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Where should I go for Christmas (Hardest terrain)

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

I am looking to ski the hardest "marked" terrain in NA and I and was wondering where I should travel to for next christmas. I am currently thinking of Alyeska, Jackson Hole, Kirkwood, Squaw Valley, Mammoth and Crested Butte. I want to ski the hardest terrain there. To put my ability in perspective I have skied Whitewall and all of CPR Ridge at Kicking Horse along with most of the terrain in the back bowls at Lake Louise in the Banff area. Sadly, while I was at Sunshine Village Delirium Dive was closed :(. Does anyone have any input on where the best terrain for me is? I only care about the terrain of the mountain and nothing else. Anywhere in North America and not Europe.

 

This was a little edit I made while I was there any feedback is appreciated for that too :)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=76bONTyFMHs&t=149s

(Skip to 12:31 if you are impatient)

 

Side note: Is Whitewall the hardest at Kicking Horse?

post #2 of 11

It is an almost certainty that Crested Butte will not have their hardest terrain open that early in the season.  If you are limited to Christmas, Jackson Hole and Snowbird are the two best bets for skiing expert terrain that early on, but even those aren't for sure.

post #3 of 11

You would have been able to ski most of Whistler this Christmas

 

I was just there (the week after new years), and had a great time. A couple of the entrances for the steeper shots off the the Peak Chair weren't so inviting, but still plenty of choices for your steep terrain fix. 

 

Whistler will be busy though....and pricey.

 

Stay and squamish and save big. Get there early. Don't break for lunch, or break really early. 

post #4 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lofcaudio View Post

It is an almost certainty that Crested Butte will not have their hardest terrain open that early in the season.  If you are limited to Christmas, Jackson Hole and Snowbird are the two best bets for skiing expert terrain that early on, but even those aren't for sure.


I agree on the suggestion for snowbird. I've skied at squaw, kirkwood and mammoth unless there is a miraculous dump usually most of the mountain is not open by xmas. And i would add i consider snowbird steeper then those other mountains.
post #5 of 11
Crystal Mountain, WA. The Cascades typically have most, if not all of the terrain open by Christmas.
post #6 of 11

The answer to this question isn't going to be possible to know until mid-December 2017 since the hardest terrain requires the most snow to open.  Christmas is quite early in the season yet so many places won't have enough snow to be 100% open.  If it was a spring break trip it would be easy to say, "Yeah go to any of those places. Have fun. Stay safe." but since Christmas-time is condition-dependent no one knows the answer.

post #7 of 11

Doubt there is one area with the most difficult terrain. Conditions will play a major role in what you ask; quantity and quality of the snow especially that early in the season define the terrain. Skiing something steep aggressively and dynamically requires a better skier than getting down something that is a no fall zone. 

 

With that said you are most likely to find the best snow depths and open terrain in: the PNW Whistler, Crystal, Stevens Pass or Alta/Bird. Red Mountain and their trees might be a thought too, but do not ski those alone. If you do ski solo mostly Crystal Mountain would be a good choice, there is a lot of tough stuff out there that is visible from below if something happens.

post #8 of 11
Thread Starter 

Thank you for the feedback! Does Crystal have enough terrain to keep it interesting for 10 days or so? I'm not a fan of Whistler due to how many people say it's crowded.

post #9 of 11

Difficult terrain equals steep terrain, which requires a lot of snow to be skiable.  As noted the question is who has the best early snow, so the longer you wait to decide the better steep skiing you will have.

post #10 of 11
There's also the moisture content of the snowfall. West Coast moisture content (10-12%) snow sticks to the terrain better and doesn't get scoured away by winds. A foot of snow on the West Coast (PNW at least) sticks around longer and gets packed down into a more stable base than Intermountain snowfall.

But there's a different question to consider: are steeps required in order to feel the trip was worth it? If so, then don't plan on a Christmas trip. If you truly are on a quest to ski the toughest terrain in NA, plan to go some other time, maybe end of January.
Quote:
Originally Posted by tank8681 View Post

I'm not a fan of Whistler due to how many people say it's crowded.
Have you been to Whistler? Or are you just asking about Whistler during peak holidays?
Whistler is big, and while some lifts can get busy, the slopes aren't crowded, certainly not the expert slopes.
post #11 of 11

Hey, hotshot, you have to be a bit careful...  I don't know your history (maybe you grew up skiing Alaska-size steeps, but I guess not).  Big western mountains are not Jersey, the conditions are also not always like what you had in your GoPro videos.  It does take more than ability to make turns to ski some of the marquee terrain at some of those resorts and I, unfortunately, know people who had sustained serious injuries inbounds (and those people were and are way better skiers than you).

 

If you go on your quest for hardest terrain, please make sure you look at the runs both from the top AND from the bottom, assess conditions, look for hidden ice patches, etc, and most I'm portent be realistic about your abilities.  Also accept that some of that terrain is unskiable by anyone expect a few phenomenal athletes in good snow conditions (and you are not one of those athletes).  Sure, Travis Ganong skied the High Line on McConkey's at Squaw in bad snow, but the guy is on a US Ski Team and has run Kitzbuhel downhill.  Believe it or not, the terrain opening policy in the West is quite liberal, so it is very easy to get yourself into a situation where there are no good exits and a lot of the times those excursions do not end well.  

 

Resorts: Squaw, Jackson, Snowbird, and Crested Butte would have plenty of challenge for you.  All seem to have  great snow year this season, but a lot of that snow came after Christmas.  Typically Christmas time or weekends is not when the most extreme terrain gets opened.  Squaw for example keeps Palisades close during the holidays because, sadly, they are afraid exactly of the visitors like you: warriors from flat urban places looking for thrills  and ways to bag famous runs (the technical explanation is that they want to protect the traverse under the 'Sades rom high-speed run-outs). 

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