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Best Tree Skiing In North America - Page 7

Poll Results: Best Tree Skiing In N.America

 
  • 8% (6)
    MRG
  • 4% (3)
    Sugarbush
  • 18% (13)
    Steamboat
  • 5% (4)
    Wolf Creek
  • 5% (4)
    Jay Peak
  • 4% (3)
    Gore Mountain
  • 0% (0)
    Mammoth
  • 53% (38)
    Other
71 Total Votes  
post #181 of 193
Jay probably does have the most optimistic snow reporter in the East. That being said, for someone who claims to have lived slopeside at Jay, you seem conveniently unaware of the phenomenons of wind and freeze/thaws.
post #182 of 193
Quote:
Originally Posted by qcanoe View Post

A week ago there was 14" of good snow in my yard. Now there is a 3" thick slab of Formica.

You mean 3" of good base, right?
post #183 of 193
Quote:
 Jay probably does have the most optimistic snow reporter in the East.

It's those EB-5 investors, they have a guaranteed snowfall rate built in to their US visas...   :rolleyes  Gotta keep the investors happy!

post #184 of 193
Quote:
Originally Posted by DesiredUsername View Post


Schweitzer gets 300" a year, and since we're talking about numbers and measurements, there's 2900 acres and not a whole lot of skiers, maybe 215,000 skier visits a year. So the trees probably are less busy and tracked out than most places in the East.

 

Certainly true.  However, for even the busiest resorts in the east, with just a little nosing around it's easy to find places that see very few skiers.  As for issues with rain etc., looking at the weather is certainly a good thing for skiing in the northeast.  But, as a crude solution, January and February work reasonably well in northern VT and NH against this. 

post #185 of 193

I think it is safe to say the Jay's conditions are a bit more hit and miss than Whitefish.  I seldom book in advance anymore.  It is a case of go when it snows.  I think Jay's snow reports are a bit on the optimistic side.  They have gotten better in the last season or 2 about mentioning things like rain, a subject they once studiously ignored or so it seemed to me.  I have not noticed significantly increased lift lines or on mountain traffic since the advent of new hotels, water parks, etc.  They do, IMO have the best tree skiing in the east.  I have spend entire days mining the side country off the Jet.  But Jay has always been and always will be hit or miss because without a fresh dump - what's the point?

 

So since I am thinking about retiring in Whitefish, tell me more about the southern exposure and temperature issues there.  I had thought that because it is so far north, and it was sooo cold when I skied there last February that they would be more consistent in the area of snow quality.  

post #186 of 193

55% southern exposure... so again, January and Feb, and fog, are going to be your friends snow-wise there.

post #187 of 193
There is someone I won't name who goes on about the exposure. But either I never ski the front or it's not a problem. Remember, we are known for our fog. It would be tough to get a sunburn here. Maybe starting mid March you'll be thinking about exposures, but only if we had a bluebird day. Prior to that, you're probably thinking more about wind direction, trying to find the deeper areas.

Also, the "front" is actually quite large and has more than just this dreaded southerly aspect. Toni Matt and Inspo you have to worry. But you've still got the huge open trees of Good Med, which face somewhat away from the sun. You've got the face-every-direction slopes of the North Bowl. Just slight tilts in the aspect can have a huge impact. Plus we have all these trees here, sheltering the snow.

It definitely becomes a time of year that the casual visitor has to pay just a bit of attention to direction. But what ski area doesn't have that? Maybe one that only faces one way? We face every way. I think that's a benefit myself.
post #188 of 193

Depends how important snow conditions are to someone as to whether that southern exposure matters.  In March (and this applies to other resorts with meaningful southern exposures, too, e.g. Jackson has a much smaller but meaningful piece of south-facing) just a cute little hour or two of the sun peeking through and you have mush.  But, there's a lot more to retirement than just snow getting baked in March after a good season.

post #189 of 193

True.  We have a list of pros and cons and so far the pros greatly outweigh the cons.  

post #190 of 193
Revelstoke hands down best tree skiing in North America.
post #191 of 193
Quote:
Originally Posted by qcanoe View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by sibhusky View Post

Jay and Stowe have more snow? Per Tony Crocker, not so you would notice.

Jay. 327.
Stowe. 313
Schweitzer. 280
Whitefish. 327

Range of snowfall over a whole season, on average, 33 inches. And that's snowfall, not base, so .275 inches a day or so. It would be nice to know the average base depth, that might actually tell you about deadfall coverage. Looks like the freshie experience is close.

Again, and at the risk of agreeing too much with fishfryer, snowfall means nothing here compared with tracking what remains after the thaws and rainstorms. A week ago there was 14" of good snow in my yard. Now there is a 3" thick slab of Formica.

It is interesting that all of these places get similar amounts of snow.  Schweitzer measures low on its elevation range while the others measure higher up.  Actually Jay measures as high as they can and claims 355.  They track a lower reading but don't publish it.  I get that at the end of the season and average the two. 

 

With regard to Jay's credibility or lack thereof, there was a discontinuity after 1999.  Before that snow was probably measured at a mid elevation.  Averaging upper and lower for post-2000 seems to fit fairly well with the prior stats.   In terms of absolute numbers, there are a couple of weather geeks in Waterbury and Burlington that measure snow around Bolton and Stowe, and they swear by the low 300 range for those places.  The same sources admit that Jay gets more, but only a little more.  So all of this is my rationale for accepting the figures above.

 

Qualitatively Jay is very wind exposed and by observation my one day there plus numerous reports, wind often blows the snow into the woods, leaving the "formica" on the trails.  I have little doubt that Stowe on the leeward side of Mt. Mansfield with trivially less snowfall has better conditions than Jay most of the time.

 

At any rate qcanoe hit the nail on the head by reminding us that the snow issues of Vermont vs. western areas are mainly due to bad preservation with low altitude, humidity and particularly rain being the culprits.  Another contributing factor is much higher skier density on the trails, particularly when you compare to unusually low density areas like Schweitzer and Whitefish. 

 

Quote:
There is someone I won't name who goes on about the exposure. But either I never ski the front or it's not a problem. Remember, we are known for our fog. It would be tough to get a sunburn here. Maybe starting mid March you'll be thinking about exposures, but only if we had a bluebird day. Prior to that, you're probably thinking more about wind direction, trying to find the deeper areas.

Also, the "front" is actually quite large and has more than just this dreaded southerly aspect. Toni Matt and Inspo you have to worry. But you've still got the huge open trees of Good Med, which face somewhat away from the sun. You've got the face-every-direction slopes of the North Bowl. Just slight tilts in the aspect can have a huge impact. Plus we have all these trees here, sheltering the snow.

It definitely becomes a time of year that the casual visitor has to pay just a bit of attention to direction. But what ski area doesn't have that? Maybe one that only faces one way? We face every way. I think that's a benefit myself.

I wonder who that is. ;)  There is no question that the chronic overcast and fog neutralizes the exposure issue in the winter.  The cold and the temperature inversions have the same beneficial effect at Jackson.  But then  the cold moderates and the temperature inversions rarely happen in March.  I don't know  when the chronic cloudiness at places like Schweitzer, Whitefish and Big White starts to break up, but when over your half your mountain faces south, there's not a large margin for error because:

Quote:
just a cute little hour or two of the sun peeking through and you have mush.

And the steeper the terrain is, the more dramatic the effect.  If you don't believe me check out Montana Snowbowl sometime, where I had a corn snow day on February 4: http://www.firsttracksonline.com/boards/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=10013.  I think that's why VolantAddict refers to the sun as "the evil orb." So I also don't buy the claim that

Quote:
Maybe starting mid March you'll be thinking about exposures

If that's true at Whitefish, it's because the sun doesn't come out before mid-March.

 

The reason I go on about the exposure is that we get the steady stream of questions about where people should go for spring breaks.  When Mammoth, Bachelor, AltaBird, the Whistler Alpine, Banff/Lake Louise and most of Colorado are usually still in full-on winter mode, it makes little sense to me why someone would choose someplace we know the conditions will be variable at best and heinous at worst during the 85% of days it's not snowing.  And unlike snowfall, altitude/exposure are predictable constants for each ski area. 


Edited by Tony Crocker - 12/16/14 at 11:07pm
post #192 of 193
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Crocker View Post
 

It is interesting that all of these places get similar amounts of snow.  Schweitzer measures low on its elevation range while the others measure higher up.  Actually Jay measures as high as they can and claims 355.  They track a lower reading but don't publish it.  I get that at the end of the season and average the two. 

 

With regard to Jay's credibility or lack thereof, there was a discontinuity after 1999.  Before that snow was probably measured at a mid elevation.  Averaging upper and lower for post-2000 seems to fit fairly well with the prior stats.   In terms of absolute numbers, there are a couple of weather geeks in Waterbury and Burlington that measure snow around Bolton and Stowe, and they swear by the low 300 range for those places.  The same sources admit that Jay gets more, but only a little more.  So all of this is my rationale for accepting the figures above.

 

Qualitatively Jay is very wind exposed and by observation my one day there plus numerous reports, wind often blows the snow into the woods, leaving the "formica" on the trails.  I have little doubt that Stowe on the leeward side of Mt. Mansfield with trivially less snowfall has better conditions than Jay most of the time.

 

At any rate qcanoe hit the nail on the head by reminding us that the snow issues of Vermont vs. western areas are mainly due to bad preservation with low altitude, humidity and particularly rain being the culprits.  Another contributing factor is much higher skier density on the trails, particularly when you compare to unusually low density areas like Schweitzer and Whitefish. 

 

I wonder who that is. ;)  There is no question that the chronic overcast and fog neutralizes the exposure issue in the winter.  The cold and the temperature inversions have the same beneficial effect at Jackson.  But then  the cold moderates and the temperature inversions rarely happen in March.  I don't know  when the chronic cloudiness at places like Schweitzer, Whitefish and Big White starts to break up, but when over your half your mountain faces south, there's not a large margin for error because:

And the steeper the terrain is, the more dramatic the effect.  If you don't believe me check out Montana Snowbowl sometime, where I had a corn snow day on February 4: http://www.firsttracksonline.com/boards/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=10013.  I think that's why VolantAddict refers to the sun as "the evil orb." So I also don't buy the claim that

If that's true at Whitefish, it's because the sun doesn't come out before mid-March.

 

The reason I go on about the exposure is that we get the steady stream of questions about where people should go for spring breaks.  When Mammoth, Bachelor, AltaBird, the Whistler Alpine, Banff/Lake Louise and most of Colorado are usually still in full-on winter mode, it makes little sense to me why someone would choose someplace we know the conditions will be variable at best and heinous at worst during the 85% of days it's not snowing.  And unlike snowfall, altitude/exposure are predictable constants for each ski area. 

 

Don't forget the effects of latitude as well. When the sun shines in Canada in winter it is at a much lower angle than in the more southerly USA and thus less intense. The days are shorter in Canada in winter as well and therefore the amount of sunshine is reduced. Right now as the shortest day of the year approaches the official sunrise near Sun Peaks is right around 7am and sunset 4 pm.

 

Another (opposite) example: last June when the NHL Stanley Cup playoffs where being played in Los Angles they showed an outdoor shot of L.A. and outside the rink at 9:30 pm it was pitch black and the lights of the city were shining. Meanwhile outside my door near Sun Peaks and in the same time zone, it was so light out that you wouldn't need to turn on your headlights to drive a car.

post #193 of 193
Quote:
 Qualitatively Jay is very wind exposed and by observation my one day there plus numerous reports, wind often blows the snow into the woods, leaving the "formica" on the trails.  I have little doubt that Stowe on the leeward side of Mt. Mansfield with trivially less snowfall has better conditions than Jay most of the time.

 

So If I ski on the south side I'll get mush and If I ski on the north side all the snow will be blown off. There's just no pleasing you. ;)

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