Alright, let's try this again. Apparently copying and pasting pictures from my facebook profile is not a good idea - size constraints became a big problem. Uploading directly from my camera ought to do the trick (Moderators - if you can remove that last post or something that would be good).
Anyway, I spent 7 days in the SLC last Feb. Since it's a boring Saturday out here in Chicago, figured I'd show y'all a few pics.
First day at Alta. Blue skies - as they had been for the past few days. The conditions made kept us away from some of the terrain we wanted to hit, but we had great vistas all day:
I forget which area this was -
When I flew in the day before, it was 55 degrees in the city with no snow to be seen. I was happy to discover it was cold enough up LCC such that I needed full protection. Given how close the resorts are to the airport, it strikes you how quickly conditions change. Got to also say SLC's convenience factor makes Denver look cumbersome.
Best skiing at alta we had was in catherine's area. Definitely worth the effort of hiking up that little trail and skiing out past the first couple obvious lines.
Next day we hit Solitude. This is the looking up the ridge from the top of the eagle chair. I rather liked linking groomed rooms from the top of powderhorn into the lower front side groomers. Makes for nice fast turns in the a.m. especially.
This is in the cirque are off the powderhorn lift. We opted not to take the steep, cliff-heavy shot directly skiers right off the powderhorn lift (the one that cuts directly to the summit chair). Maybe with a guide/local next time....
Eventually we made it to the summit chair. Here is honeycomb canyon from the entrance. Even after almost a week of snow, there was still good untracked if you were willing to walk a little.
Perhaps someone will recognize the below little chute. It's underneath the summit chair, where there's a line only about 2 people wide. My buddy made it through just fine, but I gotta admit I took a bad fall just past the squeeze point / rock outcropping. That being said I was happy I gave it a go.
Woke up the day of Snowbird to find 10 inches outside :-) Here we are at the side entrance to Great Scott I believe. Somehow we came into it from a weird angle - it was not intentional - but once we got in there it was deep and a lot of fun.
Really cool how you can see down the canyon from various spots at Snowbird:
This is a little steep pitch between rock formations off the little cloud lift. Short hoppy turns for all....
This is from some point along the upper cirque - even if snowbird were just the area under the tram, there is a ton of variety and open space. It was our first time in Utah, so we wanted to hit a few different resorts, but you could easily justify spending a whole week just at the bird.
For the latter part of the week, my father in law flew out and we hit Snowbasin. The first day there was no fog or major wind to speak of, which as I'm told is slightly rare. We benefited from being able to ski the Strawberry side in good visability for much of the day. The lift system is world class. 2 gondolas both covering about 2500 vertical. If you like long groomers, strawberry side is the way to go:
But don't forget about the john paul side for some more challenging terrain. We stopped in the lodge at the top of the john paul lift for lunch. Rumors are true - food / views / facilities will wow you...
After lunch, I took the tram up to the peak. Once there, you can hike over to the top of No Name in 10-15 minutes tops. Here's a picture looking west back towards Ogden.
Before you get to No Name, you pass by the men's and women's downhill starting points:
Here's a shot from the top of No Name peak. It's about 3000 vert from here down to the lodge with many possibilities.
No name area from the chair:
No slopeside lodging at snowbasin. We stayed at a resort 10 minutes away called lakeside villages. Nice affordable condo style lodging. We actually could watch the grooming from our hot - tub. On the last day, we woke up to this:
One last thing about snowbasin - if you go, make sure you go have a burger afterwards at the shooting star saloon. These guys have been asked to be on various food network specials, but have declined. It's only about 15 minutes from Snowbasin to the north - but it is off the beaten path - you won't find it unless you're looking for it. It was so darn good we ended up going both nights for dinner.
I wouldn't dare say 1 week is enough to make a judgement as to the relative strength of these resorts. Of course some are better for certain situations. For my personal trip, I enjoyed Snowbird, Snowbasin, Solitude then Alta in that order - but that had much to do with the conditions each day at each resort. I am guessing that if I went to Alta on the day we went to Snowbird, it would have been better.
Looking forward to getting back there someday....