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Alta/Bird trip - If you could choose....for a long weekend

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Am planning a trip in late January for a long weekend of skiing with my son. I'd like to get back to some areas that I haven't seen for awhile and introduce my son to some other ski areas beyond our regular 'home' base: Copper Mtn. Finalists are Alta/Snowbird, Jackson Hole, and Big Mountain. Haven't skied Alta/Snowbird since the second year that Snowbird was open, haven't seen Jackson Hole in about 30 years, haven't been to Big Mtn in nearly 40 years. I'm leaning toward Alta/Snowbird just because of the short time for this trip and it's easy to get to. Still Jackson was a challenging mountain and is also easy to get to. Big Mtn has the strongest sentimental pull as it's the first mountain skiing I did with my parents.

Any thoughts about which would be better for weather and snow in late January? Always looking for the POW

[ January 28, 2003, 08:53 AM: Message edited by: Tag ]
post #2 of 9
If i was you, i'd go for AltaBird. Still only 45 minutes from the Salt Lake City International airport. There's plenty of lodgeing near the mouths of BCC/LCC. The UTA also runs up to those resorts. www.skiutah.com for all you sking info. :
The weather should be good. Just need to watch the local weather and be prepared to get stuck in interlodge lock down, due to avalanchs.
As for pow. On powder days AltaBird will get tracked out real fast. Head on over to the Park City side. Those resorts dont't get all that many powder skiers, compaired to AltaBird. I have found fresh pow 4 days in PC after a dump.

[ November 05, 2002, 02:27 PM: Message edited by: TR@DV ]
post #3 of 9
Hmmmm, the Big Foggy. Big Mountain is known for abundant snow and unfortunately, abundant fog. January is right in the middle of their foggy season. On the otherhand, you have a high probability of powder so if you don't mind skiing soft stuff in flat light go there. If you value visibility head elsewhere.
post #4 of 9
For a 3-day weekend, convenience and price should be the priority. You can't go wrong with any of the mountains you are trying to decide on. Let us know what you decide on and how about a review after the trip?
post #5 of 9
Alta-Bird and Jackson, both fun places. As is Big Mountain, but this January may not be the ideal time. Climatology is predicting low snowfall for Northern Montana, due to El Nino. If you're picking now, I'd eliminate Big Mountain.
post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 
Am looking at the weekend of Jan. 24 - 27 which would put us into Alta/Bird, if we go there, just ahead of the Bear's gathering/Academy. If my son had a different "comp" day off from school, I would have worked the trip around the Bear's dates.

Flights, car rentals, seem to be cheapest into SLC. I'd love to see Big Mountain again, although most of my memories of the place are about tubing and ski school and old family movies of my parents skiing among the snow ghosts (I was too young to go up the mountain), and the snowcat option is most appealing too. However, I don't want to go there if it's an off year for snow. What's the history for the SLC area's in an El Nino year?
post #7 of 9
Have you looked at Kicking Horse in southern BC? Champagne powder, 4100' vertical and a great deal! Even close to Sunshine and Lake Louise with 3500' vertical.
post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 
Originally posted by Gladeator:
Let us know what you decide on and how about a review after the trip?
Back home now. I settled on making a return trip to Alta/Snowbird, mainly due to the airfare and flight schedule between SLC and MSP. We stayed at Alta at the Goldminer's Daughter Lodge. Skied Alta on Saturday (1/25), Snowbird on Sunday, and back to Alta for a 1/2 day on Monday before catching the shuttle back to the airport. Overall it was great trip, mostly because it was great introducing Tag Jr. to some new areas and to really getting him into some 'off-piste' conditions.

The snow conditions were fair at best. As has been stated in many other threads, this has not been a good year for snow for the SLC resorts. While we did find some occassional patches of nice stuff, we scrapped an awful lot of rocks and the traverses that are so much a part of skiing Alta and Snowbird were really, really nasty.

Saturday at Alta I almost thought that we were actually at Big Mountain. Had been partly cloudy all day and in the late afternoon fog moved in and visibility went basically to zero. Still had a great day exploring. I think we managed to get a run on every single lift that was running. The only area I think we missed was the Wildcat area off to the right of the Wildcat lift, and Devils Castle off the top of the Sugarloaf (the one hike we didn't do).

Will have to add more later - out of time for now.
post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 
Back again - Snowbird was fun, but we didn't get around the area as well as we did at Alta. Stayed mostly on the tram, the Gad II lift and Little Cloud (I think). Did a couple of runs in Mineral Basin, but the snow wasn't really great there. It was a beautiful day, very like spring skiing conditions, warm and sunny all day. Tag Jr had a blast on a groomed section of Regulator Johnson making big GS turns as fast as he could go.

Goldminer's Daughter at Alta is a nice place to stay. Nothing fancy (in keeping with the general attmosphere at Alta), but an adequate room, and a very good restaurant. I think most of the people that stay there do the American plan as we did, so breakfast and dinner were included. Didn't have a bad meal.

I enjoyed the 'laid-back' attmosphere of Alta. If you want to ski some intense terrain and you are willing to hike or make some nasty traverses to get to it, these are both excellent ski areas. Both areas take some time to get to know and to find your way around (and wrong turns can take you some very tricky spots). Neither gets really high marks in my book for their trail markings, although Snowbird is a little better than Alta.

I guess the best sign that it was a good trip: Tag Jr is already asking to go back next year.

Tag Jr. making turns on Regulator Johnson

[ February 07, 2003, 10:48 AM: Message edited by: Tag ]
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