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.
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.
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
Trip Report: Two Weeks Down Under
Flight Review: Qantas B747-400 San Francisco – Sydney
Lounge Review: Qantas Business Class Lounge, Sydney
Flight Review: Qantas A330-300 Sydney – Auckland
Lodging Review: Holiday Inn Auckland Airport
Lodging Review: The Pavilions Hotel, Christchurch
Our Time in Christchurch
Lodging Review: Hilton Queenstown Resort & Spa
Our Time in Queenstown including Doubtful Sound Tour
Lodging Review: Avani Metropolis, Auckland
Our Time in Auckland
Lodging Review: Oceans Mooloolaba
Our Time on the Sunshine Coast
Lodging Review: Brisbane Marriott
Flight Review: Qantas B787-9 Brisbane – Los Angeles
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 Highlands Lodge has become the go-place for our ski group to stay when in Beaver Creek. We had five units inside the Lodge, which is the building where the reception desk is located.
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!
On my second ski trip this season I returned to Vail, Colorado for the first time in 9-10 years. Our group stayed at the Landmark Condominiums – a property that I don’t think even existed during my last stay.
It’s got a terrific location – right on the frontage road of I-70 and just a block away from the slopes on the other side. There’s an underground garage for those who need to park. Even without a car it’s easy to move around the Vail Valley as the public bus stop is right at the end of the Landmark’s driveway. The free bus can take you wherever you need to go on its route and can even connect you with the (paid) bus to Beaver Creek, if you want to ski there.
Each unit is independently owned so decor varied from unit to unit. Most of our group had 2BR units but my friend and I had a 1BR. Not surprisingly that meant that the bedroom contained only a single queen bed. I used the sleeper sofa and after finding a quilted duvet to help act as an additional mattress pad, actually slept pretty well.
The hallway led past the bedroom into the living room. It had several hooks on the wall, which was great for hanging up our coats so we didn’t have to try to squish them in with our clothes.
A couple of weeks ago I went on the second of my two annual ski weeks, this time to Park City, Utah. There are three major resorts in the Park City area: Park City Mountain Resort (PCMR), Deer Valley and Canyons. Both Canyons and PCMR are owned by Vail Corporation and thus have an interchangeable lift ticket, which is very convenient.
While the town of Park City is not very big, PCMR and Deer Valley are located much closer to the center of town than is Canyons – but Canyons is Utah’s largest single ski resort. By next ski season a new lift will be installed that will combine the two resorts making over 7300 acres available for skiing!
For this trip my ski group arranged for us to stay at the Grand Summit at Canyons Resort. If you’re mostly planning to stay at Canyons – or if you have a car – this is a terrific facility. Our group all had 2-bedroom units where at least one of the bedrooms could have been used as a stand-alone hotel room. The bedrooms were generally large enough to let us move around without stepping on each other and there were lots of closets that let us set our luggage out of the way.
The bathrooms had nice high, large counters that gave us plenty of room to set our stuff down. As high as the counters were, I’d have liked to have seen a shelf underneath or at least a series of small shelves against the far wall as our counter did get crowded over the course of the week. (Hey, with two women sharing a bath, what do you expect?!)
The shower/tub in our bathroom had an adjustable showerhead though as usual it did not allow for a setting powerful enough for me. Someday I’ll find a showerhead like that! I did like the curved shower rod which kept the shower curtain from fluttering. Toiletries were Modern Apothecary branded and I actually really liked the shampoo and conditioner.
The bathroom in the master bedroom of our particular condo strangely did not have a shower. It had a nice large dual tub but we found it odd there was no shower. We did have a third full bathroom off our entryway (presumably for use by people sleeping on the pull-out sofa) and our condo-mates ended up using the shower in this bathroom.
Both bedrooms had a large chest that contained the mini-bar and the TV was mounted over it. There were only three small drawers per person which would have been more annoying if we didn’t have so much shelf space in so many closets. My roommate was rather short and had a hard time reaching the shelf (and the large safe on it) so I think more drawers would have been welcome.
The desk was terrific in that it had plugs-a-plenty on top of it. I loved not having to dig under the desk to plug in a power strip. My roommate would have like to have had more outlets on her side of the room as she ended up borrowing my extension cord to use beside her bed. Builders everywhere need to plan on everyone having a minimum of two electronic devices that need to be plugged in near the bed each night!
The kitchen was small but covered our needs as we did not cook in the condo. It had a bar with three stools and the dining table could seat 6 adults. The living area had both the sofa (with pull-out bed) and a love seat as well as two window seats. All in all there was lots of room and we didn’t feel cramped.
As for location, if you’re primarily skiing Canyons resort you can’t beat this property. Take the elevator to the 2nd floor and head toward the lobby – which can be quite a walk if your room number is a low one for your floor (e.g. 200, 300, 400, etc.) – pick up your skis from the ski valet, down some stairs and you’re at the snow. A short distance to your right is the Orange Bubble Express chair and a little further to your left is the gondola. Whether you ski down or ride the gondola back down at the end of the day, it’s an easy trip home.
If you’re planning to ski PCMR or Deer Valley and have a car, it’s an easy drive to either of those places. Parking at the Grand Summit is in an underground garage or you can opt for valet service.
But if you don’t have a car, plan on it taking 20 minutes to get to PCMR or 30 minutes to Deer Valley. You’ll either need to catch the free bus (Lime line) up near the entrance of the Grand Summit or walk over to the cabriolet (open air lift) that will take you down to the parking lot and the Canyons transit center. From there you can catch the Pink line bus which will go to PCMR (after a couple of stops) and then to the Downtown Transit Center where you can catch one of several buses to Deer Valley.
Personally, I don’t love the mountains at Canyons and only skied there one day out of five, so I spent a fair amount of time transiting back and forth. When I signed up for this trip I knew what I was getting into but that didn’t make all the commuting fun.
But back to the condos…they have a fairly large pool and three hot tubs, none of which were overly hot but felt good at the end of the day. It was also unseasonably warm while we were there so it’s possible that they were actually quite hot but didn’t feel like they were. We were concerned when we saw a lady bring her two small children – one under a year old – into the hot tubs. We really wished that management would have said something to them as many places we stay require a child to be 12 or older before allowing them hot tub access.
There’s also a small gym on the ground floor. I’m not one to do a full workout while on a ski trip but I do like to walk on the treadmill for a few minutes each morning before I ski just to help loosen my legs up. This gym had three treadmills and several bikes available as well as universal weight sets and some hand weights.
There’s a restaurant called The Cabin on the ground floor and it has a full buffet breakfast available for about $25 as well as a less-publicized continental version for about $13. The continental buffet is only the cold food but there’s enough fruit, cereal, pastries and yogurt to keep most of us quite full until lunch time. That was my go-to breakfast each day.
Would I stay here again? I really liked the property. The staff members were all friendly even if housekeeping could be hit-n-miss some days. My only beef is its location at Canyons and not closer to town. So I would almost certainly look for another property but it’s not due anything wrong with the Grand Summit other than its location.
My first ski trip this year was to Steamboat, Colorado, which is the first place in the western US that I ever skied. I’ve been back a number of times over the last 20+ years and have never stayed at the same place twice. This is my first time staying at a true ski-in/ski-out facility, the Torian Plum Condominiums.
Our club members joke that as the club as a whole has aged, the more important proximity to the slopes is for us. With age typically comes a better income, so we’re now better able to afford better and closer lodging than we did before.
Due to a mechanical issue with my flight from Atlanta, I arrived at the condo about two hours after the rest of the group. I prefer to take pictures before people have gotten unpacked and all their personal belongings strewn around so I don’t have photos, sadly.
Our group had a number of 2BR and 3BR condos. The 2BR condos were in the same tower as the main office and the 3BRs were in the Creekside Tower. We had a number of condos that were identical in that they were all at the same point in the building (318, 418, 518) so that’s the layout I’ll describe here.
At max capacity the condo can sleep 8, but that’s assuming use of the sleeper sofa, which we did not use as a bed. The master bedroom has a king, the 2nd bedroom has a queen and the third bedroom has twin beds.
My friends in the master bedroom did wish for more drawer space. I believe there was one chest for both to use. The closet was large and did have ample shelf space. The ensuite bath had double sinks and a large standalone shower. There was no tub. Bath products in the condo were Aveeno brand. We received shampoo, conditioner, lotion and separate bars of soap for the sink(s) and the shower.
The second bedroom also had its own bathroom. I did not ask my condomates about the shower setup there, nor did they mention a lack of drawers or whether they had ample.
My roommate and I were in the the third bedroom with the twin beds. Our closet was much smaller than the master but still plenty big enough for a week-long trip. We used it to store our suitcases and I still had room on the floor in my half of the closet for my shoes. I used the shelf for some folded items. We had an armoire that was both the entertainment center and had three drawers for clothes. Our nightstand also had three drawers. There was also a rack of hooks on the wall so amongst all these options we had plenty of room for our clothes, with the exception of our ski gear and other coats.
But fortunately the hallway was set up to handle those items! I loved that the large hallway closet could be used by all of us for our ski coats & pants. It was also large enough for me to store my skis bag out of the way. Elsewhere in the hall was a large set of cubbyholes that was perfect for storing our helmets and gloves. Underneath that was another selection of hanging pegs where we could put our coats and scarves, etc. Below that was a wooden bench that was perfect for removing our ski boots at the end of the day. The bench was tall enough that our boots slid in perfectly underneath them, keeping our boots out of the way.
The combo living room/dining room/kitchen was very open, with a low bar counter & stool separating the kitchen from the living and dining areas. The table could seat eight so we were able to spread out a little when dining. Not being a chef, the kitchen had everything I could possibly need, though one condo-mate who cooked for the lot of us wished for more large-scale dishes so she could cook enough for us all at once.
Each condo has a ski locker down on the first floor. From there it’s a short walk down a sidewalk, across a small patio and then you’re on the slopes. That small patio comes out just beside the Slopeside Grill, a long-time fixture in the area. We ate lunch there a couple of days, sitting on the patio, enjoying the sunshine.
The complex has four outdoor hot tubs and a heated pool. Swim towels, which are larger than the bath towels in the room, can be found in the locker rooms by the pool, or at the shower in the small fitness center on the ground floor of the Creekside Tower.
I was pleasantly surprised that we got some form of maid service every day. Loads of fresh towels each day, they made our beds and took out the trash. In my experience, most condos in ski country typically get maid service maybe twice during the week, so this was a nice change of pace.
The condos are part of the Wyndham family of hotels and they have their own shuttle bus to take you into town. Just let the front desk know and they can arrange for the bus to pick up at the condos, drop you off wherever you like and pick you back up later. Very convenient!
In short, I expect we’ll stay here again. You can’t beat the proximity to the slopes and we had a terrific stay.