USA 2015 - 2016 Trip Plans/Thoughts/Reviews

Angus_McCrory

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Kirkwood has received well over a metre of snow in the last 3 or so days, so quite a bit of awesome. It snowed there all day, quite heavily through the afternoon without affecting visibility, and tracks were being filled in with each run. We looked like abominable snowmen on each chair, covered in snow. I rented some powder skis for the first time ever, and it looks like I might have to expand my quiver :thumbs:

Heaps of snow back in town at Sth Lake, more today too. The next week or so looks like it's rinse and repeat. I'm happy to share if you come back to Tahoe @sbm, and Tahoe isn't that far to drive from Salt Lake, either @CarveMan :D

TOU3eur.jpg



fTlUQSr.jpg


Ax73inq.jpg

So much awesome at Kirkwood :thumbs:
 
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Angus_McCrory

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We're hoping to return next Monday (bus goes Mondays and Wednesdays), and maybe Northstar on Thursday.

So much major terrain, one day is not enough. Yesterday arvo looked like this

90aVR27.jpg



And tonight, where did we have dinner....... Yup, a pair of Aussies at an Irish pub in the USA :cheers:

A pity it wasn't worth going there last year.... but looks like you got the good this year. Have had some awesome days there in the past.
 
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Johnb007

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Re speeding in the US. In country areas local cops top up the city coffers by booking out of town cars. A friend was on a car rally in some southern state. They all got pulled over (20+ cars) whereas EVERY local car was going faster than them and were not touched. Cops know you will not fly back to contest the bs fine. Just revenue raising. On major freeways that is usually not an issue. Also in major cities, but watch out in the country. However I have been pulled over twice in Nevada on boon dock roads with zero traffic. I was doing 90+ in a 75 zone. Both times cops said "don't drive so fast" and let me off. Go figure.
 

Johnb007

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Re Cali snow. Wow what a difference a year makes. Last year's season was shite. This year's has been brilliant. Kirkwood has been getting buried. We were going up Monday but will now have to go Tuesday as I80 might be closed. They are predicting snowmageddon on Sat, Sun, Mon. Will be brilliant next week.
 
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sbm

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I'd feel worse about missing the storms in Tahoe, if I hadn't got some good dumps in Japan already this season. Skied 5 inches of pow in Colorado yesterday but it looks like we won't see much here until next week.

Oh well, after all "they're called the Rocky Mountains not the snowy ones". The rock climbing in the Front Range is world class. After a breakfast bagel and some american bacon and coffee I will go do some suburban mountaineering on the Second Flatiron.

And the plan is for real mountaineering on friday in Rocky Mountain National Park...
 

rime noreason

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Re Cali snow. Wow what a difference a year makes. Last year's season was shite. This year's has been brilliant. Kirkwood has been getting buried. We were going up Monday but will now have to go Tuesday as I80 might be closed. They are predicting snowmageddon on Sat, Sun, Mon. Will be brilliant next week.
Yes, a bit on the heavy, damp side today and tomorrow, then it's supposed to hit big here again. Supposed to clear for a few days around Tuesday/Wednesday next week, then another storm is looking fairly good for the weekend after, again. I'll be heading out on the 22nd, by which time, I reckon I'll need a break from all this skiing anyway! LOL

Do you have lift tickets for the Vail resorts here? If not, and you want to ski them, let me know as I have 6 discounted passes pre-loaded on my Epic Pass that you're welcome to.
 

rime noreason

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We got a couple of inches of damp snow this morning which was fairly heavy hard work by early afternoon. Thick fog and flat light made it even harder going.

Nevertheless we made the most of what was on offer, and I completed my very first ever double black diamond run today. Headed over to Mott Canyon after doing Milky Way a few times. I'm happy to report I remained upright on the entire entire run, albeit once or twice maybe not the most graceful LOL

Now it's time to celebrate with a beer. Or many.

I swear it was steeper than what it looks on these photos!


gZiLgu8.jpg


5VVoicS.jpg


4ZB5uuv.jpg



uJTX65j.jpg
 
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rime noreason

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Can anyone offer some advice driving to Northstar from Sth Lake, with a possible 1 - 6 inches of snow at lake level? I'm looking at renting a car for the day on Sunday, but have never been to Northstar.

I think only the eastern side of the lake is open to traffic, west side is closed from shortly north of the "Y".

Is the east road to Northstar/car park much higher than lake level? Will I require chains or would an AWD be fine? I'm assuming a regular 2WD wagon type thing no good? Even if they have snow tyres?

TIA anyone.
 

Born2ski

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Can anyone offer some advice driving to Northstar from Sth Lake, with a possible 1 - 6 inches of snow at lake level? I'm looking at renting a car for the day on Sunday, but have never been to Northstar.

I think only the eastern side of the lake is open to traffic, west side is closed from shortly north of the "Y".

Is the east road to Northstar/car park much higher than lake level? Will I require chains or would an AWD be fine? I'm assuming a regular 2WD wagon type thing no good? Even if they have snow tyres?

TIA anyone.
That Emerald Bay road(the west side) was regularly closed after snow when we were there, sometimes for days on end. If you've driven that road you'll understand why.

The drive around through Nevada (the east side of the lake) is much easier. When we spent two months in Lake Tahoe the only time you'd need a 4wd was during a heavy snow storm or maybe a few hours after until the snow plows cleared the roads. I spent a lot of time driving around Lake Tahoe in a 2wd (with all season tyres) without a problem, and many locals do as well.

So if you're planning to drive while it's dumping down a foot or two of snow (not just snow showers) then I'd go the 4WD otherwise a 2wd will be fine.

p.s A quick look on snow forecast shows 10cm Saturday night and then only a few cm during the day. With the temps hovering around 1-2 degrees it will be lucky if that daytime snow even sticks to the road. 2WD will be fine for that small amount in my opinion.
http://www.snow-forecast.com/resorts/Heavenly-Ski/6day/bot
 
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rime noreason

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That Emerald Bay road(the west side) was regularly closed after snow when we were there, sometimes for days on end. If you've driven that road you'll understand why.

The drive around through Nevada (the east side of the lake) is much easier. When we spent two months in Lake Tahoe the only time you'd need a 4wd was during a heavy snow storm or maybe a few hours after until the snow plows cleared the roads. I spent a lot of time driving around Lake Tahoe in a 2wd (with all season tyres) without a problem, and many locals do as well.

So if you're planning to drive while it's dumping down a foot or two of snow (not just snow showers) then I'd go the 4WD otherwise a 2wd will be fine.

p.s A quick look on snow forecast shows 10cm Saturday night and then only a few cm during the day. With the temps hovering around 1-2 degrees it will be lucky if that daytime snow even sticks to the road. 2WD will be fine for that small amount.
http://www.snow-forecast.com/resorts/Heavenly-Ski/6day/bot
Thanks @Born2ski. I was thinking similar. It seems plenty of people drive 2WD, even in the reasonably heavy snow at lake level last Monday. I don't think it will be much more than an inch or two by Sunday morning either, but wanted to err on the side of caution by writing up to 6" in the previous post. I've driven that in Colorado with an AWD and was fine last year.

I know they'll clear the main roads pretty quickly, the ploughs are usually out before daybreak. I'm probably more concerned about the access for Northstar itself, whether the car park is around lake level, or whether it's like Kirkwood, where there's a high mountain pass and chains are required?

The last couple of years the west side of the of the lake has been open, but that's an anomaly due to poor snow seasons. It's a beautiful drive that I was fortunate enough to have done last year with @Angus_McCrory's generosity. I'd love to see that side of the lake, Emerald Bay and environs, in snow though. It's usually closed most of winter, as it is currently, not due to snow on the road but because it runs below Mt Tallac and the avalanche concerns.
 

sbm

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Today we climbed Flattop Mountain in Rocky Mountains National Park, and skied the Corral Couloir into the Tyndall gorge. 7 hours round trip. (The original objective was the Dragon's Tail Couloir, but I looked into the top and it was just too much. It has a a very narrow 50 degree upper section)

Here's a link to the photo album! http://imgur.com/a/g9qpx
 

CarveMan

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Winter storm warning - 1-3 feet over the next few days. But then it gets warm when we arrive.

It's going to be quite novel having 2x23kg each so I'll just take a full resort and full touring setup and be prepared for everything.
 

sbm

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This is what Colorado locals like to do with Ski Loveland stickers.

LKdjPSm.jpg


I'm pretty sure the joke is that they're all actually driving while high instead.

About to go wax the pow skis with cold temp wax. Windy as hell in Boulder and obviously snowing up on the divide.
 
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rime noreason

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Last couple of days would rate top 10 for me here too. After 2 days relegated to being park rats at Heavenly due to heavy wet snow and only the lower half open due to windhold, we ditched the crowds and went to Northstar on Saturday. Loved it there with fresh dry snow having fallen overnight and more falling heavily all day. Nothing on windhold, great day. Easy long black cruisey runs.

Sunday brought good dry snow everywhere, but again, windhold at top of Heavenly, weekend crowds :eek:

Monday looked set for the same....... but then the clouds cleared early, blue skies, wind stopped and they opened up the whole mountain by lunchtime when most had given up and gone home. It was brilliant. We got about half a metre in the last 24 hours, more in the previous day or so, which was well more than forecast. Fresh tracks everywhere on a deserted mountain. Many of those tracks are ours. All time.

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G7kzGoL.jpg
 

sbm

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7 inches of fresh snow at Eldora yesterday, 6 inches at Arapahoe Basin today though I swear it's skiing deeper than that. No time for pictures just pow.

The double black diamond trees at A Basin got smashed pretty quick today but above the treeline it was excellent once the visibility cleared a bit. Fresh tracks all day.

Now the storm has turned around and is going up-slope, so it's dumping Japan style right in town in Boulder right now.

Day of the season for Eldora tomorrow I reckon, they are heading for like 40 inches since monday night.
 
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Born2ski

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Last couple of days would rate top 10 for me here too. After 2 days relegated to being park rats at Heavenly due to heavy wet snow and only the lower half open due to windhold, we ditched the crowds and went to Northstar on Saturday. Loved it there with fresh dry snow having fallen overnight and more falling heavily all day. Nothing on windhold, great day. Easy long black cruisey runs.

How did the drive go ? What car did you get ?
 

Summit

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7 inches of fresh snow at Eldora yesterday, 6 inches at Arapahoe Basin today though I swear it's skiing deeper than that. No time for pictures just pow.

The double black diamond trees at A Basin got smashed pretty quick today but above the treeline it was excellent once the visibility cleared a bit. Fresh tracks all day.

Now the storm has turned around and is going up-slope, so it's dumping Japan style right in town in Boulder right now.

Day of the season for Eldora tomorrow I reckon, they are heading for like 40 inches since monday night.
I see Eldora has 500 metres of vertical, is maybe the closest resort to Denver, and from memory this is the first time I've seen anyone post anything about it !

http://www.eldora.com/mountain.stats.html
 

sbm

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I see Eldora has 500 metres of vertical, is maybe the closest resort to Denver, and from memory this is the first time I've seen anyone post anything about it !

http://www.eldora.com/mountain.stats.html

Its almost NZ club field levels of chill, very un-Colorado like. The locals don't even bother to turn up until well after 9. Definitely in the spirit of my anti-Epic trip.
 

Summit

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Its almost NZ club field levels of chill, very un-Colorado like. The locals don't even bother to turn up until well after 9. Definitely in the spirit of my anti-Epic trip.
So on a busy weekend when there's half hour lift lines at Vail there'd be no lines at Eldora ?

Is the Eldora access road ok ?
 

sbm

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So on a busy weekend when there's half hour lift lines at Vail there'd be no lines at Eldora ?

Is the Eldora access road ok ?

Just wrote it up for my TR thread and will cross post it here. The road is dirt I think and often requires chains/proper winter tyres which keeps people away.

Yesterday skied at Eldora which is the local Boulder ski resort. I was assured it runs at a different pace to the I70 Epic madness, though I admit I was skeptical that "there would still be plenty of pow" as my local guides leasurely slept in, got breakfast burritos, agonised over whether to bring tele or alpine skis, and so on.

We didn't get to the car park until like 10am...on the biggest pow day for a month! Colorado hippies...

CbKMR8t.jpg


As promised there were no queues.
7VRNKGE.jpg


We still got a few fresh turns on piste though it was mostly gone at that point. Then it was into the glades for some steep, deep, tight and gnarly tree skiing. Placer Glades were the pick.

This is the ENTIRE crowd at the tiny on-mountain lunch shack above the Corona lift.

On9K3co.jpg

Like I said, almost as empty as an NZ club field!

Had an funny incident where I somehow got poles caught in the chair, and as I got off the lift they were ripped out of my hands and went around for another ride on the lift! Ended up accidentally skiing the double black mogul run, alternatively pow lumps and ice, on 118mm fat skis mounted with Dynafits, without poles. Fun times!

Actually the run after that was our last, and one of the best of the day, found a good stash...
 

Summit

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Just wrote it up for my TR thread and will cross post it here. The road is dirt I think and often requires chains/proper winter tyres which keeps people away.

Yesterday skied at Eldora which is the local Boulder ski resort. I was assured it runs at a different pace to the I70 Epic madness, though I admit I was skeptical that "there would still be plenty of pow" as my local guides leasurely slept in, got breakfast burritos, agonised over whether to bring tele or alpine skis, and so on.

We didn't get to the car park until like 10am...on the biggest pow day for a month! Colorado hippies...

CbKMR8t.jpg


As promised there were no queues.
7VRNKGE.jpg


We still got a few fresh turns on piste though it was mostly gone at that point. Then it was into the glades for some steep, deep, tight and gnarly tree skiing. Placer Glades were the pick.

This is the ENTIRE crowd at the tiny on-mountain lunch shack above the Corona lift.

On9K3co.jpg

Like I said, almost as empty as an NZ club field!

Had an funny incident where I somehow got poles caught in the chair, and as I got off the lift they were ripped out of my hands and went around for another ride on the lift! Ended up accidentally skiing the double black mogul run, alternatively pow lumps and ice, on 118mm fat skis mounted with Dynafits, without poles. Fun times!

Actually the run after that was our last, and one of the best of the day, found a good stash...

Colorado hippies LOL

Thanks for the info.
 

rime noreason

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How did the drive go ? What car did you get ?
They had no small cars available, it's a small operation, so I ended up with a mid-size Toyota. Budget and Avis are the only two companies at Stateline, one girl arranging both out of the same office window from a hotel.

It snowed at Northstar all day, nice dry powder falling heavily all afternoon, and still falling most of the way home. Going Saturday was a good decision because Sunday was even more snowy and stormy.

The drive is stunningly beautiful, with beach and rock coves at every bend. I spent a couple of days skiing with @Johnb007 and a mate of his, one day at Heavenly, the other yesterday at Northstar again. It's not often you can say you spent the day skiing, then half an hour later was on the beach!

Some photos of yesterday's drive posted below, the first at King's Beach, the other two at roadside stops.

4sljj0y.jpg



pPOGm7X.jpg


nUWNnVf.jpg
 

sbm

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Bye bye Colorado, it's time to drive west again. I've stopped at Moab Utah on the way to SLC.

My goodness, it's a huge crowded tourist sh#t show! It makes peak season Jindabyne look a bit sleepy. Couldn't even get a seat for 1 in the Moab Brewery for a drink.

I think I'll stick to the Blue Mountains for sandstone crack climbing and canyons.
 

absentskier

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Be careful out there....

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

A 69-year-old man from South Carolina died Saturday after he crashed into trees while skiing in Telluride, the second skiing fatality in the resort town in 10 days, the San Miguel County Sheriff's Office said.

George A. Nolan of Greenwood, South Carolina, was skiing with his daughter-in-law about 3 p.m. when his skis detached from his boots and he slid head-first on his side, the sheriff's office said. A member of the Telluride Ski Patrol told investigators that she saw the man, who was wearing a helmet, sliding into trees.

Rescuers at the scene were not able to resuscitate the man, the sheriff's office said.

"We are deeply saddened by this tragic loss and our thoughts are with the family," Sheriff Bill Masters said.

Nolan is survived by his wife, two sons and a brother, the sheriff's office said.

On March 9, a man from of Colorado Springs died after losing control on steep terrain and tumbling into a steep wooded area in Telluride, the Denver Post reported.
 

CarveMan

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Good first day yesterday to stretch the legs, started at Canyons and worked our way to PC and back.

Mainly skied groomers getting the legs back into action. Perfect blue sky and no wind, slushy on the sunny aspects but the shady aspects still holding nice snow.

Snow coming in tonight, looks like a decent storm, and then maybe another for the weekend.

Will do another day at PC/Canyons today.
 

CarveMan

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Fun day today - high cloud and windy but still warm as a prelude to the expected storm which will arrive overnight but not start snowing in earnest until tomorrow morning.

We found some really nice snow in high north-facing aspects, some fantastic super steep tree shots off Jupiter and Pioneer lifts at PC were great fun. Legs improving but need more miles in them!!!!

Will be even nicer if the forecast 10-16" eventuates.
 

TOFF

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Fun day today - high cloud and windy but still warm as a prelude to the expected storm which will arrive overnight but not start snowing in earnest until tomorrow morning.

We found some really nice snow in high north-facing aspects, some fantastic super steep tree shots off Jupiter and Pioneer lifts at PC were great fun. Legs improving but need more miles in them!!!!

Will be even nicer if the forecast 10-16" eventuates.
We spent a fair amount of time off Jupiter and McConkeys, lots of good stuff up there.
 
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