Been skiing SLC since '81. Hit summit county a few times late 80's, didn't think much of it compare to SLC. With the exception of A-basin & Loveland. We usually go out west few times per year.
Last season the low price of the epic pass sucked me back after 20 yrs. Repeating for this season. Lodging & food overall is a bit more expensive. Overall trip cost is about even with other areas. What really offends me is the paid parking, and I'm from NYC.
Terrain wise, could use a bit more steeps. That where the Taos pass comes in.
A-basin is my favorite. good steeps, bumps are cut by good skiers. Had some great laps on Pallavincini lift.
Overall most area are more crowded during the holiday than I'm used to compare to other large destination areas - SLC, Tahoe, Whistler.
Most tourist skiers at these large areas are front side skiers. The lift lines in the backside of Vail is quite acceptable. Same with the Bird of Prey lift @ BC. Ski the better terrain and un-groom - the crowd will not follow.
Don't complain about the Texans, Vail & BC have a more vile breed - South Americans. Base on observations in the lift line - perhaps they are just practicing European lift line etiquette in advance of their European trip. Didn't see them @ Breck or A-Basin.
Seems like Taos draws a different breed of SA. A better mannered breed.
Hard to turn down the epic pass for the no black out dates thing - have kid in school. Last season, he put in 25 days on his Epic pass - good deal. Also adds variety to the ski season - his first time in CO Vail Resort. He skied A-basin & Aspen couple yrs back.
With the total skier days in NA being flat for the last 2 to 3 decades, the severe economic slump (can we call it a recession now?), and having lost a bit of luster after SLC & Whistler both hosted the Olympic - Summit county was on a downhill slide. The number of beds and other infrastructures added to those two areas to support the Olympic also created another couple of hungry mouths to feed in the proverbial ski area nest. Summit county areas have to do something drastic to stay attractive. Lower the price of admission as a loss leader - sucker them in. As they say - we can always kill them with lodging & food once they are hooked.
Skier visit - Getting a seat at the Spruce Saddle lodge in BC during lunch will take 30+ minutes (Christmas). An instructor commented the year before, one can have a pick of several tables at anytime - even during the holiday week. She was totally overwhelmed by the crowd.
So look like whatever they are doing - its working.
Not sure how SLC, Tahoe & Whistler will respond - there are only so many skier days to go around. Probably price war next season (2011 / 2012).