- Alta UT
Jackson Hole WY
Hey, it's December and the water is frozen. So, if we can't go sailing or fishing, we go skiing, right? Our favorite places to go skiing are out West, and our "most favoritest" is Utah as a skiing destination. The snow is unlike anyplace else on earth. There is also plenty of it. Because the mountains there are some distance from the coast and much of Utah is high desert, the snow tends to be very dry and light...so called champagne powder. It's the kind of snow you can easily ski when it's deep because it doesn't grab your skis and suck them under. Instead, you glide effortlessly on pillows of fluffy down making picture perfect figure eights across your partner's path. It can even be deep enough to require snorkel gear!
We chose Snowbird as #1, because it has the best snow, easy accessibility, varied terrain, and something for everyone. Our personal favorite is Alta, but we are cruisers mainly at heart. Alta would be the cruisers' choice. Big wide open bowls, no fancy outfits, back country access, and comparatively inexpensive lift tickets. Did we mention snowboarders not allowed?
Vail, at #3, will most likely have high appeal for the racers. Big open bowls, groomed terrain, fancy high tech lifts, and an amazing apres ski village.
Telluride, Jackson Hole and Whistler will appeal to the more extreme sailor - the younger athletic soul. Bumping down Zulu Queen or heliskiing untracked terrain is the ticket here.
Now the last four places are specially listed here for the Eastern skier. Whiteface (or "ice face" as it is affectionately known) offers some of the most challenging skiing in the East. If you sail regardless of the weather, you will love skiing Whiteface. People who ski here really know what they're doing as it is an Olympic training center. Despite the presence of upscale camps, it's not the chic look-pretty crowd that gathers here and the cruisers who read Lats & Atts will love it. Lake Placid, the Olympic Village that complements Whiteface mountain, has plenty for everyone to do, avant, depuis and apres ski!
Sugarbush offers a great mix of terrain for the family, with the more extreme Mad River next door. It also offers fine restaurants and a comfortable apres ski joint akin to a tiki bar in the Hydeaway. Stratton is the Vail wannabe of the East, with a Bavaria-style village at the base and plenty of shopping for the non-skier to stay content, while Sunday River is the biggest the East has to offer when you get bored with the others.
Conspicuously absent from our list is Killington VT. Don't get us wrong. We've skied there alot. It's got great snowmaking and some good terrain. We just did not include it this year on this list, simply because of the attitude. Other runners up: Aspen, CO and Deer Valley, UT for the yachties. Aspen boasts more designer shops per square inch while Deer Valley has on-mountain gourmet dining and valet skiing (if you're too tired to ski, they'll do it for you!).
So when the water starts freezing we start skiing. And when the snow starts melting we know it's time to take the cover off the boat. Works for me!