Favorite ski area and why
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wgo
March 24, 2004
Member since 02/10/2004
1,261 posts
Ok,

Here's a straightforward question: what's your favorite ski area, and why?

For me, it would have to be Les Grand Montets area in the Chamonix Valley near the village of Argentiere. I was fortunate enough to do my graduate school research at CERN, a research facility for particle physics located near Geneva, Switzerland. So I was only 60-90 minutes from the Alps. Argentiere (as we usually referred to the ski area) was just a great area - there were some marked trails, but for the most part it was simply the face of a mountain that you skied. There were wide open bowls, little gulleys, just an endless variety of terrain. December thru May, we hit that area just about every weekend and really got to know it inside and out. To this day it still defines my notion of what a ski area should be.
JimK - DCSki Columnist
March 24, 2004
Member since 01/14/2004
2,645 posts
Always one of my favorite topics.

That was a fantastic opportunity and you can always take great satisfaction from the knowledge that you took full advantage of it. One thing you mention is that you really got to know the mountain well, that kind of familiarity and depth of experience tends to foster good vibes, especially if you're doing something you love anyway. I have the same kind of feelings about Blue Knob, PA, albeit a much, much smaller scale mtn, based on being a season pass holder there for about a dozen of my formative years. The surprising amount of nooks and crannies at BK kept me entertained for many seasons. Snowmass, CO is a place I was briefly exposed to on 2 occasions. There is a full gamut of terrain there with other great ski areas nearby and the fun town of Aspen. I understand Snowmass tends not to be too crowded these days with Summit County taking a lot of business, but it's always been a pricey destination. My favorite lesser known place is Wildcat, NH, which has some neat old fashioned New England ski terrain. This past season I was really impressed with Loveland, CO during two days there. Amazing amount of terrain for a "smaller" Colorado area, convenient to Denver and no crowds. A four day spring skiing visit there could be a real high quality/low cost deal.

By the way, when you were in the Chamonix area did you ever try the 12mile/9k foot vertical run down the Vallee Blanche? Probably not viewed as a very efficient ski day by the locals there, but it has always caught my fancy in a touristy way as a neat thing to try.
Roger Z
March 24, 2004
Member since 01/16/2004
2,181 posts
How'd this thread get in the equipment question board? [Smile]

Favorite ski area: the one I'm at! Best time I ever had at a favorite ski area, though... hmmmmm. There's a few places I've really enjoyed. BUT...

The piece da resistance of skiing, for me anyway, is Mad River Glen, hands down. That's the patriarch of eastern skiing, the true proving ground for all. Ski that well and you can rest assured that you are among the best. The old single chair is great for reflecting how badly your last run went and why grease dripping on your coat is a badge of honor and how bloody cold northern Vermont really can be in January. The views from the summit are spectacular, stretching from the Adirondacks and Whiteface across the Champlain Valley, south to Killington (I think) and east to Mount Washington. And the lift attendants are fantastic good ol' Vermonters that always have a wisecrack waiting.

Mad River Glen isn't just a ski hill, it is a way of life. It can't be beat, not for me anyway.
wgo
March 24, 2004
Member since 02/10/2004
1,261 posts
JimK,

Funny you should ask about the Vallee Blanche, I was thinking of it as I was writing my last post. I never did it - I thought about it a few times, but always decided not to because I had it described to be as basically a long intermediate run (assuming you follow the guide and don't fall in a crevasse, of course). Basically I was never willing to give up a day of "real" skiing to do it! Of course, now that I am older and have the benefit of hindsight I wish I had done it at least once - it would have been a great experience with stunning views and good food. It really seems silly now that I wouldn't give up one day for it!
JimK - DCSki Columnist
March 24, 2004
Member since 01/14/2004
2,645 posts
30 yrs ago I was a serious (but not great) long distance runner. Logged a lot of 90 mile weeks, routinely ran 18 mile training runs on Sundays, but I never ran a marathon. Some of your same logic applies:

"I never did it - I thought about it a few times, but always decided not to because I had it described to be as basically a long intermediate run (assuming you follow the guide and don't fall in a crevasse, of course). Basically I was never willing to give up a day of "real" skiing to do it! Of course, now that I am older and have the benefit of hindsight I wish I had done it at least once - it would have been a great experience with stunning views and good food. It really seems silly now that I wouldn't give up one day for it!"

But no regrets. A nice day at Massanutten when you've got Diamond Jim or Paradice all to yourself can (with a little imagination and proper attitude) be an acceptable substitute for the French Alps.
andy
March 24, 2004
Member since 03/6/2004
175 posts
Way to go roger..east coast baby!!Bet the views are even better on top of sugarbush! I think wgo would buy an expensive wine that doesn't taste any better than a cheaper version because of the name.Lets call MPC" La plateau de la supreme excelance" ....just kidding wgo wish i could exp it one day.
wgo
March 25, 2004
Member since 02/10/2004
1,261 posts
Ha! I paid for those years by the Alps with 5 years living in the midwest. But JimK is right, attitude can make up for a lot. I was still happy to go skiing at the local midwest resorts - when the weather is nice and the snow is good, it's still a lot of fun.


p.s. andy if you have any suggestions for a good inexpensive wine please let me know [Razz]
andy
March 25, 2004
Member since 03/6/2004
175 posts
"wild irish rose" Best served when eating NOTHING!!
lbotta - DCSki Supporter
March 27, 2004
Member since 10/18/1999
1,526 posts
IMHO -- I'll take Zermatt.

1. Humongous vertical, extending to the sides of the Matterhorn.
2. Challenging terrain... Probably one of the three best in Europe
3. No cars. A truly wonderful ambience in a truly pedestrian town with no internal combustion engines to clog your lungs. And besides, with no traffic, no jams, no smog, and no frazzled nerves which result in a very friendly town
4. Wonderful customer service virtually everywhere
5. Some of the best ski shops in Europe. Virtually every little shop has a certified master boot fitter, and even the most junior attendant at a ski shop is probably a valedictorian from their ski school back home, whether in Europe, US or Asia.
6. The Beer..... Oh the beer.....
7. The Wine..... Flows freely
8. You can travel to Italy on skiis.... and back
9. On a day, you can take a train to ski... or a gondola... or a funicular... or a lift... or a rope... or a helo...
10. The people: The very rich comingle with the tie-dyed ski or board crowd with tremendous congeniality. No pretenses. Yes, they do have several high end hotels, but no one makes a scene. No Hummers, Bentleys, or Rolls to make a scene.
11. Getting there on the Glacier Express: Your jaw will get tired of dropping at the spectacular scenery

Any more?.....
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