Originally Posted by Kdawg1966
Yes, we're booked at the Hampton Inn, however my brother says it's not etched in stone so, we can change if we want. Being that our departure point (in a car) will be from Colorado Springs, he thought this would be the closest "out-of-the-way" place to go. If there are other options that wouldn't be a terribly long drive, we would definitely consider them. I am encouraged by all the positive feedback of Monarch, although I will admit I'm not in love with the prospect of having to hike in my ski boots to get to the "bowl" area - I guess I've gotten lazier with age. All-in-all, it seems like a nice place to ski.
Also, we'll be bringing our boots but we both have your typical midwest ski's (skinny waist, GS or detuned GS ski's) and are planning on renting "high performance" ski's and poles at the resort. I am assuming that any resort we go to will have plenty of good ski choices to choose from that will fit whatever conditions we face at the time. Am I reading this correctly or should we look for a place to rent from outside of the resort?
Lastly, and not to beat this thread to death, but I'm just noticing that Wolf Creek might be doable as well (google says it's 3.5 hours from Col. Springs). Would this be a better choice for 3 days of skiing? Thanks again.
Curecanti, Outback, and Shagnasty are all bowls. They are all pretty short. The Garfield face is 85% bowl- most of it is a wide open face. You don't need to hike to get the bowl experience, but the best terrain at most CO resorts will involve hiking. This is just how things work.
Here is the deal with Wolf Creek.
1. Lots more snow than the rest of Colorado. A microclimate that produces storms with basically any moisture in the air.
2. Avoiding holidays (Texas' Spring Break rolls around in March, and I would not come near Wolf that week- if you can't figure out when it is, just call up Wolf's Ticket office and ask, they will know) Wolf Creek is even less crowded than Monarch.
3. The combination of low crowds and heavy snow means untracked powder can be found until it manks out due to sun and temp, usually 4-7 days after it falls. You can almost always hike for untracked here if there is nothing lift served.
4. $58 lift ticket is one of the cheapest in the state.
5. It has more vertical than Monarch, but is still on the short side.
6. It has seriously, seriously steep and technical terrain. Lots of steeps and chutes.
7. Some of the best tree skiing anywhere within the state. The Alberta area is 1000 acres of terrain with only the lift line cut- everything else natural. 2/3rds of Wolf is unmolested trees.
Two big downsides-
1. Benchy mountain. Almost all expert lines have anywhere from 300-800 feet of steeps, followed by flat, followed by possibly more steep depending on the line chosen. There is nowhere that you can ski a steady expert pitch the whole way down. You can link up steep stuff (Montezuma Bowl into Waterfall, Knife Ridge into Numbered Chutes, etc.) but there is still green pitches between them.
2. Traverses. In the Alberta area, there are traverses both to and from the lifts to access terrain. You can go far out from the lift to find fresh snow, but going out to Simpatico means that you get only a short descent before you have to grab the cat-track back. A common mistake for new skiers is they miss the upper cat track and get stuck on the lower one, which means they have a quick but annoying hike out to get back to the lift.
My guide has a lot more info on Wolf Creek. It is an amazing place to ski, but it is a place where you need to do some homework on what you want to ski and what the layout of the mountain is, or you will get stuck in flats and/or hiking.