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Jackson Hole vs Heavenly

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

4 intermediate skiers looking for Feb 2011 trip to either resort.  I recently came back from Snowbird and don't think my group would like a mtn like that.  Past West Trips trips included the 3 resorts in Park City, Snowmass, and Steamboat.  So which resort should we hit?


Thanks as always for your comments.

Edited by mtebor - 5/23/10 at 1:31pm
post #2 of 17

I have not been to JH. However, it's always mentioned in the same breath as snowbird as not being for the faint hearted. On the other hand, Heavenly has a lot of terrain suited for intermediates. Seems like an easy call, but I'm sure others will weigh in.

post #3 of 17

Try this link; http://www.epicski.com/wiki/jackson-hole-guide-to-skiing-jackson-hole-mountain-resort.  From a guy who truly knows where all of the goods are there.  This can show you exactly what that mountain is, and if it is what you are after.

post #4 of 17


Originally Posted by Mark Tebor View Post

4 intermediate skiers looking for Feb 2011 trip to either resort.  I recently came back from Snowbird and don't think my group would like a mtn like that.  Past West Trips trips included the 3 resorts in Park City, Snowmass, and Steamboat.  So which resort should we hit?


Thanks as always for your comments.

Mark,  some will disagreewithme, but go to North Shore.  Better skiing, more skiing, more choices, cheaper and Tahoe City and Truckee are more like ski towns than casinos.  Good restaurants and less crowded.  Intermediates can have their choice of:  Squaw, Aline Meadows, Sugar Bowl, Homewood, Diamond Peak and Northstar.   All good intermediate hills, all a little different but all good. 

post #5 of 17

Mark, the subtle detail missing is WHY you did not like Snowbird. I will admit, I have never skied Snowbird but Alta, went there once in January with my son, and have been back for a total of 3 times now in 2010.


I would say you should go BACK TO Utah and ski Deer Valley, its fantastic for intermediates and advanced intermediates, really big, wide and LONG runs, and many if not most groomed very well, plus the service is generally pretty good. Alta is good too, but like Snowbird it takes one to handle ungroomed terrain to enjoy Alta. Alta and Snowbird are BIG mountains if one is beginning to really rip it, but in terms of scale are actually quite small in terms of the length of any ONE run.


Jackson Hole gets a lot of press but you should check with the uber-guru of Epic Ski and skiing in North America in general, Bob Peters, he is a JH resident. With the disclaimer of never having skied there, just reading about it suggests, I would have to be pretty motivated to go there, mountain is not that big, and with the exception of all the brou-haha about Corbet's Couloir, where the entry jump is the big deal, an at my vintage, that has ZERO appeal, it seems like a pretty mediocre place.


For sheer breadth of skiing terrain, Little Cottonwood Canyon (Alta/Snowbird), Big Cottonwood Canyon (Solitude/Brighton) and Deer Valley in my view CANNOT be beaten in North America.


Forget Colorado, its a nightmare to "get in" and "get out"


Note Utah is NOT cheap, regardless of what you read unless you are willing to live like a 17 year old kid on the move.

post #6 of 17

What, specifically, didn't your group like about Snowbird?  That might help us provide answers.


Although JH has a well-deserved reputation for being gnarly, it also has a good amount of terrain accessible to intermediates (more than Snowbird IMHO). On the other hand, my recollection is that Heavenly is more meticulously groomed. If you want to cruise corduroy, Heavenly might be the better choice. Then again, if you're looking to cruise lots of intermediate runs, it's hard to beat Vail.

post #7 of 17
Thread Starter 

I didn't mind Snowbird as I was there with family (my group wasn't).   I would love to go back there during the winter and not end of april.  My group isn't big on steeps, last year we went to snowmass and took a quick ride of to Aspen.  After one run they were ready to leave, just too steep and narrow for there liking.


The reason why Heavenly was chosen was that half our group was there 5 years ago and want to check it again as their skiing abilities have progressed.


post #8 of 17

I'd go with Heavenly. You know your group likes it -- so that isn't an issue. If your group didn't like their one run at Aspen, they might not be keen on Jackson. Also, you really wouldn't be getting the true Jackson experience, which involves getting off of the groomed slopes; into the trees, chutes, and if you're lucky, powder fields.  If you don't want to do those things, then there are lots of better choices; Heavenly included.


My $0.02.

post #9 of 17

Jackson = Snowbird with more variable snow conditions.  If you did not like Snowbird at the end of April, you are not likely to enjoy Jackson.   As other s have noted, within Tahoe and Utah you have multiple choices, several of which woudl suit your group well.

post #10 of 17

Intermediate mountains at Tahoe: Heavenly and Northstar, and to the lesser extent Alpine Meadows.  Squaw is not a good mountain for intermediates, (but it is a certified expert heaven; it may be worth a day just to look at the gnarly terrain that is right next to the lifts).  Whatever you choose, don;t count on skiing both North Shore and South Shore, it is a drag in winter as you have to go all the way around the lake.  Apre-ski in SoTahoe should be very deep and vibrant, North Shore is much more quaint and ski-oriented.  Good luck.


post #11 of 17

I agree with Tony that Jackson and Snowbird are similar enough that if you didn't think one would be a good choice, that conclusion would probably apply to the other also.  Tahoe, on the other hand, has a lot of quality intermediate terrain and a lot of different resorts if you are not tied to skiing only one mountain.  If you are going to be tied to one mountain, Heavenly or Northstar are probably the prime candidates.  All my skiing in Tahoe has been in the northern resorts except that I have been to Heavenly twice driving down from the north shore--seems like it took about 40 minutes to drive there from Incline Village. 


Heavenly and Northstar have lots of intermediate cruising but they are on opposite ends of the lake.  A number of the black diamonds at Northstar are long, semi steep cruisers perfectly suitable for solid intermediates.  I have been to Squaw with intermediates who enjoyed it a lot (more than Alpine actually) so I think you could have fun at both of those also for a day or so.  I also like Diamond Peak and Mt. Rose if you are in the area (ie. only if you are staying in North Tahoe). 

post #12 of 17
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the info....I found out that the wives are now going and since they don't ski much it looks like S. Tahoe.  Plan on skiing Heavenly 3 days and Kirkwood twice.

post #13 of 17

Mark, As a local, I think you also want to check out Sierra at Tahoe While you are at SLT. Perhaps take one of those Heavenly days and try Sierra. Especially when you are tired of those endless traverses at Heavenly.

post #14 of 17

Never been there and you advise someone Jackson Hole is "mediocre"??? and not that "Big"??? Yikes, Wow, and Holy Inaccuracy, Batman. While I totally agree, given the OP's two choices, that Heavenly is absolutely the correct decision for his parameters, your description of one of the lower 48's premier mountains is massively off target. Any upper intermediate with aspirations of bettering themselves and a sense of adventure would be crazy to not experience Jackson. Not a flame at all, I'm just scratching my head in befuddlement.

post #15 of 17

Flog57, just a bit of nudging, am laughing - actually, yes, one should ski Jackson Hole at least once, just for its storied history, notwithstanding its terrain.

post #16 of 17

Dustyfog....  Are you high?

post #17 of 17

Went to Heavenly at the end of March this past year. Stayed at Lakeland Village, nice location. Plenty of shopping and casinos and night life. Heavenly would be a good choice but hit some other resorts. We like Kirkwood and Squaw.

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