This weekend looks like a washout.
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13 users
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(Anonymous)
December 31, 2003
Mother nature is finally making us pay for the past four great weekends. I am sure glad not to have any reservations for this weekends rain event.
bawalker
December 31, 2003
Member since 12/1/2003
1,547 posts
Any predictions on how bad this could get...? Meaning will trails get closed, snowmaking cease for a while, etc? I had been planning for several weeks to go this saturday to Timberline but now...?

johnfmh - DCSki Columnist
January 1, 2004
Member since 07/18/2001
1,914 posts
I'm heading up to Timberline today. I go no matter what the conditions are like. I gotta get my money's worth for the season pass...
bawalker
January 1, 2004
Member since 12/1/2003
1,547 posts
johnfmh: As much as I plan to goto Timberline this year I may have to keep an eye out and drop a hello.
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(Anonymous)
January 1, 2004
I'm headed to 7Springs after lunch.....I'm up here visiting, and they report all 31 trails open.....I'll post a report tonight.
(Anonymous)
January 1, 2004
I'm planning on making my first day trip of the season to Liberty this Saturday. Weather says 60% chance of rain though so I guess it will suck, I still wanna go though.

Anyone know what Liberty is talking about when they say "Looks like our weather is about to change as it usually does. Winter is forecast to return to "normal" in just a few days. That mean colder temperature and lots and lots of snow!" on their website? Is it just a sales pitch or is it supposed to get colder this weekend and I missed it.

MichaelB
January 1, 2004
Member since 11/20/2000
61 posts
I skied Whitetail this morning and the trails are in really bad shape. Bold Decision is closed, even though the Whitetail website says its open. Limelight has many brown spots, exposed areas and rocks everywhere. Upper and Lower Angel were like brown soup by noon. This will not improve. There are not any signs of this changing all the way up until late next week and into the weekend.

Go West !!!

finsoutoc
January 1, 2004
Member since 09/30/2003
172 posts
hit roundtop today. they are in pretty good shape coverage wise. no thin areas or bare spots and 4 'real' trails (non beginner). they should make it thru this weather ok. id say hit RT this weekend for soft spring conditions.
KevR
January 1, 2004
Member since 01/27/2004
786 posts
Well maybe RT can hold through the 4-5 days of spring-like weather, doesn't sound like Whitetail will make it though. I guess the sun faces badly on their slopes and they get much more melt back?

johnfmh - DCSki Columnist
January 2, 2004
Member since 07/18/2001
1,914 posts
I decided to bag Timberline and work instead. I'd rather take time off once conditions improve.

On a positive note, cycling has been fabulous. I took a nice ride on Beach Drive yesterday.

jonjon
January 2, 2004
Member since 04/2/2004
70 posts
The skiing weatherman (skiingweatherman.com) and wxrisk.com have posted their most recent updates. Looks like winter is back next week, and models are even hinting that a huge snowstorm (comparable to Jan 96 and March 93) may form. I know this is 10 days away, but after the horrible weather we've had recently, I thought that we all might need a little hope to cling on to.
(Anonymous)
January 2, 2004
And even false hope is better than no hope...

In the meantime, I'm just going to stare at the pictures I took in Utah two weeks ago, and keep hoping that it either snows or that something forces me to move west very soon....

Snowbird Ski Resort:
http://www.e-ledesma.com/slideshow/slideshow/snowbrd.htm

Brighton Ski Resort:
http://www.e-ledesma.com/slideshow/bslideshow/bright.htm

powderpig
January 2, 2004
Member since 12/5/2003
63 posts
I too have decided to bag a trip to Seven Springs this weekend. Hopefully this temperature inversion will go away...otherwise Ill have to put the bike tray back on my roof!
johnfmh - DCSki Columnist
January 2, 2004
Member since 07/18/2001
1,914 posts
>otherwise Ill have to put the bike tray back on my roof!

I always keep both my ski and bike racks on the roof. It makes a lot of sense in this crazy climate.

At Timberline in the Spring, you often see people with skis and whitewater kayaks on the roof...

johnfmh - DCSki Columnist
January 2, 2004
Member since 07/18/2001
1,914 posts
Thanks for the update on skiing weatherman. His most encouraging words are as follows:

"By Tuesday, the cold front from the last wave will have swept offshore, and temperatures will be back to seasonable norms, and look for the snow guns to start cranking. The MLK weekend, another critical one in the business of winter sports, will be just a couple weeks away at that point, and bases in the east need some boosting, to be sure. Another short wave, this one a more typical Alberta Clipper, will run through the northeast midweek, and while it will produce a little snow north of Interstate 90, it will be more memorable for it's subsequent shot of cold air. The areas to the lee of lakes Eire and Ontario will be lining up for lake effect snow, and because the recent mild spell has kept the lakes ice free and relatively warm for this time of year, the potential is there for some tremendous amounts of snow...right now it's looking pretty promising. This will be pure arctic stuff, capable of keeping daytime temps in the mountains in single digits. Again, look for the guns to keep on cranking, and trail counts, which have taken a hit during the past ten days of mild weather, will be on the rise once again."

For more:

www.skiingweatherman.com

Timberline usually gets a hammered in these lake effect snows, so maybe there is some hope.

[This message has been edited by johnfmh (edited 01-02-2004).]

gatkinso
January 2, 2004
Member since 01/25/2002
316 posts
If the skiing weatherman is right I will propose to him.
(Anonymous)
January 2, 2004
I skied 7Springs New Year's Day - my plam had been to go today (Fri) but moved it up a day due to the forecast. There were some marginal spots yesterday - Apline Meadows was bare in large areas, and a couple of the trails on the North face side had large icy patches. But the North Face slpe, GIant Steps, etc were all in amazingly good shape considering the recent weather. The rain today-thru Sunday will not help, but with colder temps predicted next week, things should bounce back nicely.
Jim
January 2, 2004
Member since 11/22/1999
317 posts
I find that the skiing weatherman's reports tend to be a bit optimistic and like trail reports from ski areas, have to be read with a grain of salt (or is that snow?). Reading the snippet posted in this thread, it appears he is predicting seasonal temps for the Northeast. North of I-90 is the line ABOVE Buffalo to Boston. The lake effect snows he refers to from Lakes Erie and Ontario will hit the southtowns of Buffalo, Syracuse, Watertown and points well north of the DC area.

That all said, accuweather.com does show colder temps moving in as early as Tuesday of this coming week for Fairfield, PA (near Liberty). The trend from there appears to be cold temps (below freezing) for daytime highs with lows in the teens at night. This should allow the folks at Snowtime, Inc. to fire up those snow guns AND its early enough in the year that its worth building that base. So keep you fingers crossed!

Roger Z
January 2, 2004
Member since 01/16/2004
2,181 posts
PL-- fantastic pictures man. I see you had a helpful hand from Mother Nature for those shots. My family and I are heading for Solitude and Brighton tomorrow; they have received close to 100 inches of new snow in the last nine days! Although the forecast is improving, it may be brutal on Sunday (high of 5); I'm hoping the sun comes out at least once while we're out there so we can see some of those views you were photographing.

The upswing for us mid-Atlanticers is that with the moderation in weather out west, perhaps that indicates a longer term change in weather patterns. Utah still needs lots of snow to make up for the five year drought but criminy-- it's five degrees out there and sixty here. One place is too cold to ski (almost) and the other place is too warm to ski (almost). A little moderation in all things would be welcome!

See you all the week of the 12th...

Roger Z
January 2, 2004
Member since 01/16/2004
2,181 posts
It's all luck! Last year the conditions at Blue Knob (eight inches of freshies on a three foot natural base) beat Steamboat Colorado (no freshies, hidden rocks, and 50 degree temps) hands down- I did those back-to-back weekends last year. This is the first time the timing has ever panned out perfectly in seven attempts-- though even bad conditions out there still aren't "bad" by our standards.

Will keep the temps in mind; the operative word for this trip is "if the sun comes out." Freshies are nice but so is a little bluebird every now and then. Perhaps the next big trip out west will be in March next year. And I think by late Jan this warm spell will be but a depressing memory!

Roger Z
January 2, 2004
Member since 01/16/2004
2,181 posts
ps- I just checked the Weather Channel. They are forecasting temps to drop below freezing in Davis starting Monday night and staying below freezing (both high temps as well as low) through Jan 11, with intermittent snow showers early and late in the week. Even possible snow here in Baltimore by next weekend. Be patient-- the cavalry is coming!
KevR
January 2, 2004
Member since 01/27/2004
786 posts
Yeah, true, true. Last year Jackson Hole had 2 ft of fresh "champagne" powder (as the locals called it) on the first day upon our arrival, couldn't ski it to save my life (well I make a great snowman...) Anyway, a fresh few inches every day were the first time I *ever* skied in anything over an inch or two and that includes several trips west which was nothing but blue skies and sunshine, with perhaps a light dusting at night. Then the last day it was warm, and the snow was soft and even a bit slushy on the lower slopes... I felt right at home! ;-)

NOW, the big question, even should bother trying it this weekend or bag it!?

snowcone
January 2, 2004
Member since 09/27/2002
589 posts
Don't feel bad. Last year we went to Squaw (my 1st time out west) in early March and, well I don't consider ankle, nay practically knee deep slurpies any fun. Skiing down at the end of that day was one of the most miserable runs I even had. Best part of the day were the dynamite 'recovery' Bloody Mary's so all was not entirely lost.

I know lot of folks slam east coast skiing but we don't have it so bad. Yes, our runs may not be a long or as steep as we like, the coverage may be skimpy and icy at times, the lifts slow and rickety, and the slopes can be packed on weekends .. but it doesn't cost us a $72 lift ticket. We laugh and share our slopes with friends and neighbors; you would be hard pressed to find any Bogner bunnies on the slopes of Wisp or Whittail. We come for the fun not the fashion. We get EC powder on occasion and enjoy it all the more for its rarity.

I -like- East Coast skiing! It's always different and many times challenging. And if you can ski East Coast you can ski anywhere.

(Anonymous)
January 2, 2004
Amen to that snowcone.I'm an east coast home bisquit myself.The highlands are going to get off & on snow starting sun nite & on thru the week everybody will be crankin the snowguns,It wont take much to get back,& then we will maybe get that BIG one!! Meantime i'm GONE FISHING Black seabass, & tautog We got options on the coast!!
(Anonymous)
January 2, 2004
Yeah, whoever said that the best resort is the one you are at is right! You make the best with what you have, and appreciating things for what they are is the way to go... I enjoy my local outings every time I go regardless of the conditions.. (But one can still dream of the west..)

Scheduling a trip the last minute based on snow conditions doesn't hurt either. I didn't buy my Utah tickets until the week before my vacation was planned- and whichever state had the most snow got my business. ($72 a ticket? Not at Brighton or Snowbird! But I guess Utah is cheaper than Colorado...)

It's too bad you guys didn't enjoy the powder. Perhaps this gives you a reason to switch to snowboarding- all that is required to enjoy powder is a slight switch of weight to your rear leg. Or you can buy some of those wide powder skis- something that I'm sure my wife will be looking into before the next westward journey!

I was hoping for an outing this weekend, but I'll do other chores and save my $$ for the approaching winter weather.... :-)

Good luck out west Roger!

JohnL
January 3, 2004
Member since 01/6/2000
3,509 posts
I think we all are a bit spoiled from last year; it's still early in the season in the Mid-Atlantic. The XMas/New Year holiday week and the first weekend in January are normally dicey for snow cover. No worries, looks like the bases will be replenished soon enough. Good opportunity to clean my house this weekend - probably won't be cleaned again until April.

Despite some wild temperature swings, it was a above-average December for the East.

JohnL
January 3, 2004
Member since 01/6/2000
3,509 posts
Roger,

5 degrees out West always seems to feel like 20 degrees back East, especially if the sun is out.

Check out Honeycomb Canyon and Headwall Forest at Solitude. Yum!

KevR
January 3, 2004
Member since 01/27/2004
786 posts
RZ, hello, rub it in then, eh!? ;-)

Yeah, the West has been dumping and they have our cold air! ;-(

Looks like we can enjoy a few nice warm days, and then be back with some cold air and fresh snow.

OR we could all hop on the plane and be in SLC in 5 hrs ...

KevR
January 3, 2004
Member since 01/27/2004
786 posts
Oh, I dunno. Just finished pricing a trip for 5 to Utah -- seemed vastly more expensive to stay at the resort (alta/bird) than CO, so staying in the city 'cause I'm cheap. BUT it's not till (bleeping) March, so I gots to ski here until then. But I think we have some excellent skiing. I've skied here, northeast, coloroda/wyoming (i.e. "the west"), and Tahoe. It's all good, it's all different. Honestly I prefer the West, but mainly for the views, followed closely by the skiing. On the other hand, I like our variable conditions. Funny that. One year I skied for 9 days straight in CO. I came back, near the end of the season, and headed straight to Whitetail. SLURPEE CITY. First five runs were a TOTAL disaster. Basically I forgot how to ski in those 9 day of near perfect conditions! ;-) Hey, it's all good! Havent' been to Europa yet, hear St Anton is a good place to start. BUT a friend, who seems to have skied everywhere and every season says "The West is the Best..."

johnfmh - DCSki Columnist
January 3, 2004
Member since 07/18/2001
1,914 posts
Hey KevinR:

Overall, the west has better conditions and snowmaking than Europe but Europe has better views, nicer restaurants, and lots of high-speed lifts at the better resorts: St. Anton, Lech, Courchevel, Ischgl, etc.

Europe just received a good dump last weekend and is very cold right now--so the snow should stay good for a while. If you are looking for the best price, book everything ala carte through a resort web site and do not go through a travel agent since travel agents rarely offer accomodations below the 2 star level. A 2 star in Austria is all you need--it's 100 times nicer than Day's Inn.

You can fly to Munich in January for less than $400 RT (non-stop on Lufthansa), stay at a 2 star in STANTON for less than $65 a night, and get a 4 day ski pass for about 131 Euros (which brings your per day lift pass down to the $40 range).

At these rates, a 4 day trip will cost you about $1,000--less if you can share costs with another traveler. Per day costs also go down the longer you stay. In other words, despite the record Euro, Europe is still affordable. You just need to be sure to go when conditions are good.

Finally, beer is still cheap in Europe (usually less than soda), and the cheapest restaurant in St. Anton is the Sparr Markt food market. Buy yourself some nice cheese, bergwurst, bread, yogurt, fruit, chocolat, and salad stuff and eat in your room. I do this all the time and have my big meal at lunch on the mountain. This is what many Euros do to save cash. Also, if you get a group together, appartments with kitchens are faily cheap to rent.

Here are some web sites of use:

http://www.stantonamarlberg.com/

Weather and Snow Conditions in Europe:

http://www.snow-forecast.com/

KevR
January 3, 2004
Member since 01/27/2004
786 posts
Yeah, my friend was talking about the snow I think and ski-ability... all very subjective stuff. He has strong preference for any thing off trail & in the trees, so prefers the West by a long shot. In terms of pricing -- good to know about Europe, personally I'd like to ski "everywhere..." In terms of pricing out West, we have found that a 7 day trip with 5 days of skiing can be had for around $1000 a head with a little planning. That's lodging+lift/air and food. I think it probably averages a bit higher if throw ever last $$ in for incidental spending. This is NOT slope side but slope near, condos, houses mostly. This year I found alta/snowbird to seemingly be VASTLY more expensive than what I have been getting in CO, so we decided to try something a little different -- suite hotel in SLC. We'll see how it works out but it is vastly cheaper than anything so far. Of course if you are really interested in other things besides the actual skiing, and will tend to have enough energy post skiing to do more than just eat and crawl into bed... I'd say you'd want something with more atmosphere & would probably be interested in someplace else or at a resort itself that has that sort of thing to offer.

JohnL
January 3, 2004
Member since 01/6/2000
3,509 posts
KevR,

Lodging at Alta/Snowbird is extremely pricey because they are the two most popular mountains for hard-core skiers and there is very, very little lodging up in Little Cottonwood Canyon. Supply + demand = $$$$$$$$$

On several Utah trips I've stayed down in Salt Lake City or in Ogden and saved a lot of money on lodging. That also enables more convenient access to several areas. Wherever you stay, don't forget the hot tub! More important than a bed.

Colorado can be pretty pricey. If you want to stay in Vail or in Aspen, open up your wallet. Fortunately, you can save a lot of money visiting either resort by staying in Avon or Snowmass, respectively. Larger choice of accomodations = price savings.

johnfmh - DCSki Columnist
January 4, 2004
Member since 07/18/2001
1,914 posts
KevR:

As I said earlier, Europe depends heavily on the conditions because they still have not embraced snowmaking on the scale of most North American destination resorts. In the three trips I've made to the Arlberg, I've never had a bad time because the snow usually stays firm above 2000 meters for weeks at a time. Europe does not have the big thaws at altitude that we have here in the NE. But during long, dry spells, lower slopes can get beaten up and so it sometimes pays to download on a gondola or tram for that last run rather than fight the ice on the lower runs. This is more true at St. Anton than Lech and Zuers, which are at a higher elevation. Europe could easily solve this problem with more aggressive snowmaking at lower altitude but they are resisting snowmaking because of the concerns (many of which are false) of environmentalists.

With that being said, grooming, which used to be horrible, is now up to Okemo or Deer Valley standards. Liftlines are not a problem at better resorts because there's been so much investment in high-speed quads, 6-packs, and even 8-packs. Also, mountain restaurants are superb. They offer a great variety of food ranging from restaurant quality meat dishes to huge salad bar offerings to pastry shop quality deserts. Views from these resaurants also tend to be impressive. Its nice to just sit outside and soak in some sun and spectacular mountain views. The Europeans prefer sitting in the sun to skiing and that's why I usually eat lunch early and ski between 12 and 1.

With regard to the white stuff, Europe depends on a handful of big dumps for snow. They had one such dump last weekend. If you can hit a resort like the Arlberg just after a dump, it's beyond spectacular. After a 3 meter dump last year at Lech, I spoke to a Doppelmayeur lift representative on the Ruffi tram at 0800 in the morning. I said, "this sure beats riding the DC metro at rush hour." He said that he had travelled to resorts around the world for his entire career and never experienced snow and skiing like we had been experiencing for past 8 days.

I think your friend would have a blast off-piste in the Arlberg--it's world-famous for off piste. There's lots of incredible couloirs, cornices, cliffs, steep back bowls, etc. Trees, on the other hand, are few and far between--only Lech and Rendl have trees in any great number. Every book store in St. Anton sells an illustrated guide book to off piste in the Arlberg, but you really need to hire guide and rent avi equipment. The avalanche hazards can be extreme and other hazards exist as well such as 1,000 foot cliffs. It's ok to ski off-piste within 10 meters of a marked trail but if you want to really go off-piste, a guide is your best bet.

I guess my point in all this is that if you have never skied Europe and it's the same price as Utah, it's worth a try, especially if you can go just after a dump. I'd limit my destinations to:

Trois Vallees (Courchevel/Mirabel/Val Thorens), France
Arlberg, Austria
Espace Killy (Val D'Isere/Tignes), France
Zermatt, Switzerland

Chamonix has some of the best off-piste but lifts are not as advanced as other places so I hesitate to include this destination.

Also, Ischgl (Silvretta Arena) has nearly the extent of terrain as the Arlberg, but the runs are a little less steep than St. Anton. Another good, snowsure resort for intermediates in Austria is Soelden/Obergurgl in the Oeztal alps.

KevR
January 4, 2004
Member since 01/27/2004
786 posts
Oh, I never meant to imply *I* didn't want to ski in Europe or that the West is better. It's pretty subjective stuff anyway. I think my friend was just saying how he felt about -- especially in regards to tree skiing which is his favorite. I'm there -- one day...
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