Mr Giddyup and I had a chat about you and your insights. We all hope to see you come play with us again. Should be fun!!
Close, very close Matt.
Being the person who scheduled this the last time around, I'm going to give you all some insight into what my thinking on this was.
The Warm Up day concept
There are many Bears that come from great distances to attend this event. Some need to have a little time to adjust to the altitude and some need to recover from a lot of time in the car. Bumpfreq and myself would be great examples. For one Gathering I was living at 5.9' above sea level and driving 40 plus hours. It isn't the best idea to hit the toughest areas on day one for the safety and fun level of those that don't get out more than once a month at best, or those who may be unfamiliar with skiing chutes or worse, "cliff-ing out". If there is a shortage of guides (which almost always happens) leadership and knowing one another at a place like Alta is important.
Solitude was picked as the first day (which was a Sunday) because;
- Good skiing w/o really long vertical.
- Weekday type crowds with walk on lifts all day
- Great Sunday ticket pricing
- It is a smaller area with easy meet-up places where Bears who have never met have an excellent chance of meeting up, with one parking lot noted in the directions to park in.
I don't know what it is about the third day of a ski week, but students always came out running on about 60% of their normal "game". It's an off day for most of us. You need an area where those who aren't at 100% can de-tune things a bit. This was a huge factor at the Summit County event as many really strong skiers joined the Intermediate group having been effected by altitude. While Alta has many tamer runs, my thinking now is that Snowbird would have been a far better day three choice as there is so many more groomed acres of skiing. The rest of you....throw yourself off a cliff as one Bear did (he was fine by the way).
The Fun Stuff
While it's cool to hit every available area there, it isn't the best tactic. As MattL mentioned the best discounts are in multi day tickets bought through any discount outlet where you get a greater discount for 2 days vs on a daily basis. Most of the local shops in the area sell 2 of 3 day tickets at Liftopia pricing so there is no NEED to have areas like Snowbird or Alta run on consecutive days.
What's the best choice for 2014?
There can't be any argument that Snowbird and Alta are the must do's. Add in the Collective pass and it's a no-brainer to hit those areas for 4 days. Use your free tickets at the "bird" and buy your two 50% off tickets at Alta and you are in business.
Jim's already hinted it's going to be a 6 day event, sooooooooo.....start on Sunday at any of the smaller areas. We had great guides at Snowbasin, the skiing is really varied and FUN, it's a well laid out area with an easy meet-up area with AMAZING FOOD (and of course.......the bathrooms) (Can't mention Snowbasin w/o mentioning the bathrooms can we?) Or, Solitude for the above mentioned reasons. Both work really well as a 1st day location.
If it were me....and a 6 day event, I would go
Either Snowbasin or Solitude on day 1 (and the other on day 6)
Snowbasin or Solitude
That way you have Snowbird on day 3 for those that start on day one....and those that start on day 2. Then Alta, when we all know each other and know who can go to the proper pucker factor terrain
Powder mountain maybe in place of Solitude or Snowbasin.....though its a hike from SLC
Deer Valley.....no.....It's one of the worst laid out areas I have ever been at and ....not typical Bear territory for many reasons.
Park City Mtn. Resort- NIce place with some great skiing ....but again....a bit expensive and a haul from SLC.
Brighton.....bring your board......dude
My .03 Mr. Giddyup