EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Mountain/Resort Related Forums › Resorts, Conditions & Travel › Another early season question: Squaw/North Tahoe
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Another early season question: Squaw/North Tahoe

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

I thought the weekend of December 15th at Alta would be my first weekend out, but I might be able to hit Squaw or another N. Tahoe resort the weekend of the 6th-7th.

 

Couple of questions:

1. What could I expect for Squaw the 2nd weekend of December?

2. Should I consider another North Tahoe resort given the time of year?

 

Thanks in advance for any feedback!

post #2 of 16

Squaw is a very steep mountain, needs a 6 foot base for what most people attracted to the place want to ski.  Dec. 6-7 is way early; you would have to be very lucky.  I'm guessing you're in the area on business and would like to tack on a ski weekend.  This is not a smart idea if on your own dime.

 

Alpine Meadows and Sugar Bowl have higher base elevations, get as much snow as Squaw and will ski better on 3-4 feet of snow.  Kirkwood is higher yet, on average the best bet for snow conditions, not sure if you're logistically confined to north shore.   But even at these places it's early, so save your $ for a more reliable time of the season unless the cost is subsidized.

post #3 of 16

you cant get to kirkwood from north lake in winter unless you drive like 3 1/2 hours. But like Tony Crocker said, you would have to be very lucky to ski what squaw has to offer in early December.

 

Heavenly isin southlake, but it does have the world best snowmaking system, so you cant fail there...so it might be worth going to sleep waking up an hour and a half earlier to compinsate for the drive

post #4 of 16

I'll be at Squaw then, but that's because we all have season passes and my kids are in the ski program there.  Otherwise, I would not plan a trip then.  Last season, it was a WROD of man-made snow.  The season before, it wasn't half bad.

 

If it's someone else's money and you're going to be in the area anyway, just make a last-minute decision based on conditions.  Last year, Northstar's snowmaking was superior.  This year, Squaw has new snowmaking equipment.

 

Last year, Alpine did indeed have more terrain open in the early season.  To me, it wasn't very fun terrain.  I thought Squaw was the lesser of the two evils my pass worked at.

post #5 of 16
Quote:
it does have the world best snowmaking system

Overrated. Heavenly was 4% open at New Year's last season.  If I were flying across the country I would be looking for where there was natural snow.  It might be worth staying at South Shore if you decide to ski Sierra and Kirkwood.

 

It's a complex question what makes a great snowmaking system.

1) Acreage of coverage?  Doesn't mean as much as how fast can you make snow when the weather cooperates. So I think...

2) Water capacity is perhaps the most important.  I suspect some of the eastern leaders like Hunter, Sunday River or Killington may take the honors here.  These places open a lot of terrain on 3-4 days of 24-hour snowmaking.

3) Local climate, how often can you use the snowmaking?  Heavenly probably has more snowmaking capacity than Mammoth, but Mammoth was 15% open last New Year's because it has a colder and drier climate and could make snow more often than the Tahoe areas.

 

Who has the best snowmaking in the West?  My guess would be Sun Valley, where I was on a press tour of their facility in 2010.  http://www.firsttracksonline.com/boards/viewtopic.php?t=8842

post #6 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Crocker View Post

Overrated. Heavenly was 4% open at New Year's last season.  If I were flying across the country I would be looking for where there was natural snow.  It might be worth staying at South Shore if you decide to ski Sierra and Kirkwood.

 

It's a complex question what makes a great snowmaking system.

1) Acreage of coverage?  Doesn't mean as much as how fast can you make snow when the weather cooperates. So I think...

2) Water capacity is perhaps the most important.  I suspect some of the eastern leaders like Hunter, Sunday River or Killington may take the honors here.  These places open a lot of terrain on 3-4 days of 24-hour snowmaking.

3) Local climate, how often can you use the snowmaking?  Heavenly probably has more snowmaking capacity than Mammoth, but Mammoth was 15% open last New Year's because it has a colder and drier climate and could make snow more often than the Tahoe areas.

 

Who has the best snowmaking in the West?  My guess would be Sun Valley, where I was on a press tour of their facility in 2010.  http://www.firsttracksonline.com/boards/viewtopic.php?t=8842

ya man im not a big fan of heavenly, i was just mentioning what i hear...maybe i shouldnt believe everything i hear

post #7 of 16

Snow makking is very temperature dependant. But in wet bulb temps above about 25*, I thought how many guns you can cave on and how much snow you can make in an hour had more to do with power and air compressor capacity than total amount of water.

post #8 of 16

On the tour at Sun Valley I was told that they can run 85 out of their 564 snow guns at one time.  I would be surprised if water is not the limiting factor for that. My opinion is informed by my observations here in Southern California where Mountain High and Big Bear both have snow guns on nearly all trails, but Mountain High draws water from wells while Big Bear draws from a lake.  You get a few days of round-the-clock below freezing temperatures and Big Bear will make much more snow and open many more trails.

post #9 of 16

This is from last season, which, as many here know had a terrible start with virtually no natural snow.

 

Number of trails open at each resort as of Jan 9th 2012.

 

post #10 of 16
Thread Starter 

I'll be in the Bay area on Friday and can drive to either North or South, so that's not really an issue.  The real question it sounds like is there any Tahoe resort that will have good enough conditions to stay the weekend and make the drive out?

 

Based on what I'm hearing here, not much would be worth staying for that time of year.  Objections?  Thanks for all the responses guys!  I'll be back in March and maybe one other weekend before that to ski no matter if I make it out that first weekend or not.

post #11 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkiSafe View Post

you cant get to kirkwood from north lake in winter unless you drive like 3 1/2 hours. But like Tony Crocker said, you would have to be very lucky to ski what squaw has to offer in early December.

 

Heavenly isin southlake, but it does have the world best snowmaking system, so you cant fail there...

^Where did you pull these "facts" ???

 

All there needs to be to have good skiing in the Tahoe area is one good blizzard & that may or may not happen before or during the time in question.  That is a fact!

 

Good Luck,

snowfalling.gif

JF

post #12 of 16
Quote:
I'll be in the Bay area on Friday and can drive to either North or South, so that's not really an issue.

There is no reason to make this decision until you get out there.  Resorts are all quiet that time of year. You can decide last minute whether to go to north or south shore and have no problem finding a place to stay.  And if there is a dry start like last year, enjoy SF or go to Monterey, Napa Valley, etc.  Don't bother with skiing if it's not any good and you have other options.  FYI it's your call what's meant by "not any good."  I wouldn't go to any of these places for 50-100 acres of low intermediate snowmaking trails but coming from Georgia you may feel differently.

post #13 of 16
Thread Starter 

Based on the feedback, going to skip this weekend for skiing.  Will save the energy for the following weekend in Alta.  Thanks everyone!

post #14 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by --catfish View Post

Based on the feedback, going to skip this weekend for skiing.  Will save the energy for the following weekend in Alta.  Thanks everyone!

 

You weren't listening... Tahoe could be awesome and Alta could be very low... no one knows. If you are in the area, just make it a game time decision. 

post #15 of 16
Thread Starter 

Can't make a game time decision without it impacting my wallet.  General feedback has been Tahoe probably won't be that good this early while Alta should be good the following weekend.  No doubt there's a chance it could be different, but I have to make plans based on my work schedule as soon as I can.  If I don't feel good about it right now, I can't commit to an extended weekend.  If I could make a last minute decision, I wouldn't need the feedback from the forum.  Regardless, thanks everyone for the feedback (again).

post #16 of 16

If you can only choose one weekend and have to do it now, Alta is an easy call.

1) Overall more consistent snowfall at Alta.

2) The Alta weekend is one week later, which matters a lot in December.  This would be a much tougher call if the areas/weekends were reversed.

 

Not sure why there a big wallet impact if you're going to be in SF on business one week and in SLC the next, unless you're tacking on vacation days as well as the weekend.  In your situation I'd plan to come home from the SF trip Sunday night vs. Friday night.  Your weekend won't be wasted even if it's not skiing.  If adding vacation, yes add them to SLC.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Resorts, Conditions & Travel
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Mountain/Resort Related Forums › Resorts, Conditions & Travel › Another early season question: Squaw/North Tahoe