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Need a new place to ski out west

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 
Been to Alta, Snowbird, Park City, Deer Valley, Vail, Beaver Creek, Copper, A-Basin, Snowmass, Steamboat, Tahoe, Whistler, Telluride, Breck. What can ya guys recommend for a week, for some spring skiing?? Have heard Mammoth is great, as is Big Sky? Any ideas? we're both (wife and I) advanced intermediates/lower expert skiers.
THANKS :
post #2 of 27
Best spring skiing (late April) I've seen is Mt Bachelor.
post #3 of 27
Mammoth.
post #4 of 27
Jackson Hole
post #5 of 27
Fernie! [img]graemlins/angel.gif[/img]
post #6 of 27
For late spring I will second either Bachelor or Mammoth. Both have terrain that should satisfy the advanced skier. Both are big and have good lift service, although Bachelor may have the best lift service in the US. Neither is too far from an airport. Bachelor does not have on mountain lodging, so you will be staying about 30 min from the ski area. Both have lots of things to do if you decide to skip a day of skiing.

Hope this helps.

Mark
post #7 of 27
Rhys,
Big Sky is a wonderful place. It has a huge selection of advanced-intermediate trails, plus some serious expert stuff up off the Lone Peak tram if you feel like pushing your limits.
The nice thing about Big Sky is that it's only a 3-hour drive from Jackson Hole, so you can make a nice week out of skiing them both. If I were to recommend one ski area that isn't on your list, Jackson would be it. Unbelievable skiing, fantastic town.
If you feel like a diversion, you can stop at Yellowstone on the drive between Jackson and Big Sky and do a day of snowmobiling.
post #8 of 27
I know this sounds like a broken record to many of the folks at this site, but the best spring skiing on the western North American continent is found in the Banff area. While many areas are closing or reducing terrain offered, the Banff area often finds itself blessed with a nice dose of winter conditions well into April. Even if it doesn't wind up the luckiest of years, there is still plenty of intermediate grade skiing on two very large ski areas well into May.

The added bonus is that the long days give plenty of sightseeing time for what may be the prettiest national park on the continent! [img]smile.gif[/img]
post #9 of 27
Both Big Sky and Mt. Bachelor are huge resorts covering about the same acreage. You can ski at both for a few days and still not ski all the runs. Big Sky has more advance terrain and lighter snow. Mt. Bachelor generally has more snow & powder days plus it has the best spring skiing anywhere.

If you are looking for someplace this year I would choice Mt. Bachelor because they are getting snow while El Nino has caused Big Sky to suffer. Next year, I would see if Big Sky is getting snow. If it is I would head there. They are adding 30% more terrain and it will be on the north side of the mountain less exposed to the sun and winds.
post #10 of 27
Rhys:

You've already received some excellent suggestions (and of course I agree wholeheartedly with the Jackson Hole recommendations), but here's another...

Aspen

It's a great town for a couple, and it has four ski mountains and normally very reliable spring skiing conditions. If you haven't visited Aspen, you really should.

Bob
post #11 of 27
Oops.

I just noticed you've been to Snowmass already, so obviously you've been to Aspen. Duh.

Sorry.

Bob

(Aspen's still an excellent choice for spring skiing.)
post #12 of 27
Thread Starter 
I should have been more precise, I 'm looking at going March 28-April5th, so it's really early spring. I've heard Jackson Hole is REALLY tough. Just got back from 8 days in Telluride, unfortunately the conditions weren't the greatest. The first few days were really icy and the skiing was difficult on the steeps. Am leery of Jackson as I've heard it's the most difficult mountian in North America.
So now what?
post #13 of 27
My experience with Jackson is that if has snowed recently, it is great. If they have had a dry winter and it hasn't snowed recently, it sucks. Jackson has a ton to do, and Grand Targhee is only a 45 minute drive and the backcountry (if you are into that) options are limitless. My wife is an intermediate and we have hit JH on both pow days and non pow days. On the pow days she had a blast there. On the firm days, it was not so much fun for her. Although, the mountain is huge so you can always find something for any level.
post #14 of 27
Quote:
Originally posted by Rhys Craver:
I should have been more precise, I 'm looking at going March 28-April5th, so it's really early spring. I've heard Jackson Hole is REALLY tough. Just got back from 8 days in Telluride, unfortunately the conditions weren't the greatest. The first few days were really icy and the skiing was difficult on the steeps. Am leery of Jackson as I've heard it's the most difficult mountian in North America.
So now what?
Rhys:

That "most difficult mountain" moniker is definitely open to debate. Jackson does have a lot of pretty difficult terrain, but it also has a huge amount of great skiing for intermediate through lower-expert skiers. I know so many skiers in your category who've had a super experience there that I wouldn't hesitate to recommend the place.

The time of year you're considering is really an interesting one for Jackson. Despite its more northern location, late March/early April is normally spring skiing for sure. Jackson's relatively low base and the more easterly orientation of the ski area combine to produce excellent spring conditions (on average). If you know the mountain, a sunny day can provide nearly perfect skiing *somewhere* on the mountain pretty much any time of the day. Since you obviously wouldn't know the mountain, you could consider hiring one of the Guides http://www.jacksonhole.com/skiing/gserve.html for a day to get oriented.

It's actually one of my favorite times of the season to ski Jackson because it's also a time of year when almost no one skis there. As crew cut said, you can also ski Grand Targhee (very mellow terrain), and you can ride a horse-drawn sleigh through the National Elk Refuge or go snowmobiling in Teton or Yellowstone Parks. Lots to do.

Good luck in your decision.

Bob
post #15 of 27
Quote:
Originally posted by feal:
I know this sounds like a broken record to many of the folks at this site, but the best spring skiing on the western North American continent is found in the Banff area. While many areas are closing or reducing terrain offered, the Banff area often finds itself blessed with a nice dose of winter conditions well into April. Even if it doesn't wind up the luckiest of years, there is still plenty of intermediate grade skiing on two very large ski areas well into May.

The added bonus is that the long days give plenty of sightseeing time for what may be the prettiest national park on the continent! [img]smile.gif[/img]
I must agree, but take a look at Kicking Horse Resort. It's about 1 1/2 hours from Banff/Sunshine Resort.
post #16 of 27
A couple obvious ones you're missing are Taos and Sun Valley. I think both these are highly variable in the Spring, though, depending on what kind of snow year they had.
post #17 of 27
I have to agree with the Wyoming suggestion for that time of year. It is great skiing, and Grand Targhee has a high enough base that any spring warmup won't ruin your trip.

These El Nino years have a very real threat of a warming trend earlier in the spring, and anything of that nature can turn Jackson Hole into one big piece of boiler plate. Your fall back would be Grand Targhee and rightfully so. 2001 saw a warming trend the third week of March with rain at ski areas further south and mashed potatoes everywhere south of Targhee, but they still had powder to be found. These two in close proximity make for a real safe bet that time of year.

Happy skiing!!! [img]smile.gif[/img]
post #18 of 27
Log another vote for Bachelor. Skied nearly identical dates several years ago accompanied by 20 inches of new snow during the week. Besides reliable snow quality, Bend was a charming town for lodging/dining about 15 miles from the base. Nearby there is a "high desert" museum (sort of a natural history museum that I cannot remember the name of) that is well worth a few hours visit. The drive up from Eugene was gorgeous, but once again, it's all about the snow.
post #19 of 27
Log another vote for Bachelor. Skied nearly identical dates several years ago accompanied by 20 inches of new snow during the week. Besides reliable snow quality, Bend was a charming town for lodging/dining about 15 miles from the base. Nearby there is a "high desert" museum (sort of a natural history museum that I cannot remember the name of) that is well worth a few hours visit. The drive up from Eugene was gorgeous, but once again, it's all about the snow.
post #20 of 27
Bachelor is my home mountain and I would definitely recommend it during the dates you specify. Believe me, I won't be traveling anywhere away from home during that part of the season!!

Another interesting option would be to ski the interior British Columbia resorts -- Sun Peaks, Big White, Silver Star, etc. They are smaller areas that routinely get great powder and minimal crowds. I've had amazing spring skiing at all of them, and it is like traveling back in time to go to these places in comparision to the Whistler/Blackcomb scene -- mellow ski towns, uncrowded, great people, adequate entertainment, etc. Plus, you'll find it hard to beat the price...
post #21 of 27
I would have to agree with Alberta/British Columbia. Particularly, Banff, where you have three choices of skiing: Norquay, Lake Louise, and Sunshine Village at only a 40 min. distance from town. I was there in mid April (and I am intermediate to lo advanced skier) and not only did we have 6 inches of snow each night we were there, but also temps were in the 40's and the conditions were superb! Great learning of how to ski powder there as not alot of each mountain is groomed. Sunshine Village offers awesome above alpine skiing. Banff is super town as well with lots of dining and shopping(if that interests you and your wife) and free shuttles run from most major hotels to each resort. The prices are very good there as you get more bang for your buck in Canada. Hope this helps. I would highly recommend you trying it, if not this year...sometime in the near future.
PS. I have a friend who tells me there are great deals on air to Calgary from the US.
post #22 of 27
Almost forgot. NOBODY mentioned the Crusty Butt? Crested Butte! What gives???
Excellent skiing and town (usually get most of their snow in Feb/Mar.) Easy flying into Gunnison County Airport. Ski resort is only 45 minutes from the airport and it is one of the most laid back resorts around. Definitely worth a try. It is one of my top resorts and I have skied at most places that you have mentioned. I can provide you with more info if you need. Good luck in your quest!
post #23 of 27
lot's of good suggestions. A few off the mark. Lower BC is often played out in April. The base elevations are just too low. Great March skiing though, Fernie is very high on my list of all time fav hills. Kicking Horse if they get the lift situation straightened out might work. I'd like to hear about it does this season before planning a long distance trip there though. I'd say Banff would be my choice. Just a great town, easy access, decent skiing and it's far enough north that you should have the temp on your side that time of year. Bachelor would be my other choice. Seems to be reliable (I'm about 2.5 hours north and hit it a couple of times a year.) Based on your intermediate/lower expert description you'd like the terrain there. It really is a very good, well run ski hill from my observation.

So Banff, Alberta or as a fall back Bend, OR. My .02 and worth every cent!
post #24 of 27
Lake Louise.

It is the most beautiful place I've ever been and the skiing is terrific. A lot of varied terrain and the snow will be good in the spring.

AND the exchange rate PLUS the fact that the winter is off-season in Banff area means a good value.
post #25 of 27
[quote]Originally posted by Mal@hood:
I'd say Banff would be my choice. Just a great town, easy access, decent skiing and it's far enough north that you should have the temp on your side that time of year.

I'm in the middle of trip planning and for me, the 20 minute bus ride (read: 'schlepping' with all my stuff) seems like a big, fatal flaw... Particularly in view of places like Fernie or Big White, with their multitude of ski in/ski out access. For us, though, coming from the U.S. east coast, Fernie and Big White have their drawbacks, too, as both of those resorts have big time travelling drawbacks--3 flights to BW and 2 flights and a long, long drive with toddlers in the car for Fernie.

From all I've read, I expect Banff offers wonderful skiing and views, but I sure wish there were better (more convenient) lodging options. Seems like an imperfect solution either way, but I'd rather err on the side of ski in/out access. Shame, too, as I think I'd rather ski Sunshine and LL, particularly if we go late season.
post #26 of 27
Banff or central BC ... either way a rental car is in order. Yeah, you can do Banff without but it's way moer convenient with... We have stayed at the Banff Park Lodge a couple of times. Nice place, mid-priced for the town. If you go there, check it out. Real nice pool/tub area, indoor parking. Parking space is at a premium in Banff so that is a plus.

Fernie - not much to do on the hill at night (not all that much in town either but there is a tad bit more. We usually stay at Park Place. We have also stayed on the hill at the Bear's Den. That worked well and was reasonable. Still wanted to go to town for dinner most nights though.

These areas aren't all that easy to get to. Calgary has traditionally been an expensive ticket and then you have a couple of hours driving to Banff or 4 to Fernie. But, that keeps the less committed folks away. You give up a ski day in comparison to a Salt Lake or Summit County trip, but you'll more than make up for it in a lack of lift lines at Fernie. Sunshine and lake Louise draw a lot of day traffic out of Calgary so they can get crowded. The best trips I made when I libed in the mod-west were all to hard to get to places. Taos, Big Mountain, Fernie, Red, Whitewater, etc less traffic means fewer lines and conditions that weren'tkied out so fast. You know those lies about 'skiing un-tracked 3 days after a storm, without hiking' ? It actually happens although the without hiking might be stretching the truth 5 or 10 minutes or so ;~)

This was about a late season trip and I wouldn't head to Fernie then ... in a good snow year and this one is shaping up to be not so hot ... I'd still stick with Banff but I'd be paying attention to where El Ninio is dumping snow this year as well.

Me, I'm beginning to think Maui and some Kite Boarding!
post #27 of 27
Quote:
...the 20 minute bus ride (read: 'schlepping' with all my stuff) seems like a big, fatal flaw...
Hmm, 2 options. You can stay at the Sunshine Inn or at one of the Lake Louise hotels. The Sunshine Inn virtually limits you to skiing Sunshine only--who would take the gondola down and then the shuttle to Louise--but is truly ski-in ski-out.

The hotels at Lake Louise are only 5 minutes from the resort. And, if the same old bus is still running, it is part of the adventure grinding up the hill each morning to get to the lifts!

BTW, depending on your pickup point, the Banff->Louise shuttle is about 35 minutes. The Banff->Sunshine trip is about the same: less time on the bus but then you have to load unto and ride the gondola up to at least the Goats Eye.

Craig
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