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The best bet for early skiing?

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
100 degree temps and 80% humidity have given me snow on the brain. baltimore sucks in the summer.

Suddenly I've found myself with a bevy of restricted airline travel vouchers that need to be used up in 2005. Is there any hope of actually finding some quality snow. Help me Forum, you're my only hope.

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post #2 of 25
Moftel, who knows, last year we were skiing in about 12-24" around Oct 17th, If memory serves. I know for sure we skiied in costume on Halloween. Tahoe area. I hear that they skied even earlier at Mammoth, in fact I saw some pics on the mammoth forum . Pray for early snow!!!!!!
post #3 of 25
The week before Thanksgiving (Mid November) has been pretty solid in Utah.
I have been very happy the past two years. (Not Epic) but solid sking.

MTT
post #4 of 25
In the Rockies your best bet is Grand Targhee. It usually has decent to excellent snowpack by mid-December.
post #5 of 25
I've seen several years where Wolf Creek gets 2-3 ft dumps last week of October, usually resulting in 100% open.
post #6 of 25
Wolf Creek for sure. God lives there and he skis. He will make enough snow for a Haloween opening again this year.
post #7 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by skidanski
Wolf Creek for sure. God lives there and he skis. He will make enough snow for a Haloween opening again this year.
I hear He just scored a pair of G3 Reverends off of EBay, so that's a good sign .

Some Western areas are a lot less fussy about opening in October than are others. Loveland and Keystone, of course, duke it out for the privilege of being the first to open. For "real" early-season skiing: Wolf Creek, Brighton, Targhee, Mammoth. Also, Alta, IIRC, wound sometimes open a week before Thanksgiving if they had an epic early seasn storm cycle.
post #8 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rio
In the Rockies your best bet is Grand Targhee.
Put down the pipe and step away from the skis.

Mid-December is practically the middle of the season.

The earliest planned opening will likely be Loveland in mid-October with many major resorts planning openings for the first weekend in November. The famed ribbon 'o sno.

Having said that, Wolf Creek has received HUGE amounts of snow in October and early November the past few years and could have the most terrain open by November. Utah has had some great early seasons for the past few years as well and might fit with a very early December trip.
post #9 of 25
WOLF CREEK. Always open close to 100% by Turkey Day.
post #10 of 25
Go to Tony's site:

http://members.aol.com/crockeraf/

He has it all broken down as to snowfall & chances for good snow at any given resort. His top choices are:

- Little Cottonwood canyon resorts
- Grand Tarhee
- Wolf Creek
- Mt Baker
post #11 of 25
Go glacier...
Tignes
Kaprun
...
post #12 of 25
The issue here is that you need to define "skiing". The white ribbon of death isn't "skiing" in my book. It's pre-season conditioning.
post #13 of 25
I have an article on this subject on skiingmag.com: http://www.skiingmag.com/skiing/travel/article/0,12910,328638,00.html

For big mountain terrain Whistler is the best bet historically. If you're going into Vancouver you might want to leave a day or two aside for Mt. Baker.

Utah is probably the next choice. If this is a one-week or longer trip and you have a car Targhee/Jackson are a 5 hour drive away as backup.

The early season reliability issue can be looked at 2 ways. By Christmas you're looking for consistency, who's in full operation the highest percentage of the time, a category which Targhee wins handily, with Baker and Whistler the next most reliable.

In November you're shooting crap anyway so here you're looking for an area that tends to get its snow in big dumps, so if there is snow there might be a lot of it: Cottonwood Canyons of Utah, Wolf Creek, Kirkwood, Mammoth. This past season all of these got the October dump and were in full operation throughout November. There have been seasons when all of these were rocky past Christmas.

Early December you need to consider both aspects above. But the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas is slow in the vacation travel business and great deals abound (not just skiing, check cruises for example), even at the last minute. If you have time available in the first half of December I would wait until November to see who has snow. The airline seats aren't full either, so you should be able to use your coupons at this slow time on relatively short notice.
post #14 of 25
Don't know about Utah, but Wolf Creek has had "real" skiing before Thanksgiving 7 out of the last 8 years - and that's just 1st hand experience, prolly many more yrs than that b-4 I started going there early season. not just the green groomers ala the other early openers, but the trees and good stuff too. If you need to book in advance, it's your best bet.
post #15 of 25

Just wait and see

There will be places with good skiing by mid-December, but who knows where. If at all possible, decide when you want to go (I would wait until after Thanksgiving and before Christmas) and then react to where the snow is falling. There are still good lodging deals and availability on short notice at that time of year.

Usually Whistler is a good bet, last year it was horrible (too much rain and warm weather). The last two years Alta/Snowbird has been good, but there were a couple of years before that when they didn't get much early snow. It's the La Nina / Los Nina thing. Determines where the moisture flows and when the temperatures turn cold.

Historical averages give you some idea of the likelihoods, but averages include some wide variations. I'm sure that, on average, Whistler is great in December but it wasn't last year (just as an example).
post #16 of 25
Loveland will typically "open" (one run or two) by 10-15 or 10-20 and have plenty of terrain open by mid November.
post #17 of 25
Not one eastern mountain! This is totally unfair!

Killington - first to open in the East. By November or the second week it is usually not too bad.

I've skied my home mt every year for quite some time in early November. Last year was great opening day then disaster.
post #18 of 25
Moftel,

You haven't added the necessary information about your skiing preference to make an accurate selection.

Do you like:

Groomed or Open Powder

Sunshine or Cold Snowy Weather

Remote or A Little Nightlife



Previous posts have mostly been aimed at finding the greatest possibilities for open powder experiences, but depending on your preferences, you might need to look at other options befitting your needs.
post #19 of 25
to reiterate, spent 3 of the last 4 years in Durango. Wolf Creek was dependably open (top to bottom with more than 1 lift open) in late October. 2 years running during that time period the area was 100% open by first week of November, with a base of (minimum) 24".
post #20 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mom
Don't know about Utah, but Wolf Creek has had "real" skiing before Thanksgiving 7 out of the last 8 years - and that's just 1st hand experience, prolly many more yrs than that b-4 I started going there early season. not just the green groomers ala the other early openers, but the trees and good stuff too. If you need to book in advance, it's your best bet.
The problem w/ Wolf Creek is that the terrain sucks. If you don't want to be bored within the 1st few hours, then I would choose somewhere else.
post #21 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Powdr
The problem w/ Wolf Creek is that the terrain sucks. If you don't want to be bored within the 1st few hours, then I would choose somewhere else.
Not to disagree, (when I lived in the 4 Corners, I only skied wc until tride got good coverage) but, at least early season, any place that has more than a narrow ribbon of manmade sounds pretty good.
post #22 of 25
Gandalf has it right. I could bury you in statistics, but the bottom line is that snowfall volatility is high enough everywhere that "Just wait and see" is the best advice for anyone who wants to ski before mid-December.

The other considerations (Groomed or Open Powder, Sunshine or Cold Snowy Weather, Remote or A Little Nightlife) matter once you're choosing among areas you know have snow on the ground.
post #23 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Powdr
The problem w/ Wolf Creek is that the terrain sucks. If you don't want to be bored within the 1st few hours, then I would choose somewhere else.
Agree it is small for CO and you mightn't want to spend a ten day holiday there, but I respectfully disagree (s)he should chose someplace else for early season CO. Especially using frequent flyer miles where you generally have to book way in advance and don't have the luxury of waiting to see how the snow is.

Perhaps it doesn't have big vert, but the Waterfall area has decent, steep, tree skiing if you go in the expert gates and not just down the 'runs' (no more towing out behind a snow cat; there's a lift there now) and the hike-to on Alberta and Knife ridge above that lift is pretty exciting too. And if that's too challenging, there's still intermediate tree skiing where you can use your imagination and find new lines. One caveat. it is NOT good for snowboarders 'cause that side has looooong flat runouts back to the lift.

The landscape around WC pass is stunning. The towns of Pagosa and South Fork are pretty lame, so don't go for the nightlife or fine dining! Pagosa does have a famous hot springs if you like the smell of sulfur.: For early season CO, it's still your safest bet and it's real snow, not that manmade sh!t you shouldn't fly west for anyhow that you typically find elsewhere.
post #24 of 25
post #25 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Powdr
The problem w/ Wolf Creek is that the terrain sucks. If you don't want to be bored within the 1st few hours, then I would choose somewhere else.
Thanks for the Utah bias. Wolf Creek definitely does not suck- especially in November when you're skiing 20" of powder. Their terrain is fine.
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