Featured Share your lift line wait time experiences

Discussion in 'General Resort Discussion' started by TonyPlush, Feb 5, 2019.

  1. TonyPlush

    TonyPlush Getting on the lift Skier

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2018
    Posts:
    157
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Over the years I've learned that the term "crowded" is pretty relative. So, I thought it'd be interesting to share your specific lift line experiences at various mountains in various scenarios.

    As a destination skier, I'll start with specifics from a few trips I can remember.

    Vail
    • Tuesday (bluebird day, February 2014) - 5-15 minutes for most frontside lifts
    • Saturday (bluebird day, mid-December, 2015) - 25 minutes for all backside lifts, about 15 minutes for all front side lifts
    Park City (late January, 2016)
    • Friday (0") - 10 to 20 minutes for most lifts
    Deer Valley
    • Saturday (bluebird day, late January, 2016) - 0 to 5 minutes
    Whistler/Blackcomb (late January, 2017)
    • Thursday (14" overnight) - 5 to 10 minutes for all lifts
    • Friday (1-2" during day) - 10 to 15 minutes for all lifts
    • Saturday (6" during day) - Worst I've ever seen. 30 to 45 minutes for every lift. Skied bell to bell and only managed 6 runs all day.
    Snowmass (March, 2017)
    • Thursday (bluebird day) - 0 minutes
    • Friday (bluebird day) - 0 minutes
    Steamboat (mid-January, 2018)
    • Wednesday (bluebird day) - 0 minutes
    • Thursday (1-2") - no meaningful wait times
    • Friday (15" overnight) - 10 to 15 minutes for most lifts throughout the day
    Jackson Hole (late January, 2019)
    • Wednesday (bluebird day) - no lift lines, 10 minutes for tram
    • Thursday (bluebird day) - no lift lines, 10 minutes for tram
    • Friday (bluebird day) - no lift lines for most of mountain, 8 minutes for Bridger Gondola, 10 minutes for Thunder Chair, 20-30 minutes for tram
     
  2. Fuller

    Fuller T shirts & flip flops... Skier

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2016
    Posts:
    504
    Location:
    Whitefish or Florida
    I skied 7" of fresh but somewhat wind scoured powder today with (1) 5 minute wait to get up top. The zero degree temps helped to keep the crowds under wraps. I wouldn't ski at all if I had to wait 45 minutes per run. Yesterday the upper mountain was shut down so I lapped the #2 chair for 2.5 hours as fast as I could go. Me and about 50 other guests. I had very low expectations but it was a blast. I would take a day like that over the perfect powder day with 5000 of my closest friends.

    In the surfing world my saying was always "when in doubt - paddle out". It doesn't rhyme for skiing but I've never been disappointed to ski in crappy conditions when everyone else is drinking hot toddies. No crowds increases the fun / productivity / gnar factor by a mile.
     
  3. Bad Bob

    Bad Bob old n' slow Skier

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2015
    Posts:
    1,234
    Location:
    in desert looking down at a river and up at MT's
    15" fresh 49* North Feb 2018. No lift line ZERO. Rode chair once all doa with anybody and had to wait for them I was lonesome.

    Soldier Mountain 3 weeks ago on a Sunday 8" fresh. ZERO lift line.

    Sun Valley 2 weeks ago; ZERO lift lines groomer day.

    Alyeska 1972 "free ski day", 90 minutes! A store here.
    The day was sponsored by the ski shop I worked for as Ski School Director. A huge PR day for us. Going through the line chatting everybody up, had my SS parka on of course. Only access up was the old double chair at that time, and it was hanging low with the weight on it. Finally got on the chair and somebody hollered at me from the ground; turned to talk back to them. Promptly caught my tips on the safety rope to keep people away from in front of the loading area. It drug me out of the chair and executed a perfect belly-flop into soft snow as witnessed by God and half of all the Anchorage skiers.

    What do you do after this performance? Went to the back of the line and started over again.
    It took a very long time to live that one down. :D
     
  4. Bobby Jeremy

    Bobby Jeremy At the base lodge Skier

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2019
    Posts:
    2
    Beech Mountain, NC, circa 2010-2015, 30 minutes plus on weekends/holidays, all for 95 acres (almost never fully open) and 800 vert of extraordinarily crowded trails featuring dubious snow. Was my only real option to ski those years. God bless them, it’s tough to run a ski area in the SE.
     
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  5. James

    James Skiing the powder Instructor

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2015
    Posts:
    5,518
    I remember 45 min to an hour for the Stowe Gondola. In general wait times are much shorter. 20 - 25 min would be the equivalent today.
     


  6. scottyb

    scottyb Putting on skis Skier

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2019
    Posts:
    111
    Location:
    Canaanistan, WV
    I waited 8 months and 3 weeks for a lift ride from the end of the previous season.
     
  7. focker

    focker Getting on the lift Skier

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2017
    Posts:
    462
    Worst I've experienced:

    Afton Alps (Vail owned resort in MN): 15-20 minutes waits on a Saturday for 300' of vert. They're always insanely busy on Saturdays with the Epic pass now. unskiable. 8,000+ people of 300 acres of terrain.

    Lutsen, MN: The old Gondola on a Saturday. 1 hour wait to get from Moose Mountain back to the main base near the end of the day. This Gondola has now been replaced and there are no lines at all.

    Copper Mountain: 10+ minute waits at all lifts on a Sunday with 4" of fresh.

    Best (most unexpected actually):

    Whitefish, MT. 5 minute or less wait on main lifts on a 7" Monday. NO WAIT on a 10" Tuesday. Just ski right up and get on the lift on a 10" day. Insane.

    Loveland, CO. No wait at all on Monday. No fresh snow however.
     
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  8. pchewn

    pchewn Out on the slopes Skier

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2017
    Posts:
    458
    Location:
    Beaverton OR
    Timberline Lodge Sunday : About 2 chair wait (sometimes), often 0 wait.
    Timberline Lodge Monday, 5" fresh about the best snow this year: 0 wait, often several empty chairs between loading singles, doubles on a quad lift.

    I dread the day they solve the parking problem and move the crowds from the parking lot to the hill and the lifts....
     
  9. pchewn

    pchewn Out on the slopes Skier

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2017
    Posts:
    458
    Location:
    Beaverton OR
    Which would you rather have: Crowds in the lift lines, or crowds on the slopes?
     
  10. Sibhusky

    Sibhusky Making fresh tracks Skier

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2016
    Posts:
    1,943
    Location:
    Whitefish
    Neither. Because that's normal. Lately it is less normal, but still what I'm used to.
     
  11. New2

    New2 Getting on the lift Skier

    Joined:
    May 3, 2017
    Posts:
    308
    Location:
    Spokane
    Definitely relative depending on region. My experiences...
    • Colorado front range (Eldora, Copper, A-Basin, Keystone) 5-15 minutes.
    • Western slope (Telluride & Crested Butte) 0-5 minutes.
    • Most of Utah 0-5 minutes (busy days at Snowbasin/tram at Snowbird a bit longer)
    • Alta 5-15 minutes
    • Mt Hood Meadows 5-15 minutes
    • Timberline, Skibowl, Cooper Spur, White pass 0-1 minute
    • Inland Northwest 0-1 minute
    • Tahoe (Sierra-at-Tahoe, Heavenly) 0-5 minutes
    • Southern California (Mountain High, Snow Summit) generally 0-5 minutes, but occasional longer lines
    • Arizona Snowbowl (back before the new lifts) 0-20 minutes
    You could spend more time at Meadows and have both! :ogcool:
     
  12. Thread Starter
    TS
    TonyPlush

    TonyPlush Getting on the lift Skier

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2018
    Posts:
    157
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Fair point.

    Honestly though, I'd probably take crowds on the slopes, since I can (usually) find more difficult terrain, dart off trail, or head into the trees to avoid the crowds once I'm up.

    I think your question gets down to "Are you a local or on vacation?" In my experience, locals prefer uncrowded slopes and are willing to wait a bit to preserve that. I know that was me back when I lived in Denver. But now, as a destination skier with only a few precious days on the hill a year, I'd rather have the option to at least try to find uncrowded pockets rather than getting trapped in a crowded lift line.
     
  13. tch

    tch What do I know; I'm just some guy on the internet. Skier

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2015
    Posts:
    422
    Location:
    New England
    Not exactly on point, but those of us with history remember 20-25 minute waits being the norm. Today's high-speed lifts, 6-packs, etc. do a far better job of keeping lines to a minimum. That said, as a college prof for a long time with a flexible schedule and now retired, I have been spoiled by years of weekday skiing. Crowded to me is more than about 5 minutes.
    Last time I experienced a significant wait was when Mt. Snow offered $12 tix in honor of their founding. At the end of the day (6 runs), I decided the experience hadn't been worth my $12.
     
  14. Posaune

    Posaune sliding Skier

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2016
    Posts:
    499
    Location:
    Bellingham
    Baker -
    Weekends, 2 or 3 minutes
    Weekdays, one or two chairs worth if there is one. Most of the time it's ski on-ski off.

    Stevens Pass-
    I don't ski there on the weekends anymore, but in the past it was about 5 to 10 minutes, sometimes a lot more.
    Weekdays one minute to 0 seconds
     
    Big J likes this.
  15. noncrazycanuck

    noncrazycanuck Getting off the lift Skier

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2017
    Posts:
    407
    Some hills (whistler Revy kicking Horse) the hardest lines to avoid are the original uploads and they can be long on a powder day well before the lifts open some days .

    Once up never crowds on the best skiing in BC Alberta but on all hills in this region lines vary greatly depending on day,week, or time of day -
    lots of mostly ski on, occasional very ugly lines

    on big powder days at Whistler (if the alpine can't open) I sometimes think more about best way to avoid the bulk of the lines than I do about which run to take

    that being said on a slow day at Whistler you probably will still get around 20,000 vertical,
    20k used to be a pretty decent day in the era of fixed grip lifts.
     
    Mike Rogers likes this.
  16. Seldomski

    Seldomski Paralysis by analysis Skier

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2017
    Posts:
    541
    As you ski the same place more often, you can start to figure out the typical traffic patterns and what to avoid. In general, these are my 'findings'
    1) Start early. Not first chair, but ~20-30 mins after seems to work. If it's a powder day, you are probably screwed in general for lines on the first lift up.
    2) Ski through lunch. 11-1 is typical lunch time and lines will be shorter (at least those away from food). You can end early (2:30/3pm) and eat lunch/apres then.
    3) Make your way back to access of frontside ~1.5hr before lifts close. This keeps you ahead of the crowds that will start trickling back end of day. Maximize ski time by staying in high alpine until crowds get bad, then download (or plan to be last down the mountain to avoid demolition derby).
    4) If you find an area with short lift line and good snow, just stay there. Ask yourself if you think you could actually improve your situation by moving. These good areas are often 'dead ends' and not traffic hubs.
    5) Learn to ski in poor weather and go for it! Seriously, easiest way to minimize wait time is ski a day where the weather 'sucks.'

    The opposite way to maximize misery --
    1) Start late (~10:30am)
    2) Eat lunch at noon
    3) Start your way back from backside to ski down the front 30 minutes before base lifts close.
    4) Move around a lot and travel the whole mountain.
    5) Follow the crowd. Seriously some think that everyone being somewhere means the skiing must be good there. Not always the case...
    6) Ski only bluebird days...
     
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  17. James

    James Skiing the powder Instructor

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2015
    Posts:
    5,518
    You need to know when ski school and the racing programs start/stop. Also where. On some mts this is a huge lift factor, and eating. Few people eat at 11-11:45, except race kids/parents. So that is a good time actually.
     
  18. Sibhusky

    Sibhusky Making fresh tracks Skier

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2016
    Posts:
    1,943
    Location:
    Whitefish
    Ski when the temps are in single digits. My favorite "conditions". The famed Ant Hill yesterday.

    [​IMG]
     
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  19. Thread Starter
    TS
    TonyPlush

    TonyPlush Getting on the lift Skier

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2018
    Posts:
    157
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Good tip here. At Jackson Hole last Wednesday, I ate lunch at 12:05 and couldn't find a table among the hundreds of people.

    The next day I entered the same lodge at 11:35 and was the only person in there. Couldn't believe how much of a difference 30 minutes made.
     
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  20. headybrew

    headybrew surrender to the flow Skier

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2017
    Posts:
    124
    Location:
    Tabernash Colorado
    Anything longer than 10 minutes is unacceptable and I will either find a new lift, leave the mountain, or take a break. I've skied 8 mountains this season, 6 on Powder Alliance, 1 other independent, and Winter Park. The Super Gauge line last Sunday at 2:30 at Winter Park was longer than anything I experienced at the other 7 resorts and some of those were skied on holiday weekends...
     

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