2019-20 Season Recap

Tony Crocker

Administrator
Staff member
Loveland and Monarch are on Powder Alliance. You have to buy a season pass from a Powder Alliance area to get the three free day exchange privileges at the other areas. Lonnie has done this at least once before with a $299 Mountain High pass. That price is only available quite far in advance and is now $399.

So for 2020-21 Lonnie is thinking of buying a Marmot Basin pass for $700CDN because it includes the Power Pass (Purgatory, Sipapu, Pajarito, AZ Snowbowl, Brian Head) areas in addition to the Powder Alliance areas.

FYI James, Loveland's $439 season pass also includes both Powder Alliance (Monarch and Angel Fire are on it) and Power Pass areas. I think Santa Fe and Powderhorn do just fine with their local population bases. I'm surprised Sunlight is not on Indy or Powder Alliance.

The Mountain High situation above reminds me of a windfall I got from Mt. Baldy. While skiing there in April, I heard that the April day tickets could be applied to a 2020-21 season pass (then a laughable $500) or a $1,500 decade pass. But in May the Baldy pass was $299 ($239 senior) and the credit program was still on. Since I had paid $270 for my 3 day tickets I scored a 2020-21 Baldy pass for zero extra cost. On June 1 the Baldy pass increased to $399, same as Mountain High.
 
Tony Crocker":21rhmuj3 said:
jamesdeluxe":21rhmuj3 said:
You're still convinced that ski areas should have operated through the end of the season?
Major destination resorts like Vail, Sun Valley and Ischgl were clearly a problem. But the "James" type ski areas would probably have been just fine. My days at China Peak and Baldy are obvious examples. As were the interior Northwest areas that remained open an extra week in March: Discovery, Montana Snowbowl, Lookout Pass and 49 Degrees North. Skiing, like hiking and going to the beach, is an inherently safe outdoor activity. It's the associated partying that is high risk. And the high profile locations attract travel from outside the local area.

The 2020-21 season may be the golden age of Jamesdeluxe skiing. Lonnie is buying into Powder Alliance, Indy Pass and a couple of other obscure passes with exchange privileges. The only "big" pass he will buy is an industry rate Mountain Collective he can get at SIA. He may ski as many as 40 areas next season that he has never skied before.

EMSC":21rhmuj3 said:
then the stupidity ensued.
I would classify closing hiking trails as stupidity.



I'm on the board of a non-profit land conservancy organization and we decided to keep almost all of our hiking trails open, right from the onset of the pandemic in March while most other similar organizations decided to close their hiking trails. I think we made the right decision (even though Massachusetts was one of the first "hot spots" in the US). I think the evidence has subsequently shown that it is extremely unlikely that anyone would "catch" the virus while hiking outdoors.
 

jamesdeluxe

Administrator
Tony Crocker":2fdmqshb said:
FYI James, Loveland's $439 season pass also includes both Powder Alliance (Monarch and Angel Fire are on it) and Powder Pass areas.
Yep, that's what I'm likely to do for the coming season assuming I'm spending a third of each month based in Denver.

Loveland + 3 Free Days at Angel Fire, Purgatory, Monarch, Powderhorn, Ski Cooper, Sunlight, Sipapu, and Pajarito
 

Tony Crocker

Administrator
Staff member
Yes I just noticed that Sunlight and Powderhorn are on Loveland's exchange list and not on Powder Alliance or Indy. That is also true for Powder Mt., Homewood and Whitefish. Lonnie is going to get the Loveland pass instead of Marmot's. I'd say anyone contemplating Powder Alliance should consider Loveland's pass due to those extra areas included.
 

jamesdeluxe

Administrator
After seeing the web of free days at partner ski areas throughout the west via the Loveland pass and Powder Alliance, now I understand why the guy at Indy Pass wasn't able to add any ski areas in Colorado and New Mexico. I almost pulled the trigger on Loveland last season but couldn't justify it given that I didn't have any vacation days earned at my new job (I only ended up getting in six days there with the COVID shutdown).
 

snowave

Member
I stayed locally this winter, since it was my first year in a new region. I don't really count my ski days, but my best guess is about 25 days, which is actually a little higher than the last several years. With the month early closure, I probably would have gotten in another 5-10 days. Most of those at Brundage, about 5 or 6 at Tamarack, and 1 at Bogus Basin.

I was very happy (and surprised) at the snow quality at these areas, particularly Brundage. More powder days this year than I've had in many years... and they were mostly above avg quality for me. I don't know the exact snowfall numbers for Brundage, but I think it was about average through March, then we had quite a bit of snow in April, but obviously the ski areas were closed by then.

Next year I may try to go to Sun Valley (for the first time), and I also have have free days at Lookout Pass and Silver Mtn, so could possibly take a trip up there.
 

Tony Crocker

Administrator
Staff member
Brundage averages about 300 inches, but it has other advantages for snow quality.
1) Its base elevation of 5,840 is on the high side for the interior Northwest, so probably less rain.
2) Skier density is low and ridiculously low midweek.
3) Pitch is consistently intermediate with well spaced trees.
All of the above contribute to Brundage being an excellent area for powder and on my list of best uncrowded ski areas. Brundage also offers snowcat skiing on 17,000 aces of nearby mountains.
 

tseeb

Active member
Last season, after not skiing in May and June, I skied July 1-3 at Mammoth (see viewtopic.php?f=3&t=14024 ) to get my number of days up to my age at the time and ended up with 65 days, my highest ever. This season, my last day was March 14, the day skiing ended at most ski areas in the country and I had 31 days and just under 700K vertical.

2020 started well as I skied 6 of the first 9 days of the decade, then went to Mexico for a week for our 30th anniversary. But I only had one more 3-day trip in CA in January. My wife retired at the end of Jan and we planned to go to Tahoe in 1st half of Feb, but did not due to wet and very windy Sun/Mon storms two weeks in a row plus I had a nasty cold that I barely got over before trip to Canada 2nd half of Feb.

For the first time I had more days not in CA at 16 (with 7 in BC, 3 in AB and 6 in UT) than in CA where I had 15 (including 2 where I skied both CA and NV at Heavenly.) I had 15 days on Ikon Pass, 8 on Tahoe Local Pass (including one Sat. at Kirkwood that almost pays for upgrade over Tahoe Local Pass), 3 Snowcat days, 5 off-pass day tickets in Canada (3 of which I paid Senior Rate, even though I was just over 6 months too young, plus 2 days were comped). No new areas for me for 2nd season in a row and to get any new areas next season may require going to lower profile areas in OR, NV or ID, or places I have not skied in UT like PowMow or Brian Head, or SoCal.

Areas days, notes
Mammoth 2, both in Nov with only chair 1 (that I rode 51 times) open
Heavenly 3, New Years Day was CA only, other two days included NV
Squaw 4, parked very close to high-speed six-pack all 4 days
Kirkwood 4, including my first day of season there on 12/12 with 8" of mostly wind-affected new snow and they opened 100%
Alpine 1, decent sleeper shallow powder day as they reported 1" new, but had 4" by time they opened
Northstar 1, I paid $10 to park as friend whose house I stayed at drove

Sunshine 1, all Goats Head in PM with two laps into Wild West
Revelstoke 1
Mustang 3, snowcat skiing with best powder of the year by far
Kicking Horse 1, with a hikes to White Wall, Super Bowl and Ozone
Fernie 2, first day with back issue and second day with poor conditions due to warmup
Castle 2, first day was as an intermediate due to back issue, but still averaged 24K

Altabird 5, first and last days all Snowbird, others were usually both, took wife on groomed run in Catherine's (see blurry picture)
Solbright 1, better snow at Brighton due to high rain line and E-exposure softening. A lot of Solitude stayed firm.

By month
Nov 2
Dec 4
Jan 9
Feb 10
Mar 6
 

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Tony Crocker

Administrator
Staff member
Patrick's July included some snow but more grass.
Patrick2020July.jpg


My guess is that he's headed to the Alps for August/September, an option not available to US citizens. :twisted:
 

q

New member
What a shitshow!

Like many others, 2020 was my lowest ski day count in many many years. 14 days, all at Discovery.

I flew out on March 6th to the then Covid-19 USA epicentre Seattle. There was a little chatter back home at that stage about Coronavirus but nothing much really. Flights were pretty much business as usual, no checks nothing, I arrived in Seattle which seemed just as i'd imagine it to be, damp.

I went for a run and a few beers in the Quarterdeck in the lovely bay area of Des Moines where I'd run the next day in the Des Moines Creek Parkrun. At this stage things began to get "real" when 2 of the other 3 local Parkruns cancelled Saturday's races due to the virus. Next day I ran a PB of 20.09 and third place and gutted that 2 guys from another Parkrun had visited on the same day doing me out of my best chance of ever being first finisher in a Parkrun.

I packed up and drove continuously to Philipsburg with one stop for the bathroom and gas in Wallace Idaho. I stopped in the Sunshine Station for a few beers and headed up to the house. Business as usual and as though I had never been away. Up the next day I collected my ski pass which was a freebie for this year and next due to a winning bet with Ciche the owner.

The first week or so roughly was business as usual. nightly checking the news and such like but on the 11th the USA closed the border and that was the point where the wheels began coming off. Firstly my friends from Scotland wouldn't be able to make their trip the following week, I began to worry daily about getting home if flights were grounded and if I was stranded what would happen job wise etc.

I fought on through the next weekend and was annoyed that the night before my 1/2 marathon in Bozeman on March 14th they pulled the plug on that. Skiing was alright without being spectacular during the first week. Monday 16th we finished skiing, had our daily whisky at our box and headed to the 7 Gables AKA The Trap for our nightly beer but the county had ordered all bars/restaurants to close, originally we felt to coincide with St Paddy's and they would likely reopen soon enough. It actually turned into a great night with most folks being told to go, or not come in, those in the bar when the close order came were allowed to get to go cups of beer. Most stayed, had a beer and went but Jim and I asked the barman Chris for "another" and they kept on coming. We joked after a fair few beers that we were likely the last skiers drinking in a bar in Montana at that point.

From then on it was a battle. I was never scared of the virus but fear, particularly when in bed was creeping in and I was at the stage I couldn't sleep due to continually thinking what I should do, I was 6000 miles from home, the world was shutting down around me, I was seriously concerned I would get stuck in Montana. Endless cash and no job I would happily still be sitting there today but that's not how it would work. Not having bars and restaurants open added more problems for me as I rely on bars free wifi to check emails and the like.

By the end of the 2nd week I was done, I changed plans and as it was completely unclear how I'd get home with Delta I cut my losses and booked a BA trip via Heathrow home. I was concerned I;d land up stranded in Amsterdam going with Delta. The last couple days were bittersweet. I was going home 2 and a bit weeks early, I was saying goodbye to friends in the most ridiculous circumstances. After a few final laps out of bounds with my friends Jim, Marie and Jack I was done for the season on Saturday March 21st with a flight the next night out of Seattle.

That whole last week Discovery's biggest downfall really was that it became busy, The parking lots midweek were like a weekend and the plates came from WA, SD, CA and the like. Whether they could have battled on if it had been the usual pass holders showing up only, who knows but they got the call on the Sunday to close down as I was 1/2 way to Seattle. If I could change one decision it would have been to stay til the Tuesday before flying home to get the last day. Hindsight.

I arrived home at 5pm on Monday 23rd March. At 8pm that night Boris locked the country down. I was allowed out once a day for 30 minutes of exercise, once a day for essential shopping and told to work from home. That has pretty much been the rule since although relaxed slightly 6 weeks ago allowing people to exercise as often as they want outside. A couple weeks ago I was allowed to meet 1 other household outside with 2m distancing and have been allowed to meet 1 person indoors. I can meet that person as often as I like inside with no distancing. My brother came for dinner on Friday and following the current guidelines I cannot have another person inside my home or go to another.

Outside bars opened back up yesterday and on the 15th July you will be able to go inside a bar with strict social distancing in place. The supermarket was the only shop really open but now others are able to open back up.

As of now, I'm way less than 50% sure that I will be back in 2021. Too many ducks in a row required but need - virus under control in UK, virus under control in USA, no quarantine regulations at either end, open borders, ski resorts able to open, flights actually running and need most of that happening early enough to book time off work and book flights.

Everyone in Montana said they would see me OK but I'm glad I came home. Here's to the next trip, whenever it is.
 

Tony Crocker

Administrator
Staff member
I was curious to hear the details of your trip. Thanks.

q":tt8f39jl said:
I rely on bars free wifi to check emails and the like
Your friend in Phillipsburg has no internet???

q":tt8f39jl said:
The parking lots midweek were like a weekend and the plates came from WA, SD, CA and the like.
That would have included me starting March 19 if Lonnie had not bailed. Discovery on a weekend is not like other places. My day there in 2015 was a Sunday and lifts were not full and the slopes were not dense by any stretch of the imagination. So I'd be interested in q's take of what he defines as "busy" at Discovery. This is more than an academic question because in 2020-21 we may be skiing a lot at places like that if the high profile places are rationed/restricted.

It's also interesting that Discovery is not on Powder Alliance, Indy Pass or any kind of exchange program with passholders from other areas.

q":tt8f39jl said:
I changed plans and as it was completely unclear how I'd get home with Delta I cut my losses and booked a BA trip via Heathrow home. I was concerned I'd end up stranded in Amsterdam going with Delta.
I hear that and also had some level of paranoia about the airlines. Liz had to fly home from Florida on March 14 and back to Florida on March 18 and both were without incident. The key to my plan to fly to Bozeman March 18 and head for Discovery was that I would not have to fly home if the situation deteriorated further. I was confident as long as we could drive home to SoCal in Lonnie's car at any time, but once he bailed I did too and have credit from Delta for that flight.

q":tt8f39jl said:
I was allowed out once a day for 30 minutes of exercise, once a day for essential shopping and told to work from home.
Who monitors that? The answer in California, which was more locked down than many places, is no one. I tried to limit the shopping trips to 2-4x a week, but I went pretty much wherever I wanted for exercise, in some cases 1+ hour from home. In a region I've lived most my life I knew which places would be quiet, even if nominally closed.

Here in Florida my exercise is exclusively at the beach as it's too damn hot in summer to exercise anywhere else. De facto I'm following the California April/May protocol of being active: walking, running or being in the water. Again, it's too hot and humid to just sit on the beach. When we're done we go home to the air conditioning, which is fine since the beach is only 10 minutes away.

There is similarly no monitoring of who visits other households. My younger son Andrew came to my house April 2 and is still there. I visited my older son Adam in San Diego May 7-8 and have been in Florida with Liz and her mother since June 9. I stayed with 4 different households/friends on the drive from California plus one hotel night.

We Americans are not as inclined as Brits or Aussies (see sbooker's posts about rules there) to follow rules without questioning, which has surely contributed to some of the problems here. I'll plead guilty to that attitude myself. I read about the virus, draw my own conclusions about levels of risk of various activities and act accordingly.

I am a bit annoyed with non-observance of mask wearing indoors or where specifically required, as on my 4 ski days at Baldy and A-Basin. I was grateful to be able to ski at all under the circumstances. If a business is making the effort to be open for their customers, let's help them out by maximizing the odds they can stay open.
 

jamesdeluxe

Administrator
Tony Crocker":c1aleib8 said:
We Americans are not as inclined as Brits or Aussies (see sbooker's posts about rules there) to follow rules without questioning, which has surely contributed to some of the problems here. I'll plead guilty to that attitude myself. I read about the virus, draw my own conclusions about levels of risk of various activities and act accordingly.
This ^^ is very similar to our discussion of skiing what many on this board would consider to be potentially dangerous avalanche terrain in the Alps. I believe that it's called a heuristic short cut combined with an American inclination to, as Tony mentions above, question/reject mandates that restrict their freedom to do what they want where they want.

Not judging. A big reason I don't wander further afield in the Alps on powder reconnaissance missions like Tony is that I'm not an expert skier and don't feel comfortable moving into terrain (as mouth-watering as it may appear) that I'm not familiar with, which is often the case since I tend to be at new-to-me ski areas a good percentage of the time.
 

snowave

Member
TonyC - "limit shopping trips to 2-4x a week"? That's a lot, even by non-virus standards, IMO. What's up with that?

The days I did Discovery about 10 yrs ago was a weekend on their pass sale day. There were 5-10 min lift lines and the lodge was kinda crazy.. then, the really slow lifts. On another note...It took me a couple years of riding at Wolf Creek to know they (Pitchers) also own Discovery. Now that I look back at riding there, I can see the resemblances in operations, etc... (Was not crazy about Wolf Creek's ownership and operations... lacked common sense most of the time).


q- sounds like a crazy trip. Good to still seeing you going to P-burg.
 

Tony Crocker

Administrator
Staff member
jamesdeluxe":3l3ndrkd said:
Not judging. A big reason I don't wander further afield in the Alps on powder reconnaissance missions like Tony is that I'm not an expert skier and don't feel comfortable moving into terrain (as mouth-watering as it may appear) that I'm not familiar with, which is often the case since I tend to be at new-to-me ski areas a good percentage of the time.
Further back James was usually with local guides in the Alps, but in recent years he seems to be on his own more and still finding his fair share of powder. We have never skied together, and until we do it's hard to say how much our terrain choices in new territory in the Alps might diverge.

snowave":3l3ndrkd said:
TonyC - "limit shopping trips to 2-4x a week"? That's a lot, even by non-virus standards, IMO. What's up with that?
I've never been that organized about grocery shopping, plus Liz and I eat out a lot. I rarely cooked at home myself before 2020 and have probably done more this year than the rest of my life before 2020. In that regard Liz' January 8 accident provided well timed training. She obviously couldn't cook, and for 3 weeks or so she wasn't much up to going out either. Thus I cooked nearly all dinners under her supervision in January and was thus better prepared for the pandemic period, especially after Andrew moved in in early April.

March/April was still a big adjustment for grocery shopping. My usual spot, Trader Joe's, had queues lined up outside the stores, which I thought was a bad idea. For the same reason I never went to a Costco in SoCal during the lockdown. But Trader Joe's and Ralph's (Kroger's SoCal brand) both implemented senior hours early in the morning and Ralph's almost never had lines. By mid-April I figured out that the Trader Joe's line was minimized by showing up during the last 15 minutes of the senior hour, and on those trips I tried to buy 2+ weeks of supplies in one shot.

One of the weekly trips is to the local farmer's market (which is outdoors) for fresh fish, fruit and veggies. It was shut down for only first two weeks in April. I still ran out of things periodically and needed a handful of items. For those trips I took my own shopping bag to Ralph's and used the self checkout registers.

Liz is a bit more disciplined here in Florida. She refuses to go to Publix (near monopoly supermarket chain) more than once a week. We also have an excellent fish market (I can't argue with being on the East Coast for that) and some specialty stores. Two days ago we were in the area of the local Costco and thankfully it did not have a queue to get in.

snowave":3l3ndrkd said:
It took me a couple years of riding at Wolf Creek to know they (Pitchers) also own Discovery.
The patriarch is in the New Mexico Ski Hall of Fame because he founded Ski Apache and ran Santa Fe for 20 years starting in 1964. He came to Wolf Creek later in life. One son still runs Wolf Creek while another son bought Discovery out of bankruptcy in 1984 after the family left Santa Fe.

What do you not like about the way Wolf Creek is run? I have lifetime two days at Wolf Creek and one at Discovery. it's hard to argue with the results at Discovery, which is at the ends of the earth and had never been successful financially before the Pitchers.
 
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