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Where to go in January 2010?

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

I am planning my first ski trip to North America in January next year and would need some help in choosing a resort.

In the last couple of years I have been skiing in the Alps (Chamonix and Swiss/Austrian resorts), and now I am looking for a snowsure place to ski in Canada or US. I have been considering Whistler but then read some articles about El Nino and its possible effects on the snow conditions.... It's a long way to travel there and I can only stay a limited period (approximately 10 days), so I would like to make sure that I can enjoy some good skiing there

What are your experiences from the past, how bad can the conditions get in January at worst? Of cource I prefer powder conditions but I also enjoy skiing on the groomed, so it's not a big problem if it is not snowing all the time

Grateful for any advice!
post #2 of 19
January is typically a slow month with the exception of the weekends around new year's and Martin Luther King weekend which is Jan 18th.  Since not as many people will be taking vacation weeks you could wait and book your travel to where ever is getting the most snow.  In El Nino years California, Utah and Colorado usually do well for snow.  

If I had to pick now and it was skiing you wnat and apres ski and night life isn't an issue, fly to Salt Lake City and ski Alta and Snowbird.  If you are taking a couple of weeks Alta and Snowbird for a week and then do Solitude and Brighton or go to Park City for the resorts there.  Park City has more apres and night life but less snow than Big and Little Cotton Wood Canyons where Alta, Snowbird,Solitude and Brighton are located.
post #3 of 19

Talisman's suggestion of Alta/Bird is excellent. Whistler could be excellent as well, although will be in the midst of big build up for Olympics.  January is a good time for fresh snow and fewer crowds throughout most of North America. Although, January can be very cold especially in the Northern Rockies and Interior BC, so you might also consider Colorado or Tahoe. Aspen/Snowmass is worth crossing the pond for ten days of skiing and apres ski.

post #4 of 19
What about February?

How crowded can it get in Utah?

Better snow conditions than January for Park City and Cotton Wood canyons?

post #5 of 19
What about February?  Avoid Presidents Day as many schools are off Feb 15-19 and Feb will typically have plenty of snow.

How crowded can it get in Utah?  Not very crowded compared to say the eastern US or Summit County Colorado if you avoid the holiday week.

Better snow conditions than January for Park City and Cotton Wood canyons?  February should have deeper snow pack than January but fresh snow is always best and hard to predict.
post #6 of 19
You asked about "snow sure"
The SLC resorts are the most "snow sure", however it is quite safe to say that all of the main Colorado resorts as well as Jackson Hole are still quite "snow sure".  I don't believe that it is as much of an issue in the West as it can be in some of the European mountains.
I think I am correct in saying that while snow in the Alps tends to come in large dumps,
Snow in Utah and Colorado tends to come more frequently although in Utah especially they can still be large dumps.  It would be most unusual for there to be so little snow that the skiing would be bad.  Of course some years are better than others.
With all of that said, I would go to Utah for the best snow.  Alta and Snowbird should be good,  Don't forget about Snowbasin and Powder Mountain which are a few miles north.
Enjoy your trip.
post #7 of 19
Tremblant is a fun place for Americans because it feels like a foreign place (hey wait, is Canada a foreign country?  Why didn't anyone tell me?)  The mountain feels bigger than it is, but when you come right down to it, it's pretty small.

I think it is worth going to once, especially as a family trip, but I wouldn't go there for a guys' ski trip (for example) when the skiing is all that matters.
post #8 of 19
I would wait as late as possible, see who has good snow. Wolf Cr. seems to get hit with huge dumps in January the last few years. 

January is not the best snow month in UT. Typically Utah usually has high pressure and inversion, which can be really tough. Usually that means go to Moab.

Also, January is pretty a dark month. Short days. Long shadows, flat light. I would try for a resort that has a variety of sun exposure.
post #9 of 19
What kind of skiing do you want?  Of course you want good snow, but there is a wide variety of terrain in the US, and what you are looking for may be better suited at one type of resort versus another.

post #10 of 19
Sounds like good advice from Talisman.
post #11 of 19
ASPEN is your answer!!! lucky you I'm stucked with my parents for a peru tour all december and january good luck

have fun!!!
post #12 of 19
Thread Starter 
Thanks to everyone for the tips. We are now going to Aspen in a couple of weeks, checked the sites and webcams and the conditions seem to be pretty ok!

What do you think about Atomic Nomad Crimsons as ski choice for Aspen, or should I rent some other skis in Aspen?
post #13 of 19
Wow Whistler would have been the of their biggest early season snowfall totals ever.  Never been to Aspen but heading to Vail in mid-January so here's hoping CO starts to get hammered!
post #14 of 19
The base is a little thin, but the surface conditions are really good.  If you take the time to hike the bowl, you'll find powder for sure!

  If you already have the Crimson's, they will work fine most of the time. But there are definitely days were you would be better served by a fatter ski.
post #15 of 19
Thread Starter 
Thanks. I´ll then go with the Crimsons and rent fatters skis when needed.

How about these bowls you mentioned, I have never been skiing in the US, so how difficult are the ski areas of two black diamonds compared to let's say black graded pistes in Europe (Chamonix, Verbier etc.). I am not so concerned about my own abilities to cope with them but my fiancee is a bit afraid of steeps....
post #16 of 19
The Highlands Bowl runs are steep, 40sh degrees, but they get very little traffic, so they don't really have moguls.  I think they are easier to ski than the Steeplechase Runs. The problem is once you commit to the bowl, your skiing the whole thing and there is no easy way out.

I would start on Aspen Mountain.  They groom at least one black diamond every day and have a bunch that are short. 

Almost all of the restaurants in town have reduced prices on their bar menu's.  Same food,  just more reasonably priced, in a very social environment.  I highly recommend Cashe Cashe, Campo de Fiori, Rustique, Pinions, Giselle, Lulu Wilson, Brex or Pacifica. 
post #17 of 19
Thread Starter 
Thanks Shredhead, we try some of those restaurants.

It seems to be quite a hike up to the Highland Bowl (although I assume that also snowcat transport is available)! Are there any safety restrictions, e.g. do they allow one to go and ski the Highland Bowl alone?
post #18 of 19
Highland Bowl.
Edited by billabilla - 1/10/10 at 6:17pm
post #19 of 19
Yes, it's quite a hike.   The free snowcat only takes you 1/3 of the way and if there is more than a 1 cat wait, I just hike the whole thing.  
Avalache gear isn't a bad idea, but it's not required. I hike the bowl alone a lot, YMMV.
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