Damn, I get excited over a 6" snowfall on top of sheet ice...
Captain Strato- Since you have some great experience, I'd like to ask you a coupla questions about CO vs. UT vs. PNW
1). If you were going on a two week vaca, which would you choose?
2). If you were moving there to live, which would you pick?
3). If you were buying a vacation home in one of them, which would it be?
Please explain why to an out-west noob. I've been to Coller-rada, but that's it for me. I'm mulling over vacation options for this coming season and would love some insight.
For my 2 bits, the answer usually is: "it depends".
a) For a 2 week vacation, I personally would lean toward Utah.
Whistler/Blackcomb is the best spring skiing I've done - fabulous and a great party vibe. Also, the terrain is jaw-dropping. But, for mid-winter, weather's a bit sketchy for my taste. I've had entire weeks of fog and drizzle, but still a good time. Even with bad weather, WB beats most resorts.
If you're into BC trekking, it's limitless in the area surrounding WB.
Colorado is wonderful on many counts, with excellent snow. But, crowds can be an issue. I also experience more wind in CO than I remember in UT.
Utah is my choice for pure skiing. Killer snow, excellent weather, and awesome terrain. I'd stay anywhere, and ski BCC and LCC. Solitude at BCC is not to be missed - crowds are nada, and snow is same as LCC - though terrain isn't as epic. I'd also so Snowbasin and Powder Mountain. I've never skied as much continuous, untrammeled powder as at Powder Mountain. Like a permanent Cat-Skiing trip.
If you're into the apres scene, Park City has it all (but with weird liquor laws). Also, PC and DV can be fun on non-fresh days. Groomer heaven and some decent terrain (Jupiter Bowl).
2) To live - where I am - Coloraddy.
If you can ski mid-week, crowds are irrelevant. Even on weekends, liftlines are rarely an issue. It's mostly traffic to and from the mountains that pains. Also, long schleps to the lifts can be annoying.
But the snow is great, and can be amazing (though not as often as UT). Terrain isn't has hairy as Snowbird and Alta, but will still satisfy most thrill-seekers. Vail's back-bowls are still a boundless hoot, and weather is usually good (can get windy).
Mostly, I love the lifestyle and vibe of Colorado. People here have a simple, outdoorsy vibe. Hiker shorts, Trek bikes, Teva sandals, and Subaru's are everywhere (we have 2). Where we live and hang, Boulder and Broomfield, you don't see many fat people. Health, the outdoors and micro-brews set the tone.
3) Vacation Home: Hmmm...that's a toughie. A few years it back, it would have been Utah. For hunting fresh and scaring yourself stupid (elevator shafts on Snowbird), nothing compares.
Now that I'm 54 (but still cute - yeah), I remain a freek for fresh. But, I'm more prone to consider the social scene and lifestyle. Park City is cool, but it's still Utah. I've lived in Utah and it's not my tribe.
I"d seriously consider Whistler Blackcomb. Property is hyper-inflated now, due to upcoming Olympics. The mid-winter cloud and drizzle can get on my nerves (I lived there once for 3 years). Still, the scene at Whistler is cool. They have some amazing pubs (Dublin Gate), and a festive apres climate. It's a fun place with deep snow, gut-check terrain, and is stunningly beautiful in summer.
Colorado is a safe bet. Property values have tapered-off of late (yes, Matilda, even Summit and Eagle county have been impacted by the mortgage fiasco). The big-ticket sales continue unabated, but the number of transactions on "normal" properties are down by 50%.
So, deals may be better. Also, if you need rental income (use VRBO - not Vail Resorts, which takes 50%), Summit and Eagle counties are locks. With 12 million skier visits per year, your property will rent.
Personally, I just like the place. I'd probably go for CO - ideally in Eagle County.
In a perfect world, we'd all have condos in each!
I hope that helps.