My family and I have been season pass holders at the peaks for 3 years in a row. This past season, I was able to ski 56 days. (16 of those out west....BC, Utah, CO.) In our opinion, Caberfae is a great value. Especially if it is within driving distance for you. My family really enjoys the terrain at Caberfae. We are skiers. We ski to ski, not to sit in the lounge and drink or go to the spa....don't go to Caberfae if that is what you are looking for. It isn't here (they do have a bar, but I have only been there once when we got rained/iced in.) As far as children...I highly recommend private lessons (and it is much more affordable than in other locations). My children have had many good instuctors. However, their group program is a bit limited.
NASTAR was a terrific (and needed) addition last year. Lots of fun was had by both the children and the adults.
For us, Crystal is only about 10 minutes farther than Caberfae. Even my 4 year old has commented on how much longer the hills are at Caberfae than Crystal. It is not fair to compare the Caberfae or Crystal to Boyne/Nubs, as that is so much farther for most people living south of the hills. That said, Crystal has really nice accomodations, etc. it is really pretty. But, even my 4 year old gets bored with the hills if she isn't racing. Thor and Loki are the only hills that challenge her and they are steep and plain...and a bit boring. (My kids have enjoyed racing at Crystal.) I would also give high rankings to Crystals ski school and race team.
If I was to compare them to Boyne or Nubs, I would have to say they are equal in VALUE. Personally, I would rather ski at Caberfae several weekends per season, and have money left to go out west than spend it going to Boyne frequently. (Lets face it, Boyne is as expensive as CO or Utah! And, Boyne stinks compare to out west) That said, Boyne and Nubs do have a lot larger terrain that we do enjoy when we get up there. I just think it is expensive for what they have.
My advice....if you are looking for one weekend per year to go have fun skiing go to Boyne or Nubs. If you are looking for twinkling lights and ski-in-ski out and spas, and group lessons for your children, go to Crystal. (I think Crystal also has skate skiing trails, which I would love to try). If you are looking for close, yet varied terrain, affordable, but a bit rustic...go to Caberfae.
It is June, and I am still thinking snow!!!! Chili anyone? (The country...not the meal!)