So does Vail or especially the Beav but I was more referring to quality of the snow on the more used trails. Vail has a higher elevation and a lot more of its better terrain faces north so I think the snow is better at Vail (or any of the SuCo) resorts if it hasn't snowed in a week than at SB. That being said...I'd move to the Boat in hearbeat
Gonna jump in with Finndog to bear my even sharper pro-Steamboat fangs (not that you didn't say you "love" Steamboat and not that this discussion was really about what types of skis are better for the 'boat...me thinks the word is "nimbler")....
Can't disagree that when we're talking about trail skiing there's little advantage to the 'boat's snow quality over most other CO/UT ski areas. And indeed, when it gets sunny/warm it can turn cruddier faster than at the higher elev areas in CO/UT. However, during a storm and for days after (as long as it doesn't get very sunny) I believe the 'boat has the best/lightest snow quality in North America (please don't let this turn into another "which ski area has the lightest snow" thread...). That, along with the less crowds than at the areas closer to Denver (including Vail), means it doesn't get tracked up as fast.
While Vail has plenty of hidden areas too, it doesn't have anything close to the acreage of hidden treed areas (where the stashes are harder to find and the snow can hold up much better than in open areas - it isn't like Vail's back bowls have a great orientation for snow quality).
One other thought about the 'boat's snow. I don't have hard numbers, but it gets way more snow than its average 330"/yr. statistic would indicate in the locations where it counts (from the top of the gondola to Storm Peak, where most of the tree skiing is). It is pretty typical for 50% or more snow to fall up there than where they officially measure it. In fact I use the phrase "its a Steamboat 6 inch day" to mean that I'm skiing in 12"+ of fresh snow.
BTW - Snow quality aside, I do believe that the acreage of tree skiing at the 'boat (which encompasses more acres than most other entire ski areas) makes it pretty damn unique, if not singular. My other favorite N.A. ski areas (JH, Snowbird, Squaw and Taos) are more similar to eachother than they are to the 'boat (i.e., lots of thrilling steeps), and much of the expert terrain at other CO ski areas is more trail skiiing oriented (though I have to admit that Vail's back bowls make it pretty damn unique too).
Not picking a fight with a fellow CO'er (though others itchin for a fight can jump in if they'd like)....
Edited by ski-ra - 4/10/2009 at 01:51 am GMT