Tell Us About Your Season, Pondering The Last Turn, Mystery Horse, Snowbasin Report, E-Biking Coming Up.

Signs of the season winding down include ads and promotions for next year’s season passes. The time is now to get the bargains. One development to note is that Arapahoe Basin COO Al Henceroth said that the resort is ending its 22-year relationship with Vail and the Epic Pass. Reason: Crowded slopes and packed parking lots. A-Basin will also not be joining IKON as an option, nope, no way. The only way to get unlimited skiing at the venerable resort is to buy a $399 A-Basin-only pass.  Unintended consequences, friends, are catching up to what some might call an “oversold” market. Anyone been up Little Cottonwood Canyon on a Saturday morning in the last few weeks? How’s that parking situation working out for ya?

Another sign of the season ending is some stock-taking of what 2018-19 has meant for you.  For us, we didn’t get as much skiing in as we’d planned, nor did it snow enough in the Boston area to really do extensive xc-skiing in local conservation land and parks. Poor planning, low snow. But the good news for us is we spent quality time with good friends, met new ones, explored new places, and know where to get started next year.

How Was Your Season?

How about you?  How was your season?  What were the highlights? The lowlights? The bad news? The good news? Happy with your IKON/Epic? Unhappy with too many people in your space on the lift line? Did you invite your grandkids to come ski with you? Did you try a new area? Did you learn something new? Did you stop doing something you used to do? Write your summary of the year in the Comments section below, and we can all get a sense of how the community made it through this incredible snow year.  Yes, sure, we know there are still lots and lots of you skiing out West. How’s that extra long season treating you guys? Let us know.

This Week

Speaking of winding down, Marc Liebman offers a thoughtful piece on his Last Perfect Turn, a conspicuous part of everyone’s last run of the season. Our Mystery Glimpse offers a picture of skijoring somewhere out West.  Can you guess what’s up? Tamsin Venn visits Snowbasin and, unlike the crowds at A-Basin, finds lots of room to swing as well as beautiful views. Finally, Pat McCloskey looks ahead to non-snow activities with an interesting introduction to e-bikes. As someone who has pedaled many a mile on road bikes in charity events and cross-country rides, the very idea of an assist-pedal bike was anathema. Now we are not so sure.  Looks pretty interesting.

Next week will be our final weekly edition until next fall. We will continue to publish monthly through the non-snow months. Coming soon will be our 2019 Spring Survey.  Watch for it.  We promise it will be short and sweet, and the information we gather really helps us steer

Once again, please tell your friends about us. Remember, there are more of us every day, and we aren’t going away.

Credit: Alf Engen Museum


  1. Michael Sharkey says:

    Been skiing Sugarbush for fifty years, this year one the best started early, many more powder days. But as we eastern skiers all know temperatures seem to fluctuate a lot causing the mountain to rely on outstanding grooming & snowmaking, this year the fluctuations were very short and always seemed to have very quick recoveries. I was only able to ski 84 days( usually about 100)but I keep a record of conditions every single day I skied were good to excellent.

  2. Arapahoe Bby Vail.asin which you mentioned has senior(70+) season pass for $126 & doesn’t close til sometime in June so plenty of late season skiing there for me. Also this senior does not take a last turn I just follow the snow ;going to NewZealand(free skiing for seniors at Raupehu) for all of July ;than head for Mt Hotham in Australia for Aug & Sept. Free skiing there for senior;a;though probably last year of free skiing as they were just bought out .Finally back to Arapaho in October when they usually open. Never supper for me. Tom

  3. Gary Halbedel says:

    i got in 17 days here in the northeast. I would say I had a great season. Primarily because I have the flexibility to carefully pick my days and read between the lines of condition reports.
    What I did different this year: my wife and I have an agreement to spend no more than $30 on a lift ticket. I bought a frequent skier card from Gore for $99 with 2 free days and half the 70+ price other days, I averaged out at $29 per day.
    My last day at Gore was large ice and bare patches. Had to be aware and carefully pick a line but I still had a good day.

  4. Thanks to my non-skiing wife’s insistence, I purchased both the Epic and Ikon passes this year. We enjoyed six days at Snowmass with my skiing daughters, son-in-law and two granddaughters (then 2 3/4 and 3 1/2 years old). I also spent a week at Park City/Deer Valley. I retire at the end of this year and look forward to more skiing beginning next year.

    I’m impressed with Eldora’s ski instruction for my older grandchild. In four weeks she became an independent skier and loves the blues.

  5. Did some late spring skiing April 10th in New York state at 3 small areas Song mountain, Swain, and Labrador Mountain. Great conditions for this late in New York. I commend Arapahoe 4 leaving Epic an Ikon We need more affordable places for us seniors and we need to encourage the smaller feeder resorts.

  6. Jack Murray says:

    Did 40+ days at Bretton Woods. We’ll do more next year. Got my 8 year old grandson his first skis etc. and he took to it like a duck to water.

  7. Richard Kunz says:

    Great year! The best powder skiing of my life in February, March, and April. Was lucky to ski in Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, and Utah this year. Got in 50 days at 10 ski resorts. One comment that I heard over and over in ski area parking lots, “don’t people work on weekdays anymore?”

  8. Bob Gordon says:

    Skied the Dolomites based on the tour described but went independently. Getting there is not half the fun. Vans etc., are fabulously expensive so rented a tiny car from Innsbruck airport. The skis were touching the back window and the dash. Driving Italian mountain roads in the dark, with signage that makes NJ’s shine was just short of terrifying, but I did make it to Campitello in time for dinner. The mountains are breathtaking! There are not enough days in a month to ski all the runs. I found an area precisely to my liking: the “right” slope angle, and so wide that I could count 8 lifts crisscrossing it, with a few crossing under/over others. Never a wait at a lift. The snow coverage was very low, by The Rockies standards but nary a bare patch and it ran to soft by the of the day. I LOVE soft because it lets me run the fall line straight on without going too fast to control. I was afraid to do the StellaRondo on my own, fearing to take a wrong turn and not get back by day’s end. There are too many options. It needs a guide. I’d suggest flying into Venice … at least it is a shorter drive.

  9. robert heess says:

    Being from the East coast I never had to deak with altitude. Last week at Mt Hood Meadows at 7000 ft I ws short of breath and as weak as a kitten. I am wondering if I should get a POC (portable oxygen concentrator). Any body have any experience with this problem and a solution?

  10. George Karlsven says:

    A great season for snow. I ski 80 days a season and have 8 resorts within 60 minutes of my home. So I hit a different resort every day.

    Major change was the extremely negative impact of the IKON pass to Utah resorts. Deer Valley, which I have skied for over thirty years, had its quality destroyed by the IKON pass. Jerk skiing (passing within arms length, cutting off, near collisions, fast skiing through crowded slopes are examples) exploded at Deer Valley this year. And Alta and Snowbird also had an explosion of jerk skiing.

    At Deer Valley the IKON pass caused massive crowds. It often felt like I was skiing in rush hour traffic. Not fun. Always having to watch your six. Why pay a fortune to have the same experience as driving at five pm on the freeway.

    Deer Valley management policies and practices have seriously damaged the brand which was so carefully nurtured over the past forty years.

    The increase in crowds for the Cottonwood canyons has been significant even with non powder days. Again the only difference has been the introduction of the IKON pass. All four resorts in the Cottonwood canyons are on the IKON.

  11. Michael Feldman says:

    My wife and in-laws from Beijing celebrated my 80th year with an Ikon Western winter.
    I was one who had no complaints with Ikon’s no senior discount as this pass was made for seniors such as us with the requisite time on our hands.

    We left New York (car) just before the New Year’s after warming up with 10 days of Eastern skiing at Sugarbush, Loon, Sugarloaf and Sunday River (all on pass), were delayed by a blizzard in South Dakota, but finally reached our initial stop; Big Sky.

    Then off to a week in Jackson Hole, 3 weeks in Salt Lake City, 3 more in Tahoe/Reno, 2 weeks at Aspen and Steamboat and then home on March 15th to do our taxes.

    Snow followed us everywhere we went, often too much, especially Tahoe where we missed at least four days to avalanche mitigation and plain digging out our car.

    As Senior skiers who like groomers, no matter how steep, we loved Deer Valley (surprise) Brighton, a fantastic area for our style of skiing, Alta (of course) Alpine (perfection. enjoyed much more than Squaw), Snowmass and Steamboat.

    Among the areas we missed and were sorry not to be able to sample were Copper, Lake Louise (my in-laws didn’t get a Canadian visa) and Taos.

    Next time.

    Similar trip planned for year after next. Next season Jay/Burke/Sugarbush,
    Loon, Sunday River, Smuggs…Hoping for lots of snow.

  12. Well, there *is* life after 50. I just this day got back from one of the finest weeks of skiing that I have ever had in my life, and, as many here have, I have been skiing for fifty years.

    There’s enough snow in the Rockies for Breckenridge to continue until Memorial Day, something I normally did in Tahoe for all the years I lived in the Bay Area. This week, there was nary a bare spot on any of the runs that *I* did at Breckenridge, and the bowls were magnificent. But I love the winding runs through the trees, and I had knee deep powder on Psychopath (what a name for a run) on Thursday. The funny thing is that, yes, there were flurries at the 9600 foot Breckenridge base, but the snow showers on Wednesday dropped a foot or more in the col that the Breckenridge E Chair serves. And I was there yesterday (the old saw, ya shoulda been here yesterday. Well, I was there yesterday.). Not even the mountain staff was aware of this. Only those who skied in there found that spring powder cache.

    This year in New England was a late start. I don’t know what’s going to happen here. If global warming pushes the jet stream further inland, we’ll get the warm air from the Caribbean that will produce golfing weather here, not the skiing weather produced by nor’easter’s.

    As some here complain about the crowds produced by the skiing pass offerings, global warming could also drive people to the western resorts, further increasing crowds. Breckenridge base is at 9600 feet. Killington ^peak^ is 4000 feet.

    The Wasatch is an area blessed with an Alpine environment but also with maritime snow quantities. So there will be traffic going up to the Salt Lake City resorts. Currently, there’s twenty feet of snow on the ground at Mammoth, and the northern Sierras have nearly that much. It’s another year of Memorial Day skiing at Squaw-Alpine and Mammoth, and at Breckenridge. There will be July 4th skiing in the Sierras.

    So don’t hang up your skis just yet. There are the Sierras and Rockies begging you to enjoy the bounty of all that snow.

  13. Jack Shipley says:

    A good year. In fact, it’s the Good Old Days all over again. Have finished 77 ski days so far (I’m 73), and there is at least a month of great spring snow still left in the Eastern Sierra. All 77 days for me have been in the backcountry, as it’s hard to stomach the astronomical prices and impolite snowboarders at most downhill resorts. One result is that my friends and I have gotten in numerous mile-long runs in perfect powder, with no other tracks to be seen, no snomos to be heard, no problems to be had. Now we’re telemarking some of the same runs on fast spring corn. I won’t tell you exactly where these magical runs are, but most of them are in Mono County, CA. It was even possible this year, for the first time in eight years, to ski right down to lake level (Mono Lake, 6,383′ a.s.l.) like we used to do in the previous Good Old Days. May it happen again!

  14. Tee Murray says:

    The snow was great in Colorado,and exceptional in Steamboat, my home Mtn, skied 117 days. Had a great cmh trip to the Bobbie Burns Lodge with 6200 vertical ft. Runs with good snow from top to bottom. Very grateful to have skied 21 years in a row with over 100 days each year. I am 73. Thank you Lord.

  15. John Caspers says:

    This season was my final ski season before I retire, so next year I’m planning to start my second career as a professional ski bum. This past season was still awesome.
    The second week of December found me at Vail on a trip with the Milwaukee Sitzmark ski club. The club has been running this trip to Vail the same week for 25 years, and this year’s rendition was the first time in at least 20 that Vail was 100% open (even Outer Mongolia was open). Amazing skiing for December!
    In January, I set up a trip for myself and 6 of my colleagues to Park City where we stayed on the Canyons side of the mountain. Again, epic conditions!
    February began with another Sitzmark trip to Aspen/Snowmass. Lots of pow, but extremely windy at the top of Snowmass. The 14 inch powder day at Aspen Mountain was a season highlight! Late February featured a trip to Crested Butte. Wow! Talk about terrain! We did some REAL big-boy skiing at the Butte. I hope that the Vail Ski Corp. doesn’t try to change the Crested Butte experience. I consider the Butte one of the last great ski towns that has managed to remain detached from the commercialization that has tainted towns like Aspen, Telluride, Breck, etc. I’m hopeful that Vail keeps to the plan of updating the lift system, and leaving the rest of the Butte alone.
    In early April my wife and I snuck in one more escape to Keystone (and a day at Breck). We experienced fabulous spring conditions! It is a shame that Keystone had to close on April 7th. They closed with unbelievably good ski conditions, kind of a waste of really good snow 
    In all, I got 26 days in out West (not bad for a Wisconsinite) and 3 days in the Midwest (at Wilmot on my Epic pass. The Friday night fish fry at Cliffs at the base of Wilmot is outstanding). Can’t wait for next year!

  16. Jeff German says:

    After living and working in the SF Bay Area the last 11 years my wife and I moved to Bend, OR this past November.

    We both still work having “ported” our jobs and careers here. We love it here as we lived most of our adult lives in CO and skiied at Winter Park, CO

    I just returned two weeks ago from my annual volunteer event at Snowmass CO. I participate as a volunteer ski instructor for the National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic.

    We have over 350 Veterans and 150 ski instructors plus dozens of other volunteers at this annual event hosted by Aspen/Snowmass.

    This year was the 33rd year of this great event. We had wonderful conditions for the entire week of the event.

    It is the highlight of my year. We salute our Veterans at this week with alpine skiing, nordic skiing, scuba diving, sled hockey, snowmobile riding and fly fishing among the multiple events held the first week of April.

    Check out the event on Facebook and Youtube.

    Thank you for letting me share this post.


  17. Kathleen says:

    Prior to the beginning of ski season, my ski buddy/travel partner and I were planning 3-4 western mountain ski trips. ) Sadly in early December he unexpectedly passed away. As I was working thru my grief, I decided not to let my loss keep me away from “our” passion, so I contactted friends living in various ski areas and set out on ski safari to heal. I skied 28 days within 6 weeks ~
    Steamboat, Wolf Creek, Aspen, Park City, Deer Valley, Powder Mtn, Snowbasin, Solitude, Alta & Snowbird ~ all mountains we had skied together. The snow was fabulous everywhere! I think my friend was with me in spirit,…when I returned home, I feel peaceful.

  18. I missed the 2017-18 season after breaking three bones and tearing my ACL, so it felt great to be able to ski again this past season. The injuries left some permanent damage so I didn’t know what to expect, but it was a great winter. Taught skiing again at Stevens Pass. Skied with my grandkids at Mission Ridge. Skied at Whitefish during December, and in Austria’s Zillertal during March. My doctor gave me a high-tech knee brace to wear while skiing, but it felt safer to ski without it (and good research confirms my prejudice in this matter). I was advised to avoid moguls, but I found it easier to make short radius turns in the bumps than longer radius turns on groomers because the pressure wasn’t sustained on either leg for long. I was advised to get wider skis “for stability”, but with a torn ACL it is harder to access the edges on a wider ski. Except in powder, where edges don’t really matter, I do well on an all-mountain ski that is 84 cm underfoot. I skied about 30 days, and hope to ski my age (70 days) next year. Wish me luck.

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