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Snowbird Vs Steamboat?!

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
I'm an Aussie who works as a full-time seasonal Reservationist/Receptionist for Perisher Blue (Aussie Ski Resort) and I'm looking at working a season OS in 07-08. My husband will also be coming along for the ride, and he too works for Perisher, he is a full-time auto mechanic and works on heavy vehicles also: snow groomers etc. We would like some honest and helpful opinions from "those in the know" regarding Snowbird and Steamboat. We are happy with a relaxed kickback environment and atmosphere - raging nightlife is not a huge priority! I'm a 3rd boarder and I would be at level 4-5 in Aussie grade (comfortable riding Aussie black runs), and I'm not into park riding. My husband is a 5th yr boarder & would be past level 5, and enjoys the odd park. We would appreciate any advice regarding accommodation, cost of living, difference in snow conditions and trail runs, and comments and opinions regarding general atmosphere (local attitude etc).
Thanks heaps!
post #2 of 13
JSJ,

The snow is awesome at both Steamboat and Snowbird. Steamboat's tends to be a tad drier, while Snowbird gets a little more. In general, there might be a little more variety of terrain for lower level riding at Steamboat and more steeper terrain at Snowbird, but there's a lot more terrain available if you count all of the Salt Lake resorts. Either resort would work for a whole season terrain and snow wise.

Steamboat is a real town and a unique cultural experience, but housing is at a premium. Snowbird means living in Salt Lake City for most people. Salt Lake is a real city. Housing is reasonable. Jobs are plentiful. Cost of living is definitely lower in Salt Lake. Salt Lake gets a bum rap as being over controlled by Mormons. While they do have a heavy influence on the culture and the politics, they don't seem to have much effect on ski bums. I'd recommend Steamboat for the lifestyle or Snowbird for the economics/logistics.
post #3 of 13
Apples and Oranges for sure. Unless there is some employee housing, you don't really live at Snowbird, per se, unlike Park City, Aspen, Steamboat, Jackson (kind of), Dillon, Vail, Sun Valley, Durango, the list goes on..., although all expensive for the most part. You need to decide if you value terrain and snow over living in ski town. If I was going to another continent to spend a year central to skiing it would for sure be at a ski-town. Rules out Snowbird IMHO.
Do you want to walk from where you live to where you work and/or hop on a quick short city bus (Vail comes to mind)? Or have to "commute" up to the mountain?
Don't get me wrong, Snowbird is great, I'd take it (and Alta) over Steamboat in a heartbeat for a ski trip, but not to live there (and yes, I've skied all three, as a matter of fact in the same week now that I think about it)
Good luck hope you find something that works out well.
post #4 of 13
Both top mountains, to be sure. They both truly suit skiers/riders like you, as you describe yourself.

As you are talking about living there for a season, you may consider locations themselves. Steamboat Springs has a cowboy veneer that is not altogether phony, but it wears on some once the novelty wears off. It becomes suddenly a very small town after a couple of weeks. Snowbird really isn't at a town, but certainly has a resort feel.

Steamboat is about a 2.5 hrs drive from Denver; Snowbird is about 30 mins from Salt Lake City, or less.

Lots of other skiing near Snowbird. Lots. Steamboat is by itself, but there is ski jumping if you're game (there is a rope tow hill in Steamboat Springs, but I've never tried it). Although, Vail/Beaver Creek are within a reasonable drive.

Salt Lake is a strange town. If you live in the Mountain West and are used to being around Mormons, it might not be so bad. Otherwise, it would likely be a culture shock that most don't see in a brief visit. It's not a bad place (it's *very* clean, but the street-numbering system is peculiar), but it is different.

Are these the only two options? Have you considered places like Crested Butte, Telluride, the Tahoe areas, Bachelor, the Summit County areas....?
post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thanks heaps for the replies so far...

Faber: I'm open for suggestions regarding other resorts. I have to take into consideration the fact that hubby and I will both be 30yrs old when we apply for visas (I'll be 31 by the end of sept ) so we will most likely have to find a resort that is willing to sponsor us... is that correct :
post #6 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by JSJ View Post
Thanks heaps for the replies so far...

Faber: I'm open for suggestions regarding other resorts. I have to take into consideration the fact that hubby and I will both be 30yrs old when we apply for visas (I'll be 31 by the end of sept ) so we will most likely have to find a resort that is willing to sponsor us... is that correct :
I believe it is true. But, I am no immigration attorney (I'm an immigrant myself). But when my office hires non-US nationals/permanent residents, they do have to sponsor the applicant, which usually entails all documentation of the job offer/interview process, a statement on the limit of medical insurance offerred, and a strict limit for employment (which can be renewed). But, I'm not the man who does that paperwork; I just have a vague spectator's sense of what happens.

But, yes, lots of other places. The list I posted above I think might still suit you: great mountains, small-ish towns, great scenery, and an all-ages crowd. Bend, Oregon (home to Mt. Bachelor) is a bigger town, but very comfortable. Crested Butte and Telluride are small towns: at Telluride you'll see a bit more of the higher-end of the vactioners' spectrum, but it is no Aspen, to be sure. The areas around Tahoe are legendary, for good reason. And Lake Tahoe is girded by many small towns. Summit County, Colorado has great variety, but at times in certain places, may be a little too hustle-bustle for some. But it is very close to Denver.

Perhaps even Big Sky, Montana, if night life isn't important.

I would caution against looking for a ski area near a major university (labour pool).

Many ski areas make it a practice to put employees' names and hometowns on their nametags. Quite a few seem to come from abroad. I would think that a ski area would love to hire a mature couple from abroad as you would be less likely to leave in the middle of the season, like so many younger seasonal workers do. Plus, you have experience in the industry.

Good luck to you both!
post #7 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thanks Faber. You have given us much to think about and a few other destinations to consider. You have been of great help.

Thanks also to Therusty & Ski-2-fly for your helpful advice!

I would love to hear from anyone willing to share their vacation or work experiences with us, as it will help us to make our final decision.
post #8 of 13

BC will be easier

I'll bet a handful of loonies that you'll have 10x better luck getting into a BC resort. There are lots to choose from and Canadians are great. Part of the greater British Empire makes is certainly easier (I believe) for you to move there for a season. I'm always running into Aussies, NZ, Scots you name it at Canadian resorts.
Whistler/Blackcomb is awesome, but places like Sun Peaks, Silverstar, Big White (out), Kicking Horse, Apex etc will all have dryer snow on average.
post #9 of 13
Crikey! You forgot Fernie! It's absolutely over run with Ozzies.
post #10 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by therusty View Post
Crikey! You forgot Fernie! It's absolutely over run with Ozzies.
Sorry 'bout that:
There are so many great places in BC rockies I covered the rest w/ etc.
post #11 of 13
Steamboat will most likely be part of Intrawest next year. Intrawest hires lots of Aussies and Brits on H1B and H2B visas.
post #12 of 13
Quote:
Steamboat will most likely be part of Intrawest next year.
"We are the Borg. You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile."
post #13 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by daysailer1 View Post
"We are the Borg. You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile."
I, however, broke the shackles of bondage, and am independent of the collective.
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