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Spring Break Ski Trips 2012

Ski Resorts That Want *You* for Spring Break

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Ski resorts are cool hot spots for spring break 2012 (number 10 on the list of top spring break 2012 hot spots) -- check out a list of the top Colorado ski resorts for spring break ski trips plus some ideas for spring break ski trips to Whistler, Jackson Hole, Heavenly, a few quieter spots, and some places you may want to give a pass. I live in Rocky Mountain high country now, and have lived in, had major nightlife fun in, or skiied all but one of these ski resorts -- and I promise it's all good.

Whistler Blackcomb, BC Canada

Whistler Blackcomb Night Skiing
You could not ask for more from a spring break ski trip than Whistler (done that). Realistic drinking age in Canada, great snow, interesting folks, and beyond beautiful. Good parks and pipes, happening apres affairs, and Whistler's spring ski and snowboard festival provide a pretty congenial atmosphere for college students. Possibly, no passport needed for Canada if you're driving.

  • Do I need a passport to go to Canada?
  • Crested Butte, Colorado - Spring Break-Friendly

    Crested Butte Corduroy
    © Crested Butte Mountain Resort
    The people are great, the snow is excellent and the place is laid back and lovely. Crested Butte is, perhaps, the best Colorado ski resort for college aged folks -- lots of events and activities, nice nightlife, and the town of Crested Butte is terrific. Go back country for the real Crested Butte deal. The area's snowboard friendly, but know that some of the terrain is truly tough.

    Winter Park, Colorado - Spring Break Skiing Near the City

    Winter Park's Amtrak Train Station
    © Kathleen Crislip
    Winter Park is just 1 1/2 hours from Denver, Colorado, making it easy and cheap to get to by car, bus or Amtrak train (in fact, you can take Amtrak straight into Winter Park from either coast and get a 15% Amtrak student discount). A mountain bike-friendly place in summer, Winter Park is loaded with apres-anything spots.

    Aspen - Spring Skiing in the Rockies at Its Finest

    Aspen Rails Snowboarder - Lift 1A rail on Aspen Mountain. Photo: Matt Power
    © Matt Power
    Aspen gets an unfair rap as a richie richer only hangout -- true, you may be skiing among the stars, but the clubs are just clubs, albeit great clubs (well... there is the Caribou). Aspen lodging can be wildly spendy, but I love the cute St. Moritz Lodge as well as friendly former hostel, Limelite Lodge -- both reasonable and central. Amtrak runs right to down-valley economical and lovely Glenwood Springs from the coasts. Try tiny Basalt's El Nopal taqueria -- I heart-ed it even before small-world-meeting the owner's cousin, who just happened (wow) to be my cabbie in Puerto Vallarta one winter.

    Jackson Hole - Million Dollar Runs

    I did the ski bum thing in Jackson Hole, slinging drinks by night at the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar to finance billion-dollar-view skiing by day, and I lived through the nightlife and the c-c-cold days in cultured cowboy-ville to tell you Jackson is the best of the best ski towns around. And they welcome college students -- believe it. Maybe because local guys way outnumber girls...

    Drop by the Mangy Moose in the ski village for apres-steep yeehaws.

    Breckenridge, Colorado - Top of the World Skiing

    Breckenridge is one of the several Colorado ski resorts off I-70, but it's not a highway view by any means. A real town, founded on gold in 1859, offers some good breakfast joints among 79 bars and restaurants, and the skiing will have your head in the clouds at 12,998 feet.

    Heavenly Valley, Lake Tahoe, Nevada

    Riders and skiers from the Rockies call Heavenly Valley's snow "Sierra Cement," but if you've only skied the coasts, you'll find huge Heavenly plenty celestial. And for snow snobs who disdain the concrete, Nevada offers interesting off-slope diversions (can you say "hit me"?). You can ride Amtrak right into Lake Tahoe, or fly into the California Bay Area and hop a bus.

    Quieter Resorts With Great Slopes

    Sun Valley - Ketchum at Night
    © Kirsten Shultz
    Should you wind up at one of these ski resorts for spring break, you'll find the slopes no slower but the apres-thing ain't all that. Enjoy the ride on the quieter side of the mountain:

    • Big Sky, Montana (sorta near Bozeman) -- great rocking chair runs. My spring break nightlife highlight here was a guy doing Neil Young covers. Not a bad way to get to know a date, actually...

    • Whitefish, Montana (NW MT; used to be called Big Mountain) -- Killer steep in spots, killer views all over, and Kalispell has its moments.

    • Vail -- your parents' resort, but lotsa room and some very good nightlife.

    • Sun Valley -- stay and play in Ketchum.

    North America Ski Areas Banning Snowboarders

    Mad River Glen, Vermont, and Alta and Deer Valley, Utah, are still snowboard discriminators catering to your grandparents (and, in the case of Deer Valley, their higher-limits-than-yours credit cards)... bummer, cuz the snow's holy-cow!-good in Utah (if partying is high on your spring break ski trip activity list, note that Utah liquor laws don't exactly encourage imbibing with abandonment).

    Former snowboard-discriminatory Taos, NM, rescinded its "100% snowboard free" policy in 2008, but do you want to let that fray's powder settle before braving the formerly barred-to-boards slopes? Not a lotta nightlife in Taos itself, but do check into a great hostel, the Abominable Snow Mansion, in the tiny town of Arroyo Seco (we had major fun there in summer '08).

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