We're a Midwest US family of four (two adults, two teens) looking to ski in the western US over Christmas. We've skied many areas - including Whistler, The Canyons, Breckenridge, Snow Bird, Vail and Big Sky - but we've always skied in February or early March.
This year, we need to do our trip the week after Christmas. We are looking for an area with reliable snow at Christmas, intermediate to double black runs and no big crowds. We don't care about restaurants or night life and we wouldn't mind an offbeat, lesser known area as long as there is enough snow, many intermediate runs and a lot of challenging skiing without much hiking to get to it. (Arapahoe Basin is probably a bit too challenging.) We plan to stay a week, so a large area or several areas within a one hour drive would be a plus.
We were considering the Tahoe areas, but are worried that they would be too crowded at Christmas or might not have snow. Does anyone have experience with Squaw Valley, Heavenly or any of the other Tahoe areas between Christmas and New Years? Are they crowded? Any other suggestions? Does anyone have experience with Schweitzer Mountain during this time?