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Ski Trip Ideas for Dec 6-15

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 

I'll be off Dec 6-15 and am looking to take my first of few trips then so I'm in charge of the planning for this trip.  Where are my best best for good early season snow and great nightlife?  Never did a "real" trip this early in the season. All thoughts & input are appreciated!

post #2 of 25
Where do you live?

Either wait till the last minute or
book cancelable flights on SWA into DEN or SLC, then be willing to drive.
post #3 of 25

Targhee has the rep for best early season snow to count on.  Not much in the way of night life there.  

 

Might be one time when NE is the best bet due to large snowmaking infrastructure on NE mountains, Killington perhaps.

post #4 of 25

Maybe Whistler?? If the Fall is cool it has good early season potential. However even if the snow is lousy you can power shop and party like crazy.

post #5 of 25
Thread Starter 
I'm in the mid-Atlantic. I was thinking either Jackson or Whistler, even though I've been to both before. Thanks for the responses so far
post #6 of 25

Wait and see.

 

Early season is always cheap at the resorts, so no point in making a decision then finding out somewhere else was better. A few seasons ago WB got 18 feet in November - how'd you feel if you'd booked JH and that came in (or vice versa). Last season Steamboat got bombed early.

 

No need to book early for a pre-Christmas trip.

post #7 of 25

I think Whistler would be risky this year.   Jackson would probably be OK,  because of it's proximity to Grand Targhee. But I think waiting till the last minute is still your best bet. 

 

What's your gateway airport?   Lot's of resort associations have block airfare rates that you can book last minute, if there are seats available.

It's a lot easier to get a seat out of DC, than say Greenville.

post #8 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by SHREDHEAD View Post
 

I think Whistler would be risky this year.   Jackson would probably be OK,  because of it's proximity to Grand Targhee.

 

?

 

What does Jackson's prox to Grand Targhee have to do with early season snow?

 

And why would WB be risky - do you know how much snow is going to fall early season? He also wants nightlife - what area can really compete with WB?

post #9 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by snofun3 View Post
 

 

?

 

What does Jackson's prox to Grand Targhee have to do with early season snow?

 

And why would WB be risky - do you know how much snow is going to fall early season? He also wants nightlife - what area can really compete with WB?

 

If the snow's not good in Jackson, you can take a bus to GT, which typically has some of the best early season conditions in North America.

 

WB's low and with a weak to moderate El Nino, might be warm and dry.  If conditions aren't good in Whistler, it's a long haul to anywhere that is.

Plus YVR's an expensive ticket and it's a long way from the mid Atlantic.

 

Aspen easily competes with WB in nightlife.  Plus you could drive to Wolf Creek or Steamboat, which both have completely different weather patterns,  if conditions weren't good.

 
post #10 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by snofun3 View Post

Wait and see.

Early season is always cheap at the resorts, so no point in making a decision then finding out somewhere else was better. A few seasons ago WB got 18 feet in November - how'd you feel if you'd booked JH and that came in (or vice versa). Last season Steamboat got bombed early.

No need to book early for a pre-Christmas trip.

I like to use our timeshare and places get snapped up quickly
Quote:
Originally Posted by SHREDHEAD View Post

I think Whistler would be risky this year.   Jackson would probably be OK,  because of it's proximity to Grand Targhee. But I think waiting till the last minute is still your best bet. 

What's your gateway airport?   Lot's of resort associations have block airfare rates that you can book last minute, if there are seats available.
It's a lot easier to get a seat out of DC, than say Greenville.

Gateway airport = Pittsburgh
Quote:
Originally Posted by snofun3 View Post

?

What does Jackson's prox to Grand Targhee have to do with early season snow?

And why would WB be risky - do you know how much snow is going to fall early season? He also wants nightlife - what area can really compete with WB?

Nightlife is usually important to the group. We're still relatively young and like to have fun, but I do like my sleep. Hiking and riding 2 runs at Tuckerman on 2.5 hours sleep damn near killed me last season but it was a ton of fun.
post #11 of 25
Epicski Member Tony Crocker has a good analysis of best ski areas for early season skiing: http://bestsnow.net/

Drill down to 50 guides/articles section and look for best early bets article. Maybe consider Mt Bachelor to get decent early conditions and some apres ski fun in Bend??
post #12 of 25

Quote:

Originally Posted by snofun3 View Post

Wait and see.

Early season is always cheap at the resorts, so no point in making a decision then finding out somewhere else was better. A few seasons ago WB got 18 feet in November - how'd you feel if you'd booked JH and that came in (or vice versa). Last season Steamboat got bombed early.

No need to book early for a pre-Christmas trip.

We get these questions every season :deadhorse:, and the correct answer is the one above, not just from me but several knowledgeable skiers on this Forum.  

 

Sure some places have better odds than others: Targhee, Wolf Creek and Whistler (I'll add Alta to that short list) among them.  But nobody can guarantee full operation or even close to it on Dec. 6.  Whistler is almost certainly the best intersection of good historical early season snow history and vibrant nightlife.   However, you would have been VERY disappointed if you had chosen Whistler in that time frame last year.

 

Quote:
I like to use our timeshare and places get snapped up quickly

Dec. 6-15, dead zone of vacation travel, really???   I'm not familiar with provisions/restrictions on when/where you can use timeshares.  I'm sure they vary a lot.  But if those provisions force you into making bad decisions in planning vacations, then that particular timeshare is not a great investment.  People have limited vacation time and you're still spending $$$ on airfare, lift tickets and apres ski.   If you're forced to commit $$$ ahead for a ski trip, the trip should be after New Year's.  Mid-December skiing can be great, but you won't know where until a few weeks ahead at best.

 

I'm remembering the last thread of this nature, so trying to be more tactful this time with a new poster:

Quote:
my first of few trips

Not sure how many trips that is, but in general the priority rank for desirability of advance booked ski trips by month in term of snow conditions would be:

February

March

January

April

December

That's a simplification and there are nuances that change that order for certain ski areas.  But if you're taking destination trips in multiple months, December comes at the bottom of the priority list IMHO for the majority of ski areas.

 

Price/availability gets into the equation, and that's one reason for inquiries about shoulder seasons.  For advanced skiers, April is a much safer bet than December due to the steeper terrain being much more consistently open.


Edited by Tony Crocker - 7/31/14 at 4:05pm
post #13 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by rpb161 View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by snofun3 View Post

Wait and see.

Early season is always cheap at the resorts, so no point in making a decision then finding out somewhere else was better. A few seasons ago WB got 18 feet in November - how'd you feel if you'd booked JH and that came in (or vice versa). Last season Steamboat got bombed early.

No need to book early for a pre-Christmas trip.

I like to use our timeshare and places get snapped up quickly

Are you trading with RCI or a smaller timeshare group?  I would think Whistler would have more options for trades than JH, but have never looked.  So far, I haven't found trading useful for trips out west since I have time flexibility.  There is something to be said for booking the timeshare week after reading the cancellation policy carefully.  Meaning not making a full commitment including plane tickets until a bit later.

 

Last winter my friends and I did a short trip to JH.  It was late Jan but they hadn't had new snow for 3 weeks.  Since it was the first look, we still had a decent time exploring the mountain.  We also went over to GT for a day since one friend had never been there.  Well worth it if at JH.  But next season we are going to meet up in SLC mid-season and keep our options open until closer to the arrival date.  The dates that work for this group trip are fixed by the work schedules of a couple of my friends, so I'd rather be flexible on destination and lodging arrangements.

 

Do you ski around Pittsburgh at all?

post #14 of 25

Use your timeshare in April.

post #15 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Crocker View Post
 

Quote:

We get these questions every season :deadhorse:, and the correct answer is the one above, not just from me but several knowledgeable skiers on this Forum.  

 

Sure some places have better odds than others: Targhee, Wolf Creek and Whistler (I'll add Alta to that short list) among them.  But nobody can guarantee full operation or even close to it on Dec. 6.  Whistler is almost certainly the best intersection of good historical early season snow history and vibrant nightlife.   However, you would have been VERY disappointed if you had chosen Whistler in that time frame last year.

 

Dec. 6-15, dead zone of vacation travel, really???   I'm not familiar with provisions/restrictions on when/where you can use timeshares.  I'm sure they vary a lot.  But if those provisions force you into making bad decisions in planning vacations, then that particular timeshare is not a great investment.  People have limited vacation time and you're still spending $$$ on airfare, lift tickets and apres ski.   If you're forced to commit $$$ ahead for a ski trip, the trip should be after New Year's.  Mid-December skiing can be great, but you won't know where until a few weeks ahead at best.

 

I'm remembering the last thread of this nature, so trying to be more tactful this time with a new poster:

Not sure how many trips that is, but in general the priority rank for desirability of advance booked ski trips by month in term of snow conditions would be:

February

March

January

April

December

That's a simplification and there are nuances that change that order for certain ski areas.  But if you're taking destination trips in multiple months, December comes at the bottom of the priority list IMHO for the majority of ski areas.

 

Price/availability gets into the equation, and that's one reason for inquiries about shoulder seasons.  For advanced skiers, April is a much safer bet than December due to the steeper terrain being much more consistently open.

 

I'm just looking for my best chances statistically at this time for 2 reasons:

A) It's one of my weeks off from the hospital I work at (I don't pick for next year until mid-November & no one takes weeks from Jan - Apr)

B) I've never traveled for a ski trip before the holiday weeks

 

I really won't be losing a lot of money even if the snow sucks (it was bad in Whistler late Jan - early Feb this year when I was there but it was like East Conditions so we didn't have a lot of trouble on anything), because once the timeshare is divy'ed up amongst people it works out to be really cheap & my airfare I'll use points so my only real expenses are lift tickets (can be bought closer to the trip) and other general expenses that I'd incur on any other trip.

 

I also have 2-3 trips lined up from Jan - March plus another possible weekend excursion to Tuckerman again this year.  Also keeping an eye on the El Nino situation to see what happens for those trips. I tend to travel frequently when I can.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post
 

Are you trading with RCI or a smaller timeshare group?  I would think Whistler would have more options for trades than JH, but have never looked.  So far, I haven't found trading useful for trips out west since I have time flexibility.  There is something to be said for booking the timeshare week after reading the cancellation policy carefully.  Meaning not making a full commitment including plane tickets until a bit later.

 

Last winter my friends and I did a short trip to JH.  It was late Jan but they hadn't had new snow for 3 weeks.  Since it was the first look, we still had a decent time exploring the mountain.  We also went over to GT for a day since one friend had never been there.  Well worth it if at JH.  But next season we are going to meet up in SLC mid-season and keep our options open until closer to the arrival date.  The dates that work for this group trip are fixed by the work schedules of a couple of my friends, so I'd rather be flexible on destination and lodging arrangements.

 

Do you ski around Pittsburgh at all?

 

Our family does have RCI.  It's ok but, you have to book early for almost anything which sucks.  Whistler gets booked up super early so you have to pounce on it.  JH has stuff but some reason they don't book up that quickly.

 

I had the same thing happen to me at JH a few seasons back.  We stayed in sidecountry 95% of my time there.  It had the only good snow we could find.

 

I do ski around Pittsburgh, but I mostly go down to Wisp (have my season pass there) because I find the snow at Seven Springs sucks (they need to invest in better snow making IMO) & Hidden Valley is what it is. I'm down Deep Creek a lot though and the drives for me are equidistant.

post #16 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by rpb161 View Post
 

Our family does have RCI.  It's ok but, you have to book early for almost anything which sucks.  Whistler gets booked up super early so you have to pounce on it.  JH has stuff but some reason they don't book up that quickly.

 

I had the same thing happen to me at JH a few seasons back.  We stayed in sidecountry 95% of my time there.  It had the only good snow we could find.

 

I do ski around Pittsburgh, but I mostly go down to Wisp (have my season pass there) because I find the snow at Seven Springs sucks (they need to invest in better snow making IMO) & Hidden Valley is what it is. I'm down Deep Creek a lot though and the drives for me are equidistant.

Ahh, first person I've "met" who goes to Wisp regularly.  Have you skied at Blue Knob?  I think there will be a small Mid-Atlantic gathering there in late Feb.

 

Post up a Trip Report wherever you end up in Dec. :)

post #17 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post
 

Ahh, first person I've "met" who goes to Wisp regularly.  Have you skied at Blue Knob?  I think there will be a small Mid-Atlantic gathering there in late Feb.

 

Post up a Trip Report wherever you end up in Dec. :)

 

I know, right? The new management is starting to open up some areas there which is nice.  We got pounded a weekend down there this winter with something like ~40" of snow!  The glades next to Squirrel Cage were open and a lot of fun.  I also followed some little groms in the trees off to right of Overland Pass and found a huge rock cliff to jump off bring you right the to intersection of Eye Opener & Down Under.  It had a very sketch landing but still was fun.

 

I actually used to ski Blue Knob & Tussey Mountain when I was an undergrad at Penn State.  I've seen pics of people going there on here & if I'm off then I'll have to make a trip there.

post #18 of 25
Quote:
no one takes weeks from Jan - Apr

If no one is allowed to take weeks from Jan-Apr, that's a tough job for a skier.  Hopefully that's not a permanent scenario for you.

post #19 of 25
I read it as no one else was interested in taking those dates, because later he says:
Quote:
I also have 2-3 trips lined up from Jan - March plus another possible weekend excursion to Tuckerman again this year.
post #20 of 25
Wolf Creek got a lot of early snow last year, I think that's typical but I'm not positive. Jackson and Crystal also got a lot of early snow last year, not sure if that's typical. Wait a while and book as late as you can.
post #21 of 25
Quote:
no one takes weeks from Jan - Apr

It was not entirely clear how to interpret that quote.  My first guess was that the OP's Jan-Mar trips were short/closer to home, because he couldn't take a longer trip then?   Or it could relate to the availability of the timeshare.  He can't choose a timeshare week until he knows in November when his Jan-Apr days off are, and by then the timeshare weeks might not be available.

post #22 of 25
Another vote for Whistler... ample nightlife if you strike out with early season snow.
post #23 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sh4d0w View Post

Wolf Creek got a lot of early snow last year, I think that's typical but I'm not positive. Jackson and Crystal also got a lot of early snow last year, not sure if that's typical. Wait a while and book as late as you can.
Crystal usually gets some early season snow and opens in mid-late November.
Crystal did not get much early season snow last year. Stevens was raking in the $ because they were pretty much fully open by Jan 1 whereas the other Cascade areas weren't open or had minimal terrain open. Racing teams that usually train at Snoqualmie (not sure about Crystal) were spending weekends at Stevens. We picked up a lot of ski school enrollments and the lift lines were pretty long on weekends. Things got back to normal by mid-January.

As far as nightlife, basically none at the mountains. Hour and a half to Seattle from Crystal.
post #24 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by DesiredUsername View Post

Crystal did not get much early season snow last year.
Really? That's interesting. I thought they did get a lot considering they were one of the first in the country to open last year (October). Yes, it was a limited opening (and required some hiking if I recall correctly), but they still beat pretty much everyone else.
post #25 of 25

Crystal did open for a day in October after some early snow; it required uploading and downloading from the gondola with skiing at Green Valley. They limited the number of skiers due to basically having no packed snow under the fresh snow.  It did not last long and IIRC Crystal did not remain open beyond that one day until mid-November. Stevens beat them by a day for regular season opening and accumulated more snow over the next month. Baker actually had more snow than Stevens, but with the rocky terrain at Baker it requires more snow to have adequate coverage.    

 

The other thing with early season conditions in the PNW is the slopes aren't groomed until there is enough accumulation, so even easier blue runs can be pretty unruly and irregularly bumped up. Our moisture-laden snow packs down in clumps until there is enough snow to run a few snowcats, so rather than easy groomers, it's a f*@king crossfit workout.  I've seen people all stoked about their first day of the season, and then quit after a couple of runs because they are exhausted and sore.  Lots of times I question my skiing ability. :o

 

All besides the point; Crystal is a great skiing mountain, albeit with limited accommodations and no nightlife, per the OP's want list.  Whistler in my mind is a better bet, unless they don't have much snow.  Actually Sun Peaks is a better bet.   Had a great time there last Xmas.      

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