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Post Thanksgiving, including xc-skiing, preferably from Seattle

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

So I could use a little advice. I have some fairly specific parameters.

 

I may be in Seattle for Thanksgiving, and we may be looking to ski afterwards (for a week or so). We're coming from Germany and therefore flying a long way, so it is possible that we could fly somewhere from Seattle and just fly on back to Germany. So it is not imperative that we go somewhere near Seattle, but that would probably make things a little easier.

 

We also need for there to be xc-skiing in addition to downhill skiing. I think that will be the more difficult point this early in the season. For the downhill skiing, I'm an advanced skier who likes steep and deep, bumps, but no jumps. I'm aware that at that time of year, I should be happy to take whatever I can get, however.

 

My initial thoughts:

Whistler: top should be open, but I'm worried that the low elevation makes xc-skiing very iffy at that time of year.

 

Mt. Bachelor: higher base for xc. Usually think of it as a spring destination, but maybe also a good early option?

 

Cascade Road Trip: I'd love to just drive around from the Methow Valley in the north to White Pass in the south and hit a bunch of stiff in between, but not sure I can count on the snow.

 

Tahoe: loads of xc, but will any of it be open? Does Kirkwood have a better early season record?

 

Mammoth: don't really know anything about it

 

East: seems crazy, but having loved in upstate New York for two years, I now have damn cold and snowy the fall can be in the NE. Could the snow reliability, especially from a nordic perspective, even be better than in the west?

 

Somewhere else: Ideas please.

 

Because of the need to book flights (for anywhere other than resorts drivable from Seattle), I unfortunatly can't really wait and follow the snow (if there is any).

 

Thanks in advance for the input.

post #2 of 14

The problem is going to be the XC.  That's ususally done in the valley wherever you go.  There is no reliability of snow during the last week of November so, like always, it's best to wait as long as you can to make plans.  

 

Of the options you mentioned, Whistler doesn't stand much of a chance to be available since the XC tracks are at the valley floor which is at about 2400 feet.  You might get lucky, though.  The Alpine skiing is often great there at that time of year.

 

I like the Cascades road trip idea.  You might be able to find enough snow in the Methow Valley for XC but I doubt the Alpine skiing would be very good yet at Mission Ridge, if it's even open, and forget Loup Loup.  Stevens Pass and White Pass may well be open and doing OK at that time of year.

 

One place you don't mention which often has the deepest snowpack is Mt. Baker.  The XC at that time of year is really in the OB with no set tracks and you would need to be avalanche aware and equipped for back country travel, but if you hit it on the right day it would knock your socks off.  Alpine skiing is usually going fine at that time of year, but not always.

 

The above are the places I know the best, but Bachelor seems like a good possibility if you're more interested in XC.  I'm not impressed by their Alpine terrain.  Volcanic cones are cute, but generally boring.

post #3 of 14

^ icon14.gif.

Like Europe, who can tell what early season will bring.  By Thanksgiving time: sometime it rocks, but more often it is not,.

 

Stay flexible with your plan, fortunately reservations are not that necessary in the region at most areas (calling  most of them resorts is a bit grandiose).   The storm tracks can be very fickle in early season, nuking one area and missing someplace 50 miles away so current information will help a lot. 

 

I keep a site http://www.skitiger.com/ on the favorites list of the computer.  They really don't push anything but offer fairly accurate info that is easy to read on current snowfalls, base depth, and weather forcasts.  They give you quick-links to pretty much everywhere in Western North America.  There are other sites doing the same stuff, this is just the one I follow for conditions. 

 

We will try to order up some good early conditions for you this Fall.

post #4 of 14

I don't think you'll be able to x-country ski in the Methow that early. I have a friend who goes every xmas and some years, he's out of luck. You could get lucky of course, but I sure wouldn't plan on it. I don't think Loup Loup opens until xmas, which gives you some idea.

 

I would also say it's too early for the Cascade road trip. Even this year, when we had a lot of snow early (I believe it was one of our snowiest Novembers on record), Stevens Pass didn't even open until Dec 1; White Pass and Crystal did open T day weekend but coverage was not great, and only some runs were open (not the stuff you'd like, from the sound of it). Mt Baker used to reliably have good coverage when it opened on T-Day but it doesn't seem like that's the case anymore. It opens but coverage is not great. We get excited every year as that weekend approaches, and then are jolted back to reality as we see how not-great coverage really is. I sure wouldn't plan a vacation for it. I don't think there's any place that you can reliably predict good conditions that early.

 

We were in Whistler last year for Thanksgiving, and they had great coverage for the time (I think they did set a record for November), but it was still only partially open. Whistler is the only place I'd go for Thanksgiving, but again, you may have to give up the idea of x-c skiing.

post #5 of 14

This past thanks giving you could do both in UT.

post #6 of 14

Ashcroft Touring Center outside of Aspen will be open at Thanksgiving.

 

 

http://www.pinecreekcookhouse.com/ashcroft.html

post #7 of 14

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by tromano View Post

This past thanks giving you could do both in UT.


Is that reliable though?  There are plenty of Thanksgivings when you can do it in the PNW also, but it's not reliable enough that you can count on it.

post #8 of 14

Quote:

Originally Posted by jaobrien6 View Post

 


Is that reliable though?  There are plenty of Thanksgivings when you can do it in the PNW also, but it's not reliable enough that you can count on it.

 

My note was talking about what happened last november. Past performance does not predict future returns.

 

 

post #9 of 14

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by tromano View Post

Quote:

 

My note was talking about what happened last november. Past performance does not predict future returns.

 


Um, ok.  That helps the OP, I'm sure.

post #10 of 14
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the input. I think we won't book any additional flight but rather just fly in and out of Seattle. If we're lucky and there's snow somewhere drivable we'll do it; if not, too bad.

 

The timing is poor, but unfortunately I can't change it.

post #11 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by jaobrien6 View Post

 


Um, ok.  That helps the OP, I'm sure.

 

I thought sarcasm was banned?

 

post #12 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by ami in berlin View Post

Thanks for the input. I think we won't book any additional flight but rather just fly in and out of Seattle. If we're lucky and there's snow somewhere drivable we'll do it; if not, too bad.

 

The timing is poor, but unfortunately I can't change it.

 

 

I think that's your best bet.
If you have your own XC gear and don't require prepared tracks, you will find somewhere to go.

 

Just a side note about Ashcroft. It's a really neat old ghost town and were the 1950's show,  Sgt. Preston of the Yukon was filmed.

 At 9500ft. the early season nordic conditions are probably more reliable than the alpine in town.

 

post #13 of 14
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the responses. I think we'll just not plan on anything and be happy if we are able to ski up at Paradise down to Reflection Lakes. Anything else would be a bonus. We have out own gear, so that's not an issue. I don't need tracks and am perfectly happy on forrest roads, but my other half prefers nordic centers. That just might not be in the cards this trip, though.

post #14 of 14

Lots depends on how you define XC. And how good you need conditions to be. There is a big difference between a skate track, a traditional track and some of the usual "putter around" areas. If you do not need a groomed track - more stuff is possible. But more self reliance will also be on the agenda.

 

I was about to mention Paradise & saw it pop up. It can be a pretty amazing place. Some amount of "XC" or AT can usually be done before some ski areas open. There are lots of mountains near Seattle. In a year of good storm tracks, they will be plastered with snow in early Nov. In a weak year, late Dec can be questionable. Your plan of staying flexible is probably your best bet.

 

Also, google around for some info on the "Puget Sound Convergence Zone" and a less formally documented phenomenon called the "pass effect". The convergence zone can target one area with pinpoint precision - dropping a foot or two of snow, while areas 15-20 miles away get a couple inches. The pass effect, under the right conditions, can pull the snow level in the passes many hundreds of feet lower than in the surrounding mountains. And when the two combine, interesting things can happen. And the Baker snow machine is a thing unto itself... So when you are here, pay close attention to the microclimate  details of snowfall in different areas. 

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