|Originally posted by quadride:
Planning a trip out west in early March '03. Everyone says Utah but I say Squaw Valley. Does Alta and Snowbird have the nice groomed intermediate runs?? I hear Heavenly is good for this and Squaw looks great with its wide open wilderness. Is wind often a problem at Squaw?? Generally I am looking for info on Lake Tahoe and Utah (Snowbird/Alta). I am expert, however, my girl needs groomed intermediate runs. Thanks and Happy Trails
Tough problem! Both are fine and will fit the bill. Also, as has been mentioned, both have several other resorts nearby. Wind at Squaw is probably typical of any mountain. Not sure how wind conditions compare with Alta. I have been at Squaw at times when some lifts have been on wind hold. In that case, just go to Northstar or Sierra-at-Tahoe.
The snow quality at Alta is legendary, but there can be rare times when it is better in Tahoe, like in 1999 when we were in light dry powder most of the season, and in light powder in a two foot dump in April at Kirkwood. But usually Alta rules. There is a chance for great powder. Also a chance not to get it. Both areas get a lot of snow, and were the two places in the nation to be last season. Squaw is about twice as big as Alta or Snowbird, at 4500 acres, but if that bothers you, you can get a combined pass for Alta/Snowbird. I think that this is still less terrain than Squaw, interestingly enough. But if that still bothers you, ski out of bounds. Utah allows it and even has signs telling you what bus to pick up when you get to a road. Bring a shovel and avvie transceiver.
Squaw and Snowbird have big steeps, but plenty of any kind of terrain for anyone. Everyone grooms a lot of terrain. Alta has steeps too, but does not allow snowboarders and there is a noticable snow quality improvement because of this. But Squaw has, uh... steeps. And not just in one place, but in places all over the resort, so you can really explore.
As was mentioned, the other resorts around these resorts are just fine. I liked Solitude in Utah. Park City has good skiing; I have not made it to the Canyons, which seems to evoke some controversy, but those I know who have skied it like it. I'll get there this season. It's 3500 acres, making it the biggest SLC resort. If you like grooming, Deer Valley may well have the best grooming in the world.
Seriously, both areas are great. Both, you'll get there in the morning and hopefully you'll hear the sweet sound of the avvie guns going off. Quit your job, live in Reno or SLC, then you can ski one locally and get a cheap flight to the other.