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Driving/skiing advice for Easterner heading West: CO, UT, WY, MT

post #1 of 2
Thread Starter 

This relates to a previous post I had about driving in CO and WY, but my plan is taking a different shape so I'm starting a different thread.



I am an east-coast skier planning to deliver a truck (4WD Ford Ranger XLT) from my brother-in-law in Roanoke, VA to my daughter in Missoula, MT. I am 56, live at sea level (Brooklyn, NY) and am pretty fit. I can only manage about 14 days of skiing a year (mostly in the east although I've had several trips to Whitefish, MT) so my skill level is sort of stuck at black diamond groomers just getting into some double-blacks, and since I usually ski alone I don't do trees. Powder is something we in the east don't really see (regardless of how we may kid ourselves). I plan to leave Roanoke, VA Wednesday March 6, and have to be in Missoula by end of day Thursday March 14. I'd like to stop at 2 different mountains for 2 days each. My concerns are: splitting up the drive time reasonably well; choosing interesting mountains where I can have fun without being over my skill level (the driving will be tough enough, I don't want my butt kicked on the slopes) and also avoiding crowds as much as possible (here in the NE I always ski mid-week). So, here's a few choices I've worked out. Suggestions much appreciated!


Copper Mountain then Snowbasin: I figure 3 days to Copper, ski 2 days, a day to Ogden, ski 2 days, a day to Missoula. I'm a bit leary of Denver traffic (my sched has me passing Denver on a Friday afternoon at the end of a 3-day solo drive) and also being at Copper for the weekend although people seem to say it won't be so bad. Also Copper is very high-altitude so it'll be more tiring, and the area is probably the busiest/priciest in general. On the other hand it splits up the driving the most evenly, has me drive only 3 days straight at first and the last day to Mla I can drive in the day time. 


Snowbasin then Grand Targhee or Big Sky: This means a 4-day drive to get to Ogden. Snowbasin looks like it would be a lot of fun, but still sort of off the beaten track for Utah. I'm a bit leary of Grand Targhee since it sounds like lots of pow and mostly ungroomed means it will be hard for me to ski, also I hear it can be pretty foggy at times. Big Sky has always appealed to me -- it's high-altitude also but by the time I get there I'll have had several days to adjust. Also this means I'd have a 3-12 to 5-1/2 hour drive at the end of my second day of skiing. 


Red Lodge then Big Sky: Again, 4 days of driving to get out there. The nice thing about this route is once I hit Red Lodge the worst of the driving is behind me. It looks like I'd have a fairly short drive between Red Lodge & Big Sky, then also from Big Sky to Missoula, so I could go, say, from Red Lodge to Big Sky after my second day of skiing and still not get in too late.


I'm aware I need to flexible since who knows what may blow in along the way. Any suggestions for other mountains, accommodations, whatever also welcome!

post #2 of 2

Do the daughter a favor.  Get her a set of Michelin Xi3 snow tires.  Put the regular tires in the bed. 


Great snow tires trump 4WD.  Going over the pass today in a blow on an already iced road.  Three lifted 4WD rigs slip sliding away while my Prius with snows was on rails.


On the ride, why not do Montana and Wyoming ski spots vs. the big detour South to CO and UT and ski time lost to driving time?


Big Sky, Sun Valley, Jackson Hole, Grand Targhee

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