So I just got back from this trip last night and thought I'd share my experience in case anyone cares.
1. Snow quality
As most of you probably know, we're having a streak of awful weather around here. By which I mean, really warm temperatures at daytime (mid 40s to 50 on the mountain) and extremely dry. Sadness. This means I only got to ride on man-made snow and a bunch of ice... I'm guessing this is what the East Coast is like on most years. Oh well, such is our luck. I'm now back to praying for dumps (in mid-January, maybe?).
Also, not very many runs were open. Since I'm a newbie, I stuck to greens, the ones they had the snow guns running on. Some skiers staying at the same place we were said they went on blacks and there were plenty of obstacles, low coverage, etc. Exactly what one would expect...
2. Riding out there
This is the part nobody will care about. Instead of spending the first day on the bunny hill, we went to the upper mountain, to this green that's more like a blue (Gold Coast). I fell on my face twice in the first run, then my knees and ended a rather short day dejected and in pain ("I'm going to sell this stuff and pick up skis!"). Second day, we discovered the bunny slopes. Went a little better, though I was still freaked out that I could no longer link turns. Second half of the day, we went over to Alpine Meadows because the upper mountain was closed. Bad snow situation there too.
Third day - full day group lesson. Best decision I took all year (I had booked it before the trip). Learned dynamic turns, it went well, I now have a list of things to practice and improve upon. It felt great: "Yay, I can ride again!". The fourth day went really well, I almost conquered Gold Coast (except for one fall on the knees... on ice. Ouch! And I was doing so well too =/ ). And the fifth day was a short one on the bunny hill due to rubbery legs. It's amazing how tired I am, even know. Once I noticed how unresponsive my muscles had become, I decided to keep it short and ride conservatively because otherwise I'd be in for (even more of) a bruising.
As expected, with so few runs open and on a holiday week, the crowds were MASSIVE. Oh well... but I still don't understand why so many skiers insist on cutting so close or cutting me off. They kind of scared me. No, I don't want to start an anti-skier flame war, just saying that I was constantly worried about colliding with one. More likely a result of my noobishness rather than anything else. Had some close calls, but avoided any incidents, so yay!
Despite the crowds and the poor snow conditions, I rate this as a great trip. I think that, with the lesson, I think improved a bit from where I was at the end of last season (my first). I still have a lot to learn, but I'm hoping to continue learning and improving each time I go up there.
I've rarely felt so physically (and mentally) exhausted in my life! I'm going to sit around in a vegetative state for a while... and wait for my bruised knees to heal. The next trip is planned for the second half of January. I hope the snow gods will bless us by then (don't we all?).
Over and out! Apologies for boring you and have a Happy New Year!