Snorkeling the Gnar Pow: Skiing 2021-22 Thread

graffam198

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Partners are in Chamonix right now…

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There are some real glory shots that they have sent me. Many are just stunning and fantastic. But this one is pure hilarity and glad they were able to capture buddy 2 lawn darting. :)

Edit: I was told that it was in fact much steeper than the photo would lend the viewer to believe. Much like any fishing story, I will allow the end reader to adjudicate that statement as they see fit.
 
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Zososoxfan

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Sorry to be a dissenting voice here, but of the mountains you mentioned as contenders for next year's trip, I think Steamboat is the clear winner. Might even be able to score a direct flight: https://www.steamboat.com/plan-your-trip/getting-here-and-around/flights. I also love Aspen for the diversity of mountains there and it's relative quiet. And the town of Aspen is awesome. Uber bougie but does not feel as phony/nouveau riche as Vail.

Buuuut, maybe next year you go to Jackson? It is busier now than it was 15 years ago, but not unrecognizably so (AKA not like any of the I70 resorts in CO) and I imagine Grand Targhee remains quieter still than JHMR. The town of Jackson is great - super walkable and really reasonable lodging if you are just looking for a basic place to sleep. I generally pay $120-$140 a night at this place: https://www.townsquareinns.com/hotels/antler-inn/. Here are the direct flight options to Jackson: https://www.visitjacksonhole.com/getting-here.
Oh Jax is the number 1 destination on my to-do list--no doubt. I just don't think it's the best for a family trip. But for a skiers' long weekend?? There's nowhere I'd rather check out.

I've been to Steamboat, but I definitely need to get back. I was drinking heavily during my 2 ski days there, and don't remember the terrain well. Sunpies is a fantastic bar though, and one of the funniest moments of my life took place at a gastropub in town, when my browned out buddy aggressively complained about his raw french fries to a waiter (not ours), only to be told it was jicama. Said friend is a terrific cook, who has a lot of pride in his abilities in the kitchen.

We did 2 days at Winter Park after Steamboat and I really liked it there (quick note that the I-40 pass was incredible--I think it was $200 for 2 days each at Steamboat and WP). Did lots of fun runs, and I took a legendary tomahawk trying my luck on the Cirque.
 

Zososoxfan

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Partners are in Chamonix right now…

View attachment 50621

There are some real glory shots that they have sent me. Many are just stunning and fantastic. But this one is pure hilarity and glad they were able to capture buddy 2 lawn darting. :)

Edit: I was told that it was in fact much steeper than the photo would lend the viewer to believe. Much like any fishing story, I will allow the end reader to adjudicate that statement as they see fit.
I give it 2 skis up, would yardsale again!!
 

Zososoxfan

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Question for the krewe here--does anyone have experience doing backcountry accessed by sled and snowcat? I've mentioned it before, but I'm trying to get down to Bariloche, Argentina in August for a few days of riding. I know I'm going to do at least a couple of days at Cerro Catedral, the preeminent resort in the area that's near the fun-loving city. But now I'm trying to figure out what to do with the back half of the days, and there's the option of cat-skiing and sled-skiing. I have no idea how those compare. TIA!
 

GoJeff!

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Question for the krewe here--does anyone have experience doing backcountry accessed by sled and snowcat? I've mentioned it before, but I'm trying to get down to Bariloche, Argentina in August for a few days of riding. I know I'm going to do at least a couple of days at Cerro Catedral, the preeminent resort in the area that's near the fun-loving city. But now I'm trying to figure out what to do with the back half of the days, and there's the option of cat-skiing and sled-skiing. I have no idea how those compare. TIA!
I don't really have any advice, but I haven't heard of commercial ski operations using snowmobiles, How does it work? It seems like it would require a lot of personnel to move the sleds back down after dropoffs.

I haven't skied using a sled before, but lots of friends use them to handle long approaches. They'll sled in and then skin/hike from there. There is also at least one guy at Mammoth who rides up on the sled then ghost rides it back down the hill so he can ski down and access it again. It looks crazy on the videos but I guess it can work.
 

graffam198

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I don't really have any advice, but I haven't heard of commercial ski operations using snowmobiles, How does it work? It seems like it would require a lot of personnel to move the sleds back down after dropoffs
I haven't skied using a sled before, but lots of friends use them to handle long approaches. They'll sled in and then skin/hike from there. There is also at least one guy at Mammoth who rides up on the sled then ghost rides it back down the hill so he can ski down and access it again. It looks crazy on the videos but I guess it can work.
Imagine the liability there... sled kills someone, sled triggers a slide, sled recreates a Michael Bay film....


Day 2 post op. SL-360 wrist procedure. Doc said it went textbook! Ice and elevation. Rehab ONLY 3 months! There will be climbing this fall!

There is a place in Utah that does cat skiing from the resort https://www.powdermountain.com/resort/adventures

They used to also offer very affordable heli tours too (like 200 bucks per run) but not sure post Covid.
 

GoJeff!

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Day 2 post op. SL-360 wrist procedure. Doc said it went textbook! Ice and elevation. Rehab ONLY 3 months! There will be climbing this fall!
That's great news!

Went up with a friend and skied Mt. Whitney on Saturday. I was anticipating a sufferfest but the reality was much worse than I imagined.

The Whitney road is closed for winter, so we had to park down the road and lug our gear up to the campsites. It was only about a mile and a half, but it was an extra effort on a day that was already going to be very big.

We left at 5:30 AM on Sat morning. The route up starts on the summer trail, then divert into the North Fork of Lone Pine Creek. Typically the snow fills in the creek and you can make you way up directly, but there was no snow, so we had to maneuver over a cliff area called the Ebersbacher ledges. It's just a scramble, but skis and boots on our back made it really awkward. (This is not my photo, but gives a sense of it)

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We continued to lose time because of the lack of snow. We repeated would put our crampons on, only to have to remove them to get over an expanse of rock.

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Eventually we reached the base of the Mountaineer's route up Whitney. Here too, there was much less snow than we were hoping for, and it was really tracked up from climbers.

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The ascent to the notch wasn't bad. There was no snow for a direct climb to the summit, so we dropped our skis and did a traverse across the north face to reach the plateau. The snow on the face was actually pretty good, but if we descended I wasn't sure we had a way to get back given the lack of snow below.

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We had the summit totally to ourselves, which was nice.

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The skiing on the way down was just awful. The snow was tracked up and refrozen, making it almost impossible to get a clean turn in. There were enough rocks that we had to transition multiple times to downclimb. And I hate downclimbing.

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We knew we'd be hiking out in the dark, and both of us quietly worried about the Ebersbacher ledges.

It turns out our fears were quite justified. Despite being extremely deliberate about where we were going, we ended up on top of the cliffs with no idea of how to get down. We spent over an hour looking for the correct route, scrambling up and down trying to avoid stepping off a 300 foot cliff. I was in a pretty dark place, expecting we would have to bivy on the ledges and wait for daylight, but my friend kept looking and eventually found a way down (although decidedly not the way we came up).

We made it back to camp at midnight, utterly exhausted, and chose to stay the night since we were still a couple miles from the car. Final stats were 18+ hours of effort, 7000+ feet of climbing, 0 good turns made.
 

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bigq

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Fantastic pictures and some of them are frightening. Glad you are in one piece. Low avalanche danger I suppose.
 

GoJeff!

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Fantastic pictures and some of them are frightening. Glad you are in one piece. Low avalanche danger I suppose.
Yeah, pretty much zero avalanche danger. I was really only concerned about the cliffs on the way down, the hard snow and downclimbing wasn't on anything crazy steep.
 

graffam198

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Ah yes, Type 2 fun...Glad you took it slow and had a good plan to bivy. Just absolutely gorgeous though, even with that trash snow. Depressing to see it so low though. Going to be a hellacious fire season.
 

DeJesus Built My Hotrod

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Thank you for sharing, even if the actual experience wasn't great. The part about the Ebersbacher ledges was particularly chilling - glad you managed to get down without more stress.
 

GoJeff!

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I've been running around trying to replace all the equipment I destroyed on Mt. Whitney. I snapped a pole, my pack split open, I lost a glove, and damaged my crampons.

50947

New pack arrived today, and, even better, the Sierras are getting snow again. Plan now is to take the kids up to Mammoth this weekend.
 

jezza1918

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Stowe just announced they are going to start charging for parking Fri-Sun and holidays...unless you have 4 people to a car. People, including myself, are livid. Vail Epic Resorts is brutal. They created the traffic/congestion problem and then this is their "solution." I used the "" because I doubt it fixes much. They are trying to entice people to take the shuttle - the main issues with that are A. there is very little in the way of public parking downtown or along the mountain road and B. there will still be a traffic issue, so unless they create a shuttle only lane (quite doubtful) no one is going to want to take the shuttle anyway.
I could write another four paragraphs. But my blood pressure is already too high. Serenity now...
 

Zososoxfan

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I just na
I've been running around trying to replace all the equipment I destroyed on Mt. Whitney. I snapped a pole, my pack split open, I lost a glove, and damaged my crampons.

View attachment 50947

New pack arrived today, and, even better, the Sierras are getting snow again. Plan now is to take the kids up to Mammoth this weekend.
I didn't have the same impetus as you, but I just nabbed an L1 3L goretex shell jacket for under $300. Also got some cool midlayers for great deals.

When the time comes for me to invest in touring gear, you're going to be my first consult!
 

GoJeff!

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Headed up to Tioga for some late season corn. Conditions were way better than I expected, as all the April snow filled in what was previously a pretty bad snowpack.

We headed out to Mount Conness, a massive peak on the edge of Yosemite. It has massive east-west and north-south ridges, with multiple steep shots going through in a good year.

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We started at dawn, skinning past Saddlebag lake. By the time the road opens, this is usually a sea of sun cups, but the snow filled it all in and it was a really easy skin.

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Based on melt times, we decided to first hit the southeast face of North Peak (the two big snowfields in the photo), then go back across to Conness as the north side warmed up.

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Heading up:
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Had a great ski down then headed across the valley to ascend Conness. We ended up not going all the way up to the ridge-the snow was pretty beat up in the top 600 feet or so, but was perfect below.

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All in all, a super fun day. I'm hoping to get the kids up to Mammoth (which looks amazing right now) over Memorial Day weekend to wrap up the season.
 
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jezza1918

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Stowe just announced they are going to start charging for parking Fri-Sun and holidays...unless you have 4 people to a car. People, including myself, are livid. Vail Epic Resorts is brutal. They created the traffic/congestion problem and then this is their "solution." I used the "" because I doubt it fixes much. They are trying to entice people to take the shuttle - the main issues with that are A. there is very little in the way of public parking downtown or along the mountain road and B. there will still be a traffic issue, so unless they create a shuttle only lane (quite doubtful) no one is going to want to take the shuttle anyway.
I could write another four paragraphs. But my blood pressure is already too high. Serenity now...
Update on my annoyance...$30/day at Stowe Friday-Sunday (and holidays) this coming winter to park. or a $450 season parking pass.
 

Zososoxfan

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Headed up to Tioga for some late season corn. Conditions were way better than I expected, as all the April snow filled in what was previously a pretty bad snowpack.

We headed out to Mount Conness, a massive peak on the edge of Yosemite. It has massive east-west and north-ridges, with multiple steep shots going through in a good year.

View attachment 51796

We started at dawn, skinning past Saddlebag lake. By the time the road opens, this is usually a sea of sun cups, but the snow filled it all in and it was a really easy skin.

View attachment 51797

Based on melt times, we decided to first hit the southeast face of North Peak (the two big snowfields in the photo), then go back across to Conness as the north side warmed up.

View attachment 51798

Heading up:
View attachment 51800

Had a great ski down then headed across the valley to ascend Conness. We ended up not going all the way up to the ridge-the snow was pretty beat up in the top 600 feet or so, but was perfect below.

View attachment 51801

All in all, a super fun day. I'm hoping to get the kids up to Mammoth (which looks amazing right now) over Memorial Day weekend to wrap up the season.
Super awesome, per usual @GoJeff! Can't wait to get into this game at some point down the line.

I finally jumped in with both feet and booked Argentina for August. We're going to get a couple of days at Cerro Catedral in Bariloche, then ski a couple of more days at Chapelco in San Martin. Right now the plan is to take a day off in the middle for the 5-6 hour drive, but I might be tempted to get a half day in at Cerro Bayo in Villa La Angostura if it seems feasible. Frankly, the crew seems content to have an off-day to rest the legs, sleep in (have another noche loco in Bariloche), and enjoy the scenery along Ruta 7 Lagos (7 Lakes Highway), and still stop for lunch in Angostura. As someone who frequently skis 4-6 days per trip, I do think 4 days in a row is pushing it and the legs get heavy in the afternoons and a day off is the way to go.
 

GoJeff!

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Super awesome, per usual @GoJeff! Can't wait to get into this game at some point down the line.

I finally jumped in with both feet and booked Argentina for August. We're going to get a couple of days at Cerro Catedral in Bariloche, then ski a couple of more days at Chapelco in San Martin. Right now the plan is to take a day off in the middle for the 5-6 hour drive, but I might be tempted to get a half day in at Cerro Bayo in Villa La Angostura if it seems feasible. Frankly, the crew seems content to have an off-day to rest the legs, sleep in (have another noche loco in Bariloche), and enjoy the scenery along Ruta 7 Lagos (7 Lakes Highway), and still stop for lunch in Angostura. As someone who frequently skis 4-6 days per trip, I do think 4 days in a row is pushing it and the legs get heavy in the afternoons and a day off is the way to go.
So envious. That will be a great trip.
 

GoJeff!

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That's so awesome - is he up there for one of the Windells camps?
He was with Party Beach (Lyndsay Strange/Marcus Caston), which targets racers that need a break from racing. I'll ask if he saw the Windell sessions, since it looks like they were there at the same time.
 

Zososoxfan

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Good start to the early season in South America:

After a slow start to the season so far, things look to be kicking into high gear this week in South America, where many resorts in Chile and Argentina are looking at anywhere from 3 to 8 feet. The highest totals will be located south of the Mendoza region at resorts like Pucon, Antillanca, and Corralco.

A train of powerful, cold storms are lined up in a train that will hammer the region this week. The first major system will move through on Friday night and Saturday. On Saturday night, things will die down for a short time before system #2 arrives.
...
Storm #2 lasts from early Saturday morning to Monday mid-morning. This storm will impact southern Chile and Argentina first before working its way further north and dumping the highest totals around Bariloche.

After a very slight lull in precipitation rates on Monday morning, storm number 3 is already on the doorstep.
...
Some possible totals by Wednesday night:
  • Pucon: 95”
  • Las Araucarias: 85”
  • Corralco Mountain: 70”
  • Nevados de Chillan: 70”
  • Cerro Bayo: 45”
  • Cerro Catedral: 40”
Storminess lingers well into next week, but the models are having trouble pinning down the specifics as of now.
https://powderchasers.com/forecasts/EPIC-ALERT-South-America-is-about-to-get-slammed-4-7-feet-of-POW

Those projected totals are in inches!
 

Zososoxfan

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Outstanding! And down south where you want it.

When do you head down there?
Flying down Friday 08/05, so my ski days will be the week of 08/07 - 08/12. For better or worse, I cut the trip a day shorter than I'd ideally like to, so it will end up being 4 days of skiing with one day of rest between days 2 and 3 over 2 resorts (Cerro Catedral in Bariloche and Chapelco in San Martin). I would've loved to get even a half day at Cerro Bayo in Villa de la Angostura, but the plan is to stop there on the rest day to at least check out the town.
 

Zososoxfan

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I spoke with the guides I'm riding with down in Argentina and they both recommended that we plan to check out the off piste stuff (i.e. going thru gates). NBD under normal circumstances, but in Argentina they require avvy gear in these areas. They can provide the actual equipment but we'd need to have our own packs and they recommend 25L+ capacity. Since I don't carry avvy gear in the States, I want to keep the bag as small as possible and 25L+ seems overkill, but I don't actually know this. The bag needs to fit avvy gear, water, snacks, and maybe a little extra room for a layer/other random stuff.

I've been looking at Dakine's catalog because they seem to have a good quality/price point balance and I have good experience with their gear in the past. I'm looking at the Mission Pro 18L, the Heli Pro 20L, the Heli Pro 24L, and the Mission Pro 25L, but I'm open to other manufacturers as well. For example, the Mission Pro 18L has pictures of the avvy gear in there, and it has an insulated hydro sleeve. Any advice or insight would be welcome, cheers!
 

GoJeff!

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I spoke with the guides I'm riding with down in Argentina and they both recommended that we plan to check out the off piste stuff (i.e. going thru gates). NBD under normal circumstances, but in Argentina they require avvy gear in these areas. They can provide the actual equipment but we'd need to have our own packs and they recommend 25L+ capacity. Since I don't carry avvy gear in the States, I want to keep the bag as small as possible and 25L+ seems overkill, but I don't actually know this. The bag needs to fit avvy gear, water, snacks, and maybe a little extra room for a layer/other random stuff.

I've been looking at Dakine's catalog because they seem to have a good quality/price point balance and I have good experience with their gear in the past. I'm looking at the Mission Pro 18L, the Heli Pro 20L, the Heli Pro 24L, and the Mission Pro 25L, but I'm open to other manufacturers as well. For example, the Mission Pro 18L has pictures of the avvy gear in there, and it has an insulated hydro sleeve. Any advice or insight would be welcome, cheers!
If you are taking a lift and going through a backcountry gate, even a small 18L pack should be fine. The stuff that adds volume for me on tours is lots of water, skins, multiple layers for climbing vs descending and food. You might not need any of that except a little food, water and clothes

This year I got a black diamond dawn patrol 32 for spring tours. I went bigger (than 20-25L) because I broke my last 25L pack from overstuffing it with pointy stuff (crampons, ski crampons, axe). That won't be an issue on winter tours.
What I like about the dawn patrol is that the main compartment zipper is against your back, so you can take the pack off and drop it on the snow and access all your stuff without getting snow inside or removing your skis/boards from the pack. The avy gear goes in an outer pocket (pretty normal), there is a fleece google pocket, and big hip pockets for food/phone. There is a 25L version that would be more appropriate for winter use.

The other thing to consider is an airbag pack. These are more expensive ($550++), but are he gold standard in any terrain. There is a handle on the shoulder strap that you yank if caught in an avalanche, and a large bag inflates above the pack to float you to the surface and make you much easier to find.

I have an older BCA float pack, which uses compressed air to fill the bag. It works fine, but it is a pain to travel with because you need to empty the canister before flying, then get it recharged when you arrive.
Newer/more expensive packs use a battery and fan to inflate the bag. Travel is simpler, and you can more easily practice using them without the pain of a refill. The black diamond jetforce is a very good one.

An airbag pack makes sense if you expect to go backcountry skiing more in the future. It's overkill for a few days off-piste.

The DaKine packs look good. The pocket for a water bottle on the Mission pro would pull me to that over the heli pro, but I haven't used or felt either. I personally would miss the body-side access on the BD.
 

Zososoxfan

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If you are taking a lift and going through a backcountry gate, even a small 18L pack should be fine. The stuff that adds volume for me on tours is lots of water, skins, multiple layers for climbing vs descending and food. You might not need any of that except a little food, water and clothes

This year I got a black diamond dawn patrol 32 for spring tours. I went bigger (than 20-25L) because I broke my last 25L pack from overstuffing it with pointy stuff (crampons, ski crampons, axe). That won't be an issue on winter tours.
What I like about the dawn patrol is that the main compartment zipper is against your back, so you can take the pack off and drop it on the snow and access all your stuff without getting snow inside or removing your skis/boards from the pack. The avy gear goes in an outer pocket (pretty normal), there is a fleece google pocket, and big hip pockets for food/phone. There is a 25L version that would be more appropriate for winter use.

The other thing to consider is an airbag pack. These are more expensive ($550++), but are he gold standard in any terrain. There is a handle on the shoulder strap that you yank if caught in an avalanche, and a large bag inflates above the pack to float you to the surface and make you much easier to find.

I have an older BCA float pack, which uses compressed air to fill the bag. It works fine, but it is a pain to travel with because you need to empty the canister before flying, then get it recharged when you arrive.
Newer/more expensive packs use a battery and fan to inflate the bag. Travel is simpler, and you can more easily practice using them without the pain of a refill. The black diamond jetforce is a very good one.

An airbag pack makes sense if you expect to go backcountry skiing more in the future. It's overkill for a few days off-piste.

The DaKine packs look good. The pocket for a water bottle on the Mission pro would pull me to that over the heli pro, but I haven't used or felt either. I personally would miss the body-side access on the BD.
Thanks. I'm going with my usual approach for sports gear and buying everything in sight, checking it out at home, and then complaining about returning all the items except for the one I actually keep!
 

Icculus

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Jeff covered everything pretty well but for another recommendation - I love my Osprey Kamber 32 (The current model is 30L but looks to be about the same). Some of the fun stuff on the resort here requires you to carry avy gear so I have it on every day I ride. Thin enough (for me at least) that I can just keep it on during chairlift rides but also enough room when I do skin. To me it feels like less than 30L both when you wear it and pack it. I am a huge fan of the insulated shoulder strap for hydration. I drink way more water now and the tube zips away when I'm not using it so one less thing to get snagged in the trees. My choices were also more limited because I'm strapping a snowboard on.
 

Zososoxfan

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Jeff covered everything pretty well but for another recommendation - I love my Osprey Kamber 32 (The current model is 30L but looks to be about the same). Some of the fun stuff on the resort here requires you to carry avy gear so I have it on every day I ride. Thin enough (for me at least) that I can just keep it on during chairlift rides but also enough room when I do skin. To me it feels like less than 30L both when you wear it and pack it. I am a huge fan of the insulated shoulder strap for hydration. I drink way more water now and the tube zips away when I'm not using it so one less thing to get snagged in the trees. My choices were also more limited because I'm strapping a snowboard on.
I'm only looking at packs that have snowboard carry features too! I think most if not all 3 models I'm checking out have vertical and horizontal carry options--would be very useful if we do some short bootpacks.

I'm not ready to commit to splitboarding, skins, and the whole 9 yet, which is why I'm going for the smallest pack that fits my needs. I ended up ordering the Heli Pro 20, Heli Pro 24, and Team Mission Pro 25. I think the Mission is the only one that has a convenience pocket on the waist buckle which is a huge value add for me. Otherwise, they seem pretty indistinguishable aside from capacity. Although I admit I didn't look closely at the way the pockets are accessed. The other consideration is that I'm going to use the pack for my flight, so it will need to fit my laptop, over-ear headphones, and the usual stuff I'd want to have on a plane. I'll report back once I get my hands on these!
 

uncannymanny

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Heading to Chile for my first out of the country ski trip tomorrow. Staying in Santiago then driving to Nevados de Chillan for 4 days.

I’m a pretty mediocre skier compared to most of you, but I’m still excited to do the terrain I can (I just have to stay away from those level 4s). Hopefully I can get some good photos from my friend’s cameras; I’m rocking a backup iPhone 8.
 

GoJeff!

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Heading to Chile for my first out of the country ski trip tomorrow. Staying in Santiago then driving to Nevados de Chillan for 4 days.

I’m a pretty mediocre skier compared to most of you, but I’m still excited to do the terrain I can (I just have to stay away from those level 4s). Hopefully I can get some good photos from my friend’s cameras; I’m rocking a backup iPhone 8.
Looks like a fun area. Have a blast!
 

Zososoxfan

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Heading to Chile for my first out of the country ski trip tomorrow. Staying in Santiago then driving to Nevados de Chillan for 4 days.

I’m a pretty mediocre skier compared to most of you, but I’m still excited to do the terrain I can (I just have to stay away from those level 4s). Hopefully I can get some good photos from my friend’s cameras; I’m rocking a backup iPhone 8.
Can't wait to hear all about it! I'm curious how you landed on going to Chillan. I really want to check out the Santiago mountains because getting to Patagonia is a PITA since you have to catch a connecting flight within Argentina (Buenos Aires to Bariloche/San Martin). But from the looks of it you have a significant drive as well.
 

Zososoxfan

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Just got back from Argentina yesterday. HUGE SUCCESS! I have much to discuss over the coming weeks, but I'll just say that I've already started looking into splitboards/skins. That's where I wanna be. Also, we tried to go heliskiing in San Martin but it didn't come off due to mechanic issues, visibility, and availability, but it seems like it's a lot more affordable down there. Definitely something to think about for next year!
 

GoJeff!

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Just got back from Argentina yesterday. HUGE SUCCESS! I have much to discuss over the coming weeks, but I'll just say that I've already started looking into splitboards/skins. That's where I wanna be. Also, we tried to go heliskiing in San Martin but it didn't come off due to mechanic issues, visibility, and availability, but it seems like it's a lot more affordable down there. Definitely something to think about for next year!
Outstanding!

I'm pretty useless in terms of splitboard knowledge, but pretty good on everything else you will need. Feel free to hit me up.

Where are some pics?
 

wilked

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 17, 2005
3,315
All, first Utah trip in March. Family of 4, kids 7/10, good skiers. Skiing Park City (Epic pass).
Where to stay? What advice? We will do an Airbnb, trying to gauge what criteria I should use to make a decision. Obviously walkable to resort or to a tram/lift, but hoping for more specific advice please? Thanks
 

Preacher

Member
SoSH Member
Jun 9, 2006
4,828
Harker Heights, TX
All, first Utah trip in March. Family of 4, kids 7/10, good skiers. Skiing Park City (Epic pass).
Where to stay? What advice? We will do an Airbnb, trying to gauge what criteria I should use to make a decision. Obviously walkable to resort or to a tram/lift, but hoping for more specific advice please? Thanks
We’ve done Park City twice. Airbnb both times First time was downtown a couple blocks from the in town lift. Second time was out of town across a parking lot from a lift. I’ll have to get my wife to tell me exactly where.
 

Preacher

Member
SoSH Member
Jun 9, 2006
4,828
Harker Heights, TX
Which do you recommend? Why?
Downtown had easy access to a variety of pubs and bars. That’s where we stayed The first time and we were there for a like 10 days. This was December 2020. The second time we were only there for 4 days and the out of town location was fine because it was a bit cheaper and we didn’t need to go grocery shopping and there was enough stuff around us for food options. That was February 2022. So I think it depends on how long you’re going to stay.
 

Zososoxfan

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 30, 2009
8,073
South of North
Outstanding!

I'm pretty useless in terms of splitboard knowledge, but pretty good on everything else you will need. Feel free to hit me up.

Where are some pics?
I'm trying to make a short edit of the trip, but I just bought my first Chromebook and I'm flabbergasted at the difficulty of finding a good video editor for the O/S. Didn't realize GoPro had nothing compatible.

As for the backcountry, what are your general thoughts on it in the U.S.? What I mean by that is, are there any particularly good places for sidecountry? I'm looking for a family-friendly resort out West where I can get some easy vert on the lifts to start my day, but then head out to find better conditions. Until I'm taking more trips per season, I'll likely be limited to 1-2 weeks/season (usually equal to 4 days on the resort with the family, and in good years a short skiers trip for an additional 2-3 days in a row). I'm lucky that the family trips are midweek so staying on the resort isn't a bad thing (i.e. lift lines aren't too bad), but there's nothing like fresh snow, and I'm willing to trek out and find it. The bigger wildcard for my backcountry future is making the trip to South America an annual thing. There it seems like the backcountry is a stronger draw because even mighty Catedral has wonky lift infrastructure and is subject to the unpredictable wind and weather. As I may have mentioned, doing the bigger adventure stuff (like heli-skiing) also seems cheaper down there, so I could see my future down there having less and less to do with the resorts going forward.
 

Icculus

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
234
Gamehenge
The lift-accessed backcountry at Jackson Hole is phenomenal. And if you're there you can do the Glory bootpack at the top of the pass without a splitboard setup. One word of caution - I (and a lot of other people) tend to avoid the term side-country. It is still uncontrolled terrain and just because you got there off a lift doesn't mean you shouldn't have gear, a partner, and your Avy 1 training. Sorry if that sounds patronizing but when I lived there it was not uncommon to have a rando with no pack ski up on my group asking for directions back towards the resort. My roommate at the time lost a friend (not at JH) because people above him didn't know what they were doing and skiied something they shouldn't have. He was usually none too courteous with them as a result. Reading that back sounded like a real downer so go watch someone ski spacewalk which just got me ready for ski season all over again.
 

Zososoxfan

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 30, 2009
8,073
South of North
The lift-accessed backcountry at Jackson Hole is phenomenal. And if you're there you can do the Glory bootpack at the top of the pass without a splitboard setup. One word of caution - I (and a lot of other people) tend to avoid the term side-country. It is still uncontrolled terrain and just because you got there off a lift doesn't mean you shouldn't have gear, a partner, and your Avy 1 training. Sorry if that sounds patronizing but when I lived there it was not uncommon to have a rando with no pack ski up on my group asking for directions back towards the resort. My roommate at the time lost a friend (not at JH) because people above him didn't know what they were doing and skiied something they shouldn't have. He was usually none too courteous with them as a result. Reading that back sounded like a real downer so go watch someone ski spacewalk which just got me ready for ski season all over again.
No offense taken. We had guides on both treks into the sidecountry and slackcountry (difference being the ability to get back to a lift) and I wouldn't get myself into any type of situation like that without taking some precautions. IOW, I'm aware that it's all uncontrolled and in LatAm it was all unpatrolled as well. I've been thru plenty of gates at resorts, which I believe means uncontrolled but patrolled, but obviously unpatrolled is another beast and I fully intend to treat it accordingly. Our guide admonished another rider at Chapelco for doing our run without a pack on.
 

GoJeff!

Member
SoSH Member
May 30, 2007
1,723
Los Angeles
I'm trying to make a short edit of the trip, but I just bought my first Chromebook and I'm flabbergasted at the difficulty of finding a good video editor for the O/S. Didn't realize GoPro had nothing compatible.

As for the backcountry, what are your general thoughts on it in the U.S.? What I mean by that is, are there any particularly good places for sidecountry? I'm looking for a family-friendly resort out West where I can get some easy vert on the lifts to start my day, but then head out to find better conditions. Until I'm taking more trips per season, I'll likely be limited to 1-2 weeks/season (usually equal to 4 days on the resort with the family, and in good years a short skiers trip for an additional 2-3 days in a row). I'm lucky that the family trips are midweek so staying on the resort isn't a bad thing (i.e. lift lines aren't too bad), but there's nothing like fresh snow, and I'm willing to trek out and find it. The bigger wildcard for my backcountry future is making the trip to South America an annual thing. There it seems like the backcountry is a stronger draw because even mighty Catedral has wonky lift infrastructure and is subject to the unpredictable wind and weather. As I may have mentioned, doing the bigger adventure stuff (like heli-skiing) also seems cheaper down there, so I could see my future down there having less and less to do with the resorts going forward.
There are lots of places with great sidecountry, but I think the most useful way to go would be to hire a guide for backcountry in whatever area you are visiting. You'll get the powder you want, but also learn a lot about decision making in the backcountry.
 

Zososoxfan

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 30, 2009
8,073
South of North
Aaaaand bingo!

Lambert and Woodward are winding down their inaugural season at their first-of-its-kind, entirely human-powered ski area. Located on land leased from Peak Ranch, a 50,000-acre cattle ranch, Bluebird offers most of the conventional ski-area amenities—equipment rentals, lessons, guided tours, base-area infrastructure—and no chairlifts. During the first season, which ran from February 15 to March 15, their terrain encompassed 1,600 acres, 500 of which were patrolled (and they call “inbounds”) and the remaining 1,100 accessible only with a guide. While Bluebird doesn’t bomb to control for avalanches, the ski patrol team assesses the rolling, mostly low-angle hills each morning, evaluating the snowpack to determine if any particular slopes should be closed. Lambert and Woodward’s goal is to mitigate some of the barriers to entry to getting into the backcountry, like equipment costs and avalanche knowledge, to provide more introductory opportunities.
...
“We’re building programs for beginners, intermediates and experts,” he explained earlier that day in the base lodge, a cozy, permanent structure with a round roof and AstroTurf floor. “The first thing you learn in your lesson is that you’re not really ready to go into the backcountry. So we try to instill backcountry habits, even though they’re not necessarily necessary in controlled terrain. We focus on skiing in pitches, beacon checks, making sure you work with your partners.”

“Backcountry skiing is growing,” he continued. “I think people are looking to avoid the ‘industry’ of skiing—parking problems, gondolas—they’re ready to learn something new. But taking an avalanche course and hiring a guide can be a big leap. We focus on meeting one another, finding mentors and learning in a place that’s safe and controlled.

LEARNING TO BACKCOUNTRY SKI AND RIDE in such a controlled environment—with access to mentors, lessons, ski partners and rental equipment, including touring setups and avalanche gear—is about as smooth of a transition as one could hope for. And, with increased interest in the sport, Bluebird’s timing and pricing—a day ticket costs $50—couldn’t be better.
https://backcountrymagazine.com/stories/brighter-skies/
 

graffam198

pink hat
SoSH Member
Dec 10, 2007
1,225
Reno, NV
I'm trying to make a short edit of the trip, but I just bought my first Chromebook and I'm flabbergasted at the difficulty of finding a good video editor for the O/S. Didn't realize GoPro had nothing compatible.

As for the backcountry, what are your general thoughts on it in the U.S.? What I mean by that is, are there any particularly good places for sidecountry? I'm looking for a family-friendly resort out West where I can get some easy vert on the lifts to start my day, but then head out to find better conditions. Until I'm taking more trips per season, I'll likely be limited to 1-2 weeks/season (usually equal to 4 days on the resort with the family, and in good years a short skiers trip for an additional 2-3 days in a row). I'm lucky that the family trips are midweek so staying on the resort isn't a bad thing (i.e. lift lines aren't too bad), but there's nothing like fresh snow, and I'm willing to trek out and find it. The bigger wildcard for my backcountry future is making the trip to South America an annual thing. There it seems like the backcountry is a stronger draw because even mighty Catedral has wonky lift infrastructure and is subject to the unpredictable wind and weather. As I may have mentioned, doing the bigger adventure stuff (like heli-skiing) also seems cheaper down there, so I could see my future down there having less and less to do with the resorts going forward.
Short answer to your question: Mammoth/June Mountain. SMG guides in Mammoth offer 1/2 day and full day options. You can do the resort thing in the morning and link up w/a guide in the afternoon and do stuff that is absolutely incredible. They have all the gear you need for rent. Of course, I would argue that 1/2 day isn't enough, just go w/the guide for the full day but understand family constraints are what they are. Relatively safe area for beginners (relative being the key word) and all the terrain you could wish for.

On another note...It snowed in Tahoe today! Sure, it's a dusting, but it's enough to get pumped for 22/23! Wrist is cleared for full use, planning on skiing way more than I have any right to this year!

Edit: SMG has probably THE best guides in the US. Howie is committed to making guiding stateside on par with international guiding. Too often guides are just bros that happen to be in the space and can rely on "experience" to lead teams. Howie is pushing for education, experience, certification on an international level. Think Canadian avy level of expertise (second only to the swiss). I have done a few trips with them, and am close friends w/a guy who uses them EXTENSIVELY for massive trips; Antarctica, Dolomites, Big winter trips etc. Ask for Barbara. She is amazing.
 
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GoJeff!

Member
SoSH Member
May 30, 2007
1,723
Los Angeles
On another note...It snowed in Tahoe today! Sure, it's a dusting, but it's enough to get pumped for 22/23! Wrist is cleared for full use, planning on skiing way more than I have any right to this year!
Maybe you need to start this year's thread. First snow, first post