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Best lift-served off piste in Europe/N America?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
LittleBullet wrote:
USA:
Big sky - but depends on the main gondola being open. A bit tame otherwise.

The only reason the bucket to the top (NOT the "main gondola") doesn't operate is avi danger. But if that's the cause, you've just hit the place at the right time!

Big Sky don't get a lot of snow, unfortunately. That's a lot of why it's "interesting". Gnarly rocks!

Even when the top lift doesn't run, there's a chair (actually 2) to ridge overlooking the Madison side, which has a lot of hmmm... "interesting terrain". Plus, there're trees. LOTS of trees.

Jackson hole is great because it gets a lot of snow. Otherwise, Taos or Crested Butte would be just as exciting, with far fewer people.

Whistler fits the first two requirement, lots of snow and really, really interesting terrain! But gosh, it can get really busy!!!
ski holidays
 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
LittleBullet wrote:
Actually scrap my comments above. Best place in USA. Silverton in Colorado. Tries to be US version of La Grave. @bergmeister, has a good write up somewhere. In fact it's because the write up I went!


Thanks. That's great to hear! Now I can sleep peacefully, knowing I've made a difference to at least one persons life. Very Happy

Here is the link to my 2019 trip report that influenced LittleBullet:

https://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?t=138994&highlight=colorado&start=80

We did an almost identical, repeat trip in 2020 and had another great time!
ski holidays
 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?
I've been many times to Verbier, also in the last years.
Yes, it is getting more crowded, BUT if you are able to avoid the classical holiday weeks, it will be good (especially if you are not only going for the standard Mt. Fort & Mt. Gele to Tortin)
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The best place for me in Utah would be Solitude. We just went there last year.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Nickski wrote:
Kicking Horse, Revelstoke (and don't underestimate Lake Louise).

Madeye-Smiley
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Quote:
Alta (in Utah, which we skied on a previous trip) would also fit your requirement of steep lift-served and not tracked out too quickly
Unless you hit Utah (Park City, Deer Valley, Canyons, Alta and Snowbird) for 10 blue sky, snowless days - like we did.... Confused

'The greatest groomers on Earth.'

Guess what happened the day after we left... Puzzled
snow conditions
 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
mountainaddict wrote:
Quote:
Alta (in Utah, which we skied on a previous trip) would also fit your requirement of steep lift-served and not tracked out too quickly
Unless you hit Utah (Park City, Deer Valley, Canyons, Alta and Snowbird) for 10 blue sky, snowless days - like we did.... Confused

'The greatest groomers on Earth.'

Guess what happened the day after we left... Puzzled


Where is the best terrain in Utah? Only done a weekend in Alta/Snowbird a few years back. Snowbird back bowls were decent, but Alta didn’t seem very steep to me and quite short runs. Where would you choose for a 3 day weekend?
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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!
Just to bring it back to Europe there's a pile of stuff to do here in the Maurienne.
The resorts are mostly small (excepting Val T) so stay centrally at the bottom of the valley and take your pick each day depending on conditions.
You can get to most places with a 30 mins or so drive.
If you skin a little you get even more options.
I don't know the US places so can't compare but can be pretty confident it's cheap here compared to most places, both for passes and everything else.
Likewise not many people once you are Off-Piste as only the locals make use of it.
OK, I'm biased and it's likely a wild card from your pov but you may want to check it out.
Little Angel
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 You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
BobinCH wrote:
mountainaddict wrote:
Quote:
Alta (in Utah, which we skied on a previous trip) would also fit your requirement of steep lift-served and not tracked out too quickly
Unless you hit Utah (Park City, Deer Valley, Canyons, Alta and Snowbird) for 10 blue sky, snowless days - like we did.... Confused

'The greatest groomers on Earth.'

Guess what happened the day after we left... Puzzled


Where is the best terrain in Utah? Only done a weekend in Alta/Snowbird a few years back. Snowbird back bowls were decent, but Alta didn’t seem very steep to me and quite short runs. Where would you choose for a 3 day weekend?


I enjoyed Solitutde; Brighton and access to Wolverine Cirque; and Snowbasin.

Powder Mountain has the stress free powder but not the steeps.
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
Quote:

Wolverine Cirque


That looks fun. Reminds me a lot of reudis north and ozone north https://www.backcountryskiingcanada.com/Kicking-Horse-Mountain-Resort
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
BobinCH wrote:
... Where is the best terrain in Utah? Only done a weekend in Alta/Snowbird a few years back. Snowbird back bowls were decent, but Alta didn’t seem very steep to me and quite short runs. Where would you choose for a 3 day weekend?
I've not been to Alta, although my snowboard has an "Alta Snowboard Team" sticker which I picked up in Snowbird. The word is that Alta is not particularly steep - check it on a contour map.

Snowbird is, in my direct experience and opinion, tough to get your head around in only a few days and without local guidance. My first week there
was wasted as I simply missed the point. The steeper stuff tends to cliff out a lot and it helps if you are with people who know where the lines are.
Easy access means it's ridden-out very quickly, made worse by the fact that tourists can't get the first trams. I would not plan to stay or eat there.

Other places mentioned - Brighton/ Solitude are good, but not as steep as Snowbird from my recollection at least. Powder Mountain is fun but not
generally steep. It's not flat, but not like Snowbird. The attractions there are different. It's further away for a short trim.

Brian Head is funky and relatively easy-access from the Los Vegas.

<coughs> Deer Valley is supposed to have the best food and grooming but is reputedly flat.

Me, I'd probably ride everywhere so you can make your own mind up.
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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.
Some lines off the high T at Alta are fairly steep. Alf’s High Rustler comes to mind.
There’s a traverse needed to access it though.
If you’re keen to hike check out Baldy Chutes. Got to be lucky for it to be open though.
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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
@sbooker, High Rustler is rather fun Happy -not a dreadful traverse, iirc?

One thing about the UT thing is that you can have massively different conditions depending on the valley you are in, and I think these are reasonably well forecast. So you pick and choose what's best, when it's best.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Contrarian wrote:
If priorities are 1. lots of snow, 2. steep, interesting terrain, 3. not TOO crowded, quickly tracked out, where should I go?


I understand Utopia 3000 is very nice.

In north America it's going to be a La Niña winter so consider northern Rockies, well away from the coast, as it is likely to be cold and very snowy. Colorado and Utah and anywhere south of that might be hit and miss. Road trip Canada maybe?
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Have known a few expert skiers say Monte Rosa (Champoluc/Gressoney/Alagna) as great area for off piste and uncrowded.
Having spent just the week there without skiing off piste I can vouch for it being easily the quietist resort I've been to and the off piste potential looked great and confirmed by my expert young cousin who seasoned there but how well lift accessed I dont know.

I have spent a season in Chamonix and despite it's fame there are loads of places to get lift accessed great off piste once you know the spots from the right people, potential is limitless.
Have also spent 2 weeks at Jackson Hole and it is a terrific place to ski off piste, there is a seriou screw of locals tearing it up but there seemed plenty pow for everyone. Alta was surprisingly good but got lucky with fresh there.

You just have to get lucky with the snow conditions and the only way to really do that is commit enough time to a place or be sponsored with access to a private jet! Very Happy
snow conditions
 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Klammertime wrote:
Have known a few expert skiers say Monte Rosa (Champoluc/Gressoney/Alagna) as great area for off piste and uncrowded.
Having spent just the week there without skiing off piste I can vouch for it being easily the quietist resort I've been to and the off piste potential looked great and confirmed by my expert young cousin who seasoned there but how well lift accessed I dont know.

I have spent a season in Chamonix and despite it's fame there are loads of places to get lift accessed great off piste once you know the spots from the right people, potential is limitless.
Have also spent 2 weeks at Jackson Hole and it is a terrific place to ski off piste, there is a seriou screw of locals tearing it up but there seemed plenty pow for everyone. Alta was surprisingly good but got lucky with fresh there.

You just have to get lucky with the snow conditions and the only way to really do that is commit enough time to a place or be sponsored with access to a private jet! Very Happy

You have a much better chance of ‘getting lucky’ with powder at Alta than most other hills. It snows regularly and heavily. As opposed to say Mammoth or Tahoe that snows heavily but is more likely to have bigger gaps between storms.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
boarder2020 wrote:
Quote:

Wolverine Cirque


That looks fun. Reminds me a lot of reudis north and ozone north https://www.backcountryskiingcanada.com/Kicking-Horse-Mountain-Resort


Yes, very similar. And similar enjoyment.
snow conditions
 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 wrote:

You have a much better chance of ‘getting lucky’ with powder at Alta than most other hills. It snows regularly and heavily. As opposed to say Mammoth or Tahoe that snows heavily but is more likely to have bigger gaps between storms.


Alta was the very first resort I skied in North America. Was looking for that famed dry Utah powder. The terrain wasn't steep steep (had been in Chamonix the season before) but a great pitch to really charge - up to your thighs in deep fresh, the snow was truly fantastic. Some of the best skiing I've had was skiing in heavy snowfall in the trees there, that is far and away my favourite 'habitat' to ski in. Those were the days when X-Screams with a 68mm waist were a wide-ish ski - didn't wear a helmet either - how did we cope? Little Angel
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The obvious answers are La Grave, Chamonix, St Anton and Verbier but they are full of extreme skiers meaning they get tracked out very very quickly.

You're best off finding a resort with great limited piste skiing, but off-piste itinerary, that has great local guides and people have kept it quiet.

They do exist - but people won't tell you where....
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
The one that I've skied regularly is Verbier/4 vallees and it's a bit of a myth that it gets tracked out instantly. Yeah, if it's a blue bird day, after a big dump, at the weekend, during school holidays and you get to the lifts late, go figure. The main issue I find is the lift queues on those sorts of days, they're a killer but if you know a resort well, you can usually find something, eventually.

Probably the best steep and deep place I've been was Jackson Hole, with an incredible day in Grand Targhee. Felt like having the place to ourselves. If the mid-West was a country in Europe, I'd go there a lot. You have to be quite lucky in Europe to get a lot of fresh snow over an extended period.
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@BobinCH, "best terrain" depends on conditions like everywhere, but particularly in Utah. They win any contest on snow quality, and the terrain they have at most of the main areas is great in powder. AltaBird is best but gets tracked quickly as its no secret. They also have the worst cruising terrain of any major ski area I've been to. But this thread started with "off-piste" so I'm assuming this is for experts and the Bird has the most steeps though Alta's are good has noted above (there used to be a fixed rope on the traverse, which helped). You want to wait until February to ensure coverage on hairball routes...you're coming too far to get shut out. The other areas are not as steep and receive slightly less snow. And I agree with your observation that the runs are short....really everywhere in Utah except Snowbasin. Deer Valley caters to folks other than powder hounds, so said hounds can often find pow there for much longer than the usual haunts, but its more bowls and trees rather than chutes and cliffs. Some folks are turned off by the wealth there.....whatever, I see plenty of that everywhere. Its a very good, not great ski area. Park City town is ok but the hill is meh. Snowbasin is easily the sleeper area....fewer people plus the longer runs there. I would have sent you to AltaBird for that three day weekend you mentioned, but as you've done that, just go there, stay anywhere that strikes your fancy but have a car. Then watch the weather and go where the facts lead you. Not far north is Jackson and Targhee....now THERE's a three day weekend! Jackson is the best ski area in North America imo.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Agree with most of the US info posted.

A good little base is Bozeman, Montana.

Close to both Big Sky and Bridger Bowl, and road trips to Targhee and Jackson as easily achieved.

I really liked the Gunnison 'corridor' for Monarch (pow, but not too steep), Crested Butte (steep, got to time the pow), and Telluride (steep, big, and gets plenty of pow).
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