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United States - Late April 2010

post #1 of 42
Thread Starter 
 Hi Epicers,

I'm going to be traveling to the United States in late April next year for a conference that will be finishing on the 27th in Los Angeles.

I've got a few weeks before I need to travel back to Australia.

I'm looking for some mountain recommendations with just as much convenience as ski-able snow. Most of the seasons seem to finish early April - what are my options?

I'm not going to have a vehicle, so will need to have transfers and decent lodging available - on or close to the mountain.

I've had the following recommended:
* Mammoth - Flight with Horizon Air, plenty of lodging available (?)
* A-Basin - Fly to Denver, Transfers to Keystone (? close to mountain)
* ???

Would appreciate any other recommendations anyone can offer...

Or do you think it would be just as good to go to Banff?

Thanks in advanced,
JB.
post #2 of 42
 I have skied Banff a lot, and it is one of the best late season destinations, but if I was in your shoes, I would go with Mammoth. Mammoth has always intrigued me, but it seems like a PITA to get there. You have an easy flight from LA, so i would go for it!

So more of a "feeling" from me than an informed opinion........the smart choice is to wait to see what kind of snow years each of these places have.
post #3 of 42
Thread Starter 
 Thanks manchester.

Can anyone else comment on Mammoth - snow fall? lodging?

Should I make the journey to Colorado for some better snow?

Thanks,
JB.
post #4 of 42
The end of April is pretty late. I've been to Whistler that late several times. Can range from a slush fest to winter like conditions. Mt. Bachelor can be pretty good that late as well. That late in season, you definitely have to time things on mountain, both as to where you go and what time you start and end. 
post #5 of 42
Mammoth can be great in May with no crowds midweek & lighter than normal on weekends.  Still plenty of terrain open with at least the top of the mountain to the main lodge going strong.  That time of year spring conditions are likely, but the chance of a snowstorm is still there.  Lodging should be easy with choices for all budgets.  The whole area is beautiful that time of year.  You could probably play golf in the afternoon or hiking around some great spots.  If the El Nino theory pans out, it could be the best place.  It is at the top of my list for late season turns.  Bachelor & Snowbird also rank up there.  From LA, Mammoth is the closest.
JF
post #6 of 42
I would guess you can probably catch a bus from LA to Mammoth?

Once there, you don't need a car.

A-basin is NOT doable without a car. It's the only one of the Summit County ski resort NOT served by bus.
post #7 of 42
I thought that the Summit Stage did run to A-Basin in winter...guess it depends how late in April you're talking.
post #8 of 42
They run a free Summit Stage to A-basin from Keystone only during the regular season. Early(mid Oct.to Nov. 8th) and late season( April 8th to mid June)the bus is not running.Sorry.
post #9 of 42

 
post #10 of 42
geoffda. After enjoying so many of your detailed, informative posts it is a suprise to see you left speechless.JMD.
post #11 of 42
A-basin is not convenient that time of year without a car, but not impossible- I know that I gave a lift after the Stage stopped running to a guy who worked in the kitchen...if you are hitching with skis, I don't imagine that you would have to wait very long, but the only day I noticed people doing it was when we got 15 inches and lots of people skied out of resort and were looking for a ride back up...

Much of May was good at A-B last year but you would likely have more options if you could get some time before your confrence. 
post #12 of 42
For sure open will be -
Snowbird  - Potential to be good, or maybe not. Great hill and easy to get to from SLC
Mammoth - Snow usually continues for a while - could be excellent. Not so easy to get to.
Whistler - One of my best powder pictures is from WB in early May. Fly into Van and take one of the modes of transport (including train) 1.5 hours north. Deals are excellent on lodging that late, and it's probably the best village to spend time in of all the open-late hills.
A-Basin - Could be good, or maybe not. Only thing open that late in the I-70 corridor, no lodging on mountain, and potentially a PITA to get around without a car.
post #13 of 42
You left out Sunshine. Can't comment on snow condition though.
post #14 of 42

Looking at your situation I think most folks would say the 'no brainer' answer is Mammoth for worthwhile skiing and convenience to LA. It has a history of being one of the best places in the US for skiing during that time frame. The only reason I might consider a far northern choice like Banff or Whistler is if I determined in the days just prior to my visit that Mammoth was in unexpectedly poor shape compared to the others.

post #15 of 42
If you do go to Mammoth, I can't say enough good things about my stay at the Mammoth Mountain Inn last season.  It's slope side, about a 10 foot walk to the snow from the front door and you can sit in the bar apres and watch the groomers in the dark up on the top of the mountain. 

The rooms are nice and no frills and should be really reasonable $$$ that late in the season.  We got a great mid-week deal when we were there in late January. 

Check it out:

post #16 of 42
I've skied Mammoth only during July 4th weekends.  And I've skied Snowbird on June 1.  Both are essentially sure bets for late April/early May, and both are quick and cheap flights (although it looks like Mammoth is only once daily).  I've never had to pay for my own lodging at Mammoth, but slopeside lodging on that trip to Snowbird ran a little over $100/night for my daughter and me, including a great buffet breakfast and my lift ticket.

One warning:  Just about anywhere in the lower 48 states that is sure to have strong skiing in late April and early May will be at relatively high elevation, and you should make efforts to acclimate.  If you're talking about a trip of a couple of weeks, losing a day to a gradual ascent (e.g., first night in Salt Lake City) might be well worth it.

I'd expect a lot of deals to be available everywhere after Easter.  To the extent that you can wait a while to make the plans, you can benefit from better knowledge and go where the snow is.  You'll probably need to book your international flight earlier, but booking a round trip between LAX and SLC (or even RNO for the Tahoe resorts) can be done cheaply at least three weeks in advance, and often two or even one.  I'd leave the time open for now and think about it more intensely in March or even early April.
post #17 of 42
There is good shuttle service in around Dillon in Summit County Colorado.  There are no less than 7 resorts within an easy drive  (Keystone, Breck, Arapahoe Basin, Vail, Beaver Creek, Loveland, Copper).  The lodge where we stayed had a shuttle about 100 meters away.  Their website is http://Colorado-Lodge.com  Rates go down in April also.
post #18 of 42
Thread Starter 
 Hi All

Thanks very much for your responses. It really is appreciated.

Considering where my travel plans will be - Mammoth certainly looks like the best bet, as much as i'd like to wait to follow the snow... I will need some firm plans.

Some great friendly knowledge in this community! Cheers, JB.
post #19 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by JukeBox View Post

as much as i'd like to wait to follow the snow... I will need some firm plans.

Out of curiosity... why?
post #20 of 42
 Just a comment on Colorado.

While there are many resorts near A-Basin, there is a good chance they will be closed when you make your trip. I remember hearing about april close dates last year, and after googling Breck, I see that their close date is April 18th. 

So this time of year, A-Basin really means A-basin.....
post #21 of 42

Horizon Air stops going to Mammoth on April 11th,

post #22 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by manchester81 View Post

 Just a comment on Colorado.

While there are many resorts near A-Basin, there is a good chance they will be closed when you make your trip. I remember hearing about april close dates last year, and after googling Breck, I see that their close date is April 18th. 

So this time of year, A-Basin really means A-basin.....
 

That is correct. In Summit County, only A-Basin would be open after mid April.

Loveland will also be open until early May. It is less convenient without a car than A-Basin, though; no hitchhiking opportunities.
post #23 of 42
Mammoth is great but I can't believe no one has mentioned Squaw Valley.  In my 37 plus years of skiing ,Squaw has the best Corn snow  of anywhere.  April is skiing 8AM till 1 or 2 and the way the 4 separate mts. at squaw are facing you can start on Immigrant and work yourself around the mt.   1) Immigrant lift   2)Siberia  3) KT22 and finish on Red Dog. Depending kon your budget you can stay at Squaw and walk to lifts or stay in Truckee, Tahoe City etc. and take a shuttle.  Usually Alpine Meadows will be open also which is right next door for v ariety.

April and Squaw the best Corn snow I have ever experienced.  Follow the sun around the mt.
post #24 of 42
I did suggest flying into RNO for Tahoe-area resorts.  I guess I could've been clearer that, for me, that means Alpine and Squaw.

That said, it's about the same duration flight from LAX to either SLC or RNO, and lodging should run about the same too.  All else being equal, I think I'd take Snowbird over Squaw most years.
post #25 of 42
Mammoth snow conditions in late April rate to be much better than Squaw.  Main Lodge at Mammoth is same elevation as top of Squaw. 

I did suspect the Horizon Air flights would be over, so you need to rent a car to drive the 5-6 hours to Mammoth.  Or fly to Reno, rent a car and drive 3 hours.  Reno gives you the option of a day or two at Squaw on the way to Mammoth.

I advise against Denver, the big places are all closed by April 27. 

Snowbird does not maintain the late season slopes as intensely as Mammoth.  You have a better shot at powder, but the powder will last just a few hours before the sun gets it, and off-piste skiing is usually difficult after that until the next storm.

Mt. Bachelor I like a lot for spring, but you'll need to fly Horizon to the local Redmond airport, rent a car from there to get around. The town of Bend is 20 miles down from the hill, can be an advantage in spring if you want to play golf or indulge other summer sports in the afternoon when you're done skiing.

Sunshine I'd only expect the main mountain open.  Goat's Eye faces the sun and might not last that long.  If you're going that far I'd rather try Whistler.

Average quality of skiing is best at Mammoth and Bachelor of places mentioned above.  So yes, given Mammoth's cost/convenience from L.A. it seems the obvious choice.
post #26 of 42
All the above is true.   Still Squaw has the best CORN snow skiing in April.  Not because it is the best resort but because of how the mountains face the sun.
post #27 of 42
Quote:
Still Squaw has the best CORN snow skiing in April.

Actually Mt. Bachelor has the best CORN snow skiing.  Very low skier density and 360 degree skiing off the Summit.  One prerequisite for great corn is overnight freezing.  That occurs less frequently in spring at Squaw vs. Mammoth or Bachelor.
post #28 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Crocker View Post

One prerequisite for great corn is overnight freezing.  That occurs less frequently in spring at Squaw vs. Mammoth or Bachelor.

Although, to be fair, it happens a lot more frequently at the 8200' bases (High Camp and Gold Coast) than at the parking lot at 6200'.
post #29 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by snofun3 View Post

For sure open will be -
Snowbird  - Potential to be good, or maybe not. Great hill and easy to get to from SLC
Mammoth - Snow usually continues for a while - could be excellent. Not so easy to get to.
Whistler - One of my best powder pictures is from WB in early May. Fly into Van and take one of the modes of transport (including train) 1.5 hours north. Deals are excellent on lodging that late, and it's probably the best village to spend time in of all the open-late hills.
A-Basin - Could be good, or maybe not. Only thing open that late in the I-70 corridor, no lodging on mountain, and potentially a PITA to get around without a car.
 


you also left out Loveland, which is open through the 1st or 2nd Sunday in May.
post #30 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Crocker View Post
Sunshine I'd only expect the main mountain open.  Goat's Eye faces the sun and might not last that long.  If you're going that far I'd rather try Whistler.
I would expect Goat's Eye to be open. It usually lasts until early May. Probably will be true spring conditions though. 
Lake Louise will also be open until the first weekend of May. 

The best skiing at both of these resorts will be above 7000', and north facing. The Backside of Louise served by Paradise and Summit will be good, but the rest might be iffy. The old part of Sunshine will be good, and the Dive should be great.
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