EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › General Skiing Discussion › Where to ski in mid to late December?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Where to ski in mid to late December?

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
Looks like the only time off I have next year is around December 15 to January 2.
I usually don't plan ski vacations for this time of year as I like to wait until around February for coverage and snow-pack to improve.

I'm going with my fiance so we're looking for a place that can be fun for the both of us--I prefer lots of terrain and steep, she prefers more open cruisers (although she's improving into the off-piste capability very quickly). As it's our only vacation of the year next year, we'd also like someplace that's got a bit of apres-ski comfort to it. We're both going to need to relax, and that's going to mean having a place to walk around at night, decent place to stay, and some good food.

I've skiied a whole lot of places (resorts) in N. America (most of Colorado, most of the Sierras, a few places in Utah, Whistler), but almost never this early in the season. I've skiied in Summit County a few times in mid-late December and had some pretty shoddy conditions. I'm concerned about getting buggered with the weather before January.

Where should I look to go this time of year?

I'm open to going back to Colorado, Vail is perfect of us due to the very family-oriented layout that allows us to ski apart without getting divided. But, it's expensive as all hell so it's a hard sell to go back this year (in addition to December not being the best in terms of conditions...minus last year, I know).

Utah would be great, but I'm not all too familiar with it.

Whistler is usually too warm that time of year if memory serves.

Big Sky? We've never been so...

Banff/Lake Louise? Interior Alberta may be colder and snowier this time of year than the Coastal Range. But, I have no idea what the skiing is like there. I've been there in the summer, it's beautiful...if not a bit overly touristed.

Jackson, WY?

Alps???

Pyrenees?????

:
post #2 of 26
It will vary year to year, but Utah is almost always consistent. Last year the PNW and Colorado were smokin in December. Went to Colorado 2nd week in December and waited til 10 days prior to book as I waited to see where coverage was best, ended up in Vail and the Boat. Year before I hit Alta for 4 days 1st week in December. Good deals are always to be had early season, even when booking late.

From my experience, if snow is falling very late Oct and early November that locale will have good coverage early December.
post #3 of 26
If you don't want expensive like Vail, consider Copper. Cruisers, bumps, bowls, and naturally divided terrain.
post #4 of 26
Quote:
Whistler is usually too warm that time of year if memory serves.
Banff/Lake Louise? Interior Alberta may be colder and snowier this time of year than the Coastal Range. But, I have no idea what the skiing is like there. I've been there in the summer, it's beautiful...if not a bit overly touristed.
Along this Canadian theme for inexpensive, good coverage, quality trails, ski in ski out etc. Sun Peaks has become popular around here. Some folks have stopped going to Whistler for Sun Peaks.

- Fossil
post #5 of 26
Utaaaaah. As mentioned the safer bet.
post #6 of 26
Utah. Snowbird, in particular. Alta is great, too, but a bit more rustic (A plus in my book, but not in everyone's).

Alberta may be colder, but not necessarily snowier. Lake Louise frequently has mediocre coverage, and Sunshine exaggerates their base, IMHO.

Southern BC (Fernie, Red Mountain) may be OK, but it may not. December is a crap shoot.

Copper in Colorado may be a good choice because they have quite a bit of snowmaking and cruisers that are summer groomed so that they don't need huge amounts of coverage. That's not ideal, but it's better than dirt. Also, there are many other choices close by.

There's always Antarctica. 10,000 foot base, 1/4" new. Lacks amenities, though.
post #7 of 26
If I recall correctly...At the cottonwood canyon resorts in mid-late december last year, there was over 60 inches of snowpack, with 150 fallen, and around christmas we had 2-3 feet of fresh...

just a thought
post #8 of 26
have yet to be there early season but Alta is much less rocky than the Bird if off piste is your thing, I would go there. Even locals at the bird will admit that Alta is better early season.
post #9 of 26
wow, you're in the exact situation i am in....i can only go in December, and i have been searching like, 345243 resorts.

But finally chose Utah..(staying at Brighton)



I can't wait for the trip, but if December fails me this year, i will starve to death, cuz im soooo hungry for POWDER.
post #10 of 26
post #11 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SnowSnake
Used to live in Anchorage. I've skiied plenty at Alyeska. December is not a great time for Alaska. It's cold as hell and dark. Wouldn't get more than a few hours daylight for skiing and Alyeska has problems with flat light on a good day.
post #12 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jhcooley
Utah. Snowbird, in particular. Alta is great, too, but a bit more rustic (A plus in my book, but not in everyone's).

Alberta may be colder, but not necessarily snowier. Lake Louise frequently has mediocre coverage, and Sunshine exaggerates their base, IMHO.

Southern BC (Fernie, Red Mountain) may be OK, but it may not. December is a crap shoot.

Copper in Colorado may be a good choice because they have quite a bit of snowmaking and cruisers that are summer groomed so that they don't need huge amounts of coverage. That's not ideal, but it's better than dirt. Also, there are many other choices close by.

There's always Antarctica. 10,000 foot base, 1/4" new. Lacks amenities, though.
I've skiied a ton at Copper. Like the place a lot, but wouldn't be making trip of it in December. Although, if we do decide to go to Summit/Eagle County, I'm sure we'll put in a day or two there if the conditions are good.
post #13 of 26
We ski Big Sky every year Christmas to New Years. We've never had a bad trip and several years the snow has been very good. The best thing is that no matter how good it gets there is no way the slopes will be overcrowded. Resorts near major metro areas can fill up with locals on holiday weeks if the weather or snow are better than usual. Lift lines will not be a problem at Big Sky.
post #14 of 26
Thread Starter 
Utah seems like a good bet. How far apart are various areas like Alta, Brighton, Snowbird, etc. I've skiied at Powder Mountain and Snowbasin, but none of the others. What are the areas around the varios mountains like? Trying to get a lay of the land in terms of what would be a good place for us to base our operations out of if we decided to go there.

The fiance also brought up a good idea...maybe spending a few days camping/sightseeing/hiking in Moab and Arches area down South. What's the weather like down there that time of year? Is it freezing at night? I'm not sure we've got the winter gear for it. I've been in the summer (hot as balls, chilly at night), but never around there in the winter.
post #15 of 26

Arches/Moab and the Wasatch

Moab is a 3.5 hour drive, no stops. You probably cannot do serious skiing and then go sightseeing down south. If you drive out, it would be possible, but renting cars will be quite a cost.

As far as the resorts go...to make sure you have a good snow base, stick to the cottonwood canyons. If you stay downtown (which is WAY cheaper) and rent a car to go to the canyons, you are 35 mins from either Solitude, Brighton, Snowbird, and Alta. You could make a trip of skiing all four. Or, you could stay at one of the lodges at either big cottonwood (Soli/Bright) or little cottonwood (Snowbird/Alta), and perhaps do two resorts w/out much travelling. If you like, I can find some info about rates for local hotels and also any info you want about cottonwood canyon resorts. PM me if you have any questions!
post #16 of 26
I analyzed this issue in some detail for skiingmag.com 4 years ago: http://www.skiingmag.com/skiing/trav...328640,00.html is the intro. At the bottom of the page click through to the details http://www.skiingmag.com/skiing/trav...328639,00.html and http://www.skiingmag.com/skiing/trav...328638,00.html .

Your time frame can have 2 different answers Dec. 15-25 when destination resorts are quiet vs. Dec. 26 - Jan. 2 when the thundering hordes arrive. For example Vail and Whistler are good choices for the former period but outrageously expensive and crowded during the latter.
post #17 of 26

Mid December Skiing

My wife and I have never skiied in Colo. so I cannot comment on that state.
However, I would encourage you to head to Utah.
We did it last year and will repeat this year ( 12/15- 12/22)

We had a great time and the snow coverage was good..
Maybe a bunch of bears can get together for a day of skiing that week??

ANY TAKERS?
post #18 of 26
I'll be glad to meet up with, I will be at Snowbird everyone of those days.
post #19 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Crocker
I analyzed this issue in some detail for skiingmag.com 4 years ago: http://www.skiingmag.com/skiing/trav...328640,00.html is the intro. At the bottom of the page click through to the details http://www.skiingmag.com/skiing/trav...328639,00.html and http://www.skiingmag.com/skiing/trav...328638,00.html .

Your time frame can have 2 different answers Dec. 15-25 when destination resorts are quiet vs. Dec. 26 - Jan. 2 when the thundering hordes arrive. For example Vail and Whistler are good choices for the former period but outrageously expensive and crowded during the latter.
I would never suggest hitting Whistler in December. Their weather is just too hit-or-miss early in the season. A buddy of mine was at WB last December and got nothing but rain nearly the entire week he was there. I wouldn't roll the dice on Whistler.

I just booked my first trip of the year. Park City, Dec. 4 - 11. I'm even a little bit nervous of Utah that early, but I'm sure it'll be fine.
post #20 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by mnemosyne's lobotomy
...
The fiance also brought up a good idea...maybe spending a few days camping/sightseeing/hiking in Moab and Arches area down South. What's the weather like down there that time of year? Is it freezing at night? I'm not sure we've got the winter gear for it. I've been in the summer (hot as balls, chilly at night), but never around there in the winter.
If you go to Moab, consider a trip to Telluride for a day. Incredibly romantic setting; great skiing, more cruisers than you would normally think, including "See Forever" from the top of the mountain; only 2 - 3 hours from Moab.
post #21 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Forrester
I would never suggest hitting Whistler in December. Their weather is just too hit-or-miss early in the season. A buddy of mine was at WB last December and got nothing but rain nearly the entire week he was there. I wouldn't roll the dice on Whistler.

I just booked my first trip of the year. Park City, Dec. 4 - 11. I'm even a little bit nervous of Utah that early, but I'm sure it'll be fine.
Park city in early december will have snow, but the whole mountain will not be open (most likely). The cottonwood canyons are your better bet for early dec skiing. Three years ago, I remember only one park city resort being open before mid december.
post #22 of 26
Utah skier I have lived and skied ParK City for 10 years I can't recall any of the PC area resorts not being open in mid Dec. We have had some low snow years in that time. If it isa low snow year even with all the snow the Cottonwood Canyons get,you need that snow plus some to cover all the rocks. PCMR and Snowbasin have the most snowmaking in Utah. I have seen years that The whole mountain was open the first week of Nov, most years 80 to 90% of the mountain will be open by mid.ear Dec. Early season is always a gamble. If you don't like what you see in and around Park City it is an easy 30 to 45 min drive to the Cottonwood Canyons or an hour to Snowbasin.
post #23 of 26
MY bad, I was thinking mid november.
post #24 of 26
No worries. In this 100 degree heat we have been in for the past few weeks my mind is also fried.
post #25 of 26
Whistler's weather is capricious any time with regard to rain, fog etc. Nonetheless its track record for adequate snow coverage by mid-December is among the very best because extended drought is much rarer than in the Rockies.

Park City is an interesting case due to the huge variation in snowfall within the area. Thus the considerable snowmaking at low elevation. The Park City region's snowfall would normally be a speculative bet for adequate cover of advanced terrain in December, but Jupiter Bowl is as close to Brighton as it is to the rest of PCMR and thus gets extra snow. Deer Valley and the Canyons do not have comparable high snowfall pockets. Overall I think your odds are way better in the Cottonwoods, Alta and Brighton in particular.
post #26 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Crocker
Dec. 26 - Jan. 2 when the thundering hordes arrive. For example Vail and Whistler are good choices for the former period but outrageously expensive and crowded during the latter.
I totally agree with the concept of the two weeks being totally different animals but you missed by one day in the above quote.

I ski Vail every year on 12/25 and 26 (it's my little Christmas Present to me). The place is dead as a doornail. Destination skiers usually travel on the day after X-Mass and hit the hill on the 27th.

The 26 is one of be best kept secrets in skiing a place like Vail ....well it was....till a second ago !
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: General Skiing Discussion
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › General Skiing Discussion › Where to ski in mid to late December?