Hamfist
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US Ski Resorts

Mon Aug 28, 2006 1:50 am

Have been looking at some info on ski resorts in the western US. I've never spent much time around any of these resorts and was just looking for a few recommendations.

Considering a wedding anniversary trip for the week before Christmas this year. Some important considerations in choosing the right resort:

- would like something "mid-level" or "average" on the cost scale
- would like to have plenty of non-skiing activities available
- good nightlife would be nice
- wife would be a beginner; I would be closer to intermediate level, so resorts with a good variety of lower-level slopes would be better
- would be nice if we could avoid car rental (i.e. airport and local activity transportation available)
- we don't ski very often, so a place that has good access to decent rental equipment is a big plus
 
aa61hvy
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RE: US Ski Resorts

Mon Aug 28, 2006 1:59 am

I enjoy the Copper Mountain/Breckenridge area. I learned how to snowboard in Copper, and I found the staff very very patient and very nice-so I never felt bad about falling down off the lift (when I first started) or anything like that.

They have all sorts of slopes-blues, greens, diamonds etc.

You wouldn't HAVE to rent a car if you flew into Eagle/Vail, though I would, just so you have more choices on where to eat.
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DLKAPA
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RE: US Ski Resorts

Mon Aug 28, 2006 1:59 am

Copper Mountain or Winter Park, both in Colorado. Reasonably priced, excellent places to ski/snowboard.
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Mir
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RE: US Ski Resorts

Mon Aug 28, 2006 2:24 am

Have you considered Crested Butte? It's more off the beaten path, and the town is quite historic and has a unique atmosphere. You don't need a car there, since there is a free shuttle from the resort to the town (as well as within the resort itself), and transportation to and from GUC is available.

And the skiing is good too.  Smile

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Jetsgo
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RE: US Ski Resorts

Mon Aug 28, 2006 3:47 am

Well, which area of the United States are you planning to travel to? East Coast, Rockies, or the Sierra?

I live here in California, so I frequently go up to the Sierras. There are three world class resorts up there. The first, and my favorite is Squaw Valley. It is mostly advanced runs, but they also have a restaraunt up top, a pool/spa, ice rink, and even a bungee jump. Also the Olympics were held there in the 60s. The second is Heavenly. This is by far the largest resort in the Sierras. It sits in both California and Nevada and has amazing views of Lake Tahoe. There is also a new gondola that goes half way up the mountain from downtown South Lake Tahoe.

Squaw Valley is in North Tahoe off of Highway 89. Heavenly is in South Tahoe. Being so, its quite a drive in between the two, so you'd be better off picking one then doing both.

The last would be Mammoth Mountain. This one is kind of out there. Its about 3 hours south of Reno/Tahoe and 5 hours northeast from Los Angeles. It is kind of neart Yosemite for reference. It is located off of State Route 203. This is another world class resort from what I hear, however I have not been there since it is so far away.

If you have any questions at all, feel free to ask me.


Chris
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SlamClick
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RE: US Ski Resorts

Mon Aug 28, 2006 4:27 am

I live near the back side of the Sierra Nevadas but I have to be a little disloyal here. While there are many good areas in the Sierras the snow is a lot better, on average in Utah or Colorado. Here locally we get "Sierra Cement" which is wet and heavy. On a warm day it is like skiing oatmeal, on a cold day it is prone to "boilerplate" windslab. We do get lots of snow, but I find the inland snow just that much nicer. Of course it is relative: The worst day I've ever seen in the western states the snow was much better than the best I've ever seen east of Denver.

I don't know much about Colorado areas, in fact I've only skiied Keystone, which was great, but Utah areas tend to be pretty expensive. There might be a few smaller ones, Brian Head comes to mind, that might be less $$$$

I've had a wonderful day at Goldmine at Big Bear in SoCal but it is not called that anymore. In the northern Sierra I like Kirkwood and Heavenly - those runs go on forever. All the vertical you can stand! For smaller areas or less expensive days I like Mount Rose or Slide Mountain near Reno. Lots of vertical. Great views of Tahoe and of Reno/Carson City and the desert. You can ski both areas on one ticket. They used (might still) have half day-morning tickets and of course, like everyone else, half day afternoon. The morning ticket you paid the full-day price but get a refund when you turn it in by X time.

There is another on Highway 50 west of Echo Summit, between Tahoe and Sacramento but that name escapes me now also.

Mount Bachelor in Oregon looks really cool, but I've never skiied it. Likewise Mount Hood in Oregon and Snoqualmie Pass in Washington.

Lots of good places, miles of vertical, great scenery. I'd start looking for websites.
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Jetsgo
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RE: US Ski Resorts

Mon Aug 28, 2006 4:48 pm

Quoting SlamClick (Reply 5):
There is another on Highway 50 west of Echo Summit, between Tahoe and Sacramento but that name escapes me now also.

Could it be Sierra at Tahoe?

You mentioned you like Mt. Rose. Have you been down the chutes since they have opened? If so, how are they? I havent been there in at least two years I think. I usually prefer Alpine Meadows or Sugar Bowl.


Chris
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Molykote
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RE: US Ski Resorts

Mon Aug 28, 2006 4:57 pm

Quoting Hamfist (Thread starter):
- would like something "mid-level" or "average" on the cost scale
- would like to have plenty of non-skiing activities available
- good nightlife would be nice
- wife would be a beginner; I would be closer to intermediate level, so resorts with a good variety of lower-level slopes would be better
- would be nice if we could avoid car rental (i.e. airport and local activity transportation available)
- we don't ski very often, so a place that has good access to decent rental equipment is a big plus

Breckenridge.
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halls120
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RE: US Ski Resorts

Mon Aug 28, 2006 9:47 pm

Quoting JetsGo (Reply 4):
The last would be Mammoth Mountain. This one is kind of out there. Its about 3 hours south of Reno/Tahoe and 5 hours northeast from Los Angeles. It is kind of neart Yosemite for reference. It is located off of State Route 203. This is another world class resort from what I hear, however I have not been there since it is so far away.

Too far away, and too full of ass*oles from the LA area. Unless you like that kind of crowd, of course.

Quoting JetsGo (Reply 4):
The second is Heavenly. This is by far the largest resort in the Sierras. It sits in both California and Nevada and has amazing views of Lake Tahoe. There is also a new gondola that goes half way up the mountain from downtown South Lake Tahoe.

The beautiful views don't make up for the fact that Heavenly is way too crowded and the fact that South Lake Tahoe is overbuilt with too much schlock.

Quoting SlamClick (Reply 5):
I live near the back side of the Sierra Nevadas but I have to be a little disloyal here. While there are many good areas in the Sierras the snow is a lot better, on average in Utah or Colorado. Here locally we get "Sierra Cement" which is wet and heavy. On a warm day it is like skiing oatmeal, on a cold day it is prone to "boilerplate" windslab. We do get lots of snow, but I find the inland snow just that much nicer. Of course it is relative: The worst day I've ever seen in the western states the snow was much better than the best I've ever seen east of Denver

My favorite in the the Sierras is Kirkwood. Less prone to "Sierra Cement", a higher base elevation than most of the resorts in the Sierra, and you don't have the Heavenly crush.
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SlamClick
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RE: US Ski Resorts

Mon Aug 28, 2006 11:48 pm

Quoting JetsGo (Reply 6):
Could it be Sierra at Tahoe?

It might be. My wife tells me that it was called Sierra Ski Ranch but she thinks it has changed hands since last we skiied there. It is on the ridge south of Highway 50, just west of Echo Summit and before the road goes down the rocky cliff above Strawberry.

Quoting JetsGo (Reply 6):
Have you been down the chutes since they have opened?

No I haven't. The summit chair on the Mount Rose side actually goes out over the chutes, giving a very good view. If you can find a place to pull over off the road below them you can look up them too, They are nothing but avalanche chutes and the flattened trees below give testimony to that. I used to like skiing the edge of that bowl but never dropped down into it. Now that it is open I am too old for such foolishness. They have been a local favorite for adrenalin junkies since the place opened and they seem to kill someone every eight or ten years.

Quoting Halls120 (Reply 8):
My favorite in the the Sierras is Kirkwood. Less prone to "Sierra Cement", a higher base elevation than most of the resorts in the Sierra, and you don't have the Heavenly crush.

I agree. It is wonderful, but in the time it takes to get there I could drive to, and get five thousand vertical feet in at a dozen other areas, so I hardly ever go there. Maybe everyone feels that way because I've never seen it crowded. Of course I never ski on weekends or holidays! I've logged more time buckling up my boots than I have in lift lines.

Kirkwood has one of my favorite features. As you face the mountain, way over to the far left there is a spur ridge and a lift takes you up that from either side. On the far side of that ridge is a lift going up the main ridge and might just be the highest point there. Off to the left side of that is a bowl above the treeline. It is usually groomed very smooth and as soon as you have the guts to do it, you can point your tips straight down the fall line and go into a tuck. If you had good long boards on you could probably hit 90mph doing this. Then there is a fairly flat, straight runout to slow down before you start down the canyon trail below it.

The only hazard here is someone skiing out in front of you from the sunny slope to the left, but you can see them coming. Fastest I've ever gone on skis was at the bottom of this slope. I made the run out across the flat with my tips just chattering. Had to start a series of turns to carve off some speed a quarter mile before I got to the canyon. No idea how fast but it was exhilarating!

Heavenly is too crowded, but on a non-holiday weekday it is okay. From the top of skychair, just cruising, it is possible to ski for an hour before you have to get on a lift again. Just make your way to the creek station then onto 'roundabout' which goes all the way to the main lodge or you can drop off onto 'the face' anywhere from 'gunbarrel' to the tram. I've skiied off the hill under the tram and out into the main parking lot right to the tailgate of my car. There were skibums living ten to a cabin in the woods below there who would just ski home a the end of the day.
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texan
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RE: US Ski Resorts

Tue Aug 29, 2006 5:32 am

Sort of "off the beaten path" in Colorado is Monarch Ski Area, between Salida and Gunnison. They recently added more runs and I don't remember it being too expensive. Of course, there isn't much there other than the one lodge, so if you wanted to dine out you'd have to drive down into either Salida or Gunnison, but the drives aren't too long. And if the snow is good this winter, Taos or Red River, New Mexico could be a good choice. Steamboat is still my favorite, though (Killington might become my favorite this year since now I only live 25 minutes from there  Silly ).

Texan
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flynlr
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RE: US Ski Resorts

Wed Aug 30, 2006 6:47 pm

have a look here
http://www.skiutah.com/
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ANCFlyer
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RE: US Ski Resorts

Wed Aug 30, 2006 7:06 pm

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