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April 15th to April 25th : Squaw/Alpine Meadows vs Whistler-Blackcomb vs Mammoth Mountain

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 

1. Has anyone been to WB recently, or is a local of WB ? How are things shaping up? 

 

I see they have had some snow, quite a bit of snow but from snow reports hard to glean whether there has been rain too etc. I understand Whistler closing date for now is April 25, there is Telus Ski and Board festival there from April 14-24.

 

What is it like that week? If we went, it would be an 8 year old advanced and his intermediate Dad. There are times WB snow rivals Utah and Calif, so any insights, advice, please do post.

 

2. Squaw and Alpine Meadows getting a lot of snow now. SV scheduled closing May 8, whereas AM is April 21

 

3. Mammoth has the most snow of any place in NAmerica it appears (have not doen extensive research but just from some web site glancing) and it does have the longest season.

 

Though travel times to SV/AM seems about the same versus Whistler from NYC (changing planes to Reno etc) and then drive , matches non-stop flight plus 3 hr drive to WB. Mammoth may be even longer, but unclear if those direct flights from LA or San Fran run in the 4/15-4/25 period, will find that out. 

 

One more question, is it faster to go to Mammoth from NYC via San Fran or LA, or difference marginal at best?

 

SV/AM combined look like great places to ski, though accommodation reviews about SV base and AM locale are not "pretty", tons of serious complaints about service and all that.

 

Anyway, we ski, we eat, he does his homework, and then TV or Netflix and then lights out and next day same gig returns.

 

Given insider advice about AM and SV, AM seems to be the equivalent of SB, the hidden gem of Tahoe ski area. 

 

Anyway, any insights appreciated, what is best bet then etc.?

post #2 of 28

Alpine really does not have much in terms of accommodations.  I think you should look at 'Resort at Squaw Creek' at Squaw.  The rooms are small but it is ski in/out with ski valet, pool, jacuzzi, ice rink, dog sled rides and room service!  Many of the Bay area private schools have that third week off for spring break so there is a chance it could get booked early.

Reno airport to Squaw is around 40 min in good weather.

I would mention Kirkwood for terrain and accommodations but it is a good 2-3 hrs from any airport.

The best accommodations in Tahoe are at Northstar with the Ritz Carlton, Hyatt residences, Tahoe Mountain Resorts all there.  Exclusive Resorts have their tahoe places at Northstar village.  However, it is mainly a steep groomer and tree skiing mountain and lacks the double black bowls and chutes of Squaw.  

post #3 of 28
Thread Starter 

Thx TorT,

 

we decided on WB, friend's advice and travel times and logistics, plus price differential marginal. And many expert skiers I know have told me WB is a must-ski in this lifetime...well "we are'nt here for a long time, so making sure its a good time"

post #4 of 28

I see you have already chosen Whistler, but figured I would help you know you made a good choice. I live in Whistler and can tell you we have a very good base this year, so I expect the spring skiing to be great with respect to coverage. The alpine has so many rocks hidden this year compared to most and even lower elevations are deeper than most years. 

The ski and snowboard festival is a fun time, lots of stuff going on, I am sure you have seen the website.

 

Have fun, chances are I will be on my bike by then as I am more a 'winter' skier than a 'spring' one :D

post #5 of 28
Thread Starter 

Thanks WB, friends have always told me, a relatively new skier (2008 first timer) that before I depart, have to ski Whistler-Blackcomb, and then the choice was Alpine Meadows/Squaw Valley (also highly recommended by a friend here on epic who is a wise experienced skier) vs WB. Logistics in travelling and the opportunity to replicate a Utah experience, i.e. ski the day we arrive and leave tilted the entire enterprise, and my boy used to mention WB as a place to go, no idea where he got that idea, so here we are waiting for departure date.

 

I sure hope you are right, we skied Lech-Zurs in mid-April 2009 when I was quite the beginner and my son was on his way to being an expert, in 60deg weather, bluebird skies with snow as far as the eye could see for 7 days non-stop...

 

I am hoping for huge snowfall as we arrive, since in mid-April 2008, when I began, a month or so after my initiation, took my boy to Sunshine Village and I recall we landed in a blizzard into Calgary, so hoping WB is snow-bound when we get there. That might mean you will have to continue to ski or ride that bike with skis for wheels !

 


Edited by dustyfog - 3/1/11 at 6:29pm
post #6 of 28

You may get a blizzard, but probably not at the Village level since it's only at 2400 feet.  I was there in May once when it was snowing on the upper mountain and sunny and warm in the Village.  People were walking around in shorts, playing golf, and sailing on the lake while we were skiing on new snow.  

 

If you haven't made reservations for lodging, I would suggest that you get a place at Blackcomb base or at Creekside, staying away from the Village.  The problem is that the parties during Telus can be pretty loud, long, and intense.  They easily can go until 4 AM.  With a young 'un along, you might want to visit the party from afar rather than be living in the middle of it.

post #7 of 28

I don't think you could go wrong with any of your choices. I've always want to go to TELUS! 

 

 

 

Your skiing with your son, you're going to have a great time where ever you are!

post #8 of 28
Thread Starter 

Reservations made, staying in village next to lifts...am sure we will be totally beat though with 8 year old always on the go, may have to visit some of the raucous get-togethers...sounds interesting, not something we have experienced. This will be our biggest big mountain experience after Lech-Zurs, looking forward to it, its all about Thor or other relatives of his who can make it snow..

post #9 of 28

We'll if you're camping by the lifts then you will be smack dab in the middle of party central.  There are live bands on stage between the gondola loading areas and there are jumping competitions that bring massive crowds to the square to watch on weekend nights.  So you've got loud live bands, skiers and boarders doing acrobatic jumps right into the square, flames shooting up out of the ticket booth, folks running around in weird costumes, and huge amounts of alcohol, etc. consumption.  You'll be entertained.

post #10 of 28
Thread Starter 

decision made for convenience, appreciate the advice from all, looking forward to trip...

post #11 of 28
Thread Starter 

One question : I have been reading skiers posting on REI and elsewhere that "lots of snow at WB" and then many say "Alpine closed" - what do they mean? No access to which part of the mountain? Thanks

post #12 of 28

When it snows hard anything above the treeline (Glaciers, Peak chair, etc) is locked-down during the storm and then opened progressively as and when they have confidence the snow-pack is safe (Still tons of terrain available below the tree-line).

 

For you skiing in April this is a good thing right now as it means there is a ton of snow increasing the base even further.

 

You will likely not experience alpine closures when you are there, but they may have started pulling the boundary in a little and the lower slopes may be green depending on how quickly things warm-up.... saying that, there will be more than enough terrain for you to play with. I have skied Blackomb in April with superb snow on the upper mountain and warm dry summer mountain biking in the village area.... Kinda surreal downloading over grass with your skis on when everyone is in shorts and t's!

post #13 of 28
Thread Starter 

Thanks RZ, understand now, we are looking forward to it, and hoping the Japanese have their nuclear situation under control today!

 

I wonder if the Olympic downhill runs will be open, my boy has been a racer in the 7 and under category in the NY-Mass area, just turned 8, and he thoroughly enjoyed doing the Men's and Women's Downhill Runs in Snowbasin from the 2002 Olympics, with 4ster of epic who was the master-guide and pal in Jan 2011, would be the perfect season, finishing off skiing the 2010 downhill runs!

 

Thanks again.

 

post #14 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by dustyfog View Post

 

3. Mammoth has the most snow of any place in NAmerica it appears (have not doen extensive research but just from some web site glancing) and it does have the longest season.

 

Though travel times to SV/AM seems about the same versus Whistler from NYC (changing planes to Reno etc) and then drive , matches non-stop flight plus 3 hr drive to WB. Mammoth may be even longer, but unclear if those direct flights from LA or San Fran run in the 4/15-4/25 period, will find that out. 

 

One more question, is it faster to go to Mammoth from NYC via San Fran or LA, or difference marginal at best?

 

 

lotta snow at Mammoth right now and more coming 2morrow... although it might be heavy...

high altitude means that conditions will stay more winter-ish favorable on the higher runs, and softer on the lower mtn.

except for the steep pitches on the upper Mtn and Lincoln Mtn, most everything else gets groomed daily - if you like groomers.

 

on the upper Mtn, what used to be 'Cornice' is now groomed so anyone can get down - sad... often Scottie's is also groomed - more sadness.

those cornices were always the funnest part of the hill. Still plenty of other stuff up there, but Cornice, back in the day, had the Biggest wompin drop on the hill (aside from the cliffs). Seemed like you could count to three before you touched down again...  shame it's gone...

 

Mammoth is pretty much a giant version of 'Flatton'/Waterville or front side Vail - with the added shorter steep pitches which constitute the upper mtn. Anything of length is usually Blue and Groomed.

but its all we SoCal Bro have that's close and a bit more than the yo-yo of the LA areas. I'm not complaining, but I am jealous of the SLC and DEN Bro.

 

Flyin to Mammoth apparently has gotten much easier with Horizon Air partner with United, out of LAX, so you might get a deal... Driving from LAX is prolly 5+ hrs if you can rip thru without getting a ticket.

 

due to road travel logistics, the usual is

 

LAX --> mammoth

SFO --> the lake

RENO - either, but easier to the lake

 

 

post #15 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by dustyfog View Post

I wonder if the Olympic downhill runs will be open, 

 


Yep, they will be. But they go all the way to the bottom so the end of the run may be sketchy.  It depends, right now we're having an extended winter, so you might have plenty of snow all the way to the base.

 

And to set the record straight, Mammoth does not have the most snow.  Baker does.  Mammoth's top reported base is 218" and Baker's is 283".  However when you get that much snow it doesn't make a whole lot of difference one way or the other.

 

post #16 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by moreoutdoor View Post



 

lotta snow at Mammoth right now and more coming 2morrow... although it might be heavy...

high altitude means that conditions will stay more winter-ish favorable on the higher runs, and softer on the lower mtn.

except for the steep pitches on the upper Mtn and Lincoln Mtn, most everything else gets groomed daily - if you like groomers.

 

on the upper Mtn, what used to be 'Cornice' is now groomed so anyone can get down - sad... often Scottie's is also groomed - more sadness.

those cornices were always the funnest part of the hill. Still plenty of other stuff up there, but Cornice, back in the day, had the Biggest wompin drop on the hill (aside from the cliffs). Seemed like you could count to three before you touched down again...  shame it's gone...

 

Mammoth is pretty much a giant version of 'Flatton'/Waterville or front side Vail - with the added shorter steep pitches which constitute the upper mtn. Anything of length is usually Blue and Groomed.

but its all we SoCal Bro have that's close and a bit more than the yo-yo of the LA areas. I'm not complaining, but I am jealous of the SLC and DEN Bro.

 

Flyin to Mammoth apparently has gotten much easier with Horizon Air partner with United, out of LAX, so you might get a deal... Driving from LAX is prolly 5+ hrs if you can rip thru without getting a ticket.

 

due to road travel logistics, the usual is

 

LAX --> mammoth

SFO --> the lake

RENO - either, but easier to the lake

 

 



dude to my knowledge, Mammoth has some pretty crazy stuff up top that you won't find at most places

post #17 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Posaune View Post




Yep, they will be. But they go all the way to the bottom so the end of the run may be sketchy.  It depends, right now we're having an extended winter, so you might have plenty of snow all the way to the base.


Yeah with Whistler the freezing level raises quickly in the spring and the bottom runs get sloppy..... Creekside is often one of the first areas closed down I believe? 

post #18 of 28
Thread Starter 

Folks, we leave next Wed for WB, how's conditions, reports suggest great. Keep seeing rain in the forecast though frown.gif

 

You folks mountain-biking or still skiing, we hope still skiing.

 

post #19 of 28

I heard it was great last week. Are you looking at the alpine forecast or valley? The alpine forecast I see looks terrific:

 

http://www.whistlerblackcomb.com/weather/forecast/index.htm 

post #20 of 28
Thread Starter 

Thanks Christy. Alpine I presume means above some point mid-mountain, and yes, forecast most heartening, but not knowing lay of the land, will have to figure out when we get there, early morning Thursday.

post #21 of 28

I know you chose W/BC but we just finished up three glorious days of skiing Mammoth!  From snow on Friday to warm bluebird today, it was an epic three days of April skiing.  This was our first time to Mammoth and for sheer size the only other two I can compare it to is W/BC and Vail in North America.  I have skied all three and they are all great.

 

Have fun in W/BC...much better village than Mammoth btw!!!

post #22 of 28

 

Quote:

Alpine I presume means above some point mid-mountain, and yes, forecast most heartening, but not knowing lay of the land, will have to figure out when we get there, early morning Thursday. 

Look at the same page I linked. You'll see a link to freezing levels (2 tabs to the right of "alpine forecast"), and you can then cross reference different places on the mountain to stay on the best snow. If you see that freezing levels are at Olympic Station (the beginner area), as they are today, you can just make it a point to stay above that (which is very easy to do and you probably would stay above there even if freezing levels were in the valley).

 

This live temps map can be helpful, too:

http://www.whistlerblackcomb.com/weather/live/index.htm 

post #23 of 28

Whistler picked up a foot of fresh last night!

post #24 of 28

I was out that way last week. And while we got a crappy re-freeze day, I have to say the coverage is pretty amazing and snow still falling. 

 

As for the lower half of the mountain, things are starting to deteriorate pretty quickly..... I would be cautious of venturing down the creekside runs and probably suggest downloading from mid-way unless you are sure you will like the slop/ice/mud!

post #25 of 28
Thread Starter 

We just got back from WB after 10 days of relentless skiing. TR to follow later, only observation is there is no place we have skied like WB. The expanse, extent, vertical and distance per run of terrain, the limitless size of the bowls and truly intimidating steeps..a great place, plus it was 9 days of dry, soft snow and powder for 5 of them, all utah quality dry stuff in the alpine. One could find deep untracked days after the main bulk of the snow...but access required coming down hard terrain..anyway, simply put, there is no place like this we have been to in the Americas or Europe and we had incredible conditions in the alpine zone.

 

For my son Blackcomb is the best place he has skied...he loved it more than Whistler, Alta, Snowbasin, Lech-Zurs..all of which tied as his best earlier..

post #26 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by dustyfog View Post

We just got back from WB after 10 days of relentless skiing. TR to follow later, only observation is there is no place we have skied like WB. The expanse, extent, vertical and distance per run of terrain, the limitless size of the bowls and truly intimidating steeps..a great place, plus it was 9 days of dry, soft snow and powder for 5 of them, all utah quality dry stuff in the alpine. One could find deep untracked days after the main bulk of the snow...but access required coming down hard terrain..anyway, simply put, there is no place like this we have been to in the Americas or Europe and we had incredible conditions in the alpine zone.

 

For my son Blackcomb is the best place he has skied...he loved it more than Whistler, Alta, Snowbasin, Lech-Zurs..all of which tied as his best earlier..


Why Blackcomb > Whistler?

 

post #27 of 28

Glad you enjoyed it. I too enjoy Whistler more than almost any other resort and I've consistantly had better conditions there than on my trips to CO and UT.

 

I know a lot of people that favor Blackcomb. I had an instructor tell me that the runs on Whistler Mt were done sort of ad hoc, whereas Blackcomb was laid on out computer and thus has better fall lines, fewer cat tracks, etc. I like them both.

post #28 of 28
Thread Starter 

Skiking: My son liked Blackcomb over Whistler, not sure why. My view is the runs seemed continuously longer on Blackcomb generally, though West Cirque to Gloom and Doom or Whistler Bowl down through glades or Shale Slope or Saddle to Dave Murray etc are also huge runs. Symphony is great free ski terrain too. His words "Blackcomb runs are more fun, and cooler! and it does have the glacier Sapphire and Blowhole...".

 

For the solid intermediate...I would say Blackcomb has more choices in terms of steep, long groomers, though Whistler's Dave Murray, and Saddle and Peak to Creek also were great...

 

Anyway, for the Dad, the entire place was incredible, TR in TR section with video of our trip..thanks all for wise counsel...

TR link:

http://www.epicski.com/forum/thread/103559/an-8-year-old-finds-the-biggest-ski-area-in-the-americas-whistler-blackcomb-10-full-days

 

All I will say is Sapphire lower chutes into Blackcomb glacier...and Sapphire bowl...

 

Christy, it really lived upto its billing...

 

 


Edited by dustyfog - 5/1/11 at 6:30pm
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EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Mountain/Resort Related Forums › Resorts, Conditions & Travel › April 15th to April 25th : Squaw/Alpine Meadows vs Whistler-Blackcomb vs Mammoth Mountain