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Intermediate Midwest Skier?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

Interesting experience for me.  Starting skiing 3 years ago in my middle age (50 now).  Living in a Chicago suburb, local skiing is large hills in Wisconsin.  Prior three seasons, finished the year with a spring trip in the Rockies (2 in Steamboat and 1 in Deer Valley).  This year, first time on skis was at Alta in January for three days.  My son and I had an a great trip and I felt we greatly advanced our skiing due to having an awesome private instructor.  Taking an quick "vacation" day, went to Wilmot, WI on Friday (2/13) and had an "okay" ski day.  First it was overcast and cold.  The hill has no features.  I was tentative due to icy conditions and that was the only "feature" I could see.  So, my comment to anyone in the Midwest who thinks the Rockies is "too difficult" is go west because the skiing is much better and more consistent.  My question is should I continue to beat myself up for thinking a Wisconsin hill was more "difficult" than Alta?

post #2 of 12

You shouldn't beat yourself up.  If you are an intermediate skier and stick mainly to the trails or groomers, the biggest factor dictating difficulty is really surface conditions. Of course there is much more difficult terrain available at Alta, so thinking Alta is less difficult is wrong, however it is definitely reasonable to think that what you were skiing at Alta is less difficult than what you skied in Wisconsin. Being an east coaster, I know the feeling.

 

Also, given the wide variety of terrain offerings at most mountains, especially large resorts, a certain area (i.e. the rockies) is never going to be too difficult for anyone.  I mean people who live out there need to learn to ski too.

post #3 of 12

Skiing more, if various conditions, will always make you better.

 

IMO ski all you can, experience every condition you can.   That way you'll be preared for any possible condition out west and have more fun when you do go.

post #4 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by peter60521 View Post
 

Interesting experience for me... went to Wilmot, WI on Friday (2/13) ...  I was tentative due to icy conditions...

 

 It's not ice unless it's clear enough to see a fish through it. 

 

Work on your edging skills and learn to love the fast little hills we have around here.

post #5 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by peter60521 View Post
 

So, my comment to anyone in the Midwest who thinks the Rockies is "too difficult" is go west because the skiing is much better and more consistent.  My question is should I continue to beat myself up for thinking a Wisconsin hill was more "difficult" than Alta?

 

No, you should not beat yourself up.  I am from Northwest Indiana (I'm on the board of the Chicago Metro Ski Council - skicmsc.org).  I learned to ski in the midwest, Indiana, Wisconsin and Michigan.  Because of the thaw/freeze cycles we get in this area the slopes are typically "boiler plate" or blue ice.  Or think of it more as a frozen pond tilted up on an edge.  These conditons are not easy to ski on.  The one thing that makes these slopes a little safer is they are short with a vertical drop from 150' - 700' and then it is flat making stopping easier.

 

Going out west you rarely if ever find that kind of ice.  So from that stand point skiing Wisconsin can be more difficult than skiing Alta.

post #6 of 12
Park City and Deer Valley are very easy, so they are good places for intermediates. Many other resorrts have trails that are good for intermediates, but as said there are also some expert trails where you could get into a mess of trouble. As long as one checks where they are going and looks at trail maps, skiing out west caan be very easy. I skied on NE ice until I was 24.
post #7 of 12
Learning to ski back east as a teenager was great (I'm from Pittsburgh). If you can learn to ski with control in Eastern or Midwestern ice it will serve you well no matter where you ski.
I'm always skeptical when people throw around the term "icy" in Utah. If they only knew!
post #8 of 12

I don't think you should beat yourself up, but I don't think it's a fair comparison either.  There's only 2 places in the Midwest that I'm aware of that ever get compared to anything out west.  Lutsen, MN has just under 1100 feet of vertical, 95 runs (groomed, ungroomed, tree skiing etc).  Mount Bohemia in the upper peninsula of Michigan.  The UP is right in the "Snow Belt" and gets hammered with plenty of snow.  I think they had 120 inches of snowfall before November was over.  I think their warning sign says something to the effect that, "Mount Bohemia is unlike any other ski area in the Midwest.  Much of the terrain is very advanced or expert only, even by 'Rocky Mountain' standards.  No beginners allowed.  Reckless behavior on Mount Bohemia can kill you."  Pretty sobering stuff.  

Aside from that, we get to ski on the hard pack, boiler plate, ice...call it whatever you want.  All I know is that it's hard enough stuff that lately, if you want to stop for a minute to check your cell phone or whatever, you literally have to pound your ski pole into the "snow" with a closed fist in order to get it to stand up.  Even when it's sunny, the snow doesn't soften up like it does out west.  It's too darn cold.  I'm not complaining, I love to ski and I'll still go even when it's a few degrees below zero.  I just look like the Michelin Man while I'm out there from all the layers I have on.  

Out west, the mountains are beautiful, they have quality snow compared to us, and the runs are long and steep.  It certainly left me wanting more, and given the choice, I'd rather be there.  I'm not ashamed to say I'm a groomer zoomer.  You won't find me hiking into the back country out there and skiing off cliffs and doing things that the people who live there get to do on a regular basis.  I don't have the knowledge, skills or experience.  I'm ok with that.  That's my 2 cents worth.

post #9 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by checksix68 View Post
 

  Lutsen, MN has just under 1100 feet of vertical

 

More like 800 feet of vertical, unless you listen to their marketing folks.

post #10 of 12

They are stating 825 now on everything they release...   were stating 900 for a long time...

post #11 of 12

Mountain Vertical, looking at it the way they do (maximum vertical that would be typically skied) only lists Lutsen at 760.

post #12 of 12
Thread Starter 

Went back to Wilmot yesterday (Presidents Day).  Sunny and much softer snow.  Completely different experience.  Great conditions to work on skills.  To some comments above, Midwest definitely provides different snow experiences on a daily basis.  

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