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need rec's for trip out West


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Hi All,

I have to take some vacation before end of year, thinking about a trip out west early - mid Dec. Have a bunch of questions, feel free to write as much as you want.

What I'd like:

1) good carving runs, a few steeps (I want to bring my freeride, too), and a fair amount of greens (my friend is a newb)

2) interesting/decent town with at least a somewhat decent party scene and is also accessible by foot, board-in/out (or very close walk),

3) good conditions (of course).

Might also want to go snowmobiling if time permits. Not looking to break the bank but I don't need the cheapest deal either.

1. Colorado or Utah? Any specific resort? (I'm thinking Col.)

2. Is it OK to go in beg. to mid december (generally speaking)? How much snow do the resorts out West require before opening?



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most resort can open on next to no snow but it sucks out west with no snow I recomend going in feb or march

lots of greens= keystone and steamboat come to mind and the 'boat caters to those who cannot ski very well but beware lots of flats with the PSIA "snake" crisscrossing all over the place really good trees though

All of the large resorts should be able to meet your need for mellow terrain though

good carving I am partial to copper been there a couple times and it was great I wish I had been able to hit the bowls for a little pow there but it never happened

steamboat is decent but not special

buttermilk wins this catagory for most I have not been there but everyone who has been there raves about good grooming and good layout for what we do

nightlife aspen and vail but most resorts have something close by accessable by a free bus

freeriding telluride and aspen highlands both have some nice steep and open terrain

kiss some local ass and ask what the secret is just about every resort has some hidden stash just a short hike away be it good trees or wide open steeps

if you pay my way to the boat I can show you all around that place!

honestly though carving in the east is usually as good as the west its just different snow

alot less and a little harder

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for early season like that youre probably pushin it.

Ive only ridden vail, crested butte, monarch and steamboat in CO

out of those, Id say steamboat. The mountain itself isnt all that special..no steeps but some LONG carving runs

odds are you wont get much powder that early (altho when I lived there there was a 2' dump on Dec 8th. Good start!)

but...I have some very fond memories of the town. very friendly, and very very fun. If you stay on the hill theres plenty to do in the village, and if you want you can take a cab downtown for more drinks and food and such

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Of course I am biased but the 'Boat can fit your bill on all counts.

Depends on snowfall of course, but Dec can be epic as there are generally no crowds before xmas.

If you come, let me know by email and we'll hook up. I just bought my 31st consecutive season's pass so I know the mountain pretty well.

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Guest AlpentalRider

If you are willing to really go way west, Whistler would be a very fun vacation for you. The mountain is amazing in terms of size and quality of the terrain. It has plenty of space for all kinds of riding and they do a great job of grooming if you wanna ride hard boots.

It's easy to get ski-in, ski-out accomidations there, and with the canadian exchange rate you can really save alot of money when comparing it to other high end resorts in North America.

In terms of nightlife, the village is like a little city with tons of stuff to do. You'll be partying with the best of them, and it's a blast.

As far as early December, you should be quite happy there with your hardboot setup. As far as getting powder days that early in the season, you'd have to be pretty lucky but it can happen (like last year).

One warning though, if you've been used to Utah powder, you will be shocked to get the powder we get out in the northwest. It is nowhere near as light and fluffy as the Utah stuff.

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Guest Ghostrider

Ive been to Park City, Utah in mid december the last two years. The first year, it it was a man made snowstrip down 3 runs and then dumped 2 feet for the last day. Luckily I brought the pow stick and ducked a few ropes to hit it up (which i hear is hardcore against the law..):confused:.

Last year, there was a ton open and fresh. But it was a early season and alot was closed because the mountain was understaffed. So moral of the story is that its kind of a gamble before x-mas.

Also, nightlife was fun in park city, but dont forget normal utah beer is 3.2% so you gotta find a State Liquor store to get the imported diesels. (Jager is another common solution.) But the local Polygamy Porter is good to give a try cuz its Utah and youre surrounded by mormans...well not really but everybody thinks they are.

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I would consider booking an early season trip to Summit County, Colorado. This would give you the option of hitting Loveland, A-Basin, Keystone, Breckenridge, Copper, and Vail/Beaver Creek within a forty minute drive. Any one of them would meet the requirements you stipulated; together they allow you the opportunity to get great snow and variety. Plus, you can rent snowmobiles nearby (if the coverage is OK).

Unless it is a early season, capital "D" drought, you'll find good conditions for cruising the groomers on snowmaking trails--at the very least. As many have mentioned, you could luck out and hit some good natural snow and pow as well.

Lastly, you and your beginner friend could stop by Bomber's store to pick up any additional gear that you can't live without--or to go holiday shopping for your friends.


Good luck and have a great trip. It's snowing on the peaks here in Leadville today, auguring well for an epic season!

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[Good luck and have a great trip. It's snowing on the peaks here in Leadville today, auguring well for an epic season! [/b]

seriously? awesome.

man..Id love to see some precipitation

got a nice break from the SoCal dryness last weekend drivin back from Tahoe, down 395. Thunderstorms almost the entire way and it was gorgeous!

you know...barry...if you wanted to spend a week in Summit, you could buy that cheap summit pass and youd just about break even if you rode enough plus you could go back!

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I have done a few trips to UTAH late Nov / early Dec and you may have snow but it will still be "early conditions". No area is likely to have anywhere near 100% of their terrain open, even after 4 to 5 ft dumps. Local saying is the Bird needs 100" base to cover the rocks! It is different skiing on "stained" man-made snow at SnowBasin from the high mineral content water. Biggest expenses - air and car are usually not any cheaper at this time than during high season. You may have less total people on the hill but the rider density could be high with fewer runs open.

I recall Wolf Creek in S.W. Cololardo getting decent early snows the last few seasons but I am not personally familiar with what Wolf Creek has to offer http://www.wolfcreekski.com/

If it's cold you might want to consider Okema - never been but it sounds tempting - 95% of the terrain has snowmaking.

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