Ski Season 2018-2019....

...is underway!  

I think I set my earliest date ski date record with a weekend run to Denver to ski in Summit county this past weekend (Nov 10-11).  For those of you who don't follow there were 53" of snow over a 7 day period the week before, and over 60" if you extend that to 10 days.  I skied Breck and Loveland and it was outstanding, especially considering it was Nov 10-11.  Lots of soft snow and good coverage on the blues.  Some of the steeps were pretty bony, but no core shots or lost edges for me! 

This year I have:  Big sky, Powder Mountain, and Breckenridge (again) planned.  I might get a PC trip in too, and I could imagine a last minute to Co again at some other random point.

What do you have going on?

Original Post

I'm going to the Tahoe area next month and have never been there before. I know there are quite a few places to ski, but do those in the know have recommendations? I'm thinking Squaw Valley, Heavenly and Northstar but nothing is set in stone...or snow.

I know this isn't helpful, but the only one I've skied there is Squaw.  It's  a really cool mountain, but it's been a number of years.  The problem in general with Tahoe is the low elevation and the tendency to get warm wet snow (Sierra Cement).  When the storms hit it right though, oh boy, you can get some big snow!

Personally I have had one more trip so far to Park City, which was fun, although conditions were just ok (before this latest crazy cycle).  Next trip is Big Sky next week for 4 solid days of cold Montana skiing.  

Homewood on west shore.  Bunny runs to diamonds it’s got it all.  Lots of ppl like the north shore as you can gamble in the casinos.  Not my bag.

My first time snow boarding was there, must have been ‘03, and only time in Tahoe.   Stunningly beautiful and all world terrain.  Still the best powder day I’ve ever have and I could barely ride...my buddies took me off piste on the second day....there may or may not have been schnapps and cannabis involved.  It got a little sketchy for me from there as I was in over my head.   They directed me to the nearest piste and I had a full on powder crawl when the terrain flattened and didn’t know enough to focus on keeping my speed up in 16” of fluff.  We had radios and there was a couple of other tracks around so I never felt unsafe (ignorance is bliss, eh?).  But I had inadvertently switched channels and they couldn’t contact me.  The powder was deep enough and ground too flat that I really couldn’t get going.  After clearing it about a sq meter to get my board back on and get above it to get some momentum, I ran smack dab in to a wall of trees. Queue powder crawl #2.  After  another short hike  I eventual got to a less remote area and something that resembles a makable pass, threaded a needle and made it.  When I finally made it to the bottom, I wiped out...full yard sale!   Worth it it all, and I’ll remember that weekend for as long as I live.  

 

On another note, we’ve got some good friends in Big Sky...one of these years I hope to take the fam up there again, but in the depth of winter.   Went once in the summer and it is super chill.  I guess the best area is private at the one big resort and our friends can get access.

thistlintom posted:
javachip posted:

Going to Alta next week, first skiing of the season.  Also looking at Mammoth.

You should be happy, there has been a lot of snow recently in Utah.  We are heading back up the end of next week.

I’m heading up to Mammoth manana. Supposed to be glorious conditions...

On the ski town, maybe Park City? There would be enough for her to do and the lower altitude skiing is not as cold. Park City is easy to access from the airport which helps if you're only doing a long weekend. If she is unathletic, the lower altitude will be good, too.

We are flying into Geneva and then trying to determine where to go from there. We may go back to Courmayeur since we are familiar with it and it offers easy access to La Thuile and Pila. However, may stay on the French side of Mont Blanc and try something in Chamonix. Have had others recommend Le Clusaz and Flaine. The town of Flaine looks ugly but skiing is supposed to be good. Le Clusaz seems low but apparently the position and north-facing slopes manage to hold onto snow well into April. Slopes are supposed to be nice up top and vertical is a nice 4700 feet. Chamonix seems a bit more inconvenient but offers different options in the valley and the potential to do the Vallee Blanche would be a dream.

3842 Meters down to 1035 Meters... 9,200 vertical feet! 
Behold the warm and fuzzy town of Flaine

I hope there is snow when you are there. Was in Cortina over the holidays and while the pasta, wine, and people watching were  fantastic, the snow and skiing not so much. Very little natural snow. 

I have very fond memories of La Thuille - love that place. 

Flying home now after 4 fantastic days at Deer Valley. Great powder after 12” on Monday. For those going to Tahoe, two huge storms dumped over 8 feet over the past three weeks. Still, even though I have a cabin in Truckee, Tahoe skiing does not compare to UT or CO in my humble opinion.

Steve - I know we don't see eye to eye on football, but I would make the following recommendations, based on where you are staying. I've skied Tahoe for the past 30 years so I think I might be of some help.

If staying on the south side of the Lake by the casinos, ski Heavenly (mostly intermediate, great views) and Kirkwood (best snow since higher elevation, more advanced). Homewood has an antiquated lift system (few high speed quads) and because it's elevation is low, snow doesn't last.

If staying on the north side of the Lake (Truckee), ski Squaw Valley (lots of advanced if you want  to jump off cliffs), Northstar (longest intermediate runs and best grooming), and either Alpine Meadows (sister resort of Squaw) or Sugar Bowl (great snow with intermediate and advanced).

Driving from one side of the Lake to the other is a 45-60 minute drive on a one lane road that occasionally closes during dumps. I would never do it, as why waste time driving when you could be skiing?

If you are going to ski more than 5 days, the season passes make a lot of sense.  That is about the breakeven between season vs daily passes.  If you go skiing twice in a year, the IKON or Epic passes are a great deal, assuming you go to the appropriate places.  Both of them have a lot of resorts to choose from.  The resorts have really increased the price of daily passes the past few years.

Rothko posted:

Anyone ever use Black Tie Ski Rental Delivery service?  Would be interested in anyone's thoughts.  They bring to your accommodations rather than you going to the ski rental store. 

No, haven't heard of it.  The key would be the availability of boots to make sure you have a good fit.  I would guess that if you gave them a shoe size, then they could bring several boots that might fit well.  I would expect it to be a little more expensive.

A4ever, wish you would have responded sooner as I already purchased my lift tickets. We are actually staying in Reno so will have 60 minute drives each day anyway no matter which places we go to.

Liftopia had no deals for Heavenly and their prices for Homewood and Squaw were the same as the respective websites.

Rothko, I haven't used Black Tie but a friend has and had good things to say about it. Unfortunately it wasn't an option for us staying in Reno.

I leave the next day for Banff/ Lake Louise. I'll watch the weather and see if I can make it to Squaw.

Take the Funitel up and ski Siberia (intermediate/ advanced) lift early before it gets bumped out, then move to Shirley (intermediate), Solitude (intermediate), and Granite Chief (advanced) lifts. If you like advanced/ expert, try Cornice and Headwall lifts. End the day at the bottom skiing KT-22 lift (advanced) and Red Dog (intermediate) lift. Best views of the lake are from the top of Lakeview run, which goes to The Resort at Squaw Creek. Very slow lift brings you back to the top of Red Dog.

In Reno, I recommend Beaujolais Bistro for French food. Excellent with a fine wine list.

I don't blame you A4ever because the drive could be risky and the skiing is tough. Visibility is poor and it is wet snow, especially today at Homewood. There were a couple of good hours in the early PM yesterday at Heavenly. I'm not optimistic that it will be better at Squaw tomorrow. Disappointing but what can you do when you've come this far and already paid for the lift tickets? First world problems.

Enjoy Banff and Lake Louise. Oh btw, I enjoyed seeing the result of the City-Gunners game today.

Just returned from Beaver Creek.  The weather was absolutely fantastic the two days we skied - clear blue skies and sunny, and warm (mid to high 30's in the day).  

I did the Black Tie Ski Rental, and highly recommend it.  They delivered the ski and snowboard equipment right to our lodge, had good gear, and set us up in all of about 10 minutes.  They then picked up the gear at the end of the second day of skiing at the lodge as well.  It worked out great, and was less expensive than renting at the nearest ski rental shop.

I purchased the ski rentals from them on Liftopia, and it was very simple to do.  I will definitely use them again in the future.

Hey Redhawk-  I just got back from 4 more days at Big sky, did 3 days there last year.    First, the mountain is huge.  The runs are long, even the single chair runs.  Depending on what you're looking for I can tell you a few of my favorite places, here's as brief of a rundown as I can provide:

The mountain village- Swift Current Chair is mainly for getting other places (in my style of skiing).  The runs down that side are long but boring, depending on what you're looking for.  Lots of blue groomers.  Jerry lives here.  Ramcharger is a heated bubbled 8-seater which is super cool.  Most of the runs there are also groomers and get skied off quickly.  What is of great value here is Everett's 8800 for lunch.  Make a reservation now.  Your wife will thank you.

Powder Seeker is a heated 6 seat bubble that serves a cool bowl.  If the conditions are right these are fun shortish steep bump runs.  This also gets you to the Lone Peak Tram.  If you are an expert skier then ski the tram.  The easiest way off is the back side, Liberty Bowl.  It's worth doing just to say you did it.  That is one of the most terrifying lifts I've ever been on but I don't regret it.  Liberty bowl is expert territory but is manageable by an advanced intermediate.  If you want to do the tram do it in the morning only.  By the afternoon the visibility is usually terrible up there when the wind builds and the line gets long.

Moonlight Basin- 6 shooter chair is very long and gets windy at the top.  It's only worth going up if you take the next chair, Lone Tree which opens up an entire side of the mountain.  If you want the hard stuff there take Lookout Ridge to some of the tree runs, like Single Jack and Double Jack.  They are both super fun.  There is a very long blue groomer called Horseshoe that is fun if you just want to cruise.  I think I saw one other person on the entire run, which is probably 3 miles long (or more).

Andesite Mountain- (left on the map) is accessed initially by Ramcharger.  The stuff under Thunder Wolf is fun and long.  The bump run right under the chair is only meant for people who really want to ski bumps.  It's super long and hard to bail out of, so buckle up!  The blue ridge on looker's right is long and has a double fall line, which I didn't enjoy.  The blue on lookers left is long and fun but gets skied out.

Below Andesite mountain is Flatiron Mountain, and the Lone Moose Chair.  That chair is a slow 3-pack and serves 5 runs- 2 greens, 3 blacks.  I found the best snow on the mountain there 6 days after the last snowfall.  It was awesome but you better like steep or green, and you need to be willing to ride a slow chair.  No one was there on a Saturday and the snow was soft and deep where everything else was scratched out.  You access this from the bottom of Thunder Wolf.

Finally, my favorite part of Big Sky is the back side.  Specifically Dakota Chair.  No one goes there and the best skiing is to be found there.  A lot of glades, one really nice groomer under the lift, and a couple of hike-to areas.  The chair is slow but the area is amazing.  The other back side chair, Shedhorn is also fun, but not as good as Dakota.  

There is much more than that at Big Sky, including some super gnarly stuff that has to be hiked to.  If you have any specific questions fire away or PM me. Have fun!

 

Grossie, 

Thanks for the tips!

My kids and I will definitely be looking more at steeps and trees, and seeking out the powder stashes, while My wife will be more interested in green and blue groomers.  I’ve been pounding YouTube and cross-referencing the trail map in anticipation of this trip, so I have a pretty good notion of the spots you are referencing.

Assuming it doesn’t warm up too much, Dakota looks way cool to me.

I’ve heard you need avvy gear to do Big Couloir, so that’s probably out for me.  Do you know if they require avvy gear for North Summit Snowfields?  Have you skied either of those?

I’m surprised you would need reservations for lunch on the mountain at Everett’s 8800, so thanks for the heads up!

Any tips on local dinner spots?

Dakota is South/West facing, so it does get warm, but it also softens up on a sunny day.  They also do not open it when storms roll in because it takes the first hit and it can get nasty back there.  The best way back there is to take the tram up and ski down the back, but it sounds like your wife might not be crazy about that idea.   You can reach the back via the Cow Flats (not good for boarders) from the top of Swift Current.

Also definitely try to find Single and Double Jack off of Lone Tree if you want fun trees.  They're a little tricky to find but they are marked.  They don't look like much on the map but there is a lot of skiing to be had up there.

Some of the gnarliest non-hike stuff is under the Headwaters chair, but unless there is a lot of snow you'll find more rocks than most people care for.  I didn't ski it this year, just too rocky.  Last year it was great.  You can get there from Challenger chair.

Big Couloir requires a beacon and a shovel and a reservation.  The Snowfields also require a reservation but no beacon or shovel.  You reserve at the top of the tram in the penalty box, just ask the patroller by the tram.  Remember to try to get there early on a sunny day- one lift up Swift Current, then ski to Powder Chaser, up that, then to the tram.  If you can't see Lone Peak because of weather then it's probably not worth going up there, it gets nasty, visibility is very poor at times.

Everett's is on Open Table.  Reserve it twice now, then you can always cancel.  It will book up.  

There aren't really any great restaurants by the mountain Village.  We ate at The Cabin, which was just OK.  We cooked in quite a bit.  The main grocery store is back by the highway, you'll pass it on the way in.  Up by the mountain there is a small grocery store and a few bars.  Montana Jack is lively with decent bar food.

Definitely send a trip report!  I want to hear about your experience.  I love it there.

 

 

Can't say for everyone, but our group of 6 all went to Deer Valley in Jan. because of the IKON Pass. We're all also going in March to Aspen because of it. Might even make another trip to UT in early April to hit Snowbird and Alta.

Tahoe resorts have been hammered with snow. Squaw now has a 168" base. I doubt if they had that much total snow all last winter.

Finished out my ski season with 4 days at Breckenridge last week.  Got some fresh snow then a mountain that was in fantastic shape, deep deep base.  2 powderish days, then ran some big mileage on the groomers for 2 days, got sunburned, and closed out a 16 day ski season, my greatest number in many many years.  Good snow years are awesome.

redhawk- how did Big Sky go?  I'd love to hear your impression.

A great year for snow in Utah.  Finishing up the season today.  The addition of Deer Valley with the Ikon pass and Park City with the Epic pass has caused problems with crowds.  Parking has become a real issue at both resorts.  Both companies need to figure out ways to deal with this.  Also seeing some unusual clientele for Deer Valley.

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