My wife and I are planning a snowboard/snowkiting trip out west for early December 4-10. We realize the earliness of this trip makes things difficult, but it’s all we’ve got to work with. From other very helpful posts on this forum, we have learned that the two most likely places for us to get some good snowkiting action are Island Park, ID, or Skyline, UT.Goals:
To get the best early snowboarding/snowkiting experience that we can for the best price with as little driving around as possible (wife is not a fan of being cooped up in a car). We would preferably be staying closer to the snowboarding and driving for the kiting so we can hit the slopes if there is no wind scheduled for the day.
I’m going to lay out the options that we have discovered so far in hopes that you all can shed some light on the best choices or help reveal new possibilities:Colorado
We were originally going to hit up CO until we considered snowkiting. Cheap flights ($300) and lots of good snowboarding, but it is probably too early for Dillon Reservoir to be good and there’s no real kiting terrain to speak of there.Utah
Kite mecca! Pretty good flights ($418)Option 1:
Two great kiting options here (Strawberry and Skyline). Skyline is reported to be one of the best early season spots. Only problem is that both of these places are like 2 hours from the ski resorts. The only option that I can see is possibly Sundance Resort, which is only 1 hr 20 minutes away compared to 2+ hours for other resorts. Sundance seems like a pretty small mountain for out west, but probably plenty to keep us entertained when there is no wind (assuming it is open by then).
Powder Mountain – Larger mountain with a kiting area built right in. Concerns here are that the kiting won’t be as good because it is a small area and we might get skunked on snow/wind. (do they make snow for the kiting area at all or just wait?). This would be a great convenience for us to have both options available at one place, at the risk of not getting to experience Utah’s premier spots.Idaho/Wyoming/Montana
The other great early season spot is supposedly Island Park, ID. Like Strawberry and Skyline, it seems to be a fairly decent drive from any ski resorts. Options for nearby ski resorts are:Jackson Hole
Pros – Lots of closer snowkiting spots in the Jackson area, assuming we get lucky with an early snow!
Cons –Seems more expensive than other resorts…($600 to fly into Jackson too)
Grand Targhee ( 1:45) – Seems similar to Jackson Hole, smaller, less expensive and closer to Island Park.Big Sky
(1:45) – Pretty epic looking mountain…slightly cheaper flights into Bozeman ($500)
So the first question is, am I missing any obvious early season possibilities that are closer to ski resorts?
The second question is, out of these options, which one is most likely to cough up the goods?
Thanks for any advice!