Well we didn't make it to Japan this year but we did purchase an EPIC pass from the Vail Resorts and if you qualify for the military pass it's the best deal anywhere. Unlimited, unrestricted access to 18 of the best ski resorts in North America at a knock out price.
We left for the west later this year and arrived in Dillion CO just before Superbowl weekend which always brings a crowd to the slopes. Since we were long term guest (16 days) the hotel gave us a upgrade to a suite on the top floor and a few other amenities. We had access to a roof top hot top, where you can sip on a glass of wine and take in the view. The Hyatt Place was located just a short walk to the lifts at Keystone, so no hassle with driving and parking. And if you are lucky you can find a covered parking space.
We skied every day but one (the high that day was 4 degrees). We used to pride ourselves on making "first tracks" which provided rut free ski areas. But today we wait for the temperature to hit double digits. Still the sking was really terrific and you could find unskiied territory. On the weekends, when the ski area is more crowded, we found it was best to head out to the more remote runs and ski during lunch to avoid crowds . But during the week there were no lines and no crowded slopes.
We spent a day at Breckenridge and everything was good. Parking was close to the gondola at a cost five dollars but the guy parking next to us gave us a coupon so no charge.
It was cold, snowy and blowing (requiring more warm up breaks) but we still enjoyed ourselves. We hoped to return for another day but that didn't happen. We did stop for a late lunch at Breckenridge Distillers where an array of liquors are distilled and bottled hence no wine on the menu.
If you go to Vail figure out the parking situation before you head out. The first lot we pulled into was for shoppers and we were looking at $50 per day. We left and found a nearby lot which cost us only $20 which was not bad but it was a heck of a hike to the lifts, through the village and up and down escalators which is not an easy feat with skis in hand and ski boots on. It snowed 5 inches the night before and the sun was out so a perfect day to enjoy Vail. This is a first class resort in every way.
Beavercreek was cold, snowy and blowing the day we visited. But back home in Indiana our family was experiencing the Polar Vortex with extremely low temperatures so no complain about the 20"s temperature. Parking was $25 but we were a camel ride away from the lifts. Makes you think they don't want day skiers.
Still a great ski resort especially if you're a resident guest.
Crested Butte CO
After the most difficult drive of any of our skiing adventures with several white out situations, we arrived at Crested Butt on Presidents weekend, the busiest ski weekend of the year. The area had 14 inches of snow in the last 48 hours and snow was forecasted almost every day of our stay. There are two lifts at the base, one headed to green and blue runs and the other lift services only black and double black diamonds, so choose carefully. The lodge we stayed at was right at the mountain with very few restaurants nearby but the town of Crested Butte was just a short bus ride away and had a plethora of restaurants, bars and tourists shops.