Where to Live, Part Deux, or How to Make the Best of It?

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.

re: Advice on ski trip to Park City in Feb. 2008

Postby baldyskier » Mon Apr 09, 2007 10:48 pm

The last 3 posts are pretty convincing arguments for Western skiing, but I guess I'm in the choir for this sermon. I moved to CA in 1981 and haven't looked back, especially as a skier.
I would like to see someone who has moved from East to West and skied out here for awhile try (with a "straight face") to extol all of the virtues of East vs. West.
I think only those who still live in the East attempt to compare average Eastern ski conditions favorably with average ski conditions in the West.
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re: Advice on ski trip to Park City in Feb. 2008

Postby Berkshire Skier » Tue Apr 10, 2007 7:17 am

Thanks, everyone, for the information and advice on our trip to Park City. I think I will probably rent a vehicle in case we decide to ski one of the other areas beside Park City, Deer Valley, or the Canyons. I still haven't decided on what condo to rent but I plan to make that decision in the next month or so. I am already looking forward to (hopefully) better ski conditions than what we typically get in the East. I skied every weekend this winter in the East (once "winter" actually began out here in mid to late January) and I would say that I had only two days of good snow conditions all winter long - one day after the Valentine's Day snowstorm and one day after the March snowstorm. One of the problems, I find, with Eastern skiing is that, even after a snowstorm, most of the trails at the ski areas tend to get "skied off" very fast because of limited terrain and because the base is usually solid ice from all of the early season snowmaking that the ski areas do. If lucky, you might get a few hours of good conditions first thing in the morning and then it's time to quit. I'm hoping for more consistent powder conditions in Utah.
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Re: re: Advice on ski trip to Park City in Feb. 2008

Postby SoCal Rider » Tue Apr 10, 2007 11:04 am

baldyskier wrote:The last 3 posts are pretty convincing arguments for Western skiing, but I guess I'm in the choir for this sermon. I moved to CA in 1981 and haven't looked back, especially as a skier.
I would like to see someone who has moved from East to West and skied out here for awhile try (with a "straight face") to extol all of the virtues of East vs. West.
I think only those who still live in the East attempt to compare average Eastern ski conditions favorably with average ski conditions in the West.


How many powder days did you get at Baldy this season?
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re: Advice on ski trip to Park City in Feb. 2008

Postby Tony Crocker » Tue Apr 10, 2007 4:25 pm

As the one who incites the most controversy on this subject, I'll recap my slightly revised opinions, and even defend the easterners some:

1) East vs. West depends upon where in the East vs. where in the West. IMHO it's laughable to compare anyplace in the East to well located westerners like admin and Larry Schick.
2) For baldyskier, SoCal Rider and I the discussion becomes more complex. I love Baldy's terrain (comparable to the best in the East) as much as anyone, but I do not ski there at all in about 1/3 of seasons due to lack of snow. Mad River Glen (close analogy to Baldy in terms of terrain, facilities, ambience, minimal snowmaking) never has a total wipeout season like Baldy had this year. There is no question in my mind that those within daytrip distance of the best eastern areas are better off than what we have at the SoCal locals.
3) Our advantage in L.A. comes mainly from the weekend trips to Mammoth, which has vast advantages in scale, terrain variety, snow conditions and length of season over anything in the East. We're also within long weekend distance from Tahoe, and weeklong drive distance to Utah and some other areas in the Rockies.
4) I now believe that the well placed easterners (to me that means north and east of Albany in the U.S. plus metro Montreal) are comparable to Sunbelt westerners, and probably better in terms of short notice powder. Once you get to SF Bay Area or Las Vegas (6 Interstate hours from SLC) and farther north, then in terms of skiing I think you're better off than anywhere in the East.

I think only those who still live in the East attempt to compare average Eastern ski conditions favorably with average ski conditions in the West.
I skied every weekend this winter in the East (once "winter" actually began out here in mid to late January) and I would say that I had only two days of good snow conditions all winter long
These quotes don't surprise me and I'm inclined to agree with them, but the key words are "average" and "every weekend." Based upon averages Berkshire Skier's Utah trip and my weekends at Mammoth are likely to be much more satisfying than a typical eastern ski weekend. But for skiing within day commute distance why settle for "average?'' There have been 19 days this season where Riverc0il did a whole lot better. Berkshire Skier lives at the edge of the favored eastern ski region, and could improve his batting average a lot by following powderfreak's reports.
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re: Advice on ski trip to Park City in Feb. 2008

Postby Berkshire Skier » Wed Apr 11, 2007 10:01 am

Thanks for the input, Tony. I agree with you that I could improve my overall skiing experience in the East by being more flexible (in terms of travel) by going farther north for day or weekend trips to take advantage of better snow conditions in mid to northern Vermont. I do occasionally make some day trips to Stratton in southern Vermont. However, there are a few reasons that I don't make as many trips as I used to. First, the local "mountain" - Ski Butternut (formerly Butternut Basin) offers season passes for $199 each for me and my wife and $169 for my ten-year old daughter. It's hard to beat that price for a season of skiing, especially considering that the bigger ski areas in Vermont are charging $70 to $80 per day for weekend skiing. Second, my daughter participates in a race program at the local mountain that runs every Saturday and Sunday and she doesn't like to miss her program. Third, when you add up the cost of a weekend of skiing in Vermont for lift tickets, lodging, food, and other expenses, two or three trips can easily add up to what a week of skiing in Utah or Colorado or Jackson Hole would cost. I'd rather save the money and ski out West for a week rather than have a few weekends in Vermont. My experience at the bigger ski areas in Vermont (or New Hampshire) is that the weekends are always very crowded, usually with mediocre snow conditions (even after a storm because the trails get skied off so fast). Fourth, a day trip to Killington or Stowe is at least a three to four hour drive for me, so it's not all that realistic for day trips. I'm past the age where I want to get up at 4:30 AM to drive three and a half hours to ski with 10,000 other people from New York. So, the bottom line is that I now ski almost exclusively at the local mountain and put up with mediocre snow conditions and skiing. I am looking forward to the trip out West next year.
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re: Advice on ski trip to Park City in Feb. 2008

Postby jasoncapecod » Wed Apr 11, 2007 10:08 am

10,000 other people from New York

[-X low blow.....

I couldn't agree with you more :D
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re: Advice on ski trip to Park City in Feb. 2008

Postby Tony Crocker » Wed Apr 11, 2007 11:38 am

I think Berkshire Skier has reinforced the original points I've made about most eastern skiers. He's as least as well situated as the Boston metro area, yet considers 3-4 hours an unacceptable distance for daytrip skiing. In this situation, and especially for NYC and MASH skiers who are even farther away, it makes sense to allocate more time and $ to western destination trips. It takes either a better location or more stamina to get consistent quality out of eastern skiing.
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re: Advice on ski trip to Park City in Feb. 2008

Postby Berkshire Skier » Wed Apr 11, 2007 11:39 am

LOL.....didn't necessarily mean it as a "low blow", but, why deny reality???
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re: Advice on ski trip to Park City in Feb. 2008

Postby SoCal Rider » Wed Apr 11, 2007 12:02 pm

Not to totally hijack the thread but going off what Tony said: I've been snowboarding in SoCal for five seasons (65 days) and have become a little bored, especially with Baldy and Mountain High East rarely satisfiably open and given that I'm not much of a park rider, and don't like driving 90-120 minutes when it's hard pack.

My family situation makes it difficult to travel 6-7 hours to Mammoth. We recently resumed our occassional discussion about moving. For me, of course, a key goal is to be closer to riding and better conditions. But I head a party of five, so I can't play ski bum in Breck or Park City for a couple years. I believe Tony in another thread chose Seattle as metro No. 1 for a skier, but SLC seems tops to me (maybe it's the FTO trip reports). Those two areas are on my short list, which also includes Portland OR, Denver, Reno, Boise and smaller Oregon areas such as Salem and Bend. Maybe Missoula, too. Some places I've been to, some I have not. I didn't throw any Eastern areas into the hat, so I guess I'm still a Western snob despite my penchant for playing devil's advocate. Of course, snowboarding isn't the only consideration in moving 3,000 miles from the only place I've known.

I work in an industry that has a presence in every market of the country, but the advertised job openings are usually pretty limited (to nil), not to mention $ considerations coming from San Diego.

I wish the snow commute in Denver was considerably shorter than what I do now (60-70 miles to Loveland?), but the snow is obviously better. Bend seems like a really cool place if single or no kids and working nights. If this topic hasn't been beaten to death elsewhere, feel free to chime in. Any areas that I'm missing?

BTW, I, too, might have been heading to Park City in February, but I have a brother moving to Tahoe and friends to Reno soon, so maybe I'll start a "where should I ride?" thread closer to 02/08.
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re: Advice on ski trip to Park City in Feb. 2008

Postby Tony Crocker » Wed Apr 11, 2007 12:30 pm

The threads that have covered the subject most thoroughly are:
http://www.firsttracksonline.com/boards ... php?t=1017 and
http://www.firsttracksonline.com/boards ... php?t=2352 .

For convenience from the first thread:
When Marc was considering his move west, I sent him the following rank of metro areas purely based upon skiing:
1. SLC
2. Reno
3. Vancouver
4. Seattle
5. Denver
6. Sacramento
7. Portland
8. Spokane
9. Calgary
10. San Francisco, with east of the bay much preferred
11. Albuquerque
12. Las Vegas
13. L.A., with inland areas much preferred to coastal
14. San Diego
15. Phoenix
In the east Montreal is #1 no contest. I would put Montreal between L.A. and San Diego on the above list. Marc slotted Montreal between Albuquerque and Vegas. No other eastern metro area would crack this list IMHO.


Interestingly SoCal Rider is in the camp that values daytrip much over weekend, and would thus prefer Montreal over L.A. in the debate in the first thread. But the top 10 on the above list are way better than Montreal.
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Re: re: Advice on ski trip to Park City in Feb. 2008

Postby jamesdeluxe » Wed Apr 11, 2007 1:20 pm

Tony Crocker wrote:I think Berkshire Skier has reinforced the original points I've made about most eastern skiers. It takes either a better location or more stamina to get consistent quality out of eastern skiing.


The constant wah wah wah from self-hating easterners -- a breed that I thought was more prevalent at Epicski -- is a real stoke killer.

I live 20 minutes west of NYC, hardly a plum location for skiing, and with a two-year-old around, I don't have the flexibility to stormchase, drive long distances at the drop of a hat, or rack up a 50-day year. I did not ski once in the east before mid-January, yet I've managed to score six powder days out of 14 ski days here without stepping foot in northern New England. If the computer models for my Sugarbush/Jay trip tomorrow and Thursday pan out, that will put me at a .500 batting average.

I'm curious where Berkshire Skier goes when he's not at his hometown hill. His descriptions of totally skied off conditions -- even after a powder day -- make me think that he's spending weekends at usual suspect destination joints (Killington, Mt. Snow, fill in the blank) rather than off-the-beaten-path places.

Although I do make destination trips out west or to Europe at least twice a season, I refuse to base my happiness as a skier around these trips -- which are not guaranteed powder fests either. No matter how much I'm browbeat by Tony and his book of averages (and I don't doubt his accuracy), I have no plans to move back to the Rockies -- been there, done that, got bored by the strip malls -- and I WILL NOT move to Seattle. So where does that leave me?

Even if you're not an EC rock star like riverCoil, it ain't rocket science -- pay attention to the forecasts, stockpile your weekday vacations for the winter, and for chrissake, choose a place that isn't bolloxed up with the very people you're trying to avoid.
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re: Advice on ski trip to Park City in Feb. 2008

Postby SoCal Rider » Wed Apr 11, 2007 2:12 pm

Thanks, Tony. I will check those out. I'm not one for flogging corpses and, no, I ain't gonna start a "where in Tahoe" thread. Squaw, Alpine and Northstar if stormy; duh. Homewood If I want to be contrarian. Hell, Kirkwood if we have time and feel like cruising (in the car). My brother will be in or around Truckee.
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re: Advice on ski trip to Park City in Feb. 2008

Postby SoCal Rider » Wed Apr 11, 2007 2:30 pm

I do favor daytrips, albeit realizing that that favors quantity over quality. I only have two days at Mammoth, from one visit. I have done three fly-outs: Tahoe (but as first-timer), Hood/Portland and Summit/Eagle. Utah or Whistler would be next, but it's hard to ignore family and friends who will have both moved to or near Tahoe, which I haven't experienced as a blue/black rider.

My last two winters have been marked by a birth and a pregnancy, respectively (not mine, but I know the woman quite well :lol:). So now I am waiting for my three kids to age and want to pick up Dad's neato activity.
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re: Advice on ski trip to Park City in Feb. 2008

Postby Tony Crocker » Wed Apr 11, 2007 3:04 pm

If you end up in Truckee and post here regularly, the envy inspired by your reports will likely be exceeded only by admin's.
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Re: re: Advice on ski trip to Park City in Feb. 2008

Postby SoCal Rider » Wed Apr 11, 2007 4:06 pm

Tony Crocker wrote:If you end up in Truckee and post here regularly, the envy inspired by your reports will likely be exceeded only by admin's.


Definitely jealous of my brother; his Tahoe v2.0 is for a "real job," too. I look forward to posting a dynamite trip report in February. The thought of living near or next to the mountain sounds great. Ideally, I'd love 60 minutes or less, but I also appreciate what cities have to offer (from concerts and local music scenes to architecture and "arty" neigborhoods etc.). That's why Portland and Seattle are attractive to me, although housing (growth?) in those places has shot up. The anywhere, USA, sprawl of Denver metro is not attractive to me, but Boulder, where I've spent an afternoon, and Ft. Collins seem nice. However, Ft. Collins' snow commute looks to be comparable to Bear/Baldy/High but for superior snow and more/better terrain.

I loved Boise when I lived there one summer, and Bogus Basin is fairly big and close. I wonder what RT to SLC costs from there?
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