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Utah vs Colorado Thansgiving/Early December?

ss20

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Trip planning for next season already starting! Looking at Utah and/or Colorado for a two week stretch post-Thanksgiving into early December.

Is there a more probable bet on which region gets more terrain open firs? Or is it a true 50/50 shot and a "wait and see" kinda deal? Also I hear about resorts getting push back for being "slow" to open (Vail and Park City come to mind a few seasons ago). Are there resorts that are more "quick" to open once they have snow/coverage? I'm sure it's a lot harder to open up 3,000+ acres out there in a week than an Eastern resort where you can go from WROD to 100% open overnight if you get a freak 3 foot November snowstorm.
 

JimG.

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I admire your conviction and dedication to the notion that you will ski as usual come November.

You're beginning to make a believer out of me.
 

ss20

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jimk

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That time frame is always a bit of a crap shoot. Do you have flexibility? Can you make your pick of destinations a week or two before arrival? Are you limited to certain resorts/season passes? There are sometimes significant differences in conditions between CO and UT, sometimes not much difference. It's worth noting that sometimes lower angle resorts with good snowmaking systems can do well at that time frame, such as Beaver Creek. They don't require deep snow to cover gentle grassy trails. Sometimes very snowy resorts like Alta get good early dumps and can have better skiing than many others. Places like A-Basin and Loveland sometimes compete for first opening date based on cold temps and snowmaking terrain, but they can be stuck with WROD conditions for a while if they don't also get natural snow to open additional runs. It just depends.
 

gregnye

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I think we'll be skiing in November but I doubt many (myself include) will step on a plane anytime soon, or ski outside New England.

There have been numerous reports about people who were told that planes were only filling every-other row and requiring masks, to come on the plane and see a completely full plane, with not even the flight attendants wearing masks.

I also don't see it being worth the risk, especially since out west doesn't really get good in terms of snow and terrain until January/February. Its normally not worth considering for me to fly out west for early season normally, even more not worth it now, at least for me.

In some ways, western early-season skiing is worse than the east coast since they don't have good snowmaking systems.
 
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I also don't see it being worth the risk, especially since out west doesn't really get good in terms of snow and terrain until January/February. Its normally not worth considering for me to fly out west for early season normally, even more not worth it now, at least for me.

I've been to Beaver Creek around 12/10 for a weekend with some friends when I lived in the Midwest. To gregnye's point, there wasn't a ton of natural stuff open. This was in-part due to snow and in-part due to choice. Grouse Mountain was closed with what seemed like sufficient snow if they wanted to open it up. It seemed like there just wasn't the appetite to push it that early in the season. Crowds were quite moderate and tickets/lodging were discounted for the early season.

I've heard that Utah is generally a safer bet in the early season from people out there who claim to have lived in both states. No first hand experience, though. I would caution that places that are likely to be less serious about pushing the envelope to open advanced terrain (like Beaver Creek) could be a bit on the boring side in the early season, if that's what you're into.
 

BenedictGomez

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I hear about resorts getting push back for being "slow" to open (Vail and Park City come to mind a few seasons ago).

Vail & Park City are both lower in elevation for their respective areas. Think Loveland/Arapahoe Basien and Alta/Snowbird instead.
 

BenedictGomez

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I think we'll be skiing in November but I doubt many (myself include) will step on a plane anytime soon, or ski outside New England.

I think the airline industry will recover much quicker than people currently expect.
 

snoseek

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I would honestly put my chips in on the east coast snowmaking powerhouses before spending money on a giant maybe.
 

thetrailboss

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Trip planning for next season already starting! Looking at Utah and/or Colorado for a two week stretch post-Thanksgiving into early December.

Is there a more probable bet on which region gets more terrain open firs? Or is it a true 50/50 shot and a "wait and see" kinda deal? Also I hear about resorts getting push back for being "slow" to open (Vail and Park City come to mind a few seasons ago). Are there resorts that are more "quick" to open once they have snow/coverage? I'm sure it's a lot harder to open up 3,000+ acres out there in a week than an Eastern resort where you can go from WROD to 100% open overnight if you get a freak 3 foot November snowstorm.

Regardless of the pandemic, it's a 50-50 thing at best for Utah. Could be decent, or could be non-existent. Sorry, I can't really say more than that....
 

ss20

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I'm getting a "feast or famine" kinda vibe from all the replies. If I go through with this trip it would be on Ikon pass so plenty of options and I will have a car. I have a buddy's apartment in Denver lined up and plenty of AirBnB's under $40/night in SLC/Sandy. So while my early season dates are firm I'm not committing to any specific mountain.

Actually I'm planning on driving out there cross country and going to as many different resorts as I can in preparation for...drum roll please...me moving out there Summer/Fall 2021.
 

cdskier

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Personally I wouldn't plan a trip to any ski resort for that time-frame this far in advance even in a normal year. Early season is way too risky no matter where you go.
 

thetrailboss

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I'm getting a "feast or famine" kinda vibe from all the replies. If I go through with this trip it would be on Ikon pass so plenty of options and I will have a car. I have a buddy's apartment in Denver lined up and plenty of AirBnB's under $40/night in SLC/Sandy. So while my early season dates are firm I'm not committing to any specific mountain.

Actually I'm planning on driving out there cross country and going to as many different resorts as I can in preparation for...drum roll please...me moving out there Summer/Fall 2021.

Colorado may have more options. When I went to Steamboat this past November I had a great time but terrain was quite limited.

In a "normal" year, Thanksgiving usually features just Gadzoom at Snowbird and Collins/Albion/Sugarloaf at Alta (all snowmaking runs). Solitude and Brighton (same).
 

snoseek

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If you are driving just and can move around maybe bring a bike or hiking gear and split activities. There's alot of other great things out there than just skiing. Go hang out in western colorado, moab or Sedona for some of your time.

Lots and lots of early December I've been out there and wish I was skiing the variety killington had to offer. It truly is 50/50 but if you have a plan b then who cares
 

BenedictGomez

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I'm getting a "feast or famine" kinda vibe from all the replies. If I go through with this trip it would be on Ikon pass so plenty of options and I will have a car. I have a buddy's apartment in Denver lined up and plenty of AirBnB's under $40/night in SLC/Sandy. So while my early season dates are firm I'm not committing to any specific mountain.

Actually I'm planning on driving out there cross country and going to as many different resorts as I can in preparation for...drum roll please...me moving out there Summer/Fall 2021.

Denver or SLC?
 

ss20

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Denver or SLC?

Strongly leaning towards SLC/Sandy. Main factors being cost of living and location. Cost of living- SLC/Utah suburbs cheaper than Denver and suburbs. Location- From SLC you can get to Jackson Hole, Sun Valley, Aspen, Vail, Big Sky heck even Tahoe and Vegas all within a day's drive.

Also a strong contributing factor is that I would like to be a ski instructor out there as a part-time weekend gig (done it here for 6 seasons and enjoy it greatly). If you want to live within 30 minutes of skiing in CO you're going to pay and arm and a leg for it...in Utah it's tough not to live within 30 minutes of several resorts (and with a minimal cost of living still).
 

jimk

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Strongly leaning towards SLC/Sandy. Main factors being cost of living and location. Cost of living- SLC/Utah suburbs cheaper than Denver and suburbs. Location- From SLC you can get to Jackson Hole, Sun Valley, Aspen, Vail, Big Sky heck even Tahoe and Vegas all within a day's drive.

Also a strong contributing factor is that I would like to be a ski instructor out there as a part-time weekend gig (done it here for 6 seasons and enjoy it greatly). If you want to live within 30 minutes of skiing in CO you're going to pay and arm and a leg for it...in Utah it's tough not to live within 30 minutes of several resorts (and with a minimal cost of living still).

I generally would concur with some of the other posters that a western trip is not worth the trouble/risk/expense for late Nov/early Dec, but I think I understand your situation. You probably have a couple weeks of use or lose type vacation time and want to come out and explore for a possible relocation. Because you plan to visit both CO and UT and that you have IKON to access many mtns, you should be able to find some decent to possibly fine skiing for your visit. I have made many east-to-rockies road trips with 10-14 day itineraries and they can be great. Do you have a travel/driving companion? that helps.

My son has done something similar to what you are considering. (I have been visiting his house 20 mins from Alta/Bird since Feb 5.) He picked SLC about five years ago because that's where he got hired for a good job before moving. He got a part time instructor job in LCC. And because he was an L-3 he was hired quickly, but some places can be pretty selective and demanding of your time/hours even with that level of instructor qualifications.

I could add that my son loves it in UT. And so do I:) He was a good skier before relocating, but now his big mtn skills are through the roof. Instructing actually helped him connect with a ready made community of friends/associates so he's never really felt isolated or lonely.

PS: for the last couple years I've been documenting some of my western/Utah activities with photos on the northeast mountain sports website.
 
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BenedictGomez

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Strongly leaning towards SLC/Sandy. Main factors being cost of living and location. Cost of living- SLC/Utah suburbs cheaper than Denver and suburbs. Location- From SLC you can get to Jackson Hole, Sun Valley, Aspen, Vail, Big Sky heck even Tahoe and Vegas all within a day's drive.

This is one of our finalists as well. On that side I think Holladay to Cottonwood Heights to Sandy is particularly nice, but if we do choose Utah we'd 100% move to the Back instead. We still need to explore Idaho though. Montana is out. Denver to Vail is out.

Our timeline is late 2021 to late 2022, so a bit behind you. We agree SLC does benefit from proximal 3-day weekend trip location to a plethora of amazing places. Not just skiing either, but Yellowstone, Moab, Grand Canyon, Grant Tetons, yada, yada, yada.
 

thetrailboss

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Strongly leaning towards SLC/Sandy. Main factors being cost of living and location. Cost of living- SLC/Utah suburbs cheaper than Denver and suburbs. Location- From SLC you can get to Jackson Hole, Sun Valley, Aspen, Vail, Big Sky heck even Tahoe and Vegas all within a day's drive.

Also a strong contributing factor is that I would like to be a ski instructor out there as a part-time weekend gig (done it here for 6 seasons and enjoy it greatly). If you want to live within 30 minutes of skiing in CO you're going to pay and arm and a leg for it...in Utah it's tough not to live within 30 minutes of several resorts (and with a minimal cost of living still).

It is hard to beat SLC for location. And it is getting discovered.
 
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