Where's the best 2019 Christmas snow destination?

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Re: Where's the best 2019 Christmas snow destination?

Postby jamesdeluxe » Sun Dec 15, 2019 8:24 pm

One Wolf wrote: What we find at smaller resorts is that the same runs over and over get old and we find ourselves wanting to explore something new.

I know how people often recommend their favorite ski areas/resorts and ignore the OP's criteria. :-k For the record, I wasn't suggesting Monarch for your Xmas trip (my disclaimer at the beginning), just following up on Tony's point about Colorado base depths.
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Re: Where's the best 2019 Christmas snow destination?

Postby Tony Crocker » Sun Dec 15, 2019 9:49 pm

We'll be interested in a report from One Wolf's trip. My final suggestion is to do Vail first, then Aspen. Everything I've heard says you really don't want to be in Vail or Summit County Dec. 26-31. I skied Vail Dec. 18-19, 1995, wide open, skied 30K vertical each day. I would be surprised if at least parts of China Bowl and Blue Sky Basin don't open soon.

Aspen doesn't get excessively busy on the hill even at peak times, though you may need to plan your restaurant reservations a bit ahead.
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Re: Where's the best 2019 Christmas snow destination?

Postby EMSC » Sun Dec 15, 2019 10:49 pm

For reference there is a ton of mtn ops and patrol work that goes into getting new sections of the mountain open. Given that the storm cycle in Colo just slowed down today in the northern mtns they will take a few days to work on opening new sections.

And they will probably be extra careful this year with the speed of opening given todays inbounds avalanche at Steamboat. I know that Eldora today opened a bunch of terrain - even multiple trails where they usually make snow (and may even come back and put at least some snowmaking on them soon so that they can have a dense enough base for grooming).
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Re: Where's the best 2019 Christmas snow destination?

Postby Tony Crocker » Sun Dec 15, 2019 11:49 pm

I've just updated bestsnow.net/seas20.htm for Dec. 15. For northern and central Colorado, base depths after the recent storm are all above average yet open terrain is all below average, with EMSC explaining why above. This tells me that considerably more terrain will open over the next week. I am thus VERY confident that One Wolf should go to Vail before Christmas and Aspen after Christmas.

FYI James hit one of the sweet spots of the current storm. Monarch got 4 feet, twice as much as most of the southern and western areas.
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Re: Where's the best 2019 Christmas snow destination?

Postby One Wolf » Mon Dec 16, 2019 9:11 am

Tony Crocker wrote:We'll be interested in a report from One Wolf's trip. My final suggestion is to do Vail first, then Aspen. Everything I've heard says you really don't want to be in Vail or Summit County Dec. 26-31. I skied Vail Dec. 18-19, 1995, wide open, skied 30K vertical each day. I would be surprised if at least parts of China Bowl and Blue Sky Basin don't open soon.

Aspen doesn't get excessively busy on the hill even at peak times, though you may need to plan your restaurant reservations a bit ahead.


This is exactly what I'm going to do. I was initially thinking Aspen first since it's more open and give Vail 3-4 more days to open up the back bowls but I agree with you now - Aspen is the better choice for the crazy weekend so we will hit Vail first skiing 24th-26th, then Snowmass 27th-30th. Very excited, will give a trip report. Thanks again.
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Re: Where's the best 2019 Christmas snow destination?

Postby tseeb » Mon Dec 16, 2019 9:57 am

You do know that Vail is $219 walk-up over holidays? Not sure what Heavenly and Northstar will be charging, but advance purchase is $174 and $179, respectively and pass sales have ended. Aspen will also be ~$200/day. Kirkwood is $129 when I put in advance purchase dates of 12/26-31. I just posted report from Sat. 12/14. I forgot to add than not only were they running all lifts, I didn't notice until I've moved to Cornice in PM and someone pointed it out to me that they also were running T-bar to Lookout Vista which opens up a lot of E, S and W-facing terrain (and requires a ~100' vertical foot hike before loading).

While Kirkwood does not have much of a Village, they do have 7800, an independent bar/restaurant in base of condo tower near chair 1 (funky but decent food, live music some evenings and way cheaper beers than Vail-owned places nearby) and the Kirkwood Inn and Saloon (Vail-owned, 155 year-old building with good Happy Hour and food across highway from entrance to Valley) so OP could stay at Kirkwood a couple of nights (assuming availability) without being limited to on-mountain dining although not much for spouse to do if not skiing. (Dog-sledding?)

Tony Crocker is right about some current limitations at Tahoe. Squaw has not opened Headwall (or Emigrant or Solitude which led to long lines over weekend on other lifts) and Heavenly requires downloading if skiing out of CA base (where still free this year parking close to my family's cabin is located). Northstar has yet to open Backside and Martis Camp lift as both have bases around 6500' and their bean-counters may not have authorized snow-making. Rumor is Martis may open first as that allows multi-million $ homes in private road neighborhood access to mountain without sharing paid or very inconvenient parking with public.

Note that 12/26-31 at Tahoe may be less crowded than 1/1-5, assuming most lifts are running. Less than full passes are blacked out and most schools are off, so many people may be skiing starting New Years. We plan to drive up on NYE and ski (and probably quit) early the next few days.
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Re: Where's the best 2019 Christmas snow destination?

Postby jamesdeluxe » Tue Dec 17, 2019 7:02 am

tseeb wrote:You do know that Vail is $219 walk-up over holidays? [...] Aspen will also be ~$200/day.

I was going to bring that up but didn't want to be a buzzkill. I'm putting the over/under on a holiday trip like this around $10K. Hey, if money's not a concern, why not?
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Re: Where's the best 2019 Christmas snow destination?

Postby Tony Crocker » Tue Dec 17, 2019 11:09 am

I’m usually the one :dead horse: about the poor value proposition of Christmas Week but two of you have beat me to it this time.

I’ll just mention that Liz and I can fly from LA to the Alps, rent a car and ski 2 1/2 weeks at multiple resorts staying in nice hotels and dining very well for less than $10K.
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Re: Where's the best 2019 Christmas snow destination?

Postby One Wolf » Tue Dec 17, 2019 12:32 pm

I get it. I spend 355 days a year looking for value and squeezing every ounce of value of every interaction I'm involved in whether I'm the the seller or the buyer and I am both. This is the one week a year I say F it and go where I want, stay where we want, do what we want - and we love to ski. I'm not looking for the best value, I'm looking for the best experience. I can't take it with me.
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Re: Where's the best 2019 Christmas snow destination?

Postby Tony Crocker » Tue Dec 17, 2019 2:59 pm

It’s way late in the game here, but James or I should have mentioned the Alps earlier in this thread after the huge November many places had. I’ll bet from NC you could get a very nice week in the Alps for less than Aspen + Vail will cost. And the wife won’t be complaining about lack of non ski options over there.
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Re: Where's the best 2019 Christmas snow destination?

Postby jamesdeluxe » Tue Dec 17, 2019 5:02 pm

Tony Crocker wrote:It’s way late in the game here, but James or I should have mentioned the Alps earlier in this thread after the huge November many places had. I’ll bet from NC you could get a very nice week in the Alps for less than Aspen + Vail will cost. And the wife won’t be complaining about lack of non ski options over there.

I got halfway through a post to suggest that ^^ -- especially after his comment "I'm not looking for the best value, I'm looking for the best experience" -- then deleted. Everyone here knows that given the choice, I'll always head east from NJ/NYC instead of west, whereas most Americans (even those on the east coast) reflexively fly west for their destination trips.
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Re: Where's the best 2019 Christmas snow destination?

Postby Tony Crocker » Tue Dec 17, 2019 9:01 pm

jamesdeluxe wrote: most Americans (even those on the east coast) reflexively fly west for their destination trips.

Which is exactly why we should have brought up the subject sooner, with a new poster from NC.

Most avid skiers in the East should IMHO take at least 1/3 of destination tips to the Alps vs. West. The exceptions would be people with some kind of recurring connection, like the large New Jersey contingent in our Iron Blosam timeshare group.

But for someone in One Wolf's situation
One Wolf wrote:This is the one week a year I say F it and go where I want, stay where we want, do what we want - and we love to ski

The Alps should be on the rotation.
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Re: Where's the best 2019 Christmas snow destination?

Postby jamesdeluxe » Tue Dec 17, 2019 9:13 pm

Tony Crocker wrote:Which is exactly why we should have brought up the subject sooner, with a new poster from NC.

If he'd posted (much) earlier, we could've sent him to the Sandhof in Lech.
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Re: Where's the best 2019 Christmas snow destination?

Postby Tony Crocker » Tue Dec 17, 2019 10:14 pm

jamesdeluxe wrote:If he'd posted (much) earlier, we could've sent him to the Sandhof in Lech.

I wonder how much earlier for THAT week! Years, maybe.

But Lech in general would surely be one of our top recommendations for One Wolf.
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Re: Where's the best 2019 Christmas snow destination?

Postby One Wolf » Tue Dec 17, 2019 11:56 pm

Well bummer guys!! We even have valid passports from our Whistler trip 3 years back!
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