by: Bob - 19th April 2011

  • 4
  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Expert
  • 5All-Mtn. Terrain
  • 5Family Friendly
  • 2Nightlife
  • 4Terrain Park
  • Value
No lift lines, Price, Friendly, Challenging, scenery
The drive up, location, no overnight accommodations

Full review

It is unfair to discuss snow conditions at any resort, generally there are excellent days, depending on your preference, and there are always "you should have been here last week/month days." When the temperatures are near zero and there is fresh snow in late January through mid-February The Great Divide is just about as good as any of the many other places I have skied in North America. Maybe just a little shorter trails, but every bit as challenging in places and times. The big plus is virtually no lift lines, even when all parking lots were full. The longest wait I saw was about 2 minutes on the intermediate slope chair. It took longer to get a beer inside the Lodge. The chair lifts at Great Divide are mostly unaffected by the local winds. Last season we saw 4 to 12 inches of fresh untracked snow every week over a base of early season manufactured snow throughout the regular season. There were only 2 or 3 actual bad days when it was extremely difficult to ski. The thing about Great Divide is you can go there one weekend and ski in 2 to 3 feet of fresh powder on the upper Rawhide Peak trails. The next weekend it will be bare earth in the same spot after the winds strip the exposed slopes, but the more sheltered trails on the Wild West Side will be loose fresh powder. A week later on those same upper trails you'll find a foot or more of fresh untracked snow with excellent skiing again. Every day this season was completely different from the previous one and I was skiing 3 to 5 consecutive days each week with a season pass. The intermediate trails where night skiing is held every Friday and Saturday are packed and groomed and usually consistent throughout the year. Weekday skiing is limited to the original ski club area trails because the 'new' outer lifts, accessing nearby mountainsides with challenging terrain features, only operate weekends. All in all, in spite of the inconveniences of driving on the narrow hazardous roads, shared with cyclists and joggers, and lodging in the nearby town, where there is a definite lack of nightlife for apres ski activities. Great Divide is still a bargain for serious skiers and young families on a tight budget. Years ago, it was said, "If you can ski all the runs at this area you can ski anyplace!" This still is very true, especially on those days when snow conditions are good.
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