2011-2012 Freeskier Resort Guide: The Rest of the Best
AS SEEN IN THE NOVEMBER 2011 ISSUE OF FREESKIER.
You’ll see what’s up with Breck’s park scene on page 98, including the re-aligning of the Freeway terrain park jump line and the 22-foot halfpipe that opened for the 2011 season. The biggest reason, however, that Breckenridge bumped up from seventh to third in our rankings in one year is the snow the resort had in 2010-11. Multiple days in the double digits of light Colorado blower (five days in mid-December and a stretch of three days in January where over three feet fell) and a bomber snowpack made laps on Peak 7 and out-of-bounds on Peak 6 an absolute grin-fest.
Sure, it gets crowded with the weekend Front Range crowd, but that also makes Breckenridge the place to see and be seen from the T-bar line to the T-Bar deck (confusing, even if you’ve been there) for après in the sun. The 2012 season will see Breckenridge celebrating its 50th anniversary, so the celebrations and reasons to celebrate will be countless.
ACREAGE: 2,358 acres.
VERTICAL: 3,398 feet.
2010-11 SNOWFALL: 512 inches.
HAPPY HOUR: T-Bar (at the base of Peak 8).
PARK/PIPE: Fiveterrainparks,threehalfpipes (one22-foot).
DON’T MISS: The Park Lane scene, the Windows on a powder day, or dollar Rolling Rocks at the Pub.
Few resorts on the continent can offer what Jackson Hole can: nearly limitless notorious sidecountry, North America’s steepest skiing, world-class accommodations, creative park features in the Burton Stash Parks, and a rowdy Western night-life. We could go on, but all you need to know is if you like getting gnarly, Jackson is where you want to go.
ACREAGE: 2,500 acres.
VERTICAL: 4,139 feet.
2010-11 SNOWFALL: 557 inches.
2012 IMPROVEMENTS: New Marmot Lift from South Pass Traverse to top of the Gondola, new lower season pass price.
HAPPY HOUR: Nick Wilson’s Cowboy Bar.
PARK/PIPE: Two terrain parks, four Burton Stash terrain parks, a halfpipe.
DON’T MISS: Stagecoach Bar on disco night, Million Dollar Cowboy Bar, Teton Pass laps.
With only one lift pass you have access to 5,000 acres of terrain that’s usually blanketed with the best snow in North America. Each resort has its own unique vibe, but combined, they form a power house of options that put them midway through our Top 10. No matter which you choose on any given day, you can do no wrong in that Wasatch powder.
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ACREAGE: 2,200 acres (Alta), 2,500 acres (Snowbird).
VERTICAL: 2,020 feet (Alta), 3,240 feet (Snowbird).
2010-11 SNOWFALL: 724 inches (Alta), 783 inches (Snowbird).
HAPPY HOUR: Peruvian Lodge (Alta), Tram patio with a tall PBR from the market (Snowbird).
PARK/PIPE: One terrain park (Snowbird).
DON’T MISS: The legendary Peruvian Lodge (Alta), Sushi with a view at Aerie Lounge on the top floor of the Cliff Lodge (Snowbird).
Baker may be harder to get to than your average Top 10 ranker, but it’s that same trek, its lack of on-mountain lodging and reputation for heavy weather that make for perfect runs long into pow days. Last year, Baker saw over 850 inches of snow. With terrain set up to take advantage of lofty snow totals, which Baker sees almost every season, it’s a powder skier’s paradise.
ACREAGE: 1,000 acres.
VERTICAL: 1,500 feet.
2010-11 SNOWFALL: 857 inches.
HAPPY HOUR: Milano’s and Chair 9 in Glacier.
PARK/PIPE: One park and halfpipe.
DON’T MISS: A lap on Hemispheres, taking advantage of the huge storms.
Park City Mountain Resort’s top-notch terrain parks and Eagle Superpipe may give the resort a park-centric rap, but PCMR boasts more vertical than Squaw, more acreage than Jackson and received 503 inches of Wasatch pure last year. With a strong local contingent, an Olympic heritage and an international airport 45 minutes away, Park City Mountain Resort is more than meets the eye.
ACREAGE: 3,300 acres.
VERTICAL: 3,100 feet 2010-11.
SNOWFALL: 503 inches.
2012 IMPROVEMENTS: Three King’s chairlift being replaced with triple chair that will double carrying capacity, off-season dirt work to Eagle Superpipe to allowing earlier opening.
HAPPY HOUR: Corner Store PARK/PIPE: Three parks and a 22-foot halfpipe.
DON’T MISS: The Sundance Film Festival or Cobra Dogs.
Mammoth’s expansive 3,500 acres include 10 terrain parks, three halfpipes and 3,100 vertical feet of gnarly terrain. Mammoth is best known for its spring park, but last season, La Niña dumped 669 inches of fresh on the mountain, making its oft-overlooked gnarly terrain really come to life.
ACREAGE: 3,500 acres.
VERTICAL: 3,100 feet 2010-11.
SNOWFALL: 669 inches.
2012 IMPROVEMENTS: Chair 5 being replaced with a high-speed quad, new air service from San Diego and Orange County, new RFID ticket system using reloadable card stock so skiers can reload their tickets online or by phone.
HAPPY HOUR: The Yodler.
PARK/PIPE: 10 parks and three halfpipes (one 22-foot).
DON’T MISS: Local hot springs.
Revelstoke’s runs were originally a cat and heli zone that provided swaths of epic terrain to high-paying clients. With the addition of a lift and a gondola in 2007 to access its 3,000 acres, that same terrain is now a ski resort. The 5,620-foot vert was covered with 600 inches of the good stuff last season, making it perfect for those seeking the deep and extreme.
ACREAGE: 3,121 acres.
VERTICAL: 5,620 feet 2010-11.
SNOWFALL: 600 inches.
2012 IMPROVEMENTS: New Turtle Creek beginner slope with 570-foot magic carpet, grading work on lower mountain to extend snow coverage in late season.
HAPPY HOUR: Rockford Wok Bar Grill in the Nelsen Lodge.
DON’T MISS: Start with coffee at the Main Street Cafe, dinner at the Village Idiot after shredding.
If you found a way to dig yourself out of the ridiculous snows of last winter and made it to Squaw, you were certainly blessed with some of the greatest steep powder skiing of the year. Unfortunately, wind blew a lot of the fresh away, but those who got it, got it good. Add to the terrain a long season and a thriving base area and Squaw is always a winner.
ACREAGE: 4,000 acres.
VERTICAL: 2,850 feet.
2010-11 SNOWFALL: 810 inches.
2012 IMPROVEMENTS: Terrain park partnership with Snow Park Technologies.
HAPPY HOUR SPOT: Le Chamois.
PARK/PIPE: Three parks and one halfpipe.
DON’T MISS: Hiking to the Palisades, maximum GNAR points.
About the author:
Henrik Lampert loves hot dogs, backflips, the Boston Bruins and Norway. Twenty-seven years old and a Massachusetts native, he's the Editor of Freeskier Magazine and Freeskier.com—a proud staffer since 2010.