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December 2016 Mt. Bachelor vs Utah (Brighton, Solitude, etc)

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

Hi,

 

I am looking for some advice.  December 2016 we are driving down from Seattle to Tahoe for Christmas (at least that is the hope).  We plan on stopping for one day at Mt Bachelor to break things up for the trip down.

 

For the trip back, I am looking for advice on whether to head back to Mt. Bachelor and spend a few more days at Bachelor or head to Utah and ski Solitude/Brighton.  Bachelor on the way back is a nice commute when we finish the last leg to Seattle.  But Utah is supposed to be amazing.  I am also keeping in mind that it is December and some areas don't have the best coverage, reliably, during December.

 

I have only been to Bachelor once, many years ago in Spring.  It was great.

 

I have never been to Utah to ride/ski.  But its Utah...a skiers/riders mecca.

 

A little more about the folks in my party. I am a snowboarder, fair advanced.  I so far have stayed away from double blacks because I like my winter season and want to avoid injury (turning 50 next year)...but anything is else is great.  My son, who will be 12, at the time is an intermediate advanced skier.  He likes it all and has started to hit a lot more black runs this year, especially if they have powder.  I toke him to Crystal (twice) and Alpental (once) this year and it was clear he loves powder (as well groomers he can ski fast on)--we typically ride Snoqualmie concrete as we live 30 minutes away.

 

My wife use to be a really strong skier and hopefully with new gear and better boots this fall she will get back into things.  She is intermediate, mostly groomers, nowadays.  She is also the one that loves the sunshine skiing and prefers it, but can tolerate clouds.  If its snowing or wet she will likely to be found in the lodge.

 

My son and myself could ride/ski in white outs, if we had to.  It would be nice, though, to not worry about wet weather we frequently deal with in Seattle ski areas.  If we were heading north, it would be no brainer as Whistler is amazing--especially the upper mountain.

 

So should we head back to Bachelor on the leg back or head over to Utah for some adventure?

 

Regards,

 

Brian

 

PS:  I will have a pass that grants me days Mt. Bachelor, Solitude/Brighton, UT, etc...so lift tickets are not a primary issue.

post #2 of 14

How long  do you have? Seattle-Bachelor-Tahoe-SLC-Seattle is an awful lot of driving, but you could hit Sun Valley between SLC and Seattle.. Central Oregon is mostly two lane roads, although they did raise the speed limit to 65.

 

Snow will be better in Utah. Would recommend you hit Alta or Snowbird even if you have to buy tickets.

 

Another option is Mammoth, about 3 hours south of Tahoe.

post #3 of 14
I think a lot of this will be condition dependent, bachelor is well know for having good Christmas conditions, Tahoe is a gamble and Utah may not be prime.

@Tony Crocker may have the best data to help you make an informed decision on his website http://bestsnow.net
post #4 of 14

Utah is great.  December can be really good for powder and storms.  Sounds like your family would like the terrain at Snowbird.  Alta does not allow snowboarding.  Solitude and Brighton would be nice if you have those free passes.  Since you have never been to Utah, I would not pass up the opportunity.  It's worth the trip.

post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 

Hi,

 

We are tentatively leaving Saturday December 17th and will arrive in Tahoe Monday the 19th or 20th and leave Tahoe the 26th.  Its a family reunion (20 or so other family or close family members) in South Lake Tahoe (good snow or not its a family thing).  Its a gamble in Tahoe but I am hoping that Heavenly, Sierra at Tahoe, and/or Kirkwood have some decent snow.  For the last leg of the trip, depending on whether we hit SLC, go back to Bachelor, or Mammoth (had not thought about it, interesting thought given how close it is), we will try to head back or be on the road the 31st for Seattle or earlier if we try to hit Sun Valley or something else in between.

 

If we go to Utah, even without lift passes, we will hit Snowboard.  Alta, I would love to but I would need to learn to ski (its on my bucket list).

 

It is a lot of driving so I am factoring in road fatigue and aghast skiing fatigue, as well, for overall "family happiness".  And maybe figure out some non-ski stuff in between things on the road legs, etc.

 

My son does not return to school until Wednesday the 3rd, so he has time to rest when we hit home.  The wife gets back to work that day and return on Tuesday (though I a semi remote employee and will work during parts of my trip).

 

Great ideas, thank you so much.

 

Regards,

 

Brian

post #6 of 14

It's about an 8 hour drive from S. Tahoe to either Bend or SLC, so that leg is a wash. 

 

The big difference would be Bend-Seattle (just under 6 hours) vs. SLC-Seattle (just under 12).  One is a one day trip, the other is best done in two, especially with a family. 

 

At this time of year road conditions might be a concern if there is snow or ice in the Intermountain region.  My brother used to travel from Vernal UT to Seattle at Christmas every year and his stories of his adventures on the road sometimes made me glad to live on the warm side of the mountains.  However, I drove the same area once in a major storm and I got to where I wanted to go on time (barely) and I made it back to tell the tale.

post #7 of 14
Thread Starter 

Yeah.  While I am plenty familiar with the Seattle area and mountains and even driving across the state during winter, I have never driven southern Idaho and the intermountain region.  It sounds challenging.

 

We would not attempt SLC to Seattle in one day.  I made the mistake of doing Incline Village to Seattle in one day during multiple winter storms and some nasty torrential rains.  It was not good for marital bliss. :-)

 

Thanks,

 

Brian

post #8 of 14

I haven't been to Bachelor so can't really compare. But re: Utah, my advice would be to head back home and save your money, then hop a flight MLK weekend or some other time when you can get a few days. Seattle-SLC is a pretty quick hop and not too expensive, and much less stress than driving. Plus, the snow will likely be better later, and as long as you avoid Presidents' weekend, you won't find the Utah areas nearly as crowded as late December/early January. See if Alaska Airlines partners with Snowbasin again... this year, they gave a free next-day ticket if you flew mid-week.

post #9 of 14

You're driving, so make the decision where to go after Lake Tahoe last minute depending upon snow/weather.

 

Bachelor's record for snow is good but midwinter weather not so much.  Summit is closed ~50% of the time, and it's much diminished mountain without Summit.  I'd want a nice weather forecast to go there, particularly since you will have done it already on the way to Tahoe. 

 

I would lean to Utah/Cottonwood Canyons if conditions are good and the family can tolerate the extra driving. In a year with a strong start Snowbasin/Powder Mt. may be worth checking out too. 

post #10 of 14
Thread Starter 

All great ideas. Part of me debated renting a large place in Bend/Sunriver/Bachelor (via Homeaway or Airbnb) on the way back and extending it to some friends to come down from Seattle--assuming I get some initial interesting in the next month or so.

 

I had heard the Summit gets closed a lot, as well.  I am going to reach out to a guy I use to work with and see what he thinks about Bachelor, etc-- he lives in Bend and that is his primary mountain.  We would not stay with him as I don't know him that well but he might have local insights.

 

I had never thought about deciding at the last minute as some of the other family members can be pretty particular about housing arrangements.  But they told me they would try to be flexible.  Utah could be on the table, then!

 

All great ideas and truly appreciate all your insights!

post #11 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by bl25322 View Post
I had never thought about deciding at the last minute as some of the other family members can be pretty particular about housing arrangements.  But they told me they would try to be flexible.  Utah could be on the table, then!

 

Salt Lake City is not going to run out of varied lodging options, even during Christmas Week.

 

Your friend in Bend will have no better insight on when Summit is open/closed as it's due to wind which can't be predicted more than a few days at best in advance.  If that is important to you, you have no choice but to make the call last minute.

post #12 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Crocker View Post
 

.Bachelor's record for snow is good but midwinter weather not so much.  Summit is closed ~50% of the time, and it's much diminished mountain without Summit.  I'd want a nice weather forecast to go there, particularly since you will have done it already on the way to Tahoe. 

 

My sister lives in Bend and I have been there for a few Christmas breaks. The summit has been closed every day that I have skied bachelor.

 

Got lucky with snow though. Rain one year, but others were nice. One cycle dropped 6 feet in a few days The opening of Northwest Express was amazing, but the terrain wasn't super interesting.

post #13 of 14

Mt. Bachelor is an area where I've been lucky, with Summit open 21 of the 26 days I have skied there.  This probably influences my enthusiasm for the place.  The less lucky who rarely see Summit open are likely to have a different view.

post #14 of 14
Thread Starter 

Its definitely on the list.  And they are opening about another 600+ acres with the new chair lift.  Its partially lower mountain but it looks awesome.  I love exploring through the trees though on a snowboard I try to not get my dumb arse stuck.

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