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Jackson Hole or The Bird and Alta last week of January 2012

post #1 of 39
Thread Starter 

Greetings,

 

I have never skied any of the areas mentioned and a group of friends are debating where to go the last week of January.

I am leaning more towards Utah, as we will be at the mountain in about 60 minutes after landing.  I am not sure we can do that at Jackson Hole.  If the travel time is like from the airport to Vail, forget about it.

All of us are advanced (not expert) skiers, so I really think we would have fun regardless of where we go.  So if you have been to both areas, where would you go and why?

Thanks for your 2 cents.

post #2 of 39
It is probably shorter to Teton village from the airport than it is from slc to the little cottonwoods. That being said, jhmh has advanced terrain, but it is an experts mountain. Snowbird/Alta has more advanced terrain than jh. But there is only one jh.

Mike
post #3 of 39

Jackson Hole Mountain Resort (Teton Village) is not a far drive from the airport at all. Maybe 30 minutes. Also, since you have an "advanced" group, there will be PLENTY to keep you all busy and happy your entire stay. Even the beginners and intermediates (if any) should have a blast, and it will certainly improve their skiing. Don't let JH's reputation scare anyone. Sure, there are huge cliffs to huck off of if you so choose, but there are tons of totally doable trails...even for someone like me. I came an "ok" skier. I left a much more confident skier, although truly humbled. After spending a weekend last February there, I can't recommend it highly enough.

 

That's not to take away from the Bird or Alta, though, as I haven't been to either one of those, and cannot compare them.

post #4 of 39

As said above, travel time from airport is inconsequential on either choice.

I'd avoid last week of January, first of February however; check with Tony Crocker, but my anecdotal experience is that's a period subject to fine weather -- i.e. few powder days. I think you'd be better off in the first half of January, or ideally late February to early March. Just my bad luck maybe,.

post #5 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by liv2 ski View Post

Greetings,

 

I have never skied any of the areas mentioned and a group of friends are debating where to go the last week of January.

I am leaning more towards Utah, as we will be at the mountain in about 60 minutes after landing.  I am not sure we can do that at Jackson Hole.  If the travel time is like from the airport to Vail, forget about it.

All of us are advanced (not expert) skiers, so I really think we would have fun regardless of where we go.  So if you have been to both areas, where would you go and why?

Thanks for your 2 cents.

 

You won't be at LCC 60 minutes after you land, you will proabbly still be waiting for your luggage. ;)

 

FWIW, I don't think you can make a bad choice.

 

post #6 of 39

How long you going for?  Short trips LCC.  Long trip JH.

They are both great areas, but there's not much to do up the canyon at night.  That's not really a problem for me, if it's a short trip?

 

You won't get a direct into JAC from SAN, so your total travel time will be significantly greater than SLC. 

 

What about flying into SLC, renting a car and hitting both?
 

 

post #7 of 39

 

Quote:
I'd avoid last week of January, first of February however; check with Tony Crocker, but my anecdotal experience is that's a period subject to fine weather -- i.e. few powder days. I think you'd be better off in the first half of January, or ideally late February to early March.

There is no meteorological reason at any ski area that I know of where over the long term a short period like one or two weeks is significantly less snowy than the weeks before or after.  Snowfall is highly volatile and anecdotal experience is nearly useless in drawing valid conclusions.  If you don't believe that, consider that in 100+ ski days in Utah over 20 seasons I experienced 55% of expected snowfall.  Thankfully that trend has disappeared for me over the past 3 seasons.

 

Late January/early February is probably the ideal time for Jackson based upon long term data.  It's late enough for very high probability of full coverage and early enough that the sun is still weak enough to avoid unpleasant surface conditions with the southeast exposure that can emerge swiftly on warm days in late February or later.

 

Alta/Snowbird have as wide a window of expected good ski conditions (4+ months) as anywhere I can imagine.  Jackson's window is much narrower, so if your vacation timing fits that window as in this case, I strongly recommend Jackson.

post #8 of 39

Coming from California, you can/could get more ski time in at Alta/Bird. You could take an early flight, land and ski the same day. Going to JH, you will have to connect probably in SLC or Denver and then head up to Jax. At Alta/Bird on your return day, you can ski until 3pm and then head to the airport. Leaving Jax, you will be flying to SLC again with no chance on skiing your last day.

 

This is why I've chosen UT the last few yrs over JH, even though JH is my fave.

 

As Shred asked, "How long you going?" as the longer the trip, the better JH fits.

 

Lastly, listen to Tony.

post #9 of 39
Thread Starter 

Thanks guys,  it is a 4 skiing day trip, so we decided on Snowbird/Alta.  I haven't been to UT in 3 years, but the last trip snowed every night 12"-24", hence the great memories and my wanting to go there.  Next time I will go longer and try JH.

post #10 of 39

Can't go wrong with Utah.  My advice is to get a cheap condo in park city and make the short, beautiful drive to cottonwood each morning.  You won't have the time difference I had coming from the east coast to help you get your ass up early, but I bet you'll be happy you stayed there anyway. 

 

And if they close the canyon road then just go to Snowbasin, which is amazing.  Actually, you should go to Snowbasin anyways, and ski under John Paul all day long. 

 

Park City is great too- the people who have been telling you how much it sucks (people told me that, at least)  haven't bothered to hike up from McConkey's or Jupiter.  Some bad ass terrain to be found up there.  And the fresh snow didn't get attacked like it does in Alta or Snowbird.   

 

Edit:  Just saw that you've already been there at least once.  My bad.  Have fun.

post #11 of 39

Jackson hole or Utah????    that is a no brainer, Jackson hole.    You can always go to Utah, like everyone says, ski same day etc..   But Jackson hole is a WAY better town / culture etc.....  And don't forget the beers at the Mangy Moose (spelling) .   Fly into Denver, take a hopper to JH and you are there.  Super small airport, (if you can even call it that), great feel.   SLC  has great skiing as well, but in MY OPINION, not anywhere near the atmosphere.    I will put it to you this way, taking a vacation,   Laguna beach or Hawaii  ?   Well Laguna is pretty, Easy to get to,  BUT ITS NOT 

Hawaii.              

post #12 of 39

Title of this thread lists my 3 favorite ski areas.   period.

Can't go wrong with any of these !!!!!!!!!!!! Wahhhhhoo.

 

 

 

Don't stay in Park City if you want to ski there 3 areas.

ski.gifski.gifski.gif

post #13 of 39

I've had very bad luck with snowfall in utah in january. 3 years, 7 weeks total, 2 days of 6 inches snow total. They often get inversions during this period. I don't know why exactly, but when there is an inversion, usually the weather is very warm and stable and no snow.

 

I'd go to jackson instead, but it could be quite cold there as well.

 

cannot go wrong with either. totally depends on what you want.

post #14 of 39
Thread Starter 

shoal007,  Sorry about the bad luck and hopefully I am not jinxing myself but look at this link: http://www.alta.com/pages/snowfallhistory.php

At the page bottom is previous years snow fall by month.  January has been pretty good to Alta.

But thanks for your 2 cents

post #15 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by shoal007 View Post

I've had very bad luck with snowfall in utah in january. 3 years, 7 weeks total, 2 days of 6 inches snow total. They often get inversions during this period. I don't know why exactly, but when there is an inversion, usually the weather is very warm and stable and no snow.

 

I'd go to jackson instead, but it could be quite cold there as well.

 

cannot go wrong with either. totally depends on what you want.

 

In that case, he should be sure to not plan his stay to over lap with yours. wink.gif

 

Snowfall in UT in January is pretty variable. It is either dumping or its not.  Inversion is caused by high pressure which also keeps the storms away. Seems to show up in January. When it does, it sets in for a while until a major storm comes through and blows it all out. Altabird seem to get a bit of snow from even the weakest storms, even when everyone else is skunked.

 

post #16 of 39

Worst comes to worst, if the snow is lousy in Utah, it's not all that far of a drive to Jackson (disclaimer: "far" being a relative term to me). I think it's around 250 miles. You and the boys should stay at the Hostel right by the tram. Cheap, convenient, and a great vibe. I'm definitely staying there next time.

post #17 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by AustinFromSA View Post

Worst comes to worst, if the snow is lousy in Utah, it's not all that far of a drive to Jackson (disclaimer: "far" being a relative term to me). I think it's around 250 miles. 


Which is the least likely scenario of all.  Jackson is awesome, but days where it's dumping up there and "lousy" in LCC are few and far between...

 

post #18 of 39

Everything else equal, I would ALWAYS pick an opportunity to travel to Jackson Hole over anything in Utah unless I'd just been to Jackson recently.  Utah is so much more easily accessible that you're much more likely to get another opportunity in the near future to ski in the SLC area.  However, logistics of Jackson area is a lot more complicated and usually a lot more expensive too.  So, if someone said to me we can either go to Jackson or Snowbird (insert any given date) I would definitely say Jackson because I've never been there and don't see much chance of being able to blast out there on short notice.  But, I do see ample opportunities to fly in to SLC, stay cheap, rent a car cheap, and ski anywhere within 6 hours of that airport.

post #19 of 39

Ummm, Jackson Hole is easily within six hours of SLC...

I'm just saying'

post #20 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by crgildart View Post

Everything else equal, I would ALWAYS pick an opportunity to travel to Jackson Hole over anything in Utah unless I'd just been to Jackson recently.  Utah is so much more easily accessible that you're much more likely to get another opportunity in the near future to ski in the SLC area.  However, logistics of Jackson area is a lot more complicated and usually a lot more expensive too.  So, if someone said to me we can either go to Jackson or Snowbird (insert any given date) I would definitely say Jackson because I've never been there and don't see much chance of being able to blast out there on short notice.  But, I do see ample opportunities to fly in to SLC, stay cheap, rent a car cheap, and ski anywhere within 6 hours of that airport.

 

Actually from SLC International to Jackson is like 5 hours.

 


 

 

post #21 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by zotama View Post




Which is the least likely scenario of all.  Jackson is awesome, but days where it's dumping up there and "lousy" in LCC are few and far between...

 

 

Actually this happens all the time. There are plenty of storms that miss SLC entirely and score direct hits in Jackson.

 

Frankly, I think all talk of snow conditions is over stated. If there is enough snow to cover the rocks at the bird or jackson then its enough snow to ski and have a great time -- period.

post #22 of 39
Quote:

Originally Posted by tromano View Post

 

Actually this happens all the time. There are plenty of storms that miss SLC entirely and score direct hits in Jackson.


Heh.  That's funny, because we're always convinced that the storms miss US entirely and bury you guys down in the Wasatch. wink.gif

 


Quote:
Originally Posted by tromano View Post

 

Frankly, I think all talk of snow conditions is over stated. If there is enough snow to cover the rocks at the bird or jackson then its enough snow to ski and have a great time -- period.

 

icon14.gificon14.gificon14.gif

 

I couldn't agree more.

 

Trying to over-think snow conditions months (or years) in advance is pretty futile.  You can look at all the historical statistics in the world, but as the mutual fund companies constantly remind us in the fine print, "past performance is no guarantee of future results".  

 

It's either going to snow when you get to your destination or it isn't.  If it doesn't, a late January trip date usually assures that there's at least enough snow on the ground already that you'll have good skiing.  Beyond that, you're just stressing about something you have no control over.

 

I've always told people that if you're planning a trip to Jackson Hole and you want reasonably good snow cover with the best chance for quality powder and "relatively" fewer people if the snow does happen, the best weeks to shoot for are the last week of January and the first week of February.  That usually misses our occasional inversion-induced January deep freeze and it's before the hordes start coming by President's Week.  Most years, that advice turns out pretty well.  

 

Some years, it doesn't.

post #23 of 39

i do believe JH is more favorable in January & they get 400-450" w/Targhee in for 500". However, Alta/Bird also gets 500+ inches of snow a year. Its gotta come down sometime, might as well be Jan 2012.

 

Neither place is what I would call risky. It comes down to how much time you have I would think. Only a couple days? Bam, SLC in - ski - outta there.

 

Got a few more days? Gotta think about the Big One.

post #24 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by tromano View Post



 

Actually this happens all the time. There are plenty of storms that miss SLC entirely and score direct hits in Jackson.

 

Frankly, I think all talk of snow conditions is over stated. If there is enough snow to cover the rocks at the bird or jackson then its enough snow to ski and have a great time -- period.

 

 

 

Sure, but it's far less likely.  Jackson embellishes it's snow totals, Alta Snowbird downplays their totals.  Alta has gone over 700" 4 of the last 5 seasons (800" last season) and have received less than 500" only twice in the last 18 years.  Yet they still claim the average is only around 500" annually.  That number hasn't changed.

 

There has been a number of times where I have been told Jackson is going off or is having a monster winter only to check their snow report to learn they've received 300" and have a 70" base, meanwhile at the same point in the season the Cottonwoods have received 500" with a 150" base.

 

Snow conditions:  Alta/Snowbird > Jackson

Rowdy terrain:  Jackson > Alta/Snowbird

 

 

post #25 of 39

It rained 3-4 times last season in LCC in December and January. So even a great season there is still usually a month or so of very marginal conditions. This happens literally every season since I have lived in UT. We are sitting in the Wasatch with steady high pressure for months / weeks and all the storms are getting pushed north into the tetons (or south)...

 

The only way to be reasonably certain of getting fresh pow is to buy a flexible ticket and pack your bags when it looks like its just about to hit... Even then the storm could miss you... 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by zotama View Post

 

Sure, but it's far less likely.  Jackson embellishes it's snow totals, Alta Snowbird downplays their totals.  Alta has gone over 700" 4 of the last 5 seasons (800" last season) and have received less than 500" only twice in the last 18 years.  Yet they still claim the average is only around 500" annually.  That number hasn't changed.

 

There has been a number of times where I have been told Jackson is going off or is having a monster winter only to check their snow report to learn they've received 300" and have a 70" base, meanwhile at the same point in the season the Cottonwoods have received 500" with a 150" base.

 

Snow conditions:  Alta/Snowbird > Jackson

Rowdy terrain:  Jackson > Alta/Snowbird


 

post #26 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by tromano View Post

It rained 3-4 times last season in LCC in December and January. So even a great season there is still usually a month or so of very marginal conditions. This happens literally every season since I have lived in UT. We are sitting in the Wasatch with steady high pressure for months / weeks and all the storms are getting pushed north into the tetons (or south)...

 

The only way to be reasonably certain of getting fresh pow is to buy a flexible ticket and pack your bags when it looks like its just about to hit... Even then the storm could miss you... 


 

 

Ummm, I only remember one rain event up here last season but whatever...

 

You sure you're not thinking of the Beav?

 

I've had a change of heart and I think the OP and his crew should go to Jackson.  Jackson is sick.  'Nuff said...

 

I would suggest staying off Tatersall's "fast" booter on your first trip, however. 

 

 

post #27 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by zotama View Post



 

Ummm, I only remember one rain event up here last season but whatever...

 

You sure you're not thinking of the Beav?

 

I've had a change of heart and I think the OP and his crew should go to Jackson.  Jackson is sick.  'Nuff said...

 

I would suggest staying off Tatersall's "fast" booter on your first trip, however. 

 

 


I only got to LCC once or twice last year my info i based on conversations with LCC ski bum local who I work and ski with regularly... It rained alot at Beaver in Dec/ January too.

 

post #28 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by tromano View Post




I only got to LCC once or twice last year my info i based on conversations with LCC ski bum local who I work and ski with regularly... It rained alot at Beaver in Dec/ January too.

 

It didn't rain "a lot" here last season, it rained one day right after Christmas.

 

I would expect the Beav to get more rain, elevation of the ski area ranges from 7200' to 8800'.  The base of Alta is 8530' and the top of Baldy is 11000'.   Does your "LCC ski bum" friend also live 3 hours away like you?
 

 

post #29 of 39
Quote:

Originally Posted by zotama View Post

 

it rained one day right after Christmas.

 

Again, that's not what I heard. But whatever...

post #30 of 39

It rained a few times at Snowbasin & a few more than that below 7500', but only once to the top of JP as I recall.  I think that was on MLK monday.  We did have quite a bit of wet snow last season, more like a typical Tahoe season & not what you expect in Utah.  Seems like the Sierra got more of the typical deep, blower snow.  It is pretty rare to get rain up high in the cottonwoods.

JF

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