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Mammoth vs Squaw Va-...errr...Palisades Tahoe

ss20

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Hi all, as many know I've moved to Utah living life as a ski bum. I want to do a "big trip" to California after Alta closes. I will more than likely be purchasing an Ikon pass this spring in order to do this trip and take advantage of the spring skiing pass usage they've permitted at Alterra properties in years past.

So I'm looking at either Easter week or the week after. It looks like my best bets are Mammoth or Palisades Tahoe (formally Squaw Valley for those not in the "woke" loop lol). This is just based on season length and snowfall. Both are similar distance from my house. Both have decently priced accommodations ($120-$150 a night that time of year).

What resort is likely to have more terrain open? How early do they start shutting down lifts for the season? Which resort has better advanced-expert terrain?

Additionally...should I consider Winter Park as well? A bit closer and they have a long season but not nearly as much snow as the CA resorts from my understanding.
 

jaytrem

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Good question. I hit both in 2019, Easter was April 21st. Both mountains were fully open until the 21st, on Easter Monday they both closed down a lot if terrain. Everything from KT to Squaw Creek at Palisades. I wasn't at Mammoth after Easter but I think the went down to just the Canyon base and stuff above it being open. They're not that far apart, hit both! Sun sets late and the drive is beautiful. Oh yeah, Alpine Meadows also closed on the 21st.

As for Winter Park, I love bumps, can't go wrong with springtime there if you do too.
 

abc

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As for Winter Park, I love bumps, can't go wrong with springtime there if you do too.
If you dig bumps, Winter Park (I mean Mary Jane) will make you a very happy man!

On the other hand, the 2 California destinations have more variety. Both have lots of expert terrain.

Mammoth has the reputation of having one of the longest season. But I haven't skied them enough in late season to say how much terrain open at any given point. Why not wait till the time and see who has more snow? As Jaytrem said, the 2 aren't that far apart. You can do both.
 

machski

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Mammoth has kept the entire mountain open through the end of April when snow conditions allow it. The year we went out was the weel after Easter and the last week of April and everything was still open (April 2019 if I recall). They did close down Eagle base after that and the village gondola but still had a lot open through May and even early June before they contracted to Main Base. Not sure what Pallisades will do, this year especially with the connecting Gondola not open. Likey the Olympic side will have most if not all open if conditions warrant. But you will have to wait it out and see how the season progresses. Off to a great run now but that can change fast in the Sierra.
 

jaytrem

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Correction on mine, I think they only end the season at Canyon when they have a big projrct going on at the Main. Main gets you the gondola and chair 23, fun stuff! I need to get back there earlier in the season so that I can get June. Stupid covid killed my 2020 trip there. At any rate, like machski said, they're off to a great start.
 

crank

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Mammoth for more snow and better snow preservation into the spring. Palisades is around 3 hours drive so you could do both. Kind of similar terrain IMO. Plenty of steeps.
 

Bandit2941

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I say try both. Went out the week before Easter, 2019. Like April 17. Flew into Reno late spent 2 nights at Harrah’s, bought the 2020 ikon pass, skied two days at Squaw. Second day it snowed, it was fun but heavy/manky. Drove down to Mammoth after skiing the second day, checked in to condo and got settled. The next day was awesome. The snow was super soft and winter like at Mammoth. The whole mountain was open. Had an awesome 3 or 4 days. They were definitely closing lifts earlier at Squaw.

Then we went back to Mammoth for July 4 weekend. That was awesome! Planning on trying to do the same thing this year although work spring break is now the week after Easter so hopefully everything is still open. My personal preference is Mammoth to Squaw but we’ll probably try to do both again. A couple nights in the casino is fun.
 

Tonyr

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We skied Mammoth and Squaw a few years ago in late June and over the 4th of July. Mammoth had 50 plus trails opened with top to bottom skiing and most of the top ridge of the mountain open. Squaw had about 12 runs opened during that same timeframe.
 

ss20

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Thanks everyone. I'm leaning towards Mammoth but will certainly see what the weather brings. Lots more camping available in Mammoth even in April...I want to keep that a possibility if I can (weather dependent of course). Hoping for a sunny, 60 degree week in April!
 

jaytrem

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Hoping for a sunny, 60 degree week in April!
I've gotten power days there in late April more than I've gotten 60 degrees. Wasn't complaining though. Last time we got over a foot, never made it to the top due to avy work. Was only there for 2 days though.
 

machski

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I say try both. Went out the week before Easter, 2019. Like April 17. Flew into Reno late spent 2 nights at Harrah’s, bought the 2020 ikon pass, skied two days at Squaw. Second day it snowed, it was fun but heavy/manky. Drove down to Mammoth after skiing the second day, checked in to condo and got settled. The next day was awesome. The snow was super soft and winter like at Mammoth. The whole mountain was open. Had an awesome 3 or 4 days. They were definitely closing lifts earlier at Squaw.

Then we went back to Mammoth for July 4 weekend. That was awesome! Planning on trying to do the same thing this year although work spring break is now the week after Easter so hopefully everything is still open. My personal preference is Mammoth to Squaw but we’ll probably try to do both again. A couple nights in the casino is fun.
We did the same, except last weekend in June we did Palisades, toured Yosemite then hit Mammoth July 1-3. Both were awesome, Mammoth had more open in that timeframe but Palisades was still great (still had North American off the actual Palisades open and skied super nice. Shirley Lakes side was still buried but Gold Coast side they were working moving snow around. Had to take Funnitel up and down). Mammoth in that time frame had main base and one farmed route down to Stump Alley to keep that portal open and a ton above and on the ridge. That was a huge year, I think just over 700" at the summit. In April steeping off the Gondola at the top, there were 3 steps and you were on snow. When we went back in July, the staircase was now an actual staircase with 20 something steps down to the snow!
 

Edd

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I’ve had a couple of amazing April trips to Tahoe. The last one was zero clouds for a week, sunglasses and sunscreen were mandatory. It was glorious.
 

machski

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If for some me reason the Sierras are short on snow come April (seems nuts to consider right now but who knows) but the northern Cascades are loaded, consider Bachelor if you can swing that. Bend is a fun town and Bachelor hasn't disappointed me in hree mid-late April trips out there too.
 
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