I grew up skiing Whistler and have had a season pass there for 14 years skiing 30 to 50 days each season. I love Whistler, but I've hardly ever skied anywhere else, and next winter, I'm planning to take a break from work and move my home base for a season.
Important factors for me (in decreasing priority): challenging terrain; reliable high-quality snowfall; lack of crowds; access to backcountry skiing; and proximity to other good resort skiing. I've narrowed my choices down to Jackson Hole or Snowbird/Alta. I would live in either Jackson or SLC/Sandy (rather than at the mountain base).
+ arguably the best expert resort terrain in the lower 48
+ reliable snowfall, and cold temps keep it dry
+ awesome backcountry skiing in the Tetons
+ close to Grand Targhee, 4 hours from Big Sky, and 5 hours from Salt Lake City
+ Jackson is more of a ski town and more fun than SLC
- SE aspect means surface conditions can get bad in March
? unsure what crowds are like (note: I'll ski mainly mid-week)
+ likely the best expert resort terrain next to Jackson Hole (and Whistler!)
+ unbeatable, reliable, high-quality snow
+ great backcountry skiing in the Wasatch (but with lots of others sharing it)
+ several other Utah resorts close by, 5 hours to Jackson Hole, day's drive to California or Colorado
+ N aspect preserves the snow even late season
- SLC is a big metropolis without much of a fun atmosphere
- I hear the crowds can be horrendous even mid-week and powder gets shralped fast
- traffic jams and avalanche closures on the road into Little Cottonwood Canyon
At this point, I'm leaning towards making Jackson Hole my base but taking off in March to ski north facing terrain in Utah (i.e. Snowbird) or higher elevation terrain (i.e. Colorado).
Other areas I did consider: Big Sky, Telluride, and Mammoth. I also considered Europe but was put off by the inconsistent snowfall history and the "need" for a guide to ski off-piste.
Any opinions would be appreciated. Thanks!