In February I spent a long weekend with my cousin and her family at Crested Butte ski resort in Colorado. Though Crested Butte is not far from Aspen/Snowmass as the crow flies, it’s a 4-5 hour drive away during winter and 3.5-4 hours in the summer. My cousin reserved an Air BnB in the San Moritz condo complex, unit K202. There are three buildings in this complex, each on situated above the other and ours was the building in the middle.
San Moritz Condos, Crested Butte, CO
As you look at the Crested Butte trail map, the San Moritz condos are at the far right near the West Wall lift. The complex is ski-in/ski-out though not every unit is. Fortunately our unit was second from the end near the ski hill so it was a very short walk to the end of the parking lot. From there we could put on our skis and ski down to the West Wall lift. Coming home at the end of the ski day, it was not a simple thing to ski back to the same spot. It was easy enough to get back to the base of the West Wall lift but from there it was uphill to reach the parking lot of our building. It may be different in years when there was more snow but for less experienced skiers I’d recommend just walking back up the hill to the condos vs. trying to navigate down from the top. For true beginning skiers I’d recommend taking the complimentary shuttle to and from the base. The San Moritz staff can provide the details on that. Continue reading →
In late February/early March I visited Steamboat Ski Resort with my ski club and we stayed in the Storm Meadows complex. We wanted ski-in/ski-out condos and technically that’s what we got though beginners shouldn’t even think about trying to ski in or out of these units.
Check-in takes place at the Mountain Resorts main office which is technically located on Resort Drive but is visible from Mt. Werner Road, which is the main road to the ski resort when coming from Lincoln Ave/Hwy 40. There is a city bus stop right outside the office. (Note: Steamboat has a wonderful and free city bus system! As of my visit masks were required on city buses.)
I arrived before my condo was ready but I was able to hang out in the office until it was available. They have free guest wi-fi in the lobby but I found that the router was on the back side of the fireplace and when I was relaxing in the comfy chairs in front of the fireplace I had trouble getting the signal. The lobby also has restrooms with showers which is very nice. If you have a late flight and want to ski in the morning after checking out but before your flight, you can clean up before heading to the airport.
Once my room was ready, the office called for a shuttle to take me and my bags up to the Storm Meadows Club Condos which is about a 1.7 mile drive up the hill. There are three Club buildings and my group had units in both Club B and Club A, where my unit was.
Our group typically pays for porterage, which usually means our bags will be delivered to our room. I don’t know if we didn’t pay for it this time or if there was a difference in the definition of “porterage” or what but my bags and I were dropped at the front door of our building with no offer of assistance to get my bags to my room. I will say there was a shortage of drivers during my stay. The airport shuttle companies were slammed with business and not enough drivers to go around. The local taxi service did not run in town during the day as they were too busy with airport transfers. So that could be a part of it.
Storm Meadows Club A Condos
The Club A building is actually the middle of the three Club buildings. The main entrance is in the center on the second floor. On the lower level is the ski locker room, the coin laundry and, in winter, a small hot tub that will hold about 4-6 people. At one end of the first floor is the exit to the slopes which I’ll discuss below. Condos are on all four floors.
Storm Meadows Club A (photo from stormmeadows.com)
It had been several years since I last visited Myrtle Beach but I found it hadn’t changed all that much. It was still very touristy with high-rise after high-rise along Ocean Boulevard along the beach. Compared to the historical sites we’d seen in Savannah and Charleston, Myrtle Beach can be a step down culturally but we enjoyed great weather and had a lot of fun walking on the beach, playing mini-golf and just relaxing.
As mentioned in the intro to this series the primary reason for our visit was to fulfill a Hilton Vacation Club timeshare presentation in exchange for a few nights of lodging. Originally that presentation was going to be in Hawaii but after the pandemic struck I just wanted to get that obligation fulfilled as quickly as possible. So this fit in well as a stop on our road trip.
We arrived at the mustard-yellow building in the afternoon. The loading/unloading area is a half-circle ramp that leads to the back of the building. While valet parking is available, you can self-park for free in the same garage (albeit on higher floors) and it’s only a block away.
Check in was quite simple and we were given wrist bands to wear that would allow us certain privileges. The only thing we used them for was the free mini-golf across the street.
Our club stayed here as we enjoyed a week of skiing the Champagne PowderⓇ at Steamboat resort in north central Colorado. If you choose to fly to Denver it’s a 3+ hour drive so the preference is to fly into nearby Hayden (HDN) which is about a 35-minute drive from the resort. We’ve stayed at this property a number of times and one of the main things we love about it is that each morning you take the elevator down to the ground floor, walk across the plaza and you’re on the snow and can ski down to the lifts from there. In the afternoon, as long as you be sure to stay on the skier’s right at the end of the day you can ski right up to the plaza too. It’s a location that’s hard to beat! The property is comprised of two towers: the Plaza Tower and the Creekside Tower. The Creekside tower, which is slightly uphill from the Plaza Tower is approximately 10 years newer than the Plaza Tower. The Plaza Tower has the parking garage beneath it. The garage is accessible to both towers, it’s just a slightly longer underground walk to the Creekside Tower.
Aerial view of the Torian Plum and the plaza between it and the snow
I stayed here for a week this winter as my ski club visited Copper Mountain. I don’t believe there is any true ski-in/ski-out lodging at Copper Mountain but there are several buildings of condos located in Center Village that are just a short walk away. There are also several restaurants and shops in Center Village, making this a nice convenient place to stay, especially if you don’t have a car.
Check in takes place about a quarter mile away from Center Village in the building that houses the Athletic Club and the spa. If you’ve booked through the main Copper Mountain reservations, you’re entitled to use the athletic club at no charge. The spa offers massages, saunas and hot tubs within the locker rooms.
Main Check-in and Athletic Club
I arrived well before the official check in time as I was coming over from skiing at Keystone the day before. I was able to leave my bags at the bell stand in this main building and walk around Center Village while waiting for my group to arrive. Once our condo was ready the bell staff brought my skis bag and my giant clothes bag all the way up to my room for me. Continue reading →
We flew to the Sunshine Coast airport (MCY) from Auckland via Sydney. There is a non-stop on Air New Zealand but we arrived much earlier in the day on a Virgin Australia connecting flight. From there we took a shuttle to Oceans Mooloolaba, which is about a 15-20 minute drive. Although the address is the Mooloolaba Esplanade, you’re much better off entering from the First Avenue side as there will be no stairs to deal with and the street is much less busy than the Esplanade.
The first order of business is learning how to pronounce Mooloolaba. When discussing our trip ahead of time we guessed that the pronunciation was moo-loo-LA-bah but we were wrong. It’s actually muh-LOO-luh-buh. I had to keep drilling that into my head each time I saw the word printed.
At any rate, this is a resort town with lots of condos, many overlooking the water. They’re mostly individually owned but are managed by resort groups. These complexes are stacked one after the other on the Esplanade, which runs along the beach. The benefit of this is that the ground floors of each of these buildings is filled with retail shops and restaurants so you never have to venture too far away for anything you might need. Though the grocery store isn’t on the Esplanade itself, if you go out the First Avenue entrance of Oceans you can see the grocery’s parking garage from there so it’s an easy walk.
My ski club visited Park City this year for the first time in several years. As our club has aged we have become more enamored of staying slopeside and are willing to pay for it. On our last visit to the PC area we stayed at the base of the Canyons side of Park City Resort. The condos were nice and large, reminiscent of those at the Summit, in Big Sky, MT. While staying just steps from the lift was super-convenient, when it came time for dinner our trip leaders had organized private shuttles for all 40+ of us to wherever we were dining that night. If you chose not to return with the group it was usually a 30+ minute bus ride to get back to our condos. And if you wanted to ski at Deer Valley, the bus ride was more than 40 minutes.
While I really liked the units themselves at the Canyons base, I felt like we spent too much time in transit each day so I pushed for our club to return to the Park Station condos. These are located right at the base of Main Street Park City so it’s an easy walk to lots of dining and shopping. There’s a bus stop right at the end of the condo’s driveway so it was hard to get more convenient that that. From the east side of the street, closest to the condos, it was a 4-minute bus ride to the base of Park City Resort. From the bus stop across the street from the condos it was an 11-minute ride to Deer Valley. We did have dinner away from Main Street one night and due to the way the buses run it took us about 20 minutes to get there. The good news is that the ride back was much shorter as we’d gone the long way ’round on the outbound leg.
Each condo in this complex is independently owned so they each have unique decorations though the general furnishings and layouts are mostly the same. There are two buildings and the 100-series rooms are in the building closest to Park Avenue while the 200-series rooms are on the building on the Deer Valley Drive side. The pool and outdoor hot tubs are located between the two buildings. Park City had over 250 inches of snow before our arrival but the maintenance crew did a good job of keeping the paths between the buildings and the hot tubs shoveled. There are also stairs from that central area that lead up to the base of Main Street and that was kept cleared as well, so good job to the crew for that.
Two-Bedroom Condo, #223
Our group had all two bedroom condos and they were basically the same layout with one exception as I’ll describe below in the master bedroom. The condos have a small entryway and then the room opens up into the living room, dining area and kitchen. In our case we had a sleeper sofa, a love seat as well as a comfy chair with a side table.
I checked out of the Westin Snowmass mid-morning as the snow continued to fall and drove the few miles over to my home for the next week, The Crestwood. While there are a few more properties higher up the mountain on the same road, this road is not one of the ones in Snowmass Village that is heated so you’ll want to be sure your vehicle is properly equipped if you plan to drive here in the winter.
The Crestwood parking lot is heated, however, and while it was having trouble keeping the parking lot snow-free, it was doing the best it could. The Crestwood has several shuttle vans that will take you wherever you need to go within Snowmass Village. The Village Shuttle, the free bus system for Snowmass, actually has a stop on The Crestwood’s property and there’s even a small indoor waiting area, which is terrific.
The front desk is in a centrally-located building. Walking through the front desk area and out the back door you’ll find the heated pool and two hot tubs. Downstairs is the small gym and a massage room. More about those later.
I had to wait a little to check in. The snow was still coming down and a number of flights out of the Aspen Airport (ASE) had been cancelled, stranding people overnight so there were folks who’d stayed here last night trying to find a place for another night or two. I wasn’t bothered about a slight wait as I knew there was a good chance my condo wouldn’t be ready anyway and that turned out to be the case. Since I still had no luggage I was just able to leave my carry-on behind the desk and catch a ride in the shuttle over to the Mountain Mall (basically right where I’d been at the Westin!).
The Tylenol, breakfast and cool air had really helped to alleviate my headache and I stopped by one of the ski shops to put a pair of demo skis on hold for the next day as I was anticipating my luggage arriving later that day. By now I was getting hungry so I enjoyed a leisurely lunch. The restaurant I selected was fairly quiet as so many folks were out enjoying what was shaping up to be the largest single snowfall of the season so far.
I eventually got a call from The Crestwood stating my condo was ready so I took the Village Shuttle back to the property where I checked in and got my key. Continue reading →
The Gatehouse, home of the front desk, pool and hot tubs
I stayed here for almost a week with my ski club. TOV has lots of good things going for it but could use a refresh.
There are four buildings: Leaf, Slope, Trails, Summit. Each building is slopeside (ski-in with a small hike to ski-out) and each condo has a slope view. Our group utilized both 2BR and 3BR condos. I am not sure if there are larger or smaller units. Each unit is independently owned, so furnishings and decorations are up to the owner. As you might expect, some units have been refreshed more recently than others. Each unit has its own wi-fi router though I was surprised at how my signal sometimes dropped when I was in a bedroom with the door closed.
Each building has only one (slow) elevator and sometimes it seemed to get stuck. As we were on the second floor we’d walk up on those occasions, but at altitude that’s a lot more difficult than it looks! Continue reading →