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Best expert/extreme resort in SLC area?

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 

I currently live in Minnesota (no mountains here :() but I'm planning to move to Salt Lake City this fall, and I need to decide what resort to get a season pass for. I'm primarily concerned with what resort has the best extreme/expert terrain (double black or off-piste, but primarily concerned with in-bounds at the moment). I'm thinking Alta or Snowbird, but I'm open to any suggestions. Some of my favorite terrain of what I've skied is Corbet's Couloir and the Alta Chutes at JHole, that's the general type of stuff I am looking for. Thanks.

 

Edit--Also, I am moving with my girlfriend who has never skied before, I'll primarily be skiing alone, but I want to teach her. If I have to get a day pass at a different resort when I go with her that's fine, but if the best few resorts are close for expert terrain, then I'd also take into consideration which one has more beginner runs. And (in case I teach her at a different resort than the one I get a season pass for) any suggestions on a good resort to teach her would be appreciated as well. (somewhere with a good bunny hill, shallow greens, etc.)


Edited by VeganFreeskier - 7/13/11 at 8:15pm
post #2 of 24

You named the two best for your tastes, not to say there isn't more great stuff elsewhere in UT.  I believe either could be very satisfying for a season.  Don't quote me, but the unlimited pass at Alta may be a couple hundred less than Snowbird, i.e., ~$700 vs. ~$900.  Maybe you can find better online preseason deals or a suitable limited pass that lowers cost.  Front face of Snowbird may have longer continuous steep/extreme sections than what you'll find at Alta, but Alta has its share of high quality nooks and crannies.  Published acreage comparison:  Alta 2200, Snowbird 2500

 

Quick and dirty overview of several UT ski areas:

http://www.dcski.com/articles/view_article.php?article_id=1285&mode=rss

post #3 of 24

Snowbird has the most  (extreme?) expert terrain.

post #4 of 24

My friends in Utah never use the word "extreme."  They ski "in bounds," "side country" and "back country."  If I were younger and moving to Utah, I'd probably get a Solitude, Brighton or Alta pass, and I'd look for locals to show me the back country goods. 

Utah has some of the best skiing in the world, but it's so close to SLC that it gets tracked out faster than anywhere else.  When you talk to locals you get a whole different perspective than what tourists think.  

 

BK

post #5 of 24

Alta/Bird pass. 

post #6 of 24
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the input. I'm not concerned about a several hundred dollar price difference, I just want the best skiing. Shredhead, I thought that you can only do combined day passes, and season passes have to be for one resort or the other?

post #7 of 24

Why do you have to decide now?  There is so much to chose from in the area, seems a shame to lock yourself into a season pass until you've explored it all.

post #8 of 24
Thread Starter 

Going to all the resorts with day-passes then getting a season pass costs a lot more and there might be discounts for buying season passes in advance, but that is a good point, I might check out at least a few (maybe Alta and Snowbird) before deciding.

post #9 of 24

Inbounds snowbird

 

out of bounds brighton

 

Id buy both of those if you could afford them.

 

 

post #10 of 24
Thread Starter 

I very much doubt I will be able to buy two this winter, but thanks for the suggestion and I'll keep it in mind at least for future years.

post #11 of 24

I'd do the Altabird pass.

 

post #12 of 24
Thread Starter 

Do they have combined season passes? I thought that only exists for day passes.

 

Also, I edited the OP-- I am moving with my girlfriend who has never skied before, I'll primarily be skiing alone, but I want to teach her. If I have to get a day pass at a different resort when I go with her that's fine, but if the best few resorts are close for expert terrain, then I'd also take into consideration which one has more beginner runs. And (in case I teach her at a different resort than the one I get a season pass for) any suggestions on a good resort to teach her would be appreciated as well. (somewhere with a good bunny hill, shallow greens, etc.)


Edited by VeganFreeskier - 7/13/11 at 8:15pm
post #13 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by VeganFreeskier View Post
 I am moving with my girlfriend who has never skied before, I'll primarily be skiing alone, but I want to teach her.


Could you keep us posted over the season on how this goes?

 

post #14 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by VeganFreeskier View Post

Do they have combined season passes? I thought that only exists for day passes.

 

Also, I edited the OP-- I am moving with my girlfriend who has never skied before, I'll primarily be skiing alone, but I want to teach her. If I have to get a day pass at a different resort when I go with her that's fine, but if the best few resorts are close for expert terrain, then I'd also take into consideration which one has more beginner runs. And (in case I teach her at a different resort than the one I get a season pass for) any suggestions on a good resort to teach her would be appreciated as well. (somewhere with a good bunny hill, shallow greens, etc.)


In that case the Alta/Bird pass makes even ore sense, yes you can get a combo pass. Alta' green runs are nice an easy for learning the basics. My advice, save yourself some trouble and send her to ski school.

 

post #15 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by tromano View Post




In that case the Alta/Bird pass makes even ore sense, yes you can get a combo pass. Alta' green runs are nice an easy for learning the basics. My advice, save yourself some trouble and send her to ski school.

 


To expound on saving you some trouble, you're more likely to have a skiing partner at some point in time and to have an ongoing relationship if you follow tromano's advice...

 

Mike

 

post #16 of 24
Thread Starter 

Thanks everyone for the advice--definitely leaning towards the Alta/Bird pass now that I realize it exists.

 

As for ski school versus me teaching her, I'll probably just see how it goes. My dad taught me, I've never had lessons, and I have no regrets about that, so my leaning is to start out teaching her, then see what she wants and how well she is doing to determine if ski school would be a good idea for her. But if anyone wants to challenge my decision, feel free.

 

Also, any suggestion on what type of skis to start her on (after the basic rentals)? I would lean towards twin tips for just about any beginner because they are so versatile, and my first pair of skis were partial twins, but it's been a long time since I was there so I may be way off.

post #17 of 24

   If you do get the Alta/bird pass take your girlfriend to Alta for lessons. She will have more terrain to ski and you would be able to take the same lifts with her and ski different terrain. The

Bird has a smaller amount of beginner terrain than Alta. 

post #18 of 24

Above post is exactly right for your girlfriend: Alta is beginner friendly and Snowbird is not, as noted by esumsea's fiasco in 2010.  From the locals I have observed I strongly recommend the AltaBird pass.  Many of these people go back and forth within the day. It can be particularly useful on powder days with sequential opening of terrain after avy control.

post #19 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by BushwackerinPA View Post

Inbounds snowbird

 

out of bounds brighton

 

Id buy both of those if you could afford them.

 

 

Funny, I've only visited Utah once, and that is what I would have said based on my minimal experience there.  I think Brighton is the unsung hero of the Utah resorts in this regard.  Snowbird is the obvious "go to" resort.
 

 

post #20 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by VeganFreeskier View Post

Thanks everyone for the advice--definitely leaning towards the Alta/Bird pass now that I realize it exists.

 

As for ski school versus me teaching her, I'll probably just see how it goes. My dad taught me, I've never had lessons, and I have no regrets about that, so my leaning is to start out teaching her, then see what she wants and how well she is doing to determine if ski school would be a good idea for her. But if anyone wants to challenge my decision, feel free.

 

Also, any suggestion on what type of skis to start her on (after the basic rentals)? I would lean towards twin tips for just about any beginner because they are so versatile, and my first pair of skis were partial twins, but it's been a long time since I was there so I may be way off.

 

So, there are a couple of things to consider here. How old were you when your dad taught you? You don't have any regrets, but I do think that age makes a difference. As someone who learned as an adult, I've always gotten by on stubbornness and basic athleticism. That was all fine and good until I really wanted to start being a GOOD skier, not just someone who could make it down difficult slopes. So, I've spent the last two years unlearning what I had learned for the first four or five. I think it's taken more work to undo my bad habits than it would have taken to instill some good fundamentals early on. That's not to say you don't have good fundamentals - you probably do. However, if you've skied since you were relatively young, trying to break down and teach those fundamentals could prove challenging. You might do something because it "just makes sense." Again, as someone who learned as an adult, a lot about skiing was initially counterintuitive to me (knees over my toes??? WTF? that's how you ruin your knees in most sports!). As I've gotten better, those things have come more naturally/have made more sense, but it's taken work. And I'm dedicate to getting better. I'm not sure how your girlfriend is about things like that.

 

And then there's the fact that she's your girlfriend. Even early in my relationship with my now husband, when we were still in the honeymoon phase and he could do no wrong, even though he was a much better skier than I, he couldn't make suggestions. Period. I am usually a pretty logical person. Not with regard to this. He couldn't tell me what to do. If he/we were smart, I would have just taken lessons. Now the shoe is on the proverbial other foot and I can't tell him anything. Period. Ahhh, karma. But I digress. Learning to ski as an adult is frustrating. If your girlfriend doesn't take to it naturally (and even if she does, she probably won't feel like she does), all of that frustration is going to be directed at one place - you. It sounds like unnecessary cash to spend, but ski school will be worth it in the long run. 

 

As for the skis, be careful about getting her twin tips. They are versatile . . . for someone who skis. Instead consider some skis with enough give that she can bend them while still holding an edge. You don't want her to have to fight against them while she's learning. Things like the Völkl Estrella or Luna, Atomic Could 7 or 8, or K2 First Luv or Sweet Luv come to mind. To be fair, my knowledge of women's specific skis and beginner skis isn't great. Those were just the ones that came to mind immediately. Whether you want to go with the softest ski in each line will probably depend on your girlfriend's size and leg strength. I would imagine the same will go for boots, but someone else can jump in here. 

 

Happy skiing!

 

post #21 of 24

I agree with nearly all of the above.  I was successful teaching my oldest son from ages 3-6 or so.  But he was a motivated kid and at that age they tend to respect parents.  An expert skier teaching a first time significant other is usually a recipe for disaster.  The very first lesson should definitely be in ski school IMHO.  I'm not a believer in lessons all the time.  She should take what she learns and put in some mileage practicing, preferably not with you offering nonstop technical commentary.  When she hits a plateau, then go back for another lesson.  As she advances, then she should go for occasional specialized lessons for powder, off-trail etc.

 

Maybe do a ski shop season rental the first year.  Hopefully by the end of that year she'll be a decent intermediate and ready to buy a versatile but forgiving ski that should last a few years.

post #22 of 24
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the input. I've been skiing since I was 6 and she is 19.

post #23 of 24

VF, what DSloan and Tony said is excellent advice. Whatever damage this may cause to your [collective?] wallet(s) must be considered an investment in the harmonic after-ski bliss it will lead to.

I've tried to teach/coach a girlfriend once and it wasn't really worth it.

 

Happy skiing!

 

post #24 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by BushwackerinPA View Post

Inbounds snowbird

 

out of bounds brighton

 

Id buy both of those if you could afford them.

 

 

 

Agree completely.   Brighton has amazing out of bounds terrain that hardly any one knows about (in bounds is a bit boring).  Finally most of the OB stuff is legal.

I try to catch the last left from one OB area to return to the great western HSQ.  Once I missed and ended 1/4 mile down the access road.

 

Alta & Bird are both tops.  Alta just has less of the good stuff.  An mentioned beginners and easy intermediates have more to Alta.

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