New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Jackson Hole v. Alta

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

So looks like I will be making the trip to Jackson Hole with my dad for my graduation present after all.  I'm so stoked I really can't even describe it.  I've skied Utah a few times but there's always been a mystique about JH that has me dreaming of skiing there.  I was just wondering how it compares to Alta in terms of what the overall terrain makeup is and how challenging the terrain is?  Could you guys maybe give me some examples/comparisons like if you could ski "x trail/area" at alta then you could handle "y trail/area" at JH... I think that would be really helpful.  Thanks guys!

post #2 of 12

Similar, a little less spread out. A lot of steep, challenging terrain. 

 

But nobody has Alta's snow.

post #3 of 12

Easier if you told us your favorite routes at Alta, and/or what parts of it intimidate you.

If you can ski High Rustler smoothly at speed four days after the last snowfall, there's not a lot at Jackson Hole that will intimidate you (oh, and congratulations, you must be a helluva good skier). smile.gif

post #4 of 12

I'm biased as a 23 year JH resident.  I like Alta, but prefer Snowbird for LCC skiing and like JH better than either of them.  The joke about Alta standing for Another Long Traverse Ahead feels about right to me.  Jackson has long runs with consistent pitch that you won't find at Alta.  We also have a far more interesting surrounding area.  Coming from Jackson, I never found anything at Alta that was crazy hard.  Alta definitely has some great terrain, but to me the pitches feel short and the fall-line choppy.  If you are comfortable at Alta, Jackson will be fun.

 

If you are really worried about it, you can hire a guy like me to show you aroundbiggrin.gif.  Of course if time allows I will ski some with you for free like I would for any Bear that asked me. 

 

Glad to hear that you are coming after all!

post #5 of 12

Take a look at the JH trail map. 

http://www.jacksonhole.com/cmsfiles/file/2013WinterMap.jpg

It's bigger than Alta.  But not as big as AltaBird combined.  That 4000ft vertical can make a difference.  Many of the pitches and runs are much longer than Alta's, which are mostly 500 ft drops. 

JH has a reputation for cold, very cold at times. 

I never hit JH on a powder day, but my gut feeling it that it is would ski deeper much longer than Alta.  On average overall snow quality and "crispness" has to be better at Alta.  But that's average and hit or miss for a trip.  It's rare to have bad snow at Alta in Jan/Feb, even if it hasn't snowed for a week.

Much of JH faces south(but not all of it), which can be a problem if it's too sunny, esp later in the season.  Doubt it's much of a problem before Feb 20th or so. 

JH also has the Hobacks, which at least when I was there were deserted, giving you the chance to ski >1000 ft of vertical all by yourself, but they get the sun too, so they go can go mashed potato junk quick. 

The bowl on top is big, Alta doesn't have anything like that, but Bird does.

JH has it over Alta on ski resort "ambiance", but scenery at both is top notch.

If you liked Alta, a trip to JH is not a mistake, but a must. I'm due to get back there. 

post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 

I wish I could remember all the runs I've skied there.  I can really say that we've skied everything there except for what you have to hike to.  We skied devil's castle once but we never hiked to the baldy chutes or I think what they call Catherine's area maybe?  But we've really skied all over that place and haven't come across anything we couldn't ski down.  In terms of that, are there some runs at JH that might be much harder than anything we would have seen at Alta?  Should I be concerned about conditions at JH coming in early Feb? 

 

I'm not really concerned about what we'll be able to ski or not cause I know we'll be able to ski pretty much everything, I just love to challenge myself when skiing and push the limits.  I just don't want to feel limited in what we can ski or in over my head too often where it becomes unenjoyable.  I have my eyes set on Corbets though.  I have no idea if I'll have the balls to do it but if the conditions are right, I think I absolutely have to go for it seeing as this may be the only time in my life I'll get the chance to do it with my pops.  I'm so pumped guys you have no idea.  I'm praying you guys get dumped on all year and I get lucky enough to catch some powder.

post #7 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcl116 View Post

I wish I could remember all the runs I've skied there.  I can really say that we've skied everything there except for what you have to hike to.  We skied devil's castle once but we never hiked to the baldy chutes or I think what they call Catherine's area maybe?  But we've really skied all over that place and haven't come across anything we couldn't ski down.  In terms of that, are there some runs at JH that might be much harder than anything we would have seen at Alta?  Should I be concerned about conditions at JH coming in early Feb? 

 

I'm not really concerned about what we'll be able to ski or not cause I know we'll be able to ski pretty much everything, I just love to challenge myself when skiing and push the limits.  I just don't want to feel limited in what we can ski or in over my head too often where it becomes unenjoyable.  I have my eyes set on Corbets though.  I have no idea if I'll have the balls to do it but if the conditions are right, I think I absolutely have to go for it seeing as this may be the only time in my life I'll get the chance to do it with my pops.  I'm so pumped guys you have no idea.  I'm praying you guys get dumped on all year and I get lucky enough to catch some powder.

 

I think you answered your own question right here more or less. 

 

IMO Jackson and Alta are not really very similar. 

 

Jackson, big mountain feel, big, wide-open lines with lots of vertical, on average steep and challenging terrain and (relative to Alta) more variable and/or challenging snow conditions due to predominately E/SE aspect. More of an solid Advanced / experts mountain. 

 

Alta, funky lay out with lots of traverses and hiking needed to ski it all. Small lines and short shots (1000' or less) when its steep and generally pretty mellow in steepness other wise. Typically great snow conditions even when its not fresh it is user friendly chalk and light crud. Suited to a variety of levels, but mostly geared towards adventurous intermediate / low advanced skiers IMO. 

post #8 of 12
Thread Starter 

yea you're right I shouldn't say that.  I really don't know what it's going to be like.  I've skied all over a bunch of mountains in UT but I get the feeling JH is just a completely different animal.  I guess I just hope we can ski pretty much anything...
 

post #9 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcl116 View Post

yea you're right I shouldn't say that.  I really don't know what it's going to be like.  I've skied all over a bunch of mountains in UT but I get the feeling JH is just a completely different animal.  I guess I just hope we can ski pretty much anything...
 

 

Of all the places in UT, I think jackson skis is closest to snowbasin,  but it is just a bit steeper overall.  Or snowbird with typically worse snow conditions 

post #10 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tromano View Post

 

Of all the places in UT, I think jackson skis is closest to snowbasin,  but it is just a bit steeper overall.  Or snowbird with typically worse snow conditions 


Absolutely loved snowbasin.  Great place.  Getting to ski the downhill course was a really cool experience with taking that extra gondola up there and seeing the course in person.  Pretty wild sitting up there right in front of the starting house and realizing these guys pretty much shoot straight down that pitch.

 

Will I be hitting JH at a good time weather wise in early Feb?

post #11 of 12

Like jimintokyo said, if you can take High Rustler in stride, you'll love JH. I was up there last year for a Steep and Deep Camp (my third time in JH), which I had read/heard about for several years, and jumped at the chance when it coincided with a Far West Ski Assn trip. It was an awesome experience and highly recommended if your trip coincides with one of their scheduled sessions. What I found to be the greatest difference between JH and Alta (skied Alta maybe 50 days) is JH's unrelenting pitch on all the front side runs. Pretty much all of our four days in the camp we were constantly reminded to keep our speed in check with each and every turn. At Alta, and pretty much every other resort, steep groomed pitches come in fairly small doses and you can let your speed creep up with each incompletely finished turn, knowing that you will eventually get to a spot where you can take a longer turn or otherwise let the terrain scrub off speed. If you depend on that strategy on any of the front side groomers like Gros-Ventre, or, to a lesser extent, Sundance, you will eventually reach Mach 1 speed and have to do a serious bail-out maneuver. BTW, the first few turns you took from the start house for the Downhill at Snow Basin illustrate my point, though to a somewhat extreme extent (been there, done that).  Scarved turns at JH are nothing to be ashamed of. Of course, the bump runs lend themselves to speed control naturally, as at any other resort. DO take double black designations VERY seriously. Runs like Alta Chutes 1,2, and 3 are best taken with someone who has previously been down that run, as you could quickly get yourself in deep doodoo unless you have nerves of steel and technique to match. Double black at JH is a class of run altogether different than most double blacks you have ever been on, particularly if you think Highline at Vail is a good example of the genre. All of that said, JH will be a trip you will look back on and savor for the rest of your days. 


Edited by cosmoliu - 11/4/12 at 1:25pm
post #12 of 12

Actually, you'll love Jackson Hole no matter what your skiing level.

My groomer-cruising wife had a wonderful time there two seasons ago, even made her first tentative dips into cut-up powder on the sides.

And that was in what I'd call very substandard (read no new snow) conditions for JH.

There's plenty of gnar at Jackson, but there's also tons of mellow.

Oh, and check out Bob Peters' Guide to Skiing Jackson Hole:

http://www.epicski.com/a/jackson-hole-guide-to-skiing-jackson-hole-mountain-resort

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Resorts, Conditions & Travel