USA 2020-21 ramblings/reports

MarzNC

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For regions east of the Rockies, Mother Nature is not cooperating when it comes to cold enough temps for early season snowmaking. A number of places have had to push their opening dates back by a week at least.

Although Hunter managed to open, it didn't even make it thru the Thanksgiving weekend. Won't re-open until next weekend. Pretty much will have to start over in terms of building a base even for the core trails that were open a few days ago.

Bachelor announced back in mid-Sept that they wouldn't open until Dec. 7. Surprised a lot of locals apparently. What was unusual is that Bachelor allowed uphill travel during Thanksgiving week knowing that people would be itching to get out even without lift service. Slopes will be closed for uphill travel in the next week to avoid any risk of people getting mixed up with equipment moving around for snowmaking and grooming as Bachelor gets ready for Opening Day.

". . .
Uphill Travel

With a planned opening date of December 7 - pending snow coverage and depth to open Sunrise, Skyliner and West Village base areas - we intend to offer uphill access to our community through Sunday, November 29. Our uphill policy of “unpatrolled and uncontrolled” will be in effect during this time period. Mt. Bachelor will close all uphill and guest access beginning Monday, November 30 to prepare the resort for opening day. At this time active machinery will be on hill and we will complete base area preparations to ensure a safe and smooth opening day.
. . ."

OPENINGS PLANNED NOV 30 THRU DEC 17

Nov 30: Mt. Hood Meadows, OR - was Nov 28 (adjusting to Oregon 2-week freeze)
***Nov 30: Copper, CO, Powdr, parking reservations
***Nov 30: Snowbird, UT, Powdr, parking reservations
Nov 30: Mt. Hood Meadows, OR
**Dec 1: Steamboat, CO - was Nov 21
**Dec 3: Sugarbush, VT - was Nov 21
Dec 3: Bolton Valley, VT - was Nov 30
Dec 4: Whiteface, NY - was Nov 27
Dec 4: Smuggler’s Notch, VT - was Nov 27
**Dec 4: Snowshoe, WV - was Nov 25
***Dec 7: Mt. Bachelor, OR, Powdr, parking reservations
Dec 10: Diamond Peak, CA
Dec 11: Homewood, CA
 

MarzNC

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Mt. Hood Meadows has absolutely the best communication about what to expect when they do get open. Had to delay a few days to adjust to a 2-week "freeze" that is happening in Oregon right now. People are being asked to limit their time indoors to 10 minutes for any reason. Meaning a quick stop in the restroom, get Grab-and-Go food, or just to warm up briefly. The video tour makes the new processes pretty obvious, even for someone who has never been there.

My impression of Mt. Hood Meadows during a quick look in May for a morning a few years ago was that it was well run. It's been around for 50 years. Just built a new base building. Even more interested in going back to visit friends in Oregon in the future.

https://www.skihood.com/en/about-us...nside-out-lodge-access-for-opening-at-meadows

 

MarzNC

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Colorado counties with ski resorts are getting serious about pushing locals to pay attention to public health rules. The goal is to get infection rates down in order to stay well below the metrics that would send a county into Purple, which would mean a shut-down. Red is bad enough. For the first few openings, resorts were operating under Orange. Keystone, Breck, Arapahoe Basin, and Loveland are in Summit County. Vail and Beaver Creek are in Eagle County. Aspen/Snowmass is in Pitkin County. Steamboat is in Routt County. As of Dec. 4, Summit and Routt are Red while Eagle and Pitkin are Orange.

https://covid19.colorado.gov/data/covid-19-dial-dashboard

Dec. 2, Summit Daily in Colorado (USA)
Local police stepping up enforcement of public health orders
https://www.summitdaily.com/news/local-police-stepping-up-enforcement-of-public-health-orders/

Dec. 2, Vail Daily
Pitkin County ready to launch COVID-19 affidavit for Aspen area visitors
County will be first in Colorado to require visitors to arrive with negative COVID-19 test results
https://www.vaildaily.com/news/pitk...h-covid-19-affidavit-for-aspen-area-visitors/
 

MarzNC

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Had a good time skiing at Jackson Hole, Grand Targhee, and Alta in the past couple weeks with a few friends. We all flew from points east on Southwest. Caught a powder storm (15+ inches) at Alta towards the end of the trip. :)

Mask usage was very good at JH and Alta, with lifties reminding people to cover their noses on a regular basis. A mix of locals and travelers at JH and around LCC. Stayed in a Teton Village condo and took the resort shuttle bus.

I stayed at a condo at Snowbird and took the free UTA bus to ski Alta Mon-Fri. 50% capacity for the buses, but rarely more than 10 people on a bus that holds 42.

We were at GT on a Saturday with fresh snow and sunshine most of the day. Mask usage was good indoors but not the best in lift lines. Mostly locals at GT. A Mountain Host said it was the first good weekend with decent coverage off-piste. Although the long line was for Shoshone, which is the beginner lift. Lots of families with little kids, as well as adult beginners. Lasted into the mid-afternoon. A couple of my travel buddies were cautious intermediates who stayed there after taking the long green from the summit as a first run while the sun was out. My ski buddy and I went exploring off-piste a bit. There was 10 inches of fresh fluffy snow but not quite enough coverage to cushion hidden rocks though, so we were pretty conservative about where we went.
 
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summit_32

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Hey @MarzNC - what's your opinion on spending a week at GT? Is it too limited for that. I've been to JHMR and loved it but my wife doesn't want to go back (too steep).
I'm looking a somewhere for reliable, early season snow for a trip next year.
Cheers
 

Sbooker

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Hey @MarzNC - what's your opinion on spending a week at GT? Is it too limited for that. I've been to JHMR and loved it but my wife doesn't want to go back (too steep).
I'm looking a somewhere for reliable, early season snow for a trip next year.
Cheers
I leave it to MarzNC as I’ve only done a couple of days at GT while we stayed in Jackson. Personally I could do a week there particularly with fresh snow and Grand Targhee is about as likely as it gets in North America.
Other hills with good early season snow records are Alta, Brighton, Steamboat, Fernie and Whistler. See this site for top notch North American snow stats.
http://bestsnow.net/fam_ski.htm
 

MarzNC

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Hey @MarzNC - what's your opinion on spending a week at GT? Is it too limited for that. I've been to JHMR and loved it but my wife doesn't want to go back (too steep).
I'm looking a somewhere for reliable, early season snow for a trip next year.
Cheers
Depends on what dates. What I learned this trip was that before mid-December the coverage isn't usually deep enough for confident off-piste skiing. Might look very inviting, but a foot of fluffy snow isn't enough to protect ski bases from hidden rocks. A Mountain Host I chatted with made that quite clear. My sense is that by the third week of Dec, I think going off-piste is generally considered safer.

Not sure I would plan on skiing GT for a full week. But staying in Victor and mostly skiing GT, with 1-3 day trips over Teton Pass to ski JH would make for a fun week. That said, if it's a snowy week and you like deep powder skiing there is little way to get bored at GT. Especially if willing to pay for the snowcat once or twice. However, need to be willing to ski with low visibility. Once there is solid coverage, don't need to worry about rocks at GT but relatively little terrain with enough trees to follow when the clouds roll over the mountain or it's snowing hard or foggy. My primary ski buddy didn't notice one afternoon and had a hard time making his way back from the top of Blackfoot. He was skiing solo at the time. I was paying more attention while skiing with a local, so we moved over away from the thick clouds in time.

What my friends and I did this Dec trip was stay in Jackson, skied a few days at JH and did a day trip to GT. My travel buddies who were intermediates actually liked the long groomers at JH. Another pair of friends who are advanced skiers did something similar a week later. Needless to say coverage was a bit better. But still no black terrain open at JH while GT was supposedly 100% open.

My experience at GT with deep powder was stopping by in February when driving from SLC for a week at Big Sky after a few days at Bridger. Pretty amazing!

Honestly, for an early season trip I think the most fun place to go is Alta/Snowbird. But I'm totally biased since Alta is my favorite and has been for decades. That hasn't changed even as I've explored a number of destination resorts in the last decade. My itinerary in the last couple weeks involved flying into SLC, driving to Jackson, and then spending a week at a condo at Snowbird. The UTA bus between Snowbird and Alta is free and runs often enough before 10am and 3-6pm. Was very nice not to have to deal with the canyon road during and after snowstorms (two during the same week :) ).

Staying at Solitude could be an option for a family. Although Solitude groomers are on the steep side too. In some ways I like Brighton terrain better in terms of variety for a mixed-ability group. Can still do a day trip to Alta from Solitude if rent a AWD car.
 
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summit_32

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Depends on what dates. What I learned this trip was that before mid-December the coverage isn't usually deep enough for confident off-piste skiing. Might look very inviting, but a foot of fluffy snow isn't enough to protect ski bases from hidden rocks. A Mountain Host I chatted with made that quite clear. My sense is that by the third week of Dec, I think going off-piste is generally considered safer.

Not sure I would plan on skiing GT for a full week. But staying in Victor and mostly skiing GT, with 1-3 day trips over Teton Pass to ski JH would make for a fun week. That said, if it's a snowy week and you like deep powder skiing there is little way to get bored at GT. Especially if willing to pay for the snowcat once or twice. However, need to be willing to ski with low visibility. Once there is solid coverage, don't need to worry about rocks at GT but relatively little terrain with enough trees to follow when the clouds roll over the mountain or it's snowing hard or foggy. My primary ski buddy didn't notice one afternoon and had a hard time making his way back from the top of Blackfoot. He was skiing solo at the time. I was paying more attention while skiing with a local, so we moved over away from the thick clouds in time.

What my friends and I did this Dec trip was stay in Jackson, skied a few days at JH and did a day trip to GT. My travel buddies who were intermediates actually liked the long groomers at JH. Another pair of friends who are advanced skiers did something similar a week later. Needless to say coverage was a bit better. But still no black terrain open at JH while GT was supposedly 100% open.

My experience at GT with deep powder was stopping by in February when driving from SLC for a week at Big Sky after a few days at Bridger. Pretty amazing!

Honestly, for an early season trip I think the most fun place to go is Alta/Snowbird. But I'm totally biased since Alta is my favorite and has been for decades. That hasn't changed even as I've explored a number of destination resorts in the last decade. My itinerary in the last couple weeks involved flying into SLC, driving to Jackson, and then spending a week at a condo at Snowbird. The UTA bus between Snowbird and Alta is free and runs often enough before 10am and 3-6pm. Was very nice not to have to deal with the canyon road during and after snowstorms (two during the same week :) ).

Staying at Solitude could be an option for a family. Although Solitude groomers are on the steep side too. In some ways I like Brighton terrain better in terms of variety for a mixed-ability group. Can still do a day trip to Alta from Solitude if rent a AWD car.
Thanks - i think i will add GT to the list. I really like Alta too but i think its changed for the worse in the past 10 years. Just too many people heading heading up LCC each morning. Perhaps if we stayed at Alta rather than down in the valley. Agree that the terrain and snow is sublime.
 

MarzNC

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Thanks - i think i will add GT to the list. I really like Alta too but i think its changed for the worse in the past 10 years. Just too many people heading heading up LCC each morning. Perhaps if we stayed at Alta rather than down in the valley. Agree that the terrain and snow is sublime.
Yep, Alta gets skied out pretty fast these days. It's pricey staying at one of the lodges in the town of Alta but makes for a relaxing ski vacation since breakfast and dinner are included. Under normal circumstances, a family can book a dorm room as a private room to cut costs. Each lodge has it's own personality.

Have you ever checked out Powder Mountain? The current ownership has been limiting season passes and day tickets for several years. It's over 7000 acres and the numbers top out at something like 4000 max. For people who like GT, PowMow is worth considering. Those who prefer JH or Snowbird think PowMow is too tame because it doesn't have much in the way of steeps and chutes. But being able to go just about anywhere and not worry about cliffs or ending up having to hike out has value too. There are condos on the mountain, plus condos nearby in Eden. But not much to do besides ski. That's another way it's similar to GT.
 

summit_32

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PowMow could be good - bit concerned about their snow record for early season skiing but certainly worth considering. This season isn't looking too great for Colorado so far (except Wolf Creek).
 

MarzNC

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PowMow could be good - bit concerned about their snow record for early season skiing but certainly worth considering. This season isn't looking too great for Colorado so far (except Wolf Creek).
Ah, forgot you were looking for somewhere to go in late December. PowMow is all natural snow. So it certainly varies as to when there is enough coverage to be fun all over. Right only one lift is open, for 900 of 7000 acres.
 

MarzNC

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There are some GMs that are getting tired of having their staff having to deal with a few bad apples when it comes to mask usage. The region that is generating the most headlines is the northern Rockies and PacNW.

Schweitzer only opens a couple trails and the terrain park for night skiing. There won't be any lights on for the upcoming holiday weekend, Jan. 15-17 (Monday, Jan. 18, is the holiday).

Jan. 10, The Spokesman, Washington State (USA)
Schweitzer Mountain Resort shuts down twilight skiing after noncompliance with COVID-19 measures
https://www.spokesman.com/stories/2021/jan/10/schweitzer-mountain-resort-shuts-down-twilight-ski/
 

MarzNC

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The state that's really hurting for snow is Colorado. Utah is low too.

The Indy Pass covers most regions except Colorado. For US$199 can ski for 2 days at over 50 locations, which are all independent. Some are small but the ski areas in the west are plenty big enough in terms of skiable terrain. These are not destination resorts, but more likely to be mom & pop ski areas that serve the local community.

I like to use the Indy Pass on OpenSnow to look at the snow forecast across the country. The surprise for the upcoming week is that my home mountain, Massanutten (northern VA, two hours west of Washington DC), could get 8-10 inches of snow. The annual average total for Massanutten is only around 25 inches. It's under the orange 13" marker in WV that is Canaan Valley.

I'm headed to Colorado in about a week. Have skied at Massanutten for two out of the last three weeks. It's been one of the best seasons there in a while. Since lift tickets are being limited, even the lift lines during the recent holiday weekend weren't too bad. I was mostly skiing with a tween who is an advanced beginner so we were on blues. Between overnight snowmaking and fewer people on the slopes I was able to safely guide her down a harder blue doing medium turns without having to worry about folks speeding down somewhat out of control.

Screen Shot 2021-01-24 at 10.08.50 PM.jpg
Screen Shot 2021-01-24 at 10.09.13 PM.jpg
 

MarzNC

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heading to Timberline WV next weekend - praying for snow :)
I was there last Thursday. Did a day trip from Massanutten with a teen who is also an advanced skier. We had an absolute blast! Got in plenty of runs in 4 hours. Hope to get back in late February.

Having a high-speed detachable 6-pack zipping to the top of 1000 ft vertical in about six minutes is so cool for the southeast. With all the good trails that Timberline has for all levels, all it needed was good lift. The old summit double took 12 min if you were lucky and often 15-20 min. The top is pretty windy and it could be very cold the last few minutes.

We lapped the trees in the official Glade near the double-black that's under the lift line. Kept finding new places for untracked powder turns. I think there was 10+ inches earlier in the week.

We decided that booting up in the parking lot was simplest. The lots are all pretty close in. We did carry our skis over to the slope and got our RFID cards set up before booting up. The restrooms actually are on the outside, so easiest to walk thru the cafeteria.
 
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MarzNC

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Thanks @MarzNC Looks like we will get some snow this week too. I've heard the weekends can be busy but we are staying at Canaan Valley Resort so access will be easy.
The CV Lodge is pretty nice. Have heard the food in the dining room has been improving and it was already quite good when I stayed there a few years ago.

Note that the Timberline 6-pack seems to be opening a little late at times. Meaning 9:15 to 9:30 instead of 9:00. When I arrived last Thursday at 9:45 I saw quite a line. But it was gone by the time we got our tickets and booted up, so I assume the lift opened late.
 
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summit_32

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Thanks - do you need to buy the RFID cards in advance or just walk up on the Saturday. There doesn't seem to be any capacity restrictions at Timberline. We are planning just to ski both days at Timberline rather than one each at CVR and Timberline.
 

MarzNC

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Thanks - do you need to buy the RFID cards in advance or just walk up on the Saturday. There doesn't seem to be any capacity restrictions at Timberline. We are planning just to ski both days at Timberline rather than one each at CVR and Timberline.
Best to buy tickets online somewhat in advance, especially for a Saturday. Pretty sure they sold out over the holiday weekend.

Once you have an RFID card, then future days are just added to the account for that card. Also any credits. For instance if someone decides to stop in less than 4 hours, can go to the ticket office and get $10 credit. The credit is good on any resort purchase such as food or drink, not just lift tickets.

There are no reservations needed for season passes. But the number of day tickets is more limited than usual. Of course, it's total guess work since there isn't any historical data for the current set up and ownership of Timberline. However, Tline is not too likely to be overrun with people because of it's location.
 
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Kash

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I'm enjoying this thread. Its pleasing to see how much of the USA ski resorts are managing to stay open with adequate measures. Gives us Aussies confidence that we can have a somewhat ok ski season, even with our devastating 5 new cases a day
 

summit_32

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I was fortunate to ski at Timberline WV last weekend. https://timberlinemountain.com/

Was very surprised to discover an excellent family ski mountain - sure its not Jackson but it was great for a weekend getaway from DC. Timberline has approx. 300m of vertical with primarily moderate pitch. My wife described as skiing similar to Guthega which i thought was a reasonable overall description. Their main run 'Salamander' is a 2-mile gentle groomer (not a cat-track) that my son loved and skied again and again. We had 8-inches of fresh snow on Sunday which was most welcome but did make the 3-hour drive home a little concerning. Plenty of cars off the side of the interstate.

The new management at Timberline have invested significantly into the resort in the past 12months - highlight is a new, high speed six-chair that runs the full vertical, enhanced snowmaking & base lodge improvements. Ski hire for the kids was the most relaxed i've seen anywhere. My daughter left her helmet at home so we went inside and was told sure, just walk behind the counter, grab one and bring it back at the end of the day! No paperwork, no nothing. We stayed at the Canaan Valley Resort which is only 10mins drive from Timberline & would thoroughly recommend too.

I can't really access the local EPIC resorts at the moment - need a COVID test in advance & then quarantine on return so this was a great alternative for us. We have a trip booked for Vail & Breck in late March so really pleased that they are getting some decent snow too from this storm.
 
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MarzNC

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I was fortunate to ski at Timberline WV last weekend. https://timberlinemountain.com/
Glad your family had a chance to check out the new and improved Timberline. Definitely some of the best terrain with a half-day drive of DC. All it needed was an owner with an experienced team who actually know how to run a small ski resort.

I'm impressed that along with the new lifts, they also put in RFID. Pretty nice to be able to use the same card for lift access and using any credits from midweek or 4-hour sessions to buy food or drinks.

I'm hoping to get in another day at Timberline next week. Plenty of new snow in the forecast.
 
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MarzNC

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Haven't been reading or posting much lately because I was in Colorado skiing. Was with three ski buddies who I've done trips with in the past decade. The idea was to check out several ski areas/resorts. Although we all have Ikon, we also wanted to check out indie ski areas that aren't as well known to people who fly into Denver. The list ended up: Monarch, Wolf Creek, Copper, Loveland, and Arapahoe Basin. We spent the most time at Wolf Creek (Sat, Sun, Mon) partially to get farther away from Denver locals. But also because WC has had far more snow in the last couple months. In fact, WC is above average for snowfall for the season while almost everywhere closer to Denver in Colorado is barely getting to mid-season snow coverage.

Will try to provide some pics and trip reports soon.
 
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MarzNC

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I'm enjoying this thread. Its pleasing to see how much of the USA ski resorts are managing to stay open with adequate measures. Gives us Aussies confidence that we can have a somewhat ok ski season, even with our devastating 5 new cases a day
It was a little intense during early season when there were a larger number of folks intent on riding lifts without good mask coverage. But by the mid-January holiday weekend, it was pretty clear that no management team was going to stand for verbal abuse of their staff related to reminders about covering noses or mask usage in general. Whining about the need for reservations also became less of an issue.

I've skied in NC, VA, WV, WY, UT, and CO since early Dec. Been reading about other regions on regional ski forums in the east, as well as on TheSkiDiva for N. America. Bottom line is that all ski areas/resorts came up with adjustments that are working. While there have been COVID-19 outbreaks (2+) among ski industry employees, there haven't been headlines about customers spreading or contracting COVID-19 at ski areas/resorts. Colorado has the most comprehensive list of outbreaks available online. The places I skied in the past week were diligent about reminding people about mask usage in the mornings as people arrived from the parking lot and all day long as people loaded lifts. There are small ski areas having ski patrol and/or instructors helping remind people about distancing and mask usage in the morning when the largest number of people arrive around the same time. Going to restrooms indoors is a non-issue. Adjustments related to food service and lockers varies. Capacity limits exist, but here are still weekends when waiting in a lift line is to be expected. At the same time, the slopes are less crowded since the number of people actually riding the lifts is reduced.
 
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MarzNC

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The reason my "crew" of four only skied in Colorado in early February was because we cancelled our trip to Taos that was planned months before the season started. We made the decision in early December when it was clear that New Mexico travel restrictions (14 day self-quarantine after arrival in NM) were not going to go away soon enough. What happened last week was that NM finally dropped travel restrictions. Taos Ski Valley immediately sent out an announcement. A trip in March for a Taos Ski Week is under consideration.

Since NM had neighboring states (AZ, TX, OK) that weren't really paying enough attention to COVID-19 for most of 2020, the NM travel restrictions weren't effective at all. Friends who live in NM saw plenty of out-of-state plates at golf courses all summer and at Taos during the Christmas holiday weeks. Will be interesting to see what happens during the rest of the ski season. Taos normally closes in early April due to lack of interest, not lack of snow.
 
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Summit

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Haven't been reading or posting much lately because I was in Colorado skiing. Was with three ski buddies who I've done trips with in the past decade. The idea was to check out several ski areas/resorts. Although we all have Ikon, we also wanted to check out indie ski areas that aren't as well known to people who fly into Denver. The list ended up: Monarch, Wolf Creek, Copper, Loveland, and Arapahoe Basin. We spent the most time at Wolf Creek (Sat, Sun, Mon) partially to get farther away from Denver locals. But also because WC has had far more snow in the last couple months. In fact, WC is above average for snowfall for the season while almost everywhere closer to Denver in Colorado is barely getting to mid-season snow coverage.

Will try to provide some pics and trip reports soon.
How did you like Monarch ? They hadn't had any snow for a couple of weeks when I did a day there. Usually gets plenty, being right on the Continental Divide. The Salida locals hill in a beautiful part of the State where you could probably drive a couple of hours in any direction before getting to a town with more than 5,000 people.
 

MarzNC

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How did you like Monarch ? They hadn't had any snow for a couple of weeks when I did a day there. Usually gets plenty, being right on the Continental Divide. The Salida locals hill in a beautiful part of the State where you could probably drive a couple of hours in any direction before getting to a town with more than 5,000 people.
We had a very good time at Monarch. I was with three other friends. The four of us have done trips together since 2015. It snowed the night before and all day, so we got powder turns. Since it was a transit day, we only skied 1:00-4:00pm. That was plenty of time to get a good sense of the place. Didn't do the little hike thru the Mirkwood Gate given the low visibility and the fact that we weren't adjusted to the high altitude yet. The last few runs off the green that led to the Tele Woods were good fun in untracked powder. At first we wondered what was lurking underneath in the glade because there were no tracks. But then a tele instructor went in with his four students, so we knew it would be fine. The groomer next to the trees were untracked with 4+ inches of fresh snow.

Monarch is relatively small for the Rockies. Only about 1000 ft vertical. But good fun with no crowds on a powder Friday. I enjoyed the green and blue trees with good snow since they don't require much thinking. While I and my friends are advanced skiers who can ski more complex terrain, the first day or two after flying to the big mountains we like to take it a little easy. Monarch is about a 3-hour drive from the Denver airport and 2.5 hours from Colorado Springs.

Drove to Monarch from Dillon after a late start that morning. We stopped at the Whole Foods supermarket in Frisco in order to pick up supplies for the stay in South Fork near Wolf Creek. I-70 was a parking lot heading west from Frisco (towards Copper and Vail) because of a couple of accidents near Copper. So we took the route that goes thru Breckenridge instead of going thru Leadville. There was snow on the road in Hoosier Pass but not bad. By the time we arrived at the Monarch parking lot around noon, there were spaces close to the lodge since people were already leaving for the day after a morning of fun. We were driving two cars. I had a rental AWD SUV I picked up in Denver. (Can get a good rate thru Costco Travel.) One ski buddy lives in Albuquerque so he drove to Denver to pick up the friend who arrive a day earlier than I did.

The towns were certainly small. South Fork didn't have a supermarket. The closest one was in Del Norte 20 min away. There were three restaurants open for dinner. We did take out. Food was pretty good from the pizza/beer place and the BBQ. The BBQ tavern was closed the evening of the SuperBowl football championship game. The pizza place was almost empty so my roommate and I ate the pizza there as the game was winding down instead of taking it to our room.
 
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Summit

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^^^
I didn't do any of that drive, just skied there for one day as a 90 minute scenic deserted roads day trip from Crested Butte. Started heading towards the ticket window and a young local says give me $20 and I'll buy the two for one deal (in 2006) and give you the other ticket...knew I was at a friendly locals hill a few seconds after arriving.

https://www.denverpost.com/2017/01/15/colorado-monarch-mountain-ski-area-thriving/
 
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summit_32

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Glad your family had a chance to check out the new and improved Timberline. Definitely some of the best terrain with a half-day drive of DC. All it needed was an owner with an experienced team who actually know how to run a small ski resort.

I'm impressed that along with the new lifts, they also put in RFID. Pretty nice to be able to use the same card for lift access and using any credits from midweek or 4-hour sessions to buy food or drinks.

I'm hoping to get in another day at Timberline next week. Plenty of new snow in the forecast.
They are expecting another 25cm's this Thursday/Friday. Having a great season so far !!
 
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Donza

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19 avie deaths in 16 days...
Plus a treewell death in Jackson overnight..

Terrible season for it
 

MarzNC

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The rare occurrence of full Interlodge for LCC for a full day happened on Feb. 16. Both Alta and Snowbird announced around noon that they would stay closed. Snow came down at a rate of 2 inch/hour for a while. BCC was closed for a few hours, the open, then closed again. Avalanche danger is extreme.

Alta is still at only 70% of average snowpack.

Feb. 16, KSLTV in SLC (USA)
Little Cottonwood Closed, Alta Residents Forced Indoors Due To Avalanche Danger

https://ksltv.com/455535/little-cot...dents-forced-indoors-due-to-avalanche-danger/
 

Donza

Dogs body...
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The rare occurrence of full Interlodge for LCC for a full day happened on Feb. 16. Both Alta and Snowbird announced around noon that they would stay closed. Snow came down at a rate of 2 inch/hour for a while. BCC was closed for a few hours, the open, then closed again. Avalanche danger is extreme.

Alta is still at only 70% of average snowpack.

Feb. 16, KSLTV in SLC (USA)
Little Cottonwood Closed, Alta Residents Forced Indoors Due To Avalanche Danger

https://ksltv.com/455535/little-cot...dents-forced-indoors-due-to-avalanche-danger/
EubbBieUUAIf8hE
 

Dipole

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I asked a friend in Houston, Texas how he was faring in the cold, this is his reply :


It’s great to hear from you.

This is an unmitigated disaster! We’re just not prepared for this. 25% of Texas electricity comes from wind power or solar power. All of it is frozen or snowed over. Even some Natural Gas power plants are frozen, which seems absurd.

Water pipes are frozen and busting and water pressure has declined to zero. We have no water. Lots of folks have no power, but it’s still on here, so far.

There is a Boil Water notice in effect here, and all of the restaurants are closed. There is no water anyway. People are freezing and they’re hungry. The groceries have been stripped of food. I’ve asked friends if they know how to capture and cook squirrel.

There is enough food here for 2 more days, as long as we don’t lose power. All of the ready to eat food is gone.

We’re going to have freezing temps for 3 more nights.

Hell has officially frozen over!

Meanwhile, I did get vaxxed, so there is some good news!
 

MarzNC

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Sounds like the Colorado is getting ready for college spring breaks. Although there will be fewer colleges taking a full week for spring break than usual.

Summit County has recently managed to get to Yellow status. That means 50% capacity for restaurants, up from 25%. The town of Breckenridge is taking steps to make sure visitors in March follow public health rules, in particularly mask usage. Just as some ski areas have called on ski patrol to remind people about distancing and mask usage first thing in the morning, Breck leaders have realized that "ambassadors" aren't as effective more official looking people.

Feb. 24, Summit Daily (USA)
Breckenridge to place security on Main Street during spring break to enforce public health orders

https://www.summitdaily.com/news/lo...spring-break-to-enforce-public-health-orders/
 

MarzNC

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Had a good time skiing at Jackson Hole, Grand Targhee, and Alta in the past couple weeks with a few friends. We all flew from points east on Southwest. Caught a powder storm (15+ inches) at Alta towards the end of the trip. :)

Mask usage was very good at JH and Alta, with lifties reminding people to cover their noses on a regular basis. A mix of locals and travelers at JH and around LCC. Stayed in a Teton Village condo and took the resort shuttle bus.

I stayed at a condo at Snowbird and took the free UTA bus to ski Alta Mon-Fri. 50% capacity for the buses, but rarely more than 10 people on a bus that holds 42.

We were at GT on a Saturday with fresh snow and sunshine most of the day. Mask usage was good indoors but not the best in lift lines. Mostly locals at GT. A Mountain Host said it was the first good weekend with decent coverage off-piste. Although the long line was for Shoshone, which is the beginner lift. Lots of families with little kids, as well as adult beginners. Lasted into the mid-afternoon. A couple of my travel buddies were cautious intermediates who stayed there after taking the long green from the summit as a first run while the sun was out. My ski buddy and I went exploring off-piste a bit. There was 10 inches of fresh fluffy snow but not quite enough coverage to cushion hidden rocks though, so we were pretty conservative about where we went.
Didn't take many pictures on this trip. It was the first time I'd flown to ski out in the Rockies during early season. Overall I think it was worth the effort. Especially since my ski buddy and I did a semi-private lesson at JH and at Alta with very experienced instructors I've worked with before.

Typical signage at any ski resort this season. Anyone who takes a shuttle bus from Teton Village condos or any Jackson Hole parking lot walks by here.
JH Dec 2021 - 1.jpg


Snowmaking in progress in mid-December, view from Aprés Vous
JH Dec 2021 - 2.jpg
 

MarzNC

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Even though we stayed at Snowbird Dec 13-19, my ski buddy and I skied all five days at Alta. We took the UTA bus from the Iron Blosam up to Alta around 8:45 in the morning to the Albion base. I preferred to start there because I wanted to leave a bag in the Albion locker room with snow boots so I could change out of my ski boots in the afternoons. My feet weren't quite ready to stay in ski boots all day. There were pay lockers (in/out all day) or free cubbies. My ski buddy rode the bus with ski boots on in both directions.

Another reason to be at Albion was because the UTA bus is empty starting out there. Although early season there weren't many people getting on at Wildcat. We usually didn't leave until after 4pm. The buses run every 10 minutes until 6pm. Seemed to have extra buses on the powder days so make up for 50% capacity.

Alta lifties were reminding people to cover their noses pretty consistently. My ski buddy was using a cloth mask that would slide down off his nose when it was wet. The lift lines were set up with ghost lanes. Also went longer than usual to allow for more distance between people in line. Even only a few weeks into the season, people seemed to know what to do.

All the dining areas at Alta were open with limited capacity. No outside food was allowed indoors. If someone was uncomfortable sitting at a table, take out was available. Also a food truck in the Albion parking lot and another at Wildcat, with menus available online. The QR ordering system for eating indoors worked well. After scanning the QR code, you placed on order online that was tied to your table number. Got a text when the food was ready. Went to get it at the usual cafeteria location and paid at the cashier as usual. The ordering process meant far fewer people were near the cafeteria line than usual. Groups were asked to only send one person to do the pickup.

Alta Lodge, Rustler, and Snowpine were open to the public for lunch. Rustler required a reservation. The chairlift going to Rustler had a sign that it was for Guests Only. The chairlift going to Snowpine was for guests and ski school only. Normally that lift is open to beginners looking for a really easy slope and a lift that's really easy to load. It's next to the Alta ski school building.

Alf's for indoor dining (mid-mountain at base of Sugarloaf & Supreme lifts)
Alta Dec 2021 - 2.jpg


New extension at Alf's has a great view, windows were kept open for better ventilation
Alta Dec 2021 - 4.jpg


New outdoor window at Baldy Brew's on ground floor of Watson's (mid-mountain on Wildcat/Collins side)
Alta Dec 2021 - 1.jpg
 

MarzNC

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The Supreme lift didn't open until Dec. 19. So the terrain available was limited but that wasn't a surprise. The surprise was the powder storm on Thu, Dec. 17. It was a little dense but still made for good fun that afternoon and the next day. Also meant work for ski patrol. The lifts open up about 30 minutes late on Friday. So the lines got pretty long at both Wildcat and Albion bases. There was clearly pent up demand among locals.

More than enough for powder turns if you knew where to go
Alta Dec 2021 - 3.jpg


We caught the rope drop for Ballroom. Took the advice of the patroller at the entrance and followed a group of instructors down just after the trees. The line on the traverse was moving pretty slowly.
Alta Dec 2021 - 5.jpg


The car sat all week at Snowbird. We borrowed tools from the Iron Blosam to dig out the car on Friday for the drive to the airport on Saturday morning. Snow was fluffy powder so it wasn't that hard to clear.
Alta Dec 2021 - 6.jpg
 

MarzNC

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Season passes for 2021-22 are starting to become available. Boyne Resorts unveiled their pass options for New England (Loon, NH; Sunday River and Sugarloaf in ME). Early season discounts end April 30. After that Boyne is going to pause sales, as they did in Summer 2020 due to the pandemic. Interesting to see that Boyne is offering a deferment option, but have to make a decision by Dec. 10, 2021. Also couldn't use it for spring skiing for whatever days the resorts included are open after March 22.

Boyne hasn't started selling passes in Michigan or for Big Sky yet. Have separate Spring Passes for Boyne Mountain or Boyne Highlands for under US$200 good starting March 1 until Closing Day.

Screen Shot 2021-03-03 at 11.26.17 AM.png
 
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summit_32

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Season passes for 2021-22 are starting to become available. Boyne Resorts unveiled their pass options for New England (Loon, NH; Sunday River and Sugarloaf in ME). Early season discounts end April 30. After that Boyne is going to pause sales, as they did in Summer 2020 due to the pandemic. Interesting to see that Boyne is offering a deferment option, but have to make a decision by Dec. 10, 2021. Also couldn't use it for spring skiing for whatever days the resorts included are open after March 22.

Boyne hasn't started selling passes in Michigan or for Big Sky yet. Have separate Spring Passes for Boyne Mountain or Boyne Highlands for under US$200 good starting March 1 until Closing Day.

Screen Shot 2021-03-03 at 11.26.17 AM.png
seems like pass renewal gets earlier every year. Lets hope next season operates without restrictions
 

MarzNC

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seems like pass renewal gets earlier every year. Lets hope next season operates without restrictions
Not really. Passes for the next season have started becoming available in early March for a while. I've been paying close attention to the multi-resort passes since the MCP started in 2012. Since many people quit thinking about skiing soon after Pres. Day weekend in mid-February, the small mountains try to entice people to do another ski weekend or two by including late season with the following season pass. But usually only locals bothered to pay attention. Online discussions about making decision about buying a pass at Early Bird prices are what's relatively new for many folks in N. America.

For the USA, I'll be very surprised if there are capacity limits imposed by state or county government officials for the 2021-22 season. It's becoming fairly clear as the vaccination numbers increase that "herd immunity" will be reached by early fall, if not before that. However, the concept of free parking reservations or lift access reservations during busy periods (Saturdays, holidays) might stick around for a few resorts.
 
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