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Second Annual Gathering of the Bears

post #1 of 102
Thread Starter 
Attention All Bears:

A self appointed committee of Bears has begun the planning stages for the Second Annual International Gathering of the Bears. Hey, Jane’s from Australia. The two options that are being discussed right now are Fernie BC and Jackson Hole, WY. We have already begun pricing out lodging rates, SnowCat Skiing and backcounty guides. We are in contact with a group sales coordinator in Fernie and she has provided us with a lot of useful materials. While we are inquiring about group accommodations it is unlikely that we would go into to any area as a formal group. However, we are trying to get a flavor of who could handle between 20-40 skiers at one time and were could we get some discounts.

The committee of Three has be corresponding via e-mail for about a week now and we are well on our way to investigating these two possibilities. It is our belief that we must plan and commit early so that we can get the best possible rates and locations. Furthermore, we would like to encourage the help of others, perhaps some of the fellow Tahoe Gathering Bears, to join our loosely formed committee. We know that some of the Bears had expressed an interest in having next years meeting in Summit County and we welcome any and all discussion. Please comment on the following issues:

2.Possible Dates.
3.Skiing Activities (SnowCat and Backcountry Skiing, group clinics).
4.Type of Accommodations.
5.Formal Group or Book your own and meet up.

If you would like to help with the planning please contact me at Powdigger@epicski.com

If anyone has suggestion please feel free to post them here.

Thanks folks,

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[This message has been edited by Powdigger (edited March 29, 2001).]</FONT>
post #2 of 102
Here is something to think about in gathering info and planning for a Gathering next season.Concider coming to Utah. If you plan The gathering for 2 or 3 weeks after the Olympic Games.Things will be pretty quiet here.Bears will get to see first hand and ski some of the runs used for events.Besides getting to the skiing in Utah is so easy every resort is with in One hour from the Airport.Most are about 45 mins drive.land in the Morning and you can ski in the Afternoon. There is a lot of talk about the after games slowdown in bussiness.Many of the resorts are planning for this post games let down by offering up some discount ski packages.My vary unbiased opinion is that the Best place for the bears to Gather would be in Utah Remember The Games are only two weeks long and will only effect about 5% of the skiable terrain.
Ok I am now stepping off The Greater Park City Chamber of Commerce soapbox

The Best skier in the world is the One with the biggest smile. Utah49
post #3 of 102
Actually, Utah 49 is correct. JH and especially Fernie are much less accesible than Salt Lake City. Transportation to those places can be a real budget-buster. Keep in mind also that many of the bears have mates that either don't ski, don't ski at nearly the same level, or just are not as fanatical about it.
post #4 of 102
Thread Starter 
Milesb brings up a good point. Would someone consider not coming because the place is not friendly to non-skiers. Do you think that more people would come if they could bring the family or significant other?

I don't know? Give us feed back. My thought is give me the best mountain possible but I am open.

post #5 of 102
Thread Starter 
Utah was discussed in Tahoe as the first choice and then the Olympic thing came up and it was dropped from consideration. Give your arguement and lets look at some of those post Olympic deals.

post #6 of 102
I'll do my best to make the trip wherever the group decides, but while we are in the discussion mode I will vote early and often for BC. It offers the opportunity to ski several resort mountains that I have never tried; loads of snow; several choices for cat skiing; backcountry opportunities; spectacular scenery; and great exchange rate. Gonzo summarized it pretty well. Would also hope that some of the Canadian Bears (not to mention the Montana and Seattle crew) would be able to join us easily if we did BC.

I will grant you BC is probably the least accessible (by air) of the options others have mentioned. But for me they are all very long flights.

I flat out love JH and SLC, and would welcome the opportunity to go back to either. I do remain concerned about crowds, skied out snow and inflated lodging, meals and car rental prices in SLC for next year (had pretty well scratched it off my to do list for next year). In a normal year it is by far the easiest in/out and the most economic for s/o like me coming from the mid-Atlantic ($99/way form BWI on Southwest). I'm having a hard time believing next year will be normal in this regard, though. For this reason JH, not SLC, would be my second choice. That said, I'd love to hook up with Utah49, harpo and some of the other SLC Bears (hope they will join us wherever we end up).

Should we talk dates for a second? Think we should try to build the trip around a weekend, for the benenfit of us working stiffs. A three day weekend would be nice. Prez Day is pricey at most US resorts though. Therefore I would recommend MLK weekend in January if we are going to a US destination; and Prez Day iuf we are going to BC.

Other thoughts?

post #7 of 102
Thread Starter 

Great suggestion. Prez day in BC would be a great choice.

BTW when I flew to Jackson this summer a round trip ticket from Cleveland to Jackson was $590.00 without taxes and airport fees!!!!!

We also need to examine the cost of an international flight in to Calgary vs. Montana.


What Airlines fly into that little spec of an airport in Montana.


post #8 of 102
The trip from Calgary to Fernie is going to take 3 hrs. from the airport , thing about starting in Calgary is the ease of doing a loop and hitting 6-7 areas or just a few whatever you want. You also have the chance to get in on some cat skiing or heli stuff if desired it's all with in a couple hours of Fernie , I do this loop a couple times a season for 5-6 days . I might even be able to line up some transportation for a group that would want to do this , accomodations are easy also if we get dates figured out soon.
post #9 of 102
Steamboat? Hm? or at least Colorado? Accesibilty helps.<FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by oboe (edited March 29, 2001).]</FONT>
post #10 of 102
Another good option for flying to SE BC is to look into flights to Cranbrook, BC(It may be Castlegar). About an hour from Fernie, Kimberley, and Panorama. Kalispell is the closest US aiport served by regionals, Skywest, Horizon, etc.

Another option is flying into Spokane, WA. This would get you to Red Mt, BC in about 2 hours, from there it's another hour to Whitewater. From Trail it's a 2-3 hour drive to Fernie.

For you guys are coming from the east it really would behoove you to stay in the region for 5 days minimum, preferably more. All of SE BC has fantastic skiing. I've been to the Rockies, JH, Whistler, SLC and SE BC. I would return to BC before any of the others. Small, rustic, kick-ass skiing, great exchange rate, and friendly people. A real gem IMHO. Snow fall is odd in the region though. I've bailed out of trips in '95 and 2000 (Last week of Feb or first week of Mar) due to scant snowfall. Made trips in '97 and '99 that were just awesome!!

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[This message has been edited by desertdawg (edited March 29, 2001).]</FONT>
post #11 of 102
I wouldn't go to Fernie. I was there in February and it sucked. They only had like 40 inches or something. Of the three places we went to- panorama, fernie, and kicking horse- fernie was the best, but that isn't saying too much. The locals are saying it's the worst year they've seen in the last 30. I couldn't imagine what the spring skiing would be like. Come up here for cat skiing in Valdez that's only 20 bucks a ride. Alyeska, our resort, has 250 inches at the top with a total snow fall over 800 inches. Can you get much better than that?

Keep Rippin
post #12 of 102
AKRipper - I feel for you, but latest reports I heard indicate that the mountains around here only received about 35% of normal snowfall this year. That made for pretty marginal conditions just about everywhere. Normally, Fernie's an absolutely great spot, and the circuit others are talking about can give you the best skiing you'll find anywhere.

FYI though, President's Day weekend in the States is the same as Alberta's Family Day weekend. I think you could expect to see quite a large crowd there that weekend. In Calgary, the kids get two days off school the Thursday and Friday before, as well.

Just thought you'd like to know.
post #13 of 102
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the heads up. Oboe good suggestion. We need to start looking at some hard numbers. How much cash is it going to be and what can we get.

post #14 of 102
Flying into Denver is no chore at all, and Steaamboat, Summit County or Winter Park are all great destinations - for the WHOLE FAMILY, or for any skiing [or Barking] Bear.
post #15 of 102
The cost of lodging and skiing will be at least 50% cheaper than any american ski towns, that goes for Fernie or Golden or even Banff. Friends from out east came to visit for a week at Fernie. A large fully loaded two bedroom apartment with a pull out couch was 150 bucks a day, unlimited number of people. Food is cheap and very good. Lift passes, they bought a louise discount card(50 bucks), this gives you the first and fifth day free with 12 bucks off every time you use the thing to buy tickets. Cat skiing, good luck, they book years in advance for Island Lake, but there are other smaller operators in the area ( for the larger pocketbook bears). There is a very nice hostel in Fernie, an aquatic center, and not too far away is the can't miss experience of the largest Truck in the World at Sparwood. You should probably get the january idea out of your head right now as it gets stinking cold here in that bloody month. I would suggest flying into
calgary as you can get some serious deals on gear here. As i spend a bit of time working throughout the US, i have found prices to be damn near dollar for dollar with Canada lately. The exchange rate is somewhere in the neighbourhood of 1.6 CDN for 1 greenback.
Just remember to leave your pistols at home..
post #16 of 102
I would need more information about extradition laws in Canada before committing to Fernie.


post #17 of 102
JoC, JimmyP, Leeroy--what would be a good weekend to build a Bears trip to Canada around? Prez Day made some sense to me, since most of us in th States would have an extra day off work, but is that alos a holiday in Canada? Would want to avoid local holidays and maybe hit the mid-winter bargain rates.
post #18 of 102
It might not be wise to count on a favorable exchange rate one year in the future. And f it is going to be a 2 or 3 day event, accesibility is doubly important. Perhaps a special bear all cat skiing trip should also be considered.
post #19 of 102
There has been a favourable exchange rate for over 4 years. I think you can count on it being somewhat unchanged for next year. The Family Day weekend (i believe the same weekend as Prez day)did not seem overly busy at Panorama, but the lifts are usually pretty slow there anyway. March is usually pretty quiet at the resorts.
Anyway you look at it you will be driving to get to a resort, no matter where you fly into. The drive is usually not that bad too Fernie, it would only be approximately 2hours along the front range and an hours drive through the rocks.
post #20 of 102
If prez day is the same as our family day ( and it was boot top deep that day) was this past Feb. 19th you would have found a 10 min.lift line at 9:00 am , from there the longest we waited maybe 3-5 min. and after lunch basically a minute or less. The day before was less people and the rest of the week after the 19th we could ski up to the chair. As for conditions Gonzo's right on the money, normally you would see powder everwhere.
On hill accomodations can be had , but this thing has to get going or you'll loose out . <FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by Leeroy (edited March 30, 2001).]</FONT>
post #21 of 102
Fellow architect. I realize what you are saying. Maybe I am missing the point of this gathering. I thought it was to get a chance to meet one another. The skiing is secondary, although certainly essential. Most of us take other trips during the year, so the skiing doesn't have to be ideal. I would think the main goal would be to make it possible for as many as possible to attend. And most everybody would be able to make it for a weekend. And if we wanted to make it a 3 day trip, prez weekend would be most conducive.
post #22 of 102
hello? I'm here for my mollycoddling. and yes, with whipped cream, please. it's not going to be cold, is it?

i think this is bound to go 'round and 'round as we all have our own great ideas where we should meet. honestly, flying into salt lake or denver makes the most sense to me, given other variables and logistics, etc., but i'm certainly willing to go elsewhere. i'm all for going someplace i haven't been but am in no hurry to break my bank getting there.

this is dust that's gonna be settling for awhile. salt lake, ASSUMING that what utah49 said is accurate, seems at least worth considering, given fairly predictable snow conditions, variety of terrain and lodging choices, etc. i hope this won't be automatically ruled out. i'd love to be in attendance but if it's gonna be big time $$$$, prob'ly not.

more later, i think.
post #23 of 102
I took too long writing that last post! You got me thinking, why not come to LA?
post #24 of 102
Or how about Brandywine?
post #25 of 102
(BIG) BEAR MOUNTAIN in the beautiful San Bernardinos. Christmas weekend. Come on!!! It'll be FUN.
Y'all could fly into, like, Ontario. GREAT little town (heh heh heh).

No, seriously, I mean it....

MILESB as our Mountain Guide?
post #26 of 102
Only if Milesb's dog can be our assistant guide. I hear she's quite good on skis
post #27 of 102
And that little Ontario (California, not Canada) airport is REALLY easy to get in and out of.

I would think that Utah might be tough because of the lack of on-mountain, apres-ski stuff to do, so that everyone can hang out and tell ski-stories with beer in hand, after the ripping is done for the day. I had the greates time with a group of 20 (we generally divided up into 3-4 ski groups) at Whister last March. After skiing, everyone would hang out together at the bars and restaraunts and have a good ol' time. I think that's how these, more social, trips should take place.

Hey, I have an idea, get enough people together and do a week of heli skiing with CMH! Everyone would be in the same lodge, so it would be very social, and we could all ski epic pow all day! It'll only run about $4k per person (US $), not including the air fare! Donations will be taken at the door! some day... some day.
post #28 of 102
Interesting questions and thoughts. Having planned, organized and executed several golf trips for small to medium size groups, there are no easy answers or simple solutions that will please everyone.

I went on the First Bear's gathering for two main reasons: 1 - to ski a new area for me (had never been to Tahoe before) 2 - to meet some of the Bears involved in this forum. For me, the trip was an unqualified success except I didn't ski the Sierra cement as well as I would have liked.

As for next year's trip, I would put my vote in for someplace that has good air service within a couple of hours of the destination. I say this simply because if you have to book a travel day around each end of the 3 - 4 days of skiing, suddenly the trip requires two more days off from work.

Interesting to note that the only 'local' skier to join the Bears was AC, although Jane and frshtrx were pretty close to being locals. So, I guess that meeting and skiing with the regular posters in this forum wasn't that much of a draw....
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[This message has been edited by Tag (edited March 30, 2001).]</FONT><FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by Tag (edited March 30, 2001).]</FONT>
post #29 of 102
Been reading this with interest. The first Bears gathering was a great success. Of course for me it was a simple last minute decision and 3 hour drive to get there. It was so much fun meeting everyone and having the opportunity for both me and the other half to ski with people our own level. ie not together.

Would certainly be interested in attending again. Agree with Tag on the traveling time, but this will vary alot for everyone depending on thier starting point. Cost is also a concern...if that Aussie dollar slides any further I am going to have to start claiming I'm from a 3rd world country!

post #30 of 102
Thread Starter 
Ok here is what I am hearing from the group:

OPTION 1: Fernie.

a. Enter through Mt. or Calgary. 2 hrs away.
b. Usually great snow
c. lots of snowcat and backcountry options.
d. Exchange rate and low cost.
e. Unspoiled town and a ski adventure for most of us.
f. We get to meet Gonzo and hopefully he will bring his skis and not his bike.

Option 2: Jackson Hole

a. Enter through Jackson (10 min) or other towns (6 hrs w/o snow).
b. Best mountain of the bunch. (More opportunities for JW to pull headers down rock lined chutes).
c. First class and economy accommodations.
d. Not inexpensive and when selection is limited just plain expensive. With good planning can be done with reasonable cost.
e. Harrison Ford has promised to rescue all skiers that get stuck out of bounds with his helicopter.

Option 3: Colorado

a. Easy access. Summit County or Steamboat(Nothing in Southwest part of state might as well go to Fernie or Jackson)
b. Many competing places could find bargains.
c. Not as adventurous as other but could make our own adventures.
d. Possibility that many bears attend. Lots of Local to show us around.
e. There will a death match ski off between BobB and HH.
f. Mr. & Mrs. Ski Crazy have promised to buy all the mirco brew.

OPTION 4: Utah (After Olympics)

a. Great Snow and Great Mountains.
b. Ton of options for skiing.
c. Plenty of lodging options.
d. The most accessible of any place.
e. Utah 49 said he would put us all up in his basement.
f. The Osmond family will entertain every evening.
g. Potential for large number of Bears being able to attend because of ease of getting in and out.

Well, is this it or did I miss something. Use the cut and paste feature to add to this list and try and expand on it. Who can e-mail me a list of Condo Management companies, hotels, motels for each area so that we can start contacting them and getting prices?

Thanks for the input.
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[This message has been edited by Powdigger (edited March 30, 2001).]</FONT>
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