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Ski fans, could you please help?

SDKath

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My family is up in Mammoth skiing this weekend and everyone is now completely obsessed with the whole ski experience (both kids learned over the weekend). So much so that DH now wants to buy a week at a ski place for us to return to each year. :eek: :ignore: :D

My question from those of you who ski a lot is what is the location that is easiest to fly to among the Starwood properties? We are looking at Riverfront, SMV, and Steamboat as our top 3 but I want to make it as convenient to get to (from San Diego) as possible because we don't want to spend a day on each end travelling if we don't have to.

Also, which of the locations has the easiest access to the slopes? I'd appreciate any and all help from the experts out there!

Katherine
 

DeniseM

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WKORV, WKV, SDO, Kingsbury Crossing/Tahoe, Kauai Beach Villas.
DONE -- REALLY this time!!!
:hysterical: :hysterical: :hysterical: :hysterical: :hysterical:
 

Passepartout

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Think Utah. Ski in and ski out Marriotts and Park City is just over a half hour from SLC Int'l and has great Southwest service from SAN. AND show your SW boarding pass and get that day's lift ticket FREE.

Jim
 
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jarta

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"Also, which of the locations has the easiest access to the slopes?"

Steamboat and Riverfront have easy access to the slopes. Mountain Vista has less easy access.

Mountain Vista has virtually no amenities. It is like an apartment building with an outdoor pool in the middle of the town of Avon. When I stayed there 4 years ago, Mountain Vista was comfortable, but worn-out. Because it has few amenities and a small footprint, Mountain Vista has low MFs. It has probably the highest Starpoints for Staroptions conversion ratio. But, SMV is a voluntary resort. Resales are cheap.

Riverfront is actually a wing of the Westin Riverfront Resort and Spa. I have never seen a resale. In 2010 Riverfront was named as the No. 1 resort (not best new resort; best resort) in the US by Conde Nast Traveler magazine.

You must buy a 2-br lockoff unit. There are only 48 units. Most of the ski weeks are gone. Starwood charges a premium to buy there. I tried to buy an EOY 2-br ski week while at WKV more than a year ago. Riverfront refused to release the inventory to the WKV sales office. By the time the week had been released (several months), the price quoted had risen by $7,000. I passed.

I know little about Steamboat. I have never seen a resale and I think Steamboat is pretty close to sold out.

Aren't you done yet? lol! ... eom
 
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SDKath

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"Also, which of the locations has the easiest access to the slopes?"

Steamboat and Riverfront have easy access to the slopes. Mountain Vista has less easy access.

Mountain Vista has virtually no amenities. It is like an apartment building with an outdoor pool in the middle of the town of Avon. When I stayed there 4 years ago, Mountain Vista was comfortable, but worn-out. Because it has few amenities and a small footprint, Mountain Vista has low MFs. It has probably the highest Starpoints for Staroptions conversion ratio. But, SMV is a voluntary resort. Resales are cheap.

Riverfront is actually a wing of the Westin Riverfront Resort and Spa. I have never seen a resale. In 2010 Riverfront was named as the No. 1 resort (not best new resort; best resort) in the US by Conde Nast Traveler magazine.

You must buy a 2-br lockoff unit. There are only 48 units. Most of the ski weeks are gone. Starwood charges a premium to buy there. I tried to buy an EOY 2-br ski week while at WKV more than a year ago. Riverfront refused to release the inventory to the WKV sales office. By the time the week had been released (several months), the price quoted had risen by $7,000. I passed.

I know little about Steamboat. I have never seen a resale and I think Steamboat is pretty close to sold out.

Aren't you done yet? lol! ... eom
Thanks for the info! I used to have a sales rep at Riverfront (he almost sold us a fixed week 7) but it was pricy back then too so we never went through with it. I don't think we are willing to pay quite the premium for it.

Katherine
 

Ken555

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Mammoth is awesome - why look elsewhere? I'll be at the Westin at Mammoth this coming weekend for five nights using points. You should look into resales at the 8050 by the Village there, though prices may be a lot more than a Starwood week (I don't think they sell just weeks, but instead sell fractionals).

Did you fly or drive to Mammoth? Flights from LA are only an hour.
 

vacationtime1

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I want to make it as convenient to get to (from San Diego) as possible because we don't want to spend a day on each end travelling if we don't have to.
The Utah ski areas win this criterion handily. It is possible to fly out of California in the morning and be on the slopes by 11:00 (it requires a very early flight). It is fairly easy to ski a full day and fly back to California and be home well before 10:30. Neither is possible with the Colorado resorts.

I would start by checking out the two Marriott Resorts in Park City. Both are ski-in, ski-out.
 

SDKath

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Ken,

They were at the Mammoth Westin and it's VERY nice! However, no kitchen makes for a painful week of going out to eat every night after an exhausting day of skiing. Yes, they have kitchenettes but it equals a microwave and mini-fridge. Sigh... We are spoiled. But we did use points this time and flew out from San Diego, which was very convenient.

Park City sounds like a very nice option as well. I seem to recall one being much nicer than the others. I just wish I could remember which one it was. We own a Shadow Ridge already but have NEVER seen an II sighting for ski weeks in prime time, that's for sure. With Marriott, if you don't call at 12 months out at exactly 6am, you have no chance of getting anything you actually want to book. Soooo, I am not a fan of that system as much as Starwood's. I wish Marriott sold fixed weeks again!

Katherine
 

yumdrey

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Ken,

They were at the Mammoth Westin and it's VERY nice! However, no kitchen makes for a painful week of going out to eat every night after an exhausting day of skiing. Yes, they have kitchenettes but it equals a microwave and mini-fridge. Sigh... We are spoiled. But we did use points this time and flew out from San Diego, which was very convenient.

Park City sounds like a very nice option as well. I seem to recall one being much nicer than the others. I just wish I could remember which one it was. We own a Shadow Ridge already but have NEVER seen an II sighting for ski weeks in prime time, that's for sure. With Marriott, if you don't call at 12 months out at exactly 6am, you have no chance of getting anything you actually want to book. Soooo, I am not a fan of that system as much as Starwood's. I wish Marriott sold fixed weeks again!

Katherine
Mountainside villas is in better location for skiing. No whirlpool tub in the bathroom though.
Summit Watch has nicer unit.
Park City is more convenient to fly from SD.
I have flied to Breck, Avon, Aspen in CO, and always had to change flight from Denver. It was short flight to those cities from denver (about 2-3 hours drive by the car), but driving Colorado roads during snow season made me scared, so decided to fly.
You don't have to worry about it for Park City. SLC has shuttles to Park City.
 

SDKath

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Thank you! Just reading reviews about Mountainside right now... The location seems very convenient and it looks like Delta has flights multiple times a day from San Diego, which is a big plus. Bummer that Starwood doesn't own a timeshare there!

No way would I want to drive 2-3h in the snow! I am a So Cal chick and chains frighten me! ;)

Katherine
 

Ken555

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Ken,

They were at the Mammoth Westin and it's VERY nice! However, no kitchen makes for a painful week of going out to eat every night after an exhausting day of skiing. Yes, they have kitchenettes but it equals a microwave and mini-fridge. Sigh... We are spoiled. But we did use points this time and flew out from San Diego, which was very convenient.

Park City sounds like a very nice option as well. I seem to recall one being much nicer than the others. I just wish I could remember which one it was. We own a Shadow Ridge already but have NEVER seen an II sighting for ski weeks in prime time, that's for sure. With Marriott, if you don't call at 12 months out at exactly 6am, you have no chance of getting anything you actually want to book. Soooo, I am not a fan of that system as much as Starwood's. I wish Marriott sold fixed weeks again!

Katherine

I tend to prefer going out (or ordering in) when on a ski trip, since I don't have the energy to cook anything. So, the hotel works well for me. We've been to Breckenridge several times (again this coming December in a 3-bed ski-in/out) and I think we may have cooked once in the full kitchen there.

Anyway, I'd suggest renting for a few times and testing out the other resorts before buying. After all, the most important aspect (at least, from *this* skier's perspective) is to find the hill with the most fun for your family. That might be Mammoth, Heavenly (two Marriott's at the base of the gondola there), Steamboat, Vail, etc. And, don't forget Whistler! I think Whistler is the best hill in North America, and it's only an easy two hour drive from Vancouver (no mountain roads), and has one of the best walking villages around (much, much better than Mammoth).

I've thought about buying at a ski location and I just can't convince myself to do it, since I never know where I want to ski the next time. I often go to Mammoth because we're so close, but there isn't a timeshare there. Lake Tahoe is good, but doesn't really have the amenities I'd want in a place if I was to buy (I know some of you will think otherwise). And if I fly to Colorado or Utah, I'm not sure I'd want to return to the same location year after year. So for me, using StarPoints or trading into a timeshare is the best ski solution, at least for now.

Alternatively, if you really loved Mammoth, you should consider simply buying a condo there. Prices aren't as bad as they were, and I know some who think it's still a good option for vacation real estate. Condos rent well in Mammoth as well, with an established independent rental market as well as The Village condos managed by the mountain (Intrawest). Plus, it's a year-round destination.
 

Twinkstarr

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I'm with Ken, after a day on the slopes I don't want to cook. I'll heat up soup and make sandwiches or toss out the cheese/meat/cracker platter with the veg platter and dip if we decided to stay in the room.

I would also try out all the ski areas that you might be interested in, we are partial to Vail/Beaver Creek in any season. Will be doing a summer trip this year to finally hit the Dance Festival. Can get shuttle service from Denver out to Vail. Also to Aspen(had friend who was out there 2 weeks ago).

Kids prefer Park City and I kind of prefer the atmosphere of Main St. Another place we enjoy both in winter/summer.

But I'm getting to the point that renting might just be a better idea than having a TS for skiing. If the snow is bad you are not committed to going.

Kath, you've got kids in school. When are you going to go? Spring break sometimes ours is late and those years DH and a few of his ski buddies will do a "guys trip" in Feb/March. Then you get into the event weeks, will you always get week 7 off? Week 51/52 don't always work out evenly with the school schedule. Plus once you get one in high school it gets harder pulling the kids out early for a week 51 or bring them back late from a week 52.
 
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GregT

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Kath,

Are you a pre-June 20, 2010 Marriott owner? If you are, you could enroll and then rent the points needed to go to Park City/Summit Watch. Marriott's DClub does the work for you of getting the reservation. Summit Watch is 5,225 DClub points, which can be rented for $2,600. That's approx double the MFs, but you don't have the purchase price to deal with and it's easier to get the reservations. And if you have to cancel, you have better choices than if you were a week owner. And if you only want four days....or two weekends....you have choices.

This is exactly the reason I enrolled -- it has eliminated the "need" to buy another Marriott. I rent the points that I need to go where I want to go within the entire Marriott system.

Now if we could just rent StarOptions.....

Best,

Greg
 

K2Quick

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If you're thinking Utah, you might also want to consider the Cliff Club at Snowbird. That's where the best skiing in Utah is to be had (Alta and Snowbird are, in my opinion, fairly comparable to a Mammoth experience). The nightlife is pretty minimal at Snowbird, however.

http://www.thecliffclub.net/

There is also very good skiing at Snowbasin. They don't have any ski-in, ski-out properties yet, but Wolf Creek is about a ten-minute drive. You can either own Wolf Creek directly or access it via Worldmark.

I'd recommend just staying at a Residence Inn in the Salt Lake City metro area for a trip and skiing multiple areas in a week before determining which one is best for you. From downtown Salt Lake City, you can ski 10 different resorts within a 45 minute drive. Most people will settle on Park City, but the skiing is better elsewhere in my opinion.

One quick edit: On Worldmark, you would have access to several different ski resorts (not many of them ski-in and ski-out though). You'd have Whistler, Banff/Lake Louise, Tahoe resorts, Steamboat, Taos, etc.).
 
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sml2181

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You could also use SPG points at the St Regis Deer Valley. Their suites have a kitchen and you can have up to 2 connecting rooms. Some 1 bedroom suites have a sofa bed in the living room area. No washers/dryers, but great atmosphere, ski in/out, great pool area and a great restaurant. Shuttle to Park City (only used it once since we did have a rental car and we really liked J&G Grill so we ended up staying at the hotel a lot)- the drive takes less than 5 minutes.

I am not sure I would pay the premium for a fixed/event week now (and I own 2 weeks 7, plus weeks 51 and 52) because of all the reasons mentioned before. I am happy with my weeks, but it isn't very hard to find an affordable rental at the nicer resorts. Maybe it will be again in the future - who knows. I am just happy with the SPG points I get for my weeks.

While I think Mountainside is nice (our friends rented a unit there last Christmas while we were staying at the St Regis), we prefer the SR. We were considering buying Mountainside fixed weeks before our trip but now we are just glad that we can stay at the SR. (I do not think the SR is as luxurious as they want you to think - just very very nice. And I would be happy at the Marriott's, maybe even happier at Summit Watch.)

As for the SVN resorts, I think Steamboat is definately the most convenient, especially when your kids are attending ski school. Westin Riverfront isn't convenient ski school wise (imo), but they have a shuttle for which they charge $25 per child per trip.

The Marriott in Breck has a good location, but they do not have 2 bedroom units and driving from DEN takes a little longer than you may want. Don't know anything about Lake Tahoe.

Also, there will be a Westin Resort at Aspen Snowmass, starting next ski season. They will be converting an existing hotel (Silvertree) to a Westin starting end of this season. Not a timeshare, but it may be nice to have this as an option. (The St Regis in Aspen is nice too, but not very convenient ski school wise for your kids, unless they are advanced/experts. If you reserve private lessons, the location is great.)
 

Fletcher921

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Park City Utah...

Marriott Summit Watch is a bit less expensive than their Mountainside property I think and has a nice town lift that takes you right up the hill. And - at night - you are right at the base of Main Street with all the many options for restaurants. The facilities (like the blagh gym) aren't as nice but the units are huge and lend themselves well for those people with kids who want to bring their friends...
 

Ken555

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Fwiw, we stay at the Grand Timber Lodge at Breckenridge, and the location is excellent (ski down the hill to the lift in the morning, ski rental on premises, shuttle, etc). We looked at the Marriott there a few years ago and couldn't believe it had the Marriott name...really felt old and run down, but the location was also great.
 

rickandcindy23

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I would buy Hyatt Points resale and stay at the Hyatt in Breck, which is very close to the slopes. Our sons loved it.
 

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Just wanted to mention that Riverfront and Steamboat only sold a few fixed weeks 7 - most of them are in the floating weeks pool. So you should be able to get in if you call 8 months out, or if you ask to be placed on the waitlist.
 
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Ken555

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Just wanted to mention that Riverfront and Steamboat only sold a few fixed weeks 7 - most of them are in the floating weeks pool. So you should be able to get in if you call 8 months out, or if you ask to be placed on the waitlist.
It's worth mentioning that this is the type of thing Starwood changes without notice. What's to prevent them from fixing a week 7 for someone who wants to pay 10% more (which I believe is their standard fix fee)? I wouldn't count on this being available as the reason to buy at these resorts, and planning on going week 7 even when calling 12 months out.

And the waitlist is just for elite members...
 

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It's worth mentioning that this is the type of thing Starwood changes without notice. What's to prevent them from fixing a week 7 for someone who wants to pay 10% more (which I believe is their standard fix fee)? I wouldn't count on this being available as the reason to buy at these resorts, and planning on going week 7 even when calling 12 months out.

And the waitlist is just for elite members...
I have one of the fixed weeks (7) at Steamboat. 2 bedroom.
I know they sold at least one other 2 Bedroom fixed that week.
That leaves no more than 5 other 2 bedroom units available for week 7.

Oh, and I think that Starwood holds those weeks back for themselves from any other weeks they did not sell. They sell them at very high rates through the Hotel, as week 7 is a premium week and they can gain revenue from the inventory as opposed to extending them to SVO members. I tried to extend a stay ... with SVO options... and even though there were rooms available, they were not available to SVO members. (Different inventory...:mad: Several rooms remained dark and unsold during the premium week.

If I wanted to pay $400 more per night + my SVO options, they would have given me the room.
 

SDKath

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Kath,

Are you a pre-June 20, 2010 Marriott owner? If you are, you could enroll and then rent the points needed to go to Park City/Summit Watch. Marriott's DClub does the work for you of getting the reservation. Summit Watch is 5,225 DClub points, which can be rented for $2,600. That's approx double the MFs, but you don't have the purchase price to deal with and it's easier to get the reservations. And if you have to cancel, you have better choices than if you were a week owner. And if you only want four days....or two weekends....you have choices.

This is exactly the reason I enrolled -- it has eliminated the "need" to buy another Marriott. I rent the points that I need to go where I want to go within the entire Marriott system.

Now if we could just rent StarOptions.....

Best,

Greg
Yes, we have a Shadow Ridge 2br platinum but it's EOY. Any way you could help me figure out how many DC points that would give me? I have not enrolled in the DC so far but I am tempted to now. We'd love to go for 4-5 days every couple of years. I may have to call Marriott and talk to them sometime about this!

I have been on waitlists for Riverfront and Steamboat every year since they opened for Pres weekend and it never comes through. Just because they sell only a few week 7s doesn't mean a non-owner there could book at 8 months out. Most people who float in platinum are calling for that 1 week right at 12 months. So there has never been any availability for prime ski season when I have called. EVER! ARGH. That's why a fixed week is appealing to me.

Thanks everyone else for the wealth of info! I am literally printing out this thread because there are so many great suggestions and options! The kids have majorly got the ski bug bite all of a sudden and they just can't stop talking about it and when we are going next. :doh: :rolleyes: :D
 

slum808

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According to Gregs spreadsheet you'd get 3075 pts for you shadow ridge. It's pretty easy to rent extra points from Greg's site. You find find points going for $.50-$.60/pt.
 
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