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January 2011 trip to ... Tahoe or SLC?

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

Ok, I'm making plans for a mid-January trip and my choices are to either Tahoe or SLC.  We've been to SLC 3 - 4 times and have had a ball every time, especially at the resorts up in the Eden area.  I've never been to Tahoe, but just know that the plethera of resorts around the area make it a great second choice.

 

Mid-January may be a bit early depending on the snow, so that's the risk I take with making the plans now.  Flights in and out are about the same and distance from the airport to the condo is similar as well. 

 

Some of my biggest questions are around the snow and the steeps.  It's called 'Sierra Cement' for a reason, but what's it like?  I envision something akin to the somewhat wetter snow of the PNW and not the pristine Wasatch-Colorado powder.  I have to think that the views from atop Heavenly, looking down on the lake are absolutely awesome and this is a big plus for me.  And for me the super steep is not my bag.  I'm more of a cruiser ... that stated how does Alpine and/or Heavenly fit into this?  Snowbird is one of my least favorite mountains, so right away I may steer clear of Squaw.

 

Anyway if the bears out there could share some thoughts, opinions and comments ... well that's what this site is about, so these are much appreciated.

 

Ciaooo.

post #2 of 19

Heavenly has some good cruising, but the one thing Heavenly will have that you didn't see around Eden is crowds.  It's a pretty busy place even on weekdays, although mid Jan might help reduce that factor.

Northstar at north end of Lake Tahoe is supposed to have excellent groomers. In Jan I don't think the moisture content of Tahoe snow would be that much of an issue and would groom out nicely.  Have you been to Aspen/Snowmass?  You'd love Snowmass, CO for extensive beautiful intermediate terrain, moderate crowds and usually good snow in Jan.

 

PS: off topic, what would be the pros and cons of a second home in Eden area?  I see 3bdrm townhomes w/1500sqft for less than 200k there?!?

post #3 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:

 

PS: off topic, what would be the pros and cons of a second home in Eden area?


Pros:  no crowds, great snow and the lake and golf in the summertime.  Powder Mtn is one of my favorite mountains to ski ... not uber steep, crowded, fancy or pricey. Snowbasin is definitely a great mtn ... has steeps, not crowded or pricey and the lodges are uber fancy ... not the people just the lodges.

 

Cons:  minimal commercial; i.e. grocery shopping, clothing, etc. Must drive 20-30 minutes to Ogden for any sort of nightlife.
 

post #4 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dorm57 View Post




Pros:  no crowds, great snow and the lake and golf in the summertime.  Powder Mtn is one of my favorite mountains to ski ... not uber steep, crowded, fancy or pricey. Snowbasin is definitely a great mtn ... has steeps, not crowded or pricey and the lodges are uber fancy ... not the people just the lodges.

 

Cons:  minimal commercial; i.e. grocery shopping, clothing, etc. Must drive 20-30 minutes to Ogden for any sort of nightlife.
 

 

That's a feature not a bug
 

post #5 of 19


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dorm57 View Post

Mid-January may be a bit early depending on the snow, so that's the risk I take with making the plans now.  Flights in and out are about the same and distance from the airport to the condo is similar as well. 

 

Some of my biggest questions are around the snow and the steeps.  It's called 'Sierra Cement' for a reason, but what's it like?  I envision something akin to the somewhat wetter snow of the PNW and not the pristine Wasatch-Colorado powder.  I have to think that the views from atop Heavenly, looking down on the lake are absolutely awesome and this is a big plus for me.  And for me the super steep is not my bag.  I'm more of a cruiser ... that stated how does Alpine and/or Heavenly fit into this?  Snowbird is one of my least favorite mountains, so right away I may steer clear of Squaw.


As you stated, mid-January will be iffy for Tahoe. If you luck out with storms the snow will likely be more wet, like the "Cascade Concrete" of the PNW. That said the 09/10 season had some cold systems that brought powder conditions.

 

First you have to decide if you're staying in North or South Lake Tahoe. Heavenly is south, Alpine is north. It's an hour drive on twisty (but beautiful) roads along the lake between north and south. Falling snow can result in road closures.

 

The lake views from Heavenly are great and it's trippy to see that from California one minute, ski over and be looking at the brown hills of Nevada the next minute.
 

You can get also get beautiful lake views from Homewood, a small north lake resort. They have lots of intermediate runs and no crowds. If it's a weekend powder day, head to Homewood.

 

Sugar Bowl is a bit away from north lake but they're up closer to the pass and may have better snow early in the season.

 

Kirkwood and Sierra at Tahoe are both a short drive from South Lake and have a decent amount of intermediate runs.

 

Lastly, don't cross Squaw off your list just yet. Yes, they have fabulous extreme terrain but they also have great intermediate runs on the upper mountain. I've skied Squaw with a large group of folks with various skill levels and everyone was able to have a good time.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamesj View Post

Heavenly has some good cruising, but the one thing Heavenly will have that you didn't see around Eden is crowds.  It's a pretty busy place even on weekdays, although mid Jan might help reduce that factor.


All of the Tahoe resorts get crowds on Saturdays, the lines are smaller on Sunday and mid-week should not be a problem. I was at Heavenly mid-week this March and though people were around, there was never a lift line (okay, a small one at Sky).

post #6 of 19

^^^^^^^

I agree. 

 

I've always been a north shore type of guy, but both are fun. 
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamesj View Post

PS: off topic, what would be the pros and cons of a second home in Eden area?  I see 3bdrm townhomes w/1500sqft for less than 200k there?!?


Eden would be a nice place to retire.  I had a really nice day up at Pow Mow last year.  Peter Turner turned me onto a pair of DPS's and I ended up skiing with an older couple that were guides now, but originally from DC.  Nothing is very steep and you don't get a lot of vertical, but you do get to farm a lot of low angle pow.  Perfect for your next pair of knees.  

 

Peter's wife is a local Realtor and someone told me that the Eden area had some very high foreclosure rates?    Perhaps people got caught up in the Olympic frenzy and then the melt down really depressed the prices?  It's a wide open valley, so there is a lot of developable land available. 

post #7 of 19
Thread Starter 

Is there a problem with fog at the Tahoe area resorts?  Some western resorts we've been to have issues with fog ,,, Grand Targhee, Whitefish Mtn Resort, Schweitzer and Bachelor ... just wondered if the Tahoe area resorts typically have issues with fog.

 

The condo I would reserve is at the south end of the lake so I assume Heavenly, Kirkwood, et al are where we'd mostly ski.

post #8 of 19

For Tahoe if you want steeps definitely check out Mt. Rose's steeps, if you want awesome side country access check out Sierra at Tahoe's HuckleBerry Canyon. Groomers would be Heavenly. Also if you don't like Snowbird I would cross Kirkwood off of your list. 

post #9 of 19

Hi Dorm,

This thread hits close to home for me, as I spent most of my life in South Lake Tahoe & have lived the past 10 years in Eden, UT.  They are both great, beautiful places.  The pros & cons of the two areas from my point of view are as follows:

 

TAHOE PROS

Weather, the storms enter & exit quickly.  Once the storm is over it is usually calm & clear.  This does not mean that it cannot storm for days on end, but there is usually light at the end of the tunnel.

Snow, even though the snow is not on average as dry as Utah, it can be great & very deep.  If you are mostly skiing groomers, Tahoe areas do a pretty good job, especially places like Heavenly & Northstar.

Views, yes the views at Heavenly are just that.  The other areas aren't too bad either.

Nightlife, the Stateline & Tahoe area have plenty of shopping, gambling, entertainment, food & places to visit all year round.

Variety,  There are 20 some places to ski.  If the weather is nice, none of them are a bad day trip.

TAHOE CONS

Weather, feast or famine.  Tahoe can get huge dumps, but also long stretches of dry high pressure.

Crowds,  it can be a madhouse on the roads, especially during a storm.

Snow,  it can rain & rain sucks for skiing.

Vertical, the runs seem shorter in most of the Tahoe areas, but if you like Powder Mountain, you will probably like Sierra-at-Tahoe & Homewood.

 

EDEN AREA PROS

Weather, consistently higher quality snow.

Crowds,  some of the least crowded slopes I have ever skied.

Quiet, no hustle bustle here.

Vertical, at least at Snowbasin the runs are longer than most Tahoe runs.

Cost, daily lift tickets & lodging are less.

Views, you gotta admit the Ogden Valley is a pretty special place.

 

CONS

Weather, it can be grey for days on end.

Nightlife, nothing going on here.

 

That's about all I can think of now.  Mid January can be hit or miss in both areas.  It is generally less crowded that time of year though.

 

As far as Real Estate goes, if someone is in the position to buy there are bargains in both areas at this time!

 

JF

post #10 of 19

Oh, fog is not usually a problem in Tahoe.  If the light is flat, most of the areas have much skiing below treeline.  Also, some areas are better than others during storms.  Sierra & Homewood are well protected from wind which can close many lifts at some areas.

I would not cross anything off the list around Tahoe all have good groomed cruisers.  If the weather is nice, Kirkwood is pretty much out in the wilderness & is beautiful with lots of great wide open groomers.  Squaw also has a lot of variety & a lot of terrain.

JF

post #11 of 19
Thread Starter 

Most definitely we will head to Tahoe in January.  Actually it's the latter part 22nd thru the 29th, which will hopefully help in case earlier season snowpack is not there.  This is a 'guy' trip for us this time ... no wives and/or children. 

 

Actually one of the guys on the trip grew up in Truckee and has skied pretty much all of the places in the Tahoe area, so he is really stoked.

 

Thanks for the good feedback and opinions -  as I stated earlier that's what this site is about and few out there are short on opinions

post #12 of 19

Squaw has jaws that will eat you up.!!  Therefore......You gotta check out Squaw.!!

 

Seriously, Squaw is awesome in every way except for the attitude of the people there. And, frankly, I won't go back there because of it.

post #13 of 19

If you're bound for South Lake Tahoe a day or two at Kirkwood is not to be missed.  It's renowned for some very hairy stuff, but they do high angle grooming on some of the single black diamond trails that I think you would really enjoy.  They catch a lot of snow too:

http://www.dcski.com/articles/view_article.php?article_id=809

post #14 of 19

Some of my biggest questions are around the snow and the steeps.  It's called 'Sierra Cement' for a reason, but what's it like?  I envision something akin to the somewhat wetter snow of the PNW and not the pristine Wasatch-Colorado powder.

 

 

I've skied my fair share of powder days in Utah and I think the light and fluffy pristine powder is overrated.  Even though you might have a better chance of light, dry powder than anywhere else, and certainly your change of a storm is better than anywhere else, many storms come in wet and heavy, I give it a 50/50 chance of light and fluffy.
 

post #15 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by SnowbirdDevotee View Post

 

 

I've skied my fair share of powder days in Utah and I think the light and fluffy pristine powder is overrated.  Even though you might have a better chance of light, dry powder than anywhere else, and certainly your change of a storm is better than anywhere else, many storms come in wet and heavy, I give it a 50/50 chance of light and fluffy.
 

You apparently don't know what Sierra Cement is like. The worst SLC dank stuff is still far lighter than the stuff that hits from the Pacific into Tahoe.
 

post #16 of 19

Quote:

Originally Posted by snofun3 View Post

You apparently don't know what Sierra Cement is like. The worst SLC dank stuff is still far lighter than the stuff that hits from the Pacific into Tahoe.
 


I beg to differ.  I have seen it rain to the top of Snowbird, & I have seen it rain at the top of Heavenly.  I have not skied snow lighter in Utah than the lightest snow I have skied in Tahoe.

Yes, the water content of the snow in Utah is consistently less than that in the Sierras. 

 

Quote:
I've skied my fair share of powder days in Utah and I think the light and fluffy pristine powder is overrated.


I do agree with this statement.

 

JF

post #17 of 19
Quote:

Seriously, Squaw is awesome in every way except for the attitude of the people there. And, frankly, I won't go back there because of it.


Sugaree, what's with the people in Squaw? I was there many years ago, but don't remember the people, but I do remember Kirkwood and KT-22.

post #18 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by SnowbirdDevotee View Post


Sugaree, what's with the people in Squaw? I was there many years ago, but don't remember the people, but I do remember Kirkwood and KT-22.



Alright, you asked, I'll tell....

 

First off, I had spoke to a few skiers that had been to Squaw that had mentioned things like...."why go to Squaw with all the attitude when Alpine Meadows is just down the road.??" I would reply...."I can see right through that stuff, I go to a mountain for scenery and to ski."

 

Another skier I talked to said...."Ski Mt. Rose, there are no snobby people there."

 

Anyways, Squaw had been on my list for just about a lifetime so, in my mind there was no turniing back.

 

I skied solo. First ride up the Siberia lift I rode the chair with one guy...he looked local. I spoke to him...no reply. Thought he didn't hear me so I spoke up. Still, no reply. Nothing. He didn't speak one word to me. No b.s. Truth. I couldn't believe it.

 

On another lift I loaded again with one guy. He looked local. I said..."Coming down" as I dropped the safety bar. The guy looks the opposite way as I lower the bar. Had attitude (body language) about me lowering the bart. Once the bar was down, he leaned on it the whole way up as if to make a point. I didn't bother to speak to him. We near the top, I say..."Coming up" as I begin to raise the bar. He gestures something like "Geezus", shaking his head no and looking at me like "why didn't you just leave it up." Freakin' guy just a had a ton of bad attitude. I couldn't believe it. It was nuts and I thought to myself "Wow, this is a really rough crowd here." Never seen anything like it in 25+ years of skiing.

 

There's more....  Rode KT-22 with a guy and a girl...definately locals. I tried speaking to them but they were like real short with me. A couple of questions from me with one word answers. No comaraderie what-so-ever. None.!! It really kind of sucked because I enjoy the conversation on a lift. Especially when I am at a truely world class resort. It can be a great cultural experience. Not at Squaw. Take my word for it. And, the few people I spoke to in advance had warned me.!! It's there....snob heaven.

 

Then, after one of my best days of skiing...ever, I greeted my girlfriend at the base at noontime for some lunch. The look on her face was astounding. She immediately said.... "The people here suck. There all rich with pissy attitudes.!!!"  I had not even spoken to her about what I had learned in advance and she was all over it.!!  She said she thinks she saw mothers with kids gear up and never load the lift. They geared up in flashy ski apparell and just sat on the deck in the sunshine. LOL. Both of us had really bad people experiences, like no other place we had been before.

 

I didn't want to say all this on a public forum but, you know what, it needs to be said. I am absolutly certain I am not the only skier who has had this experience at Squaw Valley USA. Gut wrenching steeps and probably the most vast ski area I will ever experience in my life. The skiing is off the charts in almost every way. There is no easy way down. The place is awesome. As for the people... screw dat.

 

Further more, think about it. Squaw is everything that Jackson Hole is and everything that Snowbird is...maybe more.?? You be the judge. However, (and this is the party to think about).....There is literally no traffic here talking about Squaw Valley USA. For all intensive views, Squaw is barely talked about here at EpicSki. The best skiers in the world, no doubt, are at Squaw. I watched them hucking Palisades for an entire powder morning. It was the definition of Awesomness.!!..Yet, this, one of the premier ski forums in the world, Squaw is not spoke of. Yes, I know, here and there. Snippets. It doesn't compare to the posts or threads about Utah or even Colorado. Ahh, I just thought about something...Neither is Aspen spoke of here.

 

Whatz up with dat.??

 

Some things in life I will never understand and I'll quietly sign of now.

 

Rant over.

 

Thanks for asking SnowbirdDevotee. I'm going back to Utah for my next trip.!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

BTW, Mt. Rose was great.!! 

 

  

post #19 of 19

Heavenly has some good cruising, but the one thing Heavenly will have that you didn't see around Eden is crowds.  It's a pretty busy place even on weekdays, although mid Jan might help reduce that factor.

Northstar at north end of Lake Tahoe is supposed to have excellent groomers. In Jan I don't think the moisture content of Tahoe snow would be that much of an issue and would groom out nicely.  Have you been to Aspen/Snowmass?  You'd love Snowmass, CO for extensive beautiful intermediate terrain, moderate crowds and usually good snow in Jan.

 

PS: off topic, what would be the pros and cons of a second home in Eden area?  I see 3bdrm townhomes w/1500sqft for less than 200k there?!?

 

I'd say mostly pros. As far as I know, the future of Pow Mow is still up in the air, but if they turn it into a destination resort like there's been tell of, your property value would likely skyrocket. If you're looking for a ski home, I don't think you'll find better value anywhere. Nearly 10,000 acres (resort-based stat) of terrain within 15-20 minutes and beautiful powder that lasts. Eden's also beautiful in the summer with the reservoir and some great hiking/mountain biking in/near town. Not sure which townhome you're looking at, but assuming it's where I'm thinking, you'll have some pretty beautiful, panoramic views of the mountains.

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