We went to Snow Valley in between Christmas and New Years so it was really crowded. We got there at about 4:30 the day before we wanted to ski. I wanted to get the rentals and lift tickets then so I wouldn't have to hassle with it the next day. I was told at the ticket office that it wasn't possible to do that but then she sent me to the Guest Relations. Miranda and Bonnie figured out what I wanted to do and made it possible for me to get it all done. Because the lift tickets were time sensitive, I had to stop by there the next morning to get the lift tickets and ski lesson package but at least they let us get the rentals the night before. The next morning, Miranda remembered what I needed done and worked the accounting of it so that I was taken care of pretty quickly
The rental department people were a little less impressive. The gal helping with the boots was about 16 and seemed completely uninterested in helping find a good boot. My son needed a change in ski boots and she seemed completely put out. We went to the next station where a big guy barked at us to stay behind the green line and that he could only help one at a time. I was barely allowed to approach the desk to help explain what I was trying to do. Because I was renting the day before and was going to keep the equipment for 2 days, he was really thrown off and barked a few "rules" about doing that. He told us that even though we could take the equipment home the first night, the second night we had to bring it back to the rental place to store overnight. That was for the 2 snowboarders but the skier could keep his both nights. Weird so I blew that off and we kept the equipment with us both nights.
My snowboarders took an intro lesson, which despite having 30 people in it, they felt like it was productive and helpful. There were 3 instructors so it wasn't too bad. They came back smiling. The lesson is supposed to be 90 minutes but it went 2 hours so that was nice of the instructors. Even though the line was long for the lessons window, Debbie was there to help and was so nice. I saw her go out of her way several times in the past 2 days to make sure guests were taken care of. The next day my kids did a private lesson. I found the instructors to be very flexible and accommodating, even starting the lesson 15 minutes later because my kids weren't quite ready.
I heard a lot of people complaining but I really think they just didn't get the lay of the land early enough. If you are going up the same day, I'd recommend getting there about 9am or 11 as everyone and their brothers are showing up at 8. I never had to stand in lines so I really think going up the night before was better.
Next time, however, I will rent my equipment from Bauers in Running Springs for $17.50 a day compared to Snow Valley's $33 per day. They were so much less crowded and so nice. You can do season rentals there for $150 a season so if you go a lot, that would make sense.
Snow Valley recognizes that the traffic going down the hill is horrible between 3 and 6 so they opened up the resort for night skiing to encourage people to stay on the mountain. It was great- it was pretty icy but much less crowded.
We stayed in Lake Arrowhead at the Lake Arrowhead Resort, which was a nice easy drive and allowed us to avoid the bad traffic.
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