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Closest US/Canadian Skiing?

Discussion in 'Snow Talk' started by Hallouminati, Aug 19, 2019.

  1. Hallouminati

    Hallouminati First Runs

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    Hi All,

    I am new to the forum and joined to get a bit of advice, and now hopefully become active on the site; thanks for having me!

    I've done Thredbo quite a few times and am now keen to spread my wings a little (in truth, I don't want to wait until next year so plan to travel in December/January). I am a beginner to intermediate.

    I have a five-year-old son who skis (beginner but linking parallel turns now) and a wife who does not ski, yet at least. We want to go to either the USA or Canada and wondered where would be the shortest travel time? I kind of have my heart set on Whistler, and I see that is a 14.5 hour direct flights from Sydney (our local airport). Possibly a couple of hours thereafter to resort? Is there anywhere much closer in those regions, also thining about getting to the snow after the flight? We really are keen to minimize travel due to our son.

    We have considered Korea although the wife does not want to visit Japan, for various reasons I will not bore you with. Having read reviews or Korea, it seems somewhat limited though.

    Any advice would be gratefully accepted, thank you.
     
  2. absentskier

    absentskier Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Welcome.

    Allow yourself the luxury of thinking beyond mere travel times. I get that by the way - I’ve been travelling to North America with my 3 kids since they were 2, 4 and 5. It’s a long way for sure. But start to consider the type of experience you want from your trip, including any non-skiing parts (eg Disneyland at the end).

    Nothing wrong with considering Whistler. Ignoring exchange rate (!), also nothing wrong with considering what squillions of other people do by flying to LA and then taking a short internal flight within the USA to another destination.
     
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  3. Legs Akimbo

    Legs Akimbo Grumblebum Ski Pass: Gold

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    I have always spent 2 or 3 (or more) days in LA, San Francisco or Vancouver before skiing. It breaks the trip and you knock the edge off the jet lag before skiing. It opens up all the interior resorts that are an extra hour or 2 in the sky.
     
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  4. Astro66

    Astro66 Still looking for a park in Thredbo Ski Pass: Gold

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    San Francisco. Then 3hrs to Tahoe.
    Seattle. 1.5hrs to Stevens Pass.
    Vancouver. 0.5 hrs to Grouse Mt or Cypress.

    Copper ?
     
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  5. gareth_oau

    gareth_oau Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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    If you struggle with long flights, then consider a stoipoiver somewhere? Hawaii? Tokyo?

    Whistler is about 2 hours from Vancouver, if you are looking for somehwere to stay on mountain.

    Grouse Mountain and Cypress don't offer on mountain accommodation, so you will need to drive up each day, and be prepared for very busy weekends.

    If yuyou don't mind the drive, Sun Peaks is about 5 hour drive from Vancouver, or an extra 90m minute flight from Vancouver, but a much friendlier mountain that your son will progress on very easily
     
  6. Hallouminati

    Hallouminati First Runs

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    Thank you for the suggestions. I will check out the flight times to the options mentioned. We do travel with my work (mainly to HK) and when I take them with me, it’s a push at 9 hours for my son and as those with kids know, quite draining unless it’s a night flight when hopefully they sleep. As we do go away fairly frequently this trip will be more about getting there as quickly as possible and skiing as much as we can. I’ll further investigate the Korea option but info isn’t as easy to find as the more mainstream locations. Thanks again.
     
  7. sly_karma

    sly_karma Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Fly into SFO, 3 hr drive to Tahoe. Way more flights into LAX though. Have a couple days there doing Disney, Universal etc then short flight to SLC, resorts are super close to city. Or drive from LAX to Big Bear, just 2 hours. Then on to Mammoth and/or Tahoe.
     
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  8. absentskier

    absentskier Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Korea will not offer much compared to North America. It is not Japan.

    How long do you intend to ski for?
     
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  9. Sbooker

    Sbooker One of Us

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    Fly into LA, spend the night and next day get a short flight to Mammoth, Aspen, Salt Lake (for Park City or Alta/Snowbird), Reno, Hailey (for Sun Valley), Jackson etc.
    Can’t go wrong.
     
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  10. DPS Driver

    DPS Driver One of Us

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    Canada, Whistler versus LA - SLC. Travel time is negligible really between the two.

    I've done both many times and I would go the uS to LA and overnight then connect to Salt lake City, short drive up to any awesome resort you want.

    I'm not a great fan of Whistler but I'm trying not to let that cloud my judgement. I just think the Utah skiing is better and the base areas stay in much better shape as opposed to Whistler. So with your son it will provide a better experience for you as a family.

    Can't go wrong either way really.
     
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  11. Ozgirl

    Ozgirl A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    I actually prefer the flight to the US over asia as you get a decent chance to rest between meal service (light dimming), unlike asia where its barely 4 hrs with the lights dimmed.

    West Coast USA you get a solid amount of time between them dimming the lights and bringing them up again before serivce/landing.

    With that in mind consider the fact that your child will actually sleep on the SYD to SFO/LAX flight

    With SFO Friday flight departs SYD at 5pm, its perfect for a child going to sleep after dinner.
     
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  12. Sbooker

    Sbooker One of Us

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    I agree.
    If $$$$ aren’t a huge consideration Aspen is very hard to beat with one whole mountain dedicated to beginners, no car needed due to a fantastic free bus system and an airport that is a very short free bus ride from accomodation. The other three mountains are pretty wonderful too of course.
    I find the prices there to be not much more than other hills (and cheaper than some) but certainly pricier than Salt Lake City.
    For best value look to stay in Snowmass - not Aspen town.
     
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  13. Sandy

    Sandy Dark Sith Lord of the Pool Room Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    The OP's wife said that she didn't want to visit Japan.
    The aversion to Japan generally falls into 3 categories:
    - WW2
    - Whales
    - Radiation

    The snow in S. Korea will be generally man made and bullet proof.... not the best.

    FWIW, Sydney to Tokyo is 9 hr 25min. And no Jet lag.
     
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  14. Roymond

    Roymond One of Us

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    Agree with the above.
    Went to Snowmass last Feb with family of five, 3 kids 8,9,10 at different skill levels. Couldn't speak more highly of it with excellent slope progression as the kids learn and buckets of slopes for the adults. 4 different hills connected by buses on the one ticket which we didn't use because Snowmass was just so much fun.
    If your wife doesn't ski, there is buckets to do in aspen that's a 10 minute free bus trip from Snowmass. Access via LA is easy with a short hop flight.
     
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  15. gareth_oau

    gareth_oau Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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    I’m talking an overnighter in a hotel to avoid sitting on a plane the whole trip
     
  16. Sandy

    Sandy Dark Sith Lord of the Pool Room Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    Yeah I know, but often the aversion to Japan is never even setting foot in Japan!!
     
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  17. Hallouminati

    Hallouminati First Runs

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    We hope to ski for 7-10 days. My wife's family live in Korea so that offers benefits, and hence why Japan isn't an option (upsetting family if we fly to Japan and not Korea!)
     
  18. Hallouminati

    Hallouminati First Runs

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    You've nailed three of them! Having a Korean wife, (Koreans are currently boycotting Japanese products due to a trade war), doesn't help as well. Personally, I love Japan and it is one of my favourite countries to visit...just don't tell the wife!
     
  19. Hallouminati

    Hallouminati First Runs

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    When you book trips, do you typically do it yourself or go through an agent? If the latter, any decent ones you could recommend?
     
  20. gareth_oau

    gareth_oau Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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    You could do hong kong LOL

    But Hawaii would have to be an option, and then avoid LA
     
  21. Pink

    Pink One of Us

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    Those boycotts fall into the WW2 category don’t they? For beginner/intermediate skiers I’m sure Korea will be fun. Maybe not the answer you’re looking for though.;)
     
  22. absentskier

    absentskier Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    And how many non-skiing days as part of the trip?
     
  23. Pink

    Pink One of Us

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    Less non-skiing days if the OP chooses a country away from the in-laws! LOL
     
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  24. ponyrider

    ponyrider Addicted

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    Another vote for SLC here, it's a two hour flight and only a 45 min drive or shuttle (conditions permitting) up either canyon. I'd be thinking Park City would be better for families than Alta/Snowbird.

    The aversion to Japan is a fascinating one, I'd be interested to know more. If you have an aversion to Mormons you don't need to worry, no shortage of good booze and coffee in Utah that's for sure.
     
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  25. DPS Driver

    DPS Driver One of Us

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    Kill two birds with one stone. Fly Korean Air to Japan, drop in and see the in laws as well. Keep that segment short. ha ha.
     
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  26. zac150

    zac150 One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Ok so I’d add to a few of the earlier comments on flights, that some flights feel longer due to when you get on the plane.

    The air canada direct flight from Sydney, sounds great but leaves at 12, so 9 hours in and your still awake, then you have a short sleep (5hours) before landing. Makes for tired kids and adults!

    This year we are trying the alternate flight option and stopping in Fiji on the way, our long haul flights both leave in the evening (10pm) so we are hoping this helps the kids sleep.

    Whistler is great as you get off the plane and can pretty well get straight on a bus, so if your not confident driving it’s a great option. Whistler will have heaps for your wife to do during the day with shopping and coffee shops but doesn’t have the same family feel as big white, and what I imagine (will find out at Xmas) sunpeaks and silver star also have.

    I think one way to look at whistler v big white (sunpeaks Silver star) is one is a town with a ski resort attached whereas the others are ski resorts with houses in them. This means that at big white etc you can easily get all your experiences like tubing ice skating and the like in the one spot, great for a family holiday but they also have fewer options for coffee etc for the non skier.

    Also look at your accommodation options! At whistler we got a studio loft but at sunpeaks and silver star we picked up a two bed apartment and a cabin.

    The point is the flight is only one small component to focus on, I’d ask first what sort of ski holiday you want.
     
    #26 zac150, Aug 20, 2019
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2019
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  27. Pink

    Pink One of Us

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    Or JAL/ANA to Korea (“it was the cheapest flight I could find!”) with a looong stopover on the way home.
     
  28. Wardy

    Wardy One of Us

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    Hey there Hallouminati. I'll add another informed opinion to the list :). My wife and I and our three kids have been ski holidaying since the kids were 1, 3, and 4. We know all about long haul flights with kids; three of them! My advice is don't worry about the flight/transfers. Just grit your teeth, prepare well, and do it. Your key question is how do you maximise your enjoyment/experience when you're at the destination. And that means choosing the right resort. From experience, I recommend Big White, then Whistler. But for a young family just starting out on this adventure, Big White by a good margin because it is so young family friendly (and because Whistler, which I love, can be wet...). Not everyone will agree, but that's my two cents worth, having visited a dozen resorts in the US and Canada, with three kids, over the past decade.
     
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  29. Marty_McSly

    Marty_McSly Backwards to the future! Ski Pass: Gold

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    The boycotts may, but the Korean aversion to Japan goes a lot deeper and a lot further back than WW2. That would justify a 4th leg to @Sandy's trilogy.

    @Hallouminati, there was some discussion on these forums some years ago about skiing in North Korea, involving perfectly groomed and almost deserted runs. I suspect that would be out of the question though?
     
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  30. zac150

    zac150 One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Whilst I’m not a fan of Big White I would also agree it is a great option in this scenario albeit that depends on what the non skier wants. Are they happy to read in front of a fire? Do they want shopping options?

    But if we are pointing faults and sure whistler has the unpredictable weather issue, you would also need to point of Big Whites nickname is Big White out for a reason. My point is every resort has a fault.
     
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  31. Sbooker

    Sbooker One of Us

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    You're correct saying no resort is perfect but some are certainly better than others.
    In my view the high hills in Utah and Colorado offer the following -
    Extremely low chance of rain.
    Relatively snow sure. And good quality powder snow at that.
    Low chance of extremely cold days.
    Generally when it is not snowing blue skies dominate.
    Low vis (fog) days are rare.

    Some would say crowding can be an issue because of these points but the resorts off i70 are a lot quieter (Telluride, Aspen Snowmass, Steamboat??). I guess that's why some are happy to pay a premium to ski in those.
    The hills further north in the Rockies like Jackson Hole and Big Sky can get (uncomfortably) colder.
    Coastal resorts in Tahoe and Pacific Northwest have generally heavier snow and a higher chance of rain.
     
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  32. Ozgirl

    Ozgirl A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Tahoe is in a drought.

    They don't get rain (hell their elevation is higher than kozi!) when they get precipitation it falls as snow.
     
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  33. Sbooker

    Sbooker One of Us

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    Actually the past few seasons have had plenty of precipitation but more than average number of rain events up to about 8000ft around the Tahoe resorts. Their proximity to the Pacific ocean makes it more susceptible to rain at higher elevations.
    https://cw3e.ucsd.edu/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Hatchett_et_al_2017.pdf
    http://bestsnow.net/
    The bestsnow.net site has some great detail on historical snowfall for the North American hills.
     
  34. Wardy

    Wardy One of Us

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    For sure. But I wouldn't necessarily recommend them for the OP and his young family.
     
  35. Sbooker

    Sbooker One of Us

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    Ok. Fair opinion I guess. Would that be from a cost perspective? If so I get it but there’s not too many other valid reasons in my view.
    My young family have had a ball at said hills.
     
  36. Ozgirl

    Ozgirl A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    read the OP - he doesn't want to travel for 2 days!
     
  37. absentskier

    absentskier Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Syd to LA, LA to SLC (for example). Short shuttle to Park City.
     
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  38. Sbooker

    Sbooker One of Us

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    That’s what I was getting at. Sydney to LA and then direct short flight to Aspen.
    You can’t get that much quicker to anywhere in North America aside from Whistler.
     
  39. Ozgirl

    Ozgirl A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    tahoe
     
  40. Sbooker

    Sbooker One of Us

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    Fair point. About the same timing but one you need a car and the other you don't.
    Some would prefer not to drive straight after a 14 hour flight.
    All good - I'm a Tahoe fan. The OP will have a ball at whatever destination he chooses.
     
  41. Wardy

    Wardy One of Us

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    More from a big mountain, intimidation, getting the most out of the destination perspective. But I've only skied CB and Telluride so that's only a perception for everywhere else. I'm not sure young families new to the adventure will get the most out of the big, high, Utah and Colorado destinations, not yet anyway. Personally, I couldn't recommend the two I've visited highly enough except Telluride, it sucks, don't go there).
     
  42. Ozgirl

    Ozgirl A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Yes but he may not want all skiing days. So tahoe is a great place to go, with a short couple of days in the city.

    And you can fly there from SFO or LAX. No need to drive. Shorter flight too.

    Aspen can be affected by weather, delays suck!

    im guessing op can sway wife on a San fran side venture than a denver one!
     
  43. Legs Akimbo

    Legs Akimbo Grumblebum Ski Pass: Gold

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    Fly to Reno. Get a shuttle.
     
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  44. Ozgirl

    Ozgirl A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    4 or 5 trips to Tahoe and never been rained on! (And living there)

    Including spring trips.

    whistler was rain on in January!
     
  45. Hallouminati

    Hallouminati First Runs

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    Thank you again for all of the feedback in the thread, it has been incredible. Better than expected from a newbie asking a question! I will digest it all and see what works. Heart says Whistler, wife says Korea. Let's see which wins!

    Unrelated, kind of, the wife has agreed that she will finally try skiing when we go to Thredbo in two weeks. She enjoyed the trip a couple of weeks ago but has just never taken the plunge. My hope now is he gets past the first few days of aching quads, etc.
     
  46. Ozgirl

    Ozgirl A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Lessons!! please!!
     
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  47. Hallouminati

    Hallouminati First Runs

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    Yeah, I think asking her to go on holiday to North Korea might be a problem! Not sure if my wife would even get in being South Korean! I might ask her for novelty value though...the joke may be lost on her...

    EDIT: I just asked her. She looked at me dumbfounded and asked: "Are you being serious". I smiled. But seriously, the bed in our spare room if very comfortable...
     
  48. zac150

    zac150 One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Don’t worry, I’m sure the bruising will go down in a day or two. Luckily wok’s are made of lighter material than the cast iron pots in our kitchen.....
     
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  49. Scooter

    Scooter One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Hey @Ozgirl - My issue with Tahoe (and the wider California resorts etc.) is it can be either feast or famine. They have had some insane seasons (epic storms and snow depth etc.) and then they have had seasons where they have had next to no snow (one year no natural till Feb).

    It was only a few years ago they had a run of 5 seasons in a row that were :crap: I guess that has been a function of the ongoing drought they have experienced over the last decade or so.

    That scares me when considering it as a destination. Whistler can also get the epic storms (and epic rain :D) but I don't think it has been effected as effected by the dry/no snow conditions. Although wasn't that Olympic year pretty lean?
     
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  50. Sbooker

    Sbooker One of Us

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    I can’t second this enough.
    It could be the deciding factor on whether she becomes a skier for good or not.
     
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