or Connect
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Salt Lake City Ski Advice

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

I'm currently planning a spring break trip to Salt Lake City (3rd week of March).  There will be 3 of us going (very similar ski abilities) and we're planning on buying a 4-day Super Pass and skiing some combination of the resorts.

 

I would rate my ski ability as strong intermediate / lower-level advanced.  Most of my ski experience is in the Mid-Atlantic where I can ski everything.  I skied Taos a couple years ago and really enjoyed the Hunziker area and hiked Kachina Peak and skied down Main Street, which is my absolute favorite ski experience I've ever had!  With that said, I am very weak with mogul skiing and have never experienced powder skiing before.

 

My group is considering spending 2 days at Alta and 2 days at Snowbird.  We are looking to dabble in some of the more advanced terrain, but obviously don't want to get in over our heads or in a potentially dangerous situation for our ability level.  I've already read the unofficial guides for both ski areas, but I'm hoping to get some additional advice.  Do you all feel there will be enough opportunities for skiers of our ability level to get out on some of the traverses and be able to enjoy some of the more advanced terrain?  Which trails and areas should we start with once we're ready to move into the easier Advanced terrain (especially at Alta since there's no distinction of Advanced/Expert)?

 

Thank you in advance for your help!

post #2 of 11

You will have fun.  Plenty of time to explore both areas, especially if you have good weather and visibility on your visit.  At Snowbird you will like to spend most of your time in Mineral Basin, except when there's wind and no visibility then we call it Miserable Basin, and then just stay on Gad 2 lift in the trees.  At Alta, you will like Ballroom, some of Supreme, some of Wildcat, and Devils Castle is worth the traverse - if it opens.  That should get you started.

post #3 of 11

Alta in particular has a lot of expert only gates--if you stay out of those you'll be fine, although you might also miss runs you can handle. If you do want to try harder stuff, go with runs you can see--for example, the Greeley bowls off the high traverse can all be seen from the Sugarloaf side. At Snowbird the runs in Mineral Basin and the upper Gad valley originate from cat track traverses which can easily be seen from the top of the tram as can the runs themselves. (Note that aspect makes a big difference. On a sunny day in March the runs near the beginning of Mineral basin may be icy, then thaw to slop before refreezing in the afternoon. Meanwhile the farther you go on the traverse the more wintery the snow will get.) 

post #4 of 11

A friend lived in SLC while attending U of U, and he always preferred Park City skiing.  Now that Park City and Canyons have merged and have a connecting gondola, that's a good consideration.  Public transportation to Alta and Snowbird from SLC is one consideration important to many.

post #5 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by SoftSnowGuy View Post
 

A friend lived in SLC while attending U of U, and he always preferred Park City skiing.  Now that Park City and Canyons have merged and have a connecting gondola, that's a good consideration.  Public transportation to Alta and Snowbird from SLC is one consideration important to many.


he just tells people that to get the lemmings to go to PC and stay away from the Cottonwoods!

post #6 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by ski9517 View Post
 

I'm currently planning a spring break trip to Salt Lake City (3rd week of March).  There will be 3 of us going (very similar ski abilities) and we're planning on buying a 4-day Super Pass and skiing some combination of the resorts.

 

I would rate my ski ability as strong intermediate / lower-level advanced.  Most of my ski experience is in the Mid-Atlantic where I can ski everything.  I skied Taos a couple years ago and really enjoyed the Hunziker area and hiked Kachina Peak and skied down Main Street, which is my absolute favorite ski experience I've ever had!  With that said, I am very weak with mogul skiing and have never experienced powder skiing before.

 

My group is considering spending 2 days at Alta and 2 days at Snowbird.  We are looking to dabble in some of the more advanced terrain, but obviously don't want to get in over our heads or in a potentially dangerous situation for our ability level.  I've already read the unofficial guides for both ski areas, but I'm hoping to get some additional advice.  Do you all feel there will be enough opportunities for skiers of our ability level to get out on some of the traverses and be able to enjoy some of the more advanced terrain?  Which trails and areas should we start with once we're ready to move into the easier Advanced terrain (especially at Alta since there's no distinction of Advanced/Expert)?

 

Thank you in advance for your help!


What are your favorite places in the Mid-Atlantic?

 

Given that you enjoyed advanced terrain at Taos, there will be plenty of black terrain at Alta/Snowbird that you would enjoy.  Note that Honeycomb Canyon at Solitude is for advanced skiers as well.  Can be less crowded on weekends than either Alta or Snowbird.

 

For the first day at Alta, consider riding up the Wildcat lift for a good view of the terrain off the High T.  If you take the Saddle Traverse before the High T, that's another way to get a view and a feel for the snow conditions.

post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 

Thanks to everyone for the advice!  Our group confirmed that we'll be doing 2 days at Alta and 2 at Snowbird.  I'll definitely check out some of the easier Advanced runs suggested here to get started.  I'd really like to explore some of the terrain behind the gates on the traverses, so we'll probably check out Greeley as well.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by marznc View Post
 


What are your favorite places in the Mid-Atlantic?

 

Given that you enjoyed advanced terrain at Taos, there will be plenty of black terrain at Alta/Snowbird that you would enjoy.  Note that Honeycomb Canyon at Solitude is for advanced skiers as well.  Can be less crowded on weekends than either Alta or Snowbird.

 

For the first day at Alta, consider riding up the Wildcat lift for a good view of the terrain off the High T.  If you take the Saddle Traverse before the High T, that's another way to get a view and a feel for the snow conditions.

 

I used to live in the DC area, so I've spent a lot of time at WhiteTail, along with visits to Liberty and RoundTop.  I've been to Killington once and we used to have family in Albuquerque, so I've been almost everywhere in New Mexico.

 

We're definitely hoping to make it off the High T at some point, so we'll be sure to check out the views early on.

 

Another question, we'll be there Monday through Thursday the 3rd week of March.  It's Spring Break week for me, is this a common vacation week in the area too?  How bad should I expect crowds to be?  I'm hoping that mid-week skiing will help a lot.

 

Thanks again to everyone for the help - lets hope for snow these next couple weeks!

post #8 of 11
If you gauge yourself as an int. Snowbird is hard and does not have too many int. Terrain. What they do have is chunky and depending on your ski style maybe a lot of work for you to ski if you are not a charger.

My advice If you get in over your heads and are overterrained go over to brighton or solitude to have more of a chill day.

So do 1 day at the bird and 1 at alta and reassess.
I just got bsck from a trip on the mcp with some more intermediate boarders and for the sake of the group we did brighton the 2nd day instead of the bird even though lift tickets were out of pocket. They liked it the better cause it fit their skill level better.

Nobody knows how things are going to be, so stay flexible. but in general there is more capacity at slc since they have so many resorts, plus parkcity being on the epicpass sucks the biggest crowds.
Snowbird definitely will be more impscted if its a powder day then say brighton/solitude
post #9 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by ski9517 View Post
 

Thanks to everyone for the advice!  Our group confirmed that we'll be doing 2 days at Alta and 2 at Snowbird.  I'll definitely check out some of the easier Advanced runs suggested here to get started.  I'd really like to explore some of the terrain behind the gates on the traverses, so we'll probably check out Greeley as well.

 

 

I used to live in the DC area, so I've spent a lot of time at WhiteTail, along with visits to Liberty and RoundTop.  I've been to Killington once and we used to have family in Albuquerque, so I've been almost everywhere in New Mexico.

 

We're definitely hoping to make it off the High T at some point, so we'll be sure to check out the views early on.

 

Another question, we'll be there Monday through Thursday the 3rd week of March.  It's Spring Break week for me, is this a common vacation week in the area too?  How bad should I expect crowds to be?  I'm hoping that mid-week skiing will help a lot.

 

Thanks again to everyone for the help - lets hope for snow these next couple weeks!

Spring Break weeks are spread out in March/April so the crowds never get as bad as during Christmas break.  Unless there is a powder day, not much to worry about.  If the Collins lift line is long before it opens at 9:15am, consider taking Wildcat for the first run.  At Snowbird, it's the tram line that can get long early in the morning.

 

For the first day at Snowbird, look around for a Mountain Host.  There are free mountain tours, but I think if you talk to a host, you'll be able to get good advice about which areas to explore without getting into stuff that is too complicated.  Especially helpful if Mineral Basin is not open due to winds or low visibility.

 

Do you plan to drive up the canyon road?

 

You might add your dates to the ongoing Alta/Snowbird meetup thread.  Increases the chances of being able to take a few runs with someone who knows LCC well.

 

http://www.epicski.com/t/144371/alta-and-or-snowbird-when-are-you-going-to-be-there-in-2015-16/30#post_1980856

post #10 of 11

As someone who considers himself an intermediate, struggles with moguls, and has very limited powder experience, it sounds like my experiences exploring LCC (and the rest of Utah) last season might be relevant. I typed up my exploration notes in this thread.

 

I'd recommend starting with Alta on Day 1, as it's got a bit more gentle terrain and you can work your way up to ensure you don't get over your head. Definitely try the Supreme lift (I skipped it my first day at Alta because the line looked so long, but it moves quickly and the terrain is very nice), and explore around the different groomers to get a sense of conditions and to get a look at lots of different parts of the mountain. I wouldn't recommend jumping into anything ungroomed without looking first unless you have a guide or have already gotten a couple days under your belt. If the section of Alta below the Watson Shelter is too intense for your group, then I'd definitely say you should head over to Brighton and Solitude.

 

At Snowbird, I recommend either doing the tour like Marznc suggested, or else starting with a tour of your own: Junior's Powder Paradise in Mineral Basin; Chip's Run (from either the top of Hidden Peak or the top of the Peruvian Chair, all the way down to the Snowbird Center); and Road to Provo-Mark Malu-Goblin Gully-Bassackwards. Doesn't really matter the order of those three, but they'll let you look at pretty much all of the mountain and get a sense for conditions in the different sections of the resort... test the off-piste just to the side of any of these runs to get a sense of how the ungroomed is skiing without making a big commitment. It's pretty much impossible to say 3 weeks out what will be skiing best, but the different exposures, elevation, and wind patterns around the mountain can make the experiences very different. The Wilbere lift can also be a great spot for trying some of the Snowbird Steeps without getting yourselves stuck.

post #11 of 11

Do the mountain tours.  Alta takes a long time to learn, if you can befriend a local or buy a few hours of lesson you will benefit from learning where to go.  Don't go through gates at Snowbird without knowing exactly what you are in store for.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: General Skiing Discussion