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Snow Quality vs Terrain Quality

post #1 of 73
Thread Starter 
Obviously in a perfect world these things go together. But I find, at least skiing around Vermont/Canada/Northeast, that sometimes you'll find great snow on bad (by bad I mean small or wide open, or uninteresting etc) or you can find some good terrain with not always great conditions.

This might be an obvious question and if it is feel free to let me have it...but is there any debate over this.

I will always choose snow condition, even on my campus when there's good snow we find someway to strap up, either by building something or going to some hills and trees...

but anybody differ
post #2 of 73
Have to agree: snow over terrain. It can be the best terrain in the world, but if the snow's bad, it'll be a dreadful skiing experience. I also think that snow quality is dependent on the terrain though. If steep, it must be deep; if flat and uniform, good, hard groomed base to carve on.
post #3 of 73
I'll take terrain any day. I enjoy skiing really steep slopes, I don't really care too much about snow conditions, I'd choose Big Sky over Grand Targhee, soft snow is nice...but terrain is always there, powder is hit-or-miss.
post #4 of 73
This thought comes to mind.......

I skied Snowbird and the conditions were, umm, icey. But, the terrain was soo massive and never ending and rolling and steep and on and on etc., etc.::: Loved every run.

This is a tough question to answer. Sugarloaf has got both! Makes me soo happy!!:::
post #5 of 73
I am far less picky about conditions than most people so I'll take great terrain with so so conditions over great conditions with so so terrain every time....
post #6 of 73
I too am trending towards Terrain over Conditions.
post #7 of 73
Conditions are key for me....always.
post #8 of 73
I'll take terrain for $1000 Alex.

For me, if I am skiing boring, flat terrain with great snow, I'll have fun for a little while of course, but i'll get.....bored eventually.

If i'm skiing amazing interesting terrain (i.e. steeps, gullies, chutes, etc...think Kirkwood), with marginal snow......I'm still going to have fun on the terrain and I'm not going to get bored at all.

Terrain for me.
post #9 of 73
Cast my vote for Terrain.
post #10 of 73
You mean there are people who have to CHOOSE? Poor souls.

I figure, just hang around the good terrain until the conditions are good. Then you get both. If however, you hang around poor terrain, you will never get both. in fact, most of the time, you will get neither.
post #11 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by Whiteroom View Post
soft snow is nice...but terrain is always there, powder is hit-or-miss.
That's exactly why given the choice, I'd take snow conditions over terrain anyday.

But they do kind of go hand in hand. There's terrain up at my favorite ski hill that I pretty much only ski on powder days.
post #12 of 73
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by UtahPowderPig View Post
That's exactly why given the choice, I'd take snow conditions over terrain anyday.

But they do kind of go hand in hand. There's terrain up at my favorite ski hill that I pretty much only ski on powder days.
I like that logic
post #13 of 73
Terrain, Can't change terrain (well maybe with some explosives and bull dozers) but you can always change your skiing and improve to ski and enjoy even the bad conditions. What are bad conditions anyway? To me the only bad condition is when the lifts are not running. Not into hiking too far for turns. I find a trail much more interesting with rocks, dirt , logs, stumps etc. I'll take ice over sitting at home any day.
post #14 of 73
Terrain over conditions. Would you rather make it with a hottie with crummy clothes, or plain/ugly with great clothes?
post #15 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dino View Post
Terrain over conditions. Would you rather make it with a hottie with crummy clothes, or plain/ugly with great clothes?
Not a fair analogy! Plain girls too often wear clothes that look like they were cut from curtains and hotties usually wear....wear....oh hell, who pays attention to their clothes?
post #16 of 73
I think people out West don't quite understand what bad conditions can be like. If they are really poor (like a deep freeze after pouring rain), no terrain will make up for it.

I will take snow conditions over terrain any time.
post #17 of 73
Terrain, every time.

Jackson over Targhee
Snowbird over DV
Crested Butte over Breckenridge
Squaw over Northstar

always.
post #18 of 73
snowbird has better snow than DV too.

I ski at snowbird I really dont have to choose.
post #19 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by TomB View Post
I think people out West don't quite understand what bad conditions can be like. If they are really poor (like a deep freeze after pouring rain), no terrain will make up for it.
Ah, the old, "It always snows in the west, so you don't really understand bad conditions" argument.

I'll throw it back and say that if you live in the east, you have no idea what good terrain is like.
post #20 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by Harry_Morgan View Post
Ah, the old, "It always snows in the west, so you don't really understand bad conditions" argument.

I'll throw it back and say that if you live in the east, you have no idea what good terrain is like.
I doubt anyone that has skied places like Killington, Sugarbush, Mad River, Stowe, or Jay Peak would agree that the east doesn't have some great terrain.
post #21 of 73
Terrain versus snow conditions is not the black and white decision posed and instead there are many relative issues to consider. A more meaningful question would be to ask how much weight does one give when balancing those two parameters in order to make a decision on which resort to visit and what are those decisions based on?

I've skied the many Tahoe area resorts as a weekend skier for three decades so have long been playing the choose the resort game. There have always been quite a lot of skiers without much experience that tend to get hung up on always going to their favorite resort that has advanced terrain. In our area that resort would certainly be Squaw Valley. Mindless legions will flock to Squaw without narry a thought to how a skiing experience might be more enjoyable at another resort with better conditions. In fact many of those younger folks are rather chronically ignorant of current snow conditions thus categorize conditions simplistically as either new fresh snow or not new. That they don't really understand the elevations and general sun aspects of the different resorts and instead just see the bottom and top of each resort the same as the bottom and top of all other nearby resorts. After they ski for several years visiting different areas, they may eventually come to notice all fresh or older snow is not all the same. That some resorts just down the road especially with good shading snow protection and higher elevations can have far better snow.

Most resorts of reasonable size do have a mix of terrain from beginner through advanced. Of course some resorts have more of some of those general categories than others. And what a resort has at any of those levels can be considerably better than another resort with the same percentage or acreage of such terrain. That is especially true at advanced and expert levels. In fact some really large resorts that generally are known for their novice and intermediate slopes also usually have a few respectable advanced runs because almost all resorts need to have at least some advanced terrain in order to be interesting for the minor numbers of resort staff and locals that are often hard core. In some cases the amount of such terrain can cover as many acreas as other small resorts that are known for their advanced terrain. Accordingly one may choose terrain over conditions by going to a generally easy resort that has excellent conditions, end up narrowly skiing just the few advanced runs available, and be glad for doing so.

Also are cases where the terrain versus snow conditions decision is not so obvious because the snow conditions are really not that bad at either choice. Maybe better at one resort to a degree but not enough to give up skiing the terrain one prefers. On the other hand, if a high snow level wet storm has just passed through where the snow level was 7,000 feet, going to a resort where most of the interesting terrain is at or 6,000 to 7,500 feet is likely to result in an unpleasant day. If the counter choice is of another easy resort at 8,000 to 9,500 feet only the ignorant would choose the former regardless of terrain options. But if the other choice was a resort with elevations 7,000 to 8,500 feet, the decision might not be so clear cut. If a second storm came through with snow levells at 5,000, the lower resort with better terrain would be the sure choice. And if a third storm came through that dumped 24 inches of light fluff at the easy resort midweek when crowds were light while the lower resort with more interesting terrain just received a couple inches, the choice again for the easy resort terrain would take a moment to decide.
-dave
post #22 of 73
^^^Dayam. So, hottie in baggies or plain jane in lingerie?
post #23 of 73
Another vote for terrain: tough terrain in marginal conditions is a great way to challenge yourself and learn new things about skiing. That said, there was a day when I skied west bowl at whistler and it was frozen, unmoving goat-heads. When my friends and I got to the bottom a guy asked us "was that any good?" We said no, it sucked, and he said, "follow me, I'll show you where to have fun on groomers." We did, and had a great day, so sometimes it pays to give the conditions their due. But: (1) I kinda enjoyed getting down west bowl when it was frozen and sucked, and (2) Whistler actually has some groomers (eg Dave Murray) that are pretty good terrain.
post #24 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by JimH View Post
I doubt anyone that has skied places like Killington, Sugarbush, Mad River, Stowe, or Jay Peak would agree that the east doesn't have some great terrain.
Not only have I skied there, I grew up there. So there. And the terrain at those places is in mind mediocre. At best.

That said, my post was partly tongue in cheek. I doubt anyone who has lived and skied in the west would agree that there aren't bad conditions, sometimes very bad conditions in the west. Regardless of the myths purported by easterners.
post #25 of 73
I would rather ski a real mountain after freezing rain than go cross-country skiing in powder.

I guess it's a law of the minumum. You need a minimum level of terrain, and a minimum level of snow/ice. Once past that though, I still prefer terrain; conditions have to be pretty bad for me not to enjoy skiing them. There is no such thing in my book as too icy, too deep, too soft or too hard, as long as it has a frozen coating of water on it, it's all good.
post #26 of 73
Another vote for terrain here. I guess I am spoiled but unless the good stuff is open then I either break out the skins or the tele gear and shred the gnar on the bunny hill. Me on tele = humor. I have no interest ripping lap after lap of groomers on alpine. Well, at least not mid season.
post #27 of 73
Here's another crazy who prefers terrain over snow. Oh wait, there are a whole bunch of them! Actually, it was fun, and I only had a couple of very light rock touches on my skis.(BTW, there was good cover elsewhere on the hill.) Anyone recognize where this is (or want to guess)?
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525x525px-LL-vbattach2514.jpg
post #28 of 73
(I particularly like the one lone piece of bamboo in the middle of the pitch...)
post #29 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by BushwackerinPA View Post
snowbird has better snow than DV too.
Ok, lets assume for some reason that Deer Valley got 16" overnight, and Snowbird got 3. I'm still going to Snowbird. That was my point.

I wasn't saying that the alternatives in my list get better snow.
post #30 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdf View Post
Here's another crazy who prefers terrain over snow. Oh wait, there are a whole bunch of them! Actually, it was fun, and I only had a couple of very light rock touches on my skis.(BTW, there was good cover elsewhere on the hill.) Anyone recognize where this is (or want to guess)?
I'm guessing the run under the castlerock chair at Sugarbush based on the terrain and the double chairs being about a mile apart from each other.
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