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Best place to go for beginners in early-mid December. (Looking for long, scenic groomed greens and blues at an affordable place with other things to do.)

Poll Results: Best place to go for beginners in early-mid December. (Looking for long, scenic groomed greens and blues at an affordable place with other things to do.)

Poll expired: Nov 12, 2010  
  • 22% (4)
    Breckenridge (32 – 4/ .73 inches)
  • 5% (1)
    Vail ( 25 – 4/ 1.5 inches)
  • 0% (0)
    Winter Park (33 - 10 /.78 inches)
  • 16% (3)
    Mt. Bachelor (39 – 21/ 3.5 inches)
  • 0% (0)
    Mammoth ( 46 – 26 / 5.8 inches)
  • 5% (1)
    Tahoe (42 – 14/ 5.4): (because I know a great instructor there)
  • 5% (1)
    Alta (41 – 24/ 2.03 inches)
  • 22% (4)
    Steamboat (32 – 7/ 2.37 inches)
  • 5% (1)
    Keystone (44 - 17 /.83 inches)
  • 16% (3)
18 Total Votes  
post #1 of 46
Thread Starter 

Hey Guys,


I am going to try a 10 day to two week trip starting around December 10-14th.  It will be a re-acclimation trip to the slopes for my wife after she tore her ACL at Snowbird (and me getting my butt kicked by the mountain) this spring and the most important thing is to have some nice long scenic groomed greens and blues.  


It looks like the following are candidates for my trip (with High - Low temps (for December10 – 20)/ avg inches of precipitation): but I can still change the options for the next few days.

1.) Breckenridge (32 – 4/  .73 inches)

2.) Vail ( 25 – 4/ 1.5 inches)

3.) Winter Park (33 - 10 /.78 inches)

4.) Mt. Bachelor (39 – 21/  3.5 inches)

5.) Mammoth ( 46 – 26 / 5.8 inches)

6.) Tahoe (42 – 14/ 5.4): (because I know a great instructor there)

7.) Alta (41 – 24/ 2.03 inches): I would consider Alta, but really, I probably want to stay away from the cottonwoods right now.  The greens there were definitely easier than Snowbird, but I never really got to try their blues, so I don’t know how much the upgrade in levels actually is.  

8.) Steamboat (32 – 7/ 2.37 inches):

9.) Keystone (44 - 17 /.83 inches)

10.) Other


Right now, it seems like Steamboat, Mt. Bachelor and Vail are leading the way. One thing I am keeping my eye on is the Epic Ski pass for $600 that will allow me to ski in Breckenridge, Vail, beaver creek, keystone heavenly and A-Basin for the 20010-2011 season. If you have any comments about these places let me know.


The deciding factors are (in order of importance):

1.) Lots of REAL groomed greens and easy blues that are long and scenic.

2.) A very good chance of snow coverage for early December (I don't care if it is artificial as long as it is not super packed in, ice skating stuff).  I seem to prefer west coast snow (i.e. Tahoe) than the airy powdery stuff, but what do I know, really.  For me it is important to have snow that I can get my edges into for better control.  I am willing to go as far North as Canada to find this.

3.) Somewhere that is cold early (so there is less chance of that ice from melted snow).

4.) Other things to do very close to the resort (because I know there will be days my wife's knee will be sore, so she will need something to entertain her) INCLUDING HAVING OTHER RESORTS NEARBY (that would be a huge plus).  This does not have to include a “night-life” but more like shopping, etc.

5.) Affordable (Down the list but still very important.  This includes factoring in ski rentals, so places with cheaper rental prices may beat other similarly priced lift ticket resorts)

6.) Smaller crowds (my wife and I tend to get nervous when we have skiers and snowboarders whipping by us or worse, cutting us off).  These dates should not be very populated

7.) On site lodging that is not an arm and a leg

8.) Somewhere where we don't need to drive and that is a reasonable transfer fare from the airport


I have been advised to wait until around Thanksgiving to my final plans because the best deals would be had then.  If you have an opinion on this, please offer it. Any comments, suggestions, criticisms, etc would appreciate it greatly.




post #2 of 46
Thread Starter 
Here is the advice I have received so far from my last thread about the best place to go for spring skiing (http://www.epicski.com/forum/thread/90780/help-with-where-to-go-for-the-best-skiing-in-late-march-early-april-please-help-a-newbie-out/30#post_1216909) :

Originally Posted by mmascolino View Post

 For lots of groomed green terrain, I'd say Breckenridge.  Peak 9 has a ton of very gentlely sloped green runs.  I'd say they are the most mellow greens that I have seen at a big resort.  Even if you choose to go to the top of 9, the blues straight down the fall line are fairly mellow relatively speaking.

And for you, once you are comfortable you have most of 9 to keep you busy along with the lower half of Peak 7 which is this rolling wide terrain that you can take fast or slow.

Also, if you and your wife aren't going to be skiing full days you will appreciate being in the heart of a real town with a lot of diverse restaurants and cultural attractions.

Originally Posted by tromano View Post


Sorry you got hoodwinked, but people here did try to warn you. This winter has been a bit of a drought compared to the last few years. If you had been at the bird / alta in the first few weeks of January 2010, this year the conditions would have been about the same as what you describe. Except that in January, the sun never gets high enough to soften the north facing runs up too much. 

Another unfortunate reality is that beginning skiers have a pretty tough time no matter what conditions are like. If you came in February 2010 and got hit with 12" of fresh every day for a week (what I and most Epic skiers would say is perfect conditions) your wife might find that as challenging as ice. Skiing is a skill sport and the only way to get better so you is to learn the fundamentals from lessons and get some milage -- sking more days. 

Other places in UT are going to be much more suited to a beginner and there are a dozen other options in terms of great ski areas with 2 hours from SLC. I encourage you to try out other places to ski Colorado, MT, Cali, etc... and to ski as much as you can. In a few years when you are a better skier come back to the bird and you will apreciate it much more. 

Originally Posted by JimH View Post

esumsea, I also agree that Breckenridge would be a great choice for your next trip.  Just keep in mind that December is early and much of the mountain may not be open, though less of an issue for the green and blue terrain.  And Keystone and Copper in the same area are also decent choices.

Too bad you didn't pick Park City or Brighton or Solitude for your Utah vacation.  Any would have been a better choice than the Bird. 

Originally Posted by SHREDHEAD View Post

There are a lot of places that would be great for beginners.
Don't book any early December ski trip until after Thanksgiving. That is a slow travel period and you can get good deals on lodging and airfares right up till Christmas. 

Last season was lean on snowfall early.  Aspen had about the same amount as Summit County, Vail and even Alta.    But our skiing was much, much better because we had 1/10 the traffic. Sometimes it's worth the extra effort to get to the out of the way places.   

Originally Posted by Tony Crocker View Post

I've referred to this article I wrote about "family vacations" in a few old threads. http://bestsnow.net/fam_ski.htm  comparing Christmas vs. spring break.  In general I have strong preference for the latter and spring skiing in general, no doubt influenced by Mammoth's preeminence in that department. That said, the flatter terrain has more swift transition to melt/freeze than steeper areas at most resorts, so I can see how a beginner would be put off by it.

I concur with Shredhead about early December. Wait as late as possible to book.  Summit County Colorado is highly snowmaking dependent in early season (read usually firmer snow than natural) and is a much better spring break destination (ideal for you actually).  I agree that Copper, Keysone and Breck all have lots of low end terrain.

Snowmass also has a lot of terrain you would like, snowfall similar to Summit County but as Shredhead notes less crowded.

Of the better early season places, Vail, Winter Park, Mt. Bachelor, Mammoth have quite a bit of low end terrain.

If you go back to Utah, stay in Salt Lake to save $ and preserve your flexibility of where to ski.  Alta and Brighton will be the best early bets snow wise, but you wouldn't want to be confined to either one for a whole week.  The Park City group you would like for terrain, but if it's a slow start and the snow is mostly manmade you are better off at Alta or Brighton.

There are also some small places like Wolf Creek and Brian Head.  Las Vegas is the gateway to Brian Head if that appeals to you.


I'm not on here much mid-season.  In addition to 3-4 weeks of trips I'm periodically tracking snowfall and putting up season progress reports http://bestsnow.net/seas10.htm.   I do get e-mail notice of PM's though.  I was in Canada Jan. 23 - Feb. 6, which was around the time this thread started.
post #3 of 46
My advice to wait until after Thanksgiving was more about conditions than saving money.  If you make a poll and decide to go to one specific resort now, your just setting yourself up for another poor experience.
Edited by SHREDHEAD - 4/16/10 at 10:36am
post #4 of 46
I usually go on an early December trip. Although some places have better odds than others (the dreaded Cottonwood Canyons are one of them) it really varies from year to year. I know it makes no sense statistically, but I'm hoping that utah is due for a good early season after bad early Decembers the last few years. I think you should wait until at least the third week of November and see who has gotten the snow. The good news is that at your level the easy groomers are typically the first to open. Don't overlook Park City either. I think you would have liked it much more than Snowbird.  Plenty of easy groomers. 
post #5 of 46
Thread Starter 
Looks like the best thing to do is wait until Thanksgiving and see who has the most snow accumulation.  If the colder places have had snow I will go there.  Its too much of a crap shoot I gather.  However, i am still interested to find what will be the best candidates so I can pcik between them.  Hopefully I can get some "hidden gem" suggestions of places that fit my requirements that have not been suggested yet.  For example, my Welch ski instructor suggest, amoung other places, Ski Copper, a place I had never hear about before.
post #6 of 46
Under 10) Other, would she consider Epic Ski Academy?
post #7 of 46
Thread Starter 
I had not considered that.  Where does Epic Ski Academy take place?
post #8 of 46
 Early December is absolutely a crap shoot.  You can't risk booking anything far in advance without taking a big gamble. On the plus side, you are looking for open green and easy blue terrain in early December which is far more likely but still you can get burned.

If I were you, I'd scope out resorts that meet your needs in terms of terrain and off mountain amenities.  Consider resorts in different parts of the continent and research things like average airfare, potential lodging and what not.  Then when mid-November comes along you can see how things are going and pull the trigger on the place with the best snow. 
post #9 of 46
The wonderful easy green terrain on Peak 9 described by others is all serviced by snowmaking equipment, so actual snowfall would be a minimal factor in its availability.

One consideration:  It's a significant jump from the easy greens to the easy blues at Breck.  Not an issue if you're already comfortable on steeper blues in WVA.

Pretty terrific views from any slope at Breck.
post #10 of 46
Thread Starter 
Thanks mmascolino,
That is probably my plan for now, though I like to lock in early, in this case, I gues I should resist.

Thanks Kneale,

I was wondering if I could just bank on man made snow.  I don't know how it compares to natural snow but I have a feeling I would probably like it better.  Breckenridge does look really nice and I like the idea of the Epic pass.  The Temperature range should be good, as long as it does not get unseasonable warm.  I must say vail being 7 degrees colder and almost 1 inch more precipitation probably gives it a leg up.  We will see.

As far as the degree in difficulty jumping to the blues, I wonder how the blues in Breckenridge compare to the greens in Snowbird.  They are probably the same, if not easier than the 'bird greens.  Can you speak to that?

THe main thing I want to find is long, easy cruizers that have nice trees ect, because, in that regard, I found Snowbird lacking.
post #11 of 46
it's been at least 5 years since I skied Breck, but they  have plenty of easy cruisers. I know there is difficult terrain there, but my recollection of sking there was that the blue groomers were very easy. even by vail or summit county standards. Probably like snowbird greens. Generally not as steep as big emma which you will probably recall. I will defer to Colorado locals of course. Don't want to start a Utah/Colo war.
post #12 of 46
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Maui Steve View Post

Generally not as steep as big emma which you will probably recall.
Now that's an understatement.  Yeah, I have vivid memories of Emma...both good and bad (mostly).  The top of that trail is easily a black in most places.  I tried three separate times and the most I could do was 80% (the first 20% included at least two falls, and that was my best run.  Oh...the 'bird.........
post #13 of 46

I haven't been to the Bird for at least 20 years, and I don't recall much terrain exactly.  I'd say Big Emma and the easiest Breck Blues present similar challenges.  


Natural snow varies, but on the groomers, it would be mixed in with the man-made.  The nice thing about man-made is it produces an ice base that keeps your equipment off the rocks.  Dry natural COULD be available, and it's the nicest.


The $600 Epic pass gives you unrestricted skiing at all the Vail resorts.  There are less expensive options that would let you ski the Colorado Vail resorts with some blackout days at Vail/ Beaver Creek only.  So you could ski Breck/Keystone/A-Basin unrestricted for a couple hundred dollars less with the Summit pass and  include V/BC  except for holiday periods for about $150 less with the Colorado pass.


post #14 of 46
Originally Posted by esumsea View Post

I was wondering if I could just bank on man made snow.

No, no, no. Last year was lean at the beginning of December.  You could count the number of man made runs open at Breck on your hands.  Then you put 1000's of Epic pass users on the few runs open and you get the WROD.  Surface quality of man made degrades quickly and it will be like skiing on the ice you hated at Snowbird.

If your going in December, wait until after Thanksgiving to book!

The Epic Academy in Snowmass would probably be a very good for you and your wife.  It's looks pretty reasonable for the quality of instruction and I know you would like Snowmass. 
post #15 of 46
Breck would be great if they have the snow but waiting to see how the season gets started is the best idea. By late November you will know who is off to a good start and the 10 day weather forecast does a fair job of predicting the overall weather pattern (warming trend vs cooling trend) but a poor job of predicting precipitation. There could be a significant difference between Colorado, Utah, California and Montana at that time of the year.
I've never had a problem finding good groomers for beginners EXCEPT at Snow Bird. I enjoy the Bird but a good friend quit skiing after forever after an awful day at the Bird where the snow was so deep on the green trails you had to pole most of the way down the hill yet the off ramps were steep on the chair lifts serving the green runs she (and others) fell every time she got off the chair. It was the early season and they were completely unprepared for the situation.
post #16 of 46
Thread Starter 

Thanks Shredhead.  First what is WROD?  Yeah, it looks like I will have to follow the advice here and wait until late November to book.  I hope that will not make airfare prohibitive.  This goes again the very fiber of my OCPD being, but considering the consequences of going against the advice here last time, I will fall in line.


I would love to do Epic Ski, especially considering the eradic quality of ski instruction I have experienced, but unfortunately, they are not holding anything in the range of dates I am considering for my trip (December 7th to December 23rd).  In addition, I dont think I can wait on one of those, considering that the January one is already full, so doing Epicski seems counter indicative to the other advice you offered (waiting).


Thanks Steve,


Yeah, it seems that Snowbird is borderline negligent when it comes to looking out for the little guy (i.e. the beginning skier).  I will start a thread on this in the near future because I am still pissed off at how badly they mislead me (though I will again admit I was warned here-so its nobody's fault but my own.)  Again, I will fall in line and take the advice offered here (i.e., I will wait until late November to book).


post #17 of 46

I agree with those that say Breck has easy blues- many of the (blue rated) runs on Peak 7 (or maybe it is 8) are what I would call 90% green with a short section that is a legitimate blue.  I don't remember exactly what order they openned up the runs this year (with mostly man made snow), but I skied Breck during the time period you are talking about and thought the man made stuff was in good shape, but was disappointed by how flat everthing was (compared to blues open at Keystone & Copper during the same time period)- this might be a plus for you.    

post #18 of 46

>Snowbird is borderline negligent when it comes to looking out for the little guy (i.e. the beginning skier).  I will start a thread on this in the near future because I am still pissed off at how badly they mislead me (though I will again admit I was warned here-so its nobody's fault but my own.)


hey now, what is that all about?  did you do a trip report on your snowbird trip?  i want to know how it went. 

post #19 of 46

the summit county consideration is worthy, i visited breck for the first time this spring and it offers a great town and is not far from other resorts .... but i'm not at all familiar with what to expect early dec.


I did hit Steamboat last Dec the same time frame you mention.  As noted by most, it's a crapshoot and this last yr was quite dry for most resorts.  Steamboat had the lower part of the mountain open, essentially from the gondola down on the runs flanked by Vagabond down to thunderhead, lightening to four points and Rainbow, etc.  their hope was to open up to buddy's or Stormpeak but we hadn't the snow.   I was fine given it was my first outing and we did have snow later near the end of a 4 day visit .. worked out well for us but I can say the snow was much more mid-west most the time and one had to gauge the time of day to avoid icy runs, letting em soften up.


However I can say I had a good time and greatly enjoyed it.  I only mention this as Steamboat is not far from Winterpark that is of higher elevation.  I bought a Rocky Mountain Super Pass + ( http://skicolorado.com/Multi-Mountain-Passes.aspx ) that includes 6 days at Steamboat (friday afternoons too) and Winterpark and Copper mountain passes.   I don't recall if Copper is open in early dec but Winterpark is higher in elevation so if you have a vehicle, could be an option if the Epic deal or Summit isn't in the cards. 


I would wait as long a possible, as noted I feel lucky with what I got at Steamboat as it could of been much more dry ... i will state that I saw enough bare rocks/earth to make me survey the first run before subsequent runs. 


Of course, if you can rely on big chain hotels where you can cancel within a day or two, or get the insurance ... a worthy consideration should you be restricted for early Dec.  


post #20 of 46


White Ribbon of Death, not much open and everyone trying to get early season runs in.

post #21 of 46

wait till thanksgiving.


IF you have to book now Alta or Grand Targhee.

post #22 of 46

In general, anywhere you go around that time is a bit of a crap shoot. I am biased towards steamboat of course but they always have a decent chunk of the mountain open by mid-month and there's lots of other things to do (snowshoeing, horseback riding, fly fishing, shopping, the hot springs, snowmobiling ice skating, etc). The second week starts the 11th this year.  When you say mid- december what week do you mean to arrive. chances are you will get some thin and even blad spots but again, that's just about anywhere. The week before christmas, starting on the 18th has been good for the past 4 winters. Traditonally, around that 3rd week (mid 2nd) the snow usually starts. . BWPA's suggestion of GT may be a great option, just a little remote and not much as far as shopping or other activities if you are staying at the resort.  For best of all options if you stayed in Dillion or Frisco, you do have many options for skiing and shopping and such.

post #23 of 46

I would pick Steamboat way before any Summit/ Eagle County areas.  The trouble with any of the discount pass areas, weekends are full of Denverites.  Unless it dumps and a bunch of terrain is open, the runs are packed.


The Epic Pass is a only a good deal if you can come out again. If so, then go to Beaver Creek, which will be the least crowded.


Grand Targhee for 10 days would be a stretch.  You could add Jackson, but the drive back and forth would get old quick. 


I would still wait to book a late as possible. But you should definitely consider Aspen.  Highlands and Buttermilk open 12/11 and they always open a bunch of new terrain at Snowmass that weekend.  Your wife would love Buttermilk/Snowmass and the shopping/dinning in Aspen is world class.

post #24 of 46

Vail doesn't really have a lot of green cruisers, much of Vail's greens are cat walks.


Copper has some great Green terrain.


Aspen Snowmass is another one to consider for your needs.


It's definitely all about snowmaking that time of year, and a place like Snowmass has the money and the impetus to make a lot of snow.

post #25 of 46
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the responses guys.  It is getting to August and skiing will be on my mind 24-7 pretty soon.  Heck, I am going to CA for my friend's wedding and am planning a side trip to Tahoe to visit Jim at Start Haus in order to get some boots for the up coming season.


Tentative dates for trip:

I am planing on going around the 11 - 14th.  I am hoping to stay away from the resorts by Christmas and it looks like if I am out of town by the 23 or 24th I should be good.  It all depends on a lot of things.  My wife may become a teacher and that will force me to come later which is good (for snow) and bad (crowds). 


The ideal site?:

I will research GT and see what that offers but the most important part is to find a place that has a lot of EASY WIDE GREEN groomers that will not be icy and hopefully not packed.  I really want my wife to have a good time and ice, steep slopes and crowds will all deter her re-acclimation (if that is a word). I figure the coldest places (Vail/Breck/Steamboat) will be cold enough so that the man made snow will not melt and get icy. Shopping is not that important, but I do need a place where my wife can be entertained while I ski, because I am going to keep her to half days (probably the later part of the day),


Ski pass/when to plan the tip (BUDGET):

I am also going to be on a budget because I have spent A TON of money on ski gear for my wife and I, and that is on top of all the co-pay medical bills for her surgery, and that is not even counting the boots we will get and a pair of skis for her.  I love this sport but man, it approaches scuba diving as far as start up costs!


Anyhow, I am on a budget and that is why I wanted a pass because I WILL ski for at least 7 days this trip and hope to come pack for at least 6 more before the season ends. I think getting a pass will be the only way to keep the per day cost of the lift ticket @ $50.  But if I have to sacrifice I will and my wife will ski less but it will probably less full days, not less days.


I also figure accommodations, plane fares and car rental will be cheaper if I book early, but I have already pretty much decided on waiting until Thanksgiving to make my choice.  If an area is getting blasted, I will go there, because at least they will have a good base.




"Vail doesn't really have a lot of green cruisers, much of Vail's greens are cat walks."

I have learned from my time at Snowbird.  IF this is the case, Vail is out.  The greens have to be WIDE!


"Aspen Snowmass is another one to consider for your needs.

It's definitely all about snowmaking that time of year, and a place like Snowmass has the money and the impetus to make a lot of snow."

Thanks, Snowbird is also a contender, though it is expensive.  I don't know why it did not make the list, I will have to long again and figure that out.  I have heard a lot of good things about snowmass.


Shredhead and BushwackerPA:

I think both of you warned me about Snowbird so your advice caries a little extra weight. I will look into your suggestions (buttermilk/GT).  That is my time window and you give another nod to Snowmass.  The 11th is my target date.  I never figured that December would be that early in the season that some places were not even open, but the education continues. Again, I will wait until Thanksgiving to book. I can't wait until I am out of school and can visit these places in late January/early February.


Lastly, SnowbirdDevotee, yes, I know, I owe you a review and I promise it will be up before September.  School is killing me and this California vacation coming up will keep me occupied but I will get to it the for sure.


Again, thanks for all the input.  This is a really good form, and I appreciate you efforts.




post #26 of 46

If you attend the A-Basin ESA, and stay in the Frisco/Dillon area, you will have access to five excellent mountains, each no more than a half-hour drive, all with good beginner terrain/groomers, plus a little of the more-challenging terrain will be open even that early.  All of this area is high in elevation and snow-sure, even early season.  All get similar accumulations.  There's really no need to wait to book.  Several interesting towns and plenty for you and your wife top do evenings.  Best intro to skiing I know. Aspen could also be a good choice, but you'll miss out on the ESA tune-up.  Those two areas will suit your needs very well.  Steamboat and some of the other mountains suggested can be fun, but many are a bit isolated and the towns are small.  PM me if you need more info.  All the best!

post #27 of 46



I think an early season trip is a great idea to get your family ski season off to a good start. Try for an ESA if you can.


As far as where to go... I would say jackson has some good green runs, as does targhee, as does Alta, so does deer valley. I know  zero about areas in CO or Tahoe.


By all means wait til turkey day to firm up plans, never a bad idea. But your situation is not as dire as a more advanced skier who wants to go off trail. If you pick a place that has been getting some good snow fall what you can expect is softer snow and less crowding on the groomed runs. That said, Green runs are the first places a ski area will be making  snow in the late fall. So by early December you can expect to have some thing available at just about any area with decent green terrain and good snow making. 


If you are going for 2 weeks, that's way too long (to me) to spend at a single ski hill. Go somewhere you can hit 3-4 different spots or maybe make it a snow safari and move around every few days this is a great opportunity to see different resorts and before Xmas most places will have good deals available.


Usually groomers ski better in the morning, since the snow is fresh courdory and any icy spots that may exist have not been skied off yet. Also it is typically less crowded for about an hour or two early (unless its a powder day). You might want to have your wife out in the mornign and let her take the afternoons off.


Have you considered a series of long weekends maybe one a month vs. a couple long trips? This will give you a chance to ski hard and then have soem time off between trips to heal up, nurse aches and pains, etc... I think you will probabbly be really tired after skiing for two weeks even if you take breaks and days off.

post #28 of 46

You didn't mention Park City as an option, but it also has what your looking for. Particuarly, PCMR and Deer Valley.

post #29 of 46

>Lastly, SnowbirdDevotee, yes, I know, I owe you a review and I promise it will be up before September.


Sorry to hear that Snowbird didn't work out for you.  I hope you enjoyed the atmosphere and beauty of the canyon anyway.


ICY?  I never experienced such a thing at Snowbird.  The trouble is that from March onward, anywhere, the sun gets high enough to damage the snow and there can and will be a freeze/melt cycle, even if it isn't that warm, if it hasn't snowed.  That's why I think January-February are the best months for destination skiing.  Seriously, the snow is ALWAYS perfect at the Bird for my late Feb trips.  Locals can always pick their days in the spring.


Snowbird would be one of the best resorts for good conditions in the spring, but I guess you had but luck with the weather.  December can be dicey also, not because of warm weather, and the sun is at its' lowest, but because lack of base will also make for poor conditions. 


How much skiing did you do before last year? Anyway, after having a week long trip in Utah under belt, you should be ready for anything! 

post #30 of 46



You should give consideration to Sun Peaks Resort, British Columbia, near the (small) city of Kamloops, B.C. While i ski SP because of the mostly black diamond runs under the Burfield chair, the rest of the resort has been turned into an intermediate heaven and great family area with an easy green run off every chair lift.


Ski Canada Magazine has rated Sun Peaks as the most like skiing in Colorado of any ski resort in Canada, mostly because of the long, wide runs and the amount of sunshine and the well laid out ski-thru village. There is a ton of ski-in, ski-out accommodation. The magazine also rates Sun Peaks and its near by competitors (Silver Star and Big White) as having the best ski weather in Canada. This translates into the driest, easiest to carve snow pack in Canada.


A couple of seasons ago the readership of Conde Nast Traveller magazine rated Sun Peaks the second best ski resort in Canada and the 10th best in North America. Sun Peaks has also won awards in the past for its trail design and lay out.


Because SP does not get as much snowfall as some of it's competitors (about 18 feet in a 18-20 week season) they have instituted a summer grooming program, putting backhoes and bulldozers on runs and pulling stumps and picking rocks, planting grass and cutting or flattening weeds. SP also has snow making on some runs and trouble spots and the resort has been opened at or before US Thanksgiving for more than the past 20 years. While other resorts are waiting for the snow to cover the stumps, Sun Peaks has no stumps and only a few rocks so its usually good early season skiing.


A few seasons ago western Canada had a very poor start to the winter. It was so bad that year that Whistler had to completely shut down for 2 weeks in early January. Meanwhile at SP we were skiing on 18 inches of compacted snow and they had 100 of 122 runs open. People were coming to SP from other areas where they were getting their skis destroyed, and at SP people were amazed to find soft carve able snow and only the odd rock or clump of grass to dodge.


I will be working this coming season part time at a performance ski rental shop located in the lower level of the Delta Sun Peaks hotel. If you or anyone else from this forum looks me up I will do my best to get you a discount. If you are a decent skier, I will act as your ski guide. The more decent your skiing the more off the beaten track/side country I will show you. The resort also offers free Sun Guide tours.


One more thing, even during the busiest days of the Xmas holidays, a ten minute lift line is considered long and the singles line often has no line up.


here's to a great winter,

Danny Taylor

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EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Mountain/Resort Related Forums › Resorts, Conditions & Travel › Best place to go for beginners in early-mid December. (Looking for long, scenic groomed greens and blues at an affordable place with other things to do.)