Ok I have been riding for 6 years, all of which has been spent on the east coast (Wintergreen and Snowshoe).
I have been told numerous times to go west.
I consider myself intermediate and am looking for wide open spaces and being from the east coast I haven't been in more than 6-10" of powder so back country riding is still a foreign concept.
I have a group of 3 friends that would like to make our first trip out west next season but from what I have found it appears that it will cost us a fortune. I don't mind spending the $ to get there but would like to get the most bang for our buck.
For a group of first timers where should we head? I am open to any and all ideas and not married to the idea of going to anywhere in particular. As far as terrain we are more into the long, groomed, open trails with an option to take a few runs at some powder than free riding in deep powder (at least until we try it once then I'm sure we will become addicts.)
I appreciate any ideas or advice and am still searching through threads on this forum for more information as well.
First it depends on what you consider a fortune. I'm 40 so a fortune to me is way more now than when I was 20. When I was 20, $1000 was a fortune. Now that is less than a paycheck.
Anyway, do a ton of research and find deals ahead of time. For flights, check 30-40 days before your trip. That is when I find them the cheapest. If you are gonna be there for a week or so, buy a season pass. I bought the Rocky Mountain Super Pass early last spring for my trips this year. I will use it a total of 9 or 10 times so the $429 pass easily paid for itself. Another reason I bought a pass is so I didn't feel obligated to ride from first chair to close to get my money's worth. I did do that this last trip, but in March my family will be with me, so if the kids are ready to go at 1, then I won't be complaining that I spent $100 to ride for 4.5 hours.
I just flew to Denver from Indianapolis for $139 plus $50 for bags. My brother-in-law and I shared a rental car for $100 and a lodge in Winter Park for $62 a night. Boarded at Winter Park and Copper so the season pass covered the lift costs.
Pretty cheap trip in my book. I'm not saying what I did is the best way, or cheapest, or blah blah blah. Just giving you an idea of what I spent recently to show that it can be fairly cheap if you plan ahead and don't mind spending time to research.