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How to Approach Snowbird and Jackson Hole - One Day Each

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

We are taking a ski trip to Solitude for 4 nights and then Grand Targhee for 4 nights during the second week of February.  I am hoping to get a day each at Snowbird and Jackson during the trip.  Looking for advice as to which areas/lifts to focus on at each resort and any must do runs at either.  My typical MO is to get familiar with an area of the mountain by lapping it a few times, but I also don't want to limit myself too much by taking that approach.  We want to get a good feel for what each resort offers, but I realize a day isn't long enough to take it all in.  It will probably just be my son and myself at these resorts and we are both fairly advanced snowboarders.  We like natural terrain with interesting features versus groomers, just nothing with serious consequences if we make a wrong turn or take a spill.  Probably won't be at either of them on a weekend or on a powder day as we will stick to Solitude/Targhee if it snows so that we can avoid crowds and maximize our fresh tracks.  Any advice or recommendations on how we should structure the day at either resort?

 

Thanks!

 

Matt

post #2 of 16

I was just at Snowbird for a day and was able to cover pretty much the whole mountain (only exceptions were the lower Gad area and the Cirque).  Snowbird has well-placed fast lifts which will allow you to cover a lot of ground in a short period of time.  You can easily get at least a glimpse of the various pods in the morning and then tailor your afternoon accordingly.  Here's how I would do it:

 

TRAM to the top and then over into the backside to check out Mineral Basin...2 runs in Mineral Basin

Little Cloud area...2/3 runs

Gad 2 area...2 runs

Peruvian area...3 runs (I prefer using the Express over the Tram)

 

On a weekday, you can definitely do all of this by 11:30 AM.  One of the (many) great things about Snowbird is that you can see a ton of the terrain from the lifts.  Every lift ride is a scouting mission.  So you can get a great idea of what you might like just based upon what you can see from the various lifts.

 

Jackson Hole is a different beast and not quite as easy to get around, nor can you see much outside of the runs directly under the lift.  The obvious circuit would be Gondola...Thunder...Sublette...Tram...but someone else would be able to give better advice as I haven't been there this year and don't know how the new lift has changed things other than it does provide access to some new terrain there.

post #3 of 16

I agree with Lofcaudio for Snowbird I cant comment on JH. Hit the tram early and head into mineral basin 1st thing. Drop in anywhere u like and when you take the lift back up you can scout out lots of cool terrain features. Then head to Gad II. The trees there are amazing. Get off the lift and head right. Cruise down a little ways as the run wraps around to the right and then dive into the trees on the right. Fun stuff!!!

post #4 of 16

I agree.  Hit Gad 2 at Snowbird.  Bananas then anything off to the right, banana chutes.  Or stay high left for the entrance to Tiger Tail.

post #5 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lofcaudio View Post
 

 

Jackson Hole is a different beast and not quite as easy to get around, nor can you see much outside of the runs directly under the lift.  The obvious circuit would be Gondola...Thunder...Sublette...Tram...but someone else would be able to give better advice as I haven't been there this year and don't know how the new lift has changed things other than it does provide access to some new terrain there.

 

This, with the new Teton lift as a wildcard.  Once you've hit those 4 lifts, "trust your feelings, Luke."  You'll have a blast at Targhee; seriously consider the snowcats.  It will be one of the best days of your life.

post #6 of 16
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the info.  Makes me excited to check out both mountains.  I think we'll definitely do Snowbird, Jackson I want to do but we have lift tickets for Targhee included in our package so we'll have to see.  Maybe I can sell them to someone.

 

Lofcaudio, I see you left Cirque out for Snowbird.  Was that because you didn't go there and don't want to recommend in because you aren't familiar with it or for a different reason?  Seems like if offers a lot of options - if you take the Cirque Traverse you can drop in anywhere along it.  Maybe it's to extreme for us mere mortals?  I guess we can check it out on the ride up.  Just curious.  Sounds like Gad 2 is a must do area and Mineral Basin looks very fun.  So many areas that I hear about all the time, it will be nice to see it in person.

 

SpikeDog, I am absolutely hoping to do a cat day at Targhee.  I'm not booking in advance though as I want to make sure conditions are good before forking over the cash.  I realize it might be all booked up by that late, but I don't want to pay $400 to ride week old tracked out snow.  I did one day cat skiing last year in Canada and it was awesome so I've got the bug.  I'm lucky I don't live closer to a cat ski outfit - I would be a poor man if I did.  As it is, seven hours from Big Red Cats and Valahalla is close enough to be fiscally dangerous for me.

 

Thanks again!

 

Matt

post #7 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by snmhanson View Post
 

Lofcaudio, I see you left Cirque out for Snowbird.  Was that because you didn't go there and don't want to recommend in because you aren't familiar with it or for a different reason?  Seems like if offers a lot of options - if you take the Cirque Traverse you can drop in anywhere along it.  Maybe it's to extreme for us mere mortals?  I guess we can check it out on the ride up.

 

I didn't ski the Cirque because it's probably a bit beyond my skill level, but you will get to see it from all angles whether you're on the Tram, the Peruvian Express or the Gad side (which is even steeper) from the Gad 2 lift.

 

I'm a big fan of Targhee, but if you are there and have never been to Jackson Hole, you have to make the drive over just to experience it.  Solitude is pretty limited though and I can't imagine skiing more than two days there when there are so many other interesting places nearby.

post #8 of 16
Epic has unofficial guides to those resorts, may be a good place to start...
post #9 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lofcaudio View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by snmhanson View Post
 

Lofcaudio, I see you left Cirque out for Snowbird.  Was that because you didn't go there and don't want to recommend in because you aren't familiar with it or for a different reason?  Seems like if offers a lot of options - if you take the Cirque Traverse you can drop in anywhere along it.  Maybe it's to extreme for us mere mortals?  I guess we can check it out on the ride up.

 

I didn't ski the Cirque because it's probably a bit beyond my skill level, but you will get to see it from all angles whether you're on the Tram, the Peruvian Express or the Gad side (which is even steeper) from the Gad 2 lift.

 

I'm a big fan of Targhee, but if you are there and have never been to Jackson Hole, you have to make the drive over just to experience it.  Solitude is pretty limited though and I can't imagine skiing more than two days there when there are so many other interesting places nearby.


The terrain off the Cirque traverse ranges quite a bit but definitely for people who like steeps.  Figuring the traverse itself without a guide probably takes some effort.  Definitely would not try it in low visibility.  @BobMc was nice enough to take me and my ski buddy over there last winter for a look see even though it wasn't the best conditions.  At least this season there is a lot more snow cover.

 

If skiing Honeycomb Canyon, then Solitude has a lot to offer.  But agree that for advanced skiers a day or two at Solitude is enough. One reason to go to Solitude is when there is fresh snow in LCC is when the road up to Snowbird/Alta is closed in the morning.

post #10 of 16

Below is the link to Bob Peter's guide to skiing Jackson. The man knows his mountain. For sure, when exiting the Tram, go to the top of Corbett's and see that drop. Ski the drop at your own risk. It's easy to ski the Jackson groomers and see the whole mountain, but, if you want the more difficult or off piste, try finding a local and ask. 

 

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

 

Edit: just browsed Bob's review....it is excellent.

post #11 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lofcaudio View Post
 

I didn't ski the Cirque because it's probably a bit beyond my skill level

Maybe not.  The key to the cirque is to ignore all the chutes for the first hundred yards and do the wide Middle Cirque, which after a slide-in path on a very short lip is not much at all if you are comfortable doing the other blacks.  The problem is that skiing, just on the back side of the spine, down to it is very often littered with little rocks which might piss you off if you value your ski bottoms.  The snow doesn't stay on the ridge because it's blown off and/or quickly melts.  But if you do it, you'll be glad you did.  The snow in that big bowl, easily visible from the tram and Peruvian Gulch is usually perfect and chalky and the moguls are just small manageable bumps. 

post #12 of 16

From below, the middle and lower Cirque looked fine (i.e., not too difficult), but what gave me pause was that no one else was skiing it.  Combine that with how thin the spine looked from the top and I just decided it could wait for another day.

post #13 of 16

The fun side of the cirque traverse is the less obvious side.

post #14 of 16
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all of the advice.  I'll take a look at the cirque on our way up and go from there.  Seems like there is plenty to see outside of that so maybe not a big deal if we don't ride it.  Snow forecast doesn't look great for fresh pow at this point.  Looking at the Park City forecast (can't find a long range forecast for either Cottonwood) it looks like it will stay cold but not much snow after Wednesday or Thursday.  Oh well, at least it won't be freeze-thaw conditions.  And things can change over a weeks time.  Out time at Targhee looks more promising.

 

Thanks again for all of the advice - really appreciate it!

 

Matt

post #15 of 16

I hit Jackson for the first time this season today, and I would heartily recommend the Teton lift's Grizzly Glade - Moran Face area.  Fantastic tree skiing, and nice pitches all the way across from Kemmerer to Crag's run.  I don't really think Grizzly Glade deserved the double black rating, it's not that bad.


Edited by SpikeDog - 2/1/16 at 7:08am
post #16 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpikeDog View Post

I hit Jackson for the first time today, and I would heartily recommend the Teton lift's Grizzly Glade - Moran Face area.  Fantastic tree skiing, and nice pitches all the way across from Kemmerer to Crag's run.  I don't really think Grizzly Glade deserved the double black rating, it's not that bad.

I would second this suggestion. We were there today also and that part of the mountain was skiing great. Of course, most of the mountain was also in great shape. You need to read Bob's unofficial guide to skiing Jackson on this site as it has all you need to know. My favorite parts of Jackson are the Lower Faces (particularly Sublette Ridge and the Hobacks), Tower 3, Wally World, Paintbrush, Alta #1, Gros Ventre, and Grand. I think the new Teton lift is going to make the list and the Apres Vous area is underrated and can be a lot of fun. I think the key is making sure you are there around opening time as you can get a lot of skiing in before the majority arrive.
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