Ski Vacation Insider Survey

Written by Alexa Owen • Mar 23, 2016

Snowpak recently distributed a survey to industry insiders and ski town locals that were willing to share some of their advice on how to make the best of a ski vacation at their home mountains. In these results, you’ll find insider information on over 30 resorts in the United States and Canada. These responses have been handpicked for their clarity and quality, and are ordered by popularity and geography. Got some advice on your home mountain that’s not listed here? Leave it in the comments section below – we’d love to know!

Breckenridge, CO

James says…

What is the biggest misconception about skiing Breckenridge?

"That it’s any less busy than places like Keystone and Vail."

What secret gem have you found while skiing there?

“Powder stays for days after snow in the glades between peaks 6 and 7.”

Do you have any tips for skiers new to the mountain?

"Ride Kensho on a busy day, avoid Peak 7 base during busy hours, make the Peak 6 hike at least once, check for wind conditions before you go."

Jackson Hole, WY

Ryan says…

What is the biggest misconception about skiing Jackson Hole?

"That the snow is somehow better than at other resorts."

What secret gem have you found while skiing there?

“That the only good Mexican food left is at Los Napalitos.”

Do you have any tips for skiers new to the mountain?

"Drink less and stay in shape year-round."

 

Renee says…

What is the biggest misconception about skiing Jackson Hole?

"That it’s easy."

What secret gem have you found while skiing there?

“A lot of them! Secret powder pockets, and where to ski first on a powder day.”

Do you have any tips for skiers new to the mountain?

"It’s not very beginner-friendly, but it’s amazing!"

 

Park City, UT

Tyler says…

What is the biggest misconception about skiing Park City?

"That there’s no backcountry."

What secret gem have you found while skiing there?

“For powder days, go to The Canyons side of the resort. There’s a run called Ecstasy that’s fantastic in powder.”

 

Vail, CO

Chris says…

What is the biggest misconception about skiing Vail?

"That Blue Sky Basin is the best place to ski."

What secret gem have you found while skiing there?

“The Epic Pass.”

Do you have any tips for skiers new to the mountain?

"Book early and visit during non-peak times."

 

Doug says…

What is the biggest misconception about skiing Vail?

"That lift lines are too long."

What secret gem have you found while skiing there?

“So much awesome sidecountry.”

Do you have any tips for skiers new to the mountain?

"Don’t get overwhelmed."

Will says…

What is the biggest misconception about skiing Vail?

"That there are long lines."

What secret gem have you found while skiing there?

“Minturn Mile.”

Do you have any tips for skiers new to the mountain?

"Follow the sun."

Winter Park, CO

Nick says…

What is the biggest misconception about skiing Winter Park?

"There’s no hard terrain on the Winter Park side."

What secret gem have you found while skiing there?

“The many smoking huts.”

Do you have any tips for skiers new to the mountain?

"If you’re experienced head to the Eagle Wind territory – there’s great tree skiing and lots of space."

Keystone, CO

Zach says…

What is the biggest misconception about skiing Keystone?

"That there’s a lack of good terrain, too crowded."

What secret gem have you found while skiing there?

“Tiger Run, The Windows (specifically Wild Card, Wild Card Ridge, and Brahma), and the top gate of Erickson Bowl.”

Do you have any tips for skiers new to the mountain?

"All but Tiger Run are self-explanatory. For Tiger, enter Paymaster and immediately (at the bottom of the little intro off of the ridge) cut right into the trees. Not an early season run."

 

Alex says…

What is the biggest misconception about skiing Keystone?

"That there’s not enough advanced terrain."

What secret gem have you found while skiing there?

“Bergman, Independence, and Erickson Bowls.”

Do you have any tips for skiers new to the mountain?

"The trees are great."

 

Steamboat, CO

Steve says…

What is the biggest misconception about skiing Steamboat?

"That there’s not enough challenging terrain."

What secret gem have you found while skiing there?

“Weasel Trees.”

Do you have any tips for skiers new to the mountain?

"If you are skiing a run that you really enjoy the pitch on, look for the trees on either side of the run – should be great for tree skiing."

Andrew says…

What is the biggest misconception about skiing Steamboat?

"That there’s “champagne powder” – it’s a marketing hoax."

What secret gem have you found while skiing there?

“All the awesome unmarked, in-bounds tree skiing that most vacationers probably don’t have the skills to ski.”

Do you have any tips for skiers new to the mountain?

"If you can make it work, don’t come when all the kids have off school."

 

Killington, VT

Lee says…

What is the biggest misconception about skiing Killington?

"That it’s a beginner mountain."

What secret gem have you found while skiing there?

“Trees.”

Do you have any tips for skiers new to the mountain?

"Bear Mountain is warmer; Canyon is coldest but least crowded."

Jerry says…

What is the biggest misconception about skiing Killington?

"That OL [Outer Limits] is the steepest trail, it’s actually only as steep as a normal blue."

What secret gem have you found while skiing there?

“The Snowdon Rope tow – hot laps all day!”

Do you have any tips for skiers new to the mountain?

"Canyon/North Ridge generally has the worst quality snow."

Arapahoe Basin, CO

Neil says…

What is the biggest misconception about skiing Arapahoe Basin?

"That it is similar to other Summit County mountains."

What secret gem have you found while skiing there?

“Lightning Trees.”

Do you have any tips for skiers new to the mountain?

"It’s not good for groomers."

 

Lake Louise, BC

Matt says…

What is the biggest misconception about skiing Lake Louise?

"That there isn’t any good tree skiing."

Do you have any tips for skiers new to the mountain?

"ERs is where the good snow is – always!"

 

Heavenly, CA

Kyle says…

What is the biggest misconception about skiing Heavenly?

"That it’s not steep."

What secret gem have you found while skiing there?

“Killebrew Canyon, north-facing.”

Do you have any tips for skiers new to the mountain?

"Don’t get lost."

 

Mammoth, CA 

Steve says…

What is the biggest misconception about skiing Mammoth?

"That there’s only park skiing."

Do you have any tips for skiers new to the mountain?

"Send it hard."

 

Big Sky, MT

Brendan says…

What is the biggest misconception about skiing Big Sky?

"That good snow is readily available."

What secret gem have you found while skiing there?

“Tram on storm days.”

Do you have any tips for skiers new to the mountain?

"Get to know folks, it’s a big mountain."

 

Squaw Valley, CA 

Chris says…

What is the biggest misconception about skiing Squaw Valley?

"That there are mean locals who treat weekend warriors poorly."

What secret gem have you found while skiing there?

“Entering Granite Chief from the top of the Emigrant lift to avoid lift lines.”

Do you have any tips for skiers new to the mountain?

"Get up really early on powder days."

 

Antoine Mountain, ON

Haig says…

What is the biggest misconception about skiing Antoine Mountain?

"That it’s always icy."

What secret gem have you found while skiing there?

“It’s NEVER BUSY – ever. Snow stays due to this and there’s rarely ever lift lines.”

Do you have any tips for skiers new to the mountain?

"It’s pretty small, you’ll figure it out quick."

 

Sugarbush, VT

Amy says…

What is the biggest misconception about skiing Sugarbush?

"That it’s all rich people."

What secret gem have you found while skiing there?

“Mt. Ellen. No one ever goes, it’s more natural snow, and there are rarely any lift lines. Trails are much more classic Vermont.”

Do you have any tips for skiers new to the mountain?

"Get up high on the hill as early in the day as you can. Fewer crowds."

 

Allie says…

What is the biggest misconception about skiing Sugarbush?

"That the conditions aren’t as good as Stowe."

What secret gem have you found while skiing there?

“The food is local, delicious, and affordable.”

 

Powderhorn, CO

Trace says…

What is the biggest misconception about skiing Powderhorn?

"That there are only blues and moguls."

What secret gem have you found while skiing there?

“Sven’s Bend – a good tree skiing run that connects to The West End.”

Do you have any tips for skiers new to the mountain?

"The West End has overall better snow and runs, but the lift is much slower."

Loveland, CO

Andy says…

What is the biggest misconception about skiing Loveland?

"That it’s too windy."

What secret gem have you found while skiing there?

“Acres of high alpine, above-the-tree-line bowls.”

Do you have any tips for skiers new to the mountain?

"If the snow is soft, pick up a free cat ride pass at the season pass office. Take the free ride up to Field of Dreams. Enjoy."

 

Mt. Bachelor, OR

Matt says…

What is the biggest misconception about skiing Mt. Bachelor?

"That it’s too remote."

What secret gem have you found while skiing there?

“Tree drops set up all over the place if you know where to look; steeps; cliffs; pillow lines; crazy wave-like windblown features…just to name a few.”

Do you have any tips for skiers new to the mountain?

"If the weather is shit on the west side, it’s usually pretty decent on the east."

 

Kicking Horse, BC 

Marc says…

What is the biggest misconception about skiing Kicking Horse?

"That only half the mountain is skiable."

What secret gem have you found while skiing there?

“Chutes hold powder long after the rest is skied out.”

Do you have any tips for skiers new to the mountain?

"Lap the stairway a couple times then hit the chutes on the other side of the ridge."

 

Fernie, BC

Bryan says…

What is the biggest misconception about skiing Fernie?

"How much area there actually is to explore."

What secret gem have you found while skiing there?

“The area between Cedar Bowl and Lizard Bowl leading to boomerang chair has some great tree runs that barely anyone goes down.”

Do you have any tips for skiers new to the mountain?

"Check out Cedar Bowl, and Snake Ridge if you are up for a hike – great snow."

 

Greg says…

What is the biggest misconception about skiing Fernie?

"That there’s always good snow. Fernie is almost always on edge between snow and rain; what’s great one day can be horrible the next (or vice versa)."

What secret gem have you found while skiing there?

“Tons of unmarked tree runs that hold powder for days.”

Do you have any tips for skiers new to the mountain?

"On big powder days, most of the hill will usually start out being closed. Cycle the chairlifts of the next big bowl to open for first tracks. Helps to talk to patrollers as well to get some inside knowledge of what will open next."

 

Grouse Mountain, BC

Gabe says…

What is the biggest misconception about skiing Grouse Mountain?

"That there are only easy runs."

What secret gem have you found while skiing there?

“Top of Purgatory, Outer Limits and the side of Expo.”

Do you have any tips for skiers new to the mountain?

"If you can ride better than green runs, ride runs other than The Cut."

 

Mt. Hood Meadows, OR

Steffen says…

What is the biggest misconception about skiing Mt. Hood Meadows?

"That it’s overly crowded."

What secret gem have you found while skiing there?

“Stadium chairlift almost never has a line.”

Do you have any tips for skiers new to the mountain?

"Pacific Northwest powder is heavier, slower, and more difficult to ski than powder in Utah or Colorado."

 

Chrystal Mountain, WA

Chris says…

What is the biggest misconception about skiing Chrystal Mountain?

"That there’s no good terrain, poor snow, long lines."

What secret gem have you found while skiing there?

“Southback and Northway are some of the best ‘patrolled backcountry’ that exist.”

Do you have any tips for skiers new to the mountain?

"Make a local friend and have them show you the way to Silver Basin and Morning Glory."

 

Hunter Mountain, NY

Nicholas says…

What is the biggest misconception about skiing Hunter Mountain?

"That it is only for ‘rowdy young people’ and that it is full of ‘Jerrys’ from NYC clogging the slopes."

What secret gem have you found while skiing there?

“Avoid lift lines by riding the F Lift and Hunter West (Zephyr Lift) when crowded. These lifts access the best trails without the need to ski all the way to the base and wait in lines.”

Do you have any tips for skiers new to the mountain?

"If you’re not an expert, don’t be afraid to ski the blacks and even double blacks. Most of the single blacks are very straight-forward. Lower K27 is fun, Racer’s Edge is fun, all of West is fun; steer clear of the crowded blues."

 

Wolf Creek, CO

Travis says…

What is the biggest misconception about skiing Wolf Creek?

"That it’s too flat."

What secret gem have you found while skiing there?

“Super deep powder stashes and tree skiing.”

Do you have any tips for skiers new to the mountain?

"The shuttle is your friend. Take the time to check out the whole mountain."

 

Bridger Bowl, MT

Kat says…

What is the biggest misconception about skiing Bridger Bowl?

"That the weather is always freezing."

What secret gem have you found while skiing there?

“Grilling in the parking lot.”

Do you have any tips for skiers new to the mountain?

"Go to local hot springs."

 

Okemo, VT

Tom says…

What is the biggest misconception about skiing Okemo?

"That Okemo only has intermediate and beginner terrain. There are some great glades trails if you ask around."

What secret gem have you found while skiing there?

“Go to Southface and ski Forrest Bump, Double Diamond and Outrage. Look for the frozen waterfall between DD and Outrage.”

Do you have any tips for skiers new to the mountain?

"Get out at 8:00 when the lifts open. The best skiing is from 8:00 – 11:00!"

Linda says…

What is the biggest misconception about skiing Okemo?

"That all of the slopes are easy; we have some great tree skiing when Mother Nature cooperates!"

What secret gem have you found while skiing there?

“Skiing the powder lines on Southface.”

Do you have any tips for skiers new to the mountain?

"Have fun! Relax! Enjoy the beautiful scenery that the Green Mountains proved us."

Whiteface, NY

Spencer says…

What is the biggest misconception about skiing Whiteface?

"That it’s too icy to have fun."

What secret gem have you found while skiing there?

“No secret gem, but a lot of cool jumps built into different spots on non-terrain park trails.”

Do you have any tips for skiers new to the mountain?

"There is absolutely a reason they call it ‘Iceface.’ Ski carefully."

Tamarack Resort, ID

Ben says…

What is the biggest misconception about skiing Tamarack?

"That there’s no steep terrain."

What secret gem have you found while skiing there?

“Trees between Staircase and Blaze.”

Do you have any tips for skiers new to the mountain?

"Look between the runs."

 

Beech Mountain, NC

Ginny says…

What is the biggest misconception about skiing Beech Mountain?

"That conditions are always icy."

What secret gem have you found while skiing there?

“The mountain itself is a gem because it’s less popular than Sugar Mountain, but in my opinion an overall better mountain.”

Do you have any tips for skiers new to the mountain?

"Have fun."