Season 2014-2015 Plans

Topics of a general nature regarding snowsports, which don't easily fit into one of our other Liftlines categories. This is also the place to post Letters to the Editor.

Re: Season 2014-2015 Plans

Postby q » Fri Nov 14, 2014 6:26 am

tseeb wrote:Since I'm dropping Tony C at Missoula airport early on Sun, March 1, I will probably drive to and ski Discovery that day, then drive to Belgrade/Bozemon afterwards. March 2 will be Big Sky, then drive towards Driggs/Jackson afterwards. I'm hoping March 3 will be day EpicSki gathering goes to Targhee so I have shorter drive and don't have to backtrack. After getting my three free MCP days at the tail-end of EpicSki gathering at JHMR, I plan to drive to Evanston, WY and then ski Canyons and/or Park City for a day or two before joining Tony C's Snowbird timeshare group and using my MCP days there. Then I will return to CA with the possibility of skiing at one of Tahoe Vail resorts on the way through.

Trip will be at least three weeks with the possibility of skiing every day except for two long drive days from CA to OR (525 miles San Jose to Bend) and from OR to BC (535 mile Bend to Kelowna). I also have one more long drive from SLC to Tahoe (550 miles to Truckee, 575 to So. Tahoe). Only reservations so far are for Mustang (already paid) and for inexpensive motel in Jackson for three nights beginning March 3 that can be canceled until 3/2. So far the price of gas and the exchange rate have moved in my favor. I hope I don't jinx myself posting this here.


Liking the sound of your trip and Tony's plans also.

A little insider knowledge for you, shouldnt be that big a deal nor put you off but Discovery holds their March Madness season pass sale at midnight-1am on March 1st with pass good from March 1st til the end of the season and all of 2015-2016 so it might be a little busier at the base in the morning particularly if they make a mess of it like last year and it also happens to be a pow day.
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Re: Season 2014-2015 Plans

Postby flyover » Wed Jan 07, 2015 12:15 pm

Looks like this will be a three-destination-trip winter for me.

Trip one: Already spent 12/20 to 12/27/14 in the Mad River Valley visiting family for Christmas and four days of predominately family skiing at Sugarbush 12/21 (good), MRG 12/22 (better) and 12/23 (very, very good), and Sugarbush 12/26 (not nearly as bad as expected - not crowded and decent spring-like conditions in the morning, firming up later in the day, but not all they way to bulletproof).

Trip two: I'm flying solo to Seattle on 2/17 where I'll join my friend John for a road trip into BC. We've got three days of cat skiing booked 2/21-2/23 and I'm not flying home from Seattle until 2/25, so we have time to ski elsewhere around the region. I'd like to hear people's thoughts about the relative merits of Silverstar, Big White, Revelstoke, and, maybe Sun Peaks.

Trip three Just booked flights to Calgary for a family ski vacation in Banff/Lake Louise 3/27 to 4/4/15. This will be my eight-year-old daughter's first skiing outside of Minnesota and Vermont. She's finally developed the stamina and enthusiasm for multiple full ski days and she's loosing the wedge, carving her turns (mostly) consistently, and doing a much better job, mentally, at handling steeper terrain and and a wider variety of surface conditions without being too slow about it (MRG and Sugarbush seemed especially good for her this year). I have to say, I'm feeling a little stoked.

A side note: the fall of the loonie against the dollar has been helpful.
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Re: Season 2014-2015 Plans

Postby jamesdeluxe » Wed Jan 07, 2015 6:55 pm

Some nice destination trips, flyover.

I'm looking forward to my upcoming Alps visit during the first eight days of February. I'll be in the Vorarlberg region along Austria's western border, half in the Bregenzer Forest (Warth-Schröcken, Mellau-Damüls, Diedamskopf) and half in Montafon (Golm, Gargellen, Silvretta, Bielerhöhe). Never heard of 'em? Don't worry; I'll post a photo or two.
Last edited by jamesdeluxe on Wed Jan 07, 2015 7:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Season 2014-2015 Plans

Postby Admin » Wed Jan 07, 2015 7:02 pm

jamesdeluxe wrote:half in Montafon (Golm, Gargellen, Silvretta, Bielerhöhe). Never heard of 'em? Don't worry; I'll post a photo or two.


Or a news story:
http://www.firsttracksonline.com/2015/0 ... ian-skier/
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Re: Season 2014-2015 Plans

Postby jamesdeluxe » Wed Jan 07, 2015 7:28 pm


I miss one day of news and he always catches me. Don't worry, Dad; I'll be careful there.
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Re: Season 2014-2015 Plans

Postby Tony Crocker » Wed Jan 07, 2015 11:12 pm

Flyover and John will be joining tseeb and me at Mustang.

I will be skiing Big White Jan. 19 and Silver Star with tseeb the morning of the 20th before going to Mustang's pickup ~2 hours from there. Those places should fit Flyover's route from Seattle.

Not sure when you're flying out of Seattle Feb. 25, but you'll get out of Mustang ~5:30PM Feb. 23. Mt. Baker might be a good option breaking up the drive between Seattle and the Okanagan.

Flyover's timing for Banff/Lake Louise is quite optimal. Also good for Kicking Horse and Panorama if you want to explore a bit farther.
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Re: Season 2014-2015 Plans

Postby flyover » Thu Jan 08, 2015 9:43 am

jamesdeluxe wrote:Some nice destination trips, flyover.

I'm looking forward to my upcoming Alps visit during the first eight days of February. I'll be in the Vorarlberg region along Austria's western border, half in the Bregenzer Forest (Warth-Schröcken, Mellau-Damüls, Diedamskopf) and half in Montafon (Golm, Gargellen, Silvretta, Bielerhöhe). Never heard of 'em? Don't worry; I'll post a photo or two.


Thanks, James. I've enjoyed your prior TRs from Europe, so I'm already looking forward to reading about your February adventure. Somewhat surprisingly, at 46, I'm still at the trailmix-on-the-lift-for-lunch-on-a-powder-day phase of my skiing career. (I think this might have something to do with living so far from decent skiing.) Once I mature to the point that I can appreciate the long-lunch-with-wine approach, I hope to someday make it across the pond to experience Eurpean ski culture. :wink:

How'd you do for airfare? Full disclosure: I was able to talk my wife and daughter into a skiing over Spring break, rather than returning to Puerto Rico for the 5th year in row (where I've been learning to surf! I will miss that), because the airfares to PR (or seemingly anywhere else warm) are close to three times what we paid last year and about twice what we are paying to get to Calgary.)

Tony Crocker wrote:Flyover and John will be joining tseeb and me at Mustang.


Yes, thanks again Tony, for tipping us off about the available seats.

Tony Crocker wrote:I will be skiing Big White Jan. 19 and Silver Star with tseeb the morning of the 20th before going to Mustang's pickup ~2 hours from there. Those places should fit Flyover's route from Seattle.


That's what we're thinking. As usual, we will probably play it by ear, making relatively last minute decisions based upon the snow reports and forecasts. Any thoughts about Revelstoke vs. Big White/Silver Star? We know enough not to get caught on the wrong side of Eagle Pass on 2/20, but assuming similar conditions and forecasts, would it be worth it to drive all the way to Revelstoke for skiing on the 18th or 19th?

Also, John is thinking he might want to give his legs a rest on the 20th. My early-season legs surprised me by holding up for repeated non-stop single-chair and Castlerock runs in December without major consequences the following morning, so it is possible I might be looking for ski partners and ride to the pickup on the 20th.

Tony Crocker wrote:Mt. Baker might be a good option breaking up the drive between Seattle and the Okanagan.


I was thinking the same thing. Now I just have to talk John into doing some serious driving after Mustang on the evening of 2/23 :wink:
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Re: Season 2014-2015 Plans

Postby jamesdeluxe » Thu Jan 08, 2015 11:17 am

flyover wrote:How'd you do for airfare?

I always use FF awards, accumulated chiefly via affinity credit cards. Traveling during off-peak periods from Newark or JFK, I can get nonstops for 60K miles + $99 in taxes = much better than the $1,100 it would have cost to pay for the flight. For the record, I don't have massive amounts of miles banked and need to be careful how I spend them.
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Re: Season 2014-2015 Plans

Postby Tony Crocker » Thu Jan 08, 2015 12:13 pm

jamesdeluxe wrote:accumulated chiefly via affinity credit cards.

With the cutback in awarding FF miles for dollars spent instead of miles flown, it's almost essential that you get an affinity credit card for meaningful mileage accrual, especially to get a preferred status that waives baggage fees. Those are Amex for Delta/Skyteam, Chase for United/Star Alliance and Citibank for American/OneWorld.

As much as I travel, I get far more mileage from the Amex credit card than from airline flights.

I have come from the Revelstoke side 3 of my 4 times to Mustang. Revelstoke is much closer than Silver Star. Obviously you should watch weather forecasts to anticipate potential problems. Al skiers know that intense weather events are intermittent but infrequent. This is the same issue that comes up when people ask whether you need to pay exorbitant rates to rent an SUV. Sometimes you do, but the vast majority of the time you don't.

So if Flyover and John are eager to check out Revelstoke, I say look at the weather forecast and if nothing big is predicted you should be OK. Liz did have some Eagle Pass delays in 2013 but they were an hour or two, not a whole day. So don't cut it close, give yourself a generous time cushion to get to Mustang's pickup.

flyover wrote:My early-season legs surprised me

It doesn't surprise me in the slightest. Flyover is routinely leading the way on teles with fellow skiers on alpine working hard to keep up.
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Re: Season 2014-2015 Plans

Postby flyover » Thu Jan 08, 2015 1:14 pm

Thanks, Tony.

Here's my question though: if conditions are equivalent at Revelstoke, Silver Star, and Big White, which resort offers the best skiing?

Revelstoke's vertical is intriguing, but I know we would probably spend all our time skiing the top half of that, and some think the mountain is overrated. I don't know much about Silver Star or Big White, although I have reviewed your past TRs.
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Re: Season 2014-2015 Plans

Postby Tony Crocker » Thu Jan 08, 2015 7:08 pm

If you know the snow conditions are good down to the day lodge, you have some consistent 4,700 vertical runs from the top of Stoke to the day lodge. That's fairly unique and you should give it a shot. The topography of the 2 upper chairs at Revelstoke makes going back and forth between them tedious.

Big White is mostly intermediate oriented, though the ~700 vertical Cliff is above tree line and steep. Big White has a high base elevation. Snow is usually better than you would expect from the heavy south exposure because it's a chronically overcast/foggy climate like Schweitzer and Whitefish but rain is rare.

The back side of Silver Star reminds me some of Telluride's chair 9, long consistent fall lines, only a few of them groomed. Back of Silver Star is north facing, but fairly low altitude.

The other Okanagan area Apex is also on your way to/from Seattle. Apex is more advanced oriented than either Big White or Silver Star. It gets the least snow of the 3 but is predominantly north facing for better preservation.

You have 4 days, Feb. 18-20 and 24, so conceivably could hit all 4 of the places above and judge for yourself. Sun Peaks is a bit more of a detour. Sun Peaks is bigger than any of the Okanagan areas, fairly intermediate oriented. The advanced terrain faces mostly south and is served by the long and very slow Burfield chair.

I am one of those who thinks Revelstoke is overrated by many. Is it better than the 3 Okanagan areas? Probably since the upper chairs get quite a bit more snow. But terrain quality is far short of Fernie, Castle, Lake Louise and Kicking Horse IMHO.
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Re: Season 2014-2015 Plans

Postby flyover » Thu Jan 08, 2015 8:06 pm

^^^^^ That is extremely helpful. Thanks. Exchanges like this are a big part of the reason I've stuck around FTO.

I hadn't given much thought to Apex due to its low snowfall. Also, I'm still trying to wrap my head around some of the google earth and/or mapquest estimated drive times for BC. An as-the-crow-flies glance at the map suggests Apex should be on the way back to Seattle. Estimated drive times, however, suggest it is only 5 or 10 minutes closer to Seattle than Big White. It is also kind of funny to have these areas referred to as the "Okanagan areas" when they are hours of driving apart.

I'll be in touch as we get closer to the trip and start getting firmer ideas about our itinerary.
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Re: Season 2014-2015 Plans

Postby Tony Crocker » Fri Jan 09, 2015 1:04 pm

Silver Star (Vernon), Big White (Kelowna) and Apex (Penticton) are all accessed from the Okanagan Valley, thus the common grouping. Sun Peaks is near Kamloops. Driving Vancouver/Seattle to Revelstoke the Kamloops route is if anything more direct. But you get only one ski area vs. up to 3 that way.

I called my friends in Kelowna. All the Okanagan areas got hit by the recent storm of up to 2 feet. So it's very good right now. Prior to New Years it was quite variable as there had been a few rain episodes along with the snow, which is unusual for these areas.
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Re: Season 2014-2015 Plans

Postby longshanks » Wed Jan 14, 2015 11:18 pm

Tony Crocker wrote:If you know the snow conditions are good down to the day lodge, you have some consistent 4,700 vertical runs from the top of Stoke to the day lodge.

I am one of those who thinks Revelstoke is overrated by many. Is it better than the 3 Okanagan areas? Probably since the upper chairs get quite a bit more snow. But terrain quality is far short of Fernie, Castle, Lake Louise and Kicking Horse IMHO.


This last point by Mr. Crocker is spot-on...I would add Red to that group if it has Snow...this year so far, not so much.
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Re: Season 2014-2015 Plans

Postby Tony Crocker » Fri Jan 16, 2015 8:02 pm

The Okanagan has been the big winner in BC this year. Even Apex has a 60+ inch base. Flyover should plan to hit all 3 areas.
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