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Utah vs. Colorado - Page 3

post #61 of 101
found this,

NOAA: Mt. Baker snowfall record sticks
NOAA, Monday, Aug. 1, 1999 – It's official.

Mt. Baker, Wash., has set a new record for the most snowfall ever measured in the United States in a single season, the U.S. Commerce Department's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported Monday.

The Mt. Baker Ski Area in northeastern Washington State reported 1,140 inches of snowfall for the 1998-99 snowfall season. The figure was scrutinized by the National Climate Extremes Committee, which is responsible for evaluating potential national record-setting extreme events. The committee, composed of experts from NOAA, the American Association of State Climatologists, and a regional expert from the Western Regional Climate Center made a unanimous recommendation to the director of NOAA's National Climatic Data Center to accept the figure.

"In accepting the validity of the 1,140 inches of snowfall at Mt. Baker, the National Climatic Data Center recognizes that a new record has been set," said Tom Karl, director of the center.

The previous U.S. seasonal snowfall record was 1,122 inches, set during the 1971-1972 snowfall season at the Paradie Ranger Station located at 5,500 feet on the slopes of Mt. Rainer, about 150 miles south of Mt. Baker.

Snowfall can be extremely difficult to measure accurately because it settles, melts, and is blown into drifts by the wind. The measurements were considered to be an accurate depiction of snowfall amounts that fell because, says Raymond Downs, an observations standards expert on the committee, they met snowfall observation standards and practices prescribed by the National Weather Service:

The measurement frequency was once a day.
A flat surface was used to measure daily snowfall amounts.
A snow stake for snow depth measurement was also in place.
"Both snowfall and snow depth were measured in acceptable locations," Downs says. "The bottom line is the observations were taken in a manner that meets official observation standards."

Robert Leffler, team leader for the evaluation, said, "Committee members voted to recognize the amount as a new U.S. record because of several factors. These include acceptable snowfall measurement methods, detailed record-keeping, and other corroborative evidence such as independent snow data from other sources, eyewitness accounts, and unusual damage to trees and structures resulting from the crushing weight of the deep snow pack and avalanches."

The Mt. Baker Ski Area is located at an elevation of 4,200 feet, nine miles northeast of the summit of the Mt. Baker volcano. The snowfall season is for the period from July 1, 1998, through June 30, 1999. The committee was concerned only with national records for the United States. However, this total also stands as a world record for a verifiable amount.

The heavy snowfalls normally experienced in the Cascade Mountains of Washington State are the result of several factors:

Winter is naturally the wettest season as the west-to-east planetary circulations expands southward and strengthens in speed, with storms striking the Pacific Northwest every few days.
Air laden with moisture after its journey across the Pacific is forced to ascent the Cascade Range, dropping abundant precipitation.
Freezing levels average about 4,000 feet over the winter months, so that near this altitude snowfall amounts increase very rapidly with just small increases in elevation.
Freezing levels remained abnormally consistently low throughout the winter.
This season, a moderately strong La Niña pattern is credited with accentuating this stormy pattern, with a much higher frequency of wet and cold weather systems affecting especially the area from the Cascade Range westward.

Source: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
post #62 of 101

Pretty much nailed it

Originally Posted by donnyb
I am not a frequent participant in this forum, but I can't sit on the sidelines any longer. I have lived in the Roaring Fork Valley(Aspen area) for the last 34 years and ski 150+ days a season. I spend a lot of time skiing Utah. More than forty days last season. I have an Alta Powder card and a season pass at Snowbasin.Everything said so far about Utah is accurate with regards to LCC/BCC areas. They definitely get the best snow,both quantity and quality.The Alta/Snowbird combo ticket offers the best advanced/expert skiing experience anywhere in North America. I love Snowbasin for the terrain and lift infrastructure as well as lack of crowds. Last season even the Park City areas had great snowfall much of the season, but under normal circumstances they get much less snow than the other areas.
If the point of your trip is strictly about the quality of the skiing I would choose Utah over Colorado hands down. Especially if you are on a budget. Stay in SLC/Sandy and you can ride public transportation to LCC/BCC areas and make a trip or two to Snowbasin/Powder Mountain. The only real resort town is Park City. It has a nice feel,good restaurants and apres ski, but IMHO the skiing pales in comparison to Alta/Snowbird/Solitude/Brighton/Snowbasin etc.

About Colorado skiing. If you are not on a tight budget , Aspen can't be beat.
Great town,restaurants, mild climate, good snow, and far less crowds than Vail or Summit county. Aspen is too far from Denver to get any day skier traffic whatsoever and very little weekend traffic. It is strictly a destination resort. Summit County and Vail have cheap season passes and have loads of day/weekend skiers on top of destination traffic. Summit County is windier and colder than Aspen, Vail falls somewhere in between the two weatherwise.
Vail has a slightly better snowfall history than Aspen, but due to the heavier skier traffic in Vail ,the snow quality in Aspen is typically as good or better than in Vail. Vail/Beaver Creek is a great skiing combo, but the four Aspen areas are offer fantastic variety. Vail has very little expert terrain but a ton of advanced bowl skiing. Snowmass has great blue cruisers and double black terrain. Aspen Mountain(aka Ajax) has great bumps and cruising, and Highlands has lots of expert terrain of every type imaginable. Buttermilk is a beginner/intermediate dream that also has a huge park and pipe scene. All the areas are tied together by an excellent free bus system.

It's true that Crested Butte is an experts paradise if and when it snows, but that is a mighty big if. Last season was the first in many that the Butte had good coverage.

If you wind up spending time in Boulder, Eldora is a really fun little area with some excellent expert terrain. You can ski the whole place in a couple of days.

I personally don't really care for the Summit County experience, due to crowds and weather. Arapahoe and Loveland are very cool places to ski when the snow is good, and are striking distance from Boulder if you want to check them out.
Bottom line. A 2-3 week ski vacation anywhere won't suck, but some places are better than others.

Happy Trails

That was a fantastic summary.
post #63 of 101
Let's see, you want to stay in one spot and explore 1 or 2 areas in detail, no driving, don't care about the night life, no family members with differing skiing abilities to worry about.....just want to ski all day every day. Utah or Colorado? Seems like a slam dunk for Alta/Bird! Hard to imagine a place where you would have better odds of fresh pow, not to mention the endless nooks and crannies you could have fun exploring over a couple of weeks. If you got bored, which I would highly doubt, you could spend a day on the Utah Interconnect, spend a day heli-skiing or check out some of the outstanding neighboring areas within a 1 hour drive.
post #64 of 101
Thread Starter 
More and more, Utah is looking like the place ("Alta/Bird")

Oh, what a trying position to be in: "Should I spend two weeks skiing in Colorado, or in Utah?" Talk about an embarrassment of richs...
post #65 of 101
Life is good.
post #66 of 101
Originally Posted by Seven

That was a fantastic summary.
Have to agree with Seven and Donny (and yes, that was a great summary). I've lived in Breckenridge and have slid down just about every hill in CO (even Eldora!), but these days I spend most of my time sliding down the hills in Utah.

Last year I was fortunate to ski both several times, although not as many days as Seven, but enough to know that if I HAVE to choose my decision is already made.

Luckily I don't have to choose.
post #67 of 101
Thread Starter 
What's the downside to Snowbird/Alta? Is it prone to getting fogged in?

Are LCC/BCC Snowbird and Alta, respectively?
post #68 of 101

Too much Snow!

There is one risk, particularly in LCC (Alta/Bird). That is of being interlodged, which means that the avalanche risk is deemed too great to allow people outside. If you are staying in the canyon, you have to wait for the control work to reach a point where the interlodge is lifted. If you are in the valley, the road will be closed. Often, there will be interlodge from 6am to say, 8 am on a day with moderate snowfall. This does not really affect anyone except employees trying to get to work. On rare occasions, however, there will be multiday interlodges, with road closures. If you are staying in the valley, you can go around to Park City or one of the other resorts. If you are staying up in the canyon, you are stuck. There are avalanches on occasion, often on the access road and every few years, clipping the Peruvian lodge..

On the positive side the best days of skiing I have ever had were days that wound up in interlodge situations. On one day, after skiing increasingly deep powder all day, Alta shut down at around 2:30. The next day, all of us who had day passes for the prior day got to buy new day tickets for the price of an upgrade from a half day pass! There weren't many complaints about this decision.
post #69 of 101
Originally Posted by Powdr
One word, dude; pictures. Show me pictures of yourself making that winter ascent of those steep slopes of Elbert, followed by a skiing descent (from the summit) and I will never again bust your chops about anything related to Co. Heck, I'll might even settle for a picture of you signing the summit register in the dead of winter, even without the proof of a ski descent. How come I get the sneaking suspicion that the highest you have ever gone in the winter is wherever CO's highest lift services? Prove me wrong.
As we like to say here, "Cowboy Up! I updated the Profile just for you!
Thats my Posse & Me, Top of Elbert. Mt Massive in the Background (14,421') which is also another Feather in our headdress.
Let me know if you want your own personal autograph copy!
post #70 of 101
Colossus. You're figuring it out, aren't you? I live in the Aspen area because the weather is great,the skiing excellent, a valley bounded by four wilderness areas to hike and bike in, great fishing, music, culture, restaurants, and I can make a living. The roaring fork valley is the most total package going in North America when you add up all the parts, but the pure skiing experience is much better in Utah. Alta and Snowbird are side by side in Little Cottonwood Canyon and you can get a lift ticket that allows you to ski both areas. They connect via chairlift FYI. It is possible to get shut out due to to too much snow. If you are staying in the canyon you get interlodged(locked in your hotel). If you are staying down in SLC/Sandy you get shut out of LCC which leaves you the option of Solitude or Brighton in BCC if the road in is open( it can close too!) Then you go to Snowbasin which rules on a powder day and has no access issues in snowy weather.Powder Mountain is another storm day option with plenty of trees, though the lifts are slow and antiquated. PowMow is the largest ski area in the US. 5500 acres and no one has heard of it. Other options are Park City/Canyons/Deer Valley when LCC/BCC are closed due to avi hazard.As far as fog goes, it is seldom an issue at Alta/Bird. Snowbasin can definitely have low cloud/fog issues on the Strawberry side of the mountain, but there are treed areas to ski on the John Paul side when this occurs.

The stronger you ski the more things swing in favor of Utah over Colorado. Conditions are not always better in Utah than in CO., but at its best there is no comparison. Steeper and Deeper!

Colorado=better resort experience. Utah=don't make me say it again.
post #71 of 101
I'll be staying in Sandy in March -- is there any public transport to the non-Cottonwood resorts or do I have to rent a car to get to them?
post #72 of 101
I agree with all posts - got one question though donnyb, How in the world do you consider the combo Bird/Alta a deal? I am not the strongest skier in the world but can hold my own (most times) I am a central division division volunteer patroller senior level Nat'l Appt. #9776 but to ski both Snowbird and Alta in 1 day is a little much for me (62 yrs young) I've skied up to the crossing gate on both sides but didn't pay the $25 to cross over, just went back to the other area with a full day ticket the next day. When I'm "outwest" I'm usually found in the first lift in the morning and dragging my butt off the hill in the last run of the day. This is for both Colorado and Utah - 3 days of skiing 1 day off to allow the body to catch back up with the mind and then do 3 more days. Yeh, I know us flatlanders don't have it, but we use what we got just have to make a few more trips through the lift lines at home.
I skied the deepest power (for me) at Copper Mountain many years ago, waist deep cold smoke, coming down Rosies with snow splittiing at my collar and blowing over my shoulders "awesome" I'll never forget it. Not many customers that day - roads were bad - skiing was great. I also hit it right at A'Basin spent one day doing the East wall and Palli. A few years ago spent almost a full day on nothing but Little Cloud lift at Snowbird had to go the second day just to ski some of the other runs. Last spring was to met up with the rest of the party at bottom of the Canyons at 3:00 to 3:30 I made it by 4:20 it was a great day. But then again Alta was still Alta and I just couldn't quit. There have been other memories most good, The thing to remember about skiing don't ever stop at one area, hesitate for a day or two, then climb another mountain there is no bad just some better on some days. You know I haven't been to Breck for a few years I wonder how Horseshoe bowls is holding up, I thought that Tbar with the bend in the middle was kind of unique. Also need the get back to Keystone, one day in Dec yrs ago I had Northpeak to myself, Starfire was corduroy top to bottom and GS turns trail width pulled some G's.
Anyway OEC and CPR refreshed, Lift evac refersher completed, waiting on snow - practice all winter for that week in the spring. "Someplace" Utah is nice but again so is Colorado, but then maybe Calif., As long as there is West I probably won't go east, but it ain't bad there either, and here in the midwest, well I'm looking forward to it also. It's hard to beat the Highlands and Nubs, they even make the home area look small.
post #73 of 101

No if ands or buts. Best snow on earth.
post #74 of 101
Originally Posted by Mr. Vertical
As we like to say here, "Cowboy Up! I updated the Profile just for you!
Thats my Posse & Me, Top of Elbert. Mt Massive in the Background (14,421') which is also another Feather in our headdress.
Let me know if you want your own personal autograph copy!
OK, half way there...if it's truely you (which I have my doubts - being that it so easy to get stuff off the internet these days). No let's see the hair raising descent you describe as being so steep.


PS: did you really say "Cowboy up"?!?:
post #75 of 101
post #76 of 101
You know, 2 weeks in Snowbird/Alta would be just as good as 2 weeks in Vail, either would do, given the choice of staying anywhere for two weeks would bring me to Whistler/Blackcomb. Great skiing on2 mountains and the ultimate in shopping and night life.
post #77 of 101
True, the shopping in Utah can be rather dull.
post #78 of 101
You can come to my Gallery and shop all you want. I can be very enertaining
post #79 of 101

Which is your gallery?
post #80 of 101
Originally Posted by Utah49
Among local Utah skiers, PCMR is considered a Colorado style resort.
No offense to either but if PCMR is what Colorado skiing is like then Colorado skiing sucks, imo! Of the 5 resorts I've been to in Utah, PCMR is hands down the worst.
post #81 of 101
I've skied in most of the highly regarded ski areas in N.America and many in Europe and would have to disagree with on PCMR. While not on a par with Alta or Snowbird (at least in my opinion), PCMR is a nice resort. Its terrain park is second to none (for those who are good enough to can handle it) and the runs at the top off Jupiter, McConkey's etc. definitely do not suck.
post #82 of 101
Thread Starter 

Is Alta/Snowbird too extreme for intermediates?

As an intermediate/advance intermediate skier on a pair of Volkl Explosivs, am I going to find so much of the terrain in Alta/Snowbird over my head that I'll get frustrated? These mountains seem to be known as skier's mountains; will someone with less than expert skills likely have a good experience there?
post #83 of 101
There's something for everyone there but more for an expert than an intermediate.

If you are a nine there are endless opportunities for stashes. If you are a six or seven you probably should keep a trail map in your pocket.

just MHO
post #84 of 101
I don't know about Snowbird, we did a UT trip last year and did 2 days at Alta. Last year was my 3rd year skiing, I started skiing just before my 49th birthday and missed much of the 2nd year. I've taken quite a few lessons and have improved my technical skills a whole lot cause of good instruction, but I'm not a strong skier. We absolutely loved Alta. There were groomed blues off every lift and we skied off every lift. The layout makes it possible to venture into little sections of bumps and fresh snow without getting to far from the pisted terrain. Our second day at Alta was a powder day and even the groomed runs formed soft bumps, they were fun but my legs became noodles by early afternoon -- partly technique, partly just not having enough mileage, and partly just being an old fart who's not in the kind of shape I'd like to be. There's also some very gentle green terrain at Alta. I really think Alta offers a terrific opportunity to dial in your desired degree of difficulty. If you're the kind of skier who want's to ski different blue groomed cruisers for a week, there's not enough terrain. I think we hit every blue both days and actually did a couple of things marked black the first day. The greens would be delightful for a novice. I live in the NE and mostly ski in the NE. I'm used to hearing the scraping, scraping, scraping of ice -- never heard that at Alta. A couple of the blues on the Wildcat side are fairly steep for "intermediate" terrain but never seemed difficult to ski. As an intermediate/advanced intermediate I just don't think you'll find Alta over your head. We skied Deer Valley, The Canyons, and Alta -- we liked the Canyons better than Deer Valley but Alta was amazing.
post #85 of 101
hey lil rhody, not like ol yawgoo huh....you lucky puppy, I been skiing 40 yrs and never left New England....I am sooooo jealous!! Nice post!
post #86 of 101
Oh Yeh, Vail and Beaver are cool but the parking sucks - Too many other places have good parking also. Remember you are the customer - Just like some resterants have great food but the service is lacking - how do you rate them?
post #87 of 101
Originally Posted by hrstrat57
hey lil rhody, not like ol yawgoo huh....you lucky puppy, I been skiing 40 yrs and never left New England....I am sooooo jealous!! Nice post!
Yawgoo Valley rules -- ski it if you dare. Alta versus Yawgoo is a difficult call. It's off topic, but they do a good job at Yawgoo for what it is. It's a good hang out for kids and gives kids around here a chance to do some boarding and skiing with little need for travel.
post #88 of 101
A serious sidetrack from Utah but at 5 minutes from my house, Yawgoo Valley is a gem, Max and Patty D are to be thanked for not packing it in and keeping it going.

I taught there for several years, my oldest son taught skiing there too and my youngest son works in the rental shop and is thinking about taking the instructor training course this fall too. Steve Henry runs a great ski school and I recommend his ITC to any RI skier looking to improve whether they want to teach or not. Steve can really turn em too, he is an amazing skier. Max D was a former PSIA full cert, tho he doesn't get out as much as he used too. You would be surprised how much you can learn on a rope tow. Lotsa miles ski'd for sure. I loved my time teaching there. Great people great fun and opened up the whole world of PSIA resources for me too.

I still go over a couple nights a week after the slopes clear (8:15 or so) and make 11's on yellowjacket. Keeps the legs strong
post #89 of 101
Originally Posted by Colossus178
As an intermediate/advance intermediate skier on a pair of Volkl Explosivs, am I going to find so much of the terrain in Alta/Snowbird over my head that I'll get frustrated? These mountains seem to be known as skier's mountains; will someone with less than expert skills likely have a good experience there?
Bro, how do you think you'll get beyond your level if all you ever ski is your comfort zone?

I consider myself a level 7/8 skier, which is about what most would call a very advanced intermediate. I ski plenty of "expert" terrain @ Alta/Bird, but I don't dare call myself an expert. But I have a lot of fun learning and going for it.

If you're still following your strategy of spending 2-3 weeks between 2 or 3 resorts, then you'll be skiing everything Alta/Bird has to offer by the end. Except of course some of the most extreme "hike-to" stuff and cliff drops.

I skied the bird for the first time as a lower intermediate, and just hooked up with better skiers and followed them around. I left with more skill than I arrived with.
post #90 of 101
Originally Posted by xdog1
...Bro, how do you think you'll get beyond your level if all you ever ski is your comfort zone?....
Because that's were all the learnin' is taking place. Skiing terrain over your head does nothing for making you a better skier in the long run. All you end up doing is skiing to survive and reinforcing bad habits. Can't tell you how many more breakthroughs I had with my students on comfort zone slopes than I did taking them on stuff over their heads. Before I get a litany of protests from others on this board, yes there is also a time for pushing it and going on slopes SLIGHTLY over ability levels, but that is once the mileage has been put in on the comfort slopes and the skier has nailed it well.

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