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Sister Mountains Squaw,Heavenly,Mammoth??

post #1 of 31
Thread Starter 
Here I go again...

Utah: Snowbird, Snowbasin, Canyons, Park City
Colorado: Vail, Copper, Snowmass, Steamboat

Which of these (as many as you think) would you consider the closest in Steep, Long GROOMERS (black and blue), TO:

Squaw =

Heavenly =

Mammoth =


Bear with BEARS!

If a non-mentioned mountain comes to mind, by all means put in your plug!

Thanky!
post #2 of 31
Huh?
post #3 of 31
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Powdr
Huh?
Powdr, you can do it, just read the question slowly....
post #4 of 31

Gpaul

i've been trying to figure it out too and, sorry, but i can't read it any slower than i have.

i DO know heavenly has cruisers - i like the stagecoach chair and the olympic downhill run off it. you can gather plenty of speed, lay 'em over, and there are a couple big air spots to keep an eye out for. (you might want a spotter; ya don't wanna cream someone loitering on the other side of the lip.) this is over on the nevada side. i don't recall any STEEP cruisers there, but, of course, steepness is relative.

you can "cruise" cornice bowl @ mammoth if it's groomed but, like most steeper stuff anywhere, ya better get to it quick, 'cause it'll be moguls you're looking at, and pronto. anyway, it flattens out considerably pretty quickly.

no idea about squaw.
post #5 of 31
Uhh.....reading comprehension isn't the issue here. Tell you what, I'll re-read for you........Nope, still makes no sense.

Powdr
post #6 of 31
Thread Starter 
Maybe it's my fault after all...

Okay, what I'm looking for is which of the Utah and Colorado resorts mentioned (my faves in each state) are MOST similar for long, steep Groomers (blue and black cruisers) to the 3 in California?

IOW, could Heavenly = Snowmass, Squaw = Snowbasin, Mammoth = Vail?

Or am I way off track in my comparisons?

Hope this works now!
post #7 of 31
I think I understand your question. I've been to 6 of the 11 places you mention, but only Heavenly in CA. Heavenly is reminiscent of Park City, Meaning the terrain is kind of chopped up and convoluted. There are some good trail pods for what you are looking for on Nevada side, but not really too much in the way of top-to-bottom 2000'+ vertical descents of uninterrupted steep groomers like you might get at Snowbird or Snowbasin. I have also been to Kirkwood, not mentioned on your list. It had some good steep groomed terrain from top of an above treeline headwall (The Wall) and from another area off Cornice express chair, both received hign angle grooming. This stuff had about 1500' of vertical. I'm guessing the highest points at Mammoth and Squaw have similar steep groomed terrain, some so wide open that you can pick any number lines.

Wasn't there a thread about which places in US had best long steep cruising terrain? Sun Valley comes to mind as one of the most renowned for this sort of thing, with Snowbasin getting mentioned a lot too.
post #8 of 31
I take it you are looking for Mountains That offer long cruising runs In Utah and Colorado? Deer Valley has some long semi to steep groomed runs They have a winch cat so they do groom some pretty steep runs. Steins Way being the longest. However they have now moved The Salton lift base down the mountain adding a lot more vert and opening up what should be some more really fine tree skiing. Snowbasin Has some very and very long runs. There are skiers at Snowbird who use GS skis to race the tram back down the mountain logging about 3000 vert in one shot. Logging a lot of vert in a day isn't my idea ofa good time but whatever floats your boat is fine with me.
Park City has some nice cruising runs but not all that steep or long. Of course you could cruise Home run a mostly green and easy blue run from mid mountain to the base area It s about a 2 mile run as I recall? You might get about 1200 vert in that two miles so you can see pretty flat over all.
post #9 of 31
You can get a decent 2500 vt foot run at Mammoth that is almost all groomed. Take a left off the upper gondola, and ski to the far eastern end of Dave's Run. You should be directly above the chair 9 unloading point. Go down it, it's not groomed, but it's usually got a nice windpack and it's not as steep and long as the rest of Dave's. Then head down to chair 9 or 25, either way has some fun trails. Or head all the way down to Little Eagle if you insist on getting the full 3100 feet.
post #10 of 31
Thread Starter 
Jamesj, GBY! So Heavenly is similar to Park City, somewhat of a pity, but okay nonetheless. And yes, the runs in Sun Valley are epic, and we enjoyed that mountain on 2 occasions.

Utah49, gallant try, but we are actually looking for the mountains in Utah and Colorado that are closest in style to the California ones I mentioned.
A lot of folk state that Kirkwood (not going there) is the Alta of Tahoe. So, which of the California mountains "would be the Snowbirds, Snowbasins, Vail, Snowmass, etc."?

MilesB, hell of a run!
post #11 of 31
OK, now I get it.

Here's my fit to your question:

- Squaw is like Snowbird. Flashy, poor architecture and all about function. The terrain is top of class and you will see excellent skiers at both.

- Heavenly is indeed somewhat like PCMR. It gets more skiers than any other resort in the region, has some good terrain, but you have to work to get to it, and has by far the best night life in the entire area. A good destination for a group with a wide variety of skills.

- Alpine Meadows is kinda like Alta, but not nearly as good due to an almost complete breakdown of infrastructure. The place rocks for terrain and snow, but somehow comes across as rinky dink. Kirkwood is probably to truest fit to Alta: best terrain and snow in the area, although Kirkwood is way too short for any real good sustained steep & deep (2000' vertical, my foot. Top of Thimble to base is 1500' at best).

- Sugar Bowl and Mt Rose are like Brighton. Great terrain and snow, but somewhat limited in size. Fun to go to for a day during your trip.

- Northstar - Hmm, not much anywhere like that to compare to. They don't call it Flatstar for nuthin'.

- Mammoth is like The Canyons. Mysterious and incredibly good when on. Probably to two best places most skiers have yet to visit. Lots of lifts and huge.

Well, that's my best try. Take it or leave it.

Powdr
post #12 of 31
Thread Starter 
Powdr, thank you; I will take your suggestions. Now, our itinerary:

12/27 Sierra at Tahoe (coming in from Sacramento)
2 days Squaw
1 day Sugar Bowl
1 day Alpine
3 days Heavenly
Then, 7 days Mammoth, latter part of trip

Good, bad ? Suggestions are VERY welcome!
post #13 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gpaul
Now, our itinerary:

12/27 Sierra at Tahoe (coming in from Sacramento)
2 days Squaw
1 day Sugar Bowl
1 day Alpine
3 days Heavenly
Then, 7 days Mammoth, latter part of trip

Good, bad ? Suggestions are VERY welcome!
No Mount Rose ? No Homewood ? Sierra at Tahoe ? If you're coming from Sacramento and staying in North Shore you'd go I-80 rather than Highway 50 in which case Sugar Bowl is your obvious choice for first day en-route. Conversely if you're staying in South Shore then planning to ski 4 days at the North Shore is extemely ambitious considering it's a holiday period
post #14 of 31
Thread Starter 
Hola TruckeeLocal, I knew you'd chime in! We arrive in SLT from Sacramento so we can rent the equipment (8 days) down there since our last day (before moving down to Mammoth) will be at Heavenly; don't want to have to drive back up to return the stuff.

So, what you think of my game plan? I may just pre-purchase (package) 1 day Squaw and 1 Alpine, and then while there decide which will get a second day?

Is Mt. Rose worth skiing 1 day less at Mammoth? If so, would go on Tuesday 1/3 for the 2fer1 deal.
post #15 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gpaul
So, what you think of my game plan? I may just pre-purchase (package) 1 day Squaw and 1 Alpine, and then while there decide which will get a second day?

Is Mt. Rose worth skiing 1 day less at Mammoth? If so, would go on Tuesday 1/3 for the 2fer1 deal.
I suggest that you don't prepurchase. At that time of year it's likely that weather will impact your plans for a day or two. Weather would mean skiing N*, or Homewood. Weather is going to shoot your plan full of holes. And yes, I'd forgoe a day at Mammoth to check out Mount Rose.
post #16 of 31
Thread Starter 
Tks TruckeeLocal, good suggestion. But, that means paying Full price for lifts, maybe a small discount at local stores. We still have time for the tkts, I'll wait it out a bit.
post #17 of 31
I would suggest not making a plan until you get there. If lodging is already arranged, then ski at the shore you're on during the holiday week. After the holiday week watch the weather, and if you're going to Mammoth then enjoy!!!
post #18 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gpaul
Here I go again...

Utah: Snowbird, Snowbasin, Canyons, Park City
Colorado: Vail, Copper, Snowmass, Steamboat

Which of these (as many as you think) would you consider the closest in Steep, Long GROOMERS (black and blue), TO:

Squaw =Snowbird

Heavenly =Park City and somewhat Snowmass, Vail

Mammoth = Snowbird, Snowbasin. Snowmass - a little of each

Kirkwood=Alta, Copper, Canyons

Bear with BEARS!

If a non-mentioned mountain comes to mind, by all means put in your plug!

Thanky!

Your initial post seems obvious. Powdr's assessments are accurate. Instead of forgoing Mammaoth days you could forego a Heavenly day. 3 days at Heavenly and no Kirkwood? Kirkwood just for the scenery is worth the drive.

Are you stayin the whole time in South Shore? If so treks to Squaw Valley, Alpine, and in particular Sugar Bowl will be time consuming.
post #19 of 31

Sister Sister

I love the Tahoe area for great skiing, scenery, and gambling.

We know that GPaul and I really like Snowbasin. So...

Mammoth <=> Vail

Heavenly (hard to compare), maybe ~ Winter Park, CO with a view and casinos. Same campy feel. Some great bump runs and some of my favorite tree skiing is at Heavenly.

Squaw Valley (big sister) ---> Kirkwood (shorter, younger, uglier, wallflower sister hiding in the mountains). Kirkwood, imo, sucks. Although sometimes a wallflower girl can get the job done, if you know what I mean.

I think Alpine Meadows will be on my "must visit list" for next year's getaway.

btw, did you eat a good breakfast today?

Eric
post #20 of 31
Thread Starter 
desertdawg, thank you very much, lots of help! For North Shore we sleep in Reno, Heavenly down by the new Gondola.

Eric, how do? No breakfast all year until skiing! Unless 1/2 bagel and coffee counts. Nice comparisons, but none given for Squaw; take a stab, por favor.

Do y'all think Squaw is grooming more runs than in the past, considering they bought some new equipment?
post #21 of 31
I think somone mentioned the Snowbomb card to you? Discounts for Sugar Bowl and Kirkwood, IE Free ticket to Kirkwood or SB, M-Th for each card purchased. You probably can't use the free ticket from the 27th to the 31st but you should be able to use it on Jan 1 and 2.

http://www.snowbomb.com/
post #22 of 31

Squaw

Squaw Valley has a special place in American skiing history because of the Olympics. It is a fantasic place for expert and beginning skiers. I would not recommend Squaw for intermediates. Generally, there is either steep or flat terrain at Squaw. Squaw gets an interesting crowd of radical skiers and beautiful snow bunnies riding 6-pack lifts together. The lunch and bar scene there has fantastic people watching if you don't feel overwhelmed by the size of the crowd.

I really like Squaw, especially the Olympic chair, Sun Bowl, and Granite Chief areas. My wife thought it had very boring intermediate terrain and too many roads that are "trails".

Go during the weekdays and go early! You may need to have a lite breakfast that day.

I really can't compare it to any other place in CO or UT. Just to Kirkwood in my experience.
post #23 of 31
Thread Starter 
Eric, thanks again! Yep, Squaw does have that reputation for intermediate groomers; I'm watching their daily grooming before I make up my mind.

Happy Holidays!
post #24 of 31

skip sierra at tahoe

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gpaul
Powdr, thank you; I will take your suggestions. Now, our itinerary:

12/27 Sierra at Tahoe (coming in from Sacramento)
2 days Squaw
1 day Sugar Bowl
1 day Alpine
3 days Heavenly
Then, 7 days Mammoth, latter part of trip

Good, bad ? Suggestions are VERY welcome!
In reading the comments and your responses, I would think a bit about your itinerary again. If ski rentals are the only reason to start on the south shore, why not find a place in Sacramento to rent, then drop off at the conclusion of your Mammoth leg. It really is a long way from Sierra-at-Tahoe to the north shore. If the weather is bad, the west side of Lake Tahoe may be closed and thus you would be driving all the way around the lake.

So I recommend - starting completely on the north then migrate south.

Also, I'm not sure that Sierra-at-Tahoe is a great stop compared to the other places. I found it small and crowded with shorter runs and would not be inclined to go there again. Kirkwood is SOOOO much better if you want to swap out a day.

Additionally, if you want to spend 5 days between Squaw and Heavenly - I would spend the 3 days at Squaw and only 2 at Heavenly. My downside with Heavenly is that the runs are really narrow and there are lots of trees. Squaw is more open and IMHO more 'workable'. I like the broader terrain. It can take a bit of time to traverse Heavenly. That said there are some fabulous views of Lake Tahoe.

Lastly, I'm quite jealous that you will have that many days to go skiing in one trip - enjoy!!
post #25 of 31
I agree with the following analogies:
Alta - Kirkwood
Snowbird - Squaw
Park City - Heavenly

The Squaw/Snowbird analogy is based upon the vast expert terrain. But Squaw's only long groomer, Mountain Run, is mostly flat, congested and poorly exposed. Steeper groomers like Shirley Lake are only 700 vertical. Given that the base of Squaw has had 15 inches natural snow so far this season, you would have to be nuts to go near the place between Dec. 26 and Jan. 1 unless there is a big dump before then. Squaw is a very poor fit for your skiing preferences anyway during busy times even when it has lots of snow.

Mt. Rose and Sugar Bowl are better mountains terrain wise than Brighton IMHO. Alpine Meadows - Solitude is not a bad analogy. Alpine does have somewhat of a crowd reputation now due to its cheap lift tickets. Sierra-at-Tahoe has runs that you will like, but base elevation is low. Heavenly is a good fit your preferences and it has a big snowmaking system which may be critical for the holidays this year.

Vail and Mammoth are by far the best intermediate mountains in North America IMHO. I use the term intermediate broadly, in that whatever your ability there is abundant terrain to both interest you and challenge you at almost any point on the learning curve. Vail's runs have longer fall lines while most of Mammoth's are in 1,000 vertical layers. Mammoth has way more steeps. Another virtue of both areas is that you will be enticed to get off the groomed runs and experiment with excellent natural terrain that is not intimidating and usually has good snow.

I would also not let the rental ski tail wag the itinerary dog, particularly with holiday congestion. The most consistent message we have all given you is to beware of Tahoe's severe holiday road traffic.
post #26 of 31
Thread Starter 
hmileski, tks! I may skip Tahoe altogether if the GD weather doesn't take a turn for Winter! We're actually driving from LA to Tahoe, so Sacramento is just to sleep on the way; if it's a clear night I might just continue driving to Reno in I-80. Sierra at Tahoe, we'll wait 'till we're in Tahoe for conditions. I'm weary about Squaw's grooming, so I'll check their site before commiting to more than 1 day.

Mr. Crocker, invaluable, as usual!!!!! We now wait for the big storm (12/24???) to decide on final itinerary. How was your Caribbean vacation?
post #27 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gpaul
Powdr, thank you; I will take your suggestions. Now, our itinerary:

12/27 Sierra at Tahoe (coming in from Sacramento)
2 days Squaw
1 day Sugar Bowl
1 day Alpine
3 days Heavenly
Then, 7 days Mammoth, latter part of trip

Good, bad ? Suggestions are VERY welcome!
BAD BAD BAD!

You're going from one side of the lake to the other....on the first day. No, no no!

Start north (Alpine, Squaw, Sugar Bowl)--I'd only do one day at Sugar Bowl, then 2 days Squaw, one day Alpine. Make North Truckee your "home base" if you're looking to save money...if you're not looking to save money, stay in Tahoe City. Maybe do the one day on 12/27 at Sugar Bowl (it's right on I-80, on the way to North Lake Tahoe).

Then move over to South Shore. Stay in South Lake Tahoe.

Ski Kirkwood, Heavenly, MAYBE Sierra at Tahoe (if you're feeling frisky).

THEN head down to Mammoth.

You're going North to south.

Recommendation though?

If the snow's good, spend some more time in North Lake Tahoe. Be sure to hit up (IF THERE IS SNOW) Homewood and Mt. Rose also. Squaw and Alpine deserve 2 days each.

Mammoth deserves 4 days.
post #28 of 31
Gpaul,

Squaw has many STEEP groomers although as many have said, not a ton of vert on most of them. There's 2 or 3 off the back of Headwall, the saddle and sometimes GS bowl off KT22, Dog leg/dog face/lakeview off of Red Dog/Squaw Creek, Siberia face off of Siberia, a FANTASTIC run off the backside of Emigrant which deposits you in the Shirley Lake area and on down to Shirley lake chair(name?), at least 1 or 2 off of Granite Chief and another below High Camp that goes across the "land bridge" down to the Silverado lift. I'm no Squaw expert as I only skied there for 3 days 2 seasons ago, but it definately has very good steep groomers. Alpine has plenty as well and more vert on many. I haven't been to Kirkwood, but if you look at the web page they always have 3 or 4 runs where they do "high angle grooming". For what it's worth, I have many days at Snowbird over the years and Squaw is tied with Snowbird for my favorite places to ski. This is coming from an advanced intermediate that LOVES steep groomers. As to plan of attack for Tahoe over the holidays, I would take the locals advice.
post #29 of 31
Thread Starter 
Tks Jed! I'm not traversing accross the lake, we go to Sierra day 1 from Sacramento, then drive to Reno ( I know, longish drive at 5pm) from where we ski North Shore. Then move down to South to ski Heavenly, lodging is walk-to Gondola. I think Homewood might get on my nerves due to lack of fast lifts, or are they "fast" slow lifts?

Mammoth only 4 days? Even with the crappy snow condtions, they already have more than 75 Groomers, many blue and black ones!

Keep 'em coming!

jgiddyup, nice to hear from you again! I've always felt Snowbird lacks in groomers, although what is available is nice and steep! I recall a few years ago a nice one in Mineral Basin. But my favorite is the one off the triple chair (little cloud ?). And, my favorite in Utah is now Snowbasin, followed by Canyons. So, still 2 days Squaw ?
post #30 of 31
SSR is fun and good for a first day, but I believe it draws a big weekend crowd from Sacramento. I would no way spend 3-days at Heavenly. Mammoth -yes. Heavenly-no.

I agree that you should take the drive to Kirkwood as well.

Oh, and I think Canyons is also a "cut up" area ala Heavenly.
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