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West Coast to Colorado road trip - Aussies need some help!

Brisbane, Australia
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West Coast to Colorado road trip - Aussies need some help!

Hi - I have been reading many of the forum postings - hope you may be able to help on this one.

We are a family of five (Mum Dad and three teens) from Australia. All have done long road trips incl in the US. We are booked to arrive in LA on 29 Nov and leave LA on 23 Dec (approx 3 weeks). Kids are mad keen to ski in Colorado but budget doesn't extend to flights. Have hired a great 4wd and realise that there are going to be some long days behind the wheel, but would like to mix this with a couple of interesting stops.

Am considering driving straight from LAX to Santa Barbara (one night), then on to SF (two nights) and would love to spend a day at Yosemite pending weather. Then across to Las Vegas then over to Colorado allowing three days to go this. Spend 6 nights in Colorado then head to Santa Fe and across to the Grand Canyon. Arrive back in LAX in time for flight home.

Any advice truly appreciated.

USA
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1. Re: West Coast to Colorado road trip - Aussies need some help!

Has the family ruled out skiing at Lk Tahoe or Badger Pass/Yosemite in California or even Utah? Or must it be Colorado?

If Colorado is indeed a must, as it sounds like it is, then perhaps research Telluride, or Durango Mt. in the southwestern part of the state.

Hopefully, it will be an early snow year for early skiing!!

Wherever you end up deciding to ski, check out special 4-packs, multi-pack passes, multi-area special pass rates, Liftopia discount tickets online, etc. for better economy with a group your size.

Edited: 05 October 2013, 02:10
Brisbane, Australia
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2. Re: West Coast to Colorado road trip - Aussies need some help!

Our fingers are crossed for early snow! Yes, they are keen on Colorado but are beginner-intermediate level skiers

Wednesbury, UK
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3. Re: West Coast to Colorado road trip - Aussies need some help!

Hi.

Some big drives in that as you say, especially Yosemite to Vegas on route south of the Sierras, assuming Tioga Road will closed. Still a 10 hour day if it's not and that is very unlikely. Yosemite itself may be a challenge if road conditions are poor and chain restrictions in place. Suggest you research the YARTS options when looking at accommodation and post on the Yosemite forum for advice.

I'd try and put another night in up Hwy 1 although again weather, rain and associated issues might make for an interesting drive. Could maybe go that Zion, Page, Monument Valley route to SW Colorado and GCNP on the way back, but you'll need to be alert to the weather and road conditions.

Even 4x4 will not cut if if the conditions are really poor, its of no advantage on slick icy roads, and I guess a LAX pick up will only have all weather tyres, M+S at best, rather than snow and ice rated.

Brisbane, Australia
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4. Re: West Coast to Colorado road trip - Aussies need some help!

Thanks - lots to look into here. Certainly like the idea of Hwy 1 - and also can see we need to be pretty flexible on where and when we venture on the long trips in case we get bad weather. Thought we would be OK in 4wd so that is good to know. Will look into YARTS - much appreciated.

Wednesbury, UK
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5. Re: West Coast to Colorado road trip - Aussies need some help!

Hi again.

I'm the worst person here probably to give advice anyway linked to skiing,but if there is snow in Aspen and Vail and not in SW Colorado, you could go Vegas to Moab for two nights, see Arches and a bit of Canyonlands maybe and then I -70 the rest of the way.

Other options would be the area around SLC and Park City if Utah has had any more snow than Colorado.

www.skiutah.com/winter/plan/plan-other/maps

Then some Utah parks heading south to GCNP.

Lewes, United...
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6. Re: West Coast to Colorado road trip - Aussies need some help!

I don't really know if booking at the last minute for accommodation at ski areas makes it hugely more expensive, to maintain flexibility. However, as somebody who has skied in Colorado, Utah and California several times before now, if your family are not expert skiers, then you could consider skiing almost anywhere where there is early snow.

Many ski resorts open for Thanksgiving (third Thursday of November - before you arrive) whether there is snow or not, using artificial snow making kit - something most US ski resorts have invested in heavily and generally don't hesitate to use to get the season going. So, in theory, you should be able to find snow as long as it stays cold enough.

If you are in the California area, I'd consider skiing at Tahoe as you will be in the area. Also, there's lots of good value but unexciting loding at South Lake Tahoe area and with the car, you can try a different ski area each day as several are not more than 30 mins drive from the area.

SWT

USA
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7. Re: West Coast to Colorado road trip - Aussies need some help!

I mentioned Durango & Telluride due to your desire to drive south to Santa Fe. Telluride is the quintessential historic district in a breathtaking mountain setting, as likewise is Crested Butte. Santa Fe ski area also uses snowmaking for early season, just like the rest, dependent upon cold temperatures.

We have lived in the Mt & Colo. rockies with all-season tires on our 4X4, even for our off-the-grid cabin down in NM. The only place we used studded snow tires o regular snow tires was our 15 years in Alaska. But the difference is we usually can stay home if a huge storm comes in!

Although you *probably* will be fine early season in December, keeping a close eye on weather reports and flexibility in the rockies is the key to winter travel. I would look for lodging that can be canceled without penalty.

The experts on these road trip forums are amazing with itineraries so you've come to the right place.

Edited: 05 October 2013, 16:05
Uden, The...
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8. Re: West Coast to Colorado road trip - Aussies need some help!

Also maybe consider Mammoth Lakes.

Brisbane, Australia
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9. Re: West Coast to Colorado road trip - Aussies need some help!

Thanks so much for all of this advice - I will start revising our itinerary and re-post. Difficult to imagine cold weather - its 32 degrees C outside here at the moment and sunny!

USA
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10. Re: West Coast to Colorado road trip - Aussies need some help!

Here's the recent October snow storm slide show from SD, WY, MT & CO:

weather.com/news/weather-winter/winter-storm…

Edited: 06 October 2013, 01:33