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NE skier going west

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
Ok,
I have been lurking in the forums for a week now. The information and advice here is great.

I have a question about the resorts out west.

We are planning a ski trip out west for the first time. We only have skied the east. We are hard core and ski in all conditions and weather. Terrain is not a problem, ice, crud, crap, junk, bumps, dumps, humps, lumps, stumps, glades, boilerplate, dirt, rocks and the occasional inch or two of powder. You know the typical NE skier. :

We like bumps, glades, and steeps but enjoy taking breaks with crusing runs top to bottom. I do not know the level we would be rated but the front four at Stowe after a week of no snow does not get us puckered up. We are not extreme skiers and would not be jumping off 80 ft cliffs into 9 ft of powder. We have kids who depend on us. [img]tongue.gif[/img]

We want a great "first" experience in the west.

Can we get some pros and cons of resorts for some western newbies. (Colorado and Utah are the areas of preference)

Thanks in advance. [img]smile.gif[/img]
post #2 of 16
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>We like bumps, glades, and steeps but enjoy taking breaks with crusing runs top to bottom.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
Spork,
That pretty much describes every Colorado and Utah ski resort and ski area. Could you speak to other realistic aspects you do or don't want to encounter in your ski vacation experience?
post #3 of 16
Here's your list (not necessarily in order)

Jackson Hole, WY
Whistler/Blackcomb, BC
Alta and Snowbird, Utah
Squaw Valley, CA // Alpine Meadows, CA
Big Sky, MT
Taos, NM

I did Jackson Hole last year and it is a true western ski town. Doing Squaw/Alpine this year, and Whistler sometime soon.
post #4 of 16
I've skied 'em all, but keep coming back to
Sun Valley Idaho. It was the first and is
still the best of the mega-resorts.
post #5 of 16
Hi Spork, Glad to see you taking an interest in the west this year. The big question in my mind is whether you want to start with the best or just taste the flavor of the west and then work up to the best. If you want to start at what is probably the best all around resort in the west when you combine all factors, you will probably want to look at the Aspen Skiing Group. It is four ski areas on one lift ticket and probably has the widest variety of anylift served location in the lower 48. Many other good areas exist but there are no others that include the blend of seclusion, snow, terrain, infrastructure, culture, scenery, variety, and feel; the way the Roaring Fork Valley does. Try others if you like, but Pitkin County Colorado has what all the others wish they had, and most people there would like for everyone there to keep quiet about it. From what is probably the best cruising terrain in the lower 48 at Snowmass, to the exhilaration of Aspen Highlands; you will experience mountain development in a wonderfully uncrowded setting. [img]smile.gif[/img]
post #6 of 16
Another suggestion would be Steamboat. You can fly directly into Steamboat and it is a great mountain for a family to vacation at. The snow is usually good and it is a great family mountain but it is lacking when it comes to true hair raising terrain, except for some of the terrain at the top of Storm Peak (The Chutes, Gate G, etc.) but Steamboat some of the best tree skiing around. Plus it's a fairly cheap destination compared to Aspen and Vail.
post #7 of 16
OK, I am totally biased, but Mammoth kicks ass. Of course, it is kind of far from the nearest real airport; Reno is about 3 hours, LA and Vegas about 5. But Mammoth is worth it. Mammoths total vert is about 3100, and tops out at 11,053 feet, with timberline at about 10,000. The upper mountain is an endless ridge of bowls, cliffs and chutes, ranging from steep (Cornice Bowl) to stupid (Top of the World, Kiwi Flat). The middle of the mountain is filled with great crusing runs, a few bump runs, and some hidden stashes. There is also a big subpeak called Lincoln Mountain. It is below timberline, and stays open on most storm days. Lincoln is full of glades, rocky chutes, some big rock drops, and lots of steep trees. Oh yeah, our snow kicks ass too. Sure, we get "Sierra Cement" sometimes, but it usually gets dried out and buffed by the wind, and becomes "windbuff", the ultimate snow for high speed big mountain ripping. Last year actually we got mostly light pow, and it sucked. It did not cover the rocks very well, and melted fast in the spring. The last two several years, February has been the best month for fresh snow, but you never know. Bring your fats, most locals ski only on fats, and twins. By the way, Mammoth is still largly an LA weekend hill, so weekdays are very uncrowded. Yeah, I have skied Aspen, Snowbird, Alta, W/B, Etc.. It is always better at home.
post #8 of 16
Mine - in no order:

Jackson
Targhee
Red Mountain
Squaw
Wolf Creek
Aspen Highlands
Crested Butte
Taos
Pajarito
Alta
A-Basin
Telluride
Crystal Mountain

Oh - those are my fav's I can think of right now.
post #9 of 16
Ok Here is my $.02 worth of advice.If you want easy access and tons of terrain you can't beat Utah.Park city is about a 45 min drive from the Salt Lake Airport.Park City is a real western ski town. With a multi resort pass You get Park City, Deer Valley and The Canyons .That is about 8100 acres of sking less then 10 mins from anywhere in town.less then an hour away you can be skiing Alta,SnowBird,Brighton,Solitude,or Snowbasin.If you want terrain you can find anything from the most mellow green runs to Big Bowls to scare yourself silly chutes and steeps :Good luck with your selection for your first taste of the West.I am sure that no matter were you choose It will be a great ski vacation [img]smile.gif[/img]
post #10 of 16
I was a New Englander skier at one time too, and was planning my first trip out west about 4 years ago. I was torn between, Crested Butte, Jackson, Taos, and Summit County, CO.
Well I went to Jackson, and fell in love with the concept of skiing on snow immedialtely. Jackson is the best ski area that I have ever skied. I live in Colorado now and still make a point to get up there once a year. It's huge!! Go to Jackson!!
post #11 of 16
If you want a great first time out west experience regarding skiing, go to Vail. 5000+ acres of terrain just as you described. Stay in the village if you have big bucks or across I70 for a lot less. Vail is putting on some extremely cheap packages to entice skiiers this season.

If you want a great first time out west experience in regard to a ski town, then hit Teluride. Excellent skiing and a really cool mountain town to boot.
post #12 of 16
Hi Spork.
If it was me I would opt for Utah. With all the other crap you have to deal with during a ski vacation the proximity of all the great skiing so close to the city makes it a no brainer.
I have skied Colorado, New Mexico, California, and Wyoming. I used to live in Park City and now I live in, work at and ski Big Sky in Montana.
Thats my input, where ever you go, it will spoil ya.
post #13 of 16
Thread Starter 
Sounds like we will have a great time no matter which resort we choose. That is good news. Im not sure if this makes it easier or more difficult to choose..

Thank you all for your responses. They were very helpful. We are looking forward to this trip and I will consider each of your suggestions. [img]smile.gif[/img]
post #14 of 16
Spork,

There are a lot of suggestions on where to go for your first out west ski trip, and they are all good. But most are suggestions from those who are not very open minded about other areas but they're own.

So with that said, I'm going to tell you about the best skiing and night life in the west. And it's not just me saying this. Just look at the ski pubs. We're number 1, the big cheese, the cats meow, etc etc this year. And why? Because we are. Aspen has always been great, but in forums like this, hardly ever gets any respect. The reason, I believe, is because it isn't the cheapest place to come. But you get what you pay for.

I have lived in Snowmass for the last twenty eight years, and I can tell you, the Aspen ski areas are not second to any ski areas anywhere in the world. I've had the opportunity to ski a lot of the ski areas in the west, and there are some real good ones out here. But if someone said which one would I like to spend most of my time at? Snowmass, hands down. And that's why I live here. It has everything that a skier could want . One of the biggest mountain in the country, with all the terrain anyone would ever want. The best ski school in the world. ( I have to say that, because I teach skiing here ) And three other world class mountains no more that fifteen minutes away. And night life? It's Aspen! What do you think? And you know what? It's really not that much more expensive if at all. If you shop around on our web pages, you can find deals, and your trip to Aspen might even be cheaper than other places in the west. And I guarantee you, you can't do better for your first trip to the west than Aspen. So whatya waintin' for? Come ski with us, and get ready to ski on the most unbelievable snow you have ever skied on.----------Wigs :
post #15 of 16
Here's my .02:

Jackson is the best mountain in the Western US in terms of challenge and terrain. It is also huge and beautiful. The one drawback might be snow. Last season wasn't an epic powder year. So, you might be rolling the dice on that aspect. It is truly "like nothing you've skied before," and you will be jonesing to return.

Utah is guaranteed snow. If you're a serious skier do Alta/Snowbird. If you want more of a 'resort' that has more amenities and apres ski stuff, try one of the others in Utah. The convenience factor is huge compared to just about anywhere else, I might add. One caveat this year: make sure you schedule away from the Olympics.

Big Sky is another huge mountain that is underrated by some in terms of its greatness. It has plenty of excellent expert terrain off the Challenger lift and the Tram, plus lots of long cruising runs if some in your group prefer that. Not a ton of apres ski, but a thousand alternative adventures if you want to take a day off and snowmobile or whatever (JH has that too, of course). Absolutely no lines, no attitude, no BS. Drawback: Hour drive from Bozeman (must connect thru MSP, SLC or DIA).

I don't know enough about CO resorts, but I have avoided them over the years b/c of the combination of: expense, relative inconvenience, and lines. (I'm sure someone will set me straight on that).

I'm going to Whistler this year - I can't wait!
post #16 of 16
Aspen.
Fly into Aspen from Denver.
You can stay in Aspen for a low rate at Snowflake Inn or the St. Moritz. The free busses go everywhere anytime. Not needing a rental car is a savings.
Eat ribs for breakfast at the Hickory House.
Hike the ridge at Highlands for some views and some steeps.
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