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The Colorado Report ....or the lack there of.
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Updated 5 days ago
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10 days ago

Just spent a week in Colorado skiing the Vail Resorts and the conditions were poor at best. The resorts are living off an early December storm.  They barely scrapped through the holidays with adquate open terrain. I spoke to a guy who works for Vail and he reported they make more revenue per person during holiday week than any other time of year. Families tend to come in big group and spend lots of money on mountain. However conditions were so bad at Vail that did not have any beginner terrain open. They had to send all the lessons to Beaver Creek.  Further the whole mountain was a “slow zone” due to poor conditions.  Lots of brown snow, rocks and bare spots. There were a few good runs out of East Vail but most of the terrain was pretty beat. Only the Game creek bowl was open with just a few runs. The crowds started light but grew heavy during the day as we skied.

Things were better at Beaver Creek, which is surprising as the mountain is lower elevation and always drier than Vail . The beginner terrain is mostly on top so it was in ok shape but none of the “tree” play areas for kids were open . The Birds of Prey downhill runs were groomed, open and a blast to ski. So I did laps on those for a while on those. However Grouse Mountain with it expert terrian was closed as was the Rose Bowl. The Bachelors Gulch base area had a few runs open and only one run was open at the Arrowhead base. So there were areas to explore just not much terrian once you got there.  
 

Keystone had the best snow and were actively making the whole time we visited.  The front was quite crowed which is typical but they recently added snow making to the back two mountains which enabled them to open some of that terrain which spread the crowd out. They were also running 19 out of 20 lifts so there were places to go. There was still snow in the tree runs as well. We skied there twice once during the day and once at night. Night skiing at Keystone is great. The front mountain has some great blue cruiser terrain that gets crowded during the day, but at night it opens up for top to bottom for bomber runs!

We had one day at A-Basin. The snow was good but with the Montezuma Bowl closed and most of the steeps lacking snow it was crowded. A-basin has limited blue terrian so it got very busy in spots. Also A-basin does not have RFID. Thus passes must be scanned every run at the bottom…what is this 2007?

Lastly we did one day a Breckenridge. Really did not do it justice as it was New Year’s Eve and packed to the gills. Even the t-bar had a 20 min wait. There was good terrain off the Mercury chair and Peak 10. But most of the rest of the hill was a zoo scene.

Overall I was happy to get 6 days on snow no matter the conditions. We did ski over 140K in vertical including a 50K day (Vail and night skiing at Keystone) so we did make the effort. I look forward to returning Spring Break time frame hopefully the snow will show up by then!!  

marzNC - DCSki Supporter
10 days ago

Guess this is the type of season where the revenue from early season sales of the Epic Pass really make a difference.

What I heard about why Snowbird took a long time to install RFID was that the cost was in the millions.  They chose to spend the money on the summit building first.  That was very annoying when Snowbird joined the Mountain Collective.  Could use the MCP pass for the Alta RFID gates but then had to show it for scanning at Snowbird for a few seasons.  I lost a MCP pass one day because of that and had to spend time getting a day ticket to ski back to Alta and go back a replacement.

Between lift and terrain upgrades and RFID, what makes more sense for A-Basin?

10 days ago

Headed to Vail in 17 days, so hoping for some more snow.  I assume you left before Saturday night’s storm?  Predictions were for 3-6 inches, but Vail finally got lucky for a change, and wound up with 9”.  It’s been pretty warm since then, but is supposed to cool off starting tomorrow.  

It looks like the rest of the week will be powder days for Colorado (per Joel Gratz).  Vail is supposed to get a foot (Wed-Fri), and Teluride (which is even worse off than Vail) is supposed to get 20”.  

https://opensnow.com/dailysnow/colorado

We’ll see if the forecasts hold true.  I’m really hoping they can get Blue Sky Basin open before we arrive.

10 days ago

Snow conditions in Colorado are the worst in 3 decades acording to the Denver Post”

https://www.denverpost.com/2018/01/06/colorado-snowpack-levels-january-2018/

Vail STILL has nothing open on the backside. I don’t EVER remember getting to the middle of January in that situation. Vail is forecaxt to hit 50 degrees tody, so it’ll lose base. The weather.com 10 day forecast thru 1/23 only call for two 1-3 inch snowfall days  on the 10th and 12th. If that holds true, Blue Sky won’t be open by the 23rd.

 

 

10 days ago

marzNC wrote:

 

Between lift and terrain upgrades and RFID, what makes more sense for A-Basin?

The basin is pretty focused on getting the Beavers open and getting the Beavers lift  installed next summer. I suspect that will pretty much use their available resources. Thus I wouldn’t expect to see an RFID setup there for at least two years.

marzNC - DCSki Supporter
9 days ago

bob wrote:

The basin is pretty focused on getting the Beavers open and getting the Beavers lift  installed next summer. I suspect that will pretty much use their available resources. Thus I wouldn’t expect to see an RFID setup there for at least two years.

Do Copper and Winter Park have RFID?  Loveland does not, correct?

It’s been interesting learning about small mountains in the northeast that have invested in RFID.  Jiminy Peak and Wachusett have had it for a while.  A few other places in NH/VT added RFID this season.

8 days ago

Arizona Ski Bowl near Flagstaff got 14” of new snow last night!!!!!

8 days ago

Arizona Snow Bowl near Flagstaff got 14” of new snow last night!!!!!

8 days ago

Reisen wrote:

Headed to Vail in 17 days, so hoping for some more snow.  I assume you left before Saturday night’s storm?  Predictions were for 3-6 inches, but Vail finally got lucky for a change, and wound up with 9”.  It’s been pretty warm since then, but is supposed to cool off starting tomorrow.  

It looks like the rest of the week will be powder days for Colorado (per Joel Gratz).  Vail is supposed to get a foot (Wed-Fri), and Teluride (which is even worse off than Vail) is supposed to get 20”.  

https://opensnow.com/dailysnow/colorado

We’ll see if the forecasts hold true.  I’m really hoping they can get Blue Sky Basin open before we arrive.

Vail is reporting 5 inches mid-mountain yesterday/last night, but the Blue Sky Snow Stake shows 8”, and Beaver Creek is reporting 10”.  Telluride is reporting 11”, Steamboat shows 10”.

Joel Gratz is forecasting another 4-8” for Vail tonight/tomorrow, but then dry for a week.  Still, if the forecast holds up and hits the high end (7-8 inches), it looks like Blue Sky will have gotten 2 feet in a week, which should be worth something.  

6 days ago

Blue Sky got another foot last night and much of it opened today!

6 days ago

The worm is slowly turning out West. I’ll be in Salt Lake City for a week starting 1/23, half work, half ski turns. I’ll likely still need to bring my rock skis.

marzNC - DCSki Supporter
5 days ago

marzNC - DCSki Supporter
5 days ago

JohnL wrote:

The worm is slowly turning out West. I’ll be in Salt Lake City for a week starting 1/23, half work, half ski turns. I’ll likely still need to bring my rock skis.

A friend spent a day at Snowbird last week.  Was not very happy.  She’s an advanced skier who is also an instructor.  Said it felt pretty dangerous on the few open trails.  Was with another advanced Ski DIva who had never been to Snowbird before.  She was not impressed.

The friends who skied at Alta were much happier.  Low snow conditions but a lot more was open for those who were willing to dodge the rocks and wood.  Fresh powder in Catherine’s was worth hiking more than once.

5 days ago

marzNC wrote:

JohnL wrote:

The worm is slowly turning out West. I’ll be in Salt Lake City for a week starting 1/23, half work, half ski turns. I’ll likely still need to bring my rock skis.

A friend spent a day at Snowbird last week.  Was not very happy.  She’s an advanced skier who is also an instructor.  Said it felt pretty dangerous on the few open trails.  Was with another advanced Ski DIva who had never been to Snowbird before.  She was not impressed.

The friends who skied at Alta were much happier.  Low snow conditions but a lot more was open for those who were willing to dodge the rocks and wood.  Fresh powder in Catherine’s was worth hiking more than once.

With the amount of snow so far this season, it ismDecember-like conditions. Go in with those expectations and you’ll be happy. Dodging rocks and wood is Vermont skiing 101; plus a few more storms are likely before I start skiing on that trip. Be nice if they produced. Plus, Snowbird is steep and rocky; not the greatest choice for early season. I bet Brighton is skiing a lot better currently.

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