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Best Resort to Ski Powder - Page 10

post #271 of 454
Thread Starter 

What's Golden like these days? 

post #272 of 454

Just a couple of notes for anybody thinking of aiming for Fernie or Castle to hit powder.

Fernie is pretty easy to predict as snow comes from the westerly flow of systems from the coast so as long as it's not the 'pinapple express' warm front we get fresh.

Castle is more difficult to forecast as snow comes from two directions and three sources. Usually it is part of the same westerly flow but dryer as the system has crossed the Rockies to get there so we get  typical cloudy days with light snow mixed with bluebird days. The other direction it snows at Castle is when an  easterly upslope system nails the Rockies coming from the north east off the prairies. Castle is in a dead end of mountains in the very southwest of Alberta and the system is like a compressor pushing into that corner. Unfortunately it only happens a few times a season but when it does it's pure snorkel heaven.

The third source of powder is winds sift. Castle is noted (notorious?) for wind so even though it may not have snowed for several days the wind is like a giant ski track eraser. Not spectacular but usually smooth boot deep over on North where the wind blows the snow.


Edited by Castle Dave - 10/26/12 at 6:39am
post #273 of 454
Quote:
Originally Posted by DanoT View Post

Here is another puzzling move by KHMR: They have a high end restaurant on the top of the mountain that is the highest elevation restaurant in Canada. Given the fact that for Banff and Lake Louise the summer tourism is way bigger than winter tourism, so I thought that KHMR would try to attract the summer tourist overflow crowd as Lake Louise is less than 1.25 hours away (not considered all that far in a country the size of Canada).

 

So when I visited KHMR a few summers ago, I thought I would pay maybe $10 or $15 for a single gondola ride and maybe $15-$25 for lunch, enjoy fantastic scenery  and then hike down or down load on the gondola back to the base. But no they wanted $29 for a day ticket and would not sell me a single ride ticket. They were just catering to mountain bike riders. So I bought a $8 sandwich at the base and then moved on.

 

That does seem expensive. It is 27.27 for a sightseeing ticket at Lake Louise, which a summer visitor will actually be aware of existing. I doubt they will ever do it for 10 dollars but they have to get people to drive the extra hour and a bit from LL. Their summer marketing seems to have revolved around Boo the bear and weddings. Weddings have been successful because of the abundance of on-hill accommodation that the national park based resorts can't really match. However, when the bear keeps making highly publicized sightseeing tours of his own, I expect it probably scares a few international tourists away, compounded by the fact that you can't do much bear sightseeing when he has gone AWOL. 

 

The Eagle Eye restaurant is actually very good value for lunch in season. Maybe 5$ more for a nicely served burger/sandwich and beer deal compared to a self serve burger and soda in the day lodge. It will be interesting what RCR do this season. They mess with the restaurant at their peril. It is a big draw and social hub in a resort that is still early in its development. 

 

Sorry - just realized we were supposed to be talking about powder!

 

In answer to prickly, Golden has changed a lot over the past few years. It has smartened up a bit, though it is far from loosing it's industrial town character with the major employers still being the lumber processing mill, CPR and civil engineering related to the TCH and the various large civil projects that always seem to use Golden as a base.  There are loads of decent owner operated restaurants in town and a few decent bars. I guess it's a good business to be in if you enjoy skiing. 


Edited by steverandomno - 10/26/12 at 6:14am
post #274 of 454
Quote:
Originally Posted by spindrift View Post

We actually had an epic  gathering at KHMR some time ago. While you could see the potential for big days, it pretty much sucked. Enough that we bagged it and left after one day. Definitely a contender for stupidest lift system in the galaxy. And right up there on the ski destruction front on the lower mountain. My fondness for them was not increased by the fact they flat out lied about conditions a day or two before we flew --- as in "no, those nasty rumors are not true, we have great coverage...". Of course their definition of great coverage was gravel and stumps.


too bad you missed a good day there when it's on I think it's the best to ski.  But what is it with mountains that flat out lie about conditions do they thing it will enhance of opinion of the place when we do arrive or make us want to come back next time they say it's good. I just don't get it.

 

One road trip after a really crappy day skiing at Red followed by Whitewater which was worse we phoned (old school I know) every area within a 12 hr drive for the best snow. Lake Louise raved about their conditions so we drove there. Got in about 1 am, next morning going up the front side  the hill was brown. Worst I have ever seen the Lake. We did luck out as it started snowing same day and by next day the back bowls had turned into one of the best powder days I've ever had there. But those who did not know how deep the snow really was on the front face got suckered into inescapable  runs where every turn hit rock bottom.  

post #275 of 454
Quote:
Originally Posted by natrat View Post

i went there and it was basically closed down for a week and a half while there was lots of nice new snow so i don't know if that's a good powder destination, not impressed 

They had some issues last season for sure.  Let's hope this season will be better.  It can be a bit fickled, but it can be epic as well.  To get the best one must live there, or just get lucky when they go there for a few days.  Be good!

post #276 of 454

I've skied Mt. Bachelor on storm days...the last time there was 24" new, very light snow and very few people. I wouldn't put it on my list, as the terrain just isn't there. The description of the mountain as "Mount Flatchelor" is pretty accurate.

post #277 of 454
Quote:
Originally Posted by noncrazycanuck View Post


But what is it with mountains that flat out lie about conditions do they thing it will enhance of opinion of the place when we do arrive or make us want to come back next time they say it's good. I just don't get it.

 

KHMR's live weather data is a nice feature on their website:

 

http://www.kickinghorseresort.com/mountain/information/advanced-weather-data.aspx

 

Though, obviously it doesn't tell the whole story.

 

I would be surprised if anyone had ever heard a ski hill marketing department say anything other than their conditions were good. Though when they start emphasizing "it's gonna be another bluebird day up here at..." its a fair bet they haven't seen much snow in a while.

post #278 of 454

Bachelor when the Summit is open is great; otherwise I would stay at the Outback and NW part of the mountain pretty much all day.  That part is great terrain and in my mind, worth traveling to (at least from Seattle).    The rest, yeah, Flatchelor. 

post #279 of 454
Quote:
Originally Posted by steverandomno View Post

 

 

I would be surprised if anyone had ever heard a ski hill marketing department say anything other than their conditions were good. Though when they start emphasizing "it's gonna be another bluebird day up here at..." its a fair bet they haven't seen much snow in a while.

I wondered about this, so looked back on my ski diary for a day that I was talking about bad weather.  Here's the snow report from that day by the mountain.  Positive "spin", but if you read it you'll know what you are in store for:

 

Today's Deep Thoughts:


8:00am The snow has stopped for now and the winds have remained pretty good. They are holding around 10mph which is very manageable. Just talked to patrol and they said visibility is about 200 yards and the snow is a thick cream. Skiing will be good today up top so make some turns until your legs are to tired to continue.

6:00am We have had 2' of snow in the last 72 hours and it is still coming down up here. There has been mixed precipitation in the village area overnight but it is all snow right now. The snow on the summit will be a sweet Big Mountain Cream and it will probably start to thicken as you approach Russ's Street. The snow in the village is thick but it will still make for some great surfing.

We could see another few inches by the time we open so lets see what the morning brings. Skiing was fantastic yesterday and there is more fresh snow to enjoy today. The top half of the mountain will be the place to be since it has had consistent snowfall all night long. Wear your best waterproof gear today because it will be wet and the winds are supposed to really pick up through out the day.

There were over 40 groomed runs last night giving us plenty of options for fresh corduroy. Like the powder snow, the corduroy on the top of the mountain will be soft and smooth but expect the bottom to be a bit more variable. Hit up Inspiration first thing and enjoy a few inch blanket of snow to float down the mountain on.

Bring out the fat boards today because we are going to be surfing all day long. It is time to recharge the batteries, stretch out the legs, and charge into another day of powder skiing. The forecast looks great with continued snowfall through the weekend and falling temperatures this afternoon..

post #280 of 454
Quote:
Originally Posted by sibhusky View Post

I wondered about this, so looked back on my ski diary for a day that I was talking about bad weather.  Here's the snow report from that day by the mountain.  Positive "spin", but if you read it you'll know what you are in store for:

 

Today's Deep Thoughts:


8:00am The snow has stopped for now and the winds have remained pretty good. They are holding around 10mph which is very manageable. Just talked to patrol and they said visibility is about 200 yards and the snow is a thick cream. Skiing will be good today up top so make some turns until your legs are to tired to continue.

6:00am We have had 2' of snow in the last 72 hours and it is still coming down up here. There has been mixed precipitation in the village area overnight but it is all snow right now. The snow on the summit will be a sweet Big Mountain Cream and it will probably start to thicken as you approach Russ's Street. The snow in the village is thick but it will still make for some great surfing.

We could see another few inches by the time we open so lets see what the morning brings. Skiing was fantastic yesterday and there is more fresh snow to enjoy today. The top half of the mountain will be the place to be since it has had consistent snowfall all night long. Wear your best waterproof gear today because it will be wet and the winds are supposed to really pick up through out the day.

There were over 40 groomed runs last night giving us plenty of options for fresh corduroy. Like the powder snow, the corduroy on the top of the mountain will be soft and smooth but expect the bottom to be a bit more variable. Hit up Inspiration first thing and enjoy a few inch blanket of snow to float down the mountain on.

Bring out the fat boards today because we are going to be surfing all day long. It is time to recharge the batteries, stretch out the legs, and charge into another day of powder skiing. The forecast looks great with continued snowfall through the weekend and falling temperatures this afternoon..

In short, the weather is crappy, but the skiing is good on the upper mountain. Really not too bad a report with some useful info about wet weather gear and expected wind.

post #281 of 454

I think the reports are generally "true" here, if you read them closely.  The three snow reporters I know of are all good, tough, skiers, so you have to take that into account.  I always dial into the phone report at the beginning of the day myself.  Apparently ENTHUSIASM is a job requirement.  It doesn't affect whether I keep driving, but it definitely affects what I pull out of the locker.  

post #282 of 454
Quote:
Originally Posted by sibhusky View Post

I wondered about this, so looked back on my ski diary for a day that I was talking about bad weather.  Here's the snow report from that day by the mountain.  Positive "spin", but if you read it you'll know what you are in store for:

 

 

 

Wait.

 

You keep a "ski diary"?   

post #283 of 454
Quote:
Originally Posted by DesiredUsername View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by sibhusky View Post

I wondered about this, so looked back on my ski diary for a day that I was talking about bad weather.  Here's the snow report from that day by the mountain.  Positive "spin", but if you read it you'll know what you are in store for:

 

 

 

Wait.

 

You keep a "ski diary"?   

It started out as just tracking my vertical back in 1989.  It's grown to tracking things like which skis I used and comments about the day.  I also have my "picture of the day" albums on Facebook.  (The latter has helped me to realize that a season I didn't remember with much fondness (last year) was actually pretty good.)

post #284 of 454
Quote:
Originally Posted by iWill View Post

I've skied Mt. Bachelor on storm days...the last time there was 24" new, very light snow and very few people. I wouldn't put it on my list, as the terrain just isn't there. The description of the mountain as "Mount Flatchelor" is pretty accurate.

Really?  Have you ever explored off a groomed run.  Have you ever skied the backside?   The terrain is plenty good.  Maybe your skis are so frickin' slow you need a vert. hill all the time?  I'm talking about powder, not how frickin' steep it is.   Anyway it's good.  You can stick to your helicopter and all those super vertical Mt.s you ski.  More fresh lines for us!  Don't lie now.  Tell the truth.  Mt. Bachelor from the summit is 360 degrees of travel.  Have you ever even skied to the catch line off the back?  Be honest.  West catchline?  East catchline?  What did you do?

post #285 of 454
Quote:
But what is it with mountains that flat out lie about conditions do they thing it will enhance of opinion of the place when we do arrive or make us want to come back next time they say it's good. I just don't get it.

I don't get it either.  Similarly when they invite journalist groups in advance to very early or late season.  Do they really want articles written about their areas when the skiing is crappy?

 

I think the report sibhusky posted was quite informative.  Translate: Mixed precip on the lower half of the mountain.  It may be fresh powder but it's probably 20+% water content so bring your fattest, most rockered boards.

 

 Quote:

 It started out as just tracking my vertical back in 1989.  It's grown to tracking things like which skis I used and comments about the day.

My spreadsheet starts in 1978 (handwritten until 2007), includes stats and commentary about conditions and my day.  I have belatedly realized that I should have columns for skis/boots used.  I could probably reconstruct with ~90% accuracy sometime.

 

Quote:
Really?  Have you ever explored off a groomed run.  Have you ever skied the backside?   The terrain is plenty good.  Maybe your skis are so frickin' slow you need a vert. hill all the time?  I'm talking about powder, not how frickin' steep it is.   Anyway it's good.  You can stick to your helicopter and all those super vertical Mt.s you ski.  More fresh lines for us!  Don't lie now.  Tell the truth.  Mt. Bachelor from the summit is 360 degrees of travel.  Have you ever even skied to the catch line off the back?  Be honest.  West catchline?  East catchline?  What did you do?

There is very little steep at Bachelor by Squaw/Jackson/AltaBird standards.  But all of the above is steep enough for powder with sustained fall lines of 1,500+ vertical, and the whole backside is deserted by my limited experience.  The key is whether Summit will be open so you can ski all of that.

post #286 of 454
Thread Starter 
Don't get the whole "dump on Bachelor" thing. That's a good mountain, assuming Summit is open, and they get a fair amount of dry snow. It's not Jackson Hole but it's definitely the best hill in Oregon and in terms of snow quality one of the best in the Northwest in my view.
post #287 of 454

I like the terrain at Bachelor a lot.  I don't need things to be super steep to the point that I'm in panic mode and on the brakes half the run.  Coming off the top and contouring around the backside in a spiraI I can get in a 20 minute tree run.  Off the northwest face I can boost off of countless kickers and wind lips like nowhere else I've been.  I can find numerous hidden bowls and glades that are off the beaten path.  And in a few years when they construct the new lift off the east face it will open up some of the most interesting terrain on the mountain that's now below the catchline road.

post #288 of 454

I have to put myself in the "Bachelor is Boring" camp, I'm afraid.  I admit that I have not spent a lot of time there (about 5 days total) but it strikes me that anytime you ski on a volcano you've got a pitch that varies only a little.  The blues and  blacks looked the same to me.  I'm used to terrain that changes it up many times in a single run with various pitches, fall lines, and obstacles.  Bachelor just didn't have enough variety for me.  

 

I wish, though, that at least one of the days I was there was a powder day.  My evaluation probably would be very different.  None of the days I was there had any new at all, and the summit was only open for part of one of those days.

post #289 of 454
Thread Starter 
Bachelor is very average without the Summit. Kind of like my hill in that way.
post #290 of 454

The best of Bachelor is not on the runs, it's hidden away within the trees.  If you come visit try to hook up with a local who knows the mountain. 

post #291 of 454
Quote:
Originally Posted by Toecutter View Post

I like the terrain at Bachelor a lot.  I don't need things to be super steep to the point that I'm in panic mode and on the brakes half the run.  Coming off the top and contouring around the backside in a spiraI I can get in a 20 minute tree run.  Off the northwest face I can boost off of countless kickers and wind lips like nowhere else I've been.  I can find numerous hidden bowls and glades that are off the beaten path.  And in a few years when they construct the new lift off the east face it will open up some of the most interesting terrain on the mountain that's now below the catchline road.

Now that I find very appealing.  I had not heard of plans for a new lift.  icon14.gif

 

I have done two trips to Bachelor.  First time in Feb 2010, it pretty much snowed 4-6" each day, all lifts were open and I had some of my best days skiing there.  Last year included two days on my way to the Gathering at Tahoe.  One day was bluebird on hard pack, the next day was a freaking blizzard with most lifts closed.  Still great snow, great time and equal if not better than the skiing during the Gathering.  So I got no complaints and very fond memories of Bachelor.   

post #292 of 454

It's part of their eastside expansion project:

 

post #293 of 454

Don't spoil the Castle secret.  Slow chairs + no people = longer lasting untracked.

post #294 of 454
Thread Starter 

I think the slow chairs thing is a misleading indicator. Sure, the powder "lasts" longer, in that it's there unskied for more hours, but you're skiing it less too 'cause you're sitting on the chair watching rather than doing laps. 

post #295 of 454
Quote:
Originally Posted by prickly View Post

I think the slow chairs thing is a misleading indicator. Sure, the powder "lasts" longer, in that it's there unskied for more hours, but you're skiing it less too 'cause you're sitting on the chair watching rather than doing laps. 

 

^^^^ The obvious that's so often misunderstood.

post #296 of 454

Fast lifts reward fast skiers the most, which is fine by me!

post #297 of 454
Quote:
Originally Posted by prickly View Post

I think the slow chairs thing is a misleading indicator. Sure, the powder "lasts" longer, in that it's there unskied for more hours, but you're skiing it less too 'cause you're sitting on the chair watching rather than doing laps. 

Except when not every chair is filled, a high speed chair eats powder.

post #298 of 454

So ideally we want high speed chairs with few people on them, on a powder day.

 

"You kids get offa my snow!"  wink.gif

post #299 of 454

In regards to high speed chairs vs. fixed gripped, the whole issue evens itself out.

 

Just go for uncrowded mountains (Wolf Creek, Whitewater, Pow Mow, Targhee) and eliminate the concern. 

post #300 of 454

So then, "the best resort to ski powder" is the place with a lift capacity such that with every chair filled, all day long, the mountain can't be skied off in a day.

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