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First Ski Trip. Help Needed!

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Texas
posts: 189
reviews: 5
First Ski Trip. Help Needed!

It will be our first ski trip (4 nights) with family and friends. All four adults and two kids (6 and 7) are first time skier. We will be staying in Lakeside Village beside the Snake River. Here is our plan: First, we will go to ski school in Keystone. We want to try tubing as well. Then we would like to drive around to visit Frisco, maybe ski one day in Breckenridge, or Copper Mountain... Among Keystone, Breckenridge and Copper Mountain, which one is the friendliest one for beginners?

In terms of the ski school, I checked on line. It seems there are two schools in Keystone. One in Mountain House and one in River Run. Which one should we pick?

Any suggestions for our plan (ie where to go, where to eat, what to play, what to see, etc) would be appreciated! Thank you!

Edited: 10:21 am, February 05, 2014
26 replies to this topic
Delavan, Illinois
posts: 866
reviews: 34
1. Re: First Ski Trip. Help Needed!

Can't help you with the ski school choice.

I like Copper for beginners. Not because Breckenridge is bad, in fact they got some really great intermediate runs that I expect you'll be able to handle after a couple of days skiing at Keystone. I just like the layout at Copper with all of the beginner runs grouped together to one side of the mountain. If you stick to that side, little chance of ending up on a lift that takes you to where the only way down is an expert run.

However, since you're staying at Keystone, won't you be taking advantage of their package deal? If you are, you'll have a package that lets you ski on your Keystone ticket at both Arapahoe Basin and Breckenridge as well. Whereas, it will cost you extra to ski at Copper. So, unless you're going skiing on a day after your Keystone ticket has expired, I would just ski one of the places your ticket is already good for.

Here is an interactive trailmap for Breckenridge that lets you explore it a bit in advance:

breckenridge.com/mountain/resort-maps.aspx

And here is Copper Mountain's non-interactive trail map:

coppercolorado.com/winter/…index.html

At Copper, you can get nearly to the top of the mountain and ski beginner runs (not first time ever, but by the 3rd day probably) all the way down. At Breckenridge, the beginner runs are spread out over more of the mountain, but generally just the lower half.

Texas
posts: 189
reviews: 5
2. Re: First Ski Trip. Help Needed!

Thank you, turkce_bilmiyorum! I will take advantage of the package. Based upon what you've said, I do think Copper is a nice place for beginners. What about Keystone? I heard good things about Keystone and that was one of the reasons we chose to stay there. However, a friend of mine mentioned recently that he skied in Keystone many years ago as a beginner and had bad experience. That scares me. Any thoughts?

Delavan, Illinois
posts: 866
reviews: 34
3. Re: First Ski Trip. Help Needed!

My experience at skiing Keystone has been restricted to night skiing. So, not as many options. There is a very nice beginners run from the top of the mountain down that was open at night so that's all I can personally attest to. I know there are others open during the day. I think you'll enjoy it. If not, it's 10 minutes to A-Basin and less than 30 to Breckenridge. Plus, as a beginner you may want some longer breaks, so lesson in the morning, lunch, go out again for a few runs, take a break, go out again after supper. And you can do that all from where you are staying. Only place I know that is better is a much smaller mountain (scratch that, hill) in the midwest where you are literally staying right on the bunny hill and the longest walk without skis is from the front porch of your condo down the steps. So, unless you think that less mountain, less snow, less trail options is more, I don't think you have anything to be concerned about.

You can have both good and bad experiences any place. Sorry for your friend, but if you just share your fears with your ski instructor right up front, they'll do their best to make sure you have a good time. And if not, come to my ski hill in the midwest next time. I batting 100% with over 2000 students taught how to ski. And I'll bet that working out in Colorado your instructor is even more experienced than I am.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
posts: 3,618
reviews: 52
4. Re: First Ski Trip. Help Needed!

There are plenty of green runs for beginners at both Keystone and Breck. Although I also like Copper, I certainly wouldn't pay extra for the additional lift ticket when you can get one ticket for both Keystone and Breck. I don't think A Basin is the best choice for beginners.

I could be wrong, but I think Keystone just offers all day group lessons. We're taking one tomorrow (bought the bargain season lesson pass because we're in Colorado for 6 weeks)--it runs from 10-3:30.

Delavan, Illinois
posts: 866
reviews: 34
5. Re: First Ski Trip. Help Needed!

You're right, Andee 110, about A-Basin not being the best place for beginners, only 2 or 3 regular runs are even classified as green. Curiously, though, they have a first class place for teaching first-timers, and I hear (don't know personally) that their ski-school is top-notch as well.

If a beginner could get in an all-day class (at Keystone, Breck, or even Copper) with one instructor and 3-4 other beginners, that would really be a perfect learning environment. I wouldn't recommend NewMom's entire family try to form a single class because it usually doesn't work so well to have young children (6 & 7 years of age) in a class with adults, especially if they include one's parents, but all of the adults might want to see if they could make up one class. And then put the children in an age appropriate beginner's class at the same time.

Edited: 8:15 pm, February 05, 2014
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
posts: 3,618
reviews: 52
6. Re: First Ski Trip. Help Needed!

I completely agree that the children should be in lessons with others of their age so the instructor can tailor the teaching.

Keystone does have a lesson that allows people to make their own small group. They're also having a buy 2 lessons, get one free sale.

Our season's lesson package (we can take as many all day lessons as we want on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays) is an amazing bargain at $289 when a single all day lesson costs $123.

texas
posts: 178
reviews: 2
7. Re: First Ski Trip. Help Needed!

I would plan on just sking at Keystone if I were you. Especially as first time skiers, keystone will keep you happy. Being from Texas myself, the change in altitude is going to wear you and the young kids out and it will be good to be close to your base. The kids will love the tubing at keystone also, may need to check on the height restrictions?

Texas
posts: 189
reviews: 5
8. Re: First Ski Trip. Help Needed!

Thank you all for the discussion! We will enroll the kids to kids' class and we four adults get into the group class. In Keystone's web site, I did see a choice of class location between Mountain House and River Run. Don't know the difference.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
posts: 3,618
reviews: 52
9. Re: First Ski Trip. Help Needed!

There are two bases at Keystone, River Run and Mountain House. Parking and rental equipment are available at both. I like that Keystone offers free parking right at the resort (there is paid parking even closer, but we're cheap about parking). We park at River Run, change into our ski boots at the car, and use the wagons Keystone provides to tote our skis, poles, and backpacks.

Delavan, Illinois
posts: 866
reviews: 34
10. Re: First Ski Trip. Help Needed!

$123 for a single all day lesson, that's cheap considering what some resorts charge. On the other hand, working as a ski instructor in the Midwest our resorts typically charge $40/hour for a private lesson or $10-$20/hour for a group lesson. On that last one an instructor might personally see only $8-$10 themselves no matter how many students were in the class. Not sure how well instructors are paid in Colorado, but I know they don't see very much of what you're paying the resort, so be sure to remember them if you find them as helpful as I expect you will.

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