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Lets all argue about another "best" list- secret ski towns...

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

http://adventure.nationalgeographic.com/adventure/trips/best-secret-ski-towns-photos/

 

I don't hate this list, and it seems to lack the typical signs that the person doing the research is not a skier.  Calling Fraser, CO, right next to Winter Park, a "secret" ski town sounds ridiculous until you actually drive through the place (or check real estate prices).

 

I found it interesting that 2 resorts owned by the Pitchers made their town worth mention- Discovery/Philipsburg and Pagosa Springs/Wolf Creek.

 

Regarding Pagosa, it is a resort town that gets quieter in the Winter.

 

I think my list would include Silverton, CO (Or Ouray, where despite Silverton being the closest ski area (with Telluride a close 2nd) you still regularly see people walking around town in ski boots from all of the amazing BC in the area).

 

While I have not been there, from what I have heard, Eden, UT/Powmow would make my list too.

post #2 of 9

Can’t be 2 hours from a major city and be a secret. Doesn’t work that way.

 

Pagosa is a maybe, but I have a hard time calling any place in CO a secret. Mesa CO would be my #1 in the state.

 

Places like Tetonia ID , Elko NV , La Grande OR, Inkom ID, Pincher Creek BC, these are more what I would be thinking.

 

 

 

post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by COBillsFan View Post
 

Can’t be 2 hours from a major city and be a secret. Doesn’t work that way.

 

Pagosa is a maybe, but I have a hard time calling any place in CO a secret. Mesa CO would be my #1 in the state.

 

Places like Tetonia ID , Elko NV , La Grande OR, Inkom ID, Pincher Creek BC, these are more what I would be thinking.

 

 

Well, we have had plenty of these types of conversations on this board and I don't think Fraser has ever been mentioned, and it probably isn't because WP is not worthy.

 

Mesa, CO. Not bad call. Lots of low consequence fun BC, and a neat ski area. I like it.

 

My vote would still be Ouray. One data point- I skied Silverton Saturday, and the plan was to get off the mountain and pick up some skis from a guy in Ouray. That deal fell through, and the 1-3 inches Joel called turned into around 10 in Ouray. Snowed in for the night, I walked into one of the Ouray hotels and got a nice cozy single queen room for $59. I sat in the burger joint along with a dozen guys that had hit up the BC that day, and regaled each other with tales of our surprise zero visibility powder day.  The place is very much a secret.

post #4 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by anachronism View Post
 

Mesa, CO. Not bad call. Lots of low consequence fun BC, and a neat ski area. I like it.

 

My vote would still be Ouray. One data point- I skied Silverton Saturday, and the plan was to get off the mountain and pick up some skis from a guy in Ouray. That deal fell through, and the 1-3 inches Joel called turned into around 10 in Ouray. Snowed in for the night, I walked into one of the Ouray hotels and got a nice cozy single queen room for $59. I sat in the burger joint along with a dozen guys that had hit up the BC that day, and regaled each other with tales of our surprise zero visibility powder day.  The place is very much a secret.

Ouray still has a reputation as a tourist town. The “Switzerland of America” right? Although it’s remote and hardly feels like a tourist town, it’s well known. Ask someone in Denver SLC or Albuquerque if they’ve heard of Ouray and you’d hear plenty of YES replies.

 

IMO, a true secret nobody knows about in any season.

post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by COBillsFan View Post
 

Ouray still has a reputation as a tourist town. The “Switzerland of America” right? Although it’s remote and hardly feels like a tourist town, it’s well known. Ask someone in Denver SLC or Albuquerque if they’ve heard of Ouray and you’d hear plenty of YES replies.

 

IMO, a true secret nobody knows about in any season.

 

Counterpoint- I can make an argument that a summer tourist town is a better "secret" ski town than a no-tourist town. In a no-tourist town, lodging is out there to serve the non-existent demand, which means a handful of hotels of questionable quality and value.

 

On the other hand, if you have a summer resort, in the winter months you have an oversupply of lodging for the demand, which means nice rooms at a fire sale price, while still retaining the sleepy vibe.  Pagosa Springs and Ouray are completely different places in the winter, but they still have very nice and very cheap places to stay.

post #6 of 9

Probably not any more, but Minturn used to be a secret. Especially for being so close to Vail and Beaver Creek. It's been years since I have been there.

post #7 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by anachronism View Post
 

Counterpoint- I can make an argument that a summer tourist town is a better "secret" ski town than a no-tourist town. In a no-tourist town, lodging is out there to serve the non-existent demand, which means a handful of hotels of questionable quality and value.

 

On the other hand, if you have a summer resort, in the winter months you have an oversupply of lodging for the demand, which means nice rooms at a fire sale price, while still retaining the sleepy vibe.  Pagosa Springs and Ouray are completely different places in the winter, but they still have very nice and very cheap places to stay.

Maybe, but like I said, your straying from my definition of secret.

 

People know Ouray. They sure know Pagosa Springs too. Ogden.  Carson City. Truckee. Sandpoint. Durango. These places were discovered years ago. Maybe not in the Dillon/Sandy UT sense, but they’re not a secret.

 

Places like Mesa CO, Centennial WY, Red Lodge MT, these are the “WHERE THE **** ARE THEY?” places I’m interested in.  

post #8 of 9

Glacier/Mt. Baker may not be a total secret, but few folks from elsewhere ever show up there.

post #9 of 9
Only on Epic would there be a debate about what constitutes a "secret ski town" without much thought as to why it matters. If a ski town is uncrowded and cheap in the middle of the season, I really don't care if 8 out of 10 people in Denver, SLC or LA have heard it exists. Conversely, if it's not worth traveling more than a couple hours for, who cares if it's "secret?"

Frankly, in the age of Internet, I don't believe in secret ski destinations anymore, unless we're talking some un publicized private property. If they build it, and they don't come (in droves), it's secret enough for me.
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