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2004 Gathering - Page 2

post #31 of 136
Whistler/Blackcomb gets my vote. Easy enough, I'd think, for folks to fill condos, etc. Something of an international magnet, myriad nightlife options, ample terrain for skiers with different ambitions and ability, etc.

Second vote for Summit/Eagle, Colorado, for logistical purposes (reasonably easy access to Denver for fliers from east and west US coasts), diversity of lodging options, choices of different mountains, etc.

I am in Utah every year, anyway, so I won't vote for it here; but neither would I complain were it to be held there next year. Same with Tahoe.

If it's in Jackson Hole, I'd expect to pay more in air and lodging but would try to make it.

[ February 06, 2003, 09:07 AM: Message edited by: ryan ]
post #32 of 136
I'm not advocating any destination yet, but wanted to toss out some things to help shape the discussion:

1. Europe is not realistic for the main gathering event, though an additional European Gathering is certainly conceivable. (Americans do not need to worry about int'l travel to most countries in the world, it's just beyond the scope of the main gathering at this time due to EpicSki's demographic makeup)

2. Whistler has an extremely wide variety of terrain at ALL levels, low costs due to exchange rate, easy to get to, has a hostel for cheap lodging. For the pragmatists, this meets all the criteria including more convenient lodging (at the base of the mountain) than SLC. There probably isn't a better mountain in North America for the quantity and quality of terrain (the #1 criteria in the poll).

3. I have been informed that we might be able to get a very good accommodation deal in a package from Snowmass/Aspen -- which has exceptional terrain.

4. Jackson Hole has lots of intermediate terrain in addition to its famous steeps and we could as a group take over the hostel to keep costs low if we book early.

5. Last year we had a very big turn-out at Fernie, which is about as hard to get to as a resort can be.

6. SLC has the easiest logistics. But it also may be worth considering whether rotating venues creates a more distinct and memorable experience each year -- therefore making each event unique. There's always an excitement to discovering a new place and I wouldn't want the EpicSki Gathering to begin feeling routine.

I'm just thinking out loud here, not sure myself which is best. Just wanted to point out that there is more to the quality of an experience than how easy it is to execute.
post #33 of 136
Question about holding the Academy in Canada (assuming the Academy and Gathering will continue to be held at the same site). Is there any issue with the coaches working north of the border?

Although I would like to go to Whistler I also like the Banff area with Lake Louise, SunShine, Kicking Horse and Norqua (sp?) close by. And recent comments on another thread comparing the costs of Banff and Whistler make Banff very attractive. Not to mention the scenery which is unbelievably stunning.
post #34 of 136
Thread Starter 
One thought for Targhee / Jackson Hole.
On the road up to Targhee, theres is a hostel type lodge called Teton Teepee. http://tetonteepee.com/winter.htm
This place is nice n cozy, with private rooms, and a room full of bunk beds.
The main hall, doubles as the social / dinning hall,(meals are served family style/group setting) they even have keg fridge, so you can buy your own keg, and tap it there. Also they offer transportation to and from Targhee.
At the end of last season some of the patrollers i work with had thier end of season bash there. I and a few other met up with them and partied the night away. The next day we gathered at Targhee, and had a awesome time.
I like others here won't vote for Utah,but also wouldn't mind having it here again.
I have skied Jackson, mid season, and it wasn't all that exspensive. One doens't want to eat at all the nice resturants,that can take a huge chunk of change. There are plenty of family style places. And lodging can be easyly had.
Belive it or not Jackson Hole is more exspensive in the summer, than in the winter.
Getting there , you have two very good options.
You can fly in,Delta and another airline or two, offer flights from a few of the major cities.
Ot you can fly into slc, rent a car/ suv, and be there in about 5 hours.
Lost Trail, would be fun, but no on slope lodging. Salmon,Idaho( small ranching town, a few places to stay) is 50 - 60 miles south. Missula, Mt 100 miles, with plenty of smaller towns on the way, that all have small motels.
Getting to Missula, would be exspensive, one would most likely have to make airline connections, in Seattle,or Salt Lake.
post #35 of 136
Can anybody provide links with where these American resorts are? I haven't got a clue if your talking mid-west, north west, wild west or Mae west.

Pierre don't worry about your allergies we have a food substitute here that's developed from fruits (so it's heathly) - Schnaps.

I vote we should all go mountain biking instead,
Pros - Gonz could come along on his new bike
Cons - We still wouldn't know if Ryan was the better skier

post #36 of 136
Are we not tying the Academy together with the gathering? If so, then cost is probably a greater factor than terrain.

The advantage of slc is you can go to a whole bunch of resorts at the flip of a hat. Maybe we should consider staying in Park City? or is that too expensive? Plus, if it's this good in their worst snow year, there's not much to worry about with snow. Of course, Aspen or some other place would be cool too....

we're talking west here. Montana for Big Sky and Big Mountain and Wyoming for Targhee and Jackson Hole. Wyoming is north of Colorado and Montana is north of Wyoming. They're all north of Utah, but Utah usually gets better snow. (uh...I think...)

[ February 06, 2003, 12:05 PM: Message edited by: Tog ]
post #37 of 136
Just got home from another delightful day on the slopes. I love my job. Not one accident or ugly incident today. Just rip and carve all day long.

There are three main factors involved here as I see it.

1. Logistics, Denver/Summit County is about as central and easy to get to from anywhere in the Country.

2. Terrain, Copper, Keystone, Breckenridge, Vail/Bever Creek, ABasin, Loveland all within ten munutes.

3. Cost, More Condo's and Hotels for rent in a ten mile radius then anywhere.

Advantage for Lars, knows all of these areas like the back of my hand, has family there, will have a Son there next year, Bus system that will take you anywhere, knows all the good restaurants and Bars, Has Colorado card for cheap lift tickets, has Copper Card for cheap lift tickets. ETC.

There are many pros and cons, Altitude is high making for good snow but early thigh burn.ETC.

Whistler/Blackcomb is not a bad choice. It has everything we need, Variety of terrain, inexpensive housing, low altitude ETC. BUT- i've beenthere when the weather hosed me everyday. The chances of it raining on us in Utah and Colorado the whole trip is very slim- Advantage, USA

My vote goes with Summit County, with Utah a close second.

I wouldn't rule out Aspen/Snowmass area either, third choice

[ February 06, 2003, 03:08 PM: Message edited by: Lars ]
post #38 of 136
Another plug for Summit County CO. As Lars said numerous lodging options on the low end Hostel type lodging http://www.woodsinnbandb.com/bunks.html

Of course higher end ski in-out at all resorts, plus condos by the 100s if folks would like to share. You can often do this for about 35.00 a person per night.

Cheap lift tickets available with a little planning. Most offered a 4 pack on thier web pages early in the season for under 100.00.

If the academy is trying to attract all level of skiers not just "hard Core" the resort envoirnment is attractive to those that may bring non-skiers and children.
post #39 of 136
Regarding venue for 2004 Gathering (which hopefully will be linked to the Academy):

I'll go anywhere in western North America.

Copper/Summit Co. is appealing, with a lot of ski and lodging options, also home area to many Bears. Aspen/Snowmass would be great if we could get a decent deal. On the other hand, these areas can be kind of a zoo, and it might be fun to go to a more out-of-the-way place such as Big Sky or Big Mtn (fog is a detraction for the latter). I know Jackson has intermediate terrain, and if the conditions are good would be OK for stronger intermediates. But if the snow isn't good and the wind is howling, it's a pretty scary place. Targhee could be a good option in that case.

Or we could go back to Utah [img]smile.gif[/img]

I think one of the key success factors is LOTS of folks, so we need to not turn people off by picking a niche-type mountain, as appealing as that may be.

So many mountains, so little time!
post #40 of 136
I'd go back to Salt Lake anytime. What everyone else said - great access to any different areas, cheap lodging, really nice people, and a no-connections flight from most everywhere in the US due to Delta' hub there.

I love Whistler, but it's just too darn big and crowded for the Gathering to feel like we're really together there. And for the Academy, even more so - we'd never run into each other. Meeting up with the other groups, trading of the extra instructors, watching more advanced groups, was all part of the fun. At less-crowded medium-size area like Brighton, that's workable. At W-B, we might not all even be on the same mountain. Plus, given that Whistler runs and agressively markets their 4-day, small-group, same-instructor Ski Esprit program, they might very well see the Academy as unwanted competition.

Canada is definitely a possibility, thought. Fernie would be good again. I'd also really go for a Banff-based get-together. I think either Louise or Sunshine would work fine for it.
post #41 of 136
Well, since Summit Co is home away from home for me, I'd love to see the Bears gather there. It would certainly be an easier trip for me to make. But what started me on the Bear trips was the allure of seeing some new ski areas. It was the interest in seeing Tahoe and Fernie that got me going. Now I would have been to the Gathering this year, even though I had skied the SLC area before except scheduling conflicts kept me from getting there. Just happy to be able to squeeze in my trip with Tag Jr.

It sounds like the Academy was a great success. I don't know if I'll do the Academy next year simply because I can't get away for a whole week to do both the Academy and the Gathering.

Having spent one day of my trip skiing in the fog at Alta, and day one of the Gathering last year skiing in the rain, weather and snow conditions are just going to be a matter of luck. So far, the Bear's luck seems to running pretty good

I'd like to see it stay in US/Canada, but really location doesn't make much difference to me unless travel arrangements prove to be too much to make it reasonable for a "weekend" trip. Fernie last year was pretty close to being just a little too difficult to get to.
post #42 of 136
Although I am both aware and sympathetic to the exchange rate issues, there is one thing to keep in mind. In Utah, we were paying about $35 a night for lodging, and $34 a day for lift tickets! I highly doubt that any other place could match that, and even the best exchange rate could not compete with it. I love the Banff area, especially Sunshine. We were able to find inexpensive lodging, but inexpensive meant about $65-$75 a night.

There is also a convenience issue. How many vacation days do you want to take simply to travel? Canada is awesome, but you have a pretty long ride from the airport to get to most of the ski areas.

Colorado is a bit more convenient, but you still have a bit of a haul, as compared to Utah.

Just some thoughts to consider ...
post #43 of 136
This is a really interesting discussion, but I think many have not taken the time to look at what would get more people out to a gathering with their 'friends and families'. Sure, everyone here wants the skiing to be 'primo', but what if we found a destination where all the 'tag-alongs' got themselves a first class vacation experience even if they didn't get near the ski hills.

I suggest that this option exists in the Sierra's. The Reno-Tahoe area has the vacation options 'thing' polished to a 'T', and the skiing there is nothing to sneeze at. Many of our 'bears' call it home and have connections in the area that would make it a worthy competitor to any place on the continent. I would reccomend it as a site with the 'most' options.

My own preferences would be:

1. Whistler
2. Aspen-Snowmass
3. Tahoe
4. Utah
5. Banff
6. Jackson-Targhee
7. Summit County Co.

I sure hope to make it to next year's gathering, and applaud each and every one of you who work so hard to make it happen each year!!!! [img]smile.gif[/img]
post #44 of 136
BAH! "tag-alongs"?

what is this, Mediocre Bears Forum?

sometimes, this place makes me nauseous.

you want "family friendly"? I suggest hanging out with Paula's Ski Lovers. you'll love their Barney-like attitude over there, all-inclusive and never critical.

I don't care if Betty Sixpack hates Alta. I don't go to Alta to please Betty Sixpack. I go there to ski. I would hope that Betty's husband Elmer Sixpack feels likewise.

I suggest you have a summer gathering of families if you want to avoid the focus on terrain and snow. that will make it much easier to avoid the tension within families and between the Bears and the "tag-alongs."
post #45 of 136
Well, maybe not quite so harshly put but I was kind of thinking the same thing. [img]graemlins/angel.gif[/img] Not that I'm unsympathetic. It does not seem like so long ago that I would have been the non skiing tag along spouse.

But this is a SKIERS forum , and it would be best if decisions were made based on the best options for FORUM MEMBERS, as opposed to their non skiing families and friends. It is challenging enough to try to find places that are economically feasible and convenient for everyone on the forum, without having to consider non forum members.

As far as the Academy goes, once again, I think its infinitely more important that we choose a venue that's accessible to our absolute best coaches, as opposed to one that would work better for the student's non skiing family.

On the same note, I think its important that our decisions are made, once again, based on the needs of current forum members, as opposed to a friend of a friend of a friend who might attend if the gathering/academy was at such and such a place.

As far as apres ski night life goes, who the heck cares???? This is the 2nd bears gathering I have attended. Neither venue had that much "night life". But the company was so wonderful, you hardly noticed. I have also met other bears in social circumstances. This is an incredibly wonderful group of people, who would be great company ANYWHERE they got together.

I really hope this does not sound harsh. Having particpated just a little bit with the planning of this event, there is SO much that needed to be considered in terms of making it an excellent experience for the particpants themselves. Adding on considerations that do not involve the particpants may end up compromising the quality of either the academy or gathering
post #46 of 136

given your sterling attendance record, I find the particulars of your input here to be..."interesting" as always.
post #47 of 136
I think it depends on whom you’re trying to attract. If the locale is just for the "gathering" then I think LM and Gonz have a point. If your trying for more participation in the academy then I do think you need to consider "tag alongs".

Also there have been comments that the academy would like to have more beginners and never-evers attend. Those people may find a place like Alta, A-Basin, and Jackson Hole a bit intimidating. For those who cannot afford to take a separate vacation from their families or spouses and for those who are beginners it maybe nice to know that they will have other options available for activities.

Frankly I do not have strong feelings abut this. If the academy is held in Colorado I would plan on attending, if not well that is fine too.
post #48 of 136
I thank my esteemed colleague from California for his kind words on this subject, and I yield the rest of my time to my colleague from The People's Republic of Brookline.

post #49 of 136
One more thought.....those asking that tag alongs be considered ARE members, right?
post #50 of 136
Just a brief comment on this very entertaining (yet also productive) conversation:

This particular thread is to create the ideal list of venues for the Gathering, NOT the Academy. The gathering has unique needs that the Academy may or may not have, and the Academy needs are being assessed independently. We will eventually reconcile the two, but it is worthwhile to see what specific things the gathering should have to be as successful as possible independently of the Academy's requirements (because in some ways the Gathering has more demanding on-hill requirements).

Also, the Academy not only wants more newbies, but also more advanced/experts so the terrain conversation here may be relevant to the Academy -- but this thread is not about the Academy, so I'll shut up about it.

Now, carry on.
post #51 of 136
Originally posted by AC:
This particular thread is to create the ideal list of venues for the Gathering, NOT the Academy. The gathering has unique needs that the Academy may or may not have, and the Academy needs are being assessed independently.
Well in that case we are gonna need the following:

1) Steeps - Jackson Hole, Whistler, Tahoe and Taos get my vote.
2) Hot Tubs
3) Very hot, mid twenty year old "skier" girls in said hot tub.
4) Booze (see above)
5) Quality snow, see numero 1
6) Video camera, documentation is key...

Now, whos with me?!
post #52 of 136
Ok, upon further consideration, I have realized that I have attacked those of you with familys unjust. For this I appologize...

So, any of you out there with daughters that fit the above description, please feel free to bring your family member(s) along for the trip. [img]graemlins/evilgrin.gif[/img]
post #53 of 136
please remember to consider the poorest no-showing Bear of all as one of those who agrees with AltaSkier.

ummm, that would be me.

now, where are those extremely hot skier beautiful mid-20s women you talked about, AS? [img]graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img]
post #54 of 136
hmmm Taos? YEAH, why not! Another thought. As much as it was convenient to have the gathering and academy in the same state, I'm looking at the driving distances between different western resorts. Not much more than a typical New England weekend.
So if there is a really big discrepancy between where people want the academy and where people want the gathering, its not as big a problem as we may think.

And not to be snowoarder prejudiced {who me??? [img]tongue.gif[/img] } but one thing I learned from both Alta and DV. No matter how challenging the terrain, anything is easier without the knuckle draggers hanging around.
post #55 of 136
Originally posted by gonzostrike:
...I don't go to Alta...[/QB]
post #56 of 136
While the requirements for the Academy and the requirements for the Gathering may not be EXACTLY the same, having them near each other - meaning, you could keep the same lodging - is a definite factor. Otherwise, expect to have many from one not attend the other - and if that's what the members desire, fine. I just thought the idea was to have them juxtaposed.

While the Academy was at Brighton and the gathering started at Alta, Utah has the distinct advantage of having a number of great ski mountains within a relatively short distance from each other. The same would be true if the Academy were to be held at Aspen or Copper.

[ February 07, 2003, 07:01 PM: Message edited by: oboe ]
post #57 of 136
milesb--I'll say it again....you crack me up!

Kima and others are making a case for Colorado. Central US makes sense for snow quality, cover, and cost of lodging, etc. For East Coasters to fly to Whistler is spendy, and may be prohibitive. Having everything central is a big plus.
post #58 of 136
Although In an ideal world, the academy and gathering would be at locations which would not require a change of hotel, there may be a discrepancy of wants and needs, particularly for those who are only attending the gathering.

In a way, the idea behind the 2 events is somewhat different. The gathering has been, thus an exploration of different locations. The academy is an educational experience. Keeping it at the same place {brighton} would cut down on administrative hassles.

What I would suggest, is if the needs of the academy and gathering turn out tobe different, we plan them in the same time frame, with no more than 4-5 hours travel time between locations.

An example would be Wolf Creek, as Tom Birch suggested for the Academy and Taos.

I think that for both the gathering and the academy, we should use the prices we paid in Utah as a bargaining chip. At brighton, we were basically paying $70 a day for lift and lodging, and I reiterate, no matter how good the exchange rate is anywhere in Canada, that's going to be hard to match.

But if as place wants the business of either the academy, gathering or both, they will have to come up with a competitive price.

One thing I learned from Fernie. Don't jump at the first offer you get. Whatever that hotel on the highway was that suposedly gave us a group discount had cheaper rates posted on hoteldiscounts.com.
post #59 of 136
Just to respond to a couple of the comments on this thead, I would like to say:

I had gotten the understanding that the 'gathering' was intended to set a social skiing setting where the greatest number of members of the forum would have a chance to enjoy the skiing and the comradery of the largest number of fellow members. If I was wrong, and this is really all about a bunch of 'fanatics' going skiing, I rescend my prior comment.

Sure, everyone wants it to be a great place; but does the extreme terrain quotient have to outweigh other common sense decisions that the everyday family member of this forum has to make?

I think any of the preceding location suggestions would be acceptable on a 'skiing' basis, but is that all the gathering is to be about? Will this eventually turn into some type of 'elitist' event, or just a gathering of people who enjoy the sport of skiing?

post #60 of 136
Feal, just to clarify, the gathering is about comraderie. The point, that I at least was trying to make, is that this bunch of clowns {And I mean that endearingly} could have fun in the basement of a YMCA, so we realy do not need to be overly concerned about night life.
Although terrain is important, I do not believe we are trying to make this into an "elitists, fanatics" event. personally, I believe that we should try for areas that have a VARIETY of terrain. That's why Utah worked so well.

But again, I do not think that a MAIN priority should be whether an area has quaint little shopping villages for the non skiing wife. There are just too many other factors to be considered.
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