By Mark Weisbrod MD
Dr. Weisbrod is an ophthalmologist in Minneapolis, Minnesota
Q) Hi Mark. Thanks for taking the time to talk with us about your favorite hobby. So, let’s jump right in. You’ve been an avid skier for many years. What are your favorite ski destinations in the US?
A) My favorite place to ski in the U.S. is Alta, Utah. In my opinion, it has the best and most consistent snow. It is connected to Snowbird, UT, which is very similar with great snow and a lot of good challenging terrain as well. It is fun to get a lift ticket called the “AltaBird’ Pass” which lets you explore both resorts in a single day. The other reason I like Alta+Snowbird is its proximity to Salt Lake City, just about a 30-minute drive away. The only drawback to these mountains is that they’re mainly for skiing, and do not have a village. They have very limited on-mountain lodging, thus making it difficult to have a ski-in/ski-out experience.
I’m also a huge fan of Jackson Hole, Wyoming. It probably has the best “terrain” of any ski resort here in the U.S. It’s a fantastic mountain and has a true Western cowboy type vibe in the town which is fun. The drawback (or appeal) to some, is that it is difficult to get to, and may take a day’s worth of traveling to get to and to get home.
Some off-the-beaten path areas that have fantastic skiing without the big crowds and price tags, include: Bridger Bowl, MT, Solitude, UT, Sierra at Tahoe, and Alpine Meadows in the Lake Tahoe area.
Q) That’s amazing information, thanks! Did you know that it’s a myth that Eskimos have 50 words for snow? And with that being said, how many words do you know for describing powder?
A) Yes, I’m familiar with the myth that Eskimos have hundreds of words for snow–it was kinda disappointing to learn that it isn’t true!
And yes, there are many words to describe powder. “Champagne” powder comes to mind primarily. “Blower” and “snorkel” powder also come to mind. In terms of powder, 2 things really are key: water content and accumulation. Very dry powder (low water content) is the best and most fun to ski, especially if you get large accumulations, as found in Utah and Colorado. Wet, heavy powder is still fun, and usually falls in immense accumulations in Lake Tahoe and the Pacific Northwest resorts such as Mt. Hood Meadows and Mt Baker, but people call it “Sierra Cement” for a reason and it is tough to get the feeling that you’re skiing in bottomless powder snow as the high-water density of the snow only lets a skier sink into maybe the top 6 inches into sometimes 100 inches of snowfall.
Q) What is the best time of year to ski the American Rocky Mountains? Is there a way to predict when there will be the best snow?
A) The best time of year is usually January through March. I like February the most. Snow predictions are tough, and I use a couple websites, but mostly one, called “OpenSnow.com” to help me out. That’s the biggest problem– trying to predict is tough. That’s actually why my favorite place to ski in the world is in Revelstoke, British Columbia. The ski conditions there tend to be super consistent.
Thanks for taking this ski run with us, Mark. See you on the slopes!