I think Strawberry at Snowbasin has terrain you would really love. It will be sketchy that early if it's a low snow year, but then so will a lot of Park City and Deer Valley. Staying in SLC and making day-to-day plans is the way to go. You can swing by a ski shop early each morning (or the prior evening) and buy discounted lift tickets for the area you choose each day. If snow is on the low side you'll want more time at Alta and Brighton, maybe Solitude. If there's a lot of snow your plan looks fine. When you get to Colorado I'd put the Beaver Creek day at the beginning not the end as that time will be busier and Beaver Creek is the area of choice for crowd avoidance.
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Colorado Ski Tour [from TX, late Dec to early Jan] - Page 3post #61 of 2358/12/15 at 1:08am
Gear mentioned in this thread:post #62 of 2358/16/15 at 8:10pmThread StarterThat sounds pretty good. I'm actually thinking of replacing Snowbasin with Snowbird because of everything I've heard about the Bird and how snow sure it is. Also, Tony Crocker, your snow website is pretty awesome. I'm thinking if it is a low snow year I'll just stick with LCC and BCC like you suggested. If it is a good snow year, I will probably add a day at DV. I've read a lot of really awesome things about their tree skiing. The nice thing about SLC is we can decide when we're there like you said. Can anyone comment on the terrain at Snowbird? I consider myself a strong intermediate, but Im still afraid I'm not good enough to ski the blacks at Snowbird. Are there any ones that are easier?post #63 of 2358/16/15 at 8:21pmQuote:Originally Posted by obsessedtxskier
That sounds pretty good. I'm actually thinking of replacing Snowbasin with Snowbird because of everything I've heard about the Bird and how snow sure it is. Also, Tony Crocker, your snow website is pretty awesome. I'm thinking if it is a low snow year I'll just stick with LCC and BCC like you suggested. If it is a good snow year, I will probably add a day at DV. I've read a lot of really awesome things about their tree skiing. The nice thing about SLC is we can decide when we're there like you said. Can anyone comment on the terrain at Snowbird? I consider myself a strong intermediate, but Im still afraid I'm not good enough to ski the blacks at Snowbird. Are there any ones that are easier?
Have you found the EpicSki Unofficial Guide for Snowbird yet? Look on the menu bar for the link to Unofficial Guides.
If Mineral Basin is open with good visibility, you'll find plenty of terrain to experiment with. It's a huge bowl, so you can easily get a preview before trying harder terrain.
Lots of good pics here from last season:post #64 of 2358/16/15 at 8:58pm
In general, when you go to a new ski area, check beforehand and see if they have a free mountain tour. Tours are usually on blue groomers but the host can tell you about the black trails and ungroomed terrain along the way. Snowbird has tours twice a day I think. Can be worth the hour or so. You can always peel off early if you aren't getting that much out of the tour.post #65 of 2358/17/15 at 9:05pmQuote:Can anyone comment on the terrain at Snowbird? I consider myself a strong intermediate, but Im still afraid I'm not good enough to ski the blacks at Snowbird. Are there any ones that are easier?
Snowbird is the site of my annual timeshare week (except next year) since 1996 and in general my favorite ski area. It's a horrible place for beginners, and low-to-mid-intermediates tend to get weary of Snowbird after a couple of days. It's fairly steep top to bottom so if you're wedging or stemming a lot to control speed you can get tired in a hurry. On the other hand, my observation is that high school kids are often well conditioned from sports, so put them in a place like Snowbird and they are working hard but can still ski all day and enjoy it. Consider taking a lesson or group clinic at either Alta or Snowbird. Both have excellent instructors.
The blues at Snowbird would be black on most mountains. Alta's blues on the other hand are mostly mainstream blue. Quite a few of those intermediates who don't like Snowbird do like Alta. Black on either mountain should be taken seriously and will in general be much steeper than the places you have just skied in Colorado. Both areas are fairly wide open. Observe the terrain and the skiers while you're riding lifts to see how comfortable you might be.
The other issue with Snowbird in December is that it needs about a 50-inch base for good coverage. Alta has a higher base elevation, tends to get covered a bit earlier and skis quite well on 3 feet or so of base. In normal years LCC base depths would be past 50 inches by Christmas, but that was not the case in 3 of the past 4 seasons.
My timeshare week is in March and even if not staying there I would probably ski Snowbird 2-3x as often as Alta then. In December with a lower snowpack I would probably ski Alta at least as often as Snowbird.
Edited by Tony Crocker - 8/18/15 at 3:25pmpost #66 of 2358/18/15 at 2:20pm
I've been skiing Christmas week at Snowbird for the last 10+ years. Snowbird is a very technically demanding ski area with the blacks being quite steep and challenging. The type of strong intermediate skier that you are will determine how much you will enjoy the resort. If you have a high level of fitness and don't mind exerting alot of muscle to work for your turns while you are skiing, then you'll enjoy Snowbird. However, if you are looking for a laid back, cruising type of mountain on steep slopes, you will find Snowbird too tiring and probably too scary. Also, Snowbird gets a lot of snow and everyone thinks that they'll enjoy it. However, the fresh powder quickly gets tracked out and skiing crud and bumps in snow that can come up to your thighs can be overwhelming and exhausting. Years ago, I invited an intermediate-level friend to Snowbird at Christmas and he was overwhelmed by the huge amount of snow which was falling and the steepness of the mountain. He now skis at Beaver Creek and doesn't come back to Snowbird.
I've never thought that Snowbird did not have enough snow by Christmas time. Maybe the resort was not open 100% but its always been open at least 80%.
Finally, I don't think you should think of Snowbird in isolation. Get the combined lift ticket with Alta. The feel of Alta is quite different than Snowbird, and hence, complementary. You will find a lot of comfortable cruisers and the blacks are generally less demanding than Snowbird. Just ski between the two resorts during the day based on your mood and what type of terrain you are looking for.
The free mountain guides are a good idea. They are free and the guides are quite friendly. They are not permitted to take you on the blacks but they can point them out to you and meet you at the bottom of a black run if you establish the right rapport with them.post #67 of 2358/18/15 at 2:53pm
I consider myself a strong intermediate and I had a fabulous time with my first visit to Snowbird last year in January. Having said that, I spent almost all of my time on groomed terrain (which there was a lot more than I was expecting). There is plenty of really fun intermediate terrain in Mineral Basin and the Gad 2 area. I must say, it is shocking how quickly EVERYTHING gets tracked out after a nice snowfall there at Snowbird. I know the regulars have their "stashes", but I sure never found them.post #68 of 2358/19/15 at 10:23pmQuote:
I once did this at Blackcomb. A private tour since I was the only one to show up! We looked down Couloir Extreme (formerly named
Saudan Couloir) from a blue run. I suggested we do it. "No, No that's NOT on the tour" ! LOL It was first run I did after the tour.post #69 of 2358/20/15 at 11:33amThread Starter
I read the unofficial guides for some of the resorts, lots of good stuff. Most of those resorts seem to have free mountain tours and I plan on taking a couple.Quote:
This is true, I play football and am in good shape. Additionally I work on my uncle's ranch for a month in the summers in Wyoming at about 6500 feet of elevation. Our last ski trip was to Utah and Wyoming and we combined it with school visits. We skied 4 consecutive days at Grand Targhee, Park City, and Canyons, and I was bummed at the end because despite skiing hard everyday, I still had so much energy!
The Utah part of this trip is still dependent on whether the GPs want to drive the extra 6-7 hours to Salt Lake. The upside is that while Salt Lake lacks the charm of a ski town, there would be plenty for them to do. If not, I'm looking at the 4 by 40 pass for Winter Park and Steamboat or Aspen for that first week.
Edited by obsessedtxskier - 8/21/15 at 3:37pmpost #71 of 2358/23/15 at 1:56pmQuote:
As made evident here, if you meet any friendly people in CO it's most likely the people that are from TX, not the ones that grew up there. Fortunately, there are quite a few Texans that now live in CO, which helps make it more tolerable.post #72 of 2358/23/15 at 2:36pmQuote:
Texan here and tired of the anti-Texan racism. Lets settle it with a race POWHOUND 2!!! Groomer, moguls, trees, steeps or powder...Downhill, Super G, GS or SL...I'm easy to spot...Texan in Spandex ...you in?Quote:
That's the friendly skier attitude right there.
Edited by Snowfan - 8/23/15 at 6:04pmpost #73 of 2358/23/15 at 6:33pmpost #74 of 2358/23/15 at 7:53pmThread Starterpost #75 of 2358/24/15 at 5:12amWell maybe a tad harsh, but we get your point. Fellow Texan that learned to ski when I moved to PA. Anti-Texan bias lives everywhere! But let's try to keep it Texas friendly. Have a great trip!post #76 of 2358/24/15 at 3:04pmThread StarterQuote:
You're right, it was harsh, not something I want to respond with, but I'm tired of guys like that and all the crap we get. The members of this website are not the luxury vacationers crowding the mountains and making the slopes dangerous. I'm probably just going to edit that post to keep the Texan friendly tradition alive herepost #77 of 2358/24/15 at 3:10pmThread StarterQuote:
Keep an eye out for me on the slopes! The Dumb Texan in me will be apparent with my normal ski apparel and the way I ski like I'm from the Rockies......post #78 of 2358/24/15 at 3:35pmQuote:
Dude, is this you? Taken from Wolf Creek in 2013/2014- although I saw the same dude the previous year.
If you can't tell by all the outside seats being taken, it was 50*. I was wearing short sleeves. I can't imagine how hot it must have been in a ghillie suit.post #79 of 2358/24/15 at 3:43pmQuote:
Huh. Of this guys 25 posts, roughly 40% bash Texas and another 40% bash Vail. The rest boast about his ski exploits.
Did somebody set up a parody account of me? ;)
In reality, I'm pretty cool with folks from Texas- I just struggle with patience of the whole lift stoppage stuff and I reserve my right to laugh when the situation warrants. :)post #80 of 2358/24/15 at 6:50pmThread StarterQuote:
How'd you find me?Quote:Originally Posted by anachronism
Huh. Of this guys 25 posts, roughly 40% bash Texas and another 40% bash Vail. The rest boast about his ski exploits.
Did somebody set up a parody account of me? ;)
In reality, I'm pretty cool with folks from Texas- I just struggle with patience of the whole lift stoppage stuff and I reserve my right to laugh when the situation warrants. :)
Seems like a nice guy.....
The lift stoppage thing KILLS me too, but I try to deal with it cause 10 years ago that was me
It's always a good laugh when people fit into the stereotype thoughpost #81 of 2359/4/15 at 10:52pmThread Starterpost #82 of 2359/5/15 at 5:33ampost #83 of 2359/5/15 at 5:56am
I'm pretty good at stating the obvious: water skiing "on" Lake Tahoe, unless you fall and then you are "in" Lake Tahoe.post #84 of 2359/5/15 at 8:10amThread StarterQuote:
I mean the Lake Tahoe area, not on the lake. I thought this was obviously a snow skiing forum 😂post #85 of 2359/5/15 at 8:28amQuote:Quote:
@obsessedtxskier: Don't mind the old guys . . . you wrote "at" but neither of them noticed. Bet they didn't have their reading glasses on.
There is a lot of variety in the Tahoe area ranging from relatively small areas frequented mostly by locals like Homewood to major destination resorts like Squaw and Northstar that attract people from all over the world. North Tahoe and South Tahoe are quite different IMHO. What they have in common is the fact that people from the San Francisco Bay area can do day trips or weekend tips pretty easily. Travelers can fly to Reno and drive an hour to North Tahoe. Lodging and food can be relatively cheap in South Tahoe because of the casinos on the Nevada side. Bottom line is that it can get pretty crowded on the slopes if you don't know where to go on weekends or during holiday periods.post #86 of 2359/5/15 at 8:44am
As marznc said - don't mind us old farts.
We just like to stir the pot a bit. Skiing is really good at the Lake Tahoe areas (when there is snow). I spent a season at Squaw (11/12) and it was good - second half of the season anyway. However, they have been having a few bad seasons lately so the tease.
Never know what it will be this season. Mother Nature have not clear her coming season's intentions with me - yet.post #87 of 2359/5/15 at 2:04pmThread StarterQuote:Squaw is definitely a place I would like to hit if I went to Tahoe. Heavenly, Kirkwood, and Northstar would probably be in the mix because my Epic Local Pass gets me half price tickets there on blackout days. However I hear that they are pretty crowded over New Years. How do these crowds compared to the ones at Keystone, Breckenridge, and Park City? And If I was at Tahoe, what are some ways to avoid long lift lines at the more popular resorts?Originally Posted by marznc
: Don't mind the old guys . . . you wrote "at" but neither of them noticed. Bet they didn't have their reading glasses on.
There is a lot of variety in the Tahoe area ranging from relatively small areas frequented mostly by locals like Homewood to major destination resorts like Squaw and Northstar that attract people from all over the world. North Tahoe and South Tahoe are quite different IMHO. What they have in common is the fact that people from the San Francisco Bay area can do day trips or weekend tips pretty easily. Travelers can fly to Reno and drive an hour to North Tahoe. Lodging and food can be relatively cheap in South Tahoe because of the casinos on the Nevada side. Bottom line is that it can get pretty crowded on the slopes if you don't know where to go on weekends or during holiday periods.post #88 of 2359/7/15 at 10:25pm
Everything I said about Snowbird in terms of steepness and challenge applies to Squaw. At the low end of the scale Squaw's High Camp area is very good for beginners. IMHO Squaw is not a great place for intermediates, and that applies especially during weekends and holidays with excessive slope congestion on many of the groomed runs. Meanwhile the experts have 6 or 7 lifts to themselves and are just fine. This applies only once there's a about a 6-foot base and you're going see that by Christmas only in the better seasons, far less often than at Snowbird.
Heavenly due to topography and lift layout is an area that does not handle big crowds well. Northstar's reputation in this area is not good either. Kirkwood tends to be less busy since it's 45 minute commute from the big lodging base at South Shore. But I was there on a powder Sunday in late March 2014, it was a zoo and the mountain was tracked out by 10AM.
So no I don't recommend the major Tahoe areas over a Christmas break, though I doubt it's any worse than Breck, Keystone or Vail. If tied to the Epic Pass Park City/Canyons and Beaver Creek are the places that would be most manageable during Christmas holidays in terms of congestion.
Edited by Tony Crocker - 9/7/15 at 10:41pmpost #89 of 23510/6/15 at 10:13pmThread StarterUpdate:
So my 2 week plan fell apart. My parents have decided that I can't miss any school, and that I have to be home for Christmas, which is especially important to my mom, so I'll gladly do it. But that's ok, cause I'm still going to get 7-7.5 days on the slopes. Another plus is my Grandparents have decided to use some hotel points for all the lodging because I couldn't afford a flight and transportation along with the skiing and lodging. I'm very grateful for that. And I'm sure I can convince my Dad to go back to Colorado or out to Lake Tahoe (we won't be skiing IN Lake Tahoe 😂) to ski some steeps at spring break (if this El Niño is good).
So instead of driving, we will be flying into Denver because we found some really good deals from United out of Houston. Here is our itinerary (that will be booked this week). My best friend will probably be coming as well. He is very inexperienced and will be taking lots of lessons to improve. Maybe by the end of the trip he'll feel confident enough to ski some steeper stuff with me.
12/26- Very late flight into Denver
12/27- Adjust to altitude and head to Summit County
12/28- Warm up groomer day at A-Basin/Keystone
12/29- Advanced Lesson at Breckenridge (read good things about this. Hitting stashes, dropping into bowls, gaining confidence, and skipping lift lines? Sounds good to me)
12/30- Rip up North Peak, the Outback, and the Bowls at Keystone
12/31- Ski Imperial, T Bar, 6 Chair, E Chair, and Peak 10 at Breckenridge (Pray for no 30 minute lift lines)(Change Lodging location to Vail)
1/1- Beat the hungover College students to the Back Bowls and Blue Sky at Vail
1/2- Hit the trees, bumps, and steep groomers on Grouse Mountain, Larkspur, Rose Bowl, and Birds of Prey at Beaver Creek (and get some cookies at 3pm)
1/3- Half day afternoon at Vail (there's no way that they'd let me wriggle out of church in the morning)
1/4- Ski my favorite spots from the first two days at Vail (hopefully crowds are calming down by now)
Catch 10 pm flight from Denver to Houston
We will also sprinkle plenty of off hill activities like tubing. I'm also pretty fascinated with fine dining, so I'm sure we'll do that as well. Night skiing is a possibility as well if we can't get enough in 7 hours, or the lift lines were bad during the day. Does anyone know where the best resort for NYE is? Also does anyone have suggestions for après ski?
Thanks everyone so much for your help!
I've got my Epic Local Pass in hand now, and I'm really excited for this trip! I look forward to being able to answer other people's questions as well. Maybe I could figure out some lift line mitigation tips for these places as well. Even if lines are bad, I'll be in Utah all ski season next year 😃post #90 of 23510/6/15 at 10:31pm
You might want to consider mirror imaging that schedule:
1) Vail is lower sleep altitude than Summit County for the start of the trip.
2) The worst crowds are 12/27-12/31 so you want Beaver Creek accessible during that time.
3) Conversely Breck by the numbers has the worst ratio of visitation to terrain, so that's where you want to reserve ski time for when people are hungover or when the crowds are dying down. You are correct in planning the advanced lesson there to get the biggest bang for the lift-line cutting buck, though if you want the lesson early in the trip Vail would be good for that too.
You'll enjoy the spring break trip a lot more. Glad to hear you're planning that. Texas spring break is before CA spring breaks, so if Tahoe has snow I'd encourage that.
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