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Jackson Hole or Snowbird spring break trip

post #1 of 55
Thread Starter 

Just started to plan next spring  school break ski trip, the exact dates being 3/31-4/6/2012 (skiing days). I have been to snowbird/alta before and I am pretty confident that the skiing conditions are going to be good there at that time. We would really love to visit JH though. But I am not sure whether that would be taking a big chance of poor snow conditions that late in the season. We are all quite aggressive skiers more oriented towards hike-to-terrain or side country skiing (like East Wall at A-basin, or Taos West Basin ridge). So , conditions at the top of the mountain are more important. Any advice is deeply appreciated.

post #2 of 55

JH seems to close on 1st Sunday of April. (Though, it could be 1st full weekend of April)   Don't know if there is an exception when that Sunday is April 1, as it is next year.

Otherwise, flip a coin.


Edited by John J - 6/28/11 at 8:24am
post #3 of 55

I agree 100%. After April these places, montana, wyomoing, and idaho often dwindle down and some years just don't have enough interest to stay open.

 

Snowbird? If you have a group of advanced-expert skiiers than here's your place. They will likely be still receiving snow, although in 4 years and 30+ days out west I've yet to ski there with fresh.

 

I don't plan on going those dates, so you will likely have snow there. It averages once every 3 days, but figure a lot of that is in spurts.

 

 

 

post #4 of 55

Either place will provide plenty of challenge.  Hike-to stuff at JH is otherworldly (Teton Pass is also good); Snowbird's is pretty good too.  None of it will be untracked.

 

post #5 of 55
Thread Starter 

Thanx for your replies. I have no doubt that the terrain at JH will be every bit ecstatic. My question is what is % probability that snow conditions will suck (rain, slush) first week of April at JH? I am not worried about untracked powder, I am plenty happy with good snowpack as long  there is plenty of challenging terrain.For example Taos this year did not have a good snowfall but skiing conditions were good in February even without tons of fresh powder, like at the pic bellow, and we had a blast. At SB/A I believe there is less than 10% chance that the conditions will be really bad the first week of April. But I would not risk buying vacations in Taos in late March beginning of April  half year in advance for the fear of bad snow conditions.P1010378.JPGP1010392.JPG

post #6 of 55

 Neither destination would be a problem last minute, if you stay in town. Flying into SLC and renting a car or driving your own, you could go to either one based on current conditions?

 

Side country at either one is serious s$%& and you better be equipped and properly prepared! 

 

Both of your examples are patrolled, in bounds and a wholenother ballgame!

post #7 of 55
Thread Starter 

The pics are there to show acceptable snow conditions, and not the terrain. And with two kids in the tow I can't wing it, I am buying it 8 months in advance. But thank you for advice.

post #8 of 55

It has been a long time since I have been to either one, but according to Tony Crocker, 60% of JH faces south East & 30% south making it a better winter than spring resort.


Edited by MEfree30 - 6/28/11 at 5:08pm
post #9 of 55



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SHREDHEAD View Post

 Neither destination would be a problem last minute, if you stay in town. Flying into SLC and renting a car or driving your own, you could go to either one based on current conditions?

 

Side country at either one is serious s$%& and you better be equipped and properly prepared! 

 

Both of your examples are patrolled, in bounds and a wholenother ballgame!



 



Quote:
Originally Posted by tallklutz View Post

The pics are there to show acceptable snow conditions, and not the terrain. And with two kids in the tow I can't wing it, I am buying it 8 months in advance. But thank you for advice.



Even with kids you can still wing it since on-mountain and near-mountian lodging will be half empty in April and you can make last minute reservations.  Conventional wisdom is that Alta/Bird would be better at that time of year than JH.  But this season it would have been about equal.  You could buy airline tickets now to Salt Lake City if that is what is forcing your early decision-making.  Then next year, depending on snow conditions, stay in Utah or drive up to JH , five hour drive.  Car may allow you to sight see around the Tetons or visit another ski area along the way. 

 

Here's an article by Tony Crocker on good late skiing spots in the US:  http://gator1314.hostgator.com/~bestsnow/latesnow.htm

post #10 of 55
Jackson can be great or terrible late season. As noted above, there is a lot of the terrain that has east exposure. That being said, I've skied jh mid march in a low snow year where they had not had snow in 3 weeks for steep and deep camp. Even so, the snow on the northern exposures (tower 3, paintbrush, toilet bowl, north woods, etc.) was wintry even though the temps on the lower exposures were in the 50s. Skiing the hobacks, however, was a chore as the crust was breakable with knee deep mashed potatoes below. Can you say double eject? Not much fun, but made you ski softly!

Snowbird, on the other hand, has more north facing terrain, so it will be a better bet against warm weather. That being said, and even though I love snowbird, it's no Jackson hole.

Another option would be big sky. I've been there in late march/early April 3 of the last 4 years, and 2 of those were some of the deepest snow I've ever skied.

As also noted above, you might wait to see how the season develops.
Mike
post #11 of 55
Thread Starter 

Thank you guys for all the advice, I reckon I will be going to Little Cottonwood Canyon and ski A/SB. it seems a lot more reliable. Last time I stayed there in the beginning of April 2010 it was dumping like a foot of snow every day. And the terrain is great when it is open. Just wanted to try something new. We will be going to KHMR on Prez day, and to Vail in the beginning of March for the first time so that will fill our quota of novelty for the year. All of it beats Poconos.

 

 

post #12 of 55

This is a real easy one.  You don't want to plan a trip to Jackson Hole anytime after about March 10th.  Much of the mountain faces towards the south and the sun can greatly affect snow conditions ANYWHERE starting about March 1st.  My friend made a mid March JH trip one year and there was plenty of slush on the lower mountain.  I think Colo would likely be a better bet at that time.  But get to JH one of these days for sure, Jan or Feb. For SLC, If you are on a budget, save some coin by staying in a $65/nt hotel room in Sandy or Midvale.  Yes, get out of the Poconos! Same here.

post #13 of 55

I did a trip to Jackson Hole with some friends in 2008 during the last week of the season and it was hands down the best conditions I have ever skied out west but in terms of snow fall that was their biggest year on record and it stayed cold.  Most mornings we started out around zero.  This year the same group went to Utah 4/6 through 4/13 and had great conditions as well, with almost 4 feet of snow falling during our stay..  These sort of late season conditions seem to be more normal for the Wasatch.  I wouldn't hesitate to book a trip to Utah for that time next year but for Jackson Hole I would wait until I get an idea of what sort of season they are having. 

post #14 of 55

If you're going to snowbird and alta and can't stay at the base, think about getting a priceline deal on a place in Park City for the week.  We got a pretty good deal on a nice condo there last February, and it worked out perfectly.  The drive to little cottonwood is a cinch, as is the drive up to Ogden (the John Paul lift at Snowbasin has to rank among the best ever and you should check it out).   Park City was a lot of fun too.

post #15 of 55
Thread Starter 

BTW, I haven't been to Big Sky. I wonder if anyone has any experience with skiing there regularly that late in the season. Is it too chancy to plan for it. In Utah, in the first week of April the worst day we had looked like that, in terms of quality of snow (4 days w/o new snow and warm weather).Park City McConckey bowl 007.jpg

 

Most other days, it tends to be much better. It always seems to snow a lot there in late March, early April.Park City ski trip 041.jpg

post #16 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by SnowbirdDevotee View Post

... You don't want to plan a trip to Jackson Hole anytime after about March 10th...  


BS

 

post #17 of 55

tallklutz:

 

The two ski resorts I've skied the most in my lifetime are Snowbird and Jackson Hole, so I think I'm fairly familiar with both.

 

There's no doubt that Snowbird is a "safer" bet for the first week of April.  Much of what's been said above is true in that Snowbird's higher, more north-facing, and gets more snow.  

 

Caveats aside, however, you really shouldn't rule out JH.  We have a bigger mountain than Snowbird and we have a MUCH wider array of aspects and elevations.  That's not even factoring in the enormous amount of sidecountry/backcountry that's easily accessible from our boundaries for people with the skills and experience to travel safely out of bounds.  

 

I'm just so tired of hearing this rap about not skiing Jackson Hole after March whatever.  It's hogwash.  Any GOOD skier will have a blast here.

 

If you want a little first-hand testimony about skiing Jackson Hole in late March or early April, check out these trip reports going back several years.  I don't have reports from 2010 or 2006 because I was skiing in Alaska and the Bahamas those years):

 

http://www.epicski.com/forum/thread/102956/jackson-hole-unglaublich-3-30-2011   2011

http://www.epicski.com/forum/thread/83111/april-fool-s-day-at-jackson-hole-another-great-day     2009

http://www.epicski.com/forum/thread/69049/bushwackerinpa-visits-jh-out-of-bounds-4-1-08 2008

http://www.epicski.com/forum/thread/54865/april-showers-bring-april-face-shots 2007

http://www.epicski.com/forum/thread/26219/powder-photos 2005

 

I'll also emphasize what SHREADHEAD and habacomike said about booking your flight but not your hotels.  The first week of April is absolutely dead as far as ski hotels are concerned, either at Jackson Hole or Salt Lake City.  Even with a couple of kids, you would have zero difficulty getting a good hotel at a great rate at the last minute.  

 

Not that you need my advice, but I'd "plan" on going to Jackson Hole and then bag it and go to SLC if it looked at the last minute like JH wasn't going to be any good.

 

Okay.  Rant over.

 

Thank you... I feel better now.
 

post #18 of 55
Thread Starter 

Thank you Bob for your very expert reply. Your photoreport from the slopes yesterday is really cool. I really love my job and my Univ Hosp, but I wish  half of my life were like yours. Anyways, we will be climbing Grand Teton this August and I might be able to convince my wife to try out your plan (she doesn't take chances when we travel with our two younger ones) and wing it. She usually mellows out by the end of the second day of climbing. It must be low O2 pressure at high altitudes, I just get stupid. We shell see.

post #19 of 55
Thread Starter 

BTW, do you think the resort will stay open till April 6th next year?

post #20 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Peters View Post

tallklutz:

 

The two ski resorts I've skied the most in my lifetime are Snowbird and Jackson Hole, so I think I'm fairly familiar with both.

 

There's no doubt that Snowbird is a "safer" bet for the first week of April.  Much of what's been said above is true in that Snowbird's higher, more north-facing, and gets more snow.  

 

Caveats aside, however, you really shouldn't rule out JH.  We have a bigger mountain than Snowbird and we have a MUCH wider array of aspects and elevations.  That's not even factoring in the enormous amount of sidecountry/backcountry that's easily accessible from our boundaries for people with the skills and experience to travel safely out of bounds.  

 

I'm just so tired of hearing this rap about not skiing Jackson Hole after March whatever.  It's hogwash.  Any GOOD skier will have a blast here.

 

If you want a little first-hand testimony about skiing Jackson Hole in late March or early April, check out these trip reports going back several years.  I don't have reports from 2010 or 2006 because I was skiing in Alaska and the Bahamas those years):

 

http://www.epicski.com/forum/thread/102956/jackson-hole-unglaublich-3-30-2011   2011

http://www.epicski.com/forum/thread/83111/april-fool-s-day-at-jackson-hole-another-great-day     2009

http://www.epicski.com/forum/thread/69049/bushwackerinpa-visits-jh-out-of-bounds-4-1-08 2008

http://www.epicski.com/forum/thread/54865/april-showers-bring-april-face-shots 2007

http://www.epicski.com/forum/thread/26219/powder-photos 2005

 

I'll also emphasize what SHREADHEAD and habacomike said about booking your flight but not your hotels.  The first week of April is absolutely dead as far as ski hotels are concerned, either at Jackson Hole or Salt Lake City.  Even with a couple of kids, you would have zero difficulty getting a good hotel at a great rate at the last minute.  

 

Not that you need my advice, but I'd "plan" on going to Jackson Hole and then bag it and go to SLC if it looked at the last minute like JH wasn't going to be any good.

 

Okay.  Rant over.

 

Thank you... I feel better now.
 


I'd say that is some of the best advice yet.  Especially if you really want to ski Jackson Hole.

 



Quote:
Originally Posted by tallklutz View Post

BTW, do you think the resort will stay open till April 6th next year?


I am sure Bob will confirm this but I believe the closing date next year will be April 8th.

 

post #21 of 55

Just another 2 cents, but you've skied Snowbird.  You haven't skied JH.  And that is a sin.

 

Skiing JH with no snow in 3 weeks and warm temps was still better than sking most anything else.  Snowbird is a great area, but it still isn't JH.

 

Mike

post #22 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by habacomike View Post

Just another 2 cents, but you've skied Snowbird.  You haven't skied JH.  And that is a sin.

 

Skiing JH with no snow in 3 weeks and warm temps was still better than sking most anything else.  Snowbird is a great area, but it still isn't JH.

 

Mike


 

Yes.

post #23 of 55

 

Quote:
This is a real easy one.  You don't want to plan a trip to Jackson Hole anytime after about March 10th.  Much of the mountain faces towards the south and the sun can greatly affect snow conditions ANYWHERE starting about March 1st.  My friend made a mid March JH trip one year and there was plenty of slush on the lower mountain.  I think Colo would likely be a better bet at that time.  But get to JH one of these days for sure, Jan or Feb.

+1

 

Quote:
Skiing JH with no snow in 3 weeks and warm temps was still better than sking most anything else.

Not when it's steep,  ungroomed and south/east facing.  Unless your ski ability is the caliber of Bob Peters.

 

Quote:

The first week of April is absolutely dead as far as ski hotels are concerned, either at Jackson Hole or Salt Lake City.  Even with a couple of kids, you would have zero difficulty getting a good hotel at a great rate at the last minute.  

 

Not that you need my advice, but I'd "plan" on going to Jackson Hole and then bag it and go to SLC if it looked at the last minute like JH wasn't going to be any good.

This part of Bob's advice I agree with.  But late March/early April you need JH to be in a sustained storm track like it was this season.  Odds of that are in the 15-20% range, but I always encourage setting yourself up with flexibility to take advantage of the best conditions if feasible.  This is definitely one of those situations.

post #24 of 55

I am so sick of Tony Crocker and his I hate Jackson attitude.  The guy is an actuary and has no soul.  Bob is right....  Any GOOD skier will have a great time at JHMR in March.  Yes you can run into unfortunate conditions, but they can and often do improve quickly.  I have had some of the best skiing of the year in March on every one of my 21 years living and skiing in The Hole.

post #25 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by tetonpwdrjunkie View Post

I am so sick of Tony Crocker and his I hate Jackson attitude.  The guy is an actuary and has no soul.  Bob is right....  Any GOOD skier will have a great time at JHMR in March.  Yes you can run into unfortunate conditions, but they can and often do improve quickly.  I have had some of the best skiing of the year in March on every one of my 21 years living and skiing in The Hole.


LOL, so tell us how you really feel ...

While I agree with tpj, personally, I do think that both viewpoints are beneficial, because there are all sorts of skiers out there who want different things. Let them sift through the info and opinions, and decide.
post #26 of 55

OP, For me Bird vs. Jackson is a pretty clear choice. Jackson has more sick terrain in bounds. Bird has on average better snow. It really just depends what you want. 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by tetonpwdrjunkie View Post

I am so sick of Tony Crocker and his I hate Jackson attitude.  The guy is an actuary and has no soul.  Bob is right....  Any GOOD skier will have a great time at JHMR in March.  Yes you can run into unfortunate conditions, but they can and often do improve quickly.  I have had some of the best skiing of the year in March on every one of my 21 years living and skiing in The Hole.

 

Variable conditions to me is what spring skiing is all about. I am always kinds of disappointed if we get a ton of snow in april and I don't get to ski some corn before the resorts start shutting down. I feel like I am missing out on what the season has to offer.

 

 

 

post #27 of 55
The other thing to consider is that Tony Crocker is so adamant that no one with any sense would possibly think of planning a trip to jh after February that there will be no one there, meaning you will be able to shred the pow or corn all by your lonesome. Would that be too bad?

I'm not convinced Tony has actually skied jh in a low snow year in march when it has been very warm. I have, and it was still some of the best skiing I've had.

Mike
Edited by habacomike - 7/13/11 at 6:32am
post #28 of 55
Thread Starter 

The joy of getting to know a new mountain is a very important element in the overall enjoyment of ski vacation for me and my wife. We've been to A/SB before and will be there again this January anyways, but we have never had the privilege to ski at JH. Reading your replies was very helpful to solidify my already strong bias  towards JH. More importantly my wife bought it too. We are less fussy about snow, but terrain is really important. Buying air tickets to SLC and then driving to JH if the conditions are good is exactly what we are going to do. Initially, I was not so hot about the idea of driving with two kids in the tow from SLC to JH and not having lodging reserved in advance. These fears were resolutely assuaged by your informative posts. I will be driving form Calgary to Kicking Horse in the middle of February anyways, which is probably much harder drive than SLC to JH, and it will be a good winter driving in the mountains practice. It also seems like a great idea to book lodgings just a few days in advance when a lot of rentals are standing empty and great deals on internet abound. If the weather sucks in JH we'll stay in LCWC or park city. BTW, it is only two weeks before we hit the slopes of Grand Teton with our climbing gear. Boy, I am glad we moved to North America.

 

post #29 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by tallklutz View Post
. We are less fussy about snow, but terrain is really important.

 



You will love JH.

post #30 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by segbrown View Post





You will love JH.


Ditto.
 

 

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