Skier's Ultimate To Do List

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Skier's Ultimate To Do List

Postby Patrick » Thu Jun 05, 2003 11:29 pm

The conversation was going into this direction. I just thought it would be interesting to see what is the Skier's ultimate wish list.

Few people mentioned skiing Hawaii (that has been on my list too).

I guess after talking about skiing in the Torngat Range or somewhere on Baffin Island would also on my list.

Here are a few others (in no particular order):

Summer skiing in the Northern Hemisphere (excluding June).
Skiing every months of the year.
Jackson Hole and Alaska.
Delirium Dive at Sunshine (Alberta) - in-bounds, but you need AV equipment and partner.
Speed Skiing at LesArcs (France) - anyone can do it, you just sign on the waiver. A friend did it, he reached 130km/h (75mph).
Ski LAGrave with a guide (France).
Ski Mt.Washington elsewhere than Tucks.
Southern Hemisphere (Chili and New Zealand).
go back to Europe for whole year off!!!

Some important one that I have already done:
ski on my birthday, June11 (twice, once at Blackcomb88 and Killington92).
ski la Vallée-Blanche on Mt.Blanc (Chamonix, France) - March 29, 2003
ski Jungfrau area in Switzerland (Wengen, Muerren, Grindelwald) - March 11-14, 2003.
ski in Western Canada (more to see of course)
ski the major eastern ski area (missing Wildcat from my wish list).

SKIING or SKI mag had a top 100 list a few years ago. What is your list?
Last edited by Patrick on Fri Dec 02, 2011 10:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Frankontour » Fri Jun 06, 2003 6:48 am

Good idea of discussion, Patrick !
This is my wish list :
In Quebec :
Mt Édouard (la "Tableau")
Le Valinouet (according to Max, it's a MUST)
Mt Adstock (extreme)
Mt Miller (extreme)
Mt Comi / Val d'Irene (same kind of nice ski areas)
Mt Albert in july

Eastern USA :
Killington (october + june)
Mt Washington (april-may)
Big Squaw (even with the comments of Kevin)
Whiteface
Sugarbush
Sugarloaf
Wildcat
Cannon
Magic
Tenney in october ?

West :
Mammoth (just for Tony ! lol... no it looks nice)
Timberline lodge or Blackcomb on my birthday : august 1
Skiing every months of the year
Skiing every day like Matt (lol)
Panorama... now with all the new quads to replace the slow chairs & t-bars.
Every interesting big mountains in the rockies (I mean the places of ski, not the big touristic resorts as Vail, Aspen & all.)
Mt Bachelor

Already done :
Skiing in june (viva L-G)
Skiing an entire mountain side without real trails and chairlift to come back (la Reserve again)
Skiing in a snowstorm in mid-may <IMG SRC="http://www.firsttracksonline.com/discus2/clipart/happy.gif" ALT=":)"> lol
Mad River Glen (going there was a childhood dream)

#1 chart
#1 mountain : Alta / Orford
#1 trail : Contour
#1 run in my life : discovering Chevreuil, april 2, 1997
#1 best ski day ever : march 31, 2001 : Alta (WOW)
#1 best view : Owl's Head - Lilly's Leap
#1 toughest trail : Orford - Super (summit wall) / Réserve - Pirouette / Val Saint-Côme - Pins Rouges (all them are almost equal... they're just really hairy).
#1 off-trail : Chevreuil
#1 real glade : "8" at le Massif du Sud
#1 Steepest trail : Chute libre at la Reserve
#1 cliff trail : Super at Orford
#1 longest moguls run : MRG's Lower Antelope

Hmm, I could continue a long time, but I gotta go !
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Postby Kevin » Fri Jun 06, 2003 12:43 pm

This is the summer skiing that I have done:

July 1985: Summer ski camp in europe (spoiled) I spent one month in 4 countries
Resorts skied:
Stubai-Austria
Zermatt-Switzerland-July 17th-20th
Tignes-France <BR>Val Senales/Schanalstal-Italy

I do not remember the dates skied at the other places as I only kept the pass from Zermatt.

July 1987-timberline Lodge Oregon
August/September 1988-Timberline Lodge Oregon
August 1990-Timberline Lodge Oregon
August/September 1997-Timberline Lodge Oregon

September 5th 1992- Snowmobiling on Vatnajokull glacier in Iceland(not skiing but still cool)
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Postby Tony Crocker » Fri Jun 06, 2003 1:36 pm

A few random comments:

I updated my ski records at http://bestsnow.net/vertfeet.comfor 2003 last night.

I needed to come east to Killington to get October and complete all months of the year.

Delirium Dive is not that extreme IMHO. The reason for the AV/partner requirement is that Banff National Park is very restrictive about ski expansion (the local enviros would like to close down lift-service within the park completely) and that was the price of allowing any skiing after 15 years of closure. I do highly recommend Delirium Dive though, because the area widens out after the initial drop, and the AV/partner requirement allows powder to last for several days after storms.

If you want a really extreme AV/partner in-bounds run, try Big Couloir at Big Sky. Marc can corroborate this opinion.

Southern Hemisphere: go to New Zealand for the overall tourism experience, including nice tropical stops on the way (Fiji, Tahiti or Great Barrier Reef). If you just want to ski go to South America (I haven't done that yet). Chile is more reliable for snow, but for awesome terrain, wait for a big El Nino year and go to Las Lenas in Argentina.

My birthday is Dec. 4. On my 30th I skied the Avalanche Chutes at Mammoth (see pics of Garry Klassen in my 4/6/03 report) for the first time after they built chair 22 for access that summer.

I could volunteer opinions on most any western ski area you care to visit, as I have been to 73 of them. For overall quality (the important things: terrain, challenge and snow) I rank Mammoth #3, behind Alta/Snowbird and Whistler/Blackcomb. I have historically ranked Vail #4, though I have timed the trips carefully (pre-Christmas and January) to avoid crowds.

Panorama and Sun Peaks are the largest western areas I have not skied. Both get meager natural snowfall of barely 200 inches at upper elevation, and thus should be visited mid-season or later of a high snow year. In the western U.S. I've skied everything of substantial size and the most interesting unskied areas are places like Loveland, Bridger and Mt. Baker.

I was at Alta on closing day May 1, 1988 and it snowed 20 inches. At the end of the day I had to excavate a drift blocking the driver's door of my rental car.

The conspicuous gap in my ski experience is Europe, which will definitely be remedied in 2006 and possibly next season. First priorities : St. Anton, Val d'Isere, Chamonix, Zermatt, La Grave.

A crude but effective method of ranking best ski days: add total vertical skied to powder vertical. I have 9 days lifetime where that total exceeds 40K. #1 is 4/9/99, documented at http://bestsnow.net/TRsFTO/19990409mmthtc.HTML. My opinion here is not alone either. Doug Nidever has been guiding in the Sierra for over 20 years, and he remembers guiding backcountry off the backside of June Mountain that day. The powder was waist-deep, and the driest he ever remembers skiing in the Sierra.
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Postby Patrick » Fri Jun 06, 2003 10:31 pm

WOW. I enjoy reading this stuff. This at least is positive stuff.

Snowmobiling in Iceland!!! Kevin, you seem to have a lot of great experiences... which ones are the ones that are next or would like to do?

Great message Tony,

In response to your message:

DELIRIUM and BANFF:
Delirium Dive might not be so extreme - but it there!!! I have skiied the gullies behind Whitehorn at Lake Louise since they opened them a few years ago. They used to be permanently closed.

I have been to Sunshine at three different occasions with my wife. She just has vertigo just thinking about DD. I wanted to go down. In fact, just the entry (according to the line chosen) can be pretty hair-rising.

When you mentioned that that the local environos would like everything shut down in the National Park (Marmot, Louise, Sunshine, Norquay) - it is in fact only the radical ones. Environmental groups (majority) wants to limit expansion and lift capacity. Although the approval system for change to the ski areas takes time, the capacity has been increasing in the last few years. I don't really have a problem with their stand, it is a important National Park after all.

It is funny, I somewhat agree with the openning policy for Delirium Dive. In North America, a lot of ski lines are now added as trails, in Europe it is the opposite. While at les 3 Vallées, my friend from France that I skied with told me that some lines used to be trails, but the area has removed some most difficult ones over the years. The reason is that the tourist see a run on a map and automatically thinks he can ski it. So now, the very good skiers know if it's skiable for them or not, and the tourist don't even try. This means less pain for the ski patrol...and tourists.

US WEST:
One of the reason why I didn't mentioned the US West much in my list. The extra we pay (for Canadians at least) is not necessarily worth it for us. Although there are exceptions. I mentioned Jackson Hole, but I would also like to include SunValley, Taos, Alta on my list. However there is so many places in Canada that I haven't skied. Red, Fernie, Kicking Horse are probably the next ones. I would visited these area before I consider trying Sun Peaks or Panorama. Plus I would like to go back to Whistler in 2006 for our 10th anniversary (we spent part of our honeymoon there, we haven't been back since).

EUROPE:
I am fortunate to be married to a wonderful wife, who happens to be from Lyon, France. Your list of priorities is in the right places. My number priority in Switzerland was Jungfrau (Grindelwald, Wengen, Muerren) - probably the most spectacular scenery, Chamonix/Courmayeur are not bad either. Number #2 was Zermatt. My visit to the Jungfrau in March was great. Probably not the best skiing terrain (in-bound), but the overall experience and atmosphere was so amazing. The history of the place is amazing, not like most French resort which were built in the 60-70s. Of course, one that doesn't fit in that category is Val d'Isère. I have skiied there on two different occasion (1993, 2000) for a total of 5 days. Probably my favorite in France. I missed out on Summer skiing at Tignes in 1998. It was planned, unfortunately I aggravated a shoulder injury in France. It was 39celsius the weekend we spent in Albertville (43c in Lyon).

LAGrave was also on my to-do list this year, but it didn't work out. Guides were all booked. Next time.

Other places I have skiied in Europe:
Flaine, Chamonix (2 areas + vallée-blanche), Val d'Isère-Tignes, Trois Vallées (includes Courchevel, Meribel, LesMenuires and Val Thornes), LesArcs, Alpe d'Huez, Chamrousse and Courmayeur across the Mt.Blanc in Italy.

SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE:
I have two friends that have skiied New Zealand or Chili. One of them did both. One day it will be my tour.

BTW. If I would take a year sabbatical in Europe, it would be Val d'Isère or Chamonix. Real towns, real people (higher tourist for people rate in Val).
Last edited by Patrick on Fri Dec 02, 2011 10:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Frankontour » Sat Jun 07, 2003 6:43 am

Hmm, Tony, both links doesn't work actually <IMG SRC="http://www.firsttracksonline.com/discus2/clipart/sad.gif" ALT=":(">
Patrick, it's fun for you to have a second reason why to go in Europa <IMG SRC="http://www.firsttracksonline.com/discus2/clipart/happy.gif" ALT=":)">

On my side, I didn't talked of Europa cause it wouldn't really be a worth for me. It's extremely expensive and personally, I don't necessary prefer to have 6000' than 600' of vertical drop. It depends of the mountain and looking to the ones in Europa, they're not really my kind, actually.

Just too big and often completely above the treeline (I like treeskiing and narrow trails with no possibility to exit in the woods) May be if I knew more about these mountains, I would like them more, but the world ski region that I know the less is certainly Europa and I've never really been attracted by there.
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Postby Frankontour » Sat Jun 07, 2003 3:08 pm

wow, straight lining into Hangman's ! ish... a little bit crazy !
Unfortunately, I just count my total vertical by day since last year, so I can't say what's my best time. In the old times, at Tremblant, I certainly passed 60 000. This year, with my camera (about 50 pics) (at -20 degrees Farenheit), I reached 41 000 feet. On that, I did 3-4 runs on the sloooooooow Edge quad, so it would have been easy to pass over 50 000 in normal conditions. But, of course, we talk of Tremblant and the powder is an extremely rare phenomenon there.

My #1 powder day is probably on march 23, 2002, at Alta (QC). I got only 35000 vertical feet, but on that, over 30000 in deep powder (30 inches). It was tough to believe, they groomed 2 runs, but I just skied few places on them. All the rest was in the deep powder and with the little lift capacity, there was still some first tracks to do at the end of the day, even though all the powder specialists of the Laurentians were there, as the area wasn't open during mid-week during the storms. So on saturday, they opened 35 minutes before their normal opening and closed 30 minutes after their normal closing, cause there was too much skiers.

What a powder day ! It's usual to have 1-2' of untracked powder in several places every day at Alta, but not on the whole mountain !!!
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Postby Patrick » Sun Jun 08, 2003 10:52 pm

WISH LIST:
I forgot to mentioned at the beginning of this discussion ski all five continents.

Europe is great... No comparison can be made with the West. It is not necessarily better - It is like comparing Apples and Oranges.

Frank, you would freak out. The vastness of it all is mind boggling!!! I did. Imagine the 600km of trails and 200 lifts of les 3 vallées.

I read that: "the six largest ski area in the US could fit inside Les Trois Vallées. That means that Killington, Vail, Heavenly, Steamboat, Squaw valley and Park City could all fit inside the space covered by Les Trois Vallées ... plus you can also throw in Jackson Hole, Taos, Sun Valley, Keystone, Crested Butte, Alta, Solitude, Cranmore and Stowe and still have room." (Ski Europe book)

COMMENT ON VERTICAL:
We did something like 25 and 28 runs the last two times we were at Sugarloaf. I was with a great skier friend, a weekday in January, cold, snowing, amazing condition and... this year. GS skis all date / we changed after lunch the previous year. I would just need to do the math to calculate total vertical.

I roughly skied 15-20 runs the three days I was at Tremblant. Days that I started skiing where I brought my daughter to school in Ottawa, then drive 2 hours, eat lunch and start skiing at 12:30!!!

However, the vertical and speed is generally less.

Thanks for the proper link Tony.
Last edited by Patrick on Fri Dec 02, 2011 10:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Frankontour » Mon Jun 09, 2003 6:08 am

I never went to Sugarloaf in winter, but I always wondered why they didn't replaced the gondola by a high speed quad, but just starting on the Lombard x-cut elevation. Is it wind or something like that ? Cause with that, it would be easier to reach the snowfields and all the rest of the mountain and there is passes from everywhere to reach that place, at bottom. Now that they have the Timberline quad, we can forget that, but I was surprised to see them install a quad from there, cause it should be really long to reach the top terrain from that place.

If they had a high-speed chairlift passing there, as it's steep all way long above that, we could certainly do huge vertical by days, compared to the flat Tremblant.

About the largest ski area in North America, Big Sky don't have a place in that ? Anyway, I know this is gigantic and it's one of the reason why I wouldn't go there actually.
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Postby Frankontour » Mon Jun 09, 2003 6:09 am

Oops, I stopped the message too late as I can see... anyway, I just added the reason why the first paragraph, in the 2nd paragraph of the 2nd message.
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Postby Admin » Mon Jun 09, 2003 6:14 am

Patrick, those Whitehorn gullies at Lake Loo were crazy! We were there in a total whiteout, with nothing underfoot but death cookies. It was creepy to be having your skis thrown all over the place by the chunks, worrying about them tripping you up when you couldn't see down into the soupy abyss, wondering what would befall you if in fact you blew it.
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Postby Kevin » Mon Jun 09, 2003 8:56 am

Frank:
The decision was made to remove the remains of the gondola(from mid-station to the top) and use the Timberline quad on the ridgeline because of wind. The ridgeline is more protected from wind, but summit access was easier and more direct with the gondola. The gondola was very sensitive to wind and I can remember many trips on it were the cabin was swinging back and forth in the wind.
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Postby Frankontour » Mon Jun 09, 2003 11:33 am

Ok, this explains all. The sad thing, so, is that they didn't put a fast lift to the summit (Timberline).. but I imagine there was a good reason for that too.
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Postby Tony Crocker » Mon Jun 09, 2003 12:26 pm

More comments:

Be ambitious! There are 7 continents. Antarctica's a little pricey though. There is limited lift-service in Morocco and South Africa, and the more adventurous could try Kilimanjaro or Mt. Kenya.

One of the reasons I didn't view Delirium Dive as that extreme is that the Whitehorn Gullies have a more sustained pitch. They had excellent snow conditions on both my 1999 and 2002 trips, but they're not a great place to be if the visibility is bad.

Big Sky does have a lot of acreage and vertical, but how much of it is usable is dependent on erratic coverage and sometimes snow conditions as well. Marc and I were there two weeks apart in March 2001 and had very different experiences (mine was the better one).

Note to Frankontour: you do need to scrounge a few $ and get out of the East sometime. With regard to ski areas, size does matter, and bigger usually means better. Even at areas with ambience you might not like, and overrun with low-end casual skiers (Vail is probably the best example), skiers do not distribute themselves optimally, and a large area will usually have remote and quiet sectors with interesting natural terrain and low skier density.

And with regard to terrain, one of the limitations of most eastern ski areas is that skiers are confined to trails. Glades and above timberline terrain give the skier choice of line, spread people out and preserve the snow longer, particularly in fresh powder. One quote I remember reading about a Utah Altaholic is that he "hadn't skied on a designated trail in months."

I have been told by several people that Mammoth has the most similar topography in North America to the Alps, and since those who don't pick Mammoth usually say that about Whistler, I am eager to get over to Europe sometime.

I sought Marc's advice before my eastern trip last March, and he agreed with my plan to ski Stowe, Mad River and Jay, mostly because they do offer some degree of off-trail skiing. I will admit to ignorance of the lesser known Quebec areas, but Marc opined that the above 3 areas were "better than anything in Quebec."
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Postby Patrick » Mon Jun 09, 2003 3:12 pm

Tony, I agree with Marc's comment about Stowe, MRG and Jay - they are better than anything in Quebec (see my list somewhere in Killington's 140 messages I believe).

When I was in the Alps, I rarely skied on the trails. There are only two trails off the Val-Thorens's tram, we are taking 900m vertical!!!

Sorry, about the continents. I was counting America as one, plus not counting Antarctica. Africa was included in my 5.

Love those Whitehorn Gullies.
Last edited by Patrick on Fri Dec 02, 2011 10:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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