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John Gilmour

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So one question for this 2017/2018 season is ...who has the best conditions and terrain for advanced fast steep Freecarving, and what sort of amenities does the resort have?

Just my experience... from this last month. I've been on the road riding since January 3rd. So 39 days with maybe 2 days off snow.

So earlier this year Mammoth had the most acreage covered for riding. And the snow freeze/thaw/refreeze cycle doesn't put it on par with Colorado snow as temps get too high in the daytime in Mammoth for too long  in this warmer season.  How's the luxury part? Well it s ok, but not exceptional. One cool thing is the Fort business center on the hill and a s condo in town ($40 a month) that gives you something to do if conditions are not good. Mammoth also has a shop that gives FREE HOT WAX (near the VONs supermarket (listen for his flags waving). Mammoth also has amazing free hot springs with nearly no sulfur content about 10 minutes from the resort where th resort can be full winter cold and the hot springs are around 62 degrees outside. The Mammoth lodge has horrible beds , the Village Inn is better and has decent workout room, and an ok jacuzzi (not hot enough ever, weak jets). Decent food at decent prices at Roberto's. Great frozen drinks and nachos at Gomez's Catina in the village. The food at Mammoth is not so good...though perhaps that private dining restaurant is good (haven't snuck in there yet haha). The Village Lodge has heat d indoor underground parking. And parking at Mammoth at the win lodge is going to involve a lot of walking as it is linear along a endless road once the lots fill. Mammoth , where ski bums can still have a life without a trust fund.

Colorado.

The shoot out here si Aspen VS Vail VS Beaver Creek .

So here's my take as a former Aspen resident. 

Aspen to me is mostly all about Ruthies run.sure I like Tiehack at Buttermilk, Thunderbowl and the top of Highlands, Sneakys run at Snowmass, but it's mostly Ruthies because it doesn't get trashed as quickly  as the top of highlands or sneakys. Tiehack can be a bit narrow on some runs. The snow grooming is superior on any given day and the likelihood of a blue sky carving day is much higher at Aspen. It's also warmer in January and February , no down jackets required.  The Sundeck restaurant on top has EXCELLENT FOOD at Aspen prices (sometimes has fun events) , but it's likely better and cheaper than any dinner you'll find at all but a few restaurants in town. The Aspen Club at the summit of Ajax  (you have  to know a member to eat there - is flat out awesome). The Ajax tavern at the bottom is also good, and sunny most days.  The little Nell has a close fireplace and decent bar menu, and bathrooms no wife could complain about. The demographic in Aspen is about 60+ mostly cougars, and if someone is in town under 30 they ar either a full time resident offspring or a ski employee. Rampant alcoholism and probably the highest cocaine consumption of any ski town. The private jet airport dwarfs the commercial airport. Direct flights from Phoenix and LAX. but if you book during snow season and pay that premium beware that you could get diverted to Denver and end up paying for a premium ticket and taking the bus,

Vail .  Swingerville Is a fun wide run, that would benefit from seamless grooming, they have a lot of board shops. Much younger crowd  for apes ski but parking is  fricking insane, non exisitant. You are on a bus... which after a while sucks . Vail people seem to be a lot more friendly than Aspen, more inclusive, and there are piles of attractive women with a tiny percentage of cougars compared to Aspen. Tons of terrain here for intermediate carvers, but beware of straighliners and novice skiers swinging left and right on tight traverses. And be prepared to traverse and spend a lot of time just trying to get to your terrain..and the lines...the lift lines. Pretty long for a luxury resort. Food ... I haven't tried anything outstanding there yet. Remedy is ok but $$$. They have a Four Seasons there too. Lots of options in town. I find myself doing apres here in the dive bars like the George, and Bart and Yeti, and Garfinkles.

Awesome friendly apres ski crowd. Best anywhere. 

 

The Beaver.  Ok Beaver Creek, they got a snooty rap. And it has its share of dickheeads ( seems to be more from the gated communities ) that want to talk about how much cash they made  on the lifts, but if you get beyond that ... because you aren't going to hang with those fools anyhow ...it's an awesome place. Majorly upgraded since the 1990s lots more options. Aspen has the Wheeler and its symphony space in summer, but BC has an amazing performing arts center. With acts you want to see even not in ski country.  Centiential is the carving run. It's shorter on the steeps than Ruthies by a long shot but it's conditions seem to hold up until 2:30 -4pm whereas Ruthies can be shot by 11:30 on a busy day typically not lasting until   12:30.  BCD is a family designation place ( as most carver's seemto be family age now it's a consideration)  beaver creeks staff, its the gold standard of sincere friendliness , great people. You'd have them over at your house for dinner if you could. They really want you to have the best possible time. Within the first 48 hours it seemed everyone knew me at Beaver Creek . It took about a week at Mammoth (cracked their industry night  party with the turtles ) , and Vail... I'd probably just be one of the herd. But then again  with the long white  hair, Brightky colored Troy lee designs D3 BMX helmet , shiny holographic silver jacket, and the laid over high speed carves, and pet turtles at the bar I'm not normal. Instagram helps in the smaller ski towns.

 

Wind.

Mammoth is so windy they boast about "wind buff" as a ski condition that makes the wind worth it.. I think it is barely worth it.

Aspen Ajax  has the least wind. You can't fly a kite there if you tried, 

Beaver Creek was not very windy . Not as wind free as Aspen, but not "hood clutching blow you off the chairlift" like Mammoth 

So I did a family resort shootout .

Vail Beaver Creek vs Aspen Snowmass.

The  Aspen Viceroy vs Beaver Creek The Park Hyatt.

parking. 

Viceroy free valet , free unlimited car charging . Winner Aspen 

Park Hyatt $80 ski valet parking (no prostitute included which is expected since it seems like you are the one getting the shaft )  You can get 2 hours free parking if you eat at the 8100 Hyatt restaurant .

comparing the breakfast  buffets. Both $34 8100 restaurant Park Hyatt $35 Viceroy.

The Viceroy:

Evening atmosphere seems weird at the Viceroy breakfast. Salmon was slimy pasty farm raised. French toast gluten free had no flavor and they tried to charge extra for it. No specialty coffees or teas, felt very cafeteria .. in the food was bland. Horrible from concentrate fruit juices,  good seclection of fresh berries and omelet. Staff, not very friendly or engaging, hotchcolate was power mix with hot water dreadful 

8100 Park Hyatt: 

European Bistro atmosphere works for day or night. Buffett clearly superior in ingredient quality , selection , and preparation , salmon was delicious and  well worth it. Selections of premium cured European meats, 3 variety s of BACON. BACON 🥓 makes my morning. Unlimited gourmet tea and coffee and any custom concoction,  amazing hot chocolate, fresh whipped cream, premium whipped butter,  huge pasty selection , and some of the best waitstaff anywhere , they ar truly interested in your day and making your day perfect.  Winner park Hyatt 

Snow quality. This year BC beats Aspen by a country mile. Fantastically good snow especially considering how little Colorado got. Vail gets more snow, but BC does a better job with maintaining  it. The beave has escalators to bring your weary "day 3 carving legs"  to the slopes. They have a mixed lift with gondola and chairs. Very nice,  The BC Osprey hotel is no kidding 5 strides from the lift. A good use for those Amex points as thto y accept them while the Park Hyatt does not  (Costco used to give your 75,000 points for signing up with Amex). Park Hyatt has the superior Spa (it's amazing, with hair salon, and steamsauna and huge workout space, Massia heat d pool and jacuzzi. It's bigger than the Little Nell at Aspen Ajax and even though not as refine, it seems nicer because it is bigger and the  staff is so incredibly nice in part because the Hyatt treats them well and gives them generous vacations and let's them use their own Hyatt properties at massive discounts  ...so they treat you like they would want to be treated. Ski valet at both the Park Hyatt and Osprey is way nicer than the confusion at Viceroy. The little Nell has the best Ski valet. They will even lace up all your kids and wife's boots and carry everything for you. 

I didn't sleep in any of these beds. Other than the Mammoth Lodge sack of cement mattresses (I was seriously bummed I didn't sleep in my car instead) . I E-Glamped it all. I just review these places that carver friends of mine stay at. Personally even if I was a millionaire  I'd Motel 6 it with my own 3" pure bliss latex mattress  toppers and my own sheets... and use the saved cash to eat at least one nice meal a day and stay for 3 times as long.  Or car camp , and spend that saved money on board tunes , base welds, and food treats which I give the  lifties to keep the snow karma going. 

But for those carvers who get that one week with the family , I hope this review helps. 

 

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Not even a mention of Sun Valley?

Today was 5 star conditions with NoBody around. Doesn't get any more premium than that. 

I don't go to the mountain for food but when I have joined guests there it is really good. 

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