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Discussion in 'United States' started by absentskier, May 25, 2018.
Holy shit, it’s hard to describe just how good Steamboat was this morning. Just phenomenal. Don’t really have photographic evidence but it was awesome.
This season has been a terrific reminder of just how good a holiday to a classic US ski town can be. The combination of a proper, attractive town, a big modern ski hill and top quality snow is pretty compelling for the vast majority of snow enthusiasts.
Agreed, just wish something could be done about the $$ factor though.
Still snowing here at Steamboat. Couple of snaps from yesterday when the snow briefly stopped.
And a couple of shots from the hill today. Stupidly good conditions.
Arrived at Whitefish yesterday. Hope to have some pics in the next few days. It was foggy to around two chairs visibility yesterday and closed in even down to the base, so I bailed early. Today I slept in and only made it up for the afternoon. Visibility was still limited at the top, but improved lower down. It still wasn't good enough for me to spend a lot of time off the groomers, but the forecast is for sunshine by Monday. There still appears to be quite a few spots that haven't been tracked out.
Big day of travel to get home. Local news (that morning and the night before) was full of talk of blizzards and issues etc. so slightly worried but after leaving Steamboat before 6am with maybe 2" of fresh on the ground in the carpark we actually made it early into Denver. Denver also looked to have had a few inches of fresh but it did seem pretty warm and it looks like most of the issues were East/South of Denver.
Easy check in and maybe a 30 min wait to clear security.
Our travel was 3.5hrs drive to Denver, 4.5hrs layover, 2.5hrs to Houston, 2.5hrs layover, 14.5hrs Houston to Auckland, 4hrs layover, 3.5hrs Auckland to Brisbane
That's 35+ hrs so not ideal but happy to put up with that and more if the cheaper flights mean longer/poorer travel time/conditions etc.
Had to wait around Brisbane because my Board bag never showed up and after plenty of flights over the years this is the first time I have ever had a bag issue. Apparently a few issues with bags transiting Houston but happy to report it was delivered the next day.
I managed 46 days so no complaints (aside from it not being enough ) with my son doing 42, my daughter 38 and the other half around 30 (she isn't sure).
Always good to be home but cant say I am that happy to be home (damn this heat)
Will look forward to hearing/reading about how the season pans out for others
Hey @absentskier - what's with the pics in post 151? Not showing for me in either IE or Chrome
Also when were you guys back home? Looks like the last few days would have been pretty sweet (fresh on fresh on fresh etc.)
You talking the day of the 26" or one of the subsequent days? I wasn't sure when you made it back into town from your side trip to Aspen/Snowmass
One of the most memorable overheard discussions on the Orange Line (woman gets on bus wearing this big white fur coat) - young guy comments and conversation ensues - she comments about the "look she is going for" and young fella comments "What, are you from Aspen or something?" Was pretty funny I thought (turns out she from the south).
A bluebird day at Whitefish. 2" of fresh fell last night, which is not quite enough to cover some of the crustier bits, but was still great to be out in.
Anyone interested in a trip report for Taos? I haven't seen anyone ask for info. Not a destination for powder, but a great place to learn to ski bumps at any level if stay long enough to do a Taos Ski Week. Just finished my third trip in three years. Heading back in a week to meet up with different friends, including a group from PugSki.
Hey @jgm - That's a few trips for you to Whitefish now yeah? Thinking you were there last year and if memory serves they did alright (or better than alright) so how has the season setup so far for them?
Hi @MarzNC - Were you there when they had the inbounds slide not long back? I was surprised that I hadn't seen anybody here comment on it the few threads I have been checking. Was widely reported on the Denver news given the fatality and being inbounds and I see that a few days later (possibly longer - was also widely reported) one of the other guys rescued alive also passed. What was being said around town?
On a less sombre note yeah post up some pics and let us know how things are going.
Not sure what’s happening with that post - a dud!
We are at LAX awaiting flight to Melbourne now.
I was talking about Thursday 24th. 12 inches.
These two photos highlight the difference in snowpack between January 3 and January 27.
I had just arrived in Albuquerque when the avalanche was happening. My friend and I didn't start skiing Taos until two days later, which was a holiday weekend. The avalanche debris and where the slide started was very obvious from the top of Lift 4. Lift 4 wasn't open on Sat or Sun morning. Everyone was pretty aware of what happened on Thu, Jan. 17.
My Ski Week instructor noted that he was wearing his beacon more often even when staying in bounds. He said towards the end of the week that he hadn't seen any back country tracks since the avalanche. We could see natural slides on Mt. Wheeler, which is next to Kachina.
The two young men were found quickly, 15 and 25 minutes, both needed CPR. First was located by an avi dog. But it was a big and long slide. My guess is that they had internal injuries. The second donated organs, which could mean he was brain dead a while before being taken off life support. Based on the GoFundMe page set up for the family, some people knew he was gone before his death was formally announced.
Hospital pays respects to 22-year-old avalanche victim with first 'Organ Donor Walk of Honor'
A few pics from Taos Ski Valley the week of Jan. 20. Most of the week there was blue sky and cold temps, high under 20F, low around 0F. Luckily not much wind after the snowstorm blew through on Tuesday.
A few inches of fresh snow mid-week
Lorelei (black) with Ski Week group, advanced but not expert
Coverage is okay but still thin in places, fairly typical for January
Looking towards Kachina from Bambi (off Lift 2), cat track is Honeysuckle (green) heading towards the backside
Nope. Last year was Whistler with the missus. It's about 6 years since I was here with the missus. The whole mountain is open, but is a bit tracked in the trees. Ideally could use 6 inches of fresh, but is still skiing well. They groom everything here, but there is still plenty of off piste, especially if you like glades. It is all below the tree line, so nothing like the orchestra bowls at Whistler.
Another bluebird today, and I skied with a bunch of old farts from Canada. There is a bus load of them from the Calgary Seniors ski club here for 3 days. Free skiing for over 70's is great!
We are sitting here in Whitefish, Montana, and it's wild out there. Very strong winds have closed all but the lowest lifts. A member of our group (who skis in anything) called it after 1 run down chair 2. He said the best way to describe it is groomed ice. The wind is blowing the snow in sideways. Currently -14 at base. Temps are meant to drop to a low of -27 and high of -15 but with windchill considerably colder. I'm thinking a movie marathon is on the cards.
I also managed 1 run off chair 2. My googles iced over & I couldn't see, but did find some soft patches close to the trees, however it was more like ice skating for the most part. When I arrived, Pine lot had 8-10 cars parked, but when I bailed after the one run, there were only 3 left. I'm waiting for the Super Bowl to start.
The weather hasn't improved. The 8:00 AM update is that only the lower mountain lifts (chair 2,3,6,9) will run again today. Here at Ptarmigan Village, it is snowing quite heavily, and I'm not silly enough to clear the car and head up for 15 minutes like I did yesterday. Netflix here I come.
I was keeping an eye on the webcam and the snow report, and when the sun started to come out decided to drive up to the mountain to check it out. When I arrived at Pine Lot, there was only one other car there and no more tracks to show that anyone else had been there either. But the wind had dropped so it looked pretty good. Chair 6 broke down mid morning so they were running Chair 10, which is a short uphill slog from the base lodge. Anyhow I had a fantastic afternoon skiing off Chair 2. The middle of the runs had largely been scoured, but staying close to the trees particularly on skiers left there was plenty of fresh to be found. Also, after they had groomed Mully's moguls (Saturday night?) it was a really good run with all the fresh snow on it. The forecast is looking OK for the next few days, but it will be every man for himself tomorrow morning off the peak.
Love the comparison shots @absentskier - I really should look to do similar (remembering that thread from years ago when I few people posted similar pics years apart etc.).
Thanks for the pics @MarzNC - You doing a few destinations this season? A retried couple that are in the building I have stayed in for x years have a place in Taos (pretty sure its a house in the valley) as well as the condo on the slopes in Steamboat. Pretty sure he likes Steamboat whilst she prefers Taos - tough choice!!
6 years @jgm - I knew you had been but hadn't realised it was that long ago - guess time flies when you are having fun Was it only the one trip to Whitefish or had you been a couple of times? It was almost given serious consideration for me the trip just gone so will no doubt become an option at some point in the future
Bad slide in Taos this season. Claimed one person and I am not sure what has happened to the other
Second person succumbed to their injuries.
It's at least the 4th time maybe the 5th - the memories not what it once was. The 1st time was 27 years ago. What I have noticed though is that the tree line seems to have risen in that time. My recollections of 1991 were that the North Bowl was only vary lightly treed, which is a lot different to the current state.
It's also by far the coldest I can remember skiing in this time. I now wear a full extra layer and am still cold. I have a constant dilemma with a neoprene face mask. The bloody thing causes my goggles to fog (and even ice) up, and annoys me to distraction. But when I take it off, my cheeks and ample nose freeze. So I leave it off as long as possible. Guess I will just have to put up with a purple nose by the time I get back home.
JACKPOT! Hardly saw my skis all day. Knee deep powder over the whole mountain all day, all runs. Chair 1 queue was looong at the start this morning, so I spent an hour or so off Chair 2. The report said 9" in the village and 4" at the top, and it was at least that down low. When I finally made it to the top. it was just as deep there. It snowed lightly all day and the wind didn't start to come up until late. The temperatures were also on the mild side compared to the last few days. It looks like that might be "all she wrote", as the forecast is for the next arctic blast to come in over the weekend, with warnings on the radio to stay indoors. I can feel another Netflix day in the offing.
The destination resorts in the Rockies I'm skiing at this season include Taos, Big Sky, and per usual Alta in late season. Will do a little exploring around SLC based on the Ikon pass because my stay is longer than usual because I'm meeting up with different group during different weeks.
Among the group at Taos last week (yes, I did two trips to TSV), was a couple who retired to Steamboat. The main reason a lot of the folks I knew were at TSV was to do a Taos Ski Week. Given that we caught a snowstorm, it was a pretty impressive week. Some people stayed up near the base and others were in town. The drive is much easier than LCC for Alta/Snowbird both in terms of traffic and driving. A bit storm for Taos is 4-5 inches overnight, not 1-2 feet.
Just got home. Didn't take many pictures but I'll see if a few are worth posting.
Thermometer at Whitefish summit read -40 today just after noon. I took a couple of photos, but in the 1st the thermometer is blank, & the second it is blurred. It looks like it muxes on and off & I timed it for the minimum and maximum brightness periods. Anyhow needless to say it was bloody cold when the sun went in. It started snowing again (heavily) after 13:00.
Tentatively putting my toe in this thread.
We are seriously contemplating a US trip - last two weeks of March. Partly cause we need a holiday and partly because i have one of those zero birthdays.
We have no Ikon, Mountain Collective or Epic pass.
Does anyone know of any spring passes that we should consider?
There are cheap fares to the US currently. Maybe we just get to the West Coast and see where the snow is failing... the organiser in me is strongly pushing back on that idea though!
Liftopia might be your best bet.
Provides some flexibility
Huge bases everywhere cant go wrong, I would just google your fav resorts web sites and check out lift pass/ accom specials..
Thank you Toff, never knew this existed.
Thanks I forgot about liftopia!
First thing my eyes zero'd in on was Alaska.... I have never thought about it much (pipe dream/pie the sky type stuff) but if we wanted to go to Alyeska or similar and maybe do a day heli - does that exisit? Anyone know? Can't really afford a week in a lodge.
Craigslist have cheap tickets, also ksl.com for Utah
I look forward to receiving payment.
The competitor to Liftopia these days is GetSkiTickets. My friends used it for Taos the last couple years.
With Easter being late, may be some lodging with lift ticket deals to be had in mid-April. Alta is open until April 21. The last week is a U.S. school spring break week for some families but the week before is not.
A Ski Diva who lived in Washington DC went to Alyeska several years ago to celebrate a zero birthday. Convinced the not-really-a-skier husband to go along. She did a heli day solo and had a great time even though she wasn't that experienced off-piste back then. They went in April.
Just a few days too late, but apparently Big Sky had a brief sale on an April 2019 pass for US$221. Deadline was Feb. 11. Just noticed on Facebook because I'll be at Big Sky in late February. Don't usually think of Big Sky as a late season destination. Last time I saw a Spring Pass good in April in the $200 range was for Snowbird several years ago.
Don't miss out on 21 days of spring skiing with the April Pass. Buy now for $221, tram included. Prices go up at midnight tonight: bit.ly/2FZP2Ii
EDIT: looks like it's still available until the end of Feb at a slightly higher price, $299.
We will def be going sometime in March though. So if you hear of a spring pass that starts in March i would love to hear about it. I am considering just getting the airfares and seeing what deals come up closer to the time (relative to the the forecast!)
At the moment though i am leaving towards Jackson and maybe Salt Lake city.
Have you been to Grand Targhee? Lift tickets are available from Liftopia. Easy day trip from Jackson, assuming Teton Pass is open.
By the way, Solitude is no longer as empty as it used to be from what I hear. Have been some big traffic jams in BCC, almost worse than LCC because the people aren't used to it. Ikon passholders seem to be making a difference. Given that there are spring break weeks in March, might be something to keep in mind.
A bit of a splurge but Whisper Ridge cat skiing is an option just north of Ogden. I've talked to the father/son who started up the operation a couple times at the a big ski expo held in the fall in Boston. They try to hold open a seat or two for last minute guests. They started partnering with Powder Mountain for cat and heli skiing. Have 60,000+ acres of private land. Not as steep as Alaska or up in Canada but sounds like good fun.
Have you consider the PacNW? Bachelor, Timberline, Crystal, etc.
My second week at Taos Ski Valley turned out to even more fun. Caught a snowstorm midweek. First denser powder that helped to cover up the thin spots, followed by 5+ inches of fluffy snow that was really fun in the trees. The Kachina lift opened a couple days after I left. Did manage to hike the Highline Ridge for the first time with my lesson group. Thigh deep powder turns were the rewards for 30+ min of work at over 11,000 ft (3300 m). Glad I went with an instructor who knew exactly where to find soft untracked snow. Lucky to get one of the most experienced instructors at TSV. My Ski Week group was a bit more advanced than in January, even though the average age was over 55. Two older women in their late 60s, a grandfather from Texas, I and a local woman in early 60s, and a middle-aged woman from California. Except for the Californian, the rest of us had all done a Ski Week before (6 consecutive morning lessons, same instructor, US$300 plus tip).
Time for a quick run or two before lessons start at 9:45
Lower Hunziker Bowl, black bumps used by instructors of blue/black, black, and double-black lesson groups; entry to Upper Hunziker requires a little side stepping; Hunziker Main starts up on Kachina Peak
Below Blitz Trees, off Lift 2
Reward after the hike, can you spot the skier?
Knee deep on tall people, thigh deep on petite skiers
View of Kachina Peak from the top of Lift 2, Kachina is on the "back side" of TSV and not visible at all from the main base, summit is a bit over 12,000 ft (3600 m)
Jackson faces south west so isn't as ideal as say Snowbird, Mammoth, Bachelor, Copper, A basin etc etc (north facing hills) in March.
In my view the best late season skiing on the continent is the resorts around Banff (Sunshine and Lake Louise). Almost guaranteed to have cold dry winter snow there at that time.
Anyway it doesn't matter where you end up really - you'll be on snow whilst the rest of us will be working.
Thanks, great suggestions!
And @MarzNC cat skiing is a great suggestion. And we did do grand targhee last time we were at Jackson! But would do it again.
Whitefish was a zoo today. 15+ minute queues or chairs 1 & 7. President's day weekend and fresh snow has brought them from all over. It's by far the biggest crowd I've ever seen here. That said, as long as you kept to the fixed grip triples (4, 5, 8, 10, 11) there was no waiting. Chair 2 also had no queues whenever I ventured down there as well. It snowed all day too, so it's probably going to be the same tomorrow.
First vid from my FIL who is currently in Salt Lake City with a Brighton season pass for the 14th consecutive year
With the Epic (Perisher) pass, looking for Park City hotel accomodation next Feb (no car).
Taos Had History and Mystique, but Few Skiers. Can a New Owner Change That?
With a $300 million investment and upgraded amenities, the New Mexico ski area was attempting a revival without losing its soul. A fatal avalanche tested that effort even further