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Jackson Hole or Whistler for Christmas? [A Family Skiing thread]

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

Planning a trip over Christmas and the surest bets for good snow seem to be Jackson Hole or Whistler.  It will be a family trip of advanced skiiers and we are looking for good snow as well as a good resort experience.  Both look good, but my main concern is the snow. Any recommendations?

post #2 of 9

El Nino is the biggest concern this year.  Long-term models say dry and warm winter for the Northwest.  Maybe wait a little while before booking?

post #3 of 9
Nobody knows what the weather will be like.
Both are bucket list places. Pick one and make the best of whatever you find.
post #4 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by skiier3720 View Post
 

Planning a trip over Christmas and the surest bets for good snow seem to be Jackson Hole or Whistler.  It will be a family trip of advanced skiiers and we are looking for good snow as well as a good resort experience.  Both look good, but my main concern is the snow. Any recommendations?


Might get some ideas from a similar thread for the 2014-15 season.

 

http://www.epicski.com/t/129974/whistler-whats-the-snow-coverage-typically-like-christmas-to-new-years

 

If you are open to other possible destinations, check out this relevant thread:

http://www.epicski.com/t/94746/where-to-go-for-christmas

 

Both of these threads are tagged as "Christmas vacation."  Look under Topics Discussed for the tag link to the full list of related threads.  Note that tags are added manually, so can be more useful than a general search.

 

One advantage of JH is that you can do day trips to Grand Targhee.  Apparently GT has a very good track record for decent snow by Christmas.

 

How old are the kids?  Tweens or teens or older?

post #5 of 9

Quoting Tony Crocker from the referenced thread, "Targhee is #1 for Christmas reliability, but is as noted small for an 8-day trip."

Targhee is a short drive from Jackson Hole.  We did one day there at last year's JH Gathering.

post #6 of 9

Whistler has had a tough start to winter for the past 2 seasons but maybe that means that they are overdue for a good start to winter.

 

Still, I would give the edge to JH due to the close by Grand Targee and the low cost accommodation in the nearby town of Jackson (about 20 minutes from he skiing).

post #7 of 9
Wouldn't touch WB wuth a barge pole over Xmas. You'll spend far too much time in lift lines.

Together with the weak Canadian dollar, WB will be cheap to Americans and Brits.

Would recommend Sun Peaks instead.
post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the quick replies.  It sounds like I need to widen the search. 

post #9 of 9

Copied from a related thread.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Crocker View Post
 
Quote:
Any recommendations or pros and cons for a family of advanced skiers at Christmas time?

Christmas is not ideal for either place, though both have excellent early season snow track records.

 

Whistler is notorious for jacking up lodging prices at Christmas.  Jackson is more of a summer than winter resort and can be downright cheap for lodging much of the winter.  Christmas will be least likely to be a bargain but still the supply/demand equation for lodging is more in the consumer's favor at Jackson.

 

Jackson's lift capacity is not that high relative to its rising visitation over the past 15 years or so, and thus chronic lift lines can be expected at peak times like Christmas.  Whistler's main choke point is getting away from the village in the morning.  At busy times you need to make the effort to get going early.

 

Both places will be more enjoyable if you can go at a less busy time.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Crocker View Post
 
Quote:
with kids and school, we are stuck with Christmas dates

Do your kids have a spring break?  For advanced skiers you have many attractive options there.  My article on family ski trips: http://bestsnow.net/fam_ski.htm

 

 I have little sympathy for families that ski the madhouse between Christmas and New Year's but not spring break.  I raised an avid skiing son and took 15+ ski trips during his spring break around the first of April.

 

I can't tell where skier3720 lives, but some northeastern states and a few scattered school districts get a week in February.

 

Finally, most families get 2 weeks off at Christmas and to the extent that the skiing can be before Dec. 26 or after New Year's, the crowd issues are somewhat mitigated.

 

If you go to Jackson, Targhee is always a good crowd escape and has the best Christmas snow track record in North America. 

 

Going to Salt Lake and staying in town gets you away from holiday resort lodging prices plus good flexibility in choosing where to ski each day.  If early season snow is above average, places like Solitude, Snowbasin, Sundance and Powder Mt. are good ways to escape crowds.  If snow is lean, the Cottonwood resorts that have it will be busy, but it's still better to have snow and crowds than no snow.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Crocker View Post
 
Quote:
Why not go to Taos or Telluride?

Because Taos in normal years doesn't get full coverage until February. Last year the new Kachina lift opened Feb. 14.  With El Nino expectation in the area of 115% of normal snowfall maybe Kachina opens mid to late January.  Taos averages only 53% open at Christmas and is thus a very poor choice that early in the season.  A much higher percentage of Telluride is likely to be open, but the Gold Hill steeps are what probably won't be.

Quote:
Both Jackson and Whistler are not favored in a strong El Nino year

Jackson averages 91% of normal snowfall in strong El Nino months and the Whistler alpine averages 103%.  91% of normal for Jackson is considerably more than 110% of normal anywhere in the Southwest other than Wolf Creek.

 

Someone inquiring about Whistler and Jackson is presumably interested in skiing steep and challenging terrain.  This type of terrain is open marginally at best by Christmas  in Colorado areas that average ~250 inches of dry, low water content snow.

Quote:
Rent a car and spend time at Telluride, wolf Creek, Purgatory, and Silverton. They are all fairly close together

An excellent suggestion in February/March.  At Christmas not so much, aside from Wolf Creek.

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