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Comparing the Alps and North America-with a twist

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Quote:

@boarder2020 & @Dave of the Marmottes, concur. Lots of blacks over here are steep bump runs that would kill somebody who was expecting a groomer. That's why I prefer the Euro way...a black piste is groomed, a black ski route, naturide etc. is not, and this is understood (by those who ski in the Alps).

In Europe a black piste may or may not be groomed. In France, where I usually go, a black may be bashed once or twice a season. Always assume it will not be bashed.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Yeah, I have to also disagree that European blacks are groomed, at least in France. I would always expect any black run to be ungroomed/mogulled.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
....are you with me Dr Wu ?.......
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@gvj, bingo. (Such a beautiful, sad song).

As for French black runs, I stand corrected. I just looked at the 3V and Val d'Isere maps and there aren't many of them so my sample size was small. As an aside, I recall some of the reds being steep enough to be blacks elsewhere. I do think Austria is as I stated. Black groomers are fun.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
But even unpisted a black in Europe is not really comparable to a double black in n America (assuming there is no red in n America so Europe black should be compared to a double black). N American double black while also unpisted is likely to offer far more hazards and generally be more difficult ime. For example of what double black terrain is in n America https://m.facebook.com/QuickdrawPublications/photos/ive-got-a-number-of-of-whistler-posters-gemstone-bowls-spankys-ladder-on-blackco/1175277689215181/

(Yes that is the area at Whistler the video this season of a snowboarder stuck perilously on a cliff was taken, which is not going to happen on your average euro black).
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@Scooter in Seattle,
Quote:


@gvj, bingo. (Such a beautiful, sad song).

I reckon you could easily write a novel just using Becker and Fagen quotes
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Scooter in Seattle wrote:

As for the safety bar, Canada is like Europe, but in the NW states it is seldom used except with kids. Even elsewhere in the US usage is far from universal


https://www.anneapplebaum.com/2020/03/15/the-coronavirus-called-americas-bluff/

From chairlifts to Corona (no this is not about Ischgl Toofy Grin )
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Scooter in Seattle wrote:

As for the safety bar, Canada is like Europe, but in the NW states it is seldom used except with kids. Even elsewhere in the US usage is far from universal


https://www.anneapplebaum.com/2020/03/15/the-coronavirus-called-americas-bluff/

From chairlifts to Corona (no this is not about Ischgl Toofy Grin )
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My NA experience very limited. Two trips to Banff to visit the girl with Mrs d. She has lived there coming on two yrs now. The vibe and attitude is very much Scotland on steroids. Laid back, welcoming, friendly, chatty, locals that know their hill with a ‘ski good to look good’ vibe. Combined with bigger hills and drier snow. And lots and lots of prime steak.
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Yes it sounds like there are lots of parallels with Scotland. More of a lifestyle thing than just a holiday.
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
Quote:

let your soul and spirit fly into the mystic
Unless I missed someone else bagging this one: Van The Man, I think.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
@koru, yep. Lately I'm revisiting his Them days. I had missed "Its all over now Baby Blue", one of many Dylan songs sung much, much better than he did.

@Langerzug, oddly enough us Northwesterners are taking the coronavirus situation very seriously, unlike far too many other parts of our country, including 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue!
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
My biggest gripe with USA skiing is simply the cost. Everything cost way more than in Europe. I was on a USA roadtrip 3 years ago (to the day) and I skied at Mammoth, Heavenly and I found an off the track ski resort called Brian Head in Utah. The first two resorts put me off USA skiing for good, so much so that I left both resorts early (I was on a roadtrip so moved some accommodation around) and I was really disappointed with the coatings. Heavenly was a joke. The skiing, views and snow was fantastic, but the lift cost price of $130, ski hire, plus food and drink would have easily come in at $200 a day. This is obscene. Thankfully I stumbled across Brian Head which restore some faith back in North America skiing. A medium sized resort, amazing snow, friendly locals and cheap (by USA standards) also gave me a value for money experience. Personally I wouldn’t go back to the USA for the big resorts. Get a hire car, do some research and head to the smaller resorts. I think at the time I was over there I wrote a report on Brian Head if anyone is interested.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@ricklovesthepowder sorry but that's kind of on you. If you want to do a road trip to a few resorts the epic and ikon passes make it pretty reasonable. Ikon pass for next year is about £560. So 10 days skiing works out at £56 per day, which is similar to what you would pay per day at the big European resorts. If you just turn up with no pass and want to buy day tickets of course it's going to be very expensive, that's the model there. Same as in Europe it's cheaper to buy flights way in advance. You just have to do your research, it doesn't have to be so expensive. I spent 2 months in BC skiing this year for around £2250 (less than £40 per day).
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
boarder2020, totally agree - we've road tripped for years and only paid full ticket window price once - Bridger Bowl for $62.
Aspen for $43 per day anyone, same for Jackson Madeye-Smiley Its all in the planning and research. Very rare that anyone pays full window price.
Best price we have paid is $22 a day.

Its harder when road tripping obviously, as you aren't staying long so cant take advantage of long multi day deals, but there are discounts out there.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Quote:

I spent 2 months in BC skiing this year for around £2250 (less than £40 per day).


Just to clear that's total (flights, accomodation, lift pass etc.), not just lift passes. Of course harder to offset the costs of flight so much on shorter trips, but n America really doesn't have to be expensive.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
boarder2020 wrote:
@ricklovesthepowder sorry but that's kind of on you. If you want to do a road trip to a few resorts the epic and ikon passes make it pretty reasonable. Ikon pass for next year is about £560. So 10 days skiing works out at £56 per day, which is similar to what you would pay per day at the big European resorts...


Yea, but equally if you wanted to do a road trip in Europe you'd look at an area where you can get a pass covering more than one resort, rather than buying day tickets too.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Quote:

Yea, but equally if you wanted to do a road trip in Europe you'd look at an area where you can get a pass covering more than one resort, rather than buying day tickets too.


Fair point. I didn't really know there was much out there for that. Heard of magic pass which looks cheap but mainly smaller resorts.
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Magic Pass, Salzburgerland Card, Tirol Card. Problem is payback on the Euro passes is generally +/- 20 ski days (magic much better than that I understand) but in the US can be less than 4 at window rates. Which is why going to the US for a week doesn't make much sense (you'll save a bit with a pass but still pay way more than in Europe)
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@Ricklovesthepowder,
The Mountain Collective Pass is a fantastic tool for a low cost road trip. In February I skied 3 days in Aspen, 2 in each of Alta, Snowbird, Jackson Hole and Big Sky. (Alta/Snowbird has to be the world wide pinnacle of lift served skiing when taking the combination of quality and quantity of snowfall and diversity of terrain into account).
This was after skiing 2 days in Oz and two in Niseko Japan on the same pass. Total cost was $450Aud. So 15 days at absolute world class ski hills - works out to be $30 a day. Even if you take off the Oz/Japan bit it’s about $40 per day.
As an aside the area around Utah and Wyoming has fantastic scenery and plenty of wonderful natural attractions to see in between skiing. (Think Yellowstone, Canyonlands, Arches National Parks).
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sbooker wrote:
@Ricklovesthepowder,
The Mountain Collective Pass is a fantastic tool for a low cost road trip. In February I skied 3 days in Aspen, 2 in each of Alta, Snowbird, Jackson Hole and Big Sky. (Alta/Snowbird has to be the world wide pinnacle of lift served skiing when taking the combination of quality and quantity of snowfall and diversity of terrain into account).

Quite right!

3 years ago, that would have been the prime time for Mountain Collectives. Mammoth was on it. So was Squaw Valley, I believe.

Further more, right at Lake Tahoe, Mt Rose was a whole lot cheaper and has rather good skiing. So were Homewood.

It's a bit like Americans going over to ski only Zermatt and Verbier, then complain about Europe being expense!

I'm American. But I shunned Aspen for many years, until it was part of Mountain Collective (now also Ikon). I guess unlike Europe, North American skiing "landscape" tend to shift with time. If I don't like the value-for-money of a certain mountain, I just sit tight and wait... Like the weather, it can change! Very Happy
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
At this point I offer the identity of the songs referenced in the original post (in order):

Reasons for Waiting-Jethro Tull
Synchronicity II-The Police
Money-Pink Floyd
Industrial Disease-Dire Straits
Get Ready-The Temptations
Can’t Find My Way Home-Blind Faith
Katy Lied-Steely Dan
Within You, Without You-The Beatles
Crosstown Traffic-Jimi Hendrix
That Smell-Lynyrd Skynyrd
Savoy Truffle-The Beatles
In My Room-The Beach Boys
Teacher-Jethro Tull
Into The Mystic-Van Morrison
Hypnotized-Fleetwood Mac
All Things Must Pass-George Harrison
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
I've lived in the 3V and holidayed in some of Europe's most well known resorts. e.g. St Anton, La Plagne, Val D, Bulgaria (ahem) etc. Over the pond I've just done Whistler, which I chose because I think it's widely considered to be N America's best resort in a few categories or overall.

I was a little disappointed with Whistler if I'm honest. The area didn't feel as expansive as most other places I have been to and the snow was incredibly wet, however that may have just been terrible luck.

The peak to creek was amazing and worth going just to do that a few times!

Service in resort was probably better but lacked the Alpine 'charm' and at the same time the party culture.

Lift system was superior with fewer queues and better queuing behaviour and generally the standard of skiing was lightyears ahead of what you see in Europe. You get the impression that the more N. Americans train to ski well, whereas in Europe it's generally more of a leisure activity.

In sum, it was a nice change but I wouldn't choose it again.
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@Ryunis, Not a bad summary of Whistler although if you didn't like the apres scene you'd be sorely disappointed elsewhere in N America as it's comparatively banging at places like GLC, Longhorn, Merlins. The standard of skiing is an interesting one. Places like Red Mountain more or less everyone is a great skier (high proportion of locals and the tourists have sought it out). Whistler of course has a high number of Lower Mainland weekend warriors, a bunch of ski bums from everywhere and then probably international tourists who have a fair number of years under their belt,
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Quote:
standard of skiing was lightyears ahead of what you see in Europe. You get the impression that the more N. Americans train to ski well, whereas in Europe it's generally more of a leisure activity.

I don’t find that at all!

I only skied 3V once. I was impressed with the standard of skiing I saw there. But it was late season. So it’s possible only the more die hard skiers were there.

Perhaps if I go there in half term, it maybe a different picture.

When were you at Whistler?
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March a couple of years ago. Interesting that you have a different experience. I wonder if there's an instructor who has worked both sides who can add their 2 cents?
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
March is college spring break.

Could very well be a lot of racer kids from all over the continent travel to whistler to test themselves.

(I don’t live in a ski resort so don’t have the season long view. But in my ski vacationing, I do noticed the ski standard of average skiers during Christmas time are much lower than the the skiers the week before. Clearly a different crowd.
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
Quote:

I was a little disappointed with Whistler if I'm honest


Quote:

and the snow was incredibly wet,


The one and only time I skied there that was my experience.

I have family in Vancouver, and my nephews tell me they rarely ski Whistler because of that, and also because visibility is awful 9 days out of 10.

There is a local hill they use (no idea what it's called) but if they have a long weekend/week they go to Revelstoke
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
mozwold wrote:
Quote:

I was a little disappointed with Whistler if I'm honest


Quote:

and the snow was incredibly wet,


The one and only time I skied there that was my experience.

I’ve only been there twice, 10 days each.

I must say it varies hugely day to day, and with elevation too.

I’ve had from really nice light fluffy dry powder to wet cement! Some time in the same day at the same lift, a few hours apart!

Obviously, the top part of the mountain tend to have drier snow. snowHead

I too, am “disappointed” with Whistler because the best terrain are so often have terrible visibility. But that’s equally true of my experience the several times I skied in Europe.

Fortunately for us Americans, Whistler is not that expensive, owing to the favorable exchange.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Yes I have a vague recollection of it being something to do with being close to the coast. Unfortunately the tendancy for poor vis and wet snow is not mentioned on holiday websites, but it seems to be a real risk compared to alpine resorts.

I've learned that further inland resorts like Jackson, Banff and Fernie have much drier powder.

In sum, if I were to give advice to anyone thinking about Whistler, do some research on the weather history and compare it to your other options Smile if you do go and get lucky with good weather then I bet it is truly amazing.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Yeah, but...

Whistler is often recommended precisely because it's most similar to European resorts, down to its wet snow and poor visibility! Toofy Grin

When you go inland, you get dry snow. But if you're not going off-piste, it really doesn't make much difference. And you're stuck with dead apres, brutal cold and tiny number of km of piste...
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@abc,
Mammoth and Squaw are still on Mountain Collective. It’s very similar to a few years ago but Arapahoe Basin and Big Sky and Panorama have been added while Sun Valley and Snowbasin are no longer included.
A great collection of hills!
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@sbooker, I think Big Sky had always been on it. But I could be wrong...

It's now largely eclipsed by IKON, which gives 5 days in each mountain instead of just 2.
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Why would so many pros choose to make Whistler home if the snow was always wet and heavy and visibility bad? You experienced bad conditions, it happens everywhere, doesn't mean it's the norm.

Quote:

skiing was lightyears ahead of what you see in Europe. You get the impression that the more N. Americans train to ski well, whereas in Europe it's generally more of a leisure activity.


I would second all this. Not to say there aren't amazing skiers in Europe too, places like la grave and Chamonix probably fit the north American mindset more.
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abc wrote:
@sbooker, I think Big Sky had always been on it. But I could be wrong...



Nope, they added BS for the 2018/2019 season. Which hopefully will suit us for next season, if it happens.
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boarder2020 wrote:
Why would so many pros choose to make Whistler home if the snow was always wet and heavy and visibility bad? You experienced bad conditions, it happens everywhere, doesn't mean it's the norm.

Quote:

skiing was lightyears ahead of what you see in Europe. You get the impression that the more N. Americans train to ski well, whereas in Europe it's generally more of a leisure activity.


I would second all this. Not to say there aren't amazing skiers in Europe too, places like la grave and Chamonix probably fit the north American mindset more.


Standard of skiing is generally an inverse function of number of tourists on the hill on any day. Plenty of prosaic skiing going on on the groomers of Le Tour and Brevent. More gaperish skiing goes on at US resorts when tourists are a large part of the mix e.g. over major holidays.
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People choose to spend a winter at Whistler because it is a great, big, excellent hill that will not bore them anytime soon, and because there is enough going on to provide some job opportunities. It does have some weather issues, but that alone isn't a reason to exclude what is otherwise one of the best hills on the continent. The sort of person that parks themself at such a place for an entire winter is also better able to deal with the weather than Joe Tourist.

As for who's got the best skiers etc, good luck with that. There are greats and gapers almost everywhere. We all sucked at one point.
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Quote:

The sort of person that parks themself at such a place for an entire winter is also better able to deal with the weather than Joe Tourist.

You can't park yourself at Whistler (or for that matter any mountain having decent variety of terrain) for an entire winter and NOT get a whole lot better.

Quote:

We all sucked at one point.

And some of us just suck at a higher level.Wink


Last edited by After all it is free Go on u know u want to! on Sat 4-04-20 2:08; edited 1 time in total
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Amen, brother!
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@Scooter in Seattle,

Can't believe I missed Cross Town Traffic, but didn't know the others.

Great post
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