A-Basin vs. Ski Cooper for half day?

Depending on how much is open and how modest an intermediate you actually are would sway my choice a little.

Ski Copper is definately worth a 1/2 day and had great groomers when I visited but 8 days out, not sure how much will be open then. A-Basin needs a lot of snow to be good IMO and I don't see that coming before next Tuesday looking at the forecast. 1/2 day is not really enough at A-Basin but if your not good enough to ski much of it then perhaps I would err toward Ski Cooper.

I'd decide the night before based on conditions and where I can get a good deal for the terrain that is open which I suspect might not be a lot.
Once again GPaul has chosen to ignore our advice and this time he's REALLY going to pay for it spectacularly.
Yesterday's Season Progress Report":3c7h7rhh said:
Northern and Central Colorado: This region had a near record dry November, even worse than last year. Despite 1+ foot of snow during the past few days all areas are less than 15% open and it is a big red flag to see historical snowfall leaders Steamboat and Vail 4% and 11% open on Dec. 9. The region is about 3 weeks behind normal snow accumulation and should be avoided before mid-January.
Southern and Western Colorado: The Gothic Snow Lab between Crested Butte and Aspen (snowier climate than either) had 10 inches in October, 19.5 in November and is still having the driest start in its 39 years of records. Snowfall leader Wolf Creek has had only 26 inches, so it must be very thin on the open 30% of terrain. Elsewhere no one is more than 8% open, and with snow accumulation about 4 weeks behind normal the region should be avoided before late January.
A-Basin is currently 10% open and it's all on snowmaking. Ski Cooper is not yet open to no surprise.

It's time to start researching non-ski activities, or better yet cut your losses and bail out.
I'm assuming the 1/2 day is on the coming into Colorado half day? I would pitch either Loveland or Copper Mtn (not Ski Cooper). Both very easy access coming from the airport, both will have some decent intermediate terrain open. And possibly some more lower angle blues might get open by your day if the recent snows continue (supposed to).

Abasin will be nice but very limited terrain wise. Only 3 trails open, maybe another green or so by your time frame. It takes a LOT of snow to open much on natural at the Basin. Copper has a fair amount of blue groomers open already considering the lack of snow until this week (best job of snowmaking in central/northern Colo this year is a very definitive win for Copper IMHO). What is the rest of your itinerary?
Tony Crocker":32p8rl4f said:
It's time to start researching non-ski activities.

Yep it's been horrible so far, but things are not quite THAT bad. Vail finally opened a bit of upper mtn terrain from the latest snows (I think they are at ~16" in the past week?) as an example. So Vail is now in the mid 300 acres open which sucks for this time of year but not exactly 'non-ski activity' time either. If the new weather pattern sticks for the next week or so the blue terrain might slowly come online just as gpaul arrives... Speculation on my part, and yep it ain't gonna be even close to Mammoth, Bachelor or Alta either.
EMSC":1tr71bkn said:
Yep it's been horrible so far, but things are not quite THAT bad.
Actually they are. Last year on Dec. 10 the 8 Front Range areas I track averaged 21% open. Yesterday those same areas averaged 9% open. I have some early season percent open data for these areas going back to 1988, and without improvement it will be the worst mid-December in that data set.
EMSC":1tr71bkn said:
So Vail is now in the mid 300 acres open which sucks for this time of year but not exactly 'non-ski activity' time either.
Maybe not today, but of course GPaul is coming during the holiday season when crowds can turn that manmade base into a obstacle strewn ice skating rink. Recall johnnash's reports from last year. Do you really want to buy $100+ lift tickets for that?

Colorado rarely turns things around in short order with a Sierra/Wasatch/PNW-style 4 foot dump. December 2007 was the happy exception. The odds strongly favor a gradual recovery with "normal ski conditions" commencing 3-4 weeks later than usual, which means well after the holidays. Cut your losses while you can.
Tony Crocker":3n7ap1rv said:
without improvement it will be the worst mid-December in that data set.

That sure wouldn't surprise me much. I know it has to be a top 2 or 3 worst today without even trying to guess. I'm just saying that esp Dec 18-21 could turn out OK for Gpaul if the snow patterns stays as it is today, that he needn't find 'non-ski activities' when he comes in... (supposedly 4-8" today/night, similar amounts Friday and another round ~Sun/Mon). That period just before Christmas should be pretty light visitation.

All that said, by the actual holiday period crush on the 22nd and beyond I'd be in my rental car headed to Utah, or Jackson or etc... though.
EMSC":1y4pdwhq said:
All that said, by the actual holiday period crush on the 22nd and beyond I'd be in my rental car headed to Utah, or Jackson or etc... though.
Good points. IF GPaul was sensible enough to just book the rental car and not lock himself into lodging and/or lift tickets in Colorado through the holiday period (recall we made that recommendation), the trip could work out just fine. Based upon past track record I'm not optimistic on this score. I hope GPaul proves me wrong.
Copied from eastern thread:
gpaulski":17la02hq said:
Paid attention and followed suggestions this time :-({|= O:)
Beav/Vail 12/18-21
Tride 22-26
Cbutte 27-31

:rotfl: :rotfl: :rotfl:
Tony Crocker":17la02hq said:
If I were to pick the worst destinations in western North America for average snow coverage/open terrain in December/January, Crested Butte and Taos would top the list.
EMSC":17la02hq said:
I have to wonder why you are not looking at highly reliable early season resorts... Say start at Steamboat pre-holidays before it gets crazy, then move on to Alta & Grand Targhee? Some of the best early season places around... You could probably even include Wolf Creek on that itinerary too.
johnnash":17la02hq said:
you might consider trying to stay flexible (you've got a car, after all)

One more shot on being constructive here: ](*,) ](*,) ](*,)
Beav/Vail is before the crowd crunch, and to the extent Colorado is getting some snow, it seems to be along the I-70 corridor. Telluride and Crested Butte rate to be total disasters. BAIL OUT NOW!!! You have a car, so you CAN go somewhere else. EMSC's suggestions of Salt Lake or Targhee/Jackson are the most logical. I gave johnnash similar bail out advice last year and he's glad I did.

Gpaulski":17la02hq said:
C'mon, who doesn't want to ski a run called Meadows for four days? Village Bypass? Lower Boomerang? Bueller? ChrisC?
The one place I will never go until Feb/Mar is Tahoe.

This trip, on the other hand, has a much better chance of sprucing up; Beav/Vail should have 50% open by 12/19 if forecasts are accurate, Tride is getting hammered tomorrow with pbbly 12"+, same for Cbutte later on. All cold enough for fake snow.

Beav/Vail 2tkts/lodging/night: $194 including bkfst.
Tride $197 no bkfst but full kitchen ski in, walk to lift
Cbutte $220 including bkfst.

Wish me luck!

Christmas through Jan. 10, 2006. We told him to blow off the Tahoe part of the trip due to past and predicted rain, do something else in Northern California then continue on to Mammoth (above that rain/snow line, sound familiar?). He went to Tahoe anyway, got rained on 3 days, then had a great week at Mammoth.

Will Vail/Beaver Creek get to 50% open by Dec. 19? Maybe. Telluride by Dec. 23? Unlikely. Crested Butte by Dec. 27? It would take a miracle. Results will be posted here.

If forced to commit in advance I would easily take Tahoe over Crested Butte in January.
Dec. 14
Vail = 950 out of 5289 acres = 18%
Beaver Creek = 727 out of 1832 acres = 39%
Telluride = 4 out of 125 trails = 3%
Crested Butte = 154 out of 1547 acres = 10%

My advice stands. Vail and Beaver Creek before the holiday crunch will be manageable. Telluride and Crested Butte during the crunch will not be remotely worth what they will charge for lift tickets.
Vail am report: Since we're not really interested in back bowls, these front side runs are the 75 open ones.

Acres Open: 950 of 5289
Lifts Open: 16 of 31
Runs Open: 75 of 193

Today's Grooming Map
Terrain Report

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