I am in the process of trying to figure out where I want to spend the winter, so I can focus my job search on that area. I am torn between Mammoth and Utah (specifically Alta/Snowbird). I spent last winter in Breckenridge, and while I enjoyed my time there, I am looking to try somewhere new this winter. Some of the biggest draws for me to try somewhere else are a desire for more challenging terrain than Breck had to offer, more snow, less crowds, and a cheaper cost of living. I am also very interested in starting to learn/pursue backcountry skiing/ski mountaineering.
+ Seems like a tough place to beat for ski mountaineering and backcounty skiing potential
+ Very possible that I will have a couple of close friends moving to Mammoth for the winter that would help provide the sort of community I desire
+ More of a mountain town than SLC
+ Shorter and easier move for me
+ Closer to places I can go rock climbing outside during the season (i.e. Bishop)
+ Long season into spring
- Higher cost of living than SLC
- Snowfall - less consistent than SLC; "Sierra cement?"
+ Higher average annual snowfall than Mammoth; lighter powder?
+ Cheaper cost of living than Mammoth
+ More resort options to choose from (both for employment and for skiing)
+ Seems like more opportunities to find jobs and work
+ Only a few hours from Moab
+ Long season into spring (at least for Snowbird)
- Not sure if it would feel like I am living in the mountains if I live in SLC, which is something I love
- Longer move
-/+ May not know anyone there (I am sort of neutral on this one, as it is a huge negative for me)
Can anyone give me any comparisons on Mammoth vs. Alta/Snowbird, in terms of terrain, snow, crowds, cost of living (although it seems Utah has the upper-hand in that one), backcountry skiing, etc? I am especially interested in the terrain and snowfall comparrsons (I know both places cost money and both places will have crowds, at least at times). And if anyone can tell me how either Mammoth or Alta/Snowbird stack up against Breckenridge in any of these categories, that would be really helpful, as well.
And in case anyone finds it pertinent to this discussion, I will provide a little bit of background on myself and my motivations for this upcoming season. I am a 23 year old guy looking to spend his second season ski-bumming before I go to grad school. I spend my summers working for a wilderness ministry in California (currently still in California). I worked in a rental and retail shop last winter, and would likely be wanting to do that type of work again. My favorite place I have skied is Arapahoe Basin. In terms of my current ability level, there was only one line at Breckenridge (one of the Lake Chutes) that I didn't feel comfortable trying by the end of the season, but, I also have no illusions of myself being the best skier on the mountain (rather, far from it). I am not a hucker at this point, and don't have a ton of interest in park skiing, either. I love powder (who doesn't, though?), but also enjoy steeps, trees, and moguls (I have fun on groomers, but tend to not spend the majority of my time there). I am looking to get into backcountry skiing and hopefully some ski mountaineering this winter. Also interested in trying ice climbing. And while I like to spend pretty much the whole ski season skiing, I also love rock climbing and mountain biking, and having these options available would be a nice bonus. And in general, the more days and opportunities I have to go skiing during the season, the better
Well, thanks for reading this, and thanks in advance for any responses. I really do appreciate them. I suspect that both of these places will provide what I am looking for in comparison to Breckenridge, and I do realize I may be sort of splitting hairs here. But why not try to find the best possible place, right?