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Telluride vs. Sierra this February

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

My wife and I have season passes at Snowbasin and this year they added a perk where you get 3 days of skiing at Telluride with your pass.  It's always a place that I've wanted to ski so I fully intended to make it my annual February birthday trip.

 

However, our Snowbasin passes also get us 3 days at Sierra at Tahoe and I'm wondering if El Nino dictates that maybe we should head there instead.  As I understand it Tahoe looks to benefit a lot more from this big El Nino than Telluride does, even though Telluride has started really strong.

 

I'm an advancing intermediate and the wife is a beginner intermediate, and we will have our 1.5 year old in tow (daycare).  The wife will stick to groomers whereas I'll spend about half my time with her and half exploring.

post #2 of 15

My opinion, as an intermediate skier, is that Telluride is hands-down superior to Sierra-at-Tahoe. It might make sense to hold off on making non-refundable bookings for a little while, just in case Telluride gets some awful weather, but based on historic records you can be pretty much sure that Telluride will have plenty of snow in February. And that means that it'll offer a lot more skiing and a lot better skiing. Telluride's snow tends to be lighter than in the Sierra, and the massive vertical drop means that you can follow the sun if you'd like, or go higher on the mountain if it starts getting at all sloppy down low.

 

In terms of groomers, I'd say that Sierra-at-Tahoe normally grooms about half as much terrain each day as Snowbasin. And with bigger crowds at Sierra-at-Tahoe, those groomers end up fairly torn up by the afternoon. Telluride, on the other hand, grooms close to twice as much terrain as Snowbasin on a daily basis, and the low crowds mean that even trails groomed the previous day are often nice and smooth.

 

Depending on just how much skiing you want to do... the Powder Alliance pass gets you 3 free non-Saturday days at Sierra-at-Tahoe; the Telluride perks include Saturdays, and it's close enough to get a day or two in at Crested Butte, where you also get 3 free days including Saturdays. Hopefully your birthday doesn't coincide with President's Day, as it'll make it more crowded anywhere, but if so make sure to check the specific holiday blackouts.

post #3 of 15
Telluride over Sierra everytime.......jmo
post #4 of 15

Telluride....and twice on Sunday.

post #5 of 15

I love SAT, but given the choice between there and Telluride...Telluride wins hands down.

 

PS.  Both are great mountains for intermediates.

post #6 of 15

Just to make this discussion a little less one-sided.:D

 

S-A-T

 

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post #7 of 15

 

 

Meh....looks like Sierra Cement:eek;)

 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jamesj View Post
 

Just to make this discussion a little less one-sided.:D

 

S-A-T

 

LL

 

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post #8 of 15

While those pictures are great, I don't think an intermediate or advanced intermediate would necessarily find them appealing.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qZvP5BvVbcg

post #9 of 15

I would assume you will drive to either one?  Decide a few days prior, when you can see a seven day forecast.

post #10 of 15

According to Tony Crocker's data at http://bestsnow.net, both Telluride and the Tahoe area (S-A-T isn't explicitly called out) are indifferent to El Niño and La Niña.  Don't go chasing a storm you think might happen 3 months from now.  In other words, If you've always wanted to go to Telluride, go to Telluride.

post #11 of 15

Someone from out of the region going to Tahoe and only skiing at Sierra doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me.  No Squaw, no Kirkwood, no Heavenly, etc.?

 

Sierra is a nice mountain but not as good as Snowbasin IMHO.  Yet would you advise someone from outside Utah coming there the first time to ski only at Snowbasin?

 

So yes for the choice as presented Telluride seems fairly obvious.

 

Quote = Vcize:
 It's always a place that I've wanted to ski so I fully intended to make it my annual February birthday trip.

If this is an annual event, you should mix it up.  Therefore I concur with this advice:

Quote = Shredhead:
I would assume you will drive to either one?  Decide a few days prior, when you can see a seven day forecast.
post #12 of 15
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the feedback everyone.  I will stick to the plan of Telluride for now and try to find some lodging with a good cancellation policy (the place I was looking at had some pretty hefty penalties) in case the weather ends up pointing elsewhere as we get closer to the date.

post #13 of 15
Thread Starter 

Anyone in the areas have any thoughts on how things look so far?  Telluride shows 152" on their website which sounds pretty good for the season so far but I don't really know any more than that.  I know it's tough to say this early but unfortunately lodging options are filling up fast, it looks like their are only a couple options left in Telluride that fit my wants/budget (2br, ski in/out, under $2k) and unfortunately pretty much all the condos there have a 30-60 day cancellation policy so I want to go ahead and book something now.  I'm going to go ahead and book Telluride unless anyone has any reports that things aren't looking very good there or that things are looking exceptional at Sierra.

post #14 of 15

I'm a little suspicious of the 152 inches as some of it is likely from October.  When Telluride's snow report went live November 22, the reported 75 inches was out of line vs. other areas in the region since Nov. 1.  Nonetheless Telluride was 92% open on a 52 inch base Dec. 31, so I would have little concern about Telluride skiing the rest of this season in view of its excellent snow preservation.

 

Again, Telluride is no contest vs. only skiing Sierra if you go to Tahoe.  The prices/cancellation policies look onerous though.  You will find much cheaper lodging at Tahoe that could potentially more than offset paying for lift tickets at multiple ski areas.  This is another thread (like the one on Jackson) where there seems to be a fixation on lift ticket prices vs. other equally large costs of destination travel.

post #15 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vcize View Post
 

Anyone in the areas have any thoughts on how things look so far?  Telluride shows 152" on their website which sounds pretty good for the season so far but I don't really know any more than that.  I know it's tough to say this early but unfortunately lodging options are filling up fast, it looks like their are only a couple options left in Telluride that fit my wants/budget (2br, ski in/out, under $2k) and unfortunately pretty much all the condos there have a 30-60 day cancellation policy so I want to go ahead and book something now.  I'm going to go ahead and book Telluride unless anyone has any reports that things aren't looking very good there or that things are looking exceptional at Sierra.

Well, if you have your heart set on staying slopeside, I think that rules out Sierra-at-Tahoe... I don't believe there's any slopeside lodging available. But I'm not sure that you really need to spring for slopeside lodging in Telluride, either... the town of Telluride is not much bigger than the Snowbasin parking lots, but it also has two different base areas at opposite ends of town. Pretty much anywhere you'd stay is within a 10-minute walk in ski boots or a free shuttle ride of skiing. I'm not sure how the free tickets at Telluride work, either--there's at least a chance you might need to pick them up each day from the season pass office in Mountain Village. It's worth calling to check on the process, since that might potentially influence where you want to stay.

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