April 2-7 Mid-Atlantic or out West?
April 4, 2005
I've discovered some unexpected vacation time and NEED to ski. The money's tight, so it'll be road trip OR Utah, staying at Best Western and busing to Snowbird, etc.
I'd go to either Snowshoe or Seven Springs, since they've gotten tons of snow lately and are running deals, plus wheels is cheaper than wings. But... I'm worried it's late in the season and a thaw will leave me with nasty slushy gunk skiing.
Anybody have some advice? Should I suck it up and shell out the extra cash to fly to Salt Lake (+is the snow good now)? Or, should I just head to the 'Shoe or Seven Springs?
The skiing has been limited to one day at Whitetail and a week in Italy this year, due to exorbitant cost of buying a new gas boiler and installing air-con in my home for the first time.
EEEEK. How could I have chosen summer and winter comfort OVER skiing???
PS that last questions makes me wonder what can one give up for skiing... food, beer, car, T-V (easily, except for football).
I would say this is a no-brainer. You can roll the dice that there wont be a thaw in the mid-A, or you can go with the sure thing in Utah where bases are around 100 inches. Even if its warm in Utah you should get corn instead of the slop you would most likely be skiing around here. If you want to drive you might want to consider VT or NH. NH has been getting hammered lately and spring generally comes much later in the white mountains. Im considering a jaunt up to Wildcat with a side trip to Tucks in April myself.
I agree w/pig. The west is wonderful in April. However, you need to determine what the bottom line is that you're willing to spend. You can do NE for less, but not much less if you shop for specials in travel and lodging. My rule of thumb is that once I figure my base costs...room, travel, eats, lifts, libation, I add 20% more for intangables. That way you won't be caught short and can afford to get your car out of long term at the airport.
MM- Returned from Utah 3/13. Would you rather take a chance on spring conditions there or getting shut out here? I've been meaning to post a trip report but I'm just now getting caught up on what I missed while we were gone. We found, generally good conditions AM and spring corn to hero snow PM. Skied Alta, PCMR, Snowbird, Canyons and Snowbasin. Stayed at Embassy Suites in slc, $119 night including free cooked to order breakfast and happy hour (free beer, free beer
). I left plenty of snow and I'd guess it's better now than when I was there. Chances are you might even see some fresh in UT.
About the Embassy Suites... I stayed at Best Western last year and REALLY LIKED that it was right on bus line to Big and Little Canyons. I didn't need a car at all.
Is the same true of the Embassy Suites. The girlfriend might like the breakfast and happy hour
But, I loathe driving when I'm on vacation.
OK, Embassy Suite is across the street from Little America, 1/2 block from Utah Ski & Golf (great ski tune up, cheap lift tickys btw) and one block from canyon sports. Walking distance to Port O Call, Brew Pub, Mexican and Italian. We had a rental but saw lots of people waiting w/ski's for the bus.
MM - go west, young man! Seriously, a lot of the western resorts have GREAT deals starting in April as they see the end of the season in sight. Vail is advertising lift tickets as low as $10.00 (but with a bunch of conditions). One of the better deals that my wife and I took advantage of some years ago was at Alta where we stayed slopeside and the package with lodging, meals, lift tickets, taxes and tips included was $122/night. I would suspect that the upper NE (think Vermont) would have similar deals in April and you get the bonus savings of driving versus flying.
Before you book a trip out west, take a look at Europe. Record snow has fallen on the Alps and there's no end in sight to the cold weather.
I'd check for deals into Zurich and consider St. Anton as a destination. There's a lot of cheap accomodation in St. Anton and it is only 2.5 hours by train from Zurich Airport. Its possible to make tracks on your first day in Europe if you fly IAD to Zurich and then train it to STANTON.
Another good venue in Austria with cheap accomodation is Soelden. Soelden has three glaciers, so its also very snow sure.
Yeah, you left some snow, but what about the beer!?
I've stayed at the Homewood Suites right on Ft Union Blvd the last two years. Nice accomodations, decent prices, GREAT location for either big or little cottonwood canyons.
Yeah, you left some snow, but what about the beer!?
Oh boy! Have to get those 3% beers two at a time; they had a hard time keeping up at first, but once they figured out they were dealing w/an expert, everything was !!!
I agree with the majority...go west to Utah. Snowbird has a great dial via American Express....$75 per person/per night staying at the Bird, includes lift tickets. Ski both Alta and Snowbird ulta conviently and inexpensively. I have skied the Bird three time for a week in early April and never been disappointed! Maybe we could team up and get a two bedroom...
Yeah, I think Utah it is.
John, thanx for the encouragement for Europe, but with the crummy dollar (I experienced that once already this year) and cost of flight over, I just can't swing it.
Colonel, Where do I find that $75 AMEX deal? I'm a big fan of Amex. Also, the girlfriend is a tentative beginner-intermediate boarder. I know she can't do Alta (although as a skier I can). When I was there last year, I saw some good stuff at the Bird for her, but may not be enough for 3-4 days.
I dunno if she'd be tooo hip on sharing a room Colonel
Is it possible to get from the bird to other board-friendly places by bus? I know the buses go from BWEI, etc to both canyons.
Thanx for all the input!
Also, the girlfriend is a tentative beginner-intermediate boarder.
Personally, I wouldn't take a tentative beginner-intermediate to Snowbird. It is a very intimidating mountain from the road - I've seen lots of intermediates get real quiet when they see it for the first time. Many of the blues and greens are just cat tracks with very steep drop-offs on the side. If you've seen terrain there that you think she can handle, well go for it... But there's nothing like having your girlfriend mad at you during a vacation trip ...
Alta has some nice beginner and intermediate terrain, but obviously skiers only.
If you are not going to ski Alta/The Bird, why stay up there? I'm sure there are plenty of ski & stay deals around.
For reliable snow during the first week of April this year, I would choose Utah or Tahoe over Europe, hands-down.
Hey -- how's the snow looking out there?
as for 'bird/alta -- alta definitely has the magic carpet easy cruisers, 'bird -- less so. Alta is a weird dichotomy between the easy flattish stuff and the "hike to the crazy stuff"... weird. I thought 'bird was just fine really. I mean I don't recall being wigged out -- now I was a little wigged out by JH when I first went! Took me a day or two to finally take the tram to the top! At 'bird the tram has a fairly easy way down ... as I remember. And the hard(ish) way ain't so bad either... actually Jackson's not that bad either but you need to be able to handle the fairly steep and often hard to see conditions in Rendevouz Bowl... (wind)
Solitude is good too -- that has a lot of groomer and easier runs I think in the main part (and is small) -- just up the other canyon. Brighton -- also a big open area of (mostly) easy skiing under millicent. For fun, get in the car one day and hit the Canyons -- or make the trek to Snowbasin, which I can give a thumbs up to!
Looks like Aspen area is getting dumped on now and the forecast looks like plenty more to go. Head out there in the first and second week of April and look for the old Ski Chalet employees! They'll be at least 50 of us out there and it ain't gonna be pretty. The West is where it's at right now!
just a sampling....
New Snow - March 21, 2005
Squaw Valley USA 20"
Beaver Creek 11"
Hmm - wow!
I've have to watch this a bit more closely! So far I have perfect record of not skiing past march...
lol - yeah that "utah beer" is a drag but then again u can get ahole case for about $10 so ... not quality but lots of quantitiy!
Hey just so ya' all know we got about 1 foot over the last two days ... more to come all this weeks .. lookin' good!!!!!
Alta claimed, well OnTheSnow claimed Alta had 26" I think... NICE!
anyway -- lookin' at yea old calendar and there's not way for me to get back Utah before April 22. That's a long time for the sun to melt things. I know sometimes 'bird is open top-to-bottom on Memorial Day -- which is of course May not April. I think it would be cool to say one has skied it... i mean probably not REALLY worth it but then again...
KevR, I've checked my schedule and while I could make it out there in early April, wifey says if I do I can't come back til Hell freezes over. She seems to think ski season is over when she says it's over.
Maybe Crush, you would want to adopt me? I'm house broken, fairly adept at eating with utensils and could get along on 3% beer if absolutely necessary. I'm not the greatest skier but I'm defvinitly fun to watch!
Mangy Marmot, Hope you've resolved the where to stay part of your trip. The apres skiing might be more fun for the GF at a resort. If you can swing it, try to get together w/Crush. Great guide, every one has fun fun fun.
I'm with you jimmy. I have been told ski season is over ... furgedaboutit ... [sigh]. So I have to make do with bikes and kayaks for the next 8 months. Bummer. I suppose I could look on the ?bright? side .. my knee is a mess ski-wise [riding my roadie doesn't seem to bother it too much, the atb is another matter] so it gives doc 8 months to fix the friggin thing before next season. I intend to ski full on next season.
Break out the grass skis and mountainboards. It's kind of funny in my house I put one board away to pull another one out. Snowboard goes away, mountainboard appears, then later wakeboard, then mountainboard again then snowboard. It never really ends.
Snowcone, I didn't mean to give the impression that I agreed with her
, but it may be time for you to dust off, touch up and post your "How to survive until next ski season" depression prevention program!
Hey don't forget there is always European glacier skiing where the snow never really goes away. I remember there used to be a snowboard camp called the ice ripper camp.
Pretty sure we'll be staying at Best Western. Can't beat $50 a night. And, there's a 'puter in the lobby, so I can post updates.
Unfortunately, the $$ home repairs and awful euro-dollar from our Italy trip 2 months ago leaves me in arrears.. So, we'll lurk in the room, drinking cheep 3% beer, only to come out and ski. There's a Hooters down the street from the motel... If I took here there, I guess I'd come home alone.
Just noticed Sierras getting a dump. Why does this always happen a few days after I buy plane tix to another spot.
Thanx for input.
lol jimmy sure but you have be willing to clean the bathrooms and cook for us lol .. j/k!
And then there is this from NOAA ... ohhhh boy....
A COLD FRONT WILL ARRIVE IN THE
MOUNTAINS EARLY WEDNESDAY WITH THE SNOW LEVEL LOWERING TO 6000 FEET
AND WINDS SLOWLY DIMINISHING AND HEAVY SNOW CONTINUING. NEW SNOW
ACCUMULATIONS OF 1-2 FEET WILL BE WIDESPREAD IN THE HIGHER MOUNTAINS
BY LATE WEDNESDAY WITH LOCAL ACCUMULATIONS OF 3 FEET.
3 ft would be sublime...!!
it just keeps getting better....
New Snow - March 22, 2005
Squaw Valley USA 15"
Mammoth Mountain 12"
Big Sky 8"
Sweet - I'm going to be in the Tahoe area on April 1-2. I was hoping for corn but some fresh would work too
Anyone have any opinions on which resorts to hit? I was thinking Kirkwood.
I've only been to Heavenly and for 2 days at that. It seemed nice and I liked the gondola coming up from the town -- i stayed at a cheapy mom&pop casino hotel -- and took the bus over to the gondola which worked fine but would possibly get a bit annoying after a few days. I recall little really of the actual resort, i barely scratched the surface, the snow was a bit off when i was there (very hard, somewhat icy AM, soft a mushy PM) -- BIG trees, remember that! OH also I electronic lifts you could pre-purchase on the web was convenient and it was fun to ski in both California and Nevada the same day (the resort straddles the state line) -- i mean for like 5 sec it was fun...
I've heard Squaw has some nice terrain, no nothing 'bout the rest.
this might help....
New Snow - March 23, 2005
Kirkwood Ski Resort 36"
Mammoth Mountain 24"
Squaw Valley USA 16"
Wow, Jimboc that's an amazing snow delta between Kirkwood and Squaw. WGO, Squaw generally gets the highest rankings of the Tahoe resorts for tons of great skiing/boarding, I've never been there. I went to Kirkwood and Heavenly recently and preferred Kirkwood's terrific ski terrain, but Heavenly had awesome views of Lake and much more "town" below slopes. Which to visit depends on what you are looking for. With just two days I'd pick Squaw or Kirkwood and stay put at either. I'll PM you with more on Kirkwood.
Got the tix. did the Expedia hotel thing ($50 a night at BWE).
Now, I just have to keep from climbing the walls for the next week until I get out there.
Is Solitude sweet? I did Brighton, Alta and the 'bird last time. Liked Alta and the 'bird a lot.
Checked snow and weather reports yesty all day at work. Looks like snow was falling. Can't wait. I feel like a kid waking up early Saturday morning, waiting for cartoons to come on.
Check out Hotwire.com I got a four star hotel for the price of a two star motel. I got back from Utah a couple of weeks ago and stayed two days at the City Center Marriott for $52/nite. It was sweet! Valet packing, Bellman, Starbucks in the lobby, marble bathrooms, robes, discount lift tickets, etc. Only 20 minutes from the Park City exit of the highway. It was pretty plush.
We also stayed at the Alta Peruvian Lodge. I've stayed there on a number of occasions and it still is quite the experience. I highly recommend staying there, but it's not cheap!
I was in Utah last week and BCC and LCC got nearly seven feet of snow, plus it's been dumping at Alta the past two days. Even if you don't get any fresh, at the worst you'll have great spring skiing on record-level bases. Enjoy!
Is Solitude sweet?
Less skier traffic than Alta means greater chance of untracked snow and less moguls on the popular faces. Some very nice expert terrain and tree skiing, just not as much as Alta. Because of a slightly different weather pattern, Solitude may have received more snow than Alta this year. Most intermediate slopes are empty, allowing for relaxing cruisers.
Slow lifts (even compared with Alta) and a very high traverse/run-out to vertical ratio. Laps into Honeycomb Canyon require two or three lift rides, depending upon the circuit you choose. Very few base amenities - it took me a while to find an indoor eating spot for lunch.
When I go to Solitude, I always eat lunch at the lodge at the bottom on the right when looking from the top of the mountain (near the powderhorn lift). I've rarely had a problem finding a table there.
The lodge has tables upstairs in addition to the main level.
The other base area (first that you encounter when driving up and the one where the bus stops) only has an outdoor snackbar; no other food options. Found out the hard way. But who needs breakfast?
I've eaten at the place you've mentioned.
The other option is the roundhouse (or whatever it's called) about mid-mountain. The burgers always smell so good when I'm skiing by there
It seems like it gets very crowded there early and stays that way for a while.
So Warren, Did winter return to Whistler?
Yes it did!!
It had snowed about a foot right before we got there. Then, on Saturday 3/19, we woke up to snow all the way down to the village. It pretty much snowed all day Saturday and Sunday (about 70cm total
) We had powder days Sunday and Monday. By the end of the week, I was back on my carver skis vs my Rossi Bandit B2s. Temps stayed pretty cold from the peak to about mid-mountain. The day we left (3/26) it was dumping snow at about 2 inches an hour or so!! To bad we had to leave
Anyway, we had MUCH better skiing conditions that I'd expected
Now, my wife has declared the ski season over and look at Utah
Oh well, I managed 28 days this year with 10 out west (3 in Utah and 7 in Whister)...
Yesterday was good at Solitude. Kept it a mellow day skiign mostly greens and some lues with girlfriend (keeping her happy).
The snow got pretty soft on the lower trails by about 11am. Still fun but, makes me ski all sloppy.
Saw some guy skiing in cutoffs a poncho and straw hat. Pretty funny.
It's supposed to snow like crazy today. I hope the forecasters here are better than the ones around DC!!!
We're heading out to Snowbird in a couple hours.
It's like Christmas morning... I woke up at 5 am and can't get back to sleep. No sign of snow yet -- but my fingers (and ski tips) are crossed.