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weekend of 1/14-1/18 - Aspen, Sun Valley, or Jackson Hole?

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

What's your take on the best place out of these 3 (Aspen, Sun Valley, or Jackson Hole) for skiing 2 weekends from now (1/14-18)?

 

My choices were limited based on the following criteria:

non-stops from San Francisco, reasonable housing availability, on the Mountain Collective pass, and not too crowded over a 3 day weekend. 

 

I've ruled out Snowbird, Squaw, and Mammoth basically for crowd reasons, I just got back from a week in Whistler, I talked to my dad yesterday in Chamonix and he said the snow there was verging on non-existent, and Hakuba is a bit of a long trip for a weekend :-) 

 

I like steep, and powder is always nice but I'm not trying to chase a storm, just looking for good conditions without lift lines.  I'm leaning towards Sun Valley because I know it's uncrowded and the home of steep groomers, but I can be convinced otherwise.

 

thanks for any input,

Bob

post #2 of 18

Jackson Hole is plenty steep, but has the potential to be the most crowded of those three spots.  Sun Valley is in great shape now, but there's not much snow in the forecast between now and then.  Aspen has lots to choose from, but is spread out across three mountains.  You would have to combine Ajax, Highlands and Snowmass to equal the same amount of steep terrain that you will find at Jackson Hole.  The truth is, you probably can't go wrong as you are just choosing between three different kinds of awesomeness.

post #3 of 18
Thread Starter 


Thanks.  Yup, I don't think there's a bad option here.  I've skied Sun Valley a lot, and love it, and I've been to Aspen a couple of times, the bus between Ajax and Snowmass/Highlands isn't a big deal.

 

I've never skied Jackson, so it's tempting to try something new, but that also means I don't have a feel for the crowd potential.  I also don't get the whole separation between the ski village and the town.  Is it like Aspen vs Snowmass, a few things in the ski village but really take the bus into town for most restaurants/bars/shops?

 

Mostly, though, interested in feedback on crowds (so thanks for that on Jackson) and current conditions, since we're talking about a near term trip.

 

thanks all,

Bob

post #4 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by rpratt View Post
 

Is it like Aspen vs Snowmass, a few things in the ski village but really take the bus into town for most restaurants/bars/shops?

 

It's very similar to that, actually.  If you've never been to Jackson Hole, you should check it out.  I hear the new lift is a huge hit as well (and may help with some of the crowding issues taking some skiers away from the Tram and Gondola).  I will be at Sun Valley this weekend for the first time.  I'm looking forward to racking up some vertical.

post #5 of 18
Jackson is a great mountain. But would be better if you were an expert skier to appreciate what it has to offer. If there is a big snow day, the crowds will be simply awful at the tram and gondola. Otherwise, it's a steep and challenging mountain that all advanced skiers should visit.
post #6 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marathoner View Post

Jackson is a great mountain. But would be better if you were an expert skier to appreciate what it has to offer. If there is a big snow day, the crowds will be simply awful at the tram and gondola. Otherwise, it's a steep and challenging mountain that all advanced skiers should visit.


I'm a low expert / upper advanced skier, so I think I'd like the steeps at Jackson.  The only thing I shy away from these days is straight bump runs, my knees just don't enjoy those anymore.  It doesn't have to be groomed, just not pure moguls.  But the crowds are what I'm worried about, I'd rather ski Aspen or SV if Jackson is likely to have long lines over MLK weekend.

 

thanks,

Bob

post #7 of 18
I never went to Sun Valley, so I can't give an opinion about it. If you are worried about the crowds JH will be more crowded than Aspen. However, it is a mountain to go at least once. If you like steep and chalenge, you'll find it at JH.
In connection with village and town, you will found a couple of restaurant and bars at the village. Im my view, Aspen have more social live than the town.
Having said that, and even though I going for 3rd time to Snowmass while I only went once to JH, I would try JH once if I were you
post #8 of 18
All great choices and (unless you hit a big powder day) none are likely to be very crowded. I will let others opine on Aspen etc. since I have only been there once and it wasn't crowded at all. I have been to both Sun Valley and Jackson many times. Both places are likely going to be more crowded than an average January weekend since it is a holiday (MLK) and people within driving distance (like me) are more likely to take advantage of the long weekend. There will definitely be some lines at times at the more popular lifts (i.e Seattle Ridge or Challenger at Sun Valley and the Bridger Gondola and Thunder at Jackson) but there will be numerous places to go to escape the crowds if desired. All of these places have a lot more lift capacity than the number of skiers that frequent them.

None of this applies if you get a big snowfall which will cause all the locals to drop what they are doing and head to the slopes. Jackson is a testosterone fest on a big powder day but has a lot of terrain to ski. Sun Valley is slightly more sedate but, since big powder days are rare, still quite a feeding frenzy and Baldy gets cut up remarkably quickly.
post #9 of 18
Flown SFO to Aspen with my wife many times during MLK Weekend and it's fantastic and not crowded. Check the calendar - it may be the first part of Gay Ski Week at that time. You may see some people from the Bay Area there.
post #10 of 18

Jackson Hole's offering half-price lift tickets MLK weekend to those with season passes anywherehttp://www.jacksonhole.com/golden-ticket-giveaway.html. I'm hoping to get up there for a day over the long weekend, and there's at least a decent chance that this'll attract others, too. So my guess is it'll be fairly crowded.

post #11 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by New2Utah View Post

Jackson Hole's offering half-price lift tickets MLK weekend to those with season passes anywherehttp://www.jacksonhole.com/golden-ticket-giveaway.html. I'm hoping to get up there for a day over the long weekend, and there's at least a decent chance that this'll attract others, too. So my guess is it'll be fairly crowded.

Hmm, good point. Since I've got a mountain collective pass anyway that's a negative for me that weekend, so maybe it's down to SV or Aspen and then try to hit Jackson in March or early April depending when they close
Thx
Bob
post #12 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dino View Post

Flown SFO to Aspen with my wife many times during MLK Weekend and it's fantastic and not crowded. Check the calendar - it may be the first part of Gay Ski Week at that time. You may see some people from the Bay Area there.

Gay Ski Week starts the 17th. The fellas antics can be entertaining, but I generally avoid their mountain de jour.
The return flight on the 18th is already full, but good flights are available 1/15-1/19.
I just booked a ORD-ASE E fare for this weekend for $327rt.
post #13 of 18
Thread Starter 


I'm not worried about antics, but it does seem like Aspen has two different events going on starting MLK weekend, both Gay ski week AND the Aspen Winter festival. Between the two, I'm concerned it would be a bit more crowded, so seems like I may stick to Sun Valley.  Also means avoiding a connecting flight back from ASE thru DEN, which is a win.

post #14 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by rpratt View Post


Hmm, good point. Since I've got a mountain collective pass anyway that's a negative for me that weekend, so maybe it's down to SV or Aspen and then try to hit Jackson in March or early April depending when they close
Thx
Bob


re Jackson Hole:  There are JH experts on the board who can opine on crowds, but if you're lapping Thunder/Sublette there's usually not too much of a line IME. The Tram wait can take 3-4 boxes midday, but there are a lot of other lifts to take, including what looks like an interesting new one.  As for the town of Jackson, it has lots of options.  The Mangy Moose and L'Osteria in Teton Village were excellent for après ski and dinner, respectively.  [Hit up Tony Crocker for his opinion on JH snow preservation and spring skiing there...]

 

re Aspen, Aspen Highlands has plenty of steeps, and hiking and skiing Highland Bowl is a really great experience.  You could spend a day or two at Aspen Mtn and Aspen Highlands each, and another day or two at Snowmass. Never experienced crowds at Aspen, even during MLK weekend/Gay Ski Week, except for 9:30 on the Silver Queen Gondola (instructors/students loading up) or start of the day at the base of Snowmass. 

 

We really like Aspen in the spring and plan to go back this year.  If we didn't have a low intermediate 9 year old child to ski with, we'd hit JH in January and Aspen in the spring.  These are all good choices - great to have options

post #15 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by SHREDHEAD View Post


Gay Ski Week starts the 17th. The fellas antics can be entertaining, but I generally avoid their mountain de jour.
The return flight on the 18th is already full, but good flights are available 1/15-1/19.
I just booked a ORD-ASE E fare for this weekend for $327rt.


What a great price - wish we could get there that inexpensively from SFO.  Usually runs about ~$600 non-stop on United for us.  Nice CRJ-700 jets though. 

post #16 of 18
Thread Starter 

Thanks, all, for the input.  Based on flights and crowd avoidance I'm going to end up at Sun Valley for MLK, and maybe try to hit Jackson in late March or early April (depending when they close).  I'll also probably visit either SV again or Aspen for President's week with the whole family, but I'm not worrying about that yet.

 

JH is the only spot among these I haven't visited before, so I do want to try it, but right now it looks more painful to reach (connect via Denver vs nonstops to ASE and SUN).

 

Dino, for what it's worth I've found ski-town flights to be a great way to use United miles, especially when you can get saver awards (10K each way to Sun Valley, for instance, is a great use of miles).

 

thanks again,

Bob

post #17 of 18
Quote:
maybe try to hit Jackson in late March or early April (depending when they close).

Not a good idea with the steep SE exposure.  Aspen is the clear cut choice in that time frame of the places you mention.  Mammoth and Alta/Snowbird are equally good for late season snow conditions and will be busier than Aspen but not as busy as on MLK or President's weekend.

post #18 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by rpratt View Post
 

Thanks, all, for the input.  Based on flights and crowd avoidance I'm going to end up at Sun Valley for MLK, and maybe try to hit Jackson in late March or early April (depending when they close).  I'll also probably visit either SV again or Aspen for President's week with the whole family, but I'm not worrying about that yet.

 

JH is the only spot among these I haven't visited before, so I do want to try it, but right now it looks more painful to reach (connect via Denver vs nonstops to ASE and SUN).

 

Dino, for what it's worth I've found ski-town flights to be a great way to use United miles, especially when you can get saver awards (10K each way to Sun Valley, for instance, is a great use of miles).

 

thanks again,

Bob


I'm sure you'll have a blast!  Thanks for the tip on the United miles - will have to check out SV. 

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