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Alternative Resorts for ski trips

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
Ever do Colorado without hitting any of the big Resorts?

There are some great little places that offer world class skiing without the big cost.

Ski Cooper, Monarch, Eldora, Silverton, Wolf Creek are just a few of my favorites.

Anyone else got any favorites or ideas about alternative great skiing besides the Biggies?

How about some other States also?
post #2 of 15
I once skied Red Lodge Montana with a friend from work. He was very into western/cowboy culture and had bought a few acres out there. We were planning on heading up to Big Sky and to ski, but it snowed a good 2 feet the night we got into Red Lodge and Big Sky only picked up 3 - 4". We stayed put. I ended up ditchig him on the second run, sorry Tom, and skied untracked deep snow through the trees in a nice drainage off to skier's right from the top.

Came back over to the main part of the hill later in the afternoon and beat a bunch of instructors down a chopped up mogul field. They were more ranch hands than skiers though so it was no big acomplishment. Fun weekend. Nice area.



Sierra at Tahoe. Is located a few miles outside of South Lake Tahoe on Rt. 50 . I worked as a lift op and lift maintenance for an epic season back in the early 80's. It was Sierra Ski Ranch back then and was a family owned place with mostly intermediate runs. It was very popular with the locals form Sacramento and totally devoid of tourists. It also has tons of excellent tree skiing and some good BC access. We used to do an end of day run where we'd get picked up "down the pass" on 50.


Closer to home, Berkshire East in northwestern MA, SMJ's hangout, is steepish and has a real throwback feel to it and plenty of tree sking both on and off the trail map. We had so much fun in the woods there that I will only go if there is enough natural snow to fill them in. It's about a half hour closer to us than Mt. Snow and about 100x better skiing IMO.
post #3 of 15
I'll throw 2 in from BC.

Apex Resort and Mt Baldy in the South Okanagan offer a break from the crowds and costs of other bc resorts.

Apex has great steep terrain and great tree skiing.
Baldy closes on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and can have some awesome "big pow Thursdays".
post #4 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lars View Post
Ever do Colorado without hitting any of the big Resorts?

There are some great little places that offer world class skiing without the big cost.

Ski Cooper, Monarch, Eldora, Silverton, Wolf Creek are just a few of my favorites.

Anyone else got any favorites or ideas about alternative great skiing besides the Biggies?

How about some other States also?
I've always wanted to try Powderhorn outside of Grand Junction. Closer to home, I like Warner Canyon and Mount Ashland in Oregon. Warner Canyon is very small, but that's the kind of place I like.
post #5 of 15
Not exactly unknown places, but here are my picks for lack of liftlines:

UT: Powder Mtn, Snowbasin, Solitude & Brighton (as opposed to Little Cottonwood & PC resorts) - Avoid weekends.
ID: Schweitzer & even Sun Valley (never crowded)
MT: Moonlight Basin
WY: Grand Targhee
Portillo, Chile
post #6 of 15
ID: Silver Mountain - I was surprised last year at the level of development. They're making a nice little resort there.

WY: Snow King - on a long trip to Jackson it's worth taking a day of rest to hit Snow King. Not a huge amount of vert, but the whole slope is double black runs and can be really nice on a good day.

CO: Aspen Highlands - I'd almost argue that Aspen Highlands is unknown. Their skier visit numbers are astonishingly low and the terrain is great.

CO: Sunlight - hard to recommend with so much other good stuff down the valley, but there's a great B&B just down the road that makes it worth a short weekend trip if you live in the state.

MT: Moonlight Basin.
post #7 of 15
Sunlight/Glenwood Springs can be a very nice, low cost trip for families.
post #8 of 15
I've only been to Loveland on two occasions, for a day or two each time. Once in Dec and once in April - seasonal bookends. The conditions were excellent each time and I really liked the varied terrain and low key vibe. “The obscure we see eventually. The completely obvious, it seems, takes longer.” - Edward R. Murrow
post #9 of 15
Here in Maine there are several smaller mountains that are a blast to ski.

Shawnee Peak comes to mind as does Eaton Mountain and Camden Snowbowl. Lots of others.

The big secret here now is Saddleback. 2000' vertical and the skiing and scenery is out of sight beautiful!!
post #10 of 15
Cool topic. These type of resorts are what I'm all about--always have a better vibe than the big destination resorts and great for saving money and finding powder. Utah has some good ones in Powder and Snowbasin. Brian Head looks pretty cool too, though I've never been there--down in southern UT with a red rock backdrop. I was surprised when I looked up resorts in Montana how many resorts I'd never heard of that looked pretty serious. In the northeast Cannon, Wildcat and Saddleback are a couple of really cool low-profile resorts.

I actually wrote a "top 10 style" article that focused largely on lesser-known resorts. Check it out if interested:

http://matadortrips.com/top-10-resorts-for-your-2008-2009-ski-trip/
post #11 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeUT;

I actually wrote a "top 10 style" article that focused largely on lesser-known resorts. Check it out if interested:

[URL
Nice piece illustrated with good photos. Enjoyed it. Fun and savvy list of hardcore ski areas. I'd be impressed if you've personally visited all. Have you tackled a related subject: Top 10 boarder-friendly mtns, based on criteria important to you such as terrain, lack of traverses, snow, good lifts, big parks, good ratio of boarders-skiers, lively après ski crowd, etc? I think there's room for more stories from the perspective of mature snowboarders, not a baby boomer, but a voice for readers in the late 20s to early 40s demographic.
post #12 of 15
"Have you tackled a related subject: Top 10 boarder-friendly mtns, based on criteria important to you such as terrain, lack of traverses, snow, good lifts, big parks, good ratio of boarders-skiers, lively après ski crowd, etc? I think there's room for more stories from the perspective of mature snowboarders, not a baby boomer, but a voice for readers in the late 20s to early 40s demographic."

Thanks for the positive feedback, always good to hear. That is a great idea for an article--I especially like the part about lack of traverses, that would be a very useful list. Unfortunately, it seems every resort I ride has a unhealthy amount of flat terrain, but I'll be keeping an eye out. I agree about the latter statement too--I've never been sold on any snowboard mag since they all seem to slant toward 14-24 year olds. In fact, I tend to read ski magazines for this reason. Back around 97-98 there was a mag "Snowboard Life" that was created exactly for that purpose, aiming at 25-35 demo or so, all freeride. Unfortunately that only lasted for a year or something and then it was back to crap.
post #13 of 15
Thread Starter 
My reason for starting this thread is to make people realize there is ski life out there without going to the big name Resorts, and spending big money. Especially in these trying economical times.

When it comes right down to it, skiing is skiing. You don't have to spend $97 to do that. Tired of Vail? You can still get the Colorado skiing experience at a little place about 15 minutes away called Ski Cooper. They have some awesome terrain including a Cat skiing operation and your total cost will end up costing you half of what Vail costs.

The response to this question was great, thanks. It's great information for everyone.
post #14 of 15
Good point Lars.

Saddleback has 2000' of vertical. $40 lift ticket Monday through Sunday!!

Sugarloaf.....$72.
post #15 of 15
Something that I have observed in the last few years, skiing at Monarch. There are lots of people on the hill, tons of youth groups and never ever lessons. But, they all seem to be beginner and poor intermediate skiers.

The result is that most of them stay on the same few runs, leaving the best of the mountain empty and untracked. Great for the day after a powder dump, still lots of nice shots to find.

Unlike someplace like Vail or Steamboat where there are tons of old hands who know the mountain, and everything is tracked by 11am.

Another good reason to ski the smaller more obscure resorts.

mark
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