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Top 10 Most Uncrowded Resorts in North America - Page 5

post #121 of 144
Quote:
Originally Posted by DanoT View Post
 

I've had a PM this fall from someone who,after reading my unofficial guide to Sun Peaks, has decided to spend the winter at SP. Oh no.:eek

 

Not to worry though as SP is not on this Top 10 list. However the Burfield chair at SP is located about 2 miles from the SP Village and is at the top of the list of least crowded quad chairlifts in N.A. At over 10,000 feet long, the slow 22 minute ride from bottom to top scares off most visitors, who ride the Burfield chair once and never return. The shortest run from the top of the Burfield to the bottom is well over 2 miles long.:D

 

My M.O. on a powder day is to start from the SP Village, ski a bunch of powder runs while riding the high speed detachable chairs, then around 10 or 10:30 head to the Burfield and bag a bunch more powder runs where I am 1st or 2nd or 3rd down a bunch more runs, all black or double black diamond. It is almost like there are two different resorts, the one with all the amenities, a ski through village with 7 hotels, bars, restaurants and shops, and lots of other activities and then there is the Burfield side of the mountain, a seemingly private resort with a 1970s vibe including the most apply named run on the mountain which leads skiers from MT. Morrisey over to the Burfield base, called "Back In Time".

 

And then there is Castle Mountain in southern Alberta, the greatest mountain in N.A, that you have never heard of. (I think I have already posted about Castle in this thread but I haven't reread the thread)  According to the guy who plows the parking lot, he is one of 130 associates who own the mountain and who do not want to see any increase in the 90k annual skier visits. This is not enough skiers to make the place profitable but they also own the water and sewer system and the fees paid by the people with private homes, cabins and town houses on site make up the financial short fall. Now that you have read this paragraph, I am required to kill you or at least get you to swear to Castle Secrecy and vow never to ski there.:jedi:

Ive read a lot about Castle and in terms of terrain it has everything I could want. But for someone, like me, traveling from a great distance and booking in advance the fickle snow would be quite a risk and is what deters many I'm sure. If I lived in Calgary, I would go there after every decent dump and also after it snowed. Im surprised more people don't.

post #122 of 144
Quote:
Originally Posted by agreen View Post

Ive read a lot about Castle and in terms of terrain it has everything I could want. But for someone, like me, traveling from a great distance and booking in advance the fickle snow would be quite a risk and is what deters many I'm sure. If I lived in Calgary, I would go there after every decent dump and also after it snowed. Im surprised more people don't.

 



The wind. That and the terrain is majority advanced with little beginner and intermediate. As awesome as Castle is it doesn't appeal to your average beginner-intermediate skier. That brings up a good point though: many of these uncrowded resorts have some sort of "gotcha" which act as a deterrent to the masses. Its either geography, as Tony Crocker points out, weather or something else.
post #123 of 144
Last December 26/27th afton had more people check in than on the same days at Breck tracked thru epicmix. It was a perfect storm sort of speak for afton that weekend though, lull in the weather (had new snow plus 30 degree weather after weeks of sub-zero temp), Xmas break for kids and grown up, cabin fever, etc. It was absolutely nuts, but so was every mn resort during that weekend.
Quote:
Originally Posted by anachronism View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by focker View Post

 
From the above article:

'The busiest ski day in the resort's history was on December 29, 2013 with over 7,500 skiers'

Wow Afton Alps in MN has days with 10,000 paying customers.   I need to get to big sky...

10,000- really? I can't even fathom that.

A typical weekend crowd here is 1000 people. During Texas Invasion (Spring Break) we see up to 5500. Most of those of first timer level skiers that compress into the 600 acre conventional side of the ski area. Its a mess. Many of them fit the Texas stereotype- zero skill, but lots of "hey yall, watch this!"  Defensive skiing a must.

The flipside is that the other 1000 gladed acres on the Alberta side are less crowded than the typical weekend- the Texas crowd keeps out the people that would normally come up and ski the good stuff. I've had great powder days where it seemed that I was sharing the Alberta area with about 50 people while there was 15 minute waits on the base chairs (with lift stoppages every 1-2 minutes).

I have heard that Jackson Hole has a similarly low peak crowd number- something in the 5k range.

Last December 26/27th afton had more people check in than on the same days at Breck tracked thru epicmix. It was a perfect storm sort of speak for afton that weekend though, lull in the weather (had new snow plus 30 degree weather after weeks of sub-zero temp), Xmas break for kids and grown up, cabin fever, etc. It was absolutely nuts, but so was every twin cities resort during that weekend.
post #124 of 144

I was on a cat trip last winter with a father/son duo that have had season passes at Castle for 20 years.

They both agreed that they've had their best and worst days at Castle. 

 

"When it's good, it's really, really good.  When it's bad, it's really, really, really bad."

post #125 of 144
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lemon Zest View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by agreen View Post
 

Ive read a lot about Castle and in terms of terrain it has everything I could want. But for someone, like me, traveling from a great distance and booking in advance the fickle snow would be quite a risk and is what deters many I'm sure. If I lived in Calgary, I would go there after every decent dump and also after it snowed. Im surprised more people don't.

 



The wind. That and the terrain is majority advanced with little beginner and intermediate. As awesome as Castle is it doesn't appeal to your average beginner-intermediate skier. That brings up a good point though: many of these uncrowded resorts have some sort of "gotcha" which act as a deterrent to the masses. Its either geography, as Tony Crocker points out, weather or something else.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SHREDHEAD View Post
 

I was on a cat trip last winter with a father/son duo that have had season passes at Castle for 20 years.

They both agreed that they've had their best and worst days at Castle. 

 

"When it's good, it's really, really good.  When it's bad, it's really, really, really bad."

 

Pretty much every single ski resort in western Canada has some sort of minor flaw, be it poor lift layout and design, fluctuating temps, not enough snow, too much rain or too much fog, or weekend crowds, etc. Sometimes the flaw can have a silver lining such as less competition for powder or housing, less competition for finding a date (only applies to women), less competition for jobs, etc.

 

Over all though other than Whistler, the biggest, most evident things about skiing in western Canada compared to most of the US resorts, is the lack of people, the variety of terrain, and the high quality snow (most of the time).

 

Edit: I'm not saying that the US resorts don't have great terrain variety, or great snow, just that if you have never skied the western Canada Interior, the first time you do, you will ask yourself, "What took me so long?"

post #126 of 144
Quote:
Originally Posted by anachronism View Post
 

 

A typical weekend crowd here is 1000 people.

 

 

 

Yeah, I'm finding that hard to believe.  227,000 skier visits (a '11/'12 number I found) over ~170 days.  That's an AVERAGE daily of ~1,300 skiers.  There's no way the "typical weekend crowd" is less than the average daily.

 

:bs: 

 

EDIT- even if you subtract out 14 days of 5,500 skiers, you still get roughly an average daily of 1,000 skiers.


Edited by cmsummit - 9/26/14 at 9:18am
post #127 of 144
Quote:
Originally Posted by cmsummit View Post
 

 

Yeah, I don't think so.  227,000 skier visits (a '11/'12 number I found) over ~170 days.  That's an AVERAGE daily of ~1,300 skiers.  There's no way the "typical weekend crowd" is less than the average daily.

 

:bs:

 

Well, Christmas to New years and TX spring break sees about 5000 people per day as I said. Take the Christmas week and the 8 days from Sat to Sat over Spring Break, that's 75,000 skier visits in those 15 days and it definitely feels like it.

 

Take the remaining 150, 160k skiers a day over the remaining ~160 days, and well, 1000 people a day. That probably means I am lowballing weekends. but not by a huge amount- remember Wolf is well away from day skiing population centers and a lot of the skiing folk in Pagosa (Population 1700), and South Fork (population 376) aren't weekend warriors.

 

Most of Wolf Creek's visits year round come from destination skiers, making the place less sensitive to weekend insanity. looking more thoughtfully at the figures instead of spitballing like the post you quoted, I would guess the non-holiday average weekend sees about 1500.

post #128 of 144
Quote:

Pretty much every single ski resort in western Canada has some sort of minor flaw, be it poor lift layout and design, fluctuating temps, not enough snow, too much rain or too much fog, or weekend crowds, etc. Sometimes the flaw can have a silver lining such as less competition for powder or housing, less competition for finding a date (only applies to women), less competition for jobs, etc.

 

Over all though other than Whistler, the biggest, most evident things about skiing in western Canada compared to most of the US resorts, is the lack of people, the variety of terrain, and the high quality snow (most of the time).

 

Edit: I'm not saying that the US resorts don't have great terrain variety, or great snow, just that if you have never skied the western Canada Interior, the first time you do, you will ask yourself, "What took me so long?"

Actually those flaws are fairly significant.  The low skier density is the most consistent plus.  Terrain quality at many of them is excellent.  Snow reliability is all over the map, and there is no lift served snow quality in the consistent elite range of the top 6 in the US (Alta, Snowbird, Targhee, Brighton, Solitude and Wolf Creek).  Those six areas all get 10+ meters low water content snowfall, essentially zero rain incidence and are high altitude for good snow preservation.  

 

I've been systematically reviewing Canadian areas this week, and Powder King probably belongs on that elite snow list.  But it's so remote I haven't been there and I suspect even DanoT hasn't either.  Other than Powder King, only Whitewater and Whistler would crack the top 20 for overall snow reliability in North America.

 

Nonetheless, I'm up there every year, and I'm surprised more Americans aren't.

post #129 of 144
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Crocker View Post
 

Actually those flaws are fairly significant.  The low skier density is the most consistent plus.  Terrain quality at many of them is excellent.  Snow reliability is all over the map, and there is no lift served snow quality in the consistent elite range of the top 6 in the US (Alta, Snowbird, Targhee, Brighton, Solitude and Wolf Creek).  Those six areas all get 10+ meters low water content snowfall, essentially zero rain incidence and are high altitude for good snow preservation.  

 

I've been systematically reviewing Canadian areas this week, and Powder King probably belongs on that elite snow list.  But it's so remote I haven't been there and I suspect even DanoT hasn't either.  Other than Powder King, only Whitewater and Whistler would crack the top 20 for overall snow reliability in North America.

 

Nonetheless, I'm up there every year, and I'm surprised more Americans aren't.

 

Actually I have been there, back in the early 80s when Powder King was called Azu and located I think, a couple miles down the road from the current base area. It was mid December and I didn't actually ski there because they were waiting for a 6 foot deep settled base to cover the willows before they could open. I drove a friend from Kamloops up there so he could work in their ski shop for the winter. It took about 10 hours from Kamloops IIRC.

 

I stayed overnight at Azu (Powder King) and it was snowing so hard that the grader operator had to get up at about 2 am to plow the parking lot because if he waited until dawn there would have been too much snow on the ground for the plow to move around.:snowfall:D

post #130 of 144
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Crocker View Post
 

Actually those flaws are fairly significant.  The low skier density is the most consistent plus.  Terrain quality at many of them is excellent.  Snow reliability is all over the map, and there is no lift served snow quality in the consistent elite range of the top 6 in the US (Alta, Snowbird, Targhee, Brighton, Solitude and Wolf Creek).  Those six areas all get 10+ meters low water content snowfall, essentially zero rain incidence and are high altitude for good snow preservation.  

 

 

Not that I'm saying anything groundbreaking here, but it just blows me away to think that four of the six are basically in the same place. And near a major airport. 

post #131 of 144
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trekchick View Post
 

Another top 10 :D  I know how you all love these. 

But.....bear with me.  This could be one of the more accurate top 10 lists I've seen in a while. 

 

Top 10 Uncrowded Ski Resorts in North America 

  1. Telluride
  2. Big Sky
  3. Grand Targhee
  4. Steamboat @Finndog
  5. SunValley
  6. Revelstoke
  7. Sugar Loaf
  8. 49 Degrees North @Pete No. Idaho
  9. Crested Butte
  10. Moonlight Basin

Weird, I can make an arbitrary lists too!

 

Suprised Aspen Highlands, and closer to your home, Squamish didnt make the list.

post #132 of 144

Also, have you ever skied Sugarloaf, or anywhere in the East for that matter?  People are EVERYWHERE.

post #133 of 144
Quote:
Originally Posted by billtro11 View Post
 

Weird, I can make an arbitrary lists too!

 

Suprised Aspen Highlands, and closer to your home, Squamish didnt make the list.

 

Unless there is some other place named Squamish, the one that I know about is a town near Whistler and thus it is nowhere near Trekchick and it is not a ski area.

 

BTW in logging road construction when a section of road is built on purpose so that water comes off the high side cut bank and flows across the road, usually over top of bedrock, it is called a squamish.

post #134 of 144

you mean Skwxwu7mesh.

 

(the 7 could be for the number of ski resorts that have been proposed near by, none got to approval stage, so they are not crowded)

post #135 of 144

Shasta Ski Park during the week. You are the only one on the hill. Like Bridger Bowl during the week in the 1970s. The good old days. More lifts and faster lifts put more people on the hill, which degrades the quality of skiing. It is time to rethink the direction that skiing is going in America. We need more Shastas and Montana Snowbowls. Fewer Vails and Squaw Valleys.

post #136 of 144
Quote:
Originally Posted by OldSchool47 View Post
 

Shasta Ski Park during the week. You are the only one on the hill. Like Bridger Bowl during the week in the 1970s. The good old days. More lifts and faster lifts put more people on the hill, which degrades the quality of skiing. It is time to rethink the direction that skiing is going in America. We need more Shastas and Montana Snowbowls. Fewer Vails and Squaw Valleys.

If we have fewer Vails and Squaw Valleys then won't the Shastas and Snowbowls get crowds from the people who would otherwise ski Vail?

 

In B.C., Whistler gets all the hype and crowds and that leaves the rest the of B.C. resorts very, very uncrowded.

post #137 of 144
Quote:
Originally Posted by DanoT View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by OldSchool47 View Post
 

Shasta Ski Park during the week. You are the only one on the hill. Like Bridger Bowl during the week in the 1970s. The good old days. More lifts and faster lifts put more people on the hill, which degrades the quality of skiing. It is time to rethink the direction that skiing is going in America. We need more Shastas and Montana Snowbowls. Fewer Vails and Squaw Valleys.

If we have fewer Vails and Squaw Valleys then won't the Shastas and Snowbowls get crowds from the people who would otherwise ski Vail?

 

In B.C., Whistler gets all the hype and crowds and that leaves the rest the of B.C. resorts very, very uncrowded.

 

Good point @DanoT. The serious, hard-core skier knows how to find uncrowded slopes. The point of more and faster lifts and more ski hills is probably to get skiers out of lift lines and on the slopes. Lift lines have gone way down in the past 30 years. The problem now is too many skiers on the slopes.

 

I am going to build my own ski hill. I am going to get me 1000-1400 vertical feet in the western U.S. with enough good lines for 2 or 3 groomed runs and some challenging tree skiing. I am going to put in a bare bones rope tow and grip the tow with a modified nutcracker grip attached to a waist/butt belt. No crowds. Just me and my cohorts. 

post #138 of 144
Sounds like Turner. Also available for rental.
post #139 of 144
Quote:
Originally Posted by sibhusky View Post

Sounds like Turner. Also available for rental.

So, they are open to the public from Friday to Sunday and available for private rental from Monday to Thursday.  Might be an interesting concept for an EpicSki Gathering...our own mountain just for the Gathering to ski midweek.

post #140 of 144
Quote:
Originally Posted by DanoT View Post
 

So, they are open to the public from Friday to Sunday and available for private rental from Monday to Thursday.  Might be an interesting concept for an EpicSki Gathering...our own mountain just for the Gathering to ski midweek.

 

That's the kind of thing that would get me to a Gathering.

post #141 of 144
Quote:
Originally Posted by sibhusky View Post

Sounds like Turner. Also available for rental.

Unlike Shasta Ski Park, my impression  is that Turner has enough interesting ski terrain to get on the "uncrowded list."  Sibhusky?

post #142 of 144

Shasta Ski Park is an uncrowded hill with quality terrain. Black Fox/Horizon is a solid GS warm-up run. Sugar Pine is a nice line. Shasta has an excellent beginner area off the Marmot lift. 

post #143 of 144
Quote:
Originally Posted by sibhusky View Post

Based on what? Without seeing what their methodology is, I have a hard time believing that some of those guys beat us. I notice their trail count is out of date.

That's it...the Canadians are putting us over the top.

post #144 of 144
I have to confess I haven't been to Turner. My daughter has and enjoyed it and she is a far far far better skier than I am. But she was only there one time, for a fundraiser. It's actually further from me than Fernie.
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