Best dirtbag ski areas

Discussion in 'General Resort Discussion' started by Analisa, Feb 4, 2019.

  1. Wilhelmson

    Wilhelmson Out on the slopes Skier

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    Sounds about right to me except I have no problem with the bush besides expensive lodging. Magic, Ragged, and Cannon have the laid back attitude.

    Now that I think about it Cannon should be up there on the list besides old men in long underwear,
     
  2. wyowindrunner

    wyowindrunner Getting on the lift Skier

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    Ditto Bad Bob's comments above. That's the way it is in Idaho (Sun Valley excepted of course). Carhart bibs and and Klim Jackets are plentiful at Kelly Canyon. Some pics taken from the chair this afternoon about 2:30 after a foot of new. Snowing and windy at the top. Maybe two dozen folks skiing counting three-four patrollers. Kids show up about five after school lets out for night skiing. Passed a pile headed up on my way home.
    IMG_0412.jpg
    IMG_0413.jpg
     
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  3. pipestem

    pipestem Putting on skis Skier

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    I would like to add the Canaan Valley of WV to this list. Timberline and CV State Park ski areas have fixed grips, gaps in snow making, back-country access, and the most chill vibes. White Grass touring area in between is basically Grateful Dead does skiing. You can camp at the state park of course. (Timberline is so badly chill they are taking this year off). Then go north aways and branch off to Blue Knob state park, more of the same.

    Also, did I read that Ski Cooper is now an expensive ticket - really ? seriously ? That's killing me.

    Stevens Pass is a candidate. Nice fixed grip double to the top. Love it there. Mostly quality facilities though. Great bar scene.
     
  4. dbostedo

    dbostedo Asst. Gathermeister-- Jackson Hole 2020 Moderator

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    I don't think so... adult full day is $56, and some online deals for some mid-week days that we closer to $30.

    Copper on the other hand, is over $150 walkup rate. Maybe that's what you're thinking of.
     
  5. pipestem

    pipestem Putting on skis Skier

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    ok i went back and found the quote. Not that alarming yet.
    Liftopia has Copper at $85, regular painful. Other than the bus from the parking lot not really dirtbag in anyway.
    $150 and I am probably going back to Frisco touring center.
     


  6. DanoT

    DanoT RVer-Skier Skier

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    I have just got to mention Castle Mountain again as it is even more anti Whistler than Whitewater (WH20 last year replaced the Summit double chair with a fixed grip quad and built a new lodge for ski school and admin offices}. The nearby town for WH20 is Nelson, the hippie capital of Canada.

    Castle`s nearby town of Pincer Creek is a farming/ranching town. No ski bums and a hardware store that looks like something out of the 1950s. There is a Best Western hotel.

    Pincer Creek is the windmill capital of Canada so sometimes at Castle the wind moves things around at night and you are skiing fresh wind sift and the moguls have disappeared, or there just aren`t enough skiers to create moguls. On upper mountain chairlift wind hold days...Fernie is 2 hours away.

    I have been there skiing boot top to shin deep, 3 feet away from an exposed rock ridge and the pow I was skiing used to cover the ridge. The wind can do some scouring so sometimes stumps and bushes that should be well covered can instead be lurking only a few inches from the surface. For this reason I do not recommend skiing Castle if the snow coverage is only adequate or less.

    I like to tell people that Castle Mt. is the greatest mountain in North America that you have never heard of. It should be on every serious skier`s bucket list and here is why:

    There are 4 chairlifts, one for beginners, one for intermediates and 2 stacked chairs that offer 1400 vert each. Off the top chair it is a lot like Snowbird`s Road to Provo where can drop in off a cat track to a number of runs, except at Castle the cat track goes in both directions. As you go farther out you loose vert but the cat track at the end of the runs is a fast return to the lower lift. The upper lift has one blue square run, the rest are black and double black. Castle relies a lot on mid week day visits from school groups, mostly from Lethbridge 1.5 hours away. The grade school kids are not allowed on the upper chairlift.

    Castle needs just over 100k annual skier visits to break even and some years they don`t get it. However the mountain owns the sewer and water system for the collection of RVs, townhomes, cabins, and hostel (dorm and private rooms) and that revenue makes up the shortfall.

    There is a cat skiing operation adjacent to the mountain offering mostly intermediate type terrain whereas skiing the resort itself with its lack of skiers is more like cat skiing.
    I once showed up at Castle on a Sunday evening after a 3 week no new snow cold snap just ended. It snowed 8" overnight and there was all of a dozen people lined up at the lift on Monday morning.

    All of the former overnight RV plug in spots are now rented out by the season. Non plug-in overnight parking is allowed for a fee and you get access to the staff washroom/shower building. The last time that I was there I just drove back down the access road and stayed at a snowmobile staging area, complete with outhouse for dumping my truck camper`s porta-potti.

    Some of the above info was obtained a few years ago from the guy plowing the parking lot who is one of 125 associate owners. The owners like Castle just the way it is an have no major development plans.

    Edit: Lift tickets are $95CDN or about $70+/- US.
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2019
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  7. Scotch

    Scotch At the base lodge Skier

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    If you're someone like me who doesn't make it out enough to warrant a season's pass, Castle's Wonders of Winter (WoW) card ($79) is awesome. I now have direct-to-lift with %50 off every lift ticket this season. Less than $50 for a day of skiing is a gift these days.
     
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  8. SSSdave

    SSSdave life is short precious ...don't waste it Skier

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    Over the first 3 thread web pages, searched areas in The West with XXX ski area lift tickets
    Then looked at XXX resort website adult 1 day lift ticket and recorded below. Of course many have other discounts tickets lower than the below as on Liftopia. Three resorts had no website. Someone else might work on page 4 and beyond. Of course some of the resorts offered are not very dirt bag like at all as one gets further down the list into more expensive lift ticket prices and that is why I investigated since some here may be recalling visits a long time ago.

    Anthony Lakes $40
    Kelly Canyon $42
    Lost Trail $46
    Bluewood $47
    Pebble Creek $47
    Discovery $49
    Snowy Range $49

    Beaver Mt $50
    Soda Springs $50
    Montana Snowbowl $50
    Ashland $52
    Mt. Hood Skibowl $55
    Echo Mtn $55
    Silver Mountain $57

    Bridger Bowl $63
    Bogus Basin $64
    Sunlight $65
    Mt Baker $67
    White Pass $69

    Brundage $70
    Powderhorn $71
    Wolf Creek $72
    Donner Ski Ranch $75
    Loveland $79

    Whitefish $81
    Powder Mountain $82
    Brighton $83
    Monarch $89
    Purgatory $89

    Grand Targhee $90
    Arapahoe Basin $101
    Taos $110
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2019
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  9. SShore

    SShore Resident Curmudgeon Skier

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    Maverick Mountain in Polaris MT. Your description fits this place to the tee. Purchased last year by a couple that use to race, everyone knows everyone, lots of old timers and local kids in their race program and only a few hours from Bozeman. Plus, there is Polaris Hot Springs right there for a nice soak after skiing.
     
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  10. DoryBreaux

    DoryBreaux Friend for Hire on Powder Days Industry Insider Pugski Ski Tester

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    I'm convinced that, if you've skied Baker, nothing will ever come close. Lots of good suggestions in here though.
    Or just buy a sled and be done with it.
     
  11. Posaune

    Posaune sliding Skier

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    I ski Baker many times per season and have since the early 90s when I moved to B'ham. To say nothing will come close seems a bit much. While it's a unique place, it's dirtbag status is really poor compared to some other places I've experienced, especially in Montana. It gets way too many skier visits, and the lodges are much too nice to be truly hard core dirtbag. There are lots of dirtbags that ski and board there, however.
     
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  12. DoryBreaux

    DoryBreaux Friend for Hire on Powder Days Industry Insider Pugski Ski Tester

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    Fair enough. I guess it's such a change from the anti-bag (at least of the dirt kind :eek::D) areas that I am used to.
     
  13. noncrazycanuck

    noncrazycanuck Getting off the lift Skier

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    it's not really dirt bag since they relocated/sanitized the old Gunbarell's Saloon and eliminated the Poma but Apex outside Penticton is still by far the least developed and crowded of the Okanogan hills.
    probably also has the highest percentage of challenging runs in region.

    Mt Baldy outside Ossoyous and Gibson Pass in Manning Park are even less developed but they don't have as much technical terrain
     
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  14. Don Canard

    Don Canard Booting up Skier

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    interesting reading. As a Hudson Valley boy, little areas were the stuff, and some (reading the discussion of Plattekill) still retain the vibe and are appreciated for it. Just went to Belleayre for the first time in 15 yrs and the lodge still has that woodsy feel, but the food is as overpriced as everywhere else and so it doesn't deliver (on the feel - it's supposed to reek of hamburgers so you know how good they are, BTW. The skiing was excellent. But it's not a little area, at least not anymore).

    Anyone recall Cortina, or even better, Ski Minnewaska and the epic winter of 77-78 ? After which the place closed and later burnt down along with the rest of the owner family's buildings on the mountain ? Hippies and joints but the patchouli and the weed were fresh, count on it. (I remember this girl... ahh, but I digress...)

    Now I enjoy the snow quality at the higher-priced locations in the area. I realize that -everything- is more expensive, lawyers have their heads further up everything, wankers will demand Disneyfication if you choose to cater to them, and climate change is absolutely brutal in terms of predictability (read: need for snowmaking - I love watching the f*ing freeze line vibrate up and down right over our location (just south of the Catskills) when it was solidly 40 mi south 15 yrs ago). This is just my layman's inference, I'm not in the biz, just a customer for the last 45 yrs.

    That said, I fear for the future of the industry because in the midst of the declining curve of climate opportunity to run the business, the pricing is going up insanely. 12 yrs ago we went to Tahoe and sampled Northstar, Squaw, Heavenly and Homewood - 3 majors and a minor (which was awesome and my pick for a "working mountain" (working on skillz) if I lived there, at ~$50). The majors topped out at $90 at Heavenly, I believe with the Snow Bomb card. Today they make me laugh at $120 or more, but f*ing worse, the Catskills are now seeing $90 prices. (Kudos BTW to VT and NH where I see smaller areas (with presumably more reliable snow) still hitting a $50-$60 mark - awesome.)

    I don't have the answer to the question, is this what delivering that on-snow experience costs, with reasonable margins, vs. is this pricing the market will accept for the "lifestyle experience" being offered ? (I remember not knowing whether to puke or laugh when Rossignol proclaimed that it was going to be a "mountain lifestyle company", I assumed that was the Europeans' attempt at implementing American marketing and "branding" trash.) Implicit there is a question about whether these places that used to be mid-market on the scale of the Northeast, are now subordinating themselves to control by marketing theorists, who in turn are prescribing that their marketing sweet spot should be people who aspire to display their class status by engaging in "upscale" purchasing, i.e. paying "upcharges" (a premium) to show that they're socioeconomic winners who can afford to separate themselves from the lower classes ?

    Regardless of whether the prices are actually necessary for the business to survive delivering an objectively valuable on-snow experience, or are the effect of the reemergence of socioeconomic class in the recreation market, the de facto effect is a de-democratization of the sport of skiing - it will become accessible to fewer and fewer people, particularly since the economy never really recovered after 2008 for the broad public, under the Obama and now the Trump administrations - downward social mobility starts with downward pressure on income and blossoms with lack of access to amenities of middle-class life (it's not entitlement since our ancestors and we worked for, built, and earned it).

    There will always be a market for recreation for the rich, let them have their $160 lift tickets and their $20 hamburgers. For the rest of the American public who actually keep the place running, there needs to be downward pressure on price by tuning the expectations about the atmospherics of the area to what actually matters (clean bathrooms, heat, lockers and fresh paint in a lodge with enough room for the weekend lunch crowd, quality basic food that isn't the source of the resort's margins, functioning parking, competent staff) and placing the energy of the business behind the on-snow operation. If that is objectively so expensive these days that price won't move, then I can't say anything more, I don't know the inside of the industry. I'll repeat my observation though that if current trends continue, the industry will shrink (since the fantasy income curve of the last 40 years of bubble economies is already over and the pool of "winners" in that game is rapidly shrinking - nothing beats a broad comfortable middle class to be the rising tide that floats all boats).
     
  15. DanoT

    DanoT RVer-Skier Skier

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    The best most memorable powder day of my life happened at Apex, B.C. in the late '80s. It had snowed 2-3 feet in 3 days, finally ending at dusk on Saturday.

    I arrived Sunday morning and was just about to go down Gunbarell (steepest run on the mountain) with piles of cut up snow, when I noticed tracks heading left toward a lightly wooded area. I followed the tracks but started to lose elevation so I didn't go far before heading down hill....It was thigh deep and completely untracked. It was the only time that I went skiing and only skied one run, the same one, all day thigh deep and the only time that I even saw a couple of other skiers was at the end of the day as they were coming back from farther out.

    And when I went in for lunch that day, the Gunbarell Saloon was empty and they had CBC TV on, showing WC Racing from Europe.
     
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  16. teejaywhy

    teejaywhy Booting up Skier

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    Love this thread.

    It's taking me back to my younger/poorer days when our annual ski trip was made affordable by a 12-hour one-way drive from Phoenix, lodging in a fleabag motel in Salt Lake City, and daily drives up the canyons to the various resorts with brown bag lunches in the parking lot. Good times!

    Actually, my first visit to Utah was a solo trip circa 1981. I stayed in the "dormitory" at the Chateau Apres in Park City $7 a night. Bunk bed and a communal shower. $1 off coupon for the breakfast special in the restaurant. Seems like a very long time ago!
     
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  17. teejaywhy

    teejaywhy Booting up Skier

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    Ha ha, I just looked up the Chateau Apres, still there. Dorm is now $40 a night. Looks like the place has not changed since I was there. Park City is by no means a dirtbag resort but staying at the Chateau Apres would fit the experience.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  18. Thread Starter
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    Analisa

    Analisa Out on the slopes Skier

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    Shoutout to @Eric267 @wyowindrunner and @Posaune for the Discovery recommendation. Oh. My. God. Might give Whitewater a run for its money in terms of our favorite resorts. We need to get back there on a powder day. So much fun to rip steep groomers as fast as you can without having to dodge a single other soul. My boyfriend's watch said he clocked 70 a few times, but we both think it's a little inflated. Pretty sure his Bent Chetler 120s would chatter into pieces at that speed. The Fingers all softened up really nicely by mid-day - we can't wait to get back next winter on late Feb powder day to lap the East Bowl all day.

    Lodge definitely deserves a special mention. Can't get over a beer, soda, cheese fries, and two giant scone cookies for <$15. Between that and the $49 lift tickets I just wanted to shake all the employees that worked there like "how do you make money?!?!"
     
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  19. James

    James Skiing the powder Instructor

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    Sounds amazing!
    What are those?
     
  20. Thread Starter
    TS
    Analisa

    Analisa Out on the slopes Skier

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    13785688-644D-4BB5-8C6B-5F92EBCAC65D.png
     
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