The Snow Finder


Outside magazine, Travel Guide 1997-1998


The Snow Finder


EXTREME MEASURES | BUNK TO BUNK | DETAILS | THE SNOW FINDER | ESSENTIAL GEAR


Alta | Arapahoe | Banff/Lake Louise | Big Sky | Crested Butte | Heavenly | Jackson Hole | Mammoth | Mt. Bachelor | Mt. Baker | Mt. Hood | Northstar-at-Tahoe | Park City | Snowmass | Squaw Valley USA | Steamboat | Stratton | Sunday River | Taos | The Big Mountain | Tremblant | Vail | Whistler/Blackcomb | Winter Park


Alta Ski Area, Utah
Information: 801-742-3333
Reservations: 801-942-0404

Best Time to Go: Early January can be cold, powdery, and empty — but if you need a snow guarantee, book February through March.

Family Report Card: B-
Kids enjoy the Bear Trails and the Ske-cology program incorporated into all ski-school lessons. There are also Children's Ski Adventures for ages four to early teens. But keep in mind: This is a tough mountain to ski.

Best Event: The Groundhog's Day Race (February 1) includes a dual slalom in the morning; in the afternoon, those contestants not yet eliminated compete in the Pro Bump event, in which they must go over one bump on their telemark skis.

Who Goes There: Forty-something traditionalists who could either duck hunt or ski in the same outfit, and would trade ten days of groomed sunshine for a single day of untracked powder.

Stats: Elevation: 10,650 feet; vertical: 2,100 feet; tickets: all-area ticket, $28 (all ages) includes use of the entire mountain; beginner-lift ticket, $20 (all ages) includes use of three lifts.

Trails/Lifts: 25% beginner, 40% intermediate,35% advanced/expert trails;eight fixed chairs, five surface lifts

Average Snow: 500 inches (or more)


Arapahoe Basin Ski Area, Colorado
Information: 970-468-0718
Reservations: 888-272-7246

Best Time to Go: April is A-Basin's magic month. The resort's dizzying altitude insures that the extreme East Wall, which towers above A-Basin's lifts and groomed runs, has full coverage and consistent conditions.

Family Report Card: C-
You need to make reservations for day care because they don't always have the Children's Center staffed. Though there is a ski school, it doesn't come close to Keystone's program. Take the kids to Keystone, or stay home.

Best Event: In the Cardboard Downhill Derby (February 21), contestants cruise down the slope in their cardboard works of art (Noah's Ark, a dragon in a Viking ship, a hot tub) and are judged on originality and craftsmanship.

Who Goes There: Hard-core types who don't color coordinate; locals who consider skiing more relevant to the future of humankind than rocket science.

Stats: Elevation: 13,050 feet; vertical: 2,250 feet ; tickets: adult, $39; ages 5-14, $12; 4 and under free (1996-1997)

Trails/Lifts: 15% beginner, 45% intermediate, 40% advanced/expert trails; five fixed chairs

Average Snow: 300-399 inches


Banff/Lake Louise Ski Area, Alberta
Information: 800-258-7669
Reservations: same

Best Time to Go: Mid-February through late March gets the best snow of the season, but Christmas is a magical time here, especially for families.

Family Report Card: A-
Both Lake Louise and Sunshine Village have extensive day care and ski schools with fenced-off learning areas. At Sunshine Village there are ski and snowboarding lessons for kids 6-12. Children love Lake Louise's snowplay area called Chocolate Moose Park.

Best Event: The weekly Torchlight Dinner and Ski includes aprˆs-ski appetizers, a full buffet, live entertainment, dancing in ski boots, and a guided torchlight ski down the mountain.

Who Goes There: Brits and Germans attracted by the alpine scenery and very unalpine prices.

Stats: Elevation: 8,650 feet; vertical: 3,250 feet; tickets: adult, US$34; student (13-17, or older with a valid student ID), US$27; 12 and under, US$11

Trails/Lifts: 25% beginner, 45% intermediate, 30% advanced/expert trails; two high-speed quads, five fixed chairs, three surface lifts

Average Snow: 200 (or fewer) inches


Big Sky Ski & Summer Resort, Montana
Information: 406-995-5000
Reservations: 800-548-4486

Best Time to Go: January and February bring very cold weather, but plenty of dry snow.

Family Report Card: B
Basic day care and full-day lessons are available for kids. The Small Fry Try for ages 3-5 includes day care and a little bit of skiing. There's also the Kids Ski Free program, in which kids ten and under ski free (two kids per full-paying adult).

Best Event: On Dirt Bag Day, scheduled for mid-March, you ski in your tackiest clothes, then compete for the title of King or Queen Dirt Bag at the Dirt Bag Ball.

Who Goes There: In-laws and outlaws from Ted and Jane's Mongolia-sized ranch; Bozeman college students; ski-school cowboys with tight Levi's and loose Austrian accents.

Stats: Elevation: 11,150 feet; vertical: 4,180 feet; tickets: adult, $47; ages 11-16, $40; 10 and under free

Trails/Lifts: 10% beginner, 47% intermediate, 43% advanced/expert trails; one 15-person tram, one four-person gondola, four high-speed quads, six fixed chairs, three surface lifts

Average Snow: 400-499 inches


Crested Butte Mountain Resort, Colorado
Information: 800-544-8448
Reservations: same

Best Time to Go: February — the snow is most abundant and the North Face area, which takes a lot of snow to open, should have good coverage by then.

Family Report Card: B+
There is day care and an extensive ski and snowboard school, including Tag-A-Long Sessions where parents can watch. Kids 12 and under pay their age per day. The mountain mascot, Bubba Bear, is rumored to have a new girlfriend, Shred Betty.

Best Event: ESPN Winter X Games (January 15-18) include events such as mountain biking, skiing, snowboarding, ice climbing, blading, and snowmobile hill-climbing.

Who Goes There: An odd mix of Texas yahoos and stoner college kids from nearby Western State.

Stats: Elevation: 11,875 feet; vertical: 2,775 feet; tickets: adult, $47; 12 and under pay their age per day

Trails/Lifts: 24% beginner, 57% intermediate, 19% advanced/expert trails (plus 550 acres of expert-only terrain); three high-speed quads, seven fixed chairs, four surface lifts

Average Snow: 200-299 inches


Heavenly, California
Information: 702-586-7000
Reservations: 800-243-2836

Best Time to Go: When it comes to reliable snow, the odds favor February.

Family Report Card: C-
There's no child care, and though they offer lessons and a kids' terrain park, it's so far away that kids have to get there by motorized sled. There's also a Magic Carpet and a Magic Carousel to let kids sample the bumps.

Best Event: Bumps and Jumps Challenge, one of the top professional mogul and aerial competitions in the country, will be held March 20-21.

Who Goes There: High-stakes gamblers headed for Mott Canyon; nickel-slot cruisers bound for Big Dipper.

Stats: Elevation: 10,040 feet; vertical: 3,500 feet; tickets: adult, $47; youth (13-15), $34; kids (6-12), $22; 5
and under free

Trails/Lifts: 20% beginner, 47% intermediate, 33% advanced/expert trails; one tram, one six-passenger high-speed chair, three high-speed quads, 15 fixed chairs, six surface lifts

Average Snow: 300-399 inches


Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Wyoming
Information: 307-733-2292
Reservations: 800-443-6931

Best Time to Go: Though January lacks the crowds and high-season prices, mid-February to mid-March is the best time to catch cold temperatures and fresh snow.

Family Report Card: B+
There's day care for kids over two months at Kids' Ranch in the new Bridger Center; ski and snowboard lessons for kids three and up; a new Mountain Experience Camp for teens during holidays.

Best Event: The 1998 Chevy Truck U.S. Alpine Championships (March 18-25) will be held at both Jackson Hole and neighboring Snow King; about 175 skiers are expected to participate.

Who Goes There: Locals decked out in wind-, water-, and even fire-resistant one-piece suits that probably cost them more than they paid for their cars. A sound investment.

Stats: Elevation: 10,450 feet; vertical: 4,139 feet; tickets: adult, $48; 14 and under, $24

Trails/Lifts: 10% beginner, 40% intermediate, 50% advanced/expert trails; one 8-passenger gondola, one aerial tram, one high-speed quad, six fixed chairs, two surface lifts

Average Snow: 400-499 inches


Mammoth Mountain, California
Information: 888-462-6668
Reservations: 888-466-2666

Best Time to Go: Weekdays — L.A. road warriors book weekends to the rafters. Mid-February to mid-March is known for the biggest snows, which in turn attract the biggest crowds.

Family Report Card: B
Small World Child Care takes newborns through age 12; the ski school offers lessons to kids four and up and snowboard lessons for kids seven and up. Older kids enjoy the new night skiing and snowboarding on weekends.

Best Event: The FIS Women's World Cup (November 27-28) includes the Super G and the brand new Parallel event. The Women's World Cup, a prelude to the Winter Olympics, will also feature the return of America's favorite, Picabo Street.

Who Goes There: Los Angelenos who can't live without their radar detectors or cell phones.

Stats: Elevation: 11,053 feet; vertical: 3,100 feet; tickets: adult, $47; teen (13-18), $34; kid (7-12), $23; 6 and under free

Trails/Lifts: 30% beginner, 40% intermediate, 30% advanced/expert trails; two gondolas, five high-speed quads, 21 fixed chairs, one surface lift

Average Snow: 300-399 inches


Mt. Bachelor, Oregon
Information: 800-829-2442
Reservations: 800-800-8334

Best Time to Go: Bachelor has a late season, often allowing skiing into July, but the peak months are February and March.

Family Report Card: B+
There are two day care centers for kids six weeks and up; combinations of day care and ski lessons are available for kids 3-4. Kids 4-12 can check out the ski and snowboard camp held over spring break.

Best Event: Mt. Bachelor is hosting one of the four U.S. Snowboard Bud Light Grand Prix competitions January 22-25; the results of all four events will determine the American team for the 1998 Winter Olympics.

Who Goes There: Northwest locals in wool cocker-spaniel hats with Eddie Bauer outlet price tag still affixed; micro-buses full of western Oregon snowboarders; migratory northern Californians.

Stats: Elevation: 9,065 feet; vertical: 3,365 feet; tickets: adult, $36; ages 7-12, $19.50; 6 and under free (or $38 for 200 points or $75 for 400 points) (1996-1997)

Trails/Lifts: 15% beginner, 60% intermediate, 25% advanced/expert trails; seven high-speed quads, four fixed chairs, two surface lifts

Average Snow: 300-399 inches


Mt. Baker Ski Area, Washington
Information: 360-734-6771
Reservations: none

Best Time to Go: November. More than almost any resort in the nation, Baker is known for having good — and frequently outstanding — snowfall in the early season.

Family Report Card: C-
Baker offers ski lessons for kids five and up, and has day care for potty-trained kids on weekends and holidays during most of the season. Other than that, there's not much happening here for kids.

Best Event: The fourteenth annual Mt. Baker
Legendary Banked Slalom takes place January 23-25.

Who Goes There: Famous snowboarding pioneers, Vancouverites tired of Whistler's crowds, and powder freaks — last year Baker got 780 inches of snow, the most of any lift-served resort in the world.

Stats: Elevation: 5,050 feet; vertical: 1,500 feet; tickets: Mondays-Wednesdays, $18; Thursdays-Friday, $20; weekends and holidays, $29.50; discounts for teens and kids

Trails/Lifts: 30% beginner, 42% intermediate, 28% advanced/expert trails; eight fixed chairs, two surface lifts

Average Snow: 500 inches (or more)


Mt. Hood Meadows, Oregon
Information: 503-287-5438
Reservations: 800-754-4663

Best Time to Go: February is a can't-miss snow month.

Family Report Card: C
Though Mt. Hood Meadows has no child care, it does have a KidSki center, with ski and snowboard lessons, and fun kids' runs such as Buttercup and Mitchell Creek Boulevard. Three chairs access the beginner terrain.

Best Event: Vegetate (April 15-19), a "snowboarding for native wildflowers" event, includes Half-Pipe, Slope Style, and BoarderCross contests as well as an Invitational Big Air Contest.

Who Goes There: Overworked high-tech industry junkies from Gresham, unemployed forest-industry workers from throughout the Northwest; year-round snowboard campers from Government Camp.

Stats: Elevation: 7,300 feet; vertical: 2,777 feet; tickets: adult, $35; junior (7-12), $21, 6 and under, $6 (1996-1997; though the junior and 6 and under prices will remain the same)

Trails/Lifts: 15% beginner, 50% intermediate, 35% advanced/expert trails; three high-speed quads, seven fixed chairs, two surface lifts

Average Snow: 400-499 inches


Northstar-at-Tahoe, California
Information: 916-562-1010
Reservations: 800-466-6784

Best Time to Go: February and March for powder; weekdays for solitude.

Family Report Card: A+
Parents with kids in day care get a pager for the day; there's a special learning area for Starkids ski and snowboard lessons; parents love the Mommy, Daddy & Me program for toddlers. Teens go for the cool aprˆs-ski activities.

Best Event: The 25th Anniversary Celebrations (January 25, February 25, and March 25) include all-day parties, music, giveaways, food and entertainment; on these days, $2.50 of all adult lift tickets sold will be donated to charities.

Who Goes There: Upscale Bay-Area families toting cell phones and feeling like black-diamond skiers on the rating-inflated slope of the extinct volcano, Mount Pluto.

Stats: Elevation: 8,610 feet; vertical: 2,280 feet; tickets: adult, $46; young adult (13-22), $38; child (5-12), $10; 4 and under free

Trails/Lifts: 25% beginner, 50% intermediate, 25% advanced/expert trails;
one gondola, four high-speed quads, four fixed chairs, three surface lifts

Average Snow: 300-399 inches


Park City Mountain Area, Utah
Information: 801-649-8111
Reservations: 800-222-7275

Best Time to Go: Snowmaking provides reliable snow from Thanksgiving on; for the real thing, go in December and January. Unless you want to hobnob with the stars, avoid the Sundance Film Festival in January.

Family Report Card: C
There's no day care, but Kinderschule for ages three to six combines ski lessons with indoor activities; and the ski school offers both ski and snowboard lessons to kids 6-16. There are special kids' runs and a separate beginner area.

Best Event: The Chevy Truck America's Opening World Cup Races November 20-23 include men's and women's slalom and GS events.

Who Goes There: Avant-garde filmmakers who ski (both of them); Salt Lake college students on a weekend splurge.

Stats: Elevation: 10,000 feet; vertical: 3,100 feet; tickets: adult, $52; 12 and under, $23

Trails/Lifts: 17% beginner, 44% intermediate, 39% advanced/expert trails; three six-passenger high-speed chairs, two high-speed quads, nine fixed chairs (ten, with the fixed high-speed quad)

Average Snow: 300-399 inches


Snowmass, Colorado
Information: 800-525-6200
Reservations: 800-598-2005

Best Time to Go: February. March has better snow, but spring break crowds can be brutal.

Family Report Card: A+
Day care is available for kids as young as six weeks; nighttime child care for ages 3-12; ski and snowboarding instruction for kids five and up. For teens there are full-moon cross-country ski trips and snow cave overnights.

Best Event: At Ski Splash '98 (January 15), skiers ski down a ramp in tandem dressed in crazy costumes — or barely dressed at all — into a pool.

Who Goes There: Families who own one of the millions of Snowmass condos, and one-planked locals who can't legally snowboard at Aspen Mountain.

Stats: Elevation: 12,510 feet; vertical: 4,406 feet; tickets: adult, $59; Independence Pass (ages 13-27), $39; ages 7-12, $35; 6 and under free

Trails/Lifts: 10% beginner, 52% intermediate, 38% advanced/expert trails; seven high-speed quads, eight fixed chairs, three surface lifts

Average Snow: 300-399 inches


Squaw Valley USA, California
Information: 916-583-6985
Reservations: 800-545-4350

Best Time to Go: April. Combine the wide-open Sierra peaks with warm, sunny days, and you get a perfect recipe for spring corn.

Family Report Card: B+
Children's World houses Squaw's day care, kids' ski school, kids' dining area, and rentals. There's a Family Fun Park and an ice-skating rink right on the mountain as well as a tubing slope and a tower for bungee jumping.

Best Event: The U.S. Pro Men's and Women's Finals (March 19-22) includes a women's dual slalom, women's GS, men's dual slalom, men's GS, and a men's speed event.

Who Goes There: San Franciscans with sport utes, and the least-acrophobic winter sport studs in North America.

Stats: Elevation: 9,050 feet; vertical: 2,850 feet; tickets: adult, $48; ages 13-15, $24; 12 and under, $5 (with one full-paying adult; no limit to number of kids per adult)

Trails/Lifts: 25% beginner, 45% intermediate, 30% advanced/expert trails; one cable car, one gondola, four high-speed quads, 21 fixed chairs, three surface lifts, one Pulse Lift

Average Snow: 400-499 inches


Steamboat, Colorado
Information: 970-879-6111
Reservations: 800-922-2722

Best Time to Go: February is a can't-miss snow month.

Family Report Card: A++
It's all here: day care, kids' ski school, kids' ski weeks, kids' ski area with tepees, a log cabin playhouse, kids-only snowboard park, five Family Ski Zones, Kids' Adventure Clubs, and teen programs on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday evenings.

Best Event: The 24th Annual Norwest Bank Cowboy Downhill (January 20), a ski rodeo featuring more than 100 of the country's best professional rodeo cowboys performing their feats (lassoing, saddling, slaloming) on skis.

Who Goes There: Locals in cowboy hats; visitors trying to look like locals; lots of families, who appreciate the cheap lift tickets.

Stats: Elevation: 10,568 feet; vertical: 3,668 feet; tickets: adult, $48 ($43 during value season: November 22-Dec. 12 and April 6-12); youth (12 and under), $28 all season

Trails/Lifts: 13% beginner, 56% intermediate, 31% advanced/expert trails; one gondola, three high-speed quads, 14 fixed chairs, three surface lifts

Average Snow: 300-399 inches


Stratton Mountain, Vermont
Information: 802-297-2200
Reservations: 800-787-2886

Best Time to Go: December. Rain is possible in the shoulder months, and besides, Vermont does Christmas right.

Family Report Card: A-
There's child care for ages six weeks to five years; ski and snowboard lessons, and a 45-acre Learning Park with characters on skis and little forts to explore. Aspiring snowboarders can try the Night Riders program.

Best Event: The U.S. Open Snowboarding Championships (March 19-22) attract 200+ of the world's best boarders, plus 5,000 spectators who enjoy the sport's biggest and wildest bash.

Who Goes There: New York suburbanites, boardheads from all over the East.

Stats: Elevation: 3,875 feet; vertical: 2,003 feet; tickets: adult, $44 midweek, $49 weekends and holidays; young adult (13-17), $39; junior (7-12), $29; 6 and under free (1996-1997)

Trails/Lifts: 35% beginner, 37% intermediate, 28% advanced/expert trails; one six-passenger detachable chair, one gondola, eight fixed chairs, two surface lifts

Average Snow: 200 (or fewer) inches


Sunday River, Maine
Information: 800-543-2754
Reservations: same

Best Time to Go: March and April bring affordable packages and fewer skiers; March has the most snow of the year.

Family Report Card: A
There are three day care centers for kids as young as six weeks; the kids' ski school has "shuttle coaches" who provide one-on-one instruction; at night there's a lit snowboard park, an ice-skating rink, and a tubing area.

Best Event: The 11th Annual Bust 'N' Burn (April 4-5), the East's biggest spring mogul party, brings together 300 of the best (and worst) amateur bumps skiers to compete on Sunday River's infamous White Heat run.

Who Goes There: Bostonians who have taken too many trips to New Hampshire only to find patchy, icy conditions and are looking for a safe bet (even if the snow's not real, at least it's there).

Stats: Elevation: 3,140 feet; vertical: 2,340 feet; tickets: adult, $44 midweek, $47 weekends and holidays; junior (6-12), $28 midweek, $29 weekends and holidays; 5 and under free

Trails/Lifts: 25% beginner, 35% intermediate, 40% advanced/expert trails; four high-speed quads, 11 fixed chairs, two surface lifts

Average Snow: 200 (or fewer) inches


Taos Ski Valley, New Mexico
Information: 505-776-2291
Reservations: 800-776-1111

Best Time to Go: Though great powder skiing can be had in January, mid-February to mid-March is prime time — albeit with higher prices.

Family Report Card: B-
Taos has a good ski school with lessons for kids three and up, and provides child care for kids six weeks and older. But the mountain is a hard one to maneuver: It's not easy to find your way around, and for that matter, not easy to ski.

Best Event: The Winter Wine Festival (January 20-25) includes wine tasting, wine seminars, and a wine-makers' dinner; on January 23 there's a Grand Tasting, with wine from 20 vineyards from around the world.

Who Goes There: Upscale, older types who can ski the pants off hotshots half their age; packs of college-age Texans; serious skiers who don't mind the lack of nightlife.

Stats: Elevation: 11,819 feet; vertical: 2,612 feet; tickets: adult, $40 ($27 low season: Thanksgiving-December 19); teen (13-16), $30 ($21 low season); 12 and under, $25 ($17 low season)

Trails/Lifts: 24% beginner, 25% intermediate, 51% advanced/expert trails; ten fixed chairs, one surface lift

Average Snow: 300-399 inches


The Big Mountain, Montana
Information: 406-862-2900
Reservations: 800-858-5439

Best Time to Go: The Big Mountain is usually an early opener, but fog is a problem. Better weather comes later, in February and March.

Family Report Card: B
There's day care for all ages including newborns, a ski school that awards kids with a sticker for each skill learned, and special trails for kids to explore. No evening programs — remember, we're in Whitefish, Montana.

Best Event: In the Big Mountain Annual Furniture Race (April 11), competitors race down a slope with at least one piece of furniture and a braking system (racers have incorporated chairs, beds, toilets, a hot tub, etc.).

Who Goes There: Bleary-eyed Amtrak party hounds from Seattle and Minneapolis, Whitefish locals, Southern Albertans looking for warm (0 degrees and above) weather.

Stats: Elevation: 7,000 feet; vertical: 2,300 feet; tickets: adult, $40; junior (7-18) and college kids with IDs, $27; 6 and under free

Trails/Lifts: 25% beginner, 50% intermediate, 25% advanced/expert trails; two high-speed quads, six fixed chairs, two surface lifts

Average Snow: 300-399 inches


Tremblant, Quebec
Information: 800-461-8711
Reservations: 800-567-6760

Best Time to Go: January can be icy cold; go in March and April for warmer temperatures and long days.

Family Report Card: A
Tremblant has ski and snowboard lessons for ages 3-12, snowblade lessons for ages 6-12, an Enchanted Forest learning area, a Cyber Snow Program in which kids learn to ski in the morning and surf the Web in the afternoon, evening programs, and a new AquaClub.

Best Event: The World Cup Freestyle (January 9-11), including mogul, aerial, and ballet events, is the last chance for competitors from around the world to qualify for the 1998 Winter Olympics.

Who Goes There: Montreal trendies, European package skiers, American families who like the exchange rate, elderly Quebecois who remember when this was North America's great caf‰-society resort.

Stats: Elevation:: 3,001 feet; vertical: 2,131 feet; tickets: adult, US$31; ages 13-17, US$24; ages 6-12, US$16; 5 and under free

Trails/Lifts: 20% beginner, 45% intermediate, 35% advanced/expert trails; one gondola, five high-speed quads, four fixed chairs, one surface lift

Average Snow: 200 (or fewer) inches


Vail, Colorado
Information: 970-476-9090
Reservations: 800-525-2257

Best Time to Go: January is the least crowded winter month; it's easier to find lodging, and the base area is less frantic. The snow is consistently good then too.

Family Report Card: A+
Parents with kids in day care get free pagers; there are theme weeks with daily kids' activities, children's adventure areas, a special map highlighting the mountain's great kid spots, and a Family Adventure Line (call 970-479-2048).

Best Event: UnVailed, a snowboarding event scheduled for March 26-29, includes both amateur (open) and professional competition and attracts many of the world's top snowboarders.

Who Goes There: Mogul ski stars, ski-industry VIPs, celebs, and ordinary people who want to hang out with all of the above.

Stats: Elevation: 11,450 feet; vertical: 3,330 feet; tickets: adult, $52; 12 and under, $35

Trails/Lifts: 28% beginner, 32% intermediate, 40% advanced/expert trails; one gondola, ten high-speed quads, nine fixed chairs, ten surface lifts

Average Snow: 300-399 inches


Whistler Resort/Blackcomb, British Columbia
Information: Whistler, 604-932-3434; Blackcomb, 604-932-3141
Reservations: 800-944-7853

Best Time to Go: April has the fewest people, the best snowpack, and good low-season packages.

Family Report Card: A+
Blackcomb has a ski and snowboard school for ages 3 and up, a Magic Carpet lift, and a terrain park with characters from King Arthur's Court. Parents with kids in day care get a pager, and there are nighttime activities for kids as well.

Best Event: The World Ski & Snowboard Festival (April 10-19), with more than 2,000 athletes participating in 25 events, includes the Couloir Extreme Race and the West Beach Snowboard Classic.

Who Goes There: Hard-partying Vancouverites, weekenders from Seattle, and Japanese tourists on package tours.

Stats: Elevation: 7,494 feet (Blackcomb Mountain); vertical: 5,280 feet; tickets: adult, US$40 dual-mountain, $38 one-mountain; ages 13-18, $35 and $29; ages 7-12, $22 and $17 ('96-'97)

Trails/Lifts: Whistler: 20% beginner, 55% intermediate, 25% advanced/expert; Blackcomb: 15% beginner; 55% intermediate; 30% advanced/expert trails; 3 gondolas, 9 high-speed quads, 7 fixed chairs, 11 surface lifts

Average Snow: 300-399 inches


Winter Park Resort, Colorado
Information: 970-726-5514
Reservations: 800-729-5813

Best Time to Go: April for sun, a surprising amount of powder, and no crowds.

Family Report Card: B+
There's a Children's Center for kids two months to five years. The ski school has skiing and snowboarding lessons for ages 3-18, a Groswold's Discovery Park learning area, and a resort mascot named Winter Park Willie. There are no aprˆs-ski programs, however.

Best Event: The Spring Splash, held on closing day, April 19, includes a crazy obstacle course that ends with a jump over (or into) a 60-foot-wide pond.

Who Goes There: Baby boomers from all over the country with their echo-boom kids in tow; Denverites on lo-o-o-o-ng lunch hours.

Stats: Elevation: 12,060 feet; vertical: 3,060 feet; tickets: adult, $45 (1996-1997); ages 6-13, $15; 5 and under, free

Trails/Lifts: 12% beginner, 30% intermediate, 58% advanced/expert trails; seven high-speed quads, 13 fixed chairs

Average Snow: 300-399 inches

Filed To: Snow Sports
More Travel

Holiday Subscription Sale! Save 79% and Get a Free Gift!

Subscribe
Pinterest Icon