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  #261  
Old Posted Nov 12, 2008, 5:46 PM
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I'd say Sunshine will open as currently scheduled (Friday). They claim a 48cm base by whatever measure they use, and they were open last year with just under 40...

Guess I need to buy that helmet this week.
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  #262  
Old Posted Nov 12, 2008, 11:07 PM
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Originally Posted by freeweed View Post
I'd say Sunshine will open as currently scheduled (Friday). They claim a 48cm base by whatever measure they use, and they were open last year with just under 40...

Guess I need to buy that helmet this week.
I still like to wait till december to go riding, snow is usually pretty good by then.
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  #263  
Old Posted Nov 13, 2008, 1:40 AM
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^LOL @ Louise. I've been there twice and both times have been crap. Never going again.
You need to get out there with someone who actually knows the mountain. Will make that extra 40 minute drive from Sunshine every time. Even when the snow sucks, I can always find some great runs off the beaten path on Paradise, Ptarmigan, Larch, etc... It's just essential to avoid a good chunk of the front.
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  #264  
Old Posted Nov 13, 2008, 6:35 PM
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Sunshine is going to be BS for opening weekend. Last year they claimed to have a 75cm base... yeah right, maybe if you pushed a bunch of snow into a pile and then measured it.

This year I can't help but notice that with Sunshine's snow report, the difference between the total snowfall and the base has shrunk over the past week or so. This suggests to me that they're using the same creative arithmetic as last year.
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  #265  
Old Posted Nov 13, 2008, 8:28 PM
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You need to get out there with someone who actually knows the mountain. Will make that extra 40 minute drive from Sunshine every time. Even when the snow sucks, I can always find some great runs off the beaten path on Paradise, Ptarmigan, Larch, etc... It's just essential to avoid a good chunk of the front.
I avoid pretty much the whole front if possible, I just wish the back was a little steeper at the bottom, that super long green is so slow!
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  #266  
Old Posted Nov 13, 2008, 8:42 PM
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Indeed. Louise is alright off the back, but there's that shallow ski down to the Larch base that really sucks.

I hope I can make it out to Castle Mountain this year. From what I've heard, if there's snow, that mountain is amazing.
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  #267  
Old Posted Nov 13, 2008, 9:06 PM
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Castle can get massive dumps. Last time I went it was hard not to notice how old the lift system was. Old as in a double chair with the pole in between the seats.
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  #268  
Old Posted Nov 13, 2008, 9:44 PM
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^ Which is actually an old chair from Sunshine.

Castle is awesome if it snows, and it sucks if it doesn't. It's never mediocre.
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  #269  
Old Posted Nov 13, 2008, 9:45 PM
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Anyone ever been to Powder King? They only have something like 25 runs but they get this much snow 1250 cm (41 ft) annually
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  #270  
Old Posted Nov 13, 2008, 10:21 PM
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Anyone ever been to Powder King? They only have something like 25 runs but they get this much snow 1250 cm (41 ft) annually
I've driven past it many years ago. My brother skied it a long, long time ago too. He said the snow was amazing, and there was a ton of it. I've heard very good things about the snow at this hill.
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  #271  
Old Posted Nov 13, 2008, 11:19 PM
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I went to Utah for the first time last year and was converted - skiing will never be the same after experiencing "the greatest snow on earth". The Cottonwood Canyon resorts (Snowbird, Alta, Solitude, Brighton) were getting 12+ inches of light fluffy snow every night, unlike the wet slop the BC and Tahoe resorts get. At the end of each day, I had to guess which snow mound in the parking lot contained my car. Alta had over 700 inches (nearly 1,800 cm) last season. I hit it one day with 48 inches new over the previous 48 hours (more snow than Louise gets in 3 months). There are 13 ski resorts within an hour of Salt Lake, so competition is fierce. I scored discounted lift tickets for $42-49 and a great hotel in the city for $65. To top it off, all four Cottonwood Canyon resorts have public transit service so you don't have to risk the roads during the frequent big dumps. The routes start downtown and have ski racks both inside and outside of the buses. I never bothered with the three Park City area resorts as they are overrun with tourists and hipsters according to the locals, plus the snowfall is ONLY 300-350 inches per season (only double what Louise gets). The ski bum crowd down there is like nothing I have ever seen. People will come up and make a few runs before work or over lunch. They will yell at skiers from the chair for "wrecking the snow" by traversing or stopping. I skiied with a couple of old guys one morning who still had their boots and ski clothing from the 70's. We did nothing but fresh tracks and face shots all morning. When one of them heard a scrapping sound during a turn (aka packed snow), he decided to pack it in for the day. A couple of weeks after the Utah trip, I hit Sunshine after it got 70cm over a couple of days and felt strangely let down.
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  #272  
Old Posted Nov 13, 2008, 11:21 PM
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I'd love to go to Utah to ski. Sounds awesome. I'm stuck in a wasteland for outdoor pursuits.
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  #273  
Old Posted Nov 13, 2008, 11:43 PM
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I'd love to go to Utah to ski. Sounds awesome. I'm stuck in a wasteland for outdoor pursuits.

It is actually not a bad drive from Calgary. A fellow powder addict and I drove it in 12 hours. The entire route is 4 lane divided save for a few sections on highway 3 between Ft. Macleod and Lethbridge and a short sections of highway 4 near Milk River. I-15 is virtually deserted through Montana and Idaho. I averaged 110 mph between Butte, MT and the Idaho border. Food an hotels along the way are ridiculously cheap (ex. Motel 6 in Idaho Falls for $32/night).

Utah skiing is also pecular in how quickly the landscape transforms from city to wilderness, desert to alpine and clear to dumping snow. From down in the valley, you can see clouds of moisture coming off the lake and pounding the canyons to the east. I was there at the beginning of April and the grass was green and leaves out down in the city. You drive through the suburb of Sandy through desert like vegetation and people out running and playing golf. All of a sudden, you hit a wall of moutains and instantly the snow starts and the landscape changes from junipers and grasses to aspen trees and conifers.

THe other great thing about going in April is that you can combine the ski trip with mountain biking in Moab (lower elevation only, the La Salles are still covered with snow) or hiking in the Bryce or Zion and spend the evenings exploring Salt Lake City.

SLC is a strange but surprisingly likeable city. Is has been experiencing Calgary-like growth for a couple of decades so it is a very new city but with plenty of reminders of its not so distant past as a rough and tumble mining and railway town. The infrastructure is extremely impressive (rapidly expanding LRT and ongoing rebuilds of I-15 and I-80) and the densification of the inner city and suburbs such as Sandy is progressing at a rapid rate. The weird mix of clean cut Mormons, dirty hippies, extreme sports freaks, rednecks and California transplants did give me the creeps at times.
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  #274  
Old Posted Nov 13, 2008, 11:53 PM
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I've heard that the Utah snow is awesome, supposed to be like Revelstoke and Kicking Horse apparently.
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  #275  
Old Posted Nov 14, 2008, 12:49 AM
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Yikes, they sound rather hostile in Utah. "Ruining the snow??" What, are there 3 runs on the entire hill?

God forbid we don't all ski/ride the exact same style.
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  #276  
Old Posted Nov 14, 2008, 3:16 AM
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I live in Toronto, though.

I've been to Utah a couple of times, but during summer - SLC, Zion, Bryce. It was difficult to buy beer on a sunday, but a beautiful state.

If you're a real powder junkie, you MUST go CAT skiing. Any resort just won't do anymore afterward - cheaper (but still expensive) than heliskiing and you get to still go out during huge storms, when the snow is best. I recommend Retallack between Kaslo and New Denver in BC. UNBELIEVABLE.

http://www.retallack.com/


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Originally Posted by Doug View Post
It is actually not a bad drive from Calgary. A fellow powder addict and I drove it in 12 hours. The entire route is 4 lane divided save for a few sections on highway 3 between Ft. Macleod and Lethbridge and a short sections of highway 4 near Milk River. I-15 is virtually deserted through Montana and Idaho. I averaged 110 mph between Butte, MT and the Idaho border. Food an hotels along the way are ridiculously cheap (ex. Motel 6 in Idaho Falls for $32/night).

Utah skiing is also pecular in how quickly the landscape transforms from city to wilderness, desert to alpine and clear to dumping snow. From down in the valley, you can see clouds of moisture coming off the lake and pounding the canyons to the east. I was there at the beginning of April and the grass was green and leaves out down in the city. You drive through the suburb of Sandy through desert like vegetation and people out running and playing golf. All of a sudden, you hit a wall of moutains and instantly the snow starts and the landscape changes from junipers and grasses to aspen trees and conifers.

THe other great thing about going in April is that you can combine the ski trip with mountain biking in Moab (lower elevation only, the La Salles are still covered with snow) or hiking in the Bryce or Zion and spend the evenings exploring Salt Lake City.

SLC is a strange but surprisingly likeable city. Is has been experiencing Calgary-like growth for a couple of decades so it is a very new city but with plenty of reminders of its not so distant past as a rough and tumble mining and railway town. The infrastructure is extremely impressive (rapidly expanding LRT and ongoing rebuilds of I-15 and I-80) and the densification of the inner city and suburbs such as Sandy is progressing at a rapid rate. The weird mix of clean cut Mormons, dirty hippies, extreme sports freaks, rednecks and California transplants did give me the creeps at times.
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  #277  
Old Posted Nov 14, 2008, 5:27 AM
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I live in Toronto, though.

I've been to Utah a couple of times, but during summer - SLC, Zion, Bryce. It was difficult to buy beer on a sunday, but a beautiful state.

If you're a real powder junkie, you MUST go CAT skiing. Any resort just won't do anymore afterward - cheaper (but still expensive) than heliskiing and you get to still go out during huge storms, when the snow is best. I recommend Retallack between Kaslo and New Denver in BC. UNBELIEVABLE.

http://www.retallack.com/

I worked as a weekend heliguide in Revelstoke for a couple of winters and honestly, the resort snow in Utah was better because it was so much lighter, even if it tracks up more quickly. The highest skiable resort in BC is Kicking Horse at just over 8,000 ft. The highest commercial heli operations don't even go that high. In Utah, the base elevations are 7,000 ft plus (Alta's base is 8,500 feet, about the same as the summit of Louise, Snowbird tops out at 11,000 feet). The elevations and dry desert air mean the snow is amongst the driest in the world. Places like Colorado also boast dry snow, but they don't get anywhere near the quantity plus the mountains there are more prone to wind scour (not as bad as in Alberta though). The Wasatch mountains are truely unique in that they pick up snow tracking from the northwest, from infrequent but typically big storms coming from the south and from lake effect snow off Great Salt Lake. The only disadvantage they suffer is that the often clear daytime skies and southerly latitude can sun bake the snow really quickly. That is why almost all of the skiable terrain is north facing.

The only cat skiing I've ever done was near Nelson. I'd like to try out some more cat operations in the Kootenays some day.

Last edited by Doug; Nov 14, 2008 at 5:38 AM.
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  #278  
Old Posted Nov 14, 2008, 5:40 AM
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I've heard that the Utah snow is awesome, supposed to be like Revelstoke and Kicking Horse apparently.
Similar to Kicking Horse but in much greater quantities and slightly drier. Revelstoke tends to have wetter snow, although nowhere near as bad as the elephant snot that places like Whistler and Baker get.
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  #279  
Old Posted Nov 14, 2008, 5:49 AM
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Yikes, they sound rather hostile in Utah. "Ruining the snow??" What, are there 3 runs on the entire hill?

God forbid we don't all ski/ride the exact same style.
There is a real powder culture in the Wasatch, especially at Alta. Protecting the powder stashes is one of the reasons that Alta doesn't allow boarders and limites daily lift ticket sales. The amount of information on the snow available on the Internet is also staggering. They do forecasts of snow moisture content, probablities of snowfall accumlations hitting certain amounts, differential forecast for different exposures etc. The locals are always talking about some of the legendary dumps of the past, such as December of 2003 when Alta apparently got over 80 inches in a day and a half.

Some of the other pecularities are that Snowbird has a dress code and a code of conduct. Apparently, bad behavior such as swearing or having obscene graphics on your board can get your ticket revoked (so no van art inspired naked women carrying a sword graphics). Of course there are also the bizarre liquor laws, but then again if you are there to ski powder like you have never skied powder before you will too exhausted to drink.
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  #280  
Old Posted Nov 14, 2008, 6:10 AM
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There is a real powder culture in the Wasatch, especially at Alta. Protecting the powder stashes is one of the reasons that Alta doesn't allow boarders
That's really interesting. In my admittedly limited experience here, the vast majority of people who even care about powder seem to be boarders. Most skiers I know shy away from heavy powder dumps (for whatever reason, I find it fun as hell even if I have no clue what I'm doing in it).

And now that I've gotten the official Sunshine email, I'm just dying to go. Screw all the naysayers - skiing is like sex, even when it's bad it's good. Besides, for some odd reason half of Calgary argued with me that late April/May have the worst possible conditions, and yet last spring it was by far the best skiing I've ever had. So, now I just need to find someone crazy enough to drive out tomorrow.
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