Skiing 19-20

GoJeff!

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Curious how you think Corbett’s compares to Cornice.
Cornice at Mammoth?

No comparison at all. Cornice is a groomed black. It's one of the easiest runs off the top other than the cat track, and doable in good conditions by an advanced intermediate.

Corbett's is a very difficult trail, suitable only for experts. I don't think it's quite as difficult as it reputation ("The hardest run in North America" kind of stuff), but it is a very intimidating trail with real consequences if you fall.

EDIT:
Cornice used to not be groomed, and would develop a huge cornice. That was a much harder trail than today's version, but is before my time skiing there.
 
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Devizier

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There is a huge increase in difficulty between any tough eastern trail and hard stuff out west. I mostly ski at Mammoth and would put at least a couple of trails (real trails, stuff on the map) well above Corbett's in terms of difficulty.
Even less reputed resorts like Crystal in WA have some insane runs, at least when conditions allow it.
 

Burn Out

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Cornice at Mammoth?

No comparison at all. Cornice is a groomed black. It's one of the easiest runs off the top other than the cat track, and doable in good conditions by an advanced intermediate.

Corbett's is a very difficult trail, suitable only for experts. I don't think it's quite as difficult as it reputation ("The hardest run in North America" kind of stuff), but it is a very intimidating trail with real consequences if you fall.

EDIT:
Cornice used to not be groomed, and would develop a huge cornice. That was a much harder trail than today's version, but is before my time skiing there.
Understood. Cornice, Scottys and Dave’s are the limits of my abilities and sensibilities. I imagine the ones that compare to Corbett’s are the double blacks up there? No thanks.

Edit to your edit: A few seasons ago Cornice had the overhang and you had to jump in blind. It wasn’t huge, but just enough to cut visibility. Did it a few times, but wouldn’t chance it at this point. From your description I think it was a junior version of what the run used to be.
 

bigq

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There is a huge increase in difficulty between any tough eastern trail and hard stuff out west.
Generally I agree however while not technically trails, and depending on snow conditions, some of the chutes that approach the headwall at Tuckerman are as daunting and challenging as anything I’ve skied out west. Admittedly I haven’t tackled Corbett's or skied Mammoth.
 

GoJeff!

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Generally I agree however while not technically trails, and depending on snow conditions, some of the chutes that approach the headwall at Tuckerman are as daunting and challenging as anything I’ve skied out west. Admittedly I haven’t tackled Corbett's or skied Mammoth.
Tuckerman’s is difficult and would be a double diamond anywhere out west. Huntington is supposedly a step up from that.
 

graffam198

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One word of caution, and I’m sure everyone knows, but as a father...do not rely on past experience or other resort ratings to determine your runs. The shape rating system is UNIQUE to each mountain. What is a blue at one resort might be a black elsewhere etc. The goal is always to ski another day so when scoping new resorts make sure you ski the mellow first to get comfortable. That being said, Mt. Rose, my local spot, has some crazy inbounds terrain. The Chutes are just that, Avalanche chutes that they open up after extensive blasting and testing. Every few years someone ducks the rope and inevitably die or are seriously injured. That being said, when they open, it is unreal. I’ve had snorkel days on 50 degree slopes that are unmatched. But when they run, they run long and far with usually a real nice ice base for that bonding layer. Worth a day if you’re in the Tahoe basin. Better than Squaw in my opinion.
 

Preacher

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Also for those with experience at Jackson Hole, any recommendations on places to stay? Proximity to the slopes is nice but I’m not sure if there are any places more in town that might offer a better apres ski setup? It would just be my wife and me for a week in mid April. We’re fairly flexible on costs. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
 

GoJeff!

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Also for those with experience at Jackson Hole, any recommendations on places to stay? Proximity to the slopes is nice but I’m not sure if there are any places more in town that might offer a better apres ski setup? It would just be my wife and me for a week in mid April. We’re fairly flexible on costs. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
This is second hand, but a friend booked condos at Snow King over New Years and thought it was a great option. Snow King is right in Jackson, so definitely closer to more nightlife than in Teton Village, and he said the condos were very nice and pretty reasonable in price.

Keep in mind that Jackson has a pretty early closing date, so mid April can be iffy some years.
 

Preacher

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This is second hand, but a friend booked condos at Snow King over New Years and thought it was a great option. Snow King is right in Jackson, so definitely closer to more nightlife than in Teton Village, and he said the condos were very nice and pretty reasonable in price.

Keep in mind that Jackson has a pretty early closing date, so mid April can be iffy some years.
Thanks. Good to know about the early closing date. I just assumed most places out west are open until at least last April. Maybe I need to keep looking.
 

Icculus

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Looks like April 12 is Jackson's closing day. I'd consider staying in Teton Village if you're not going to be there too long or skiing is your priority. I'd rather drive or ride the bus (which works pretty well) into Jackson in the afternoon/evening without ski gear than deal with getting into the Village in the morning with everyone else. That said if you're going to be there a while or really want to spend time in the town as well as on the hill that trip back up to Teton Village in the evening can start to feel pretty long.
 

GoJeff!

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I'm leaving for Icefall Lodge in the British Columbian backcountry tomorrow. The snow there is supposedly excellent, and I'm in good skiing/skinning shape, so it should make for a great week. I'll try to get some good pictures.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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I booked a trip to SLC recently for 1/31 - 2/3. Was probably a bit overambitious but bought a 3-day pass to Snowbird for Saturday-Monday. Planning on going to Solitude on Friday to get legs under me. One guy is on Ikon pass, so that rules out PC. We're staying in suburban SLC (Taylorsville). Right now I'm dreading the traffic a bit--best advice I've heard is to be at the LCC mouth by 8am and make it 10 minutes earlier for each 2 inches of snowfall. Any other tips or tricks are welcome!
Traffic should be pretty manageable on both Friday and Monday, its only Saturday/Sunday you really need to worry about. Even on Saturday/Sunday I think its a little bit extreme to suggest that you need to be at the canyon mouth at 7:30 if there is snowfall. Some of it depends on how much patience you have for traffic and also how much you prioritize getting a very close parking space. But generally speaking if you're entering the canyon at 8:00 you're in great shape. There isn't too much difference between LCC and BCC in this regard in my experience.

Snowbird is lots of fun but also a seriously steep mountain with a lot of ungroomed terrain. If you're not used to that combination, big parts of the mountain can be pretty beastly. Especially if you're going to be there three days, I would advise taking it slow and not biting off too much too quickly.
 

Zososoxfan

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Traffic should be pretty manageable on both Friday and Monday, its only Saturday/Sunday you really need to worry about. Even on Saturday/Sunday I think its a little bit extreme to suggest that you need to be at the canyon mouth at 7:30 if there is snowfall. Some of it depends on how much patience you have for traffic and also how much you prioritize getting a very close parking space. But generally speaking if you're entering the canyon at 8:00 you're in great shape. There isn't too much difference between LCC and BCC in this regard in my experience.

Snowbird is lots of fun but also a seriously steep mountain with a lot of ungroomed terrain. If you're not used to that combination, big parts of the mountain can be pretty beastly. Especially if you're going to be there three days, I would advise taking it slow and not biting off too much too quickly.
Thanks! I'm not worried about a delay as much as a total closure, although the horror stories of 3-4 hours stuck in the car waiting for roads/cars to clear definitely stick out. I'm also not in such good shape that I need to ride 7+ hours 3 days in a row, but my group also includes 4 Colorodans, most of which do get after it. So in sum, I think it will be fine.

I alternate between excitement and fear about the prospect of tackling the Bird. I'm no stranger to the back bowls, bumps, and glades of Vail, Aspen, Kirkwood, Steamboat, et al but the Bird just seems to be on another level. Since I'm a 1-trip a season kinda rider, I assume this will go mostly the same way--1-2 days of feeling scared and finding my edges followed by a day or two of getting confident again and getting after it. Now I'm just hoping that we get some fresh snow, but not quite enough to lure out the locals en masse.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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Thanks! I'm not worried about a delay as much as a total closure, although the horror stories of 3-4 hours stuck in the car waiting for roads/cars to clear definitely stick out. I'm also not in such good shape that I need to ride 7+ hours 3 days in a row, but my group also includes 4 Colorodans, most of which do get after it. So in sum, I think it will be fine.

I alternate between excitement and fear about the prospect of tackling the Bird. I'm no stranger to the back bowls, bumps, and glades of Vail, Aspen, Kirkwood, Steamboat, et al but the Bird just seems to be on another level. Since I'm a 1-trip a season kinda rider, I assume this will go mostly the same way--1-2 days of feeling scared and finding my edges followed by a day or two of getting confident again and getting after it. Now I'm just hoping that we get some fresh snow, but not quite enough to lure out the locals en masse.
Sounds like an awesome trip. Have fun out there!

Fwiw, in all my time out in Utah, I never had to deal with a canyon road closure. I could be wrong but my understanding is that it only happens during pretty extreme weather.
 

GoJeff!

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Fwiw, in all my time out in Utah, I never had to deal with a canyon road closure. I could be wrong but my understanding is that it only happens during pretty extreme weather.
LCC closes at least a few times a year, usually starting in the early morning, but occasionally stranding people at the resorts. Much more common is a one-two hour delay to finish avy work in the canyon.
 

uncannymanny

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Heading up to VT next week for Sunday thru Thu skiing, just to get away from some life stress for a few days alone.

I’m thinking about doing mostly Jay but maybe stopping at Stowe or something (coming from NYC). I haven’t really been out this year outside of a couple days around Christmas. Would love to hear if there’s resorts that are looking particularly good. Thanks!
 

thehitcat

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It's while back but a buddy that ski'd Sunday River Jan 24-25 said Stowe was the best he'd seen day in-day out in the East this winter (better than all but a truly incredible day Jan 24 at Sunday River which was one of the best East Coast days either of us has seen in a decade.) He tends to ski all over Vermont & Maine so he has a pretty good feel.
 

uncannymanny

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Yeah there’s another message up thread about Stowe. It’s a nice location to stop as well. I ski a lot with my dad who turns 70 this month. He’s slowed down a lot (and he telemarks) so I’m really going to enjoy going at my own pace.
 

GoJeff!

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Just returned from my trip to Icefall Lodge in British Columbia.

It was an amazing week. The snowpack was super deep and very stable, the terrain was terrific and the people that came were both talented skiers and a blast to be around.

Lodge is located just west of Banff National Park in the Canadian rockies:


We came in by heli. The lodge is really far from anything. I've been on helicopters before, but this ride was LONG. You can see the hut left of center in the front window.


On clearer days we climbed into the alpine. Our guide set a great track, and not needing to break trail or plan where to go made the climbs a lot easier than what I'm used to. Still, they were big days.



One highlight was hitting a steep, narrow couloir with walls of ice that it turns out no one had actually skied before. The guide said he *thought* it went through, but none of us were totally sure until the bottom twists revealed the valley below.



When the light was flat we stayed in steep trees below. Here's a typical scene:


Overall, it was a great trip. We got snowed in our last day so the heli could not pick us up, which meant an extra day at the hut and missed flights, but I'm home now and already missing it.
 
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Devizier

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LCC closes at least a few times a year, usually starting in the early morning, but occasionally stranding people at the resorts. Much more common is a one-two hour delay to finish avy work in the canyon.
I remember being stuck during a lodge alert at Alta. That was quite something. At least they had plenty of beer. And got to chat with some local pros.

BTW, love the Icefall pictures. I need to get in shape, and wealthier, and have my kids grow up.
 
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DukeSox

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Just returned from my trip to Icefall Lodge in British Columbia.

It was an amazing week. The snowpack was super deep and very stable, the terrain was terrific and the people that came were both talented skiers and a blast to be around.

Lodge is located just west of Banff National Park in the Canadian rockies:


We came in by heli. The lodge is really far from anything. I've been on helicopters before, but this ride was LONG. You can see the hut left of center in the front window.


On clearer days we climbed into the alpine. Our guide set a great track, and not needing to break trail or plan where to go made the climbs a lot easier than what I'm used to. Still, they were big days.



One highlight was hitting a steep, narrow couloir with walls of ice that it turns out no one had actually skied before. The guide said he *thought* it went through, but none of us were totally sure until the bottom twists revealed the valley below.



When the light was flat we stayed in steep trees below. Here's a typical scene:


Overall, it was a great trip. We got snowed in our last day so the heli could not pick us up, which meant an extra day at the hut and missed flights, but I'm home now and already missing it.

Wow. Just wow. Thanks for sharing - you are living the dream!
 

Zososoxfan

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@GoJeff! that's amazing!! That's definitely a long time dream of mine to get out on a heli...or a cat...or in Japan...

I finished my 4-day stretch in Utah and had an absolute blast out there. Friday afternoon we went straight to Brighton after landing. The 4-hour lift ticket is a cool deal and skiing under the lights was a novelty. Had some excellent tree runs in great conditions.

We spent the next 3 days at The Bird. I was a bit nervous about tackling the Bird and the mountain did live up to its reputation. The whole thing is pretty dang steep and there's not a lot of cruiser trails to get around. Even taking a lift up to get to the mid-Gad lodge, traversing around, or getting back to the car were not especially easy runs. Day 1 was a beautiful bluebird day, but busy and somewhat weak conditions. Sunday was a bit overcast and windy, so much less busy. However, the wind closed down the back bowls and even the high mountain lifts on the front (i.e. Little Cloud). So, we really had to explore to find fun runs with some snow still around. Yesterday, HOOO BOOY! 6 inches of freshies from Sunday night into Monday afternoon made for an amazing day of soft turns and deep pow. I legitimately choked on the snow I shredded a couple of times.

Overall, I really enjoyed The Bird. There's a variety of terrain and even after 3-5 days of no snow there were still stashes to be found. The mountain shines with the gates into steeps, cliffs, and bumps. Lots of fun and sometimes too intense. I was a bit surprised at the lack of variety of glade runs and underwhelmed by the back bowls. Probably a result of being spoiled by Vail, but Mineral Basin just wasn't that big or interesting. The back was closed yesterday, so maybe it just needs snow to be enjoyed, but we didn't spend much time there.
 

GoJeff!

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@GoJeff! that's amazing!! That's definitely a long time dream of mine to get out on a heli...or a cat...or in Japan...

I finished my 4-day stretch in Utah and had an absolute blast out there. Friday afternoon we went straight to Brighton after landing. The 4-hour lift ticket is a cool deal and skiing under the lights was a novelty. Had some excellent tree runs in great conditions.

We spent the next 3 days at The Bird. I was a bit nervous about tackling the Bird and the mountain did live up to its reputation. The whole thing is pretty dang steep and there's not a lot of cruiser trails to get around. Even taking a lift up to get to the mid-Gad lodge, traversing around, or getting back to the car were not especially easy runs. Day 1 was a beautiful bluebird day, but busy and somewhat weak conditions. Sunday was a bit overcast and windy, so much less busy. However, the wind closed down the back bowls and even the high mountain lifts on the front (i.e. Little Cloud). So, we really had to explore to find fun runs with some snow still around. Yesterday, HOOO BOOY! 6 inches of freshies from Sunday night into Monday afternoon made for an amazing day of soft turns and deep pow. I legitimately choked on the snow I shredded a couple of times.

Overall, I really enjoyed The Bird. There's a variety of terrain and even after 3-5 days of no snow there were still stashes to be found. The mountain shines with the gates into steeps, cliffs, and bumps. Lots of fun and sometimes too intense. I was a bit surprised at the lack of variety of glade runs and underwhelmed by the back bowls. Probably a result of being spoiled by Vail, but Mineral Basin just wasn't that big or interesting. The back was closed yesterday, so maybe it just needs snow to be enjoyed, but we didn't spend much time there.
Glad you had fun. Snowbird is one of my favorite places, and 6 inches can be a ton of fun there.

A lot of the great gladed stuff is over by the upper Gad lift.

I need to get in shape, and wealthier, and have my kids grow up.
FYI, the hut skiing isn't crazy expensive. It was about $US 2K guided with meals for the week. Not nothing, but way less than heli or cat.

Finally, little video of me playing at the lodge
 

Kliq

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Glad you had fun. Snowbird is one of my favorite places, and 6 inches can be a ton of fun there.

A lot of the great gladed stuff is over by the upper Gad lift.



FYI, the hut skiing isn't crazy expensive. It was about $US 2K guided with meals for the week. Not nothing, but way less than heli or cat.

Finally, little video of me playing at the lodge
Wow, looks awesome, like another world.
 

Zososoxfan

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Glad you had fun. Snowbird is one of my favorite places, and 6 inches can be a ton of fun there.

A lot of the great gladed stuff is over by the upper Gad lift.



FYI, the hut skiing isn't crazy expensive. It was about $US 2K guided with meals for the week. Not nothing, but way less than heli or cat.

Finally, little video of me playing at the lodge
That's pillowy. Allow me to be an old man for a second though, and STRONGLY encourage you to wear a helmet AT ALL TIMES.

As for the Bird, on Sunday Mineral Basin, Little Cloud, and the Tram were closed, so we spent the majority of our time on the Gad lift. Tigertail, Snake Pit, Ted's Bowl, Carbonate, etc. are all super fun. There was a gate I can't remember the name of that was a huge highlight. The skier's right off of the Gad 2 lift is some of the most insanely steep stuff I've ever seen (namely STH). We also spent a fair amount of time directly under the Tram at the bottom of the Cirque, and under Gadzook and found lots of fun stuff (Get Serious Chutes). We didn't have enough time to poke around the Cirque since we didn't get to the traverse as early as we'd have liked--super confusing until you do it a couple of times.
 

graffam198

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Glad you had fun. Snowbird is one of my favorite places, and 6 inches can be a ton of fun there.

A lot of the great gladed stuff is over by the upper Gad lift.



FYI, the hut skiing isn't crazy expensive. It was about $US 2K guided with meals for the week. Not nothing, but way less than heli or cat.

Finally, little video of me playing at the lodge
Great send!

Honestly, 2k is a steal. If you think about the cost of a week at any West Coast Resort, lodging, food, etc. you get super close to 2k very easily. A little rustic, and not everyone's cup of tea, but man, what a great trip. Hell, I hire a guide once or twice a season for Mammoth Back country and that is a couple hundred bucks a day. Good on you man!

Ridge of high pressure for CA/NV for the next 10 days or so. But cold. Really cold. Sitting at about 80% average snowpack for the season. Skiing has been good overall though. Was in a tank top last Saturday, 55 degrees at the lodge, no wind, sun blazing.
 

Devizier

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2K is an incredible deal. The biggest hindrance will be the kids -- they are just learning and hut skiing is at least 10+ years away. Plus, my son seems to be leaning towards snowboarding...
 

graffam198

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Where do you typically tour around Mammoth?
Wherever they take me! Sierra Mountain Guides are my go to. Generally we will meet anywhere from Lee Vining down to Rock Creek area. Just depends on snow conditions. They have some bigger trips as well, take you into the high country and ski some of the larger mountains, but hard for me to get away from the fam for 2 days to do that. We have done backside of Mammoth Area around Lake Mary, runs down closer to Bishop, etc. Need 2 to run, but groups no bigger than 4. I have a buddy that doesn't ski well at all, but when we go, guide will always pick easier lines for him and lead me to burly stuff, usually adjacent. Really a great service. In the summer I have used them to climb all over as well. Lots of Tuolumne and surrounding areas.
 

uncannymanny

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Heading up to Stowe (1 day), Jay (3 days) and Smuggs (1 day) for solo time Mon - Fri this coming week. This is a trip to both push up my ski time for the season which is very low, and to have some time to regroup in my life (fire took out our home in June and partner got a cancer diagnosis in January - it’s been fucking shitty and I’m kind of a mess).

It’s no GoJeff trip, but they got 14” up there today so it should be nice. Jay looks like it will get several fresh inches while I’m there, though nothing big on any one day.

Still need to plan something for UT, CO, or the like for late winter/early spring. I keep getting ads for Sun Valley in ID. Any thoughts on that? Also should be hitting the volcano resorts around Portland, OR in the spring when we visit to check it out for moving.
 

GoJeff!

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Heading up to Stowe (1 day), Jay (3 days) and Smuggs (1 day) for solo time Mon - Fri this coming week. This is a trip to both push up my ski time for the season which is very low, and to have some time to regroup in my life (fire took out our home in June and partner got a cancer diagnosis in January - it’s been fucking shitty and I’m kind of a mess).

It’s no GoJeff trip, but they got 14” up there today so it should be nice. Jay looks like it will get several fresh inches while I’m there, though nothing big on any one day.

Still need to plan something for UT, CO, or the like for late winter/early spring. I keep getting ads for Sun Valley in ID. Any thoughts on that? Also should be hitting the volcano resorts around Portland, OR in the spring when we visit to check it out for moving.
Sorry to hear of your tough year and hope this week gives you a bit of a respite.

Sun Valley is a great ski area and town, but they are having a pretty crappy snow year. Colorado is also not great so far, or really anything mid to south latitudes. Utah is a bit better.

Oregon is having a great year and you should definitely hit up some areas when you are out there. Mt Hood Meadows looks good, but so do some of the smaller areas. Washington is also getting lots of snow.
 

Zososoxfan

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Sorry to hear of your tough year and hope this week gives you a bit of a respite.

Sun Valley is a great ski area and town, but they are having a pretty crappy snow year. Colorado is also not great so far, or really anything mid to south latitudes. Utah is a bit better.

Oregon is having a great year and you should definitely hit up some areas when you are out there. Mt Hood Meadows looks good, but so do some of the smaller areas. Washington is also getting lots of snow.
Parts of Colorado are expected to have close to 3 feet by Sunday.
 

uncannymanny

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Sorry to hear of your tough year and hope this week gives you a bit of a respite.

Sun Valley is a great ski area and town, but they are having a pretty crappy snow year. Colorado is also not great so far, or really anything mid to south latitudes. Utah is a bit better.

Oregon is having a great year and you should definitely hit up some areas when you are out there. Mt Hood Meadows looks good, but so do some of the smaller areas. Washington is also getting lots of snow.
Thanks, I keep reminding myself lots of other people have it worse. It’s just been a lot in a short time. We’d just mentally (and logistically) gotten past the fire then got the diagnosis. I’m a workaholic and have been keeping well occupied but it hasn’t been healthy. This will be great fun and give me some head space so I can actually be there for my decidedly better half when I return.

Great info on the western regions! OR is definite and I was leaning UT anyway because SLC is just so much cheaper off the mountain, so that’s fine news. Alta/SB are really my favorite resorts in the country but I always think I should try somewhere new.

On your trip as I scheme on doing something like that: what would you ballpark the difficulty level of the terrain you skied there? It looked pretty intense but photos of pitch can deceive.
 

Preacher

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My wife booked an Airbnb for the first week of April I’m Aspen. She’s never skied our west and she doesn’t do well on longer runs so this should be an experience. She also bought us a ski bag for the plane ride. It holds 3 pairs of skis. The plane tix are on me.
 

GoJeff!

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what would you ballpark the difficulty level of the terrain you skied there? It looked pretty intense but photos of pitch can deceive.
We had a mix of skiers, and the less aggressive group mostly stuck to moderate bowls and avy chutes. Despite not being steep-skiing fans, the less aggressive were definitely able to handle themselves in deep powder and the occasional nasty section.

However, I will say the group was in excellent shape. Everyone toured backcountry pretty regularly, and could handle big days. One guy didn’t have much experience touring and had a lot of trouble keeping up. He sat out multiple days.

I don’t know if our group was typical, and get the feeling it might have been faster than normal, at least on uphills.
 

bigq

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It clicked for my six year old today. She was flying down intermediate runs faster than my wife could keep up with. Finally after years of lessons starting with snow plowing between my legs all three of my girls can ski independently and we can have fun skiing together as a family. Now if only something can be done about the fortune it costs to bring the family to the mountain.
 

Devizier

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Clicked for my six year old last week, too. He had only gone out about four days before that, as conditions are not exactly reliable in PA. These trips were spread out over a few years so he just didn't have the chance to build up skills. But last week, he went from nothing to something like that. It's amazing to watch.

The best part about kids that young is that with just a few skills they can cover a lot of ground. Hoping to take him out again this week.
 

Preacher

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Buttermilk will have some great terrain for her, should be a blast.
I’m thinking about that as a warm up day 1 but I’d like to take her on Snowmass and Ajax as well. She did well enough in the Alps the last couple seasons that I think she can handle the blues and maybe some of the easier blacks but it’s really condition dependent.