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Old 08-21-2018, 03:19 PM
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The 2018-19 Ski Thread - No friends on a powder day

Last season's thread - https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb...d.php?t=812953

I've got two significant trips planned for this year so far. At Xmas we're headed to Whitefish Montana to celebrate with my SIL's family, with a possible side trip to Fernie for a few days. Our regularly scheduled Feb ski vacation looks like it might be back to Banff to hit some new mountains, mainly Revelstoke. And I could possibly get a bonus day in November at Ski Dubai, for no other reason than to put a Mad River Glen sticker somewhere in the facility.

So, who's thinking winter?!
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Old 08-26-2018, 11:22 AM
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Always thinking winter
Probably a trip to Park city. I have been invited to go join some friends in Chamonix for a bit of a boys trip. Working on the negotiations with my wonderful wife. If we don't do PC may try for something a bit closer in Colorado



.
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Old 08-26-2018, 05:53 PM
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Fall is here in Telluride already. After 25 years here, we're decamping to Bozeman, so Bridger Bowl and Big Sky this winter! I've skied Big Sky a long time ago, but Bridger will be all new. Hiked up it last week, and it's hard to tell with no snow on it, but the uppers are STEEP. Scheduled for the annual Heli trip to Crescent Spur, BC last week of January with an old friend. Hopefully we don't jinx the snow for Montana. Last year truly stunk in SW CO.
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Old 10-12-2018, 12:03 PM
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For those looking to get on snow early, Wolf Creek ski area is open.
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Old 10-12-2018, 02:12 PM
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Is this limited to two-plankers only? I can hold my own on a snowboard, but primarily a skier.

No major trips planned for the winter, but you never know! Mainly looking forward to day trips to Heavenly, Kirkwood, and Northstar.

Looking forward to reading others' adventures here.
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Old 10-12-2018, 03:31 PM
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I have no objections to changing the thread title to Ski/Ride. Should I send the request in? It's all sliding on snow (or wet rocks and slippery grass).
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Old 10-22-2018, 10:24 AM
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I'm not much of a skier, tho my wife and I have been taking one nice ski trip each winter. I was hoping some of you skiers out there could answer some questions about Canada resorts.

We're looking at Banff or Whistler/Blackcomb in the first week of Feb. I'm leaning towards Banff, just because the flight/drive would be considerably less from Chicago. If we go to Banff, Lake Louise or Sunshine? Is it going to be absolutely freezing that time of year? Is the snow much better at Sunshine?

To give you an idea of our interests, our last 2 trips were to Beaver Creek and Deer Valley. My wife really liked the lodging/amenities at Deer Valley. We both really enjoyed all of the wide open greens up at the top of Beaver Creek. She prefers greens and the easiest blues. I'm only slightly more adventurous. Sunshine looks like it has several really long greens. She prefers ski-in/out. I have no problem taking a shuttle. We have zero interest in night life. A significant appeal for her is the low altitude, as that tends to bother her. Any experience with the busses/shuttles from the airport?

We'd appreciate any input. Thanks in advance.
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Old 10-28-2018, 01:57 AM
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Fall threatened a couple weeks ago, but summer has refused to yield. It's near 80 degrees this weekend.

Saw on the news some place made snow and had 3 runs open, but only for a day or two.

I've been riding my motorcycles recently. But I'm ready for snow.
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Old 10-28-2018, 02:19 AM
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Well, I almost have my February vacation planned out. I'll be visiting friends in Aspen right away on the 1st for a week before heading to Costa Rica, then back home for Lutsen with the family and ending solo at Whistler. This is the reward for almost four years straight of two or more jobs to pay off student loan debts and catch up on retirement savings. What better way to celebrate than by taking a month off to ski until your legs fall off, with a trip to the tropics in the middle just for shits and giggles?
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Old 10-28-2018, 08:56 AM
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We got over a foot in the mountains, three New England ski areas are open this weekend; Killington, Sunday River, and Wildcat. It's a good start to the season.
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Old 10-28-2018, 03:10 PM
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People are still going to the beach at Tahoe.
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Old 10-28-2018, 05:40 PM
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I have no objections to changing the thread title to Ski/Ride. Should I send the request in? It's all sliding on snow (or wet rocks and slippery grass).
Boarders? By all means yes.

Wet rocks are good, but don't forget moss and good old sand.

My first tracks this year were 20 Oct., so add astroturf and horizontal snow fence (laid down in 1997 by a friend) covered with leaves and a dusting of snow.
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Old 10-29-2018, 03:09 AM
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I'm not much of a skier, tho my wife and I have been taking one nice ski trip each winter. I was hoping some of you skiers out there could answer some questions about Canada resorts.

We're looking at Banff or Whistler/Blackcomb in the first week of Feb. I'm leaning towards Banff, just because the flight/drive would be considerably less from Chicago. If we go to Banff, Lake Louise or Sunshine? Is it going to be absolutely freezing that time of year? Is the snow much better at Sunshine?

To give you an idea of our interests, our last 2 trips were to Beaver Creek and Deer Valley. My wife really liked the lodging/amenities at Deer Valley. We both really enjoyed all of the wide open greens up at the top of Beaver Creek. She prefers greens and the easiest blues. I'm only slightly more adventurous. Sunshine looks like it has several really long greens. She prefers ski-in/out. I have no problem taking a shuttle. We have zero interest in night life. A significant appeal for her is the low altitude, as that tends to bother her. Any experience with the busses/shuttles from the airport?

We'd appreciate any input. Thanks in advance.
First week of February? Probably cold, although sometimes there is a late January/early February thaw. For polar mittens, masks and headgear for inside your helmet, go with www.baffin.com. For boot heaters, go with wireless ThermaCELL Heated Rechargeable Insoles. Use tubes connected to a fan to thoroughly dry out your boots at night, put baby power on your feet before you put on your socks, and repower your feet and change your socks for dry ones regularly. For clothing, layers do the trick -- thin moisture wicking base layer of poly (or poly/wool, or silk -- but these do not wick as well as straight poly), medium to thick insulating layers of poly or poly/wool, windproof but breathable external layer. When it comes to staying warm, moisture is your enemy.

Lake Louise has a lot more beginner and intermediate terrain than Sunshine. (Sunshine has a lot of advanced, and both have a lot of expert.) The snow is wonderfully dry. The elevation is about 5400ft - 8600ft, so you will notice it, but it will not be as troubling as Beaver Creek's 9500 feet.

Lake Louise does not have ski-in/ski-out accommodations. There is a shuttle from the hill to the townsite where there are some places to stay, and then on to something really special: the Chateau Lake Louise. Pay the bucks and get a room with a view of the lake. You will love it. The view really is that nice.

Once you get from Calgary to the Rockies, the drive up through the Rockies to Lake Louise is beautiful. You might enjoy poking about in Banff on your way to or from Lake Louise.

Whistler/Blackcomb also has a lot of beginner and intermediate terrain. The snow is heavy -- similar to Cascades concrete and Sierra cement if you get a warm dump of it late in the season -- so early February is usually a good time for Whistler. Although the elevation of about 2200 - 7,500ft is lower than Lake Louise, you still might notice the elevation. Whistler/Blackcomb tends to be a bit busier than many western ski destinations due to its popularity with skiers from Japan.

Whistler/Blackcomb has everything from ski-in/ski-out accommodations to accommodations within a few hundred yards of the slopes to chalets that are a hike across town. Whistler/Blackcomb is more interesting at night than Lake Louise and has more dining options.

The drive from Vancouver to Whistler/Blackcomb takes a-boat the same time as the drive from Calgary to Lake Louise, and it is just as lovely, and even more interesting, for it goes up Howe Sound.

Sorry (yeh, I'm a Canadian), but I don't know anything about the airport to resort shuttles for either Lake Louise or Whistler/Blackcomb. Hopefully the links can help you out.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

If you have not already been there, consider Mont Tremblant in Québec for one of your annual jaunts or for a weekend quickie. It has a lot of terrific beginner and intermediate skiing (albeit denser eastern snow), all at relatively low altitude and below the tree line, a lovely ski village, and Québec cuisine -- but that is only the tip of the iceberg in terms of what it offers visitors. Let's put it this way: non-skiers from six to one-hundred-and-six can have a wonderful time there.

Jackrabbit Johannsen (the fellow who cut a great many cross-country and alpine ski trails in the northeastern USA and Québec, including Stowe, Lake Placid's Whiteface, and the Laurentian's Maple Leaf Trail, and who climbed in Greenland at age ninety-five, skied for over a century, and lived to one-hundred and eleven -- the world's oldest person at the time), cut the course on Mt. Tremblant for the first racing of the Kandahar Cup in North America: "unquestionably the wildest, toughest, bush-whacking, pole-riding adventure ever held." (It finished up on what is now the bottom of the Flying Mile.) For decades, people took the train to ski at Mont Tremblant, and still people visit it from throughout eastern Canada, particularly folks who are into easy-going, relaxed skiing, picturesque ski-in/ski-out accomodations, and really, really good food. You can skate, alpine/christie ski, telemark ski, cross-country ski, snowshoe, ice climb, dig into the snow overnight in a National Park, ride in a horse-drawn sleigh, ride on a dogsled, ride in a helicopter, sit by fires indoor or out, fine dine, soak in spas, be massaged . . . .

The area developed as a year round outdoor Mecca that today is easily reachable from Chicago via Porter Airlines (Chicago Midway to Toronto downtown Billy Bishop to Mont Tremblant with a shuttle to the hill). Porter is a good airline to fly on. There is a mid-day layover in the heart of downtown Toronto, which when you think about it could be considered a bonus.

Air Canada can also get you there via one of their budget lines, but it would cost more and take longer, from O'Hare to Toronto Pearson to Montreal to Mont Tremblant. Driving would take less time while still allowing for a leisurely meal stop. The last time I flew on Air Canada it was from Toronto to Vancouver for skiing at Whistler. It was on one of its budget lines. While loading, my barrel pack rolled back down the conveyor and knocked out the loader. The seats were so tightly placed together that I could not open my laptop. Between Toronto and Vancouver, I was kneed in the nuts by a ditzy flight attendant who climbed on top of me to reach for something (a blanket or a pillow) from my overhead bin for a passenger, a lot of people got the shits after a couple of hours and most of them could not wait long enough for a washroom, and the vcr in the overhead bin across from me caught fire and had to be extinguished. That was the second worst flight I have ever had. The return flight after the skiing was too restful: the plane did not arrive. Without any notice, the lights were shut off and we passengers were locked in overnight in one of the airport's radial arms.
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Old 10-29-2018, 09:23 AM
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First week of February? Probably cold, although sometimes there is a late January/early February thaw.
It was bitter cold when we were there, 2nd week in Feb last year. But proper gear makes everything manageable. The upper t-bar at Lake Louise is harsh in the bitter cold, and that accesses some amazing terrain, so that's a concern. We did one more day there at the end of our trip with warmer conditions and the t-bar was fine.

Quote:
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Lake Louise has a lot more beginner and intermediate terrain than Sunshine. (Sunshine has a lot of advanced, and both have a lot of expert.)
There was a lot we didn't explore, but we felt that Lake Louise had much better expert terrain than Sunshine. We were pleasantly surprised with finding fresh powder off Goat Head for our last runs of the trip, but I would pick LL if you only had a few days. Fortunately, there's no reason not to hit both.

We also spent two days at Kicking Horse, which is a 90 minute drive west. KH is AMAZING; can't say enough good things about it.
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Old 10-29-2018, 01:03 PM
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Thanks much - great info. I'll let you know what we decide.

Not sure why we scratched Tremblant. I think largely b/c we just really like being in big mountains! But it sure would be closer, and we've been meaning to visit Quebec...

Given my wife's preference for comfort, the Chateau looks attractive...

Gonna check air fares to Calgary vs Vancouver...
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Old 10-29-2018, 05:35 PM
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Getting a big mountain feel from green runs can be problematic.

The best big-mountain views usually are up in the peaks. Green runs often do not go all the way to the top.

Green runs tend to be on access trails that traverse a lot. When skiing on access trails in the trees, you don't get the sensation of being on a big mountain as much when compared with skiing in open bowls that provide expansive views.

If you are looking for a big mountain feel and you prefer green runs, look at various resorts' trail maps and identify which green runs go to or close to the peak, and of those runs, which ones have a view that is not blocked by trees. Then look for youtube vids of people skiing down those runs to determine if the run has a big mountain feel.

Whistler/Blackcomb and Lake Louise both have a lot of truly mind-blowing big mountain views from their peaks, but for a big mountain feel while skiing green runs, I'd suggest Whistler/Blackcomb over Lake Louise, simply because Whistler/Blackcomb has more green skiing that is not in trees when compared to Lake Lousie. For example, Whistler Burnt Stew and Blackcomb Green Line v. Lake Louise Eagle Meadows.

Last edited by Muffin; 10-29-2018 at 05:37 PM.
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Old 10-29-2018, 06:24 PM
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Thanks much - great info. I'll let you know what we decide.

Not sure why we scratched Tremblant. I think largely b/c we just really like being in big mountains! But it sure would be closer, and we've been meaning to visit Quebec...

Given my wife's preference for comfort, the Chateau looks attractive...

Gonna check air fares to Calgary vs Vancouver...
Just to throw a little loop here, does it have to be N. America?

It may be that money is no object for you but direct flights from Chicago to Munich, Salzburg or Zurich at that time of year are very reasonable. I priced up a trip to Canada a couple of years ago and was very surprised at how expensive everything was. Car hire, ski hire, lift tickets and accommodation. (the lift ticket alone for Whistler was double the one we bought in Saalbach, as was the ski hire. That alone was the equivalent cost of a transatlantic flight)

You may find that you could make a substantial saving and get the advantage of whole other cultural experience and there are many world-class resorts to choose from.
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Old 10-29-2018, 06:59 PM
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Getting a big mountain feel from green runs can be problematic.
If this is a big concern, Sunshine has more green and easy blue runs that are out in the open than Lake Louise. There's basically one run down each major lift at LL that winds around and gets you back down, but that's not why people go there to ski. SV involveds taking a really long gondola up to the village - it's at the base of the main ski area and would allow someone who skis greens to have a lodge up in the fun stuff.
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Old 10-29-2018, 07:22 PM
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Another way to get around the derth of greens with expansive views is to develop technique so as to be able to ski the blues and blacks. That's why god created astroturf (well, something close to it anyway).

While waiting for your local hills to open, put in some time on a tilted variable-speed endless slope (conveyor belt) with a good ski instructor helping you with your technique and Bob's your uncle.

Check around to see if there are any such indoor ski training facilities in your area, or get your ski buddies to put together some funding to replace the Chicago Snow Studio's carpet simulator with one of these and use some of the profits to fund ski trips.

https://youtu.be/3RTe7o5Wt04

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iaPnp4Rvrj0
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Old 10-29-2018, 07:38 PM
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If this is a big concern, Sunshine has more green and easy blue runs that are out in the open than Lake Louise. There's basically one run down each major lift at LL that winds around and gets you back down, but that's not why people go there to ski. SV involveds taking a really long gondola up to the village - it's at the base of the main ski area and would allow someone who skis greens to have a lodge up in the fun stuff.
E.g. Borderline.
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Old 10-31-2018, 06:44 PM
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Son of a gun, I had my fist ski injury of the season last week. Came down on the front my palm (a horizontal snow fence got the better of me). Figured it would feel better over night. Figured wrong. The first of the next half a year of minor aches. At least every ache will have a good memory.

Last edited by Muffin; 10-31-2018 at 06:45 PM.
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Old 10-31-2018, 08:44 PM
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Vitamin I is your friend.
I'll be heading to Angelfire for Thanksgiving,we rented a house by the slopes. No skiing but may be able to sneak something in if there is any snow.
If it looks good we may head back for Christmas, it's a bit closer to Houston than the Park City 24 hr drive.

.
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Old 11-06-2018, 12:34 PM
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Another way to get around the derth of greens with expansive views is to develop technique so as to be able to ski the blues and blacks. That's why god created astroturf (well, something close to it anyway).
...
Yeah, our technique is far from perfect, but we are both in our late 50s, I've had multiple surgeries on both knees/ankles (no moguls for me, thank you!), and she's had cervical fusion - so we're happy just putzing along w/ big old grins on our faces.

I'm pretty comnfortable w/ a lot of blue, so I convince my son to come down to my level and spend some time w/ the old man when we are together, but this time will be just me and my wife.

Beaver Creek really impressed us with the amount of wide open green up top.

Got some material in the mail from both Sunshine and LL - expect to make a decision soon. May go last week in March instead of early Feb.
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Old 11-06-2018, 02:15 PM
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Sheesh. It's been in the low 80s around here and not a cloud in sight for the next week. Not a good looking November at this point - and each day that goes by we get further in the hole for water. Hopefully this annoyingly nice weather will go dry-out somewhere else soon. Bring on winter already!
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Old 11-06-2018, 04:03 PM
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I have a good friend who lives in Sacramento as well, and she's bumming about the Tahoe snow pack already. And she works for the CA Water Board. Might be a long winter/spring.
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Old 11-07-2018, 10:23 AM
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If anyone heads up to Schweitzer this year, let me know. I work up there a couple days a week. Some snow so far this year but has been melting at the village level. That should change this week. Getting cold.

Last year we had record setting snow, leading to this cool, inbounds, controlled avalanche.
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Old 11-12-2018, 01:43 PM
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Thanks for all the info so far. Hoping you could help me make final plans.

So far, our 2 available weeks are the first full week of Feb, or the last week of March. Wondering if any of you had thoughts on the snow/weather we might expect to encounter at Whistler/Blackcomb, Lake Louise, or Sunshine those 2 weeks.

Right now, my preference is Lake Louise, the end of March, staying at the Chateau. I LOVE the look of those big greens looping down from just about every lift, and taking you to the back bowls and over to Larch and back. Just really look like the sort of runs my wife and I could really enjoy putzing along on. And my wife really likes glamorous old hotels, and it looks hard to beat the Chateau. And she's a BIG skater (me, not so much). So evening skating on that lake w/ the ice sculptures would be neat. But I think I saw something that said the sculptures were through mid-March, which made me wonder if we'd be chasing the tail end of the season...

Would we expect to still encounter good snow at LL that late? I see that LL makes snow, but they get considerably less than Sunshine or W/B.

Yeah, we could gear up for frigid temps, but we really do enjoy spring skiing, so warmer temps would be a plus. I heard somewhere that in the spring the lower parts of W/B get foggy and slushy.

To remind you, we are flatlanders and really enjoyed our last 2 trips to the well-groomed Beaver Creek and Deer Valley. So while we enjoy powder as much as anyone, our expectations for snow are probably less than many of you. We really just want to avoid the extremes of ice or mashed potato slush.

Appreciate any ideas you might be able to offer.
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Old 11-12-2018, 02:36 PM
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You won't have a problem with snow in Banff through late April - https://www.j2ski.com/snow_forecast/...w_history.html

They make snow mainly down near the bottom and in high traffic areas. But unless it's a drought year you won't have a problem finding coverage. Fresh snow is another story, but it sounds like you're mainly staying on the groomers so that's not a concern.
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Old 11-12-2018, 02:50 PM
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You da man - thanks!

Anytime I can return the favor by providing forecast info re: the flatlands of Chicago's western burbs, don't hesitate to ask!
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Old 11-12-2018, 09:43 PM
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Last week of March will have good snow on the groomers, but more people out skiing due to it being school March break.
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Old 12-01-2018, 07:44 PM
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First day on snow this year, amazingly good conditions in southern NH for Dec 1. First we took a couple of top-to-bottom runs on groomers with excellent conditions. Legs held up surprisingly well and we all felt pretty solid. Then we went on a few runs with natural snow, ungroomed, pretty unheard of in Dec up there. Great work getting the legs ready for Montana at Christmas, and no one got hurt.

Skied from 8 to 1 with one short break. I can accept that.
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Old 12-03-2018, 12:17 AM
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Where's the like button on this thing?
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Old 12-04-2018, 04:48 PM
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I'm a relatively new skier. Actually, I've been trying to learn my whole life (intermittently, with gaps of a decade or more between attempts), but it wasn't until about three years ago that I finally got the hang of it.

Before that point, I never really made it off the bunny slope, and usually fell down and hurt myself. It wasn't until 2015 that I finally had a good experience (due to perfect conditions, very short parabolic skis, and a patient instructor). I had the same good experience the next year, and skied three more times that winter. The following year I skied 15 days, and last season I skied 21 days by the end of February...when I fell and injured my knee (partial tear of my left MCL).

I usually ski here in New England, but last season I went out west and skied four days at Breckenridge. This upcoming season I have a trip planned to Park City with my sister and her family. I'm really looking forward to ski season, and hopefully won't be too gun-shy after that injury last year.

Overall, I think I've really progressed the last few years. I mostly ski on blue trails now, and can do some blacks if they are simply steep and/or narrow. I don't particularly like bumps. (I was hoping to learn how to ski moguls last year before I got hurt and my season ended.)
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Old 12-05-2018, 06:40 PM
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Here's to a fun and safe season for you.
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