USA 2017 - 2018 Trip Plans/Thoughts/Review

Discussion in 'United States' started by absentskier, Apr 27, 2017.

  1. absentskier

    absentskier Part of the Furniture
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    Seeing as most of us are now thinking about the coming northern season, time for a new thread.

    I've got my eye on flights so that we can hopefully get back to Steamboat again. I'm also working on being able to build in a road trip for about a week from Phoenix - Sedona - Grand Canyon - Monument Valley - Moab/Arches. But it will add a fair bit of cost and time so not sure yet.
     
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  2. silva

    silva Active Member

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    Flights are booked! We are headed back to Whitefish Montana. Jan 6 to Jan 25.
    Cant wait.
     
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  3. absentskier

    absentskier Part of the Furniture
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    Would like to get there one day.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  4. jgm

    jgm Active Member

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    You've got to watch out for the crowds though. The last time we were there and it was the first big dump for the season on the Friday night, they got nearly 2000 people on the Saturday. We even had a 5 minute wait once for the chair.:rolleyes:
     
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  5. silva

    silva Active Member

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    On No. 5 minutes would feel like an eternity.
    I do remember having to wait a few minutes at the main chair one morning - I remember Mr 4 laughing at me - he skipped the line as he and his teacher were riding up with the mountain CEO.
    I am hugely bias and highly recommend Whitefish, it certainly does not have the glitz and glamour of some of the "destination resorts" (Whistler, Aspen, Vail etc) but it suits us. Compared to Steamboat the mountain feels bigger but the mountain village and town seem smaller IMHO.
     
  6. absentskier

    absentskier Part of the Furniture
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    Have you considered Schweitzer? Met someone recently who likes it, rates it equally with Whitefish.
     
  7. Scooter

    Scooter Dedicated Member
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    Hey @silva - we all have our biases :D I am firmly of the opinion that it is all down to what occurs on the day - i.e. insert experience "here" that elevates a particular resort on said day (could be a great pow day or??). Spoilt for choice really with any number of resorts around the globe able to deliver a fantastic snow experience - just gotta be there on the right day and the right time ;)

    Interesting however that you say Whitefish feels a lot bigger than Steamboat - why do think that is? They both have 3000 Acres each however Steamboat has 165 marked trails as opposed to Whitefishes 105 (so roughly 150% more) and with a similar difference in Vertical (1118 at Steamboat vs 771 for Whitefish) you would have thought the perception should have been the opposite - i.e. Steamboat feels bigger.

    You will note in that other thread I said Steamboat lacked two things being big open bowls and sustained steeps so I wonder if the lack of big open terrain (no trees and open bowls etc.) means it feels smaller (i.e. much more dense due to the trees)? At the same time I said one of the main attractions of Steamboat was the Trees and provided you are reasonably competent that means you can ride a fair chunk of the whole 3000 Acres (allot of which is treed).

    Not having many resorts to draw on for comparison I looked at Fernie as I had done a season there and it is smaller in Acres (2500 odd) and also has less marked runs and whilst it was many years ago it did seem to ski bigger which I can only put down to the handful of bowls and their open terrain (and maybe at the time longer hike to stuff being Polar peak which is also more open). Weird - one of these days I will get back their now that I am a more seasoned rider.

    Guess I was wondering how treed vs untreed (so high Alpine like in EU and NZ) a place is factors into perception of the "big mountain" feel of a place?
     
  8. kimberlee81

    kimberlee81 Dedicated Member

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    Interesting mathematics that you use in your dimension, Mr Scooter!
     
  9. Scooter

    Scooter Dedicated Member
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    What's wrong with my math @kimberlee81 ?

    105 v 105 would be 100% - 105 v 210 would be 200% - So 105 v 165 by my calcs = 165 is 157% more than 105

    You thinking 100%+ more is double? You thinking I thought 100%+ is double?

    How should I have expressed it? I thought it was implied that if I said it was 100% it was the same so anything over 100% was more. I guess If using 165 as 100% I could have said 105 was only 64% of 165 - had to go one way or the other - you thinking I went the way that seemed to suggest a bigger difference? It wasn't intentional - I was just thinking 105 was close to 100 so that was easier to work out the relationship - i.e. 100 = 2x50 and 165=3x50
     
  10. Legs Akimbo

    Legs Akimbo Part of the Furniture
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    It is ~50% bigger, not 150%. It is 50% bigger, or 150% the size.

    When you use percentages think very, very carefully. Otherwise you will upset cold wombat.
     
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  11. tr+h

    tr+h Dedicated Member

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    4 of the DVS crew and 4 of my crew booked Canyons 1st-12th Jan, Tahoe 16th-19th Jan.

    A drive through some of the Canyons/NP's in between.
     
  12. Scooter

    Scooter Dedicated Member
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    So should have said "of" instead of "more" or "more than" then - I thought it was obvious I wasn't talking double and a half. Well it was to me anyway :p

    There any side skiing on that Road Trip @absentskier - or purely just sight seeing/national parks?
     
  13. Legs Akimbo

    Legs Akimbo Part of the Furniture
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    You should have thought about what you meant to say, and said it. Percentage confusion is endemic. It is something of which you should be aware whenever someone uses percentages. Yours was an egregious example, but it is not always that obvious.
     
  14. silva

    silva Active Member

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    Hi Scooter
    I have spent several weeks at both Steamboat and Whitefish and its purely my perception that Whitefish "skis" bigger than Steamboat. I am sure others will have different views. In a lot of cases at Whitefish the boarding is in areas rather than on runs. Here is the trail map:
    https://skiwhitefish.com/trail-maps/
    Hellroaring basin has 7 listed areas and 2 runs - realistically there are hundreds of different ways down. Similarly for the front side area such as Langley, north bowl and elephants graveyard offer many different runs. I know this is the case for all resort trail maps (including Steamboat) but it just seems more so in this case. I think the other difference is the run length. At Whitefish (except when on the North side) you tend to be riding the whole mountain - more top to bottom than at Steamboat. At Steamboat we seemed to do more touring around the mountain - run, lift, run, lift doing shorter runs. Still heaps of fun but just different. My impression is that of the 3000 Acres a higher proportion of it is rideable and accessable at Whitefish than Steamboat. People numbers make an impact as well. An area of the same size will seem a lot bigger when you are not sharing it with lots of other people and on a powder day the resort feels a lot bigger when you are still getting fresh lines the next day and you are not a local heading to the "secret" stashes, you are just a visitor out exploring.

    We are certainly spoilt for choice with resorts around the world. Travelling with a family I am looking for resorts which can provide a fantastic experience when you are not there "on the right day and right time". While it would be nice to be able to be totally flexible like a lot of people on here, book airfares and then follow the storms, we tend to pick a resort and park ourselves there for a few weeks. We need somewhere which can deliver a great holiday experience without being totally conditions dependant. Both Steamboat, Whitefish and many other mountains do this extremely well.
     
  15. silva

    silva Active Member

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    Nope, have not been to Schweitzer. I have heard good things about it though and would certainly visit. Previously it has not been on our radar as it does not offer snowboard lessons for under 7s. Our son loves going to snowboard school, meeting other kids, exploring etc and to us this lack is a serious shortcoming. It also does not have a close town served by public transport - we are spoilt and find that being able to "go into town" for the odd afternoon or evening, do some shopping, visit the local pool/rec centre, catch a hockey game etc greatly enhances our holiday experience. With so many places to choose from this is a huge bonus when choosing where to spend our snow dollars. I think this is the definition of Spoilt - nice ski in ski out condo in a pretty snow village, free bus to a town for exploring, shopping and bad weather/worn out legs afternoons where you are not paying mountain prices and have a good selection of restaurants, supermarkets etc.
     
  16. absentskier

    absentskier Part of the Furniture
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    Nah wouldn't be any skiing. We wouldn't have our gear as this would be at the start of the trip.
     
  17. jgm

    jgm Active Member

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    Hi Silva,

    I would disagree. We've been to Whitefish 4 times, & Steamboat once. My impression is that the boat seems a lot bigger and has longer runs, but the fish has more variety. Where Whitefish really scores is powder (when it's on). Our last trip there we had the lightest dryest powder I've ever seen & that includes Utah. Despite all the building that has gone on in Whitefish this century, there is still much more infrastructure on mountain at Steamboat, and the town is closer there as well. Lifts at the fish are also a lot cheaper than Steamboat. When we first went to Whitefish in 1991 (was called Big Mountain then), they had hardly seen an Australian. It's still a bit of a locals' hill, but now you do see a few cars with out of state regos.

    To me it's a toss of a coin over which I prefer. It probably comes down to what accommodation I can get at the right price.
     
  18. miss_b_haven

    miss_b_haven Dedicated Member

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    I'd like a repeat performance at Tahoe for 17/18, but I'm not sure if budget would allow.

    So my dilemma is, if I can choose only one option, which to choose; Buller or Tahoe? :confused:

    Pros:
    Tahoe = snow
    Buller = Apricot Moguls
     
  19. kimberlee81

    kimberlee81 Dedicated Member

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    ^^Set up in business exporting the Apricot Moguls to SLH! Problem solved.
     
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  20. Sbooker

    Sbooker Active Member

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    To the car hire gurus on the forum.
    What is the best way to book? Individual rental car sites?
    I'm looking for a car out of Salt Lake City from December 26, 2017 and returning to same depot on 5th January 2018.
    Need a mid size 4wd (we don't have our own ski gear so a large truck isn't needed).
    Did someone mention the UK sites?
     
  21. absentskier

    absentskier Part of the Furniture
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    I mentioned this last year, but I reckon the ZRankings are a decent resource when planning a ski trip to North America. Well worth a look.

    https://www.zrankings.com/
     
  22. tr+h

    tr+h Dedicated Member

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    I went through all the companies and although we are picking up in Salt Lake City and dropping at San Francisco airport, the best deal I could get on a mid size 4 wheel drive was with europcar.
     
  23. absentskier

    absentskier Part of the Furniture
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    Sorry for the slow response. Yeah try the Euro sites of all the majors and compare to the US sites. Also worth looking at aggregators like Economy Car Rental.
     
  24. Zeroz

    Zeroz Dedicated Member
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    Looked at this and thought the methodology, stats and language were familiar.
    Sure enough, under zrankings.com/about one of the main contributors is Tony Crocker. This is a good thing.

    Ski area lists usually just reflect the type of people that read that site/mag. Hence Vail topped the Skimag poll each year.
    But this is much more objective and analytical. Don't agree with the order but the top 30 seem reasonable.


    1 Jackson Hole
    WY 366 in 2500 acres 4139 ft 10450 ft 12 99.0 more

    2 Snowbird
    UT 448 in 2500 acres 3240 ft 11000 ft 11 96.8 more

    3 Alta Ski Area
    UT 519 in 2200 acres 2020 ft 10550 ft 11 92.1 more

    4 Telluride Ski Resort
    CO 277 in 2000 acres 3845 ft 12570 ft 18 91.9 more

    5 Whistler
    BC 415 in 8171 acres 5354 ft 7494 ft 37 91.7 more

    6 Vail Ski Resort
    CO 359 in 5289 acres 3450 ft 11570 ft 31 91.6 more

    7 Aspen Snowmass
    CO 296 in 3132 acres 4030 ft 12510 ft 20 90.0 more

    8 Revelstoke
    BC 357 in 3031 acres 5620 ft 7300 ft 4 87.5 more

    9 Park City Mountain Resort
    UT 286 in 7300 acres 3100 ft 10000 ft 41 86.7 more

    10 Beaver Creek Resort
    CO 329 in 1815 acres 3340 ft 11440 ft 25 85.9 more

    11 Grand Targhee
    WY 464 in 3000 acres 2592 ft 10000 ft 5 85.8 more

    12 Big Sky Resort
    MT 282 in 5809 acres 3666 ft 11166 ft 21 85.6 more

    13 Winter Park Ski Resort
    CO 349 in 3081 acres 3060 ft 10700 ft 25 85.1 more

    14 Solitude Mountain Resort
    UT 398 in 1200 acres 2047 ft 10035 ft 8 85.0 more

    15 Alyeska Resort
    AK 500 in 1500 acres 2500 ft 2750 ft 9 84.8 more

    16 Squaw Valley
    CA 363 in 3600 acres 2850 ft 9050 ft 30 83.8 more

    17 Steamboat Ski Resort
    CO 372 in 2965 acres 3668 ft 10568 ft 18 83.8 more

    18 Aspen Mountain - Ajax
    CO 253 in 675 acres 3267 ft 11212 ft 8 83.1 more

    19 Aspen Highlands
    CO 251 in 1028 acres 3635 ft 11675 ft 5 82.7 more

    20 Breckenridge Ski Resort
    CO 283 in 2358 acres 3240 ft 12840 ft 31 82.5 more

    21 Taos Ski Resort
    NM 259 in 1294 acres 3243 ft 12450 ft 13 81.9 more

    22 Fernie Alpine Resort
    BC 371 in 2504 acres 3550 ft 7050 ft 10 81.0 more

    23 Whitewater
    BC 390 in 1184 acres 2044 ft 6567 ft 4 80.9 more

    24 Loveland Ski Area
    CO 346 in 1800 acres 1900 ft 12700 ft 10 80.5 more

    25 Mammoth
    CA 350 in 3500 acres 3100 ft 11053 ft 28 79.9 more

    26 Whitefish Mountain Resort
    MT 324 in 3000 acres 2353 ft 6817 ft 14 79.9 more

    27 Keystone Resort
    CO 232 in 3148 acres 2718 ft 11998 ft 20 78.7 more

    28 Kirkwood
    CA 459 in 2300 acres 2000 ft 9800 ft 14 77.8 more

    29 Deer Valley Resort
    UT 275 in 2026 acres 3000 ft 9570 ft 22 77.7 more

    30 Copper Mountain
    CO 280 in 2465 acres 2601 ft 12313 ft 22 77.5 more
     
  25. Born2ski

    Born2ski Part of the Furniture

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  26. sli1

    sli1 Dedicated Member

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    This is an excellent resource, although I have one caveat with it. It doesn't seem to recognise the inconvenience of crowds or how quickly powder in a "powder resort" gets ripped up. For eg. The terrain and snow at Jackson Hole is undeniable. However, the huge tram line waits, the crowds and lines in general on the expert terrain, and the fact that every bit of terrain will be shredded by 10:00am after fresh snow is also undeniable.
     
    #26 sli1, May 21, 2017
    Last edited: May 22, 2017
  27. Zeroz

    Zeroz Dedicated Member
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    Jackson Hole has a popularity problem.

    25 years ago (1992 season) Jackson Hole got 240,000 skier visits. In 2017 season Jackson Hole got 560,000 skier visits.
    Skier visit = one person buying a lift ticket for one day of skiing or boarding.

    So it's way more than double the people skiing the same area (only 2500 acres). The ski boundaries have remained relatively unchanged as expansion needs a permit from the U.S. Forest Service, and they are reluctant.
    Huge changes to the lift config since I first skied there in 1992, but they're just adding lifts into the same area.

    JH has been no.1 rated resort on a bunch of lists for and on many people's must do places.
    While fun skiing and great for marketing, the BC gates out to Cody etc are used by less than 1% of visitors.
    JH resort is basically the end of the road. Not much else around. Grand Targhee and Snow King aren't really alternatives.

    I know it's almost heresy to criticize JH. I've been back about six times since as the terrain and snow is spectacular.
    But it's getting loved to death and I cant see things getting better.
     
    #27 Zeroz, May 23, 2017
    Last edited: May 24, 2017
  28. Sbooker

    Sbooker Active Member

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  29. Sbooker

    Sbooker Active Member

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    My crew intend on adding to that popularity problem this winter. We have deliberately planned to me there midweek though. Why is Grand Targhee no longer an alternative? I plan I spending a day there just to say I've 'skied it'.
     
  30. absentskier

    absentskier Part of the Furniture
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    Jackson has spent a lot of effort and money on broadening its appeal to intermediate destination resort skiers, and these efforts are working. That said, 560,000 skier visits is not a particular high number but I understand your point.
     
  31. PiedPiper

    PiedPiper Active Member

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    Pssst, Big Sky. only a few hours from jackson, More terrain, plenty of the super advanced terrain for those that want it.
    less People too.
    Yes it gets less snow than jackson, but when your sharing it with half the people over twice the area, the total amount of snow doesn't matter so much.
     
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  32. Zeroz

    Zeroz Dedicated Member
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    The attractiveness of Big Sky is no secret and I am a fan. Been there a few times and as I said last year
    "If I was betting on future prospects for ski areas, Big Sky would get a large wager".
     
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  33. Zeroz

    Zeroz Dedicated Member
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    GT is a fun place to ski but it's in a different category to JH and not really a competitor.
    If JH is busy people don't ski GT for a week as an alternative.
    GT is a fun, quick side trip, especially on powder days, which it gets a lot of.
     
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  34. sli1

    sli1 Dedicated Member

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    Having skied at JH and Big SKy for back to back weeks in similar conditions, there is no contest, its Big Sky. Badass terrain -headwall chutes, A-Z chutes, big coulouir,etc) without the JH Hyperbole, the bro attitude and the crowds. There is also heaps of mellow terrain. Everytime I read JH marketing spiel (like that on Zpower website), I wonder if I somehow got the timing wrong or missed what Jackson was all about. Then I read traveller's reviews like powderhounds.com that align with my thoughts. Don't get me wrong, its a great place for a ski holiday. However, I would list 15 north american resorts in front of it that I would want to visit and its mostly due to lift lines.
     
    #34 sli1, May 23, 2017
    Last edited: May 23, 2017
  35. sli1

    sli1 Dedicated Member

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    Perfectly summed up!!
     
  36. Born2ski

    Born2ski Part of the Furniture

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    Short answer is Google. Different codes for different car rental companies. These are a few that I use with Hertz.
    CDP
    109530 - AMEX platinum card (15-20% discount)
    1805452 - AAA code (ie. NRMA, RACQ, RACV etc.) (up to 20% discount)
    165385 - Delta FF code, 10-15% discount

    Never had Hertz check my cards but always have them just in case. Plenty of other codes around, but those are the ones I regularly use with Hertz.
     
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  37. oldgeezer

    oldgeezer Active Member

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    That brings a tear to my eye it does. A very good friend skied Big Couloir on the last day of a ski trip with his Chicago ski club a few years back when I and SWMBO joined them for the week. We, and others, including his wife, did a day trip to Yellowstone the last day of the trip but he had his mind set on BC. He did it and regaled us at that night at drinks and dinner, still in his ski boots he danced and shouted drinks. Next day everyone left for Chicago whereas SWMBO and I returned to Summit County CO. He was coming through a week later driving from Denver to Aspen for a ski clinic and we met for dinner with him in Dillon, Summit County where he said he was taking an all day private lesson at Loveland next day before heading on to Aspen the day afterwards. After dinner we went to our cars and a very peaceful feeling came over me that I'd never see him again so I called out a special farewell from the car as I drive past where he was brushing snow from the windscreen. Next morning skiing at Loveland he had a heart attack just above the first aid hut, collapsed and slid to the bottom, already dead. On our Fall Colors visit next Sep/Oct we shall call in to visit his widow in Chicago. Farewell Bob.
     
  38. oldgeezer

    oldgeezer Active Member

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    Oh in regards to the tentative idea I'd entertained for next Jan/Feb (Purgatoruy @ Durango then road trip into Arizona/Utah) I think it is no longer on the cards. I've brought forward retirement #2 to May 31st so will have to watch our pennies from now on.:(
     
  39. sli1

    sli1 Dedicated Member

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    It sounds like your friend was enjoying himself at the time of his passing...
    Re: Durango then on to Utah/Arizona, Last year we drove from Taos, New Mexico, to Pegosa Springs, Durango, Moab, SLC then skied a week before driving to Vegas and then LAX. Great skiing road trip.
     
    #39 sli1, May 24, 2017
    Last edited: May 24, 2017
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  40. chicski

    chicski Dedicated Member

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    Silverthorne vs Frisco? Can get nicer and much cheaper accomodation at Silverthorne. Will have a car, pros and cons?
     
  41. absentskier

    absentskier Part of the Furniture
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    They're about 10 minutes apart so doesn't matter much. Frisco has a nice little Main Street, Silverthorne doesn't. Outlets is Silverthorne. But yeah, so close it doesn't really matter.
     
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  42. chicski

    chicski Dedicated Member

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  43. chicski

    chicski Dedicated Member

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    How do they compare to Breckenridge town for things to do, restaurants etc.
     
  44. D_Dog

    D_Dog Active Member

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    Any recommendations on where to stay at Alta/Snowbird.
    I'm travelling solo and want somewhere close to others like me and/or a nightlife. Is SLC the only real option if I want that?
     
  45. absentskier

    absentskier Part of the Furniture
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    Breck has more.
     
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  46. Legs Akimbo

    Legs Akimbo Part of the Furniture
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    The Goldminer's Daughter and Peruvian Lodges in Alta (and possibly other Alta lodges) have dorm accommodation. Alta does not have a nightlife. At all.

    AFAIK there are no dorms or hostels in Snowbird and accommodation there tends to the luxe end of the scale. Most rooms are condos or studio apartments. There are hotel rooms in the Cliff Lodge, but that is exxie. Snowbird has more nightlife than Alta, but that is damning with faint praise.
     
  47. Sbooker

    Sbooker Active Member

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    If you want something similar to Alta/Snowbird (challenging terrain) you could opt for Jackson Hole. It's a 5 hour drive north of Salt Lake City. Teton Village is right at the hill and the town of Jackson is a 10 minute bus ride away. Both areas have decent night life and apparently there's a hardcore ski vibe.
    I can't imagine a better place to ski than Altabird though. Wonderful varied terrain and excellent snow quality and quantity. If you ski hard enough the relaxing few beers before dinner at the Alta lodges may be enough for you.
     
  48. Legs Akimbo

    Legs Akimbo Part of the Furniture
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    Alta does not allow boarders.
     
    kimberlee81 likes this.
  49. chicski

    chicski Dedicated Member

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    Accomodation booked for UT and CO, just need to sort our our week of road tripping now.
     
  50. absentskier

    absentskier Part of the Furniture
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    What did you decide?