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Heavenly or Summit County in late March?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

My wife and I bought the Vail Resorts Epic Passes this season. We have already been to Colorado for two weeks and skied a total of ten days at the five Vail resorts. We are planning to go again later in the season for another one or two weeks. This would be the last week of March and possibly also the first week of April.

 

We have never been to any of the Lake Tahoe resorts, so we are considering Heavenly (the only Tahoe resort covered by these passes). However, looking at the snow reports at http://www.skitahoe.com/lake-tahoe-skiing I see that Heavenly has considerably less snow than most of the other mountains. Also, I have no idea what kind of challenge we will find at Heavenly compared to what we are familiar with in Colorado. Even though we have skied many times in Colorado, I'd rather go back there again than go to Tahoe and have a bad experience.

 

We are high intermediate to low advanced skiers. We like challenge as long as it isn't large moguls. We enjoy Peak 10 at Breckenridge (especially the Cimmaron run), the two back mountains at Keystone, the bowls and Blue Sky Basin at Vail, and the newly opened bowl at A-Basin. We find Beaver Creek to be mostly a bore. Which of these areas is Heavenly most similar to in terms of challenge? We are strictly interested in good skiing. Luxury accommodations and night life are unimportant to us.

 

What kind of conditions are we likely to find in late March and early April in Tahoe and in Summit County, Colorado?

 

Thanks in advance for your replies!

 

John

post #2 of 10

I would probably stick with Summit County.  If you think Beaver Creek is boring, it sounds like you were limited to cruisers there.  Heavenly will probably be the same.  There is great terrain at Heavenly, but it is steep and often serious.  Where it isn't serious, it will be bumped out (i.e. Milky Way Bowl).  Aggressive advanced skiers could probably take on Mott Canyon, but Kilbrew is for experts only. If you can ski Horseshoe Bowl at Breck and would be comfortable making very short turns in chutes of that pitch, then you could ski Mott.  You'd need to be comfortable in Lake Chutes before venturing into Kilbrew though.  The tree skiing at Heavenly is legendary, but you'll need a powder day to make it worthwhile. 

 

As large as Heavenly is, you'll get more terrain and more variety in Summit County. Weather-wise, Summit is a safe bet at the end of March. We can still get some good powder days that late, but otherwise spring conditions and sunshine are a good bet. 

post #3 of 10
Quote:

 Even though we have skied many times in Colorado, I'd rather go back there again than go to Tahoe and have a bad experience.

You just answered your own question!

post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by at_nyc View Post

 

You just answered your own question!

 

I take this to mean that you think I will be disappointed if we go to Heavenly at the end of March. Is this because that is too late in the season for Tahoe, or is it because we won't find the challenge we are looking for at Heavenly? Thanks!

 

John

post #5 of 10

Nop. You sound like you REALLY want to go back to Colorado and looking for justification NOT to go to Heavenly.

 

Then, go back to Colorado. You won't be disappointed.

post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by at_nyc View Post

 

Nop. You sound like you REALLY want to go back to Colorado and looking for justification NOT to go to Heavenly.

 

Then, go back to Colorado. You won't be disappointed.

You can be disappointed anywhere if conditions are crappy. Have you ever been to Heavenly? I was looking for some kind of comparison from someone who has been there and also to Summit county.

 

Actually, I would PREFER to go to Heavenly because it would be a new area for us. I'm just trying to get a feel for what to expect.

 

John

post #7 of 10

OK, I've been to all of the areas mentioned. But I'm not good at remember the name of trails. Though I recall most of the bowls you mentioned. 

 

Heavenly is more "like" Beaver Creek less like Vail. It doesn't have the endless bowls that stretches as far as the eye can see. Many runs are below tree line. More like the front side of Vail. Except it's a whole lot bigger than Beaver Creek (or at least it "feels" a lot bigger) due to the geography. There're plenty of challenge. Though as another poster pointed out, it's steeper and tighter than Colorado, which maybe not your cup of tea.

 

Condition at Tahoe tend to vary wildly. You can get a big dump (yes, even in late March!) or sweet corn. But you can also get slush or re-frozen boiler plate! Summit county tend to be more consistant in my limited experience. But I'm not a local so my experience is severly limited, however frequent I go there.

 

I usually skied Heavenly as a weekend trip out of San Francisco. For 2-3 days, I found plenty of variety in Heavenly. I can't say for sure about an entire week though. Still, I have a hard time imagine anyone getting "bored" by Heavenly, or have an entirely "bad" experience there, save from really bad luck in encountering terrible weather conditions. On the other hand, if you want to experience Colorado, you won't find it in California.

 

Put in another way, if you want a repeat of Colorado, go to Colorado.

post #8 of 10

I've been to summit in late april, and still had powder days.  That is actually my favorite time to ski- only problem is many locations threaten to close around april 12-19. 

 

You should still have great conditions in CO in march. 

 

I can't speak for tahoe.

 

-Moose

post #9 of 10

You have 4 different resorts in Colorado compared to one in LT. I think you'd have a better bet for good snow in CO (also at higher altitudes).

post #10 of 10

 

I'd stick to summit county. 

 

You say you'd like something different and you like peak 10 Cimmaron in Breck, 

Go up the summit lift and over the backside to whales tail, it's like a whole different resort up there.

If you can handle peak 10 you can handle Whales Tail in good conditions, just make sure conditions are forgiving (good snow) and there's no wind. Easiest way down the tail is the saddle down the middle of the bowl coming out on top of peak 7. 

This assumes you're okay in ungroomed terrain.

If not, sign up for a lesson and enjoy the ungroomed experience.

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