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Old 08-13-2012, 10:05 AM
 
162 posts, read 223,963 times
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I have been Skiing for years but only on the east coast. I wish to head out west this upcoming winter. I have done some research but I would like some personal opinions on the best Ski resorts in the west. Anywhere in the west is fine. I have gone on some Ski forums and I have gotten some suggestions.

Jackson Hole
Big Sky
Tellirude
Vail
Snowbird
A-Basin.

Those are some of the suggestions are some of the suggestions I have been receiving. I would like some opinions on these to if you could and if you could ad some more resorts that would be great. Also let me know any major resorts to avoid. Thanks ahead of time.
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Old 08-13-2012, 10:51 AM
 
9,967 posts, read 14,643,245 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ny1964 View Post
I have been Skiing for years but only on the east coast. I wish to head out west this upcoming winter. I have done some research but I would like some personal opinions on the best Ski resorts in the west. Anywhere in the west is fine. I have gone on some Ski forums and I have gotten some suggestions.

Jackson Hole
Big Sky
Tellirude
Vail
Snowbird
A-Basin.

Those are some of the suggestions are some of the suggestions I have been receiving. I would like some opinions on these to if you could and if you could ad some more resorts that would be great. Also let me know any major resorts to avoid. Thanks ahead of time.
Are you planning on just going to a certain part of the west like Colorado or Wyoming or Montana or California or are you looking for the best ski areas for over the whole expanse of the West?

What's the best also depends on what type of skier you are and what you're looking for. Personally, I like no-BS ski areas with steep terrain---I prefer somewhere like A-Basin over a big tourist area like Vail. However, if you're looking for a place with all high speed quads you can chill in some fake Swiss ski village and get a drink after a day of skiing--A-Basin isn't the place to go.

All the resorts above though are good places to go in their own right, though I've never been to Big Sky. Jackson Hole is an amazing place to ski--it's got great steep terrain and huge vertical as far as long runs. Personally my favorit though is Snowbird with the combination of that and Alta next door you've got the best mix of good quality snow and terrain in the country in some ways. I've always like the convenience of the Utah resorts since you've got a good mix of local's mountains like Brighton and Snow Basin mixed with high class places like Deer Valley and Park City mixed with Alta/Snowbird and so on. Plus it's easy to stay in Salt Lake City and just drive up to the different canyons every day.

Out in California--I'd say Kirkwood and Mammoth Mountain are my favorites--and after that Squaw Valley and neighboring Alpine Meadows. You get more snow than the Rockies but it can be heavier, but at Kirkwood and Mammoth the higher elevation and location closer to the east slope of the Sierra results in drier snow.

In Colorado my favorite resorts are probably A-Basin, Crested Butte, and Telluride--though Winter Park, Copper Mountain, Keystone, and other resorts are all worth a look. But I like the location on the Continental Divide and no-frills attitude of A-Basin, the steep chutes and tree-skiing of Crested Butte, and the spectacular location and general feel of Telluride(good bowls up high and nice steep runs right above the old Victorian mining town). Crested Butte and Telluride are fun towns, though Telluride is a little pricier/snobbier these days and Crested Butte is still a little funkier.

The Northwest where I live now isn't a marquee location, but if you go at the right time to Mt. Hood or Mt. Baker or Crystal Mountain or Mt. Bachelor can be just about as good as a lot of the rest of the west. But, it's more a local's experience, the weather is too variable to really be a destination unless you're looking to ski on a volcano in the middle of summer.
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Old 08-13-2012, 01:35 PM
 
14,253 posts, read 15,357,671 times
Reputation: 13682
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ny1964 View Post
I have been Skiing for years but only on the east coast. I wish to head out west this upcoming winter. I have done some research but I would like some personal opinions on the best Ski resorts in the west. Anywhere in the west is fine. I have gone on some Ski forums and I have gotten some suggestions.

Jackson Hole
Big Sky
Tellirude
Vail
Snowbird
A-Basin.

Those are some of the suggestions are some of the suggestions I have been receiving. I would like some opinions on these to if you could and if you could ad some more resorts that would be great. Also let me know any major resorts to avoid. Thanks ahead of time.
Jackson Hole is great skiing but for good skiers only. It is one of the steepest ski areas I have skied. There is a lot of back-country skiing available but you do need a guide. Also, the ski resort is some way out of town which limits the apres ski.

Only skied Vail once and was impressed by just how big the place is. Nice town and a lot to do. However, it can get quite crowded as it is a day trip from Denver.

Snowbird/Alta. Alta is great skiing and bans snowboards. Links up with Snowbird to give a pretty large skiable area. Quite a lot of day trippers from Salt Lake City but they tend to be decent skiers. Not much to do in the evenings. Main place to stay in Snowbird is the Cliff Lodge. Pretty boring in the evening.

Also consider .......

Steamboat ... a destination resort (no day trippers) with a good range of skiing and a good apres ski. Nice town.
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Old 08-13-2012, 01:53 PM
 
11,256 posts, read 43,499,140 times
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define "best" ...

is it a large area of expert terrain?

is it lots of ungroomed deep steep powder skiing days?

is it having a destination resort base area coupled with good or great skiing?

is it having a good ski school to help advance your skills?

is it the apres ski ambiance, things to do in the resort ... dining, bar hopping/partying ... quality accomodations?

and so forth. If you look at the aggregate ratings of the industry publications, you'll find Vail is fairly consistently at or near the top; it's a very sizable ski facility and it changes very rapidly from its near capacity crowds on weekends to very accessible (read: generally almost no lift lines at all) during the mid-week when the front range skiers have gone home except during the holiday weeks (Christmas, New Year's, or Spring Break). My favorite Colorado ski area, able to more consistently deliver a good product than many other places.

The Utah ski resorts near to SLC have similar virtues. And some other Colorado ski resort towns are well placed to deliver a quality product.

Please note that A-Basin isn't a resort like the others you've listed. Outside of a very high altitude, often very cold in the winter months small ski area, there's a parking lot. Not much else. The other places are comprehensive resort towns/facilities. The only time I ski A-Basin is at or near the end of a season when the temps are warming up so that the resorts have shut down for the season but skiing is still available at A-Basin. Usually, we wait until the crusty stuff has softened in the later AM hours to enjoy the slopes. A-Basin very famous for the "beach" party scene, which is the sunbathing at the base area by the parking lot.

While I've enjoyed a few days at Steamboat Springs ... a true ski resort town ... I'd mention that in 30 days of skiing there through the years, I had only two absolutely "died and gone to ski heaven" days where the powder in the glades was fabulous and endless. Couldn't get enough of it, it was incredible. But the other 28 days were a less than wonderful experience with poor snow conditions or weather. You had to chase around the mountain to find where the snow was OK or the conditions got back to being fun instead of survival on the mountain. For me, the place wasn't a great value ... and I was comp'ed for my next to the hill lodging and lift tickets most of those days from an industry friend. I could fly up to Steamboat Routt County in a very short time compared to driving, so it was a decently accessible location.
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Old 08-13-2012, 02:01 PM
 
Location: Greater NYC
2,909 posts, read 4,933,083 times
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Totally depends on what kind of skier you are AND what you like. Aspen proper, Snowmass (Aspen), Vail, Steamboat, Copper, Crested Butte, Breck are all nice.... I don't like steep, technical stuff, so Aspen and places like Jackson Hole aren't my cup of tea -- I wish I was better. For me Steamboat and Vail, with a touch of Crested Butte are the best in skiing and beauty. Also Mammoth holds a special place in my heart. I think I recently saw somewhere it's the second most popular resort in the country behind Vail....
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Old 08-13-2012, 02:32 PM
 
9,967 posts, read 14,643,245 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Idlewile View Post
Also Mammoth holds a special place in my heart. I think I recently saw somewhere it's the second most popular resort in the country behind Vail....
Mammoth gets completely packed on winter weekends with Southern California skiers making a run up the east side of the Sierra. It seems like every other skier in LA heads there on the weekend. But if you go on a weekday, it can be spectacular and uncrowded--sometimes almost feeling a little empty considering how big it is. I've had few great late-spring days at Mammoth where I felt like I had runs all to myself.
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Old 08-13-2012, 04:26 PM
 
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It's Vail for me.
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Old 08-13-2012, 04:57 PM
 
162 posts, read 223,963 times
Reputation: 99
I hear you guys. Taking your suggestions and researching. I would rather have a difficult back county terrain than a typical groomed terrain. I have never been skiing in the west but I have been skiing for 40 years on the east coast so I believe i'll be fine out west. I would like to stay away from areas with a bunch of drunk college kids. Still researching. Maybe I can try a few out.
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Old 08-13-2012, 05:21 PM
 
Location: On the sunny side of a mountain
3,190 posts, read 7,083,776 times
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If you purchase Vail's Epic Season Pass, currently $659, you can ski Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone, A-Basin, Heavenly, Kirkwood and Northstar whenever you want for the 12/13 season. If you plan on 6 or more days at any of the hills it can be a good deal. Vail Season Pass | Vail Ski Passes & Ski Pass Deals | Vail.com
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Old 08-13-2012, 05:38 PM
 
14,253 posts, read 15,357,671 times
Reputation: 13682
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ny1964 View Post
I hear you guys. Taking your suggestions and researching. I would rather have a difficult back county terrain than a typical groomed terrain. I have never been skiing in the west but I have been skiing for 40 years on the east coast so I believe i'll be fine out west. I would like to stay away from areas with a bunch of drunk college kids. Still researching. Maybe I can try a few out.
Jackson Hole
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