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Epic Skiing Road Trip - Advice Needed

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

Hey All, 

 

I am currently planning an epic ski trip around the western part of the united states because a ski patrol job here in Washington fell through. During this trip, I am going to be looking at potential places to ski patrol at for next season. I am mainly interested in checking out: Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, Idaho, Montana, and Washington. I may stop through Tahoe area depending on what pass direction I end up going. This trip will probably take place from mid-January to early or mid April.  I have a few major questions:

 

1) Where should I go?

 

I should probably include something about what I want to ski. I love pow, but who doesn't. Not super big into park. Love jumps and tricks, but looking to more natural features to huck off of. I like steeps and I love to charge. Steep groomers are a ball and I love to carve like a mad man. Trees are also my friends. Looking for places with good backcountry access as well.

 

2) Where should I go to keep lift ticket costs down?

 

 

Any good ski deals on tickets? Some deals I am considering: Vail Epic Pass (Unlimited access at Breckenridge, Keystone, Vail, Beaver Creek, Heavenly, Northstar, Kirkwood and Arapahoe Basin) all for $699 and The Mountain Collective (2 Days at each: Aspen/Snowmass, Jackson Hole, Squaw, and Alta with 50% off tickets after that for $349). I will probably end up spending somewhere near 2K on tickets, but want to do a bunch of backcountry skiing as well. Just want to get the most skiing for my money. 

 

3) Anyone have any advice on patrols to check out? I have patrolled for 2 seasons in Michigan and am current in everything. I am looking for a place that has a chill feel and is not too scene. Good terrain, good people, good snow, maybe small town. Little or no commute to the mountain from where I would live. 

 

I am also looking at getting a new pair of skis for the winter. Check out my other thread here

 

Just planning right now and feeling different options out. Any advice would be awesome. Thanks so much!

 

~Travis


Edited by twmagalu - 11/8/12 at 6:50pm
post #2 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by twmagalu View Post

Hey All, 

 

I am currently planning an epic ski trip around the western part of the united states because a ski patrol job here in Washington fell through. During this trip, I am going to be looking at potential places to ski patrol at for next season. I am mainly interested in checking out: Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, Idaho, Montana, and Washington. I may stop through Tahoe area depending on what pass direction I end up going. This trip will probably take place from mid-January to early or mid April.  I have a few major questions:


I should probably include something about what I want to ski. I love pow, but who doesn't. Not super big into park. Love jumps and tricks, but looking to more natural features to huck off of. I like steeps and I love to charge. Steep groomers are a ball and I love to carve like a mad man. Trees are also my friends. Looking for places with good backcountry access as well.

 

Any good ski deals on tickets? Some deals I am considering: Vail Epic Pass (Unlimited access at Breckenridge, Keystone, Vail, Beaver Creek, Heavenly, Northstar, Kirkwood and Arapahoe Basin) all for $699 and The Mountain Collective (2 Days at each: Aspen/Snowmass, Jackson Hole, Squaw, and Alta with 50% off tickets after that for $349). I will probably end up spending somewhere near 2K on tickets, but want to do a bunch of backcountry skiing as well. Just want to get the most skiing for my money. 

 

 Anyone have any advice on patrols to check out? I have patrolled for 2 seasons in Michigan and am current in everything. I am looking for a place that has a chill feel and is not too scene. Good terrain, good people, good snow, maybe small town. Little or no commute to the mountain from where I would live.

Let's back up here so you can get the right answers.

 

You named seven different states as part of your road trip. You're talking about 40-50 top notch resorts in those states. Focus on what you really want. Some people stay for years at places like Jackson, Vail and Alta/Bird and never get bored.  There's no reason to rush, the best stuff may be right under your nose, and do you really want to spend half your time driving between resorts? Think about it! I'd suggest you find a general region (Tahoe, SLC, Southwest Colorado) to set up base camp and minimize the time on the road.

 

In terms of tickets, you're on the right track. EpicPass is great for Summit County, Vail and Tahoe. Rocky Mtn Super Pass is also good for Colorado. Mtn Collective is  a good option, but they're spread out. $2000 on tickets (some places are $100+ a day) will add up very fast, hence the suggestion to find a base camp.

 

You mention nearby backcountry access, but what's your experience in this? You've got a thread about finding which pair of fatties to buy,  and judging by this thread, you're time in the West is very limited. Do you know what you're getting into? Locals are very weary about taking rooks out there. Even if you've got your Aiare, it takes a while to really feel comfortable out there and to earn the trust of those who know the terrain.

post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by COBillsFan View Post

Let's back up here so you can get the right answers.

 

You named seven different states as part of your road trip. You're talking about 40-50 top notch resorts in those states. Focus on what you really want. Some people stay for years at places like Jackson, Vail and Alta/Bird and never get bored.  There's no reason to rush, the best stuff may be right under your nose, and do you really want to spend half your time driving between resorts? Think about it! I'd suggest you find a general region (Tahoe, SLC, Southwest Colorado) to set up base camp and minimize the time on the road.

 

In terms of tickets, you're on the right track. EpicPass is great for Summit County, Vail and Tahoe. Rocky Mtn Super Pass is also good for Colorado. Mtn Collective is  a good option, but they're spread out. $2000 on tickets (some places are $100+ a day) will add up very fast, hence the suggestion to find a base camp.

 

You mention nearby backcountry access, but what's your experience in this? You've got a thread about finding which pair of fatties to buy,  and judging by this thread, you're time in the West is very limited. Do you know what you're getting into? Locals are very weary about taking rooks out there. Even if you've got your Aiare, it takes a while to really feel comfortable out there and to earn the trust of those who know the terrain.

Thanks a lot of this info. Great stuff to think about. Really my "main goal" is to find somewhere that I want to be for the next few seasons. I am really interested in checking out the atmosphere of different places and find a good home mountain.  Hence skiing at a bunch of different places. I would like to join a patrol and would like to interview with a bunch while I am traveling.  I have not had much experience with backcountry skiing. I took AVY 1 and 2 through the National Ski Patrol but have not had much experience. I am looking to get more into it and would like to find a place that has access for the future. I do not want to jump right into the BC, because I understand the risks and dangers associated with it, but would like to start doing some short tours. 

post #4 of 13

So, you need:

 

A real town because you want to put down roots for a while

Low cost of living and cheap lift tickets

Some SIDE country that looks like back country where you can get your feet wet (or your face wet with snow) gradually and not be hopelessly above your head from the get go.

Relaxed vibe

 

That about sum it up?  

 

See below.  

post #5 of 13

I was going to suggest the Ski UT Yeti pass for UT, but it looks like it's sold out: http://www.skiutah.com/winter/deals/deals/yeti_pass. $549 for a day at all of UT's 14 resorts, so even if you skip a few of the smaller, more out-of-the-way resorts, you could keep things under $50/day and see all of UT. Not as good a deal as those other passes, but cheaper than buying day tickets. I figured I'd include it in case you extend your season into next year and want to get on the waiting list (how can you cover all that terrain in just one season :)

 

If I were you I'd probably focus on the areas with the most concentration of resorts (CO, UT and MT?) so as to get the most bang for your driving buck. I'd stop at the few resorts that are on the way and then grow roots for a while in one of those places and explore the surrounding resorts and towns. You can't beat the snow and variety in those states, and those passes are focused heavily on CO anyway. You can always move on if you have the time and will.

post #6 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by twmagalu View Post

Hey All, 

 

I am currently planning an epic ski trip around the western part of the united states because a ski patrol job here in Washington fell through. During this trip, I am going to be looking at potential places to ski patrol at for next season. I am mainly interested in checking out: Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, Idaho, Montana, and Washington. I may stop through Tahoe area depending on what pass direction I end up going. This trip will probably take place from mid-January to early or mid April.  I have a few major questions:

 

1) Where should I go?

 

I should probably include something about what I want to ski. I love pow, but who doesn't. Not super big into park. Love jumps and tricks, but looking to more natural features to huck off of. I like steeps and I love to charge. Steep groomers are a ball and I love to carve like a mad man. Trees are also my friends. Looking for places with good backcountry access as well.

 

2) Where should I go to keep lift ticket costs down?

 

 

Any good ski deals on tickets? Some deals I am considering: Vail Epic Pass (Unlimited access at Breckenridge, Keystone, Vail, Beaver Creek, Heavenly, Northstar, Kirkwood and Arapahoe Basin) all for $699 and The Mountain Collective (2 Days at each: Aspen/Snowmass, Jackson Hole, Squaw, and Alta with 50% off tickets after that for $349). I will probably end up spending somewhere near 2K on tickets, but want to do a bunch of backcountry skiing as well. Just want to get the most skiing for my money. 

 

 

Unless you plan to set roots in the Vail/BC area, you could save yourself about $150 by going for the Epic Local instead of the full Epic to go along with the Mountain Collective.  You could also look to do MT as part of the Epic Gathering in late March to network and get some lift tix deals.

post #7 of 13

What about a Monarch World Pass pass?  Seems like it would be a good way to "sample" a bunch of resorts. Maybe someone can chime in on if it is worth it because I haven't seen anyone touting it on here yet.

post #8 of 13
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the advice everyone! It is helping me clear up my thoughts and figure out what I really want. Right now, one of the ideas I have is hanging out around Frisco, Co and skiing at Breck, Keystone, and those resorts over there for a few months (jan-march). Anyone know how the towns are there. A buddy of mine managed a brewery over there for a while and I may be able to get a part time gig there to help out with food and rent. 

 

Get Epic Pass and Mountain Collective. Jet off to Utah for a couple of one week visits and hit up jackson when I have a few days, or wait till it dumps and find a few buddies to go with. I am digging on the idea of chilling around one area for a while to have some riding buddies and get to know a few places decently well.

 

Maybe after March, head up to montana and check it out. 

 

Whats it like around Frisco? I know they have a decent bus service which is rad. Good people? Whats the vibe like? 

post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 

From Frisco, how is the commute to Vail or BC? 

post #10 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by twmagalu View Post

From Frisco, how is the commute to Vail or BC? 

 

Summit County is a good time. Breck is one of the top ski towns in the country, and you’d have free bus service between Copper, Keystone and Breck.

 

Vail is about 25 minutes, Beaver Creek is 35 from Frisco. If Vail Pass is closed, all bets are off, but I would ski Vail and Breck mid week, spend weekends at Keystone and Beaver Creek.  That’s the best way to manage crowds. 

post #11 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by twmagalu View Post

Thanks for the advice everyone! It is helping me clear up my thoughts and figure out what I really want. Right now, one of the ideas I have is hanging out around Frisco, Co and skiing at Breck, Keystone, and those resorts over there for a few months (jan-march). Anyone know how the towns are there. A buddy of mine managed a brewery over there for a while and I may be able to get a part time gig there to help out with food and rent. 

 

Get Epic Pass and Mountain Collective. Jet off to Utah for a couple of one week visits and hit up jackson when I have a few days, or wait till it dumps and find a few buddies to go with. I am digging on the idea of chilling around one area for a while to have some riding buddies and get to know a few places decently well.

 

Maybe after March, head up to montana and check it out. 

 

Whats it like around Frisco? I know they have a decent bus service which is rad. Good people? Whats the vibe like? 

Good people- sure, at least speaking for myself and some of my friends.  Overall it sounds like a good plan to get something p-t as it will let you meet some people and make a bit of $...A lot of the bar/restaurant workers hang together...can be some year to year turnover, but I was friends with a few a couple of years ago and enjoyed hanging with them.  Frisco is a mix- 2/3rds 2nd homes like most of Summit, some families, and some seasonaire types (who rent some of those 2nd homes).  Feel free to shoot me a PM if you make it here.  

 

Copper is the easiest Mnt to get to from Frisco, but the bus ride to Breck is decent also.  Keystone and A-Basin are possible by bus, but driving is quicker.

 

If you are going to be in Frisco for 2 months, keep your eye out for Copper pass options- they have had a "powder day" pass for $99 the last few years, but haven`t announced it yet for this season.  A 4 pack (or 5 as a friend of an employee) is another option as are a Copper only season pass or one of the RMSP products with WP and Steamboat.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by twmagalu View Post

From Frisco, how is the commute to Vail or BC? 

easy when there is no weather.

post #12 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MEfree30 View Post

Good people- sure, at least speaking for myself and some of my friends.  Overall it sounds like a good plan to get something p-t as it will let you meet some people and make a bit of $...A lot of the bar/restaurant workers hang together...can be some year to year turnover, but I was friends with a few a couple of years ago and enjoyed hanging with them.  Frisco is a mix- 2/3rds 2nd homes like most of Summit, some families, and some seasonaire types (who rent some of those 2nd homes).  Feel free to shoot me a PM if you make it here.  

 

Copper is the easiest Mnt to get to from Frisco, but the bus ride to Breck is decent also.  Keystone and A-Basin are possible by bus, but driving is quicker.

 

If you are going to be in Frisco for 2 months, keep your eye out for Copper pass options- they have had a "powder day" pass for $99 the last few years, but haven`t announced it yet for this season.  A 4 pack (or 5 as a friend of an employee) is another option as are a Copper only season pass or one of the RMSP products with WP and Steamboat.

 

easy when there is no weather.

 

 

Thanks for the info! I will definitely hit you up if I get into town. It seems that you get a lot more for your money with the EPIC pass, and it seems that the terrain is pretty stellar at a lot of the EPIC locations. How does copper compare to them? That powder day pass looks awesome! I searched for it and, unfortunately their website says it is no longer available... :-(

post #13 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by twmagalu View Post

 

 

Thanks for the info! I will definitely hit you up if I get into town. It seems that you get a lot more for your money with the EPIC pass, and it seems that the terrain is pretty stellar at a lot of the EPIC locations. How does copper compare to them? That powder day pass looks awesome! I searched for it and, unfortunately their website says it is no longer available... :-(

I like the variety of of the Epic Resorts and the ability to mix things up, but, living in Frisco, if I had to choose only 1 mountain, it would be Copper.  Copper is not as big as Vail and typically gets a bit less snow than they do, but they have a nice variety of terrain (bowls, trees, groomers, bumps, etc) and have fewer crowds than Breck or Keystone while being easier to get to from Frisco.  

 

I am not sure if they will have the Snow Day pass this year, but in previous years, they have put it on sale AFTER the season had already started (to try and attract people that didn`t go for a pass or already bought an Epic Pass).

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