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Old 07-26-2008, 08:08 PM   #1 (permalink)
Kyle09
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Default Alaska or Switzerland?

Trying to decide where to go for the next vacation, and am inbetween Alaska or Switzerland. Tell me where you would rather go and why.
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Old 07-27-2008, 10:29 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Depends on what you're going to be doing. Both places are opposite ends of the spectrum with how things work.
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Old 07-27-2008, 12:43 PM   #3 (permalink)
Kyle09
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snowolf View Post
I have not been to Switzerland so I cant make a true comparrison. What I can say is that last Christmas I spent 8 days in Alaska riding/teaching at Alyeska and it was the most kick ass place to ride I have experienced. Keep in mind though that this a place to free ride; when I was there they had no park set up (plenty of great natural features to get funky on which I like better) The night riding is phenomenal and the scenery just is jaw dropping! Very little crowds and Alaska locals are super chill. The only negative I can say is that since parks don`t seem to be a big priority, many of the locals don`t understand park ettiquete and do not wait thier turn to hit a feature so it can be a bit dicey and don`t expect the other guy to yield any right of way. The snow is almost always kick ass by Christmas and the North Face off chair 6
is just out of this world with nearly 2000 verticle feet at 40 plus degree pitch.

Anchorage is a great town and if you do go there take one night to hit the original Alaskan Buch co...
Thanks for the info! I did some research on alyeska last night and the base there is only 250ft!

burtonavenger, I am looking for more backcountry type boarding with fresh powder vs. a place all thrashed up & all icy with people everywhere.
I am leaning toward alaska because I have herd that switzerland is alot like colorado, and I just want to try somewhere new.
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Old 07-27-2008, 01:15 PM   #4 (permalink)
TahoeChappy
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BurtonAvenger summed it up pretty well in one sentence.

But let me elaborate a bit more on what he means by that. I've been lucky enough to have been in both places, so I'm not just shooting from the hip. I assume that since you're asking this in a snowboard forum that we're talking about going snowboarding....so let's limit the timeframe to a 5-month stretch from Dec through April.

Switzerland is flat out gorgeous. It's flat out expensive too - now more so than ever with the crappy dollar/euro exchange rate. Most Swiss speak english, but still depending on which part of the country you'd visit you'll get a heavy dose of either french or german. Food is great. Beer is great. Late night discotech raves can be quite memorable. Snowboarding - to get to the heart of the matter - can be really good. You've got more freeride / big mountain orientated resorts as well as several with world class pipes / parks. If there's not good snow early on, the trip could be less about snowboarding and more about the "vacation" (i.e. drink, eat, start smoking if you don't already, and party with eastern euros till the sun comes up).

Alaska is an ENTIRELY different experience.

And if you're talking about Alaska, I guess you'd separate that into trying to go to a pretty darn good resort like Alyeska versus going for heli time. If you're talking a place like Alyeska, Snowolf hit a lot on the head. It's an awesome freeride mountain that gets a poop load of snow. Dec thru like mid Feb can be downright nasty with big storms and reduced daylight. The lodge right there is pretty nice with all the amenities. Girdwood close by has some good local spots, but if you're looking for alaskan cougars and/or some semblance of night life, you'd have to head into Anchorage. Even there, we're not talking euro style / whistler / "resort" community. It's fairly WT (in a good ol' boy way), and the discussions at the bar might be about fishing, hunting, snowmachining, drinking, etc.

But if you're really looking for a memorable time, are ready to rough it a bit, and have the ability to ride steep and deep terrain, getting laps in a heli in AK has ABSOLUTELY NO COMPARISON. It is the mecca of big mountain freeriding. Go in good riding shape. Go prepared for little to no amenities. Don't go unless you've taken an avalanche course, know how to dig out your buddy, and have at least a beacon, shovel, probe & good pack. Go with a crew that fills one heli so that you're not an odd man out. Go with people at roughly the same riding ability. Go prepared to do plenty of day drinking on a "down day." Go prepared for mulitple down days. Don't go for less than 7 to 10 days. Go during March and April.

I spent most of this past April up in Haines (my 3rd time). I've got over a dozen blog posts about my trip archived on the link below, just scroll down and you'll see them all under "Chappy's Daily Alaska Heli & Sled Lovefest"...

Porters Tahoe Blog

Slightly more than just two cents worth, but hope it helps.....

Last edited by TahoeChappy; 07-27-2008 at 01:28 PM. Reason: typos
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Old 07-27-2008, 01:35 PM   #5 (permalink)
Kyle09
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TahoeChappy View Post
BurtonAvenger summed it up pretty well in one sentence.

But let me elaborate a bit more on what he means by that. I've been lucky enough to have been in both places, so I'm not just shooting from the hip. I assume that since you're asking this in a snowboard forum that we're talking about going snowboarding....so let's limit the timeframe to a 5-month stretch from Dec through April.

Switzerland is flat out gorgeous. It's flat out expensive too - now more so than ever with the crappy dollar/euro exchange rate. Most Swiss speak english, but still depending on which part of the country you'd visit you'll get a heavy dose of either french or german. Food is great. Beer is great. Late night discotech raves can be quite memorable. Snowboarding - to get to the heart of the matter - can be really good. You've got more freeride / big mountain orientated resorts as well as several with world class pipes / parks. If there's not good snow early on, the trip could be less about snowboarding and more about the "vacation" (i.e. drink, eat, start smoking if you don't already, and party with eastern euros till the sun comes up).

Alaska is an ENTIRELY different experience.

And if you're talking about Alaska, I guess you'd separate that into trying to go to a pretty darn good resort like Alyeska versus going for heli time. If you're talking a place like Alyeska, Snowolf hit a lot on the head. It's an awesome freeride mountain that gets a poop load of snow. Dec thru like mid Feb can be downright nasty with big storms and reduced daylight. The lodge right there is pretty nice with all the amenities. Girdwood close by has some good local spots, but if you're looking for alaskan cougars and/or some semblance of night life, you'd have to head into Anchorage. Even there, we're not talking euro style / whistler / "resort" community. It's fairly WT (in a good ol' boy way), and the discussions at the bar might be about fishing, hunting, snowmachining, drinking, etc.

But if you're really looking for a memorable time, are ready to rough it a bit, and have the ability to ride steep and deep terrain, getting laps in a heli in AK has ABSOLUTELY NO COMPARISON. It is the mecca of big mountain freeriding. Go in good riding shape. Go prepared for little to no amenities. Don't go unless you've taken an avalanche course, know how to dig out your buddy, and have at least a beacon, shovel, probe & good pack. Go with a crew that fills one heli so that you're not an odd man out. Go with people at roughly the same riding ability. Go prepared to do plenty of day drinking on a "down day." Go prepared for mulitple down days. Don't go for less than 7 to 10 days. Go during March and April.

I spent most of this past April up in Haines (my 3rd time). I've got over a dozen blog posts about my trip archived on the link below, just scroll down and you'll see them all under "Chappy's Daily Alaska Heli & Sled Lovefest"...

Porters Tahoe Blog

Slightly more than just two cents worth, but hope it helps.....

wow very nice! Ive never done a heli drop but would for sure want to try it. Ill check out your blogs
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Old 07-27-2008, 01:48 PM   #6 (permalink)
TahoeChappy
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So if you weren't thinking of a heli trip, then Alyeska would do just fine. Don't worry about the base elevation - especially if you're thinking of going before mid March as you'll have less of a chance for rain instead of snow. And not to steer you off of AK, but it you haven't been to Tahoe with its 14 resorts all within 2 hours of each other, then you're missing out on a trip that should be on your life "to do" list...
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Old 07-27-2008, 02:11 PM   #7 (permalink)
Kyle09
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I have never been to Tahoe, but I will for sure go there probably this season. This is my big trip for the year I am planning, and am going with most of my family, and my parents are paying for me because it is my graduation present. I really want to do a heli drop & I read/looked at your blogs and they are simply unbelievable. The one problem with the heli drop is #1 no one I am going with is even near experienced enough to do a heli drop & #2 Its a shit load of money. I looked at the SEABA website and they have the snowcat boarding which is a lot more affordable, but still I don't know if anyone I will be going with has near the experience or skill to do back country boarding/ski. Our trip will be in Mid march so aleyska may not be the choice selection. But I am now leaning toward Alaska because I am looking for something geared toward chappy & snowolfs descriptions & everything in AK is a lot cheaper.
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Old 07-27-2008, 02:15 PM   #8 (permalink)
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My .02 cents if no one is of that level don't do it.
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Old 07-27-2008, 02:26 PM   #9 (permalink)
Kyle09
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What do you suggest then besides just saying don't do it. Because I am with you on that one, I don't really want to go heli skiing all by my self. It would still be amazing, but I would rather have someone to go with.
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Old 07-27-2008, 02:27 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Based on what you continue to say, you can't go wrong with Alyeska. All I meant by my "mid March" comment is that depending on Mother Nature and the season, of course, you could get some rain at the base. But then again you could get that at ANY pacific / more maritime snowpack resort from Whistler down to Tahoe.

As another comment on Tahoe, besides all the numerous resorts that are on par or better than Alyeska when talking big mountain / freeride (Sugar Bowl, Squaw, Alpine, Rose, Kirkwood), there is a good cat service Welcome to Pacific Crest Snowcats, Skiing and Snowboarding at Lake Tahoe, California that can "ease" you into experiencing some backcountry riding. But then again, you've got heli and snowcat possibilities while in Alyeska / Girdwood as well.

So go to Alyeska and plan another trip some other time to Tahoe. You'll be stoked......
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