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Family Skiing not worth it right now

Austin, Texas
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140 posts
25 reviews
17 helpful votes
Family Skiing not worth it right now
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Skied Vail Monday with one son and Wednesday with two sons and my wife, and both days it felt relatively unsafe due to crowding on the few open slopes and lifts.

The amount of people on the mountain relative to the amount of mountain open is not safe for families currently. Perhaps this is often the case Thanksgiving week...don't know because I've never skied this week in Summit Co though I have skied here Dec-March for the past 30 years.

Specifically the catwalks and several of the greens are a mess as they form a logjam near the few open lifts, gondolas and some young men (100% of the perps I witnessed) are bombing them and narrowly missing seriously injuring or killing someone. My wife and I did our best to shield our kids skiing in front and behind them, but often someone would cut in between us in minimal space for no good good reason. By 2:30p we were all just ready to get off the mountain fully intact. I sent my wife and younger son down the gondola and should have sent my older son down with them too.

To be fair and accurate, the family ski area was nice and sparse, and several of the slopes were not too crowded (esp before noon), but you will inevitably hit the log jams near the lifts which are legit danger zone right now. Unless your kids are truly advanced skiiers, leave them behind. I rode Keystone on a board solo on Tues and had a blast, and that was far less crowded despite 12" of fresh powder.

Yes, you can always encounter the aforementioned at most any ski resort at most any time, but this is the highest density of reckless behavior in such close proximity to me and my kids that I've experienced in 30 years in Colorado.

I saw one teenage girl taken out pretty badly (her mom lost it with the guy) and another fool cut between my son, and instructor and his student, with inches not feet to spare, at ridiculous speed. The instructor hollered after him but he was gone...

As for Covid-19, my family all had it earlier this year, in northern Italy of all places (mild cases), so we weren't concerned about contracting or infecting anyone. If you are concerned about Covid-19, then know that you will be encouraged though not required to ride lifts with strangers, and you will be a couple feet away from other people for 15-20min in lift lines.

Anyway, I'll certainly be back to ski with the fam in Summit Co again, but probably not Thanksgiving week.

Be safe and Happy Thanksgiving!

33 replies to this topic
Eagle, Colorado
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5,215 posts
1. Re: Family Skiing not worth it right now
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Not uncommon early season with limited terrain. Mixed level skiers all on the same terrain and crowded onto a couple of ribbons. More inexperienced people trying Thanksgiving skiing this year with other travel limited and poor early snow.

Washington DC
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65 reviews
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2. Re: Family Skiing not worth it right now
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Thanks for the report. I don't really understand expecting good ski conditions at this time of year, ever, to be honest. I would never pay to go to an expensive place like Vail in mid-November. I don't know what you expected, it's too early in the year. Besides, you can check all those out online and see that there has been only a couple inches of snow total, and how few trails are open. Although I guess if you planned this and couldn't check before going, that wouldn't work but that's normal.

The behavior is too bad, but it's good you reported it. I wonder if it's just people with EPIC passes so it's a no cost proposition for them. Must be.

Eagle, Colorado
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Also Vail is not Summit County its Eagle county.

Mercer Island...
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Thanksgiving is always a crap shoot. Sometimes good snow, sometimes very thin. Combined with the pandemic, seems like a bad bet to shell out the money to do a ski trip this Thanksgiving.

Austin, Texas
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140 posts
25 reviews
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5. Re: Family Skiing not worth it right now
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Fair responses. Really, we just wanted to spend Thanksgiving in the Rockies and enjoy the snow. Skiing was secondary and always a "we'll see how conditions are..." We had a free place to stay in Summit Co (and always stay around, here hence the Summit Co reference).

The trip hasn't been a bust at all; in fact it's been a great success with a foot of fresh pow to ride at Keystone and snow for kids to make snowmen, have snowball fights, sled and ski a little. We love being here despite the Covid regs. With an Epic Pass and cheap lift tickets for the kids, combined with free lodging, I'm not complaining about the value proposition. Just disappointed in the lack of safety on the slopes at Vail. Keystone felt much safer fwiw.

My post was really just a PSA for people like me contemplating a family Thanksgiving ski trip or on the fence about skiing Vail this weekend.

Cheers

Edited: 27 November 2020, 03:23
Colorado
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4,929 posts
209 reviews
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The OP has pointed out something that many locals spent their summers immersed in as reality:

While there might always be some small minority of individuals that ause trouble in vacation destinations, among those willing to travel during a National State of Emergency caused by a global health crisis, that typically small percentage of troublemakers has been dramatically amplified.

So, considering the terrifying uptick in armed confrontations with trespassers, poachers and illegal hunters over the past few months, I find it completely unsurprising that more visitors are now skiing recklessly this season.

Austin, Texas
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Interesting perspective, but my money's on the reckless skiers I witnessed being predominantly 15-25yr old Colorado "locals" (maybe only "local" for a couple yrs, but certainly with weeks/yr of skiing not days/yr under their belts). These were legit good skiers, not the Spring Break frat boy crowd. But they were clearly too amped about taking their first runs of the season to have any fear or empathy for others, especially for vulnerable kids who are prone to do something unexpected and are on beginner runs for a reason.

I make this claim (admittedly impossible to prove) based on seeing them, hearing them talk, and their ability. I wouldn't point the finger at tourists too quickly, as the pandemic has most likely reduced not increased tourist traffic this Thanksgiving.

Eagle, Colorado
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Tourism here in the mountains has been as busy or busier than ever since the pandemic lockdowns released. With few options everyone seems to think going to the mountains and deserts is the thing to do.

Anecdotally there are way more questions here on first time skiers or wanting snow but not skiers than in previous years.

Colorado
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4,929 posts
209 reviews
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Sorry, visitors come to the small mountain towns in the Rockies from all 50 states, including Colorado. Twenty-something "Bro-brahs" from Denver that spend their weekends fighting traffic to/from the mountains are not locals.

10. Re: Family Skiing not worth it right now

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