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Next winter on sabbatical in Colorado!?

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
Just got the word - my sabbatical is approved! What is even better-I can do my research on line and write anyplace where I can SKI every day!

My first choice is Colorado - I can drive there from Ohio, and season passes(Keystone/Breck)/A-Basin) are cheap if I buy them early enough. The question is where to stay. The best arrangement would be to instruct at a resort, where they have employee housing. The trade off is that I would have to teach (which I love) and have less time for skiing (which I love even more.) The second is to find a seasonal rental at an affordable price. An even a better option than the other two would be to share a winter lair with a bear, with whom we will have a similar passion for skiing. My wife is willing to come with me or let me go and just visit, as she is not all that crazy about skiing.

Any suggestions and ideas will be welcome.
post #2 of 22
Not sure why you would limit yourself to Colorado. You will end up in some of the most crowded, over rated areas around (except if you head to SW Colorado). If I had a winter sabatical, I would head to some of the more unique and epic areas:

- Alta/Bird, UT
- Telluride, CO
- Big Sky, MT
- Jackson Hole, WY
- Mammoth, CA
- BC Interior

But be careful at places like those, you may decide to never come back
post #3 of 22
I don't know whether or not you have any current PSIA certifications. If you are a level III cert you should have no difficulty finding work and you'll get to do plenty of skiing. I would hazard to say with no certification or a level I or II cert, you can find work, and you stand a fairly good chance of starting any teaching in a children's center, and that may involve 4-6 year olds on a magic carpet. Not the best circumstances to ski a great deal.

If you want to ski buy a pass and.....ski. Teaching is a wonderful and rewarding occupation, however, it is not as idyllic as one might think. Spending five or six days on snow can take its toll on the healthiest person. I just turned fifty and am entering my sixth full time season. It takes me until June to fully recover from a seasons wear and tear. Now I have to start a summer conditioning process to get ready for next year.

In terms of housing look online mid summer at the Summit County paper if you have your heart set on that area.

I'm not sure I'd want to live in employee housing at any resort.
post #4 of 22
Rusty, you sure know how to hurt a guy:. I have skied with AE several times. You probably hit the sweet spot with your comments. Anyway, AE is a fantastic skier that spends most of his time carving incredible arcs on his Metron B5s, but ventures off piste and into the bumps. He really helped me with my skiing, and is best suited to helping the advanced skier learn how to really apply edge. Best of luck in the upcomming LONG season AE!
post #5 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Powdr
Not sure why you would limit yourself to Colorado. You will end up in some of the most crowded, over rated areas around (except if you head to SW Colorado). If I had a winter sabatical, I would head to some of the more unique and epic areas:

- Alta/Bird, UT
- Telluride, CO
- Big Sky, MT
- Jackson Hole, WY
- Mammoth, CA
- BC Interior

But be careful at places like those, you may decide to never come back
Gee, another Utard trying to put down CO. What a surprise. "Crowded and overrated"? Uh, OK. Maybe if you ski at Breck all the time... but in Summit/Eagle county, the selection isn't bad- A-Basin, Breck, keystone, Copper, Vail, BC, Winter Park, and a couple hrs to Steamboat and Aspen. I'm sure he can find some snow in there somewhere. And to think, maybe he WANTS to go to CO instead of Utah. Wow, what a concept!
post #6 of 22
Thread Starter 
Thank you, guys, for the advice and to you, Cirquerider, for the understanding of my predicament.
I just loved to ski and never wanted to work for the skischool here as I would have to work with kids, which was and is no fun for me. My hat is off to people who do a great job teaching kids, but it is not for me - as a college professor for 30 years since 23 I cannot play games. As I was skiing everyday (teaching nights at college) and helping my students and friends, anyway, they, basically, twisted my arm promising that I would work only with adults.
And I have been working for the most part with adults, and have had wonderfull results with them, my most rewarding experiences being bringing experienced skiers to the next level. I cannot say I haven't improved my skiing since I started instructing. Skiing with some of the expert instructors around here and around the country in their PSIA clinics, especially in the Demo Team clinics, reenforced what I was right about and taught me some of the cutting edge of modern skiing technique.

However, my central division Level I is worth nothing now, and I was ashamed to wear the pin even when I got it - if you could steam up the mirror-you would get Level 1. I had heard that joke before, and it proved to be right.

Although I have taught clinics attended even by Level III at my resort and have been able to help some Level III and even examiners in other divisions,they would not pass me to Level II in my division. Hopefully, this year I might consider getting certified in the Rocky division, or wherever I end up.

By the way, Cirque, I have gotten rid of that flying arm on the picture (of the beginning of this season) with the progressive movement of the outside arm forward during the the turn. It does not only make for a better picture but makes for a more powerful turn and gets you in a better position for the next turn. Having mastered it myself, I was able to help many of my students and friends.

See how you and Rusty Guy got me stareted...
post #7 of 22
I would cast my vote for Utah in this situation also.

1) I've probably revealed my prejudices on relative ski quality in other posts enough already.
2) For a one year sabbatical why not go somewhere you can get 5-6 months (this year it's 8 months) of expert skiing instead of 3-4?
3) I saw some cost considerations in the original post. Cost of living in SLC (housing, food etc.) is surely much lower than in Colorado mountain communities. I'm assuming commuting from Denver is too far for you.
post #8 of 22
Thread Starter 
I love Utah skiing. Living in SLC and driving to different resorts does not scare me. I have done it a number of times on 10 day stunts. It is the driving distance from OH and the cost of season passes that puts me off. As I understand, the passes are valid for one mountain only, and to get the local's rate I would need to produce some proof of residency, which I will not have.
I do have an invitation from PC to instruct there, though. I guess it will allow me to ski at the other two resorts, but I will have to find out for sure. In addition, a friend of mine, who teaches there full-time, practically has no time for free skiing.
I wonder what the rules are for free skiing when you are not teaching At some resorts (in OH at least) you are not supposed to ski in your civvies at any time and always be on call. But I have met some instructors at PC who told me they could not ski in uniform while freeskiing. I understand the reasoning here.
post #9 of 22
Alta/Snowbird combined season pass was $1,100 before 9/15 in 2004-05. If I were on sabbatical for an entire ski season I would be more than content with that.
post #10 of 22
$349 for a season pass to Breck/Keystone/A-Basin/Beaver Creek/Vail... and then 4-passes to Copper and WP/Mary Jane for $70 each. That's tough to beat. Plus, seasonal rentals in Summit County are cheap if you look in the right place. Check out summitdaily.com for those.

Plus, 3-4 months of skiing in CO? I skied in early November (25" of new snow over Thanksgiving as well), and then skied a foot of fresh on May 1st. If I add correctly, that's 6-7 months.
post #11 of 22
I'm sort of looking for a roommate in Breck. $600 /month inc. utilities (wireless Internet, etc, etc). It's just a townhome, nothing too fancy. I'm usually somewhat picky with roommates since I don't really need to have one. However it is nice to have someone else around.

Having said that, I sort of agree with the others about going elsewhere. There are a lot of fantastic places around and you might want to consider them before deciding on Summit Co. For instance, you've got the hippie/liberal crowd in Crested Butte, Utah has a quieter atmosphere with more of attractions of a big city, Jackson has the big mountain stuff with a little glitz, etc. I think I made the joke in a different thread about Summit Co. being the Disney World of skiing, but it's fairly true.

If you work at a "Real Deal" resort in Colorado you can ski any of the other resorts for free. Aspen, Telluride, Purgatory, Copper, Winter Park, Loveland, Steamboat and pretty much everyone except VR are in on the deal. It's a nice way to ski a lot of areas.
post #12 of 22
Harry Dunn:

I hardly think that advocating one of the six I mentioned (which does inlcude CO, BTW) is showing favoritism. All but one of those CO resorts you mention is EXACTLY what is was talking about. Whatever, you prolly wouldn't understand anyway.

AE:

As others have said, the one time higher cost of a pass will not offset the far cheaper housing costs in SLC. Also, many instructors at PCMR 'sandbag' during the morning line up in order to aviod working on anything but the busiest days. Free skiing is not only allowed, it is encouraged, as long as it without a jacket (or with one in a 'clinic'). But enough about Utah. Take a good look at other places as well.

Just thought you might do your self a favor and make the most of a potentially once in lifetime experience and go somewhere that will really be an experience
post #13 of 22
Thread Starter 
I think I'd rather go for the known "evil" and not venture into the "unknown"(for me.)

I have a question. What is a "Real Deal?". I am also not familiar with the term of "sandbaging" the line up. Help!

Vinn:
I am going to PM you about the townhome.
post #14 of 22
On Dec. 19, 2004 Steamboat and Vail were the only I-70/Front Range areas more than 80% open. Winter Park and the Summit County areas were all in the 65% range. In this situation we all know that it's the expert terrain which is still inadequately covered. The 65% got up to 80+% by New Year's, but it took the early January storms to get these areas in full operation.

This is normal for the region. Check out this history someone compiled of percent of terrain open in early season at Colorado areas from 1988-2002: http://people.montana.com/~jbraun/coloearly.htm . Only Steamboat in the I-70/Front Range group averages more than 70% open during Christmas week.

All of these areas except A-Basin closed by April 17. Same thing in Utah with only Snowbird open after that, but Snowbird has about 4x as much terrain as A-Basin.

And if we're going to quote anecdotal powder days, it's a safe bet that Utah will have at least twice as many, especially if you set some minimum criteria like 12+ inches new. The surrogate I use for this in my snow analysis is percent of December-to-March months with 90+ inches new snow. Vail leads the I-70/Front Range region with 18%. Alta has 48% and Snowbird 40%.
post #15 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by AE
...I am also not familiar with the term of "sandbaging" the line up. Help!
1st off, go strictly commision. Even if it puts you in 'part time' status, you can show up as many days over your minumim as you like. You get paid more on busy days, less on slow days. If you show up as regularly as full timers, you start to get treated as like one and get just as many high profile assigments. It's then easy to back off when needed:

- Flat out tell your (hopefully understanding) supervisor that you don't want to work that day.

- Show up slightly late to the line up.

- Trade/give your assignment to another instructor.

- Volunteer for some other unpaid duties that last only a portion of the day, such as tying up pads on lift towers, ski packing early season runs, setting up race courses, setting up kid's corrals, etc.

- Feign a hangover/sickness.
post #16 of 22
[quote=Tony Crocker]...And if we're going to quote anecdotal powder days, it's a safe bet that Utah will have at least twice as many, especially if you set some minimum criteria like 12+ inches new...QUOTE]

If we are talking anecdotal powder days, you can get a good idea of what the Wasatch's season was/is like from this telemarktip's thread:

http://www.telemarktalk.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=217

Personally, I had my 1st turns of the season in the Back of the Wasatch (area in and around DV, PCMR & The Canyons) one October 9th and have been skiing fresh powder almost once a week up until two weeks ago. I'm not talking about one narrow strip of man-made. I'm taking about huge open sections of the Wasatch, filled with the deep snow. That's 8 months and counting, since I will probably get a in a few more runs in the next few weeks.
post #17 of 22
If you want the best snow and twice the powder of anyplace else, go to Salt Lake City. You cannot beat Alta, Snowbird, Solitude, etc. for consistently massive amounts of snow. If you want the goods there is really only one choice. The only problem is that you will be living in a city of a couple million people. Even if you end up in Park City it is still basically a suburb of SLC.

The other side of the coin is living in a real mountain ski town like Crested Butte, Telluride, Steamboat, Jackson, Breck, etc. Much more expensive but a completely different experience, and one I think I would recommend for a full season. IMHO living the ski bum life is more satisfying than skiing the best snow everyday.

You can always go to SLC for a trip, but you may never get another opportunity to live in a town where you can walk to lifts in the morning. You can live and ski an entire winter in Telluride and never notice that you don't have a car, while being completely surrounded by some of the most beautiful mountains on the planet. Since you don't need the job options of a big city, go for the complete skiing lifestyle. You may never come back, so don't leave your wife at home.
post #18 of 22
[quote=Powdr]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Crocker
...And if we're going to quote anecdotal powder days, it's a safe bet that Utah will have at least twice as many, especially if you set some minimum criteria like 12+ inches new...QUOTE]

If we are talking anecdotal powder days, you can get a good idea of what the Wasatch's season was/is like from this telemarktip's thread:

http://www.telemarktalk.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=217

Personally, I had my 1st turns of the season in the Back of the Wasatch (area in and around DV, PCMR & The Canyons) one October 9th and have been skiing fresh powder almost once a week up until two weeks ago. I'm not talking about one narrow strip of man-made. I'm taking about huge open sections of the Wasatch, filled with the deep snow. That's 8 months and counting, since I will probably get a in a few more runs in the next few weeks.
I'm sure you know this already Powdr, but check out TGR's website... CO guys have been getting fresh pow up until a couple weeks ago too. You just have to hike for it now.

I'm not saying that CO is better (or even close) snow wise than UT... its just that maybe the lifestyle is a little more what he's looking for. Everyone has their fave places.
post #19 of 22
The decision would certainly be affected by the priority of pure skiing vs. the overall lifestyle. Since the original post referenced "seasonal rental at an affordable price" I thought SLC was the standout choice.

I also still believe that as a year off from Ohio length of season should be a strong consideration. Mammoth is probably the best combination of "mountain town" and long season. Dave McCoy recently got a community college going there which might provide part-time employment or make your research more convenient.
post #20 of 22
HD:

I'm not suprised by CO still getting the goods. It does get many of the same weather systems that we get. We just pull the majority of the snow out before it gets to you .

As for lifestyle, CO certainly does have a good thing going. Many, Many more choices than just about any other resort area. But is that the reason the OP is choosing CO?
post #21 of 22

don't forget the research

This post is from the other perspective. You didn't indicate what your research was, but my experience with a sabbatical was that it went by waaaay too fast and I accomplished only a fraction of the research I'd intended. So, internet or not, if you plan to ski like mad and teach too, you may find out that, like life, it goes too fast, so be sure at the end of the time you have you won't have missed doing what you set out to.

So, don't teach - except your friends who will come find you, believe me! Ski when the snow flies in Colorado and do your research when it doesn't. (Winter park seasn pass is only $239 this anniversary year and WP is close to Denver's libraries and not an overly glitzy town and since last year was an anomalously bad snow year, next is bound to be good) Finally, housing will be cheaper in WP/Mary Jane than the other resorts and if you're bored you can make day trips to Steamboat, hike berthoud pass, or drive to Vail for overpriced liquor. San Juans are nicer to be sure, but snow is more iffy despite last year's bonanza.

Moreover, if you don't teach, you won't be locked into any one place in case the snow is bad there. Just be a gypsy and move on!

Most of all: have a truly FABULOUS time.
post #22 of 22
Thread Starter 
Thank you, Mom. Although you sound more like my wife.

Yes, I will have to do the research and write as well. I realize that I will have to limit my distractions (other than skiing.) That is why a secluded resort would, probably, be a better idea. Having the resources other than the Internet access is good, but really not essential for me. Part of my research is exclusively Internet related. For the other part, I will, primarily, have to put on paper about 30 years (15 in Russia and 15 here) of my experience of teaching English pronunciation to speakers of other languages.

I know it will take a lot of effort on my part. So far, I have been skiing about one hundred days a year (only about forty out West or outside Ohio) and teaching college ESL full time at night. The most I have ever done was skiing in Colorado for three weeks non-stop, opening time to closing time (if it was at Keystone, sometimes 8:30AM till 8 PM.) It is going to be hard for me to measure myself.

I realize few people are going to feel sorry for me. However, I am still trying to make up my mind, and your considerations and advice are welcome.
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