or Connect
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › General Skiing Discussion › Southwest Colorado Ski Safari -- Beta on Monarch, Wolf Creek, Purgatory, Silverton, Powderhorn.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Southwest Colorado Ski Safari -- Beta on Monarch, Wolf Creek, Purgatory, Silverton, Powderhorn. - Page 2

post #31 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by anachronism View Post
 

 

Well, have you ever taken an unguided day? 

No, but I'm not sitting here typing that something I have never tried is bad idea either. In fact, I know I would have a good time.

 

 

The daily number of allowed skiers is much more during unguided and the terrain is often still being limited no? 

post #32 of 57
Thread Starter 

If I go to Silverton it will be because conditions look favorable and I am going for the experience of being on that mountain -- not just the skiing. Maybe I'll want and be able to ski my brains out, but realistically after 3 or 4 days of skiing and van living, 4 hike/runs would probably wear me out. 

post #33 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by raisingarizona View Post
 

No, but I'm not sitting here typing that something I have never tried is bad idea either. In fact, I know I would have a good time.

 

 

The daily number of allowed skiers is much more during unguided and the terrain is often still being limited no? 

 

So really, your argument that I don't understand guided as I've only taken unguided days can be levelled against you as well. If my experience on the mountain (and talking a lot with guys that have done both and have the same opinion) is not valid because I haven't experienced both, can you really say that unguided is not so superior to guided that you wouldn't give the same recommendation as I do? 

 

This is where the misunderstanding is in my eyes. 

 

I think it is an apples to oranges comparison to say that there are more skiers on less terrain on unguided days, and here is why.

 

1. Terrain is being limited on guided days too. On guided days, you don't get the 1800 acres of Silvy to explore- you get a few limited choices each run of which line to ski. Terrain is farmed, and skiers get choices of terrain based on what the mountain wants to get skied in on any given day. That doesn't mean you aren't skiing fresh snow, but you are only skiing fresh snow in the order that the mountain wants- and they are balancing how much untracked terrain they ski in each day against keeping fresh snow for the next day of skiers and the day after and, and, and...

 

2. The terrain that one usually can't rely on being open during unguided (Storm Peak area) is generally terrain that is tough to get a guide to take you to anyways- you would have to have an entire group willing to take a MUCH longer hike and you would need to convince a guide your whole group can actually ski that terrain and that terrain would need to be stable and the mountain management would have to be willing to let anyone lay in tracks on that terrain that day. For most groups coming to the mountain, that means getting on the terrain usually closed during unguided is still not a realistic option during guided. Again, this is something I have heard from lots of guys down here- to the extent that I've been told the best time to ski Storm Peak is outside the operating season. Is your experience different?

 

So, this effectively means that the terrain one can expect to ski guided vs. unguided doesn't look much different- unless you have a full group of chargers that can manage to get paired with a guide that is also enough of a charger to get you into the top shelf stuff (many guides there are NOT cleared to take groups certain places).

 

Regarding skier density, their website says they cap unguided at 475 skiers. They have never hit that cap while I have been skiing there, and I am usually going on the busiest days when a storm passed through. I've seen maybe half that maximum vs a typical guided day of 80ish.

 

The apples to oranges part is taking 80 skiers limited to a handful of specific lines (much less terrain on any given day than the full 1800 acres), vs. 250 or even 475 skiers given free reign to go wherever the hell they want over ~1400 acres of typical unguided season terrain. It is really hard to say that one offers a better "crowds" experience than the other.

 

What I can say:

 

  • An unguided day costs $49, while a guided day costs almost triple at $139. 
  • I've never taken an unguided day where I felt I couldn't ski as much untracked snow as a I wanted- and my standards as to what constitutes untracked are probably much higher than most given my home mountain.
  • On an unguided day I get to ski whatever I want on each run. I'm never in a situation of marching past snow I wanted to ski. This helps tons in getting more runs in by allowing me to tailor things to my own personal feelings of confidence, fatigue, and preference.

 

So basically, on an unguided day, I get to ski where I want, I get to ski more, and I get to do it for MUCH LESS COST. For that privelige, I sacrifice access to terrain that is generally not accessible to begin with and possibly I put up with "crowds" of a maximum of 475 people on a very expansive mountain. And, to put everything on the table, I don't have somebody holding my hand with terrain decisions and have to make sure I am going where I really want to go (which in my eyes is by far the strongest argument for using a guide at Silvy).

 

To me, unguided, specifically April unguided when the mountain is well covered, is absolutely the superior experience. That doesn't mean guided is bad, it means in my opinion unguided is clearly better and I stick to my recommendation to give Silverton a shot in April.

post #34 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by anachronism View Post

Paragraphs of opinion regarding an experience I haven't done

FIFY

 

You’re campaigning for unguided, which is fine, but it’s pretty funny considering your opinion is based on third party stories.

post #35 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by segbrown View Post
 

I was talking more about avalanches, since it's the most-avalanched road in the lower 48.

Yeah, Red Mountain Pass is the only pass where I remember seeing something like this (the East Riverside Snow Slide Monument):

 

post #36 of 57
Thread Starter 

In other news....looks like I'm buying some snow tires tonight. Found a good deal on Cooper Discoverer M+S (these guys: http://us.coopertire.com/Tires/Light-Truck/DISCOVERER-M-S.aspx). They'll be a bit wider than stock but within the recommended sizes.

 

Bring on the snow.  

post #37 of 57

That's too much to read, sorry. 

 

the point is this is someone coming from the midwest. You may think the unguided is superior and that's great but I don't think it's right to poop on the experience for others and tell them it's not worth it in comparison and telling them not to do it unless it's April. I think that's lame. 

 

I have been a ski bum for over 20 years, I ski back country more than in bounds and I have lived in Telluride, Jackson, Alta, Whitefish, and Steamboat. Going in midwinter for untracked midwinter fresh lines during the guided Silverton experience was in all honesty one of the most enjoyable ski experiences I have ever had. Then again, I didn't show up with an agenda to ski things I thought I should be entitled to, I just went to enjoy fresh lines, meet some new people, and take a heli lap. The beers shared in the yurt at the end of the day were really fun too. The whole thing was more than worth it and we didn't farm sh#t. We were pow shredding. During most winters in the San Juans you just don't get to ski that kind of big mountain high alpine terrain the day after a 3+ foot storm lifts. It beats the crap out of skiing at Wolfcreek imo. 

 

So ya, you have a right to your own opinion but I don't think it's fair to dissuade others from the Silverton experience.

post #38 of 57
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by raisingarizona View Post
 

That's too much to read, sorry. 

 

the point is this is someone coming from the midwest. You may think the unguided is superior and that's great but I don't think it's right to poop on the experience for others and tell them it's not worth it in comparison and telling them not to do it unless it's April. I think that's lame. 

 

Just for reference -- I'm not the OP of the original Monarch vacation thread -- I posted my plans to ski in SW Co in that thread and realized I didn't want to pollute it after discussion about the SW took off. 

 

I'm from Denver. Skied just over 30 days last year. Mostly at Loveland, but some at Copper, Crested and WP as well. 

 

Unguided is not an option for me as this trip isn't happening in April. Opinions are good, informed opinions better, and opinions based on experience the best. 

post #39 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by jmeb View Post
 

Just for reference -- I'm not the OP of the original Monarch vacation thread -- I posted my plans to ski in SW Co in that thread and realized I didn't want to pollute it after discussion about the SW took off. 

 

I'm from Denver. Skied just over 30 days last year. Mostly at Loveland, but some at Copper, Crested and WP as well. 

 

Unguided is not an option for me as this trip isn't happening in April. Opinions are good, informed opinions better, and opinions based on experience the best. 

Oh shoot, sorry. Well then, I would skip a few of those days at Purg and one at WC. Since your friends are in Durango maybe get a day in and have a fun day of apres but then I would head elsewhere. The mountain looks pretty boring for a serious skier. I mean, you can have fun everywhere but if you want to get after it then I would move on. Wolf Creek is fun and it's a nice little area but it's really flat overall. It's a great place for a day but after that I would want to go elsewhere. Try and squeeze in some time at Telluride or Taos. Those two mountains have very legit and sick skiing. And again, go to Silverton. It's my most favorite place just because it's the anti resort and it's like nothing in the states at all. If you have never heli skied you can get a taste of it with a single or double drop and it's not too expensive but worth every bit. Do it. 

post #40 of 57
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by raisingarizona View Post
 

Oh shoot, sorry. Well then, I would skip a few of those days at Purg and one at WC. Since your friends are in Durango maybe get a day in and have a fun day of apres but then I would head elsewhere. The mountain looks pretty boring for a serious skier. I mean, you can have fun everywhere but if you want to get after it then I would move on. Wolf Creek is fun and it's a nice little area but it's really flat overall. It's a great place for a day but after that I would want to go elsewhere. Try and squeeze in some time at Telluride or Taos. Those two mountains have very legit and sick skiing. And again, go to Silverton. It's my most favorite place just because it's the anti resort and it's like nothing in the states at all. If you have never heli skied you can get a taste of it with a single or double drop and it's not too expensive but worth every bit. Do it. 

 

All great ideas, but this is a budget-conscious trip. Purgatory / Monarch / Powderhorn are all free with my Loveland pass. 

 

Telluride or Taos could happen, but it would mean dropping Silverton and/or Wolf Creek. Both are ~$80 a day to ski. 

post #41 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by jmeb View Post
 

 

All great ideas, but this is a budget-conscious trip. Purgatory / Monarch / Powderhorn are all free with my Loveland pass. 

 

Telluride or Taos could happen, but it would mean dropping Silverton and/or Wolf Creek. Both are ~$80 a day to ski. 

Get a second job. Sell the cat. Work a couple extra shifts. Whatever. Make things happen. 

 

At 80 bones for the day I would skip WC. That's just me though. It's a fine place to ski but for me personally I wouldn't spend 80 on it. You can go touring across the street for free. 

post #42 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by raisingarizona View Post
 

Get a second job. Sell the cat. Work a couple extra shifts. Whatever. Make things happen. 

 

At 80 bones for the day I would skip WC. That's just me though. It's a fine place to ski but for me personally I wouldn't spend 80 on it. You can go touring across the street for free. 

 

Wolf Creek's lift tickets are $65, except for the random Wednesdays and Sundays where they are $43. Whether that is worth it is certainly up to individual opinion, but as $65 is one of the cheapest tickets in Colorado, I lean towards considering it a value.

 

I think he was referring to Telluride and Taos as $80. Which to my recollection Taos is right around that but Telluride is more like $100.

post #43 of 57
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by anachronism View Post
 

 

Wolf Creek's lift tickets are $65, except for the random Wednesdays and Sundays where they are $43. Whether that is worth it is certainly up to individual opinion, but as $65 is one of the cheapest tickets in Colorado, I lean towards considering it a value.

 

I think he was referring to Telluride and Taos as $80. Which to my recollection Taos is right around that but Telluride is more like $100.

 

Ah, I was right about Taos, but the price I looked at for T-Ride was opening season. Day rate when I'd be there is north of $100. 

post #44 of 57

.......................

post #45 of 57

.................

post #46 of 57
A mere few months ago raisingarizona could barely string together a sentence worth of readable words now here he is arguing with the wordiest guy on the board, anachronism. Hats off to you sir.
post #47 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by core2 View Post

A mere few months ago raisingarizona could barely string together a sentence worth of readable words now here he is arguing with the wordiest guy on the board, anachronism. Hats off to you sir.

 

Am I really the wordiest dude on here? That's a dubious distinction...

post #48 of 57
You're going to SW CO. It's awesome. You'll have a great time no matter what. Just don't drive off Red Mtn Pass.
post #49 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by anachronism View Post
 

 

Am I really the wordiest dude on here? That's a dubious distinction...

 

Would it help that I think you are one of the most articulate and knowledgeable too?

post #50 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by core2 View Post

A mere few months ago raisingarizona could barely string together a sentence worth of readable words now here he is arguing with the wordiest guy on the board, anachronism. Hats off to you sir.

Hey now! I'm not arguing! :) I just wanted to point out that Anachronism might be doing some posters a disservice by saying that guided skiing at Silverton wasn't worth it. That's all. 

post #51 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by raisingarizona View Post

Hey now! I'm not arguing! smile.gif I just wanted to point out that Anachronism might be doing some posters a disservice by saying that guided skiing at Silverton wasn't worth it. That's all. 

That's what all the shots at wolf creek were for rolleyes.gif

Jmeb I haven't used the refelctix stuff but I'm a big fan of the 1" blue styrofoam you can buy at most hardware stores. The main thing is that windows are your primary enemy in the warmth battle that's why blankets are so effective for blocking off the driver area. They minimize the area you need to heat and eliminate the single largest source of heat loss you have. Also air under the sleeping area is not great. Insulation on the table that you are sleeping on will help as well.

If you were going to skip any mountains on your list I would suggest Purg but I know that you have friends in Durango and it's on your list. It is the least interesting of the mountains on your list though. Taos is great if the conditions are right but to be honest besides the unique vibe you really need to be charging after the crazy gnar to truly appreciate the mountain. An upper intermediate/low advanced skier won't really appreciate the mountain for what it is.
Edited by lonewolf210 - 10/15/15 at 10:16pm
post #52 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by lonewolf210 View Post


If you were going to skip any mountains on your list I would suggest Purg but I know that you have friends in Durango and it's on your list. It is the least interesting of the mountains on your list though. Taos is great if the conditions are right but to be honest besides the unique vibe you really need to be charging after the crazy gnar to truly appreciate the mountain. An upper intermediate/low advanced skier won't really appreciate the mountain for what it is.

 

I agree Purg is kinda the least interesting mountain- but that doesn't make it bad. Likewise, guided at Silverton isn't bad (I would sure as hell rather ski there than Breck for around the same price) but know what you are getting in for. I guess I've beat the Silvy thing to death so I'll leave it there.

post #53 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by anachronism View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by lonewolf210 View Post


If you were going to skip any mountains on your list I would suggest Purg but I know that you have friends in Durango and it's on your list. It is the least interesting of the mountains on your list though. Taos is great if the conditions are right but to be honest besides the unique vibe you really need to be charging after the crazy gnar to truly appreciate the mountain. An upper intermediate/low advanced skier won't really appreciate the mountain for what it is.

 

I agree Purg is kinda the least interesting mountain- but that doesn't make it bad. Likewise, guided at Silverton isn't bad (I would sure as hell rather ski there than Breck for around the same price) but know what you are getting in for. I guess I've beat the Silvy thing to death so I'll leave it there.

 

I was going to challenge you to a duel, but then I reread the sentence and saw the "for the same price." Yeah, if I didn't have the Epic pass, it would be hard to swallow that - or lift tickets at any big place. I was shocked at how expensive Big Sky tickets were - somehow I thought that because I was in Montana, it would be less than $100 ... 

post #54 of 57

If anyone wants to hire a guide at Purg I will work for weed.

post #55 of 57
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by lonewolf210 View Post

That's what all the shots at wolf creek were for rolleyes.gif

Jmeb I haven't used the refelctix stuff but I'm a big fan of the 1" blue styrofoam you can buy at most hardware stores. The main thing is that windows are your primary enemy in the warmth battle that's why blankets are so effective for blocking off the driver area. They minimize the area you need to heat and eliminate the single largest source of heat loss you have. Also air under the sleeping area is not great. Insulation on the table that you are sleeping on will help as well.

If you were going to skip any mountains on your list I would suggest Purg but I know that you have friends in Durango and it's on your list. It is the least interesting of the mountains on your list though. Taos is great if the conditions are right but to be honest besides the unique vibe you really need to be charging after the crazy gnar to truly appreciate the mountain. An upper intermediate/low advanced skier won't really appreciate the mountain for what it is.

 

Reflectix was acquired and cut to size last season, so I'll be sticking to that. Thinking about picking up a wool blanket from the surplus store or two. One underneath the foam mat to absorb some moisture (this one: http://www.cabelas.com/product/camping/camp-bedding/sleeping-pads%7C/pc/104795280/c/104712480/sc/104484780/cabela-s-deluxe-camp-beds/732419.uts?destination=%2Fcategory%2FSleeping-Pads%2F104484780.uts) and one behind the front seats. 

 

Purg is easier not to skip because a) I'll probably ski shorter days and b) it's free. $100+ for a day at T-Ride is tough to swallow, especially since I'm hoping to cross off so many new mountains this year (in addition to this trip, I'm doing a 3-ski day trip up to the Ghee/JH.) 

 

Going to keep Taos in my mind. I'm a little nervous I'm not up to its level. Perhaps those who have skied it could provide comparisons with Crested Butte's North Face/Hawks Nest/Old Pro/The Glades/Rachels/Last Steep/Sock-it-to-Me, Peel/Banana/Funnel, Copper's Spaulding/Alpine Lift, or Loveland's Avalanche Bowl/Wild Child/Velvet Hammer/Marmot ? If I can ski that terrain well enough to enjoy it, will I be able to fully enjoy Taos. Or should I refine skills another season?

post #56 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by jmeb View Post

 

Reflectix was acquired and cut to size last season, so I'll be sticking to that. Thinking about picking up a wool blanket from the surplus store or two. One underneath the foam mat to absorb some moisture (this one: http://www.cabelas.com/product/camping/camp-bedding/sleeping-pads%7C/pc/104795280/c/104712480/sc/104484780/cabela-s-deluxe-camp-beds/732419.uts?destination=%2Fcategory%2FSleeping-Pads%2F104484780.uts) and one behind the front seats. 

 

 

A friend of mine swears by a reflective emergency blanket upside down underneath you for preventing cold from the ground seeping up and chilling you. I assume this would work in cars, as well.

post #57 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by jmeb View Post

 

 

Going to keep Taos in my mind. I'm a little nervous I'm not up to its level. Perhaps those who have skied it could provide comparisons with Crested Butte's North Face/Hawks Nest/Old Pro/The Glades/Rachels/Last Steep/Sock-it-to-Me, Peel/Banana/Funnel, Copper's Spaulding/Alpine Lift, or Loveland's Avalanche Bowl/Wild Child/Velvet Hammer/Marmot ? If I can ski that terrain well enough to enjoy it, will I be able to fully enjoy Taos. Or should I refine skills another season?

 

I think Taos is a pretty exceptional mountain for pretty much anyone intermediate and up. What gets overlooked a lot when talking about Taos is the really good quality high speed groomers that are all over the mountain. Of the terrain you mentioned, I am most familiar with the Loveland terrain. For a guy comfortable with avalanche bowl, I would expect Kachina Peak to be very approachable, as well as most labled stuff on Highline Ridge, particularly Hidalgo and Juarez. Most of the terrain labeled black at Taos would probably feel accessible, just be aware that the length of a lot of advanced terrain at Taos is a lot longer than a lot of advanced terrain elsewhere.

 

I would expect most stuff on West Basin Ridge to push you, but the nice thing is that you can eyeball that terrain (and most of the terrain off both ridges) from below pretty well and decide if it is up your alley. 

 

The entrance to Stauffenberg is pretty much right at my limit of what I can bring myself to drop into- it was really daunting, but awesome.

 

 

 

There is a bunch of stuff at Taos that is at the level that I can't ever see myself getting into it, but even still, it is one of my favorite mountains. Even if you stay off the ridges, you will find a LOT of terrain to love.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: General Skiing Discussion
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › General Skiing Discussion › Southwest Colorado Ski Safari -- Beta on Monarch, Wolf Creek, Purgatory, Silverton, Powderhorn.