen, just wanted to see if people had good recommendations and felt that the rest of the family would be ok on the mountains available!

Do you have any recommendations for lodging in Utah or at Big Sky? Not looking for expensive, just clean :o)
I unfortunately don't have any recommendations for either. We are heading to Big Sky in February for a couple days and staying in a cabin about 20-ish minutes from the resort in an effort to continue to distance ourselves as much as possible. For Utah, the options are endless and it really depends on where you end up skiing. If Deer Valley is on IKON (it is IIRC) then that would be an excellent option for beginners/intermediates. Lodging in Park City is endless. You could also stay in nearby Heber City which would likely be less expensive.
 

COcanuck

Angel Diva
Alta doesn't have all that much beginner terrain — it's all off the Sunnyside lift. Much more rewarding for intermediates and advanced. Big Sky, on the other hand, has fantastic rolling groomers that are great for beginners to practice. I love Alta but I'd pick Big Sky over it in terms of terrain variety.

Thanks for the info on Alta, I don't want to overdo it for the family so some beginner terrain for the kids at this time is required!!
 

COcanuck

Angel Diva
I unfortunately don't have any recommendations for either. We are heading to Big Sky in February for a couple days and staying in a cabin about 20-ish minutes from the resort in an effort to continue to distance ourselves as much as possible. For Utah, the options are endless and it really depends on where you end up skiing. If Deer Valley is on IKON (it is IIRC) then that would be an excellent option for beginners/intermediates. Lodging in Park City is endless. You could also stay in nearby Heber City which would likely be less expensive.

Nice! I hope you enjoy it! Private cabin or one that is rentable? I haven't been able to do much in terms of looking at lodging just yet so that will probably be my next big task now that I know Big Sky is good for the kiddos and hubby.

I just checked and Deer Valley is on IKON, thank you for that recommendation for beginner terrain. It's hard for me to tell on some of the websites which is why I figured I would ask here. IKON has Deer Valley, Brighton, Solitude, Snowbird and Alta, I didn't want to pick a hard mountain the rest of the family wouldn't have fun at!
 

bsskier

Angel Diva
I ski Big Sky and Alta. I don’t know your requirements so I’ll stick to easy access to ski. Good prices and large rooms can be had at The Lodge at Big Sky. Book direct through their website. They’ve got a shuttle or you can just walk to the lifts. If you’d rather book through the resort, Huntley, Shoshone or The Summit are great in terms of access to hill. Huge price differences so use the resort site to see options. If you want to rent a beautiful ski in/out home, look at Moonlight Basin. Lots of fun greens there with a super beginner area. BS requires reservations as mentioned for IKON’rs. At Alta, I stay at Goldminer’s Daughter. Friends here like Alta Lodge. Snowbird has condos. I don’t ever have a car there, but know parking is dicey this year. Maybe as a hotel guest there won’t be much issue.
 

bsskier

Angel Diva
I unfortunately don't have any recommendations for either. We are heading to Big Sky in February for a couple days and staying in a cabin about 20-ish minutes from the resort in an effort to continue to distance ourselves as much as possible. For Utah, the options are endless and it really depends on where you end up skiing. If Deer Valley is on IKON (it is IIRC) then that would be an excellent option for beginners/intermediates. Lodging in Park City is endless. You could also stay in nearby Heber City which would likely be less expensive.
I find most folks visit mid month in February but I’ll be around at end of month and into March if you’re around to take a lap.
 

Après Skier

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Alta/Snowbird really is the crown jewel of Utah Ski Areas, however, as @teppaz mentioned, it may not be the best option for a mellow family ski trip. Better saving it for a future season when you and the family crave a challenge.

Deer Valley is a lovely resort for a family trip: nice assortment of beginner & intermediate terrain, fast lifts, and nice amenities. Slope side condos are a tad expensive.

If you would consider staying in-state, both Copper and Steamboat are nice for families with plenty of slope side condos at either resort.

Alta/Snowbird, Copper, and Deer Valley are busy during the weekend with day-trippers driving in the from the city... Steamboat is far enough from Denver where weekend crowding is less apparent.
 
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contesstant

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Nice! I hope you enjoy it! Private cabin or one that is rentable? I haven't been able to do much in terms of looking at lodging just yet so that will be my next big task now that I know Big Sky is good for the kiddos and hubby.

I just checked and Deer Valley is on IKON, thank you for that recommendation for beginner terrain. It's hard for me to tell on some of the websites which is why I figured I would ask here. IKON has Deer Valley, Brighton, Solitude, Snowbird and Alta, I didn't want to pick a hard mountain the rest of the family wouldn't have fun at!
We got a cabin at 360 Guest Ranch. It's wayyy out there, but it has its own restaurant which is important to us, as we can order takeout and eat in the cabin.
 

COcanuck

Angel Diva
I ski Big Sky and Alta. I don’t know your requirements so I’ll stick to easy access to ski. Good prices and large rooms can be had at The Lodge at Big Sky. Book direct through their website. They’ve got a shuttle or you can just walk to the lifts. If you’d rather book through the resort, Huntley, Shoshone or The Summit are great in terms of access to hill. Huge price differences so use the resort site to see options. If you want to rent a beautiful ski in/out home, look at Moonlight Basin. Lots of fun greens there with a super beginner area. BS requires reservations as mentioned for IKON’rs. At Alta, I stay at Goldminer’s Daughter. Friends here like Alta Lodge. Snowbird has condos. I don’t ever have a car there, but know parking is dicey this year. Maybe as a hotel guest there won’t be much issue.

Thanks for the advice! To be honest, we're pretty easy, just 2 beds, clean and not crazy expensive, LOL! I will take a look at your recommendations, I really appreciate it....I tend to get into overwhelm when I start researching and so I'd like to just narrow it down right from the start to get it done...
 

COcanuck

Angel Diva
I find most folks visit mid month in February but I’ll be around at end of month and into March if you’re around to take a lap.

@bsskier it's probably because of President's day. My kiddos are in ski school and the mid-Feb break is when they have one week off of their ski lessons...so, we can go ski at a different place, haha!

I'm still working out the best times to go, but will definitely let you know if we're there a little later!
 

COcanuck

Angel Diva
Alta/Snowbird really is the crown jewel of Utah Ski Areas, however, as @teppaz mentioned, it may not be the best option for a mellow family ski trip. Better saving it for a future season when you and the family crave a challenge.

Deer Valley is a lovely resort for a family trip: nice assortment of beginner & intermediate terrain, fast lifts, and nice amenities. Slope side condos are a tad expensive.

If you would consider staying in-state, both Copper and Steamboat are nice for families with plenty of slope side condos at either resort.

Alta/Snowbird, Copper, and Deer Valley are busy during the weekend with day-trippers driving in the from the city... Steamboat is far enough from Denver where weekend crowding is less apparent.

@Après Skier thanks for the confirmation about Deer Valley, I think that would be the best for us after hearing from everyone, we're trying to make sure to do everything mid-week to avoid the crowds as much as possible.

We haven't done either Copper or Steamboat yet, but are planning on some small in-state trips this season since they are not too far from us!
 

bsskier

Angel Diva
@bsskier it's probably because of President's day. My kiddos are in ski school and the mid-Feb break is when they have one week off of their ski lessons...so, we can go ski at a different place, haha!

I'm still working out the best times to go, but will definitely let you know if we're there a little later!
I meant that invite for @contesstant in response to her statement about coming in February, but of course the same invite applies to you! I’m in and out all season.
 

bsskier

Angel Diva
Thanks for the advice! To be honest, we're pretty easy, just 2 beds, clean and not crazy expensive, LOL! I will take a look at your recommendations, I really appreciate it....I tend to get into overwhelm when I start researching and so I'd like to just narrow it down right from the start to get it done...
If you can get into The Lodge you’ll be very lucky. Demand is astronomical. Good luck!
 

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