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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb. 4, 2005
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    San Antonio, TX, or thereabouts
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    685

    Default Family-friendly, mellow places to ski?

    So, we're a family of relaxed personalities, complete with little children. Said children are dying to see snow once in their lives, and this may be the year!

    Any chance that some wise COTHer could recommend a low-key place to ski in New Mexico or Colorado? General proximity to major airports is a plus. We neither need nor want challenging slopes, or Gucci shops, or 4 star accommodations. We need bunny slopes and cross-country skiing trails, good eating, and smaller crowds.

    Any suggestions, please and thank you? There must be mellow establishments out there, but as a total ski novice, I'd love help on places to start looking!
    "And now," cried Max, "let the wild rumpus start!"



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb. 19, 2009
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    4,480

    Default

    if you're willing to fly, there are quite a few ski resorts in CA that offer that type of atmosphere. I wouldn't recommend Tahoe (too busy and popular for what you describe) but further south in gold country there is Dodge Ridge (near Sonora, CA). Closet airport would probably be San Jose. If you've never been to that area, it is a VERY low key, down to earth area. Rural-ish, but with a lot of fun activities outside of just skiing.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb. 24, 1999
    Location
    MD
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    3,371

    Default

    Steamboat (in CO). I spent half my childhood living there and it's a perfect family-friendly ski town.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug. 26, 2010
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    in the woodwork....
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    1,650

    Default

    I really enjoyed skiing Beaver Creek.
    "I'm holding out for the $100,000 Crossrail Classic in 2012." --mem
    "With all due respect.. may I suggest you take up Croquet?" --belambi
    Proud Member of the Opinionated Redhead Club!



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul. 29, 2006
    Location
    Colorado- Yee Haw!
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    2,743

    Default

    What about Salt Lake City UT? I say this living in CO. I find it cheaper and incredibly family friendly. Not to mention the ski areas are all super close to the city and never seem really crowded. We had a blast over Thanksgiving there and they were totally friendly about my 1 yo running around the lodge while we took turns skiing (Alta.)

    ETA - one parent was with the 1 year old- we didn't just let her run wild.



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb. 18, 2001
    Location
    New York, NY
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    Default

    Do you want a ski school/lessons? If so, Taos is the best—their ski school is amazing, and they have really great instructors for the kiddos. Plus, it's driving distance from Texas and the ski condos you can rent there are not super expensive like some places.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug. 21, 2000
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    2,600

    Default

    A second vote for Steamboat. It's super family-friendly, it's a real town, great ski school and kids' programs, AMAZING snow for the grown-ups (especially this year; they're getting dumped on!) with unparalleled tree skiing and lots of fun stuff to do when you don't feel like skiing: Strawberry Park Hot Springs (natural, beautiful), a sleigh ride dinner at Dutch Creek Guest Ranch... seriously, it's the perfect family-friendly resort.
    I evented just for the Halibut.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul. 20, 2003
    Location
    San Antonio, TX
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    2,349

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by 4Martini View Post
    What about Salt Lake City UT? I say this living in CO. I find it cheaper and incredibly family friendly. Not to mention the ski areas are all super close to the city and never seem really crowded. We had a blast over Thanksgiving there and they were totally friendly about my 1 yo running around the lodge while we took turns skiing (Alta.)

    ETA - one parent was with the 1 year old- we didn't just let her run wild.
    Yes! DH and I lived in Utah for 2 years, and fell in love with the skiing there, especially at Alta! Incredible ski school instructors, great beginner and child friendly stuff, gorgeous location! Brighton is nice too, but they allow snowboarders, which can be harder for novice skiers to deal with in terms of maneuverability and collision avoidance.

    Plenty of great food in SLC with a relaxed atmosphere and no terrible crowds.
    Jonah 4:4: And the Lord said, "Do you do well to be angry?"

    With every day that passes, college football season gets that much closer!



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul. 14, 2000
    Location
    NM
    Posts
    1,449

    Default

    Ruidoso, NM - about an hour from El Paso so a cheap, quick flight for you. I don't know what the ski conditions are right now but looks like they are open: http://www.skiapache.com/



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec. 13, 2004
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    1,710

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    What about Grand targhee on the Idaho side of the Tetons. Nice slopes for beginners low crowds. Nothing fancy and reasonable prices. Fly in to Jackson Hole or Idaho Falls. LF is close (16 miles from the resort) and would take the kids on a sleigh ride as well.



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb. 4, 2005
    Location
    San Antonio, TX, or thereabouts
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    685

    Default

    Awesome, thank you all for the input! It's much appreciated. Looks like I have a date with the internet tonight researching.

    Ski school would probably be wise for kiddos, seeing as how my ski career occurred exclusively on the Loring AFB (Me.) golf course over two winters....when I was about 10! Somehow I doubt I'm qualified to teach my own kids, ya reckon?

    4martini, love the visual on the loose 1yo. I'll be taking one of those, along with a drama llama 6yo and a 9yo with no fear. Good times!!
    "And now," cried Max, "let the wild rumpus start!"



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb. 18, 2001
    Location
    New York, NY
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blue Yonder View Post
    I'll be taking one of those, along with a drama llama 6yo and a 9yo with no fear. Good times!!
    If Taos Ski School can handle my drama llama mother, they certainly can handle your 6-year-old!

    But, seriously, I can't recommend them enough for kiddos and grown folks alike.

    (FWIW, I've also skied Durango, Wolf Creek, Santa Fe, and Jackson Hole, so I do have some other perspectives.)



  13. #13
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    Feb. 4, 2005
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    San Antonio, TX, or thereabouts
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    Quote Originally Posted by LostFarmer View Post
    What about Grand targhee on the Idaho side of the Tetons. Nice slopes for beginners low crowds. Nothing fancy and reasonable prices. Fly in to Jackson Hole or Idaho Falls. LF is close (16 miles from the resort) and would take the kids on a sleigh ride as well.
    OOOHHH, sleigh rides!!!! Odds are that I'd then NEVER get my older 2 to leave, of course, that being the coolest thing ever in the history of the universe.
    "And now," cried Max, "let the wild rumpus start!"



  14. #14
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    Dec. 13, 2004
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Tha Ridge View Post

    (FWIW, I've also skied Durango, Wolf Creek, Santa Fe, and Jackson Hole, so I do have some other perspectives.)
    I would never call Jackson Hole a family hill. You also might look at a little place up Logan Canyon Utah. Beaver Mountain is small friendly great snow and cheap. Not as easy to get to as some of the other utah resorts but much cheaper.

    Taos is a great mountain as well.



  15. #15
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    Dec. 13, 2004
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blue Yonder View Post
    OOOHHH, sleigh rides!!!! Odds are that I'd then NEVER get my older 2 to leave, of course, that being the coolest thing ever in the history of the universe.
    Just as an nudge.
    http://i944.photobucket.com/albums/a...IMG_4491_1.jpg

    http://i944.photobucket.com/albums/a...IMG_4469_1.jpg



  16. #16
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    Feb. 18, 2001
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    New York, NY
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    Quote Originally Posted by LostFarmer View Post
    I would never call Jackson Hole a family hill.
    That's why I didn't recommend it.



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Apr. 23, 2004
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    Spinner's End
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    I recommend some Canadian places - I mean...if you are going to be flying anyways, might as well just go a bit farther.

    Whistler/Blackcomb is amazing. Well it definitely can be for older folks, the ski school is top notch and there are so many family activities nearby (from sleigh rides, to dog mushing, to snowmobiles). I grew up skiing Whistler and I can tell you, that nothing beats it for fresh snow and great atmosphere.

    That said: more family places I can think of are Mt Hood, Mt Bachelor, Salt Lake.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    ~Coth's Resident Deatheater~



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Mar. 27, 2002
    Location
    WA State
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    199

    Default

    I would also recommend Canada. Sun Peaks in BC is great for a family. You can fly into Kamloops and then it is 30-45 min. We go there every year with family ranging from 3 yrs to 70 yrs.



  19. #19
    Join Date
    May. 22, 2006
    Posts
    155

    Default

    Ok, I'm probably not the person who should give advice on this topic, being a less-than-once-a-year skiier despite living in Colorado. But, laid back, inexpensive and quality bunny hill are my main criteria for the rare times I do ski . You might check out Eldora in Nederland, CO. It's just outside a small, quirky town that is most definitely NOT a resort town! It's probably just over an hour from Denver's airport, and does not involve getting on the dreaded I-70 (the major artery to the ski areas you've heard of before ). It's where allll the local kids learn to ski, so very family-friendly, good ski school. You can also buy a (much discounted) lift ticket just for the bunny hill area. They also have XC skiing and snowshoeing at the resort and there's some awesome areas in the adjacent indian peaks wilderness. You aren't going to have ski-out accommodations - there are a few hotels 5-10 minutes down the road in Nederland - or high end anything. Although Boulder, ~20-30 minutes down the road, will have excellent restaurants, shopping, etc....and probably be 10-20* warmer if the winter thing gets a little tiring.



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