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What's Most Important? Snow or Terrain - Page 3

Poll Results: What's Most Important to You?

 
  • 40% (30)
    Terrain
  • 60% (45)
    Snow
75 Total Votes  
post #61 of 185
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by anachronism View Post

Several people have thrown Wolf Creek up here as an example of a lots of snow, lame terrain, flat, etc., So I figured I would comment on that.

 

I agree. Things are REALLY good at Wolfie **if** you can put up with the benches, flats, low vert and traverses.

 

Problem is “several people”, myself included, don’t like “catches” and avoid mountains with those types of features.

 

I get it, everyone gets all up in arms when the home mountain is dogged, and I really don’t want to get into a “My mountain rules” pissing match, but folks don’t pull these pros/cons out of thin air either…

post #62 of 185
Quote:
Originally Posted by Triangle3 View Post

And since everyone was wondering…

 

Terrain: Below average snowfall totals (200-250”), highly rated terrain. Examples: Crested Butte, Taos, Sun Valley

Snow: Above average snowfall totals (350”+), questionable terrain. Examples: Powder Mountain, Wolfie

 

This is more what I was going with the question.

But, you know, next thread could ask where the best skiing would be IF it snowed there. (Has to be a place it doesn't snow, like, I don't know, Costa Rica.)

post #63 of 185
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by anachronism View Post

It has not escaped my attention that your odd definition of what constitutes good terrain seems to omit Steamboats glaring weaknesses in lack of anything over 30* pitch throughout the rest of the mountain. Want even reasonably steep at the Boat? Do hiking laps to get your 200 feet of steep to Wolf Creek Flat (TM), then get back on the shitshow that is Buddys Run so you can get back to Storm Peak Express, so you can get off and "ski/trudge" through the Wolf Creek Flats (again, TM) in Morningside Park to ride that lift up to where you can get back to where your hike to the steep stuff started! Don't want to hike? Well, here are Chutes 1 and 2 for ya. Less vert, but no hiking, so your hour laps are now only 45 minutes!


I'm sure that has nothing to do with this whole pissing match thing we seem to have going on since you joined the board...

Steepness is a factor, just not the only one. I’ve only been on here a few weeks, but don’t think I’ve ever called ‘Boat a steep place….

 

I dig glades, long runs and no flats. That’s Steamboat. Ask 10 skiers about the best places in the country for tree skiing. I can just about guarantee you that ‘Boat will be mentioned as a finalist.  That’s what it all about for me…

 

To each their own though. I’ll fight with the cowboys for firsts up Storm Peak all day long…

post #64 of 185
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by segbrown View Post

But, you know, next thread could ask where the best skiing would be IF it snowed there. (Has to be a place it doesn't snow, like, I don't know, Costa Rica.)


Moab or Fruita....

post #65 of 185
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamesj View Post

Hey it's August and we can analyze this question down to a gnat's a$$...maybe this would be a better poll: It's November 17 and the only open window for a trip with favorite companions is a four day ski vacation over MLK Weekend, Jan 17-20, 2014. Your location and budget includes booking advance air fares. Due to factors beyond your control you have only four mountains to choose from and your group has decided the short duration of the trip precludes visiting any other ski areas. The choices are Taos, Crested Butte, Grand Targhee, or Wolf Creek? You've been to them all before and know them well. Which one do you pick and why:-)

 

Taos.

 

Why? Bamboo Spire drool.gif

post #66 of 185
Quote:
There is a reason that places like Loveland, Grand Targhee, Powder Mountain and  Wolf Creek don’t.

Interesting list there.  I'm guessing Loveland might have major wind issues in terms of how deep the powder is based upon my experience at Mammoth over the years.  The other 3 areas are places I would go out of my way to chase powder, as they are clearly steep enough for excellent powder skiing.   I generally do not go out of my way to ski those places in the absence of fresh snow when there are alternatives with better terrain. 

 

It's when the terrain becomes too flat for powder that more snow doesn't matter as much (Big Bear and Bretton Woods?).   The front side of Northstar is another example of this.  But the Backside and Lookout provide enough powder-worthy terrain that Northstar can be the area of choice during big storms that tend to close lifts/terrain at the more exposed Tahoe areas.

 

This question is more complex than just how much snow vs. what kind of terrain.  The answer may also be different for:

1) a short notice trip (possibly with enhanced powder odds) vs.

2) a typical advance booked destination week (terrain important, powder odds low, but expected coverage and preservation important) vs.

3) a season pass (terrain quantity/quality if you're skiing the same place that often, length of season with the terrain you want open, expected fraction of powder days)

post #67 of 185
Quote:
Originally Posted by Triangle3 View Post

I agree. Things are REALLY good at Wolfie **if** you can put up with the benches, flats, low vert and traverses.

 

Problem is “several people”, myself included, don’t like “catches” and avoid mountains with those types of features.

 

I get it, everyone gets all up in arms when the home mountain is dogged, and I really don’t want to get into a “My mountain rules” pissing match, but folks don’t pull these pros/cons out of thin air either…

 

I posted that because most people haven't skied or even seen Wolf, and conventional wisdom about the place is that it is "flat."  This leads a lot of people to think it is Ski Cooper with 450 inches of snow a year. This was my impression of the place before I started skiing there.  I just about crapped myself when I saw what it really was.  I'm pointing out that Wolf is not Ski Cooper with lots of snow, and for those not aware, it has a lot of really, really steep, technical stuff (like a huge amount of tree skiing that I like more than anywhere else in the state).

 

You have your value judgments, I have mine, and this thread is about discussing people discussing different value judgments, so rock on.

 

I just want to put it out there for people interested that there is plenty of stuff that would push most people's comfort limits at Wolf- Not so much at Ski Cooper. And yes, it comes with a catch.

post #68 of 185
Quote:
Originally Posted by segbrown View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Triangle3 View Post

And since everyone was wondering…

 

Terrain: Below average snowfall totals (200-250”), highly rated terrain. Examples: Crested Butte, Taos, Sun Valley

Snow: Above average snowfall totals (350”+), questionable terrain. Examples: Powder Mountain, Wolfie

 

This is more what I was going with the question.

But, you know, next thread could ask where the best skiing would be IF it snowed there. (Has to be a place it doesn't snow, like, I don't know, Costa Rica.)

 

Yeh, Costa Rica or Colombia but also Ethiopia.    Imagine all that Blue Nile water as snow.

post #69 of 185
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamesj View Post

Hey it's August and we can analyze this question down to a gnat's a$$...maybe this would be a better poll: It's November 17 and the only open window for a trip with favorite companions is a four day ski vacation over MLK Weekend, Jan 17-20, 2014. Your location and budget includes booking advance air fares. Due to factors beyond your control you have only four mountains to choose from and your group has decided the short duration of the trip precludes visiting any other ski areas. The choices are Taos, Crested Butte, Grand Targhee, or Wolf Creek? You've been to them all before and know them well. Which one do you pick and why:-)

 

Missed this one. I like the way the question is put.

 

I'm thinking Targhee. If I'm booking an advance trip, I'm going somewhere where there is snow, and from what I understand, the terrain is pretty good. Targhee is one of the places on my list that I really want to get out to.

 

I think part of the decision factor is that it is just salt in the wound when you take a ski trip someplace to find no snow and not very good conditions, and then your home mountain gets hammered. I posted this exact thing in the "First World Ski Problems" thread, and it certainly was my experience last year.

 

The problem with getting the true Taos and CB experience on an advance trip is the likelihood that the primo terrain is open. Even if it is "open" I will freely admit that my skiing ability requires a dump day for me to even consider Third Bowl.

post #70 of 185
Quote:
Originally Posted by Triangle3 View Post

 

Miss this one?

For me, It's about variety, consistent pitch, vert, minimal traverses and lack of benches

Seems a bit silly to only look at steepness as an overall measure of terrain.

 

 

 

 

Oh yeah. Crowds. I’m of the opinion that crowds aren’t ways a bad thing.

 

What???? CRAZY??? Not really.

There is a reason that places like Jackson, Snowbird, Steamboat, Vail, Squaw and Alta get abused on big days.

There is a reason that places like Loveland, Grand Targhee, Powder Mountain and  Wolf Creek don’t.

 

It’s the “Wisdom of Crowds”. 

 

I too have been shocked at how quick powder can get gobbled up at premier spots, but it doesn’t make them any less appealing. 

 

The Steamboat thing is still inconsistent. Consistent pitch and vert? If you like to take two or three lifts to get it every run. Variety? If you don't really care about open bowls and steeps and are content with half the variety that other resorts offer, in the form of trees and groomers/runs. 

 

Not to knock Steamboat, because it's a great resort that I spent a lot of time at, but it really doesn't even meet your own terrain criteria and is certainly more of a Snow over Terrain resort. 

 

I guess I really don't have any interest in shepherding you away from the "wisdom of the crowds (sheep)," but I will offer a quick example of why that's wrong. One time I was at a resort in the Poconos and people were lined up about 15 minutes deep on one side of the lift. I noticed there was no one on the other side, which appeared totally open. It was. Everyone waiting in line got all mad about when my brother and I basically snowboarded onto the lift, but sometimes the "wisdom of the crowds" isn't so wise. 

post #71 of 185

If you're planning a ski trip in advance, do you look at average snowfall/weather forecast during that time frame or terrain most when deciding your destination?

post #72 of 185
Quote:
Originally Posted by Triangle3 View Post


Moab or Fruita....

Moab? It snows in Moab.

 

And there's skiing, no resorts, but huts plus backcountry. Always wished they'd put a ski resort there. Dry powder skiing in the morning, world-class mountain biking in the afternoon. It seems like a great location for at least a small, local hill. 

post #73 of 185
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeUT View Post

The Steamboat thing is still inconsistent. Consistent pitch and vert? If you like to take two or three lifts to get it every run. Variety? If you don't really care about open bowls and steeps and are content with half the variety that other resorts offer, in the form of trees and groomers/runs. 

 

Not to knock Steamboat, because it's a great resort that I spent a lot of time at, but it really doesn't even meet your own terrain criteria and is certainly more of a Snow over Terrain resort. 

 

Get off Storm Peak or Sundown- Turn Left or Right- 2000’+ of vert through aspen, pine and scrubby forests.

All sorts of playful terrain off Pony and Thunderhead.  Fun groomers from Gondi back to the village going Mach 6.

That back foot never comes out. Repeat until exhausted. Works for me.

 

Only place that sucks is what Anachorism mentioned, which is the gates out by N St. Pats. Short steep shots followed by a big old meadow, but I don’t think anyone in their right minds would call that the “brag” terrain of the ‘Boat.

 

Big vert. Check. Benches? None. Traversing? Minimal. Consistent pitch? Yep.  YMMV….

post #74 of 185
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeUT View Post

Moab? It snows in Moab.

 

And there's skiing, no resorts, but huts plus backcountry. Always wished they'd put a ski resort there. Dry powder skiing in the morning, world-class mountain biking in the afternoon. It seems like a great location for at least a small, local hill. 

Not the La Sals. Thinking canyon country. An occasional dusting doesn’t count.

post #75 of 185
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gunnerbob View Post

Terrain doesn't matter one bit if there's no snow rolleyes.gif

 

So given a choice, I'll take snow.  Awesome terrain without snow is called cliff diving LOL

 

Exactly. One time I went to Fernie mid winter during an already low snow year (Pineapple Express I believe) and it had rained for a few days before we left. The mountain was closed due to lack of snow the day we left. Luckily it then snowed 2 feet the night we arrived and every day we were there but that still limited our terrain for the week.

post #76 of 185
Quote:
maybe this would be a better poll: It's November 17 and the only open window for a trip with favorite companions is a four day ski vacation over MLK Weekend, Jan 17-20, 2014. Your location and budget includes booking advance air fares. Due to factors beyond your control you have only four mountains to choose from and your group has decided the short duration of the trip precludes visiting any other ski areas. The choices are Taos, Crested Butte, Grand Targhee, or Wolf Creek? You've been to them all before and know them well. Which one do you pick and why:-)

Easy call for me.  MLK is too early to expect full cover of steeps at CB and Taos.   Targhee is considerably bigger than Wolf Creek AND gets more snow.  Put the 4-day advance trip in mid-March and the snow vs. terrain question becomes a closer call, particularly considering a lot of Targhee's exposure is west and some is SW (on its occasionally sunny days this can matter).   I might even switch my vote and choose CB or Taos because if the trip is advance booked the powder odds aren't that great anyway, even at Targhee (20% of days have 6+ inches new).

Quote:
I guess I really don't have any interest in shepherding you away from the "wisdom of the crowds (sheep)," but I will offer a quick example of why that's wrong. One time I was at a resort in the Poconos and people were lined up about 15 minutes deep on one side of the lift. I noticed there was no one on the other side, which appeared totally open. It was. Everyone waiting in line got all mad about when my brother and I basically snowboarded onto the lift, but sometimes the "wisdom of the crowds" isn't so wise.

This is one of the reasons I like the big places.  People do not distribute themselves evenly across the mountain. Even at Vail and Whistler there are outlying areas where lift lines are short and/or skier density is low.

 

Quote:
If you're planning a ski trip in advance, do you look at average snowfall/weather forecast during that time frame or terrain most when deciding your destination?

The simple answer is terrain, because advance booked powder odds are low for anywhere except Japan in January.   Snowfall in the Rockies in particular tends to be fairly even by month.  The snowiest month is often only ~20% more than the driest month from December - March.  Therefore the proper "snow" questions for an advance booked trip are:

1) Will the terrain I want to ski be sufficiently covered?  This means avoid advance commitments in early season, and push them even later at places like CB and Taos that take a long time to get fully covered.

2) How well does snow preserve if it hasn't snowed recently, keeping in mind that most advance booked ski weeks will have no or only one powder day.   Low altitude and/or predominant sunny exposures are the red flags here.  Many of these places get a lot of snow (low snowfall AND bad preservation makes a non-viable ski area) and are safest in January, like Jackson and Steamboat.


Edited by Tony Crocker - 8/21/13 at 1:53pm
post #77 of 185
Quote:
Originally Posted by MattL View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gunnerbob View Post

Terrain doesn't matter one bit if there's no snow rolleyes.gif

 

So given a choice, I'll take snow.  Awesome terrain without snow is called cliff diving LOL

 

Exactly. One time I went to Fernie mid winter during an already low snow year (Pineapple Express I believe) and it had rained for a few days before we left. The mountain was closed due to lack of snow the day we left. Luckily it then snowed 2 feet the night we arrived and every day we were there but that still limited our terrain for the week.

 

Anyone remember Kicking Horse in '03?   #stumpmogulocean

post #78 of 185
Quote:
Originally Posted by segbrown View Post

Ok, this is just getting silly. The question posed was 450" a year on boring terrain, or killer terrain with not as much snow ... not with NO snow! Duh. Of course we can't ski with no snow. 

 

Not silly at all. You're just emphasizing your western bias. People like crgildart and I are trying to ground the question in reality, not fantasy. For many of us here in the east the question on any given weekend - yes, even in February - is, way more often than we would like, "Mountain that's all dirt vs. mountain that has some snow on it?", or sometimes, "Mountain that has manmade snow on a few snowmaking trails and dirt on most of its (natural, interesting) terrain vs. mountain that has manmade snow on all of its (boring) trails?" Given this reality, the answer has to be "snow," because to answer "terrain" is tantamount to answering "no skiing". JoeUT said it best:

 

 

Quote: JoeUT
Millions of people ski without great terrain, but none ski without snow
post #79 of 185
Quote:
Originally Posted by qcanoe View Post

 

Not silly at all. You're just emphasizing your western bias. People like crgildart and I are trying to ground the question in reality, not fantasy. For many of us here in the east the question on any given weekend - yes, even in February - is, way more often than we would like, "Mountain that's all dirt vs. mountain that has some snow on it?", or sometimes, "Mountain that has manmade snow on a few snowmaking trails and dirt on most of its (natural, interesting) terrain vs. mountain that has manmade snow on all of its (boring) trails?" Given this reality, the answer has to be "snow," because to answer "terrain" is tantamount to answering "no skiing". JoeUT said it best:

 

 

 

I don't even think this is even a Western Coast bias. Most of the places called out in this thread happen to be in Colorado/Taos, because most of the places that enter good terrain conversations yet don't get that much snow are located there.

 

I think people even people looking at this from a western perspective are missing the very real issue that at these places, the unique terrain may be open 3 years out of 5, or a few weeks of the season, etc.

 

So I think the Western equivalent would be "Banana Funnel that's all rock vs Steamboat 100% open with a 90" base."

post #80 of 185
Quote:
Originally Posted by segbrown View Post

Ok, this is just getting silly. The question posed was 450" a year on boring terrain, or killer terrain with not as much snow ... not with NO snow! Duh. Of course we can't ski with no snow. 

Its Freakin' August!hissyfit.gif

post #81 of 185
Quote:
Originally Posted by qcanoe View Post

 

Not silly at all. You're just emphasizing your western bias. 

No, I was emphasizing the question that was asked.   

 

Terrain. The mountain may not get much snow, but as long as the lines are big with consistent pitch, variety, true “gnar”, etc, you’re entertained.

 

Snow.  The terrain may be a low vert, benchy, traverse filled, or even “FLAT”, but they get 450”+ a season, so it’s all good.

 

 

 

I'm not sure anyone could be "entertained" on a closed run, thus I thought it was self-evident -- and the OP further clarified that yes, we are talking 250" or so. So yes, I still think it's silly. (I also think it's silly to think boring terrain means zero pitch, skinning only, but there were fewer answers like that.)

post #82 of 185
Quote:
Originally Posted by Triangle3 View Post

Not the La Sals. Thinking canyon country. An occasional dusting doesn’t count.

Well now you're just getting greedy biggrin.gif

 

I wonder what would be skiable there, with all the cliffs, plateaus and such. Would definitely make for an interesting experience, kind of like some of those videos of skiing W. UT red rock country  a couple years ago. 

 

As for Steamboat, I think we'll just have to disagree that "terrain" is a big seller. 2,000-feet of vert doesn't seem all that impressive for a western resort and definitely not "big", especially when you advertise 3,600. Its vertical is disjointed. Yep, definitely one of the best tree resorts in the West, but outside of that it lacks a lot of the other terrain most terrain-hungry skiers want, like bowls and steeps. If it didn't have such a reputation for good snow, it'd be pretty far down the list of great CO resorts (trees aren't much fun in the crust). 

post #83 of 185

I've had some of my favorite days in some questionable conditions at random mountains that offer some great steeps and challenging terrain...  But, I've also had the flipside of that where the weather just sucks and I wasted a day getting down to a location for the terrain, only to be stuck in vertigo from a fog covering an icy and slushy landscape.  If I ski in the area a lot, I just go where the snow is on that particular day.  For instance, I live in Seattle (Redmond, for those familiar)... So, I'll watch my Snow App throughout the week and decide, either the night prior or the morning of, where I want to ski... Alpental, Crystal, Stevens, or Baker... I tend to hit all of them many times during the winter anyways, so it doesn't really matter where I go as long as I can ski the majority of the mountain in decent conditions...  However, unless I was just driving by with my gear and decided to stop, you would never catch me going to Lookout Pass, or even Silver, when I can ski Schweitzer...  So, terrain wins... But, snow can often be a deciding factor.

post #84 of 185
Quote:
Originally Posted by anachronism View Post

 

So I think the Western equivalent would be "Banana Funnel that's all rock vs Steamboat 100% open with a 90" base."

I think that's close, but I still read it is more as skiing-JH-in-January-when-it-hasn't-snowed-in-2-wk-but-it's-still-chalky-if-a-bit-bony, not something that is unskiable.

 

Guess we will have to ask triangle what was meant....  But again, it's not really an interesting topic if the question is "do you want to ski, on snow, or not ski, on rock..." I don't think there is any debate there.

post #85 of 185
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeUT View Post

Well now you're just getting greedy biggrin.gif

 

I wonder what would be skiable there, with all the cliffs, plateaus and such. Would definitely make for an interesting experience, kind of like some of those videos of skiing W. UT red rock country  a couple years ago. 

 

As for Steamboat, I think we'll just have to disagree that "terrain" is a big seller. 2,000-feet of vert doesn't seem all that impressive for a western resort and definitely not "big", especially when you advertise 3,600. Its vertical is disjointed. Yep, definitely one of the best tree resorts in the West, but outside of that it lacks a lot of the other terrain most terrain-hungry skiers want, like bowls and steeps. If it didn't have such a reputation for good snow, it'd be pretty far down the list of great CO resorts (trees aren't much fun in the crust). 

 

Yeah, I’ve seen some video of the Provo Brothers in those hoodoo canyons, Bryce or Cedar Breaks, spectacular footage. Cover canyon country in 6’ of snow and it be more aesthetic lines than big technical chargers. Just wild!

 

All fair points with Steamboat. I personally think 2000’ of vert on a single consistent run is pretty big, but to each their own. After all, there's a reason folks press glass.

 

Reminds me, gotta get Superpass+ renewed for the year. Need to choke on some of that trademarked fluff down 2:30 and Fletcher Glade to keep sane.

post #86 of 185
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by segbrown View Post

Guess we will have to ask triangle what was meant

I’d call Jackson one of those places with “Great snow & great terrain”. Doesn’t really fall into this conversation.

 

I’ll keep this out of CO to minimize the dick swinging, but in an average snowfall year with normal rope drops, which will you value more?  

A place with consensus awesome terrain, but sub-par snow (Ex. Taos)?

A place with great snowfall, but questionable terrain? (Ex. Powder Mtn)?

 

Sorry PowMow guys. Just one dude’s honest opinion. rolleyes.gif

post #87 of 185
Well, yes, jh is like that. i meant that more in terms of a hypothetical.

What is the duration? That was my original sticking point... A week, a season, rest of my life?
post #88 of 185

No need to apologize, we count on people going to Jackson and Taos. How else are we going to enjoy day after day of fresh lines on the terrain that the "wise" crowds don't deem worthy? cool.gif

post #89 of 185
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeUT View Post

No need to apologize, we count on people going to Jackson and Taos. How else are we going to enjoy day after day of fresh lines on the terrain that the "wise" crowds don't deem worthy? cool.gif

Naw, I’ll stick with Snowbasin for northern UT. That place is sick. PowMow? Meh

 

I’m sure we could go across the country and never find a place with “sub par” terrain. I’m sure some prideful local will always step up to the plate.

 

“Cloudmont? CLOUDMONT?  LAME???????? No way, you just need a regular to show you where the good terrain is...it’s right under your nose, yep, over there,  I swear!”

post #90 of 185
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by segbrown View Post

What is the duration? That was my original sticking point... A week, a season, rest of my life?

Go with a vacation you’re planning 4 months out. “La Nada” year.

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