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Colorado or Tahoe in late season?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Colorado or Tahoe in late season? But there's a bit more to it than that...:

I've usually done Europe [on my doorstep] and North America in alternate years, and have always made my trips alone as I like to rack up ski-miles and cover pretty much everything decent an area has to offer. Plus I've always gone at fairly short notice to try to get the best snow. But in truth, as far as the US is concerned I've got into a bit of a rut [no pun intended] by typically ending up in Colorado and doing a mini road trip through A-Basin, Copper, Vail, Beaver Creek and ending up in Aspen. I've never got round to doing anything at Tahoe and so under 'normal' circumstances I would have done it this year.

But, following a little 'incident' last season [OK, I broke a leg after 40+ years skiing:], my wife has now decided that if I'm going skiing abroad again this year then she's not going to wait at home for another 'phone call saying I've done something else! So, for the first time in over 20 years I'm taking my wife skiing with me. And 20 years ago she was a 'timid intermediate', and although equipment is undoubtedly better and easier...it'll still be a challenge to get her to go anywhere other than the gentlest of greens.

So given our abilities are so vastly different (yes, I'm skiing again after the break - we have snow in Scotland and I was up at the weekend and put in quite a few miles) I'd rather somewhere where the greens were at least 'visitable' from the other areas where we can meet up from time to time, and not on the other side of the mountain.

And my next challenge is that she can only make it from the first week in April...so 'we' can only go in the first week in April.: I've just never been that late to the US so I've no idea how the slopes hold up, and I know it's getting near the closing dates for lots of the areas.

At the moment I'm thinking Vail as run-wise I know we'd be able to meet up at various points even if she was sticking to greens. And if she gives up and goes shopping then there are shops, and I can escape to the bowls or Blue Sky. But that's with no idea of the late season conditions. I know we can get unseasonably late dumps or unseasonably early thaws, but is there anywhere at Tahoe that might have better late season snow on the green runs, and where they're close to blacks and blues, or even share the same uplift?

Thanks
post #2 of 14
I can't speak to Colorado.

I can tell you that even in a bad snow year (which, at least so far, this year isn't), the first week of April is typically a fantastic time to ski Tahoe. Crowds thin out by late February or early March. But March tends to be a big snow month in the Sierra (in the five weeks leading up to 1 April 2006, we got 200+ inches of snow). The deals will abound, as Squaw and Alpine will probably have spring pass sales in effect by then (last year, the prices jumped from $99 to $129, so I expect them to stay constant this year).

If you really need greens, I'd suggest Squaw, as most of their beginner terrain is at 8200 feet, high enough to maintain snow quality as long as they're open. And they'll be having good deals for lodging by then too. I'd suggest the Squaw Valley Lodge (join the Granite Chief Club on their website) or Plumpjack (which will be torn down this summer).

Here's a couple of shots of my boys at Alpine in April 2006:

post #3 of 14
based on your criteria of "visitable greens" I'd say Colo, specifically Breckinridge.

now i'm a Tahoe skier normally (live in SF, have a cabin in Truckee) and pretty much ride all over Tahoe. but i also go to Colo pretty frequently and have been the past 3 seasons.

my pops, who is in his late '70s, has morphed into a "timid intermediate" due to his age and health. yet even though he won't go off-pisted or hit the bumps, he still enjoys doing a father/son trip to a major mountain every year.

i've found Breck, out of all the Summit/Eagle Country resorts, offers the most intermediate terrain that is "visitable". If you stay over on Peak 8 there's a ton of long rolling intermediate runs and then you can duck off higher up the mountain and ride the sweet bowls, eventually riding down to meet for lunch.

Keystone is another favorite, as they have a top-to-bottom intermediate run called "School Marm." My dad LOVES that run and always brings it up if we're considering Colo for a father/son excursion.

While AD's suggestion of Squaw is a decent one, I'd toss Heavenly in there as having more intermediate terrain, plus the added "advantage" of South Lake Tahoe night life (i.e. gambling, if that's your thang).

But if given the choice between my home mountains in Tahoe or Colo for a good intermediate to advanced balance where you can both get your fill, I'd opt for Colo. You can hit Breck, Keystone, and even Loveland, which is the closest resort to Denver and has a nice selection of rolling intermediate runs that are easily "visitable" from the more advanced terrain.

PS
Where do you ski in Scotland? I once rode the astroturf at Mid-Lothian outside of Edinburgh. What a trip that was!
post #4 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by dookey67 View Post
... and even Loveland, which is the closest resort to Denver and has a nice selection of rolling intermediate runs that are easily "visitable" from the more advanced terrain.

PS
Where do you ski in Scotland? I once rode the astroturf at Mid-Lothian outside of Edinburgh. What a trip that was!

Yeah I vote Loveland as well, ride up together, your wife can get off halfway, you can keep going, possibly hop another lift and then meet back at the base (assuming the ratio of your speed to hers is pretty high). Cool laid back place with decent terrain and snow. Pretty cheap too.

What about Whistler? Or are you limited to CO or Tahoe?

I want to ski Scotland wicked bad!! Mainly because it's the land of my ancestors (they were from Strathaven), so I already want to visit Soctland and my life tends to revolve around skiing so I would have to ski while there. Plus the novelty factor, you don't hear that many people saying they are going on a ski trip to Scotland. I like sort of obscure ski places
post #5 of 14
I moved to Colorado eight years ago after 25 in CA. If there's one thing I miss about CA skiing it's the warm spring days with reliable corn snow. Spring in the Rockies is a crapshoot. great corn one day, cloudy, icy and cold the next.
post #6 of 14

April Skiing

Skiing in Scotland, me too, ancestors from your home.

I have to go with Alpinedad. Squaw has some of the best corn skiing in the nation. Because the Mts. are in a semi circle they catch the sun perfectly in April and you can ski good, very good corn snow from 0830 starting with Emigrant and following the sun around the Mt. through Siberia Bowl, KT and ending about 1 PM at Red Dog just before Slush time. You also can take your wife up to 8200 feet elevation and she will have plenty of Green runs and some pretty smooth and easy Blues in Shirley Lakes area. You can meet and have lunch etc. at 8200 and enjoy North shore together. Visit Donner Party Museum, Ski museum on Donner summit at Boreal Ski resort. Also great skiing at Alpine Meadows, if you want to take her to a beginner, low intermediate paradise drop over to Northstar. Gambling etc. Cal Neva, Tahoe Biltmore, Hyatt Regency at Incline.

Must visit for you both, dinner at Soule Domain restaurant at north Shore, right on Calif Nev border, call list for reservations. Old renovated Poney Express relay station. Excellent food, owner chef Charlie Domain was top chef at Top of Mark in SF. Decent prices and I guarantee you will score with the Mrs. North Shore may not have the glitter of some places but good times can be had in Truckee, Tahoe City. If in Truckee try breakfast at the Squeeze Inn on main st. really great omlettes.

I miss the great Corn skiing in april too cold up here in Idaho. Also in April you will not be crowded anywhere in Tahoe. Have fun.
post #7 of 14
Oh -- and the most important thing I can suggest is to put off making this decision as long as you possibly can. Conditions are always something of a crapshoot, and late-season is particularly prone to variation. The only risk to you is airfares, because by that time of the year, virtually no lodging options are out of space and most or all have dropped prices significantly.
post #8 of 14
Whistler has the best late season snowpack IMO.
post #9 of 14
Being that I live in Colorado I would say go to Tahoe. Spring skiing in Tahoe is much better than in Colorado. As mentioned it can be great in Colorado, but it can also be icy, windy, miserable. Same thing can happen in Cali, but with the lower altitude and many more sunny days, it's just not as likely. Plus the spring skiing there is some of the best I have done.
post #10 of 14
Thread Starter 
Many thanks for the info. On balance, it seems like Tahoe wins it. So, flights and accomodation booked (plus a stop-over at the Fairmont in SF to keep the other half happy). And now the 'kids' [20 & 17] are coming too so that's just doubled the price of everything :

Feedback seems great for Squaw, and I certainly want to ski there, but I also want to visit some of the other areas, in particular Heavenly (so the wife and family will have to tag along too ). In the end, I decided that we'd be better 'based' at Heavenly and commute out to the other areas, than be 'based' at Squaw and commute - only as I guessed there would be more 'off slope' stuff for my wife to do if she gives up on the skiing.

So, the dates on the snow will be April 2 through 8. Hope the snow holds up and there's some sun.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dookey67 View Post
PS
Where do you ski in Scotland? I once rode the astroturf at Mid-Lothian outside of Edinburgh. What a trip that was!
I actually learned to ski at Hillend [Midlothian] on the plastic mat just after it opened in around '66 :. If you're interested, I've just tracked down a great site with some old (and new) photos of Europe's [the World's?] longest artificial dry ski slope http://web.mac.com/lsra2005/hillendhistory/Welcome.html

As for real snow, I'm about a 1.5 hour drive from Glenshee; Glencoe and Cairngorm are a 2 hour drive, and Nevis Range is 2.5...so I'd go wherever there's the best snow really. Snow in Scotland has been getting progressively worse year-on-year. In the 70s and 80s we could reliably ski in any of the ski areas from late December through to Mid April. Now you just have to drop everything and go if there's a snowfall.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dumpy View Post
What about Whistler? Or are you limited to CO or Tahoe?
I've been to Whistler a few times, and while I enjoyed it, I never saw decent snow below the half way stations on both mountains on any trip. And I didn't recall many areas where I thought my wife would be too happy above that. And while everyone there pointed out acres of untracked snow, you had to hike to most of it. I'm a skiier not a climber, and too old and lazy for anything not served by a lift.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dumpy View Post
I want to ski Scotland wicked bad!! Mainly because it's the land of my ancestors (they were from Strathaven), so I already want to visit Soctland and my life tends to revolve around skiing so I would have to ski while there. Plus the novelty factor, you don't hear that many people saying they are going on a ski trip to Scotland. I like sort of obscure ski places
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete No. Idaho View Post
Skiing in Scotland, me too, ancestors from your home.
On a good day there's some mighty fine skiing, but these good days are getting fewer and fewer. Certainly for the last 10+ years the weather and snow means you simply can't guarantee any time of year when the runs will be complete or the area not closed with storms. So as a ski destination for anyone other than locals, it's time has passed. And while we used to go for a weeks and long weekends, now there's flights to Geneva or Munich for maybe $100, there's little point of going up for anything other than day trips. It probably cost me less for a week in Chamonix than I'd have paid for a week in Cairngorm if I stayed-over...and at that point, there's no real contest.

But, if you are in Scotland in the winter for some other reason, and the forecast is fine, and there's snow, you could strike it lucky. But it certainly would't be a good move to make skiing the purpose of the trip.

The official site for snow sports in Scotland is http://ski.visitscotland.com/ with links to the areas and piste maps if anyone wonders what it like here. But the best up-to-the-minute reports from the folks on the mountains are on http://www.winterhighland.info/general/ which has some great (and accurate) descriptions of what it's really like. The site currently has a very sorry looking photo from Glenshee. That was a complete cover 2 weekends ago, but there's some more snow forecast so here's hoping.
post #11 of 14
I am sort of in the same boat. My wife is a very timid skier seems to be stuck skiing green runs. We have been to Colorado (early winter) and Lake Tahoe last spring (the middle of March). Last year we skied three days at Sierra at Tahoe, a day at Mt. Rose, and a day at Squaw. My wife loved Mt. Rose. I also liked Sierra a lot. It was the first time we skied at the smaller resorts and I really enjoyed it. Sierra has green runs from the top. Both Sierra and Mt. Rose have a real friendly, family-like atmosphere which I really enjoyed. I am working on putting together another trip there for this March.

I will reserve judgement on Squaw Valley for now. I have been there twice and have yet to get good conditions. Maybe this will be the year.
post #12 of 14

originally heavy snow

snow which originally accumulates as heavy, damp layers makes superior corn, with greater longevity and quality. So, definitely, marine climate areas as opposed to continental.
post #13 of 14
Alpine Meadows has the BEST spring skiing in Tahoe, IMO.
post #14 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by t1henderson View Post
Alpine Meadows has the BEST spring skiing in Tahoe, IMO.
Can't speak for late season skiing at Alpine Meadows, but tvrolet is looking for good green slopes for his wife. I took my wife there several years back, and the only greens run right into the parking lot, and there was only one or two lifts that even serviced green runs. She quickly moved up to blues, out of necessity, but it wasn't a place I'd recommend for a beginner.

-Z
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