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Early Jan Skiing [travelers to N. America looking for off piste and powder]

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

My partner and I were looking at coming to North America for a ski holiday in early Jan and were unsure where would be the best place to go.

I understand that all resorts should be up and running at that point be we are looking for the resort with the best chance of off piste skiing and powder.

We are both advanced skiers and would prefer to not be restricted to groomed trails.

We were planning on going to Telluride however I'm concerned that it doesnt get enough snow early in the season.

Ideally the resort would also have a good town (one of the reasons we initially love the idea of Telluride compared to say snowbird/alta)

Any suggestions would be helpful!

post #2 of 14

How about Whistler? They have a decent chance of early snow and a great town

post #3 of 14

Where are you coming from and how long will you be staying?     

post #4 of 14

If you can wait to decide you could see how the snow falls in different regions and then choose from places like:

Jackson Hole

Telluride

Alta/Bird

Mammoth or Tahoe

Whistler

Steamboat

post #5 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by agreen View Post
 

How about Whistler? They have a decent chance of early snow and a great town


+1  Good idea.

 

Also, I have no first hand knowledge but it seems like every year, I am jealous of the Pacific NW areas like Mt. Baker for the photos they post of deep early season snow.

 

Have you checked out Tony Crocker's website? He has decades of statistics on snowfall at resorts across the US and Canada.

post #6 of 14
You might do a search on "ski town" to find great towns as opposed to ski malls.
post #7 of 14

Tony Crocker's website is fantastic. He has only the historic snowfalls.

Who know's?

 

Whistler is usually a good bet. Avoid the resorts with historically low snowfalls. 

post #8 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the replies, whistler sounds like the t could be an ideal option, we will be going for 10 days total. Will check out Tony s website now
post #9 of 14

Whistler can be great at that time of the year but it can also be raining in the resort and half way up the mountain with heavy wet snow at the top which is in cloud.  This can go on for days. . See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pineapple_Express

 

Steamboat Vail or Alta might be better choices?

post #10 of 14

There is no best choice if you are planning in advance, because you can't predict where/when it is going to snow.  Anyplace can be dry for a couple of weeks.  Snowbird/Alta - Salt Lake gives you the best shot at good snow and arguably access to the most off piste terrain from a SLC base (9 resorts), but you would probably be staying in a city. (potentially quiet evenings)  You could stay in Park City, but you take a step down in snow/terrain.  Even in SLC, powder is far from guaranteed for a 1 week stay.

 

Whistler is good w/ the terrain, but less reliable for good snow/weather than SLC.  I never skied Telluride, but I would question the reliability of coverage in early Jan, (as compared to SLC - where I wouldn't worry about it at that time), esp coming from outside US.  Also, maybe if you are used to skiing the Alps, you would get tired of being stuck in Telluride, 2,000 acres, for your entire trip. (compare that # to other destinations that have multiple resorts which add up to a lot more terrain).

post #11 of 14

One criteria OP mentioned was a 'good town' and specifically not Alta/Bird. So Park City yes, but then the snow/terrain options aren't out of the park better than CO and prob. not as good as Whistler.

 

Yes, Whistler can have dry spells and rain at the bottom, but by January the risk is less. (Crocker says Dec/Jan is best time to ski for less chance of rain at Whistler base) Also, you don't have to ski the bottom of the mountain (gondola down) and the top half is bigger and more varied than a lot of other "whole" resorts. Town is lively and diverse, even if contrived.

 

Still a good choice IMO, with the caveat that anything can  happen with the weather. (remember the Olympics?)

post #12 of 14

I'm not sure I'd deem Whistler a "town", really. And you should be prepared for rain at village level if you go there, or at least wet conditions, always a possibility. Whistler has great skiing, no doubt about that, but I personally wouldn't plan a dream vacation there if I was counting on a ski town setting. Not having data at my fingertips, I think I'd be tempted to go to Jackson Hole at that time of year, based on what you're looking for. And of course, the best plan of all would be to book last minute if possible, based on conditions, etc. 

post #13 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mom View Post

 

 

Still a good choice IMO, with the caveat that anything can  happen with the weather. (remember the Olympics?)

 At Whistler during the Olympics it dumped snow, so much that events had to be cancelled due to too much snow. I was there, my events were postponed so we skied instead. If you are thinking of the problems with no snow and with rain, that was at Cypress Mt.

 

Quote:
 I personally wouldn't plan a dream vacation there if I was counting on a ski town setting.

It depends on if they are really set on an historic town with all of that charm and character (like Telluride), or not. Whistler is a town--it has 10,000 permanent residents and all the things you'd expect in a town, in a very well developed, compact and pedestrian friendly package. But it was largely built in the late 20th century, I prefer the whole charm and character thing myself, but I have to give Whistler credit for the way its been developed (there is no sprawl and a minimum of chain stores) and for the variety of businesses, services, etc. It's definitely more than just a ski development. 

post #14 of 14

Thanks for the correction ;)

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