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Early Season Questions

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
We Are Planning A Trip December 12-18. Are Thinking Of Going To Telluride, Snowmass Or Vail. Anyone Have Suggestions About The One Of These Resort That Is More Likely To Have Snow, And Which They Like Best?


post #2 of 9

I would investigate which resort offers the best snow-making because of the time you're planning the trip. Perhaps look into the Summit area which is where Vail is located. If for some reason Vail has no snow you might have other options as in
Keystone, Copper or Breckenridge which is all shuttle served from Vail.

Also check out the recent thread on http://forums.epicski.com/showthread.php?t=18276. Lots of info on snowmass.
post #3 of 9
I usually advocate waiting until the last minute and just going to whatever area has the best snow. I have skied Vail and Aspen extensively during early season so here my take on them.

Vail usually has better snow, but way, way, way more traffic. Its debated, but I think the cloud seeding works. Beaver Creek doesn't get as much snow, but there isn't as much traffic over there. Close to Summit County areas, but with the advent of the $300 pass, I don't think that summit county is a good value for someone paying full price.

Snowmass usually opens in stages, Big Burn and Coney Glade first, then Alpine Springs and finally Elk Camp and Campground. Aspen Highlands and Buttermilk also open on December 11th, opening up lots of unskied terrain.
Aspen Mountain can be very good early season. Having been a ski area for over 50 years, there has been lots of trail maintenance. Most of the black runs can open with as little as 20" base.

I haven't skied Telluride early season, but it’s generally considered a rockier mountain. If you go here and it's not good, you have a pretty long drive to Wolf Creek.
post #4 of 9
I went to Telluride early season back during the last big El Nino event. They got a bunch of snow, I think those southern resorts in CO, as well as NM do well if it's El Nino
post #5 of 9
I'll go with the cajun on this one....summit resorts (Keystone, Breck, etc) start making snow about October 15. There is usually a race to see who can open first. Winter Park is also a consideration as they seem to get snow no matter what is happening in every other resort in CO. You can typically get much better deals at KS or Breck than in Vail, so unless you're wallet is endless I might not jump for that. Good luck to ya!
post #6 of 9
Summit or Vail.
post #7 of 9
Steamboat is usually a good bet early season, I was there the 12th - 18th last year and it was incredible
post #8 of 9
all 3 will be fine by then
post #9 of 9

Wait if you can

I agree with what someone else said - wait if you can. If you were planning on flying into Denver and renting a car, then I'd just wait until the week before. Then you can get last minute lodging specials too. You won't be able to make an accurate decision until after Thanksgiving when you see the amount of terrain open. (Also, follow terrain openings if you can.. if you notice a resort is consistently adding 10% of their terrain a week, then you know their ramp up will likely continue.)

In general, resorts are very cautious about opening terrain before Thanksgiving, but try very hard to open up as much terrain as possible for X-Mas. So you'll have that going for you.

Normally I'd say Vail has the best chance. However, this is an odd year. Last winter the Elk Range got some nice storms and Aspen/Snowmass was pretty good and the San Juans have been receiving a lot of precipitation too. With the cold temps, most areas with snowmaking will be ready to blow snow around Oct 1. That may make for a lot of terrain by Dec 12th.

Like others mentioned, Copper and Keystone will likely have more acreage open at that time.
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