Pros: Great grooming, great terrain, fun in the sun
Favorite run: Upper Sleepy Hollow to Rock N' Roll
I used my last day from the Travelocity Ski City Pass deal today at Alta, and had a blast. The groomers were great fun and held up well... I didn't see them getting piled or cut up until after 3:30 pm. I tried a run on Ballroom... the snow was soft and styrofoamy, in piles, tracked windpack, and proto-moguls. Despite the nice snow, it was a chore and not fun for me, so I didn't repeat. As well as the Ballroom Traverse, I also did two runs on the Saddle Traverse (out to Lower Sunspot): while neither was as intimidating as some of the traverses I've seen at Snowbird, I definitely wasn't a fan of either traverse, and I struggled a bit with them. So I'm afraid I won't be doing the Cirque anytime soon. I tried the Supreme lift finally--thanks for pushing me, Marznc, it was lots of fun! I like the conveyor loading that lets the lift run faster--they have the same thing at China Peak, and it's nice there too for moving crowds uphill. Today was my favorite sort of ski day--nice snow, smooth groomers, warm sunshine, and fun runs!
Alta was a bit more crowded than I might like, but for a Saturday, definitely well within the acceptable category. I went through singles lines all day (except on Cecret, which never had a line) and except for a 10-minute wait one ride at Sugarloaf, everything else was 5 or less, and Collins was pretty much ski-on all day from the singles line.
Vibe is such a weird, personal, and undefinable thing I'm kind of reluctant to mention it, but this was now my second trip to Alta where it bugged me. The lift attendants seemed to be in a better mood today, and most of the people I interacted with were friendly. I definitely get that my chairlift-mates aren't there to entertain me, and I don't expect it... but I've gotten more cold shoulders in two days at Alta than in the rest of the season put together. I think I missed snowboarders, and I also noticed partway through the day that it was a very un-diverse crowd... I'd say more than 99% white, and probably half the skiers on the mountain were in their 40s (and I'm not complaining about white folks in their 40s... but the dominance just feels a little more suburban than I'd prefer). I love the vibe at PowMow and Sundance, but both are too far to go there on a regular basis. Brighton, Snowbasin, Snowbird, Canyons, and Solitude all seem to me to have different but fairly cool atmospheres. And then Alta's at the bottom of my "vibe" list so far. Which is definitely a shame, since it has some of my favorite terrain. And to complicate it, my boyfriend (a snowboarder) actually likes the vibe at Alta even though he can't go on the mountain, but hates Brighton. Go figure!
Tip for fellow intermediates: The "Strawberry" run from the map (I didn't see any trail signs) is really nice and seems to have about 5% as much traffic as Mambo, right alongside. As you're going down Mambo, watch on your right, and after passing the turnoff for Saddle Traverse/Lower Sunspot, coast up the hill by the "More Grooming Ahead" sign on the right. It's smooth, shaded, reasonably wide, and has a couple of nice little hills where you can pick up some speed or practice a few turns before rejoining the crowd just above the Watson Shelter.
Edited by New2Utah - 3/8/15 at 12:25am