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Colorado Dec 16-23.. Time to change plans ??

post #1 of 188
Thread Starter 

Each year we book flights to EGE the week before Xmas fully understanding its a crap shoot.....  

 

We don't pick a resort or book hotels until the week before based on open runs and snow conditions.... 

 

Most of the time it works out - but I am starting to be a bit concerned ......

 

Time to change flights to something a bit more NW ??? 

 

or fingers crossed, pray to Ullr and keep the faith ...

 

Thoughts  

 

Thanks

 

NNN 

post #2 of 188
No, you'll be fine. I just booked the same week.
I'm not consernned in the slightest and actually encouraged.
No snow in October, is a harbinger of a very good season!
post #3 of 188
Yea, If it was Thanksgiving I'd think it over, but the last two years have been really warm through Oct and then it turned on mid-Nov and set the base for the season.

It doesn't mean anything except we are in a stagnant warm pattern in Oct.
post #4 of 188
Thread Starter 

Thanks guys... Just needed a little encouragement .... 

 

This is my annual bonding week with my kids ...

 

Would hate for it to be a bust ..... 

post #5 of 188
You have a good strategy. Stay the course.
You'll have a great trip.
post #6 of 188
Quote =Shredhead:
No snow in October, is a harbinger of a very good season!

No snow in October in Colorado is completely irrelevant to the unfolding of Colorado's ski season. Joel Gratz of OpenSnow just posted that observation recently.  When Colorado gets October snow, it rarely sticks around enough to be relevant for skiing. Wolf Creek is often the exception to that generalization but it does not have snow yet this year.

 

Quote = triplenet:
Time to change flights to something a bit more NW ??? 

I would not view this suggestion as a negative for Colorado but as a positive for Whistler, which got lots of snow in the alpine in October and rates to be close to full operation by mid-December.

post #7 of 188
Originally Posted by Tony Crocker View Post
 

No snow in October in Colorado is completely irrelevant to the unfolding of Colorado's ski season. Joel Gratz of OpenSnow just posted that observation recently.

 

I would not view this suggestion as a negative for Colorado but as a positive for Whistler, which got lots of snow in the alpine in October and rates to be close to full operation by mid-December.

 

Buzz kill scientists and their data.

 

 

 

The OP has a really nice direct flight Miami- Eagle. If he changes to YVR, he doubles his flight time and incurs a $200 per ticket change fee. 

Without any guarantee of good surface conditions and he's pretty much stuck going to Whistler.  They may have the base, but it could rain at any time.

 

Sticking with EGE, he has a lot of options. Even if Aspen, Steamboat or Vail are all total crap the day of arrival.  He could still drive as far as SLC or Taos,  in the same total travel time as Whistler.

 

I'd hold off making any decision till December 12.

post #8 of 188
Well, instead of a return of the summer ridge, we have a cutoff low meandering around the southwest spitting out some energy and coming across the state this weekend.

Certainly no game changer, but it will probably get Loveland open (due to return of snowmaking temps smile.gif ).



This is for Loveland Pass...

post #9 of 188
Thread Starter 
BTT ....
 
Long range forecasts don't look very good right now.... Still holding on for another 2 weeks - but unless something changes in the next few weeks I don't see Colorado having much terrain open by Dec 16th ... 
 
Fingers crossed & doing the daily snow dance ... 
post #10 of 188
It's been raining to the top at Whistler.
I think I would look at Europe.
Verbier opened today.

I'd still wait till after thanksgiving.
post #11 of 188

I think we need a few of these events to appease Ullr :

 

post #12 of 188
I'm at Aspen first week of January and I have a newly busted knee which can't be fixed in time so I'll be restricted to groomers I think. Surely there will be enough snow by then?
post #13 of 188
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sbooker View Post

I'm at Aspen first week of January and I have a newly busted knee which can't be fixed in time so I'll be restricted to groomers I think. Surely there will be enough snow by then?


I am going again to Aspen the second week of Jan ... I am sure there will be lots of open terrain by January ....

 

Dec 16th is unfortunately 1 month away ... and no real snow in sight for another week... 

 

The snow machine would have to be pretty steady for me to get lucky 

post #14 of 188
Anyone who advance books for Dec. 16 on a regular basis is going to get burned badly on occasion. In the case of Colorado this happened in 2011 and 2012, not so long ago. Sometimes it's best to cut your losses, eat an airfare exchange fee but at least you're not spending vacation time and lift and lodging $ to ski a couple of congested and icy WRODs. We're not at that point yet but we will be in a couple of weeks without a significant turnaround.

I have traveled by air to ski exactly twice before Jan. 1 in 40 years of skiing. Once was to Colorado at n 1995, booked late November with ample snow on the ground. The other was the 2011 Antarctic cruise. Once again I must ask all these December reservation people: Do you come to Colorado in April with full operation of terrain, cheap prices and often some powder? If not you should consider reallocating your ski time.
post #15 of 188
I canceled my trip to colorado that was for the first week in January today. Going there in December would be fine if you are okay with limiting your skiing to blue groomers and lapping the park. Otherwise it will be a waste of $. At the rate vail may not open the back bowls until february.
post #16 of 188
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Crocker View Post

Anyone who advance books for Dec. 16 on a regular basis is going to get burned badly on occasion. In the case of Colorado this happened in 2011 and 2012, not so long ago. Sometimes it's best to cut your losses, eat an airfare exchange fee but at least you're not spending vacation time and lift and lodging $ to ski a couple of congested and icy WRODs. We're not at that point yet but we will be in a couple of weeks without a significant turnaround.

I have traveled by air to ski exactly twice before Jan. 1 in 40 years of skiing. Once was to Colorado at n 1995, booked late November with ample snow on the ground. The other was the 2011 Antarctic cruise. Once again I must ask all these December reservation people: Do you come to Colorado in April with full operation of terrain, cheap prices and often some powder? If not you should consider reallocating your ski time.

Last year I came Dec 18-Jan 3 and got in a ten days of skiing on great snow.  I also came back in April and got in three days on the slopes.  I typically do come to CO around end of March into April because there usually is lots of days of snowing conditions and thinner crowds.  So, yes, I do make a trip in April when there is much snow on the ground, but December is when anticipation and excitement of a new ski season is highest and hard to resist.    

 

I have some vacation time left for this year, so I booked a short trip for Dec 13-17 because I'm freakin' antsy and want to ski!  Definitely didn't want to come up the week between Christmas and New Year.  And, the airline ticket prices we got were less than they are the week of Dec 18-24.  January will be busy at work because of new projects starting up so won't get much time to ski then.  February is more acceptable at work, however, I would be going crazy by then wanting to get on the slopes.   

post #17 of 188
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Crocker View Post

Anyone who advance books for Dec. 16 on a regular basis is going to get burned badly on occasion. In the case of Colorado this happened in 2011 and 2012, not so long ago. Sometimes it's best to cut your losses, eat an airfare exchange fee but at least you're not spending vacation time and lift and lodging $ to ski a couple of congested and icy WRODs. We're not at that point yet but we will be in a couple of weeks without a significant turnaround.

I have traveled by air to ski exactly twice before Jan. 1 in 40 years of skiing. Once was to Colorado at n 1995, booked late November with ample snow on the ground. The other was the 2011 Antarctic cruise. Once again I must ask all these December reservation people: Do you come to Colorado in April with full operation of terrain, cheap prices and often some powder? If not you should consider reallocating your ski time.


I do this trip to spend time with my daughter - she is getting older and its harder for us to spend quality time together - so I am more than willing to take the risk ....

 

The direct flights from Miami to EGE gets booked up early so I have to lock in around August / Sept unfortunately.... I don't mind rolling the dice and honestly don't mind changing the plans - it is what it is - the $$ is not a factor at all  ....   And yes, we also do a spring ski as well with the kids .... my adult trips with he guys are "always" peak season - Jan-March... 

 

anyway,,, giving it another week ---- then will start looking for flights to Seattle or maybe Calgary ..... ? 

 

BTW - the only think that annoys me is that I had great seats and direct flights - now we will be roughing it  :-) 

post #18 of 188

On the plus side, it looks like it's going to be cold enough to start making snow at the resorts near EGE very soon.  I know no one wants to rely on manmade snow, but it's sure better than nothing, particularly combined with the new weather pattern supposedly coming (no expert, I just parrot Joel Gratz). I think assuming mid December will just be WROD is probably overly pessimistic. That said, I don't share the blind optimism of others. 

post #19 of 188
It is indeed still early. In 2007 we had a near bone dry November but come December 1 it dumped like crazy and some western Colorado areas set snowfall records that season. At the end of this month you have to evaluate what's on the ground plus maybe a week of upcoming forecasts. In 2007 you would have seen those first big storms coming.

Triplenet understands the situation and only has airline change fees at risk. My cautionary comments are intended for a wider audience. For over a decade I've been reading the stories of people who advance book the lodging packages as well as the airfare for December, thus feel locked in and go through with the trip even though they know it will be crappy as in 2011 and 2012. Those people need a new strategy, especially if it's their only big destination trip of the season.
post #20 of 188
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Crocker View Post

It is indeed still early. In 2007 we had a near bone dry November but come December 1 it dumped like crazy and some western Colorado areas set snowfall records that season. At the end of this month you have to evaluate what's on the ground plus maybe a week of upcoming forecasts. In 2007 you would have seen those first big storms coming.

Triplenet understands the situation and only has airline change fees at risk. My cautionary comments are intended for a wider audience. For over a decade I've been reading the stories of people who advance book the lodging packages as well as the airfare for December, thus feel locked in and go through with the trip even though they know it will be crappy as in 2011 and 2012. Those people need a new strategy, especially if it's their only big destination trip of the season.


​I guess you have to play the odds. And the odds suggest Christmas is ok most times in most North American resorts if you're the typical once a year skier (you're happy with intermediate terrain).

From a personal perspective I'm happy to change plans at the last minute and go somewhere that has snow if needs be. Sure it may cost me a couple of thousand dollars but that's what you get when planning a holiday that revolves around mother nature. I've been on offshore fishing trips that have been ruined by lineball weather - the trip still happens but fishing in 40 knots is not much fun.

post #21 of 188

We do the trip every year also through Christmas and New Years to Park City. 2011 was a lousy in terms of snow but we still had a blast. If you want to have powder and a full mountain open during a Christmas trip the chances are somewhat low. If you want to have fun with the family and be on the slopes during the Christmas season than its just fine. Even the dismal 2011 year was a lot of fun. Its all  about what you expect to do when your there. I went Presidents day 2014 and the snow was horrible, even that late... Worse than the Christmas 2 months earlier.

post #22 of 188

I would certainly wait until January to come to ski North America from Australia, if only to avoid crowds and high prices over Christmas.

 

My view is that the more expensive the trip, the more picky I am going to be about optimizing snow conditions.  Leaving one's own continent to ski raises that bar to a high level IMHO, unless the skiing is mixed with a lot of other tourism like most of my trips to the Southern Hemisphere.

post #23 of 188
Quote = kurtis:
If you want to have fun with the family and be on the slopes during the Christmas season than its just fine.

But the skiing will usually be better and the crowds and prices will always be better if you go during your family's spring break instead of Christmas.  That's what I did for 15+ seasons with my avid skiing son when he was in school.

post #24 of 188

Hmmm....we had the same dilemma last year around the same time. Ended up sticking with the plan and it ended up working out. We had committed to resorts already though so we got screwed for a couple days in Crested Butte (which had not opened it's extreme terrain yet). Aspen/Telluride were great though. You should be fine, worst case you end up getting stuck at Loveland/A-Basin. 

post #25 of 188
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Crocker View Post
 

I would certainly wait until January to come to ski North America from Australia, if only to avoid crowds and high prices over Christmas.

 

My view is that the more expensive the trip, the more picky I am going to be about optimizing snow conditions.  Leaving one's own continent to ski raises that bar to a high level IMHO, unless the skiing is mixed with a lot of other tourism like most of my trips to the Southern Hemisphere.


​We certainly plan other touristy stuff on our ski treks (this year we'll see Arches and Yellowstone) and we don't have much choice in leaving our continent to ski. Our Aussie hills are small and flat and get little snow - but they do get rain. :)

Easter trips have been great for us in previous years - Mammoth, Banff and Altabird have delivered. Unfortunately my daughter is in high school now and taking her out of school is no longer an option - so January it is.

post #26 of 188
Quote:
Originally Posted by sbooker View Post
 


​We certainly plan other touristy stuff on our ski treks (this year we'll see Arches and Yellowstone) and we don't have much choice in leaving our continent to ski. Our Aussie hills are small and flat and get little snow - but they do get rain. :)

Easter trips have been great for us in previous years - Mammoth, Banff and Altabird have delivered. Unfortunately my daughter is in high school now and taking her out of school is no longer an option - so January it is.


Arches and Yellowstone?  Nice.  If the skiing isn't great, add a day (or more) in Canyonlands.  That's the best part of Utah anyway :devil:

post #27 of 188
December 4, 2015 - riding Northwoods @ Vail (think it was a mini powder day)



My birthday is same time every year, tradition dictates Vail, always ski - past 10 years or so.

Dec 12, 2014 - China Bowl @ Vail



So, it's a crap shoot - it's the mountains, they are fun, enjoy
post #28 of 188
My birthday is also Dec. 4. I have only skied it 3x, most recently in 2012 at Mammoth.

As far as Vail is concerned, Joel Gratz published an aerial photo yesterday of Vail with not one one scrap of snow even along the top ridge line. I think emax is too pessimistic predicting a February opening of the back bowls. Most of them are open by Christmas in 75% of seasons. This year I would guess the bowls will open a week or two into January.

The OP should be researching his alternatives to EGE now and be ready to make a move after Thankgiving if the situation does not turn around substantially.
post #29 of 188

While the weather has changed to a more winter-like pattern, it will take some time to make up the deficit of the first half of November in both man-made and natural snow.  The clearest evidence of this is the cancellation of the World Cup races at Beaver Creek scheduled first weekend of December.

 

As I've occasional posted before, I have percents of terrain open for the I-70 resorts going back to 1988.   Since I expect none of those areas to be as much as 10% open for Thanksgiving, it's instructive to see what happened in other seasons with extremely limited open terrain at Thanksgiving. Looking at all the seasons with <15% open at Thanksgiving, here's what can be expected for mid-December and Christmas Week:

A-Basin: 16%, 39%

Breck: 44%, 52%

Copper: 31%, 54%

Keystone: 34%, 55%

Loveland: 24%, 35%

Steamboat: 51%, 89%

Vail: 52%, 72%

Winter Park: 39%, 58%

 

Most of these numbers are about 20% less terrain than in a season with average snowfall starting Nov. 1.  Minimal natural snow advanced terrain can be expected before Christmas.  50-60% open terrain with Christmas level congestion is not likely to be what most destination visitors want either.   Thus my recommendation to hold off booking into this region in advance before January.

 

For those who have booked already it's worth waiting to see what happens between now and Thanksgiving, whether my prediction of <10% open proves correct, and then see what's predicted for first week of December.  As noted in the Colorado local thread, normal snowfall is at least one foot per week, so if that's what's called for during the next two weeks, that will likely only be enough to stay on track toward the percents open I quoted above.  You will need to see significantly more snow than that to have a normal holiday season.

 

If you want a normal or better December ski experience this year, I recommend you look to Canada or the Alps. Much of the Alps had a very snowy first half of November. http://www.weathertoski.co.uk/

 

None of the above applies to the Denver locals who are not shelling out for airfare or lodging.  Hopefully I will be skiing myself at Mammoth after I get home in December.  Not as much new snow will be needed there as the upper 1/3 of the mountain has a 3-foot base from October's storms.

post #30 of 188

Thanks! I love data. What are you using as your source for opening percentages, Tony? (not that I doubt you, just curious). 


Edited by zoraster - 11/20/16 at 10:22am
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