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Alternative ski vacation like Big Mountain

Cincinnati
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Alternative ski vacation like Big Mountain

First off I love Whitefish, MT and Big Mtn...but, I'd like to experience some new slopes. I'm in KY (fly out of Cincinnati) and I'd like to try a new place for skiing for say a 4 or 5 day trip in Feb. I've skiied in Eastern places but they don't compare to the west from what I've seen. I've only skiied at Big Mountain and Crystal in Washington. I really like the feel and style of Big Mtn. I'm not into high end ski area's like Vail (been there in the summer for a day). I'd rather hang out with ski bums living out of a winnibego than talking to a couple bankers over their 30 year old scotch. A normal pub or sports bar perhaps in the town and lots of good terrain. Been to Big Mtn for the last 5 years and I'm ready to try something different. We're a group of 5 guys in their 30s. We like skiing till are legs are shot and drinking microbrew in a local bar with a band or a football game in the background. That's not too much to ask right? Right now we're leaning toward Steamboat Springs cause I saw a pretty good deal, but I'm open to all suggestions.

Thanks!

Coeur d Alene, Idaho
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for Coeur d'Alene
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1. Re: Alternative ski vacation like Big Mountain

You might want to consider Schweitzer ski area near Sandpoint, Idaho. You would fly into Spokane, Washington and need a rental car to drive the 75 miles to Schweitzer/Sandpoint. Spokane is served by most major airlines. Schweitzer and Sandpoint are very similiar to Whitefish and Big Mountain. Sandpoint is on the shore of Lake Pend Oreille and Schwietzer if located above town in the Selkirk Mountains. Schweitzer has fairly reliable snow with late January and February being the main accumulation time for snow. Web site for the ski area is: www.schweitzer.com Web sites for Sandpoint info are: www.visitsandpoint.info www.sandpointonline.com www.sandpoint.com

Detroit, MI
2 posts
2 reviews
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2. Re: Alternative ski vacation like Big Mountain

Think about Big White out of Kelowna, very similar to Big Mountain.

Big Sky, MT
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3. Re: Alternative ski vacation like Big Mountain

I've always wanted to ski Schweitzer. I've heard great things.

In the other corner (SW) of the state is Big Sky/Moonlight Basin. Together, they offer 5500 acres of skiable terrain, making the combined pass the biggest skiing in America. Admittedly, I live here, so am a little biased, but I think if you like Big Mountain, you'll love Big Sky. The slopes are still uncrowded, and there is just enough resort "scene" for a laid-back, ski-central vacation.

The skiing is nothing less than tremendous. There is tram access to the 11,150' peak, with huge above-treeline bowls and chutes. Where Crystal and Big Mtn are on the western side of the continental divide, Big Sky (like Colorado and Utah) is on the eastern side. The result is a drier, lighter snow quality that makes for sublime powder skiing.

Either way, I think you're better off in MT/ID/WA, as the crowds and lift lines in CO/UT are getting unbearable. If the hot night club or trendy restaurants are not so important to you, you'll want to stay in the Northwest.

Have a great time.

Lethbridge, Alberta
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30 posts
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4. Re: Alternative ski vacation like Big Mountain

..I've been to Big Mountain about a thousand times, and it's amazing.. and ditto with Schweitzer.. you might also consider Fernie, B.C. - gets great snow, is connected to a small town, not too many "sundeckers" yet.. ..and being from Alberta, I have to give a plug to Banff - which gets you to Sunshine, Lake Louise, Norquay.. great skiing, and some great nightlife whether you want 5star food, or a great hunk of steak and beer!! Banff is also quite accessible - major airport in Calgary, then it's about a 2 hour drive to Banff..

AZ
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2 posts
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5. Re: Alternative ski vacation like Big Mountain

Another great location to consider is the Lake Tahoe area. We have been skiing CO, UT and Tahoe for dozens of years, and Tahoe is our hands down favorite!! The town, on the lake, offers everything including casinos! We always stay in South Lake Tahoe, on the southeast side of the lake. And we ski a different world renowned slope every day! So many mountains, never enough time!! Conditions are always wonderful!! Great ski resorts, all within a shuttle or 20 min. car ride! Go online and check out some of them: Heavenly, Kirkwood, Squaw, Northstar, etc. Never crowded, rarely a lift line of any kind, because so many mountains!! As much as we love Big Mtn, Tahoe (town and mountains) remains our favorite!!

AZ
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2 posts
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6. Re: Alternative ski vacation like Big Mountain

Another great location to consider is the Lake Tahoe area. We have been skiing CO, UT and Tahoe for dozens of years, and Tahoe is our hands down favorite!! The town, on the lake, offers everything including casinos! We always stay in South Lake Tahoe, on the southeast side of the lake. And we ski a different world renowned slope every day! So many mountains, never enough time!! Conditions are always wonderful!! Great ski resorts, all within a shuttle or 20 min. car ride! Go online and check out some of them: Heavenly, Kirkwood, Squaw, Northstar, etc. Never crowded, rarely a lift line of any kind, because so many mountains!! As much as we love Big Mtn, Tahoe (town and mountains) remains our favorite!!

Seattle
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7. Re: Alternative ski vacation like Big Mountain

Every year for the past ten years, Carol and I have taken our teenagers and friends with us for a week of skiing over the Presidents Day vacation. Our trips have included Big Mountain twice, Salt Lake City, Schweitzer, Whistler, Mt Hood Meadows, Mt Bachelor (twice), Heavenly Valley and Mt. Baker. Last spring, our daughter and I skied Steamboat, Winter Park, Vail and Breckenridge. Of all the places we've been, we liked Big Mountain, Heavenly Valley and Schweitzer the best. If you are looking for an atmosphere similar to Big Mountain (low key and not stuffy), Schweitzer is for you. We rented a home there that was ski in/ski out and had a blast. We liked Mt. Hood Meadows and Mt. Bachelor as mountains, but you cannot stay on the hill. There is a place right down the road from Mt. Hood that has cabins that were ideal for families or a group of five guys. It's at a place near Cooper Spur. Years ago, I skied two different times at Grand Targhee. That's a very low key place but I understand the people from Salt Lake City like to ski there for the snow. Good luck. It'd be great to know when you finally ended up going the past two years since you posted your message nearly two years ago. MattCade@comcast.net

Cincinnati
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8. Re: Alternative ski vacation like Big Mountain

Thanks for all the suggestions. Sweitzer definitly looks like it would be worth a look. From the web site it looks a lot like Big Mtn. I would love to ski in Banf/Lake Louis but that's out of my price range. Went to Waterton/Banff/Jasper over the summer with my wife and camped for 2 weeks. Canadian Rockies truely are the greatest place in the world, at least for me. But wow it's expensive. Can't imagine going there for a ski trip.

I actually just posted this back in Oct 06 so I haven't gone on a ski trip yet. Money ended up being the biggest factor. We settled on trying Steamboat. I found a deal on flights for $200 from Cincinnati to Hayden and another $160 a person for a condo on the moutain. You can't beat $360 for flight and ski-in/ski-out condo. Couldn't even fly to any of the places mentioned in the post for that. So sometimes money talks. The group knows that it's going to be a totally different experience (no $5 Bulldog burgers or Open Mic Night at the Great Northern) but I'm interested to experience a Big Resort and that champagne powder you always hear about. I actually have camped all over Colorado and love it, but I'm not big into crowds or Disneyland-like scenes.

I have a strong feeling we'll be ready to try Sweitzer or return to Big Mtn next year. I've driven past Big Sky and had a friend go there years ago. He actually liked Big Mtn better, but he definitely liked Big Sky too. Drove by Fernie on my way from Waterton to Banff over the summer. We thought about going to Big Mtn and trying to go to Fernie for the day one year. I looked at Tahoe, and the mountains look great, and the prices to get there and stay are really good, but my crew is not a casino kinda group. We were a little scared the place would be like Vegas which is exactly what I can't stand. I could be way wrong about that though.

Anyway thanks for the look everybody.

Steamboat Springs...
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29 posts
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9. Re: Alternative ski vacation like Big Mountain

Beermeng-see my response to your question in Steamboat forum. Don't confuse laid-back Steamboat with "fancy resorts" like vail/aspen. Despite the inevitable growth in the 25 years I've been here, there's still an old west town that was here long before the resort. Deals can be had on food and drink- check the same paper I reference in the other post for happy hour specials in addition to my restaurant recommendations. And in general, the locals live here because they love the outdoors and lifestyle more than making money and are genuinely friendly and welcoming to visitors... ed

Seattle, WA
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10. Re: Alternative ski vacation like Big Mountain

Hey there realize this is a bit late but there are two great ski area's North of Whitefish on is Panorama in Canada then there is Switzer in Sandpoint Idaho - both are about 3 hour drive from Kailspell airport.

I would also suggest Red Moutnain and Mt. Apex both in Canada just North of Spokane all of these are small local destinations that have great skiing but little phoo-phoo just great terrain.

Have fun next year .... jmb

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