2018-19 Season Recap

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.

Moderator: Tony Crocker

Re: 2018-19 Season Recap

Postby Tony Crocker » Fri Apr 26, 2019 10:34 pm

jamesdeluxe wrote:due to his background as an actuary (tasked with figuring out the most probable to the least likely/the "best" to the "worst"), I would venture to say that he leans toward the first tier.

That is overall true but with some caveats. The more $$$ or time one expands in travel, the higher the bar IMHO to seek out a first tier experience. Traveling to another continent is clearly the highest such bar. So within the massive bench of resorts in the Alps, it's going to take a long time to work one's way down to across-the-board third tier areas. I'd consider an exception for scoring a big uncontested powder day like we did at Pajarito.

There is also the diversity argument. La Grave most obviously but also Alagna, Andermatt-Gemsstock and Engelberg-Titlis have high attraction to off piste skiers but are quite limited for the vast majority of on-piste Euro vacationers.

Hokkaido is another diversity case. Niseko is the big area, but it's heavily westernized and there is powder competition, though nothing like North America. The smaller places have totally uncontested powder, but generally for short fall lines with as much time spent on traverses and runouts. I say if you're traveling that far, it's best to mix it up with both experiences as I did with Liz on my second trip there in 2016.

And here's where I got into another disagreement with Patrick, who devoted his August/September streak trip to Australia last year. I happened to get a ski day in at Thredbo in 1997 at low marginal cost as we were in Canberra with a group and I could run off with our car rental for two days. Thredbo is the longest vertical area in Australia but still probably barely comparable to those second tier eastern areas in terrain quality. The other places barely exceed 1,000 vertical, which puts them in the Catskill/Big Bear class though they are probably a bit more interesting since they are partially above tree line. When you throw in snow reliability, which is worse than Big Bear/Catskills, I think you have to be a nutcase to travel halfway around the world for an advance booked dedicated ski trip. Like the Northeast, Australia skiing is always one rainstorm away from crappy conditions with terrain closures. Fortunately Patrick beat those snow reliability odds and skied Australia during its best season since 2004 according to the Spencer's Creek snow data.

On western road trips, it is more frequent that I can check out a more obscure place at low marginal cost. That's why my western list is so comprehensive. As I noted after skiing Stevens Pass in February, I don't even know what the largest western area I have not skied is. I guess in terms of trustworthy reviews Pebble Creek has piqued my interest. Pebble Creek's Achilles' heel is poor snow reliability, but given the short distance from SLC I should be able to add that one sometime when it's worthwhile.
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Season length: 21 months, Nov. 29, 2010 - July 2, 2012
Days in one year: 80 from Nov. 29, 2010 - Nov. 17, 2011
Season vertical: 1,610K in 2016-17
Season powder: 291K in 2011-12
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Re: 2018-19 Season Recap

Postby Patrick » Sat Apr 27, 2019 2:05 pm

Tony Crocker wrote:We have been corresponding, and Patrick's ski quality should increase significantly in May/June when he's not on the job. :wink:.


I don't know, I've had some really good days. I'll spare you some post from Edelweiss (powder or not) and awesome groomer days...but even if I didn't really travel much this winter, I've had a few good powder days.

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bts9aYtFGfG/

https://www.instagram.com/p/BtcEgBllJfy/

https://www.instagram.com/p/BtPTsHtFxME/

https://www.instagram.com/p/BrH_DMeF0vv/

https://www.instagram.com/p/BrKid2tFOCP/
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Re: 2018-19 Season Recap

Postby Patrick » Sat Apr 27, 2019 2:20 pm

jamesdeluxe wrote:
Tony Crocker wrote:North American marketing departments invest much effort in spinning their areas as being suitable for all levels of skiers.

Good point. On NY Ski Blog, locals repeatedly shake their head in disbelief about how the state agency that manages Whiteface (ORDA) continues to spin it in marketing and daily operations decisions as a family ski area, when the terrain (decently steep) and conditions (often hardpack or worse) say otherwise.


Having looked at a bunch of ski areas from all over, although Whiteface and Smuggs have awesome steep terrain, these two areas have amazing beginner terrain. Without taking much time to think about it, I would qualify these among the best all-around ski areas that cater to the full spectrum of skiers. Having skied Whiteface when Morgane was a toddler, I wouldn't hesitate sending a family of various abilities there. The beginner lifts at the extreme bottom of Whiteface main side + the other separate beginner pod (Kids Kampus) is truly awesome.

This might come as a surprise, but I would rate the beginner terrain at Whiteface way superior to that of most of Ottawa local hills which the exception of Pakenham and Vorlage.

We all know that beginner can be spoked by big mountains; I totally understand part of the marketing strategy. Mad River Glen has a hard time attracting families due to the reputation of the ski area; this even if they have great beginner terrain at Birdland. There are many factors.
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Re: 2018-19 Season Recap

Postby Patrick » Sat Apr 27, 2019 2:35 pm

Tony Crocker wrote:And here's where I got into another disagreement with Patrick, who devoted his August/September streak trip to Australia last year. (...) Thredbo is the longest vertical area in Australia but still probably barely comparable to those second tier eastern areas in terrain quality.


I didn't a good appreciation of Thredbo and visibility have pretty bad in the alpine. That being said, I place it as my third favorite ski area. :P I definitely preferred Perisher and Hotham over Thredbo.

Tony Crocker wrote:I think you have to be a nutcase to travel halfway around the world for an advance booked dedicated ski trip. (...) Fortunately Patrick beat those snow reliability odds and skied Australia during its best season since 2004 according to the Spencer's Creek snow data.


Three weeks prior isn't that much of an advance notice. I knew that Australia was having their best season in a generation plus I was curious with skiing aspect of Australia and the country in general. If it would have been only for skiing I wouldn't have bother going West of Melbourne or heading up to Sydney.

I can't wait to see your reaction when I ski at Tiffindell and Afriski in South Africa/Lesotho. :popcorn:
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Re: 2018-19 Season Recap

Postby Tony Crocker » Sat Apr 27, 2019 9:44 pm

Patrick wrote:I can't wait to see your reaction when I ski at Tiffindell and Afriski in South Africa/Lesotho.

Winter is an attractive tourist season in southern Africa, the best season for safari camps. So spending one day to claim the 7th continent is a likely scenario for me if I'm there anyway sometime for 2-3 weeks. This is the exact scenario where I got Thredbo. Since that part of southern Africa has a summer wet/winter dry climate, it is 100% WROD skiing on about 700 vertical.

Patrick wrote:I definitely preferred Perisher and Hotham over Thredbo.

Patrick has often stated a preference for long continuous fall lines. Presumably that's why he didn't list Jay in his top tier East. So it's hard to see why he was impressed by Perisher's barely 1,000 vertical which sbooker from Brisbane describes as flat.

Patrick wrote:I knew that Australia was having their best season in a generation

As a Northeaster, Patrick should know that rain can turn a previously great season to crap in short order. Last weekend was Exhibit A. Nonetheless it was great to see Patrick catch a break in Australia considering he skied New Zealand in a very bad year.
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Ski Records
Season length: 21 months, Nov. 29, 2010 - July 2, 2012
Days in one year: 80 from Nov. 29, 2010 - Nov. 17, 2011
Season vertical: 1,610K in 2016-17
Season powder: 291K in 2011-12
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Re: 2018-19 Season Recap

Postby Patrick » Sat Apr 27, 2019 10:35 pm

Tony Crocker wrote:
Patrick wrote:I can't wait to see your reaction when I ski at Tiffindell and Afriski in South Africa/Lesotho.

Winter is an attractive tourist season in southern Africa, the best season for safari camps. So spending one day to claim the 7th continent is a likely scenario for me if I'm there anyway sometime for 2-3 weeks. (...) Since that part of southern Africa has a summer wet/winter dry climate, it is 100% WROD skiing on about 700 vertical.

There would also be Matroosberg near Cape Town that I would curious to check out if there is snow.

Tony Crocker wrote:
Patrick wrote:I definitely preferred Perisher and Hotham over Thredbo.

Patrick has often stated a preference for long continuous fall lines. (...) So it's hard to see why he was impressed by Perisher's barely 1,000 vertical which sbooker from Brisbane describes as flat.


Perisher is huge and they are some steep parts which you can lap with certains lifts. Anyway good enough for the Canadian and French Freestyle team.

Tony Crocker wrote:
Patrick wrote:I knew that Australia was having their best season in a generation

As a Northeaster, Patrick should know that rain can turn a previously great season to crap in short order. Last weekend was Exhibit A. Nonetheless it was great to see Patrick catch a break in Australia considering he skied New Zealand in a very bad year.


I wouldn't call it a very bad year, I had a great time. Skied 7 days, travelled 4400km across two islands over 3 weeks. Australia was somewhat the same idea, but I had less time. Same amount of ski days, 2600km over 2 weeks (I couldn't manage more time).
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Re: 2018-19 Season Recap

Postby Tony Crocker » Sun Apr 28, 2019 9:53 pm

Patrick wrote:I wouldn't call it a very bad year,

The people who live there did. It was the worst year on record for the Canterbury areas near Christchurch, which includes nearly all of the club fields. Fortunately if you're going to a region when the skiing is bad, NZ is a good choice because there is so much else to do. Three of my four ski trips there were on average mediocre for snow conditions, better than Patrick's NZ trip but not as good as his Australia trip.
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Ski Records
Season length: 21 months, Nov. 29, 2010 - July 2, 2012
Days in one year: 80 from Nov. 29, 2010 - Nov. 17, 2011
Season vertical: 1,610K in 2016-17
Season powder: 291K in 2011-12
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Re: 2018-19 Season Recap

Postby EMSC » Tue May 07, 2019 12:23 pm

Looking increasingly like I won't ski again this winter so I'll drop my current #'s in here and update if necessary. Part of it is that unlike some, I have little interest in spending 3-4 hours in the car for ~2-3 hours of corn skiing before things get to be heavy slop. Not a good value proposition for me.

Anyway, a solid season and my first back over the 30 day mark since Jr was born. Also several first time visits for me (** below). 36 total days. A bit surprising since Jr had surgery in Feb, but he hit 29 days (2 of them when I was not there). My wife had 14 days, enough to justify her Ikon pass, though she's not a big skier.


By Resort
Eldora 16 44%
Copper 4 11%
Winter Park 6 17%
Whistler** 4 11%
Taos 2 6%
Breckenridge 1 3%
Vail 1 3%
Cypress** 1 3%
Angel Fire** 1 3%

By Month
Nov 2 6%
Dec 6 17%
Jan 6 17%
Feb 7 19%
Mar 12 33%
Apr 3 8%
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Re: 2018-19 Season Recap

Postby Tony Crocker » Wed May 08, 2019 10:29 am

EMSC wrote:~2-3 hours of corn skiing before things get to be heavy slop

Out here you can often get a good full day skiing groomers early on and moving by noon to the steeps, where gravity overcomes the spring snow resistance. I'm consistently skiing 20+K per day over Memorial weekend even though I'm usually done by 1:30 - 2:00PM.

Unfortunately A-Basin's window for those conditions is typically about 2 weeks before the steeps are shut down for wet snow instability. It will be interesting to see how Breck handles that. A-Basin's strength is that winter conditions with some powder days often extend all the way through April into early May like this year. We had that experience ourselves when we chose to wrap up the terrible 2014-15 California season in Colorado.
http://bestsnow.net
Ski Records
Season length: 21 months, Nov. 29, 2010 - July 2, 2012
Days in one year: 80 from Nov. 29, 2010 - Nov. 17, 2011
Season vertical: 1,610K in 2016-17
Season powder: 291K in 2011-12
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Re: 2018-19 Season Recap

Postby Tony Crocker » Wed May 22, 2019 4:15 pm

The Pali shutdown came on May 17 but only lasted two days before the winter weather returned. I don't think EMSC's ski season should necessarily be over with the ongoing weather, conditions and open terrain.
http://bestsnow.net
Ski Records
Season length: 21 months, Nov. 29, 2010 - July 2, 2012
Days in one year: 80 from Nov. 29, 2010 - Nov. 17, 2011
Season vertical: 1,610K in 2016-17
Season powder: 291K in 2011-12
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Re: 2018-19 Season Recap

Postby Tony Crocker » Tue Jun 04, 2019 2:34 pm

Pali finally closed for good on June 2. That's remarkably late given A-Basin's stringent monitoring of the spring snowpack and a testimony to the high quality of May skiing in 2019. A-Basin will be open at least 3 weekends in June but limited to the blue terrain from the Black and Lenawee lifts. There will be significant steeps skiable at Mammoth for at least another month.
http://bestsnow.net
Ski Records
Season length: 21 months, Nov. 29, 2010 - July 2, 2012
Days in one year: 80 from Nov. 29, 2010 - Nov. 17, 2011
Season vertical: 1,610K in 2016-17
Season powder: 291K in 2011-12
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Re: 2018-19 Season Recap

Postby Patrick » Mon Jun 10, 2019 9:58 pm

Well, since the one month break between April 14 to May 11, I've scored 5 straight weekend at Mont St-Sauveur plus one earned turns day 15km away from home at Camp Fortune.

Kudos on making late season great which finished with a closure of skiing and opening of waterpark on the same day, Saturday June 8. No worry, the ski season is never over, I'm taking a break next weekend for Morgane's university graduation, but I should be back on snow the following weekend.

Updated numbers below:

Patrick wrote:
Anyway here is my current count, I've been stuck at the same count since April 14, my longer break from skiing since November. There are still one month left of skiing within a day drive and beyond in the East, so I'm hoping to get a chance to go, but a few important issues are still in the way.

Days 86 (72 Days / 14 nights)

Local Ottawa - 60miles/100km or less:
Edelweiss: 53
Ste-Marie: 6
Calabogie ON: 1
Fortune: 2* earned turns
Cascades: 1

Not local
Killington VT: 6
Mad River Glen VT: 3
St-Sauveur QC: 8
Smuggs' VT: 1
Cannon NH: 1
Burke VT: 1
Owl's Head QC: 1
Bretton Woods NH: 1
Middlebury VT: 1

Before someone gets on me, I've been being paid with 66 of those outings (I managed to pay for my NZ 2016 and Australia 2018 trips for those 2 seasons of coaching), so my actual out of pocket cost is $165 US or under $2CDN/day.
Last edited by Patrick on Fri Aug 09, 2019 1:56 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: 2018-19 Season Recap

Postby jamesdeluxe » Tue Jun 11, 2019 4:09 am

Patrick wrote:Well, since the one month break between April 14 to May 11, I've scored 5 straight weekend at Mont St-Sauveur

How much skiable terrain is left at MSSA from mid-May on?
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Re: 2018-19 Season Recap

Postby Patrick » Tue Jun 11, 2019 1:02 pm

jamesdeluxe wrote:
Patrick wrote:Well, since the one month break between April 14 to May 11, I've scored 5 straight weekend at Mont St-Sauveur

How much skiable terrain is left at MSSA from mid-May on?


Well they had all of Hill 70 and Nordique open plus the Silver Creek(?) park for a few weekends.


Pictures from May 11:
Open terrain
https://www.instagram.com/p/BxcdyqlBuUn/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Closed terrain (Hill 71):
https://www.instagram.com/p/BxgtRwOhD_P/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Pictures from May 18 (May Madness):
Day
https://www.instagram.com/p/BxqkZh_BdM8/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Night
https://www.instagram.com/p/BxtJ9rUhq8N/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Pictures from May 26:
They sacrificed the bottom of the Nordique trail to push snow for the base of the lift. Hill 70, Upper Nordique and park were still opened.
https://www.instagram.com/p/Bx8nBval2sN/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Pictures from June 1:
Hill 70 and Upper Nordique. Silver park is done. They moved some of the snowpark features on Nordique.
Part 1:
https://www.instagram.com/p/ByMadp0Fg8z/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Part 2:
https://www.instagram.com/p/Bybzi5gF_j2/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Pictures from June 2:
Part 1:
https://www.instagram.com/p/ByPDW-Lln14/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Part 2 to be posted soon (waiting for a video).

Drive back:
https://www.instagram.com/p/ByTUNeMlDuS/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Pictures from June 8:
Only Hill 70 left...walking required to reach the lift.
Part 1:
https://www.instagram.com/p/Byd5_ZXFM3X/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Part 2:
https://www.instagram.com/p/Byg8GoPl_ef/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Part 3 to be posted soon. Waiting for a video.
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Re: 2018-19 Season Recap

Postby Tony Crocker » Fri Jun 14, 2019 4:52 pm

Area Sum of Days Sum of Vertical Sum of Powder
Mt. Baldy 4 67.8 9
Mammoth 18 425.4 24
Snow Summit 0.5 12 0
Bear Mt. 0.5 8.1 0
Snowbird 4.5 74 29
Alta 1.5 24.9 8
Taos 3 53.1 0
Deer Valley 1 24.8 2
Killington 1 16 0
Telluride 3 68.5 0
Purgatory 1 26.8 0
Crystal Mt. 2 33.9 2
Fernie 1 19 6
Apex Alpine 1 20.6 3
Castle Mt. 2 43.4 5
Arizona Snowbowl 1 28.1 0
Wolf Creek 1 16 1
Ski Santa Fe 1 13.2 2
Revelstoke 1 16 0
Mustang Powder Snowcat 3 54.5 49
Andermatt Gemsstock, Switz. 2 37.4 12
*Stratton 2 19.4 0
*Sunday River 1 14.7 0
*Sugarbush 1 21.1 1
*Arosa, Switz. 0.5 8.4 3
*Lenzerheide, Switz. 0.5 10 1
*St. Moritz: Corvatsch, Switz. 1 18.6 3
*St. Moritz: Corviglia, Switz. 1 18 1
*Diavolezza/Lagalb, Switz. 1 18.3 4
*Engelberg-Titlis, Switz. 2.5 49.8 14
*Brunni, Switz. 0.5 4.6 0
*Andermatt-Sedrun, Switz. 1 24.8 2
*Morzine/Les Gets, France 1 14.5 5
*Avoriaz, France 1 22.1 8
*Chatel, France 1 16.3 6
*Stevens Pass 1 19.3 3
*Pajarito 1 17.6 12
Totals 70 1381.0 215
* = new area

Now complete after June 21 with Patrick at Mammoth. Liz and I are off to the South Pacific June 25 - July 29. Liz had 50 days. She did not go to Canada but she got a couple of SoCal local days at Mt. High East and Waterman when I was gone.

This was my fourth highest season in day count, second highest in vertical and third highest in powder. Good years in California help, but the early 5 days in the Northeast and the Southwest road trip after Iron Blosam Week were also out of the ordinary.

Those extra trips also contributed to record area counts for one season: 37 total areas and 16 new areas. Liz had 19 new areas in 2018-19 and is up to 170 lifetime, about double what she had when we met in 2011. We were big beneficiaries of the Ikon Pass. I skied 37 days at 12 different Ikon areas. Liz skied 27 days at 10 different Ikon areas. We are cutting back to the Base Ikon for 2019-20 because Liz used no days that would not have been on that pass and I used one (a 6th day at Altabird).

Powder was very much in bits and pieces rather than concentrated in big days like last year. From Jan. 9 to Mar. 15 I skied 35 days and only two of them with no powder. Both of those were abbreviated days skiing just groomers in anticipation of powder to come.

The Euro trip delivered high quality skiing as in the previous two seasons. The "Big Five" off piste routes in Engelberg were my highlight of that trip. Canada was getting into its lean phase of 2018-19 while I was there but my timing was lucky. Mustang got 8 inches new snow upon our arrival and we got to ski a lot of Mustang's best terrain. The 4 feet of new snow during Iron Blosam Week was a record for the 20+ years I've been going there. Our timing was good for New Mexico too, with bell-to-bell powder at Pajarito, good slackcountry in Santa Fe's Big Tesuque and excellent conditions on Taos' Kachina Peak. I always get some good spring skiing at Mammoth, but June 8 makes the short list of "as good as spring skiing gets."
http://bestsnow.net
Ski Records
Season length: 21 months, Nov. 29, 2010 - July 2, 2012
Days in one year: 80 from Nov. 29, 2010 - Nov. 17, 2011
Season vertical: 1,610K in 2016-17
Season powder: 291K in 2011-12
User avatar
Tony Crocker
 
Posts: 10898
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2004 10:37 am
Location: Avatar: Charlotte Bay, Antarctica 2011
Location: Glendale, California

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