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Alta, Jackson Hole or ...

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 

Hello everybody,

 

I am Kristof from Belgium. After spending the last 2 seasons in Europe, I am really looking forward to go to the States next winter. Now the big question is where to go. After reading lots of reviews and talking to some people, I have 2 destinations left. Jackson hole, Wyoming or Alta, Utah. Of course the main reason is skiing and lots of powder but finding a job for the winter is quite important too. Anyone has some suggestions (ski and life related) where to go. All help is appreciated, also about other resorts.

 

Thanks,

Kristof

post #2 of 25

Hi Kristof,

 

As far as the two resorts go, both are great, with excellent skiing and great snow.  In my opinion Jackson has the more aggressive terrain, but Alta will generally have more powder days.

 

Also worth considering is that Alta is just outside of Salt Lake City, a medium-sized city with the amenities (and problems) that go with it.  Jackson on the other hand is smaller, and a tourist town, so it has a higher cost of living.

 

As far as jobs at either, I really can't say, as I've personally never tried to get a job at either.  If you're looking for jobs in the surrounding area, SLC is definitely going to have more jobs available, as it's simply a much larger city.

 

Hope this helps,

 

e.

post #3 of 25

Jackson Hole or Alta?  Yeah, pretty much can't go wrong there.  Alta will definitely have more options for employment because at the very least you've got SLC not too far away.

post #4 of 25
Alta also has the advantage of having many other ski areas close by (and Snowbird next door). With JH you get only Grand Targhee nearby and it's not that easy to get to. I would choose Alta!
post #5 of 25

Both offer a great combination of snow and terrain. So the skiing is a wash. I think what it boils down to is whether you want to live/work in a resort town (Jackson Hole) or you want to live in a larger city (Salt Lake). You could stay at Alta, but it's kind of isolated up the canyon and doesn't really offer any type of town atmosphere--plus it can shut down when there's too much snow.

 

Are you planning on having a car? If you're doing Alta; it would be an advantage to have a car to get between the Valley and the resort. There's public transportation, but it gets crowded and can be a pain in the ass--wouldn't want to do it on a regular basis. Also, if you rent a car, it's only about a five-hour trip between Jackson and Salt Lake City, so you could potentially ski both.

 

Good luck!

post #6 of 25
Thread Starter 

Thx for the help everybody!!!

Really appreciate it and can't wait

post #7 of 25

Isn't there a big problem with finding affordable ski bum housing in Jackson? Jackson is a much cooler town to stay in, but you will be limited to JH or an occasional trip to Targhee.  You might not be able to stay at Alta, there is no regular housing, and although there is employee housing it's going to be limited.  You'll likely be stuck staying down in the valley in a big city(Sandy/Midvale/SLC), with no ski town atmosphere,  which is likely not going to be that great for a foreign ski bum.  Consider Park City.  There are 4 big resorts and it's a big ski town with lots going on and many more people in the same situation, working and bumming and trying to get their turns, plus the partying absolutely has to be better. 

post #8 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by SnowbirdDevotee View Post

Isn't there a big problem with finding affordable ski bum housing in Jackson? Jackson is a much cooler town to stay in, but you will be limited to JH or an occasional trip to Targhee.  You might not be able to stay at Alta, there is no regular housing, and although there is employee housing it's going to be limited.  You'll likely be stuck staying down in the valley in a big city(Sandy/Midvale/SLC), with no ski town atmosphere,  which is likely not going to be that great for a foreign ski bum.  Consider Park City.  There are 4 big resorts and it's a big ski town with lots going on and many more people in the same situation, working and bumming and trying to get their turns, plus the partying absolutely has to be better. 

I'd disagree based on what the OP said. It's sounds like he could have gone anywhere in the country--if he wanted a party, why not Tahoe, Whistler, Aspen, etc. etc.? It seems like he's looking for skiing, and Park City isn't really on the top of that list. The fact that he's considering Alta would indicate that the whole ski town atmosphere isn't all that important. And he could get that in Jackson.

 

Park City over Jackson/Alta really doesn't work in any most scenarios.

post #9 of 25

I gotta agree.  Do you have a work visa?

 

Keep an eye on TGR?

 

http://www.tetongravity.com/forums/showthread.php/227254-need-roommate-in-Jackson-WY

 

 

There was also a thread for a ski tech at the Peruvian a few weeks ago and Woolybeast man might have something at the Snowpine?

 

 

post #10 of 25
Thread Starter 

Skiing is definately more important than party.. I am looking for the ultimate ski experience. And I suppose there's a bar somewhere in Alta or Jackson Hole...

I was born in the US so I am a US passport holder. So I don't need a work visa or...

Thanks for the link to the other forum. Looks interesting

Thx for the help

post #11 of 25

To me there would be no better skiing experience than staying up at Alta for the winter and skiing Alta/Bird.  But likely you won't be staying up there, likely you'll be staying 10 miles/20 minutes away in a suburb in Sandy/Midvale, you could create fairly affordable shared housing in a city/suburb.  The drive, even though short, can be a hassle.  Whistler is a huge mtn and the town is known as a party town.  There are plenty of condo's, not sure how employee housing works.  Aspen has 4 mtns but employee housing that is close might be difficult.  Park City has 4 mtns, great skiing, not as good as Alta/Bird but you could easily visit them on your days off.  PC is a big place with lots of housing, not sure about affordable employee housing.  Tahoe has a bunch of resorts, more options than anywhere as far as number of ski hills, but they are strung out.  But California is #1 party state.  It's not going to be easy to find the "ultimate", because any place can have a crappy snow year(although less likely at AltaBird) or huge regular dumps. But all of those places have great skiing for spending a season or making a trip to.  But even though I think Alta/Bird has the best skiing, you might find the best winter experience somewhere else, depending on what job you get, the housing and the friends you make to enjoy the winter with. 

 

You'll have to roll the dice and see where the wind blows you.  The people on this forum really know their skiing and the towns, and they'll help point you in the right direction.

post #12 of 25

Now you're just confusing the poor guy. He had narrowed it down to two mountains and you're opening it up to 15. What's so difficult/bad about staying in Salt Lake or Sandy and commuting to Alta? There's easy public transportation, you get a real (albeit tiny) city atmosphere and you kinda get the best of both worlds (great skiing and a town that's bigger, more diverse than your average US ski town).

 

In terms of "ultimate skiing" he definitely had the right idea to begin with. Alta = best shot at epic snow and Jackson = best terrain. I hear the snow at Jackson ain't half bad and the terrain at Alta ain't bad either.

post #13 of 25

Go Jackson Hole, you won't regret it. Better place to hang. You can argue either way for the skiing.

post #14 of 25

After reading through this thread and multiple posts by Kristof I'd say go to Alta and try hard to figure out a way to live/work up in the canyon at the ski area, not down in SLC.  As great as JH is, you've got terrain in Europe to match it.  You don't have snow in Europe to match Little Cottonwood Canyon.

post #15 of 25

I've never been to either so I can't chime in too much. But if it was me I would spend my time at Alta. SLC nearby so it gives you things to do when skiing isn't an option. The mountains are great at both but there are more mountains at SLC so the variety is nice. Good luck!

post #16 of 25

If I could choose to be a ski bum for a season anywhere it would be Jackson. Forget about getting an Alta pass. It really is not even on the same level as jackson hole. If you come to SLC you are best off getting Snowbird Tram pass or AltaBird pass. That is a much better comparison to jackson. But the terrain at Jackson is still more Rad IMO. Snowbird will have a much longer season though, like 2 months longer potentially.

 

The being near a city thing cuts both ways and the benefits are IMO being over rated by the forum here so far. If you are living there for a single season and skiing 5,6 days a week and milking the savings account you probably cant afford / won't have time to enjoy the amenities of a big city. If you have to work then the larger more diverse job market..

 

LCC also closes -- alot during and after big storms. So that's another fact of life you will need to deal with. Get up canyon before it closes. This cuts both ways, if you are locked in then you are having the time of your life. If you are locked out well... it sucks.

 

Another obvious problem is the accessibility of LCC. 1million people live in the valley. And the airport makes it very accessible as a destination for skiing. So when conditions are good, they don't last very long.

 

Another point of interest, and this really is more pertinent to a longer stay -- wasatch are tiny in terms of amount of BC terrain. Seems to be alot more BC to explore and less competition in Jackson.


Edited by tromano - 9/21/11 at 8:21pm
post #17 of 25

For some reason people always downplay the advantage of being near a city. I don't get it. A lot of (most?) ski towns are basically tiny tourist traps in the middle of the forest. Jobs are one-dimensional, housing is jacked way the hell up, and there are a very finite number of places to eat, stores to shop in, things to do, etc. If you don't care about that, no big deal, but it doesn't nullify the advantage of having access to it.

 

Not to say there's anything wrong with small ski towns, particularly for a season, but it doesn't hurt to consider what a city offers.

post #18 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeUT View Post

For some reason people always downplay the advantage of being near a city. I don't get it. A lot of (most?) ski towns are basically tiny tourist traps in the middle of the forest. Jobs are one-dimensional, housing is jacked way the hell up, and there are a very finite number of places to eat, stores to shop in, things to do, etc. If you don't care about that, no big deal, but it doesn't nullify the advantage of having access to it.

 

Not to say there's anything wrong with small ski towns, particularly for a season, but it doesn't hurt to consider what a city offers.


If you live there year round / long term I think having a diverse job market and havign the amenaties is great. That stuff makes a difference. But if you are just there to be a ski bum for the one season, you probabbly don't care so much, I would think the advntages are not going to be that helpful to you.

post #19 of 25

Split the difference? Go to Jackson in early December and stay through mid-February, then head down to SLC, find digs and a job, and ski your nuggies off at Alta/Snowbird right through May.

post #20 of 25

 

Quote:
If I could choose to be a ski bum for a season anywhere it would be Jackson. Forget about getting an Alta pass. It really is not even on the same level as jackson hole. If you come to SLC you are best off getting Snowbird Tram pass or AltaBird pass. That is a much better comparison to jackson. But the terrain at Jackson is still more Rad IMO. Snowbird will have a much longer season though, like 2 months longer potentially

Good points.  If your living there the whole season, you're going to have about twice as long a season with good snow in LCC as Jackson.  But I also agree that you want access to Snowbird as well as Alta to make the terrain comparison to Jackson.

 

Quote:
Split the difference? Go to Jackson in early December and stay through mid-February, then head down to SLC, find digs and a job, and ski your nuggies off at Alta/Snowbird right through May.

The ideal solution, neatly solves the issues of the first quote above.  But at least doubles the job search issue.  It may not be easy to get a resort job for half a season.

post #21 of 25

If it was me (depending on your age), I would go Alta and try to get a job/housing at one of the lodges.  That would kill pretty much all the birds with one stone and you wouldn't have to even deal with transportation issues (road closures, etc).  In fact, you would be ON the mountain on the days when the roads close and nobody else can get there.

 

However, I must add that the vibe in Alta is a bit different than most ski resorts I've been to.  I would think the ski bum vibe would be better in JH.  Again though, if your focus is strictly on getting the most turns possible, I would go Alta.  It would just be so freakin' easy.

post #22 of 25

I think if its going to be a long term change then Utah would be number one but like others have said if you just intend to ski bum for a year I don't know that Jackson can be beat. 

post #23 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by cstreu1026 View Post

I think if its going to be a long term change then Utah would be number one but like others have said if you just intend to ski bum for a year I don't know that Jackson can be beat. 



I'm just the opposite.  I could do Alta for a season, but would much rather live in Jackson Hole long term. 

post #24 of 25


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SHREDHEAD View Post

I'm just the opposite.  I could do Alta for a season, but would much rather live in Jackson Hole long term. 



Well I was thinking long term as in not being a ski bum.  I would far rather live in Jackson but I also know that I would never find a job there that would be financially rewarding enough to keep me living the life style I have become accustomed to.  On the other hand the company I work for now has offices in Utah and my wife has traveled to Utah for a work a few times now so the hard part there would be just convincing my wife to move.  Plus the cost of living in SLC and the surrounding area is not far off what we have here in the midwest.  I think living in Park City would be a nice blend between the two but if I were to move there that would not be where I wanted to ski.

post #25 of 25

Gotcha.  When I go, HOPEFULLY I'm not working anymore.

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