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Is there such a thing as "moderate" "big mountain" skiing? - Page 3

post #61 of 83
Yea, I need a passport, one can't even go to Canada without one, like they are some kind of foreign country. By the way I love skiing in Canada, taken a number of trips to BC. Stayed in some ski patrol lodges and skied and partied with the patrol, they sure can party.
post #62 of 83

There is, absolutely, some superb "moderate" big-mountain skiing out there.  I'd suggest you try Europe, which is about as "big-mountain" as it gets, yet where they have an enormous population of casual skiers (I've heard it said that European families take ski vacations as routinely American families take beach vacations) and thus terrain built to cater to them (as well as having jaw-dropping terrain for experts).  I'm not sure if Zermatt is a great resort for intermediates generally, but I recall the run down from Zermatt to Cervinia (start in Switzerland, each lunch in Italy, return to Switzerland) seemed like a great intermediate cruiser.  

 

Here's two more famous intermediate runs to whet your appetite, from:

http://www.theguardian.com/travel/2002/nov/10/wintersportsholidays.wintersports.observerescapesection

 

 "Parsenn 
Davos, Switzerland

The birthplace of Alpine skiing still boasts one of the greatest cruises on snow anywhere. You reach it via the first true skiers' funicular railway - built in 1931, half a century after the first pair of skis to touch Alpine snow were brought here from Norway by a former TB patient. The Parsenn railway - much faster after a rebuild this summer - takes skiers up to the 2,662-metre Weissfluhjoch. Here skiers embark on what feels like an epic journey across the massif, from high above the tree line, into the forest and past some welcoming huts (more like chalet-bars) down to the valley floor for the train ride home. Longest run is an eight-mile cruise to Küblis; another version curls around to royal Klosters.

 

 Vallée Blanche
Chamonix, France

The most scenic run in the Alps is a descent lasting up to 15 miles along a sequence of glaciers just below Mont Blanc. The hardest part is the walk down from the Aiguille du Midi - at 3,840 metres, the highest cable car in Europe - to the start of the run: hang onto the fixed rope, and try not to think about the 2,000-metre plunge into the valley. The run itself is a gentle cruise, easy enough for any confident intermediates who can handle patches of ungroomed snow - though you need a guide, not least for the tricky narrow squeezes between crevasses. Stop frequently to gawp at the breathtaking landscapes of 4,000-metre peaks, vast snowfields and séracs (tumbling cliffs of ice)."

Also, you might consider Les Trois Vallees, which my guidebook describes as "the greatest intermediate playground in the world."

post #63 of 83
No... don't come to Europe.

Big Mountain skiing does not refer to the size of the mountain or anything that is on piste, groomed or otherwise. It doesn't refer to skiing the pow between pistes either.

It refers to a type of big, steep, long, off-piste line. Big mountain skiing, which is actually a type of competition, involves non-euro turns, or few turns, big air, and speed. Freeride World Tour skiing is big mountain skiing.

Don't come to Europe looking for moderate big mountain skiing-- not that I really understand how big mountain skiing can be moderate. It may get you killed... there is no patrol or control even a toe's width from the trails. No marked hazards be they boulder, cliff or glacial crevasse.

Maybe the OP means easy off piste and bowls instead of moderate big mountain. Still... Europe isnt the ideal classroom for that if you live in the US given our bowls and off piste are technically BC.
post #64 of 83
Or maybe he means the Big Mountain that's been skied since 1947... :-)
post #65 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by justruss View Post



Maybe the OP means easy off piste and bowls instead of moderate big mountain. Still... Europe isnt the ideal classroom for that if you live in the US given our bowls and off piste are technically BC.

I think that is what he was saying.
I grew up skiing in NE and moved west some time ago.
There is some very good off piste skiing out west, some of it is steep, and there are even clifts you can jump if you so wish. Some of it can be quite a challenge for most people, you need to work your way up to much of it. Not knowing what any ones ability is from on line posts, I have to say just be real about one's ability, or you just may find yourself going down something you wish you had not.


In the WM movies it always comes up how this skier or that died skiing, I love steep and deep but I also like living.
post #66 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by justruss View Post

Big Mountain skiing does not refer to the size of the mountain or anything that is on piste, groomed or otherwise. It doesn't refer to skiing the pow between pistes either.

It refers to a type of big, steep, long, off-piste line. Big mountain skiing, which is actually a type of competition, involves non-euro turns, or few turns, big air, and speed. Freeride World Tour skiing is big mountain skiing.

Don't come to Europe looking for moderate big mountain skiing-- not that I really understand how big mountain skiing can be moderate. It may get you killed... there is no patrol or control even a toe's width from the trails. No marked hazards be they boulder, cliff or glacial crevasse.

Maybe the OP means easy off piste and bowls instead of moderate big mountain. Still... Europe isnt the ideal classroom for that if you live in the US given our bowls and off piste are technically BC.

 I know what "big mountain" means, but I thought the OP was using it in a different way, and responded on that basis.  However, you may be right -- he might instead mean the last thing you said. In that case, he might enjoy Vail's back bowls.

post #67 of 83
Thread Starter 

I guess what I mean is coming down from big mountains, treeless, free to go in any direction, deep natural snow, but without being too steep or having to dodge granite half the time.

post #68 of 83
Bowl skiing.
post #69 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh Matta View Post

 

umm same places as the videos just easier lines....

 

^^^ This; serious can become moderate with a change in line. Or weather. Nothing like a bit of fresh snow to easy up a scary face. 

 

That said, lots of potentially moderate, eg, advanced but not expert, challenging but not threatening big mountain stuff around. Almost all major resorts are full of it. Thinking Aspen Highlands bowl, lift-served backside at Whistler, lot of stuff at Big Sky, several front bowls at Mammoth, Blue Sky bowls at Vail, on and on...the common denominator seems to be "bowls" or at least a big face, both of which tend to allow that choice of line. 

 

OTOH, if you insist on dropping into said bowls by traversing across the entire top, thereby cutting perfectly good snow into a series of bumpy ramps, then Ullr himself will come to you that night and cram your skis into your mouth. 

 

Just sayin'....

post #70 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by twochordcool View Post
 

I guess what I mean is coming down from big mountains, treeless, free to go in any direction, deep natural snow, but without being too steep or having to dodge granite half the time.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by sibhusky View Post

Bowl skiing.

 

Bowl skiing out west.  Ideally when the sun is out after a powder dump.  Based on where I've skied so far out west, Snowbasin, Big Sky, or Grand Targhee would be my recommendation for someone who was just getting into off-piste adventures.  Especially if they weren't going with a ski buddy who is an advanced/expert skier who can be a sweeper.  I'm sure there are places in Colorado that would be a good place to start too, but I haven't gone exploring there yet.

 

I love Alta, but it's taken a while to learn how to get the best out of the place even though I often ski there with friends who know Alta well.  The Mountain Workshop at Alta is a great way for a solo advanced skier to ski off-piste safely.  It's quite reasonable at $75 for 2.5 hours.  Not a lesson.  More a guided tour with a few technique tips from someone who is an instructor from Alta Ski School.

 

twocool: is there any way you can make it out to SLC for the Utah Gathering in early Feb?  Snowbasin, Alta, Snowbird, Solitude area on the list.

post #71 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by beyond View Post
 

^^^ This; serious can become moderate with a change in line. Or weather. Nothing like a bit of fresh snow to easy up a scary face. 

 

That said, lots of potentially moderate, eg, advanced but not expert, challenging but not threatening big mountain stuff around. Almost all major resorts are full of it. Thinking Aspen Highlands bowl, lift-served backside at Whistler, lot of stuff at Big Sky, several front bowls at Mammoth, Blue Sky bowls at Vail, on and on...the common denominator seems to be "bowls" or at least a big face, both of which tend to allow that choice of line. 

 

OTOH, if you insist on dropping into said bowls by traversing across the entire top, thereby cutting perfectly good snow into a series of bumpy ramps, then Ullr himself will come to you that night and cram your skis into your mouth. 

 

Just sayin'....

 

How do these lift-served bowls compare to non-lift served Tuckerman Ravine, which is a bowl that I'm familiar with and have skied?  I get the issue of traversing and turning at the end and traversing in the other direction when the pitch is, ummmmmmm....   ....sorta steep.  

 

I watched a dad with a 5yo kid do that up top of Tuckerman one day.  Amazing; I don't think Ullr would have a problem with those two cutting across people's lines.  He skied with him between his legs, then directly right beside and above him, all the way across.  They stood at the end talking, then he had the kid lie down on his/her back, head uphill, flip the skis over to face the other direction, then get up.  Back across they went.  Several traverses later they were able to actually ski down.  I'd have loved it if that were my dad and me.

post #72 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by LiquidFeet View Post
 

 

How do these lift-served bowls compare to non-lift served Tuckerman Ravine, which is a bowl that I'm familiar with and have skied?  I get the issue of traversing and turning at the end and traversing in the other direction when the pitch is, ummmmmmm....   ....sorta steep.  

 

The lift served ones are a lot easier to get to. :duck:

post #73 of 83
My understanding (never skied tuckerman) ids that Tuckerman is on the steeper side of things and has generally worse snow. If you can ski Tuckerman proficiently, you shouldn't have trouble with any of these named. All can be expected to have better snow, which obviously accounts for a lot.

Highlands is hike-to. It is decidedly not an intermediate slope, most of the bowl is 45 degree slopes for more vert than most places in the East. It is not really technical, but is steep with a lot of it, and after a strenuous hike.

The back bowls at Vail are very mild.
post #74 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stranger View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by LiquidFeet View Post
 

 

How do these lift-served bowls compare to non-lift served Tuckerman Ravine, which is a bowl that I'm familiar with and have skied?  I get the issue of traversing and turning at the end and traversing in the other direction when the pitch is, ummmmmmm....   ....sorta steep.  

 

The lift served ones are a lot easier to get to. :duck:

 

Yup, for me I have more than enough energy for skiing down a big bowl, but not enough for hiking for turns. 

:rolleyes

 

Obviously every bowl is a bit different.  

 

For Big Sky, there is a large bowl more or less under the tram that goes to the peak of Lone Peak.  It's served by a triple chair.  It's huge.  You can choose to drop in off the main traverse based what steepness you want to experience that run.  On my first day at Big Sky, it was good to learn from a Mountain Host on a free tour that terrain the far end of the traverse (south side of the bowl) was about the same steepness as Liberty Bowl.  She recommended doing that before taking the tram up and committing to skiing Liberty.  In comparison, Liberty was much, much longer with no way to bail once started.

 

At Targhee, there are relatively few trees because of forest fires in the past.  There are quite a few places off Dreamcatcher where it's easy to cut back to a steep groomer pretty much at any point on the way down.

 

At Alta, Ballroom is easy access off the Collins lift.  That means it gets tracked out very, very quickly when it opens after a powder dump.  However, there are places at Alta that stay untracked for a while because they are more hidden and/or require a little hiking before the fun starts.

 

LF: where have you skied out west? 

post #75 of 83

The bowl near the triple at Big Sky in Jan 2012, which was a low snow time.

 

Folks deciding to start skiing off the traverse.  Top of triple in background. Those cliffs behind the lift . . . are skiable by experts.  Called the A to Z chutes and access requires hiking.

 

Looking down from the traverse, perhaps a quarter of the way around.  Those little dots are advanced skiers.  The small building behind the triple (top left corner) is the base of the tram.

post #76 of 83
Thread Starter 

I could handle that if it wasn't too frozen or bumped up. If the snow was smooth I could do quite well there.

post #77 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by twochordcool View Post
 

I could handle that if it wasn't too frozen or bumped up. If the snow was smooth I could do quite well there.

Umm, you are looking at are what are called soft bumps.  Frozen is very rarely an issue at Big Sky, certainly not in mid-season.  This is at over 8000 ft.  Until you get out west, it will be hard for you to imagine what skiing a bowl like this is like.  Besides, the idea is to learn enough to ski a bowl without stopping except to enjoy the view or wait for a ski buddy, not just "handle" or get down in one piece.  The good news that you can learn good technique from an instructor on a much smaller mountain that will carry over to a big one.

post #78 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post
 

 

 

The Bowl:  No Problemo

The Chutes:  Not even with someone else's...uh...cojones.  

post #79 of 83

Hi...My first post here on Epi...so hello everyone.

 

I guess my first question to ask the thread starter is what terrain inbounds do you now ski and of it what is a challenge for you? Green, blue, black, or double black? Not all of those are created equal so on what mountain? Everyone here has their own 'crazy expert' level so without knowing that we can't give you any really good feedback.

 

Having said that, most mountains have terrain in bounds that can give the most expert skiers an adrenalin rush, you just need to look hard at your current mountains offerings and exploit them. Every day is different on the mountain and offers new challenges. Yes I know, you most likely have heard that before but it’s true. Recall the day that conditions or you’re skiing just doesn’t seem to be working. Those are the days that you learn and improve your abilities.

 

Back to your question, after indentifying your challenge limit level, where on your mountain are the areas you don’t normally ski? Find those and someone to ‘work’ you down them the first run and you will find your doable ‘crazy expert’ stuff.

 

As for suggestions, in my limited areas of ‘skied at’:

 

Kirkwood -  The extreme tours don’t go thru there for nothing each year.

Scwallywood (Squaw Valley) Around the K22 stuff and through the gates…

Portillo Chile (up the huge rope tow and hike to the left, skiers right)

Off of hwy 50 coming down from Echo Summit. Third turnout if I recall correctly. You need someone to pick you up in Christmas Valley on some road I cannot think of right now.

 

I’ve skied elsewhere but these stand out.

 

post #80 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by scadvice View Post
 

Hi...My first post here on Epi...so hello everyone.

 

. . .

Welcome to EpicSki!  Have you found the general Tahoe thread yet?  Or the one about the Gathering in March at Squaw/Alpine and Mammoth?

post #81 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post
 

Welcome to EpicSki!  Have you found the general Tahoe thread yet?  Or the one about the Gathering in March at Squaw/Alpine and Mammoth?

Nope, I look for them!

post #82 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by scadvice View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post
 

Welcome to EpicSki!  Have you found the general Tahoe thread yet?  Or the one about the Gathering in March at Squaw/Alpine and Mammoth?

Nope, I look for them!

The threads about EpicSki Gatherings are usually in the Getting Together section of EpicSki Community.  Use the Forums drop down menu to get there.

 

Here's the Tahoe thread for this season:

http://epicski.onthesnow.com/t/121501/2013-14-tahoe-weather-discussion-stoke

 

Have fun!

post #83 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by alexzn View Post


Oh yes, that's probably as close to an iconic image of Squaw Valley as you can find. It was hanging in the hallway of the old season pass office, apparently Andy Wirth has it behind his desk, and Keoki Gallery does a good business selling the prints (as it should, the photo is fantastic, without knowing the line it's not even clear how he got there and what he would do next). None of the Squaw lines are true Big Mountain skiing in the pure sense of the word, maybe the race to the Fingers or some lines down Silverado would qualify. But when you stand on top of one of the Sqyallywood lines, you could not care less about whether it's big mountain skiing or not, it's still scary.

 

Nice photo of that line being skied by Matt Reardon appeared in Powder last year at some point, from a different angle and shows how steep it truly is, but I agree that the one with Shane is an iconic image.

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