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Alta vs Snowbird for experts

post #1 of 97
Thread Starter 
Not a question, but an answer! I want to get the TRUTH out. I already have my own opinion and i just want to stir up trouble. By experts I mean those who look for the harder lines down the hill, not afraid of the bumps, powder or ungroomed conditions, short of those pitches where a slip or a slide can give you a good chance of physical damage.

The reason I bring this up is that all too often I have asked Utah skiers, which do you prefer Alta or Snowbird and my own informal poll has surprised me that more will say Alta than Snowbird.

My opinion - hands down, without a doubt, by an act of God, the terrain at Snowbird is much better for advanced skiers than Alta.

Why, let's start with why not.
Two words come to mind when i think about Alta. RUNOUT and TRAVERSE.
Sure Surpreme is a great lift, but after that slow ride up, you have have basically two lines down the hill unless you want to traverse and get way off track in Catherine's area. Let's move to the right, looking up. Sugerloaf lift - again limited choices unless you want to go on a big traverse. Looking left and up at lift, very little variety, i have worked those pitches to the left, umpteen times in a blizzard trying to get some steep out of it and sure there are a few spots, but come on.... Straight under, skiing 49 is usually what we do, and that is great spot. One! And if you go too far right, looking up, you get caught in that big slow, gully, on a powder day.

So in my opinion, looking up, that whole left side of the hill, unless you want to traverse. I have no problem with traversing, but i really don't want to make a living out of it.

Now, let's go up top to the bowls. Alta calls them what? bowls? compared to what? not compared I hope to Little Cloud, Mineral Basin or the Cirque. They are teacups, not expert bowls.

I am not going to complain about the 70's slopes to the left of Collins. That whole side of the hill, under the lift and to the left is great on a powder day, and we'll call that great terrain. But then again, traverse, but that traverse is acceptable. I know someone is going to bring up Dalton's Drawl?, the ultimate traverse is all I'll say. Or climb up after you get off Collin's, WHO NEEDS IT, I go for substance over style and try to let "Gravity be my Guide".

Straight under Collins, blue!, with 107/108 at the bottom, which get bumped up and worked out right away, very little choice, because that is the only good steep pitch.

Wildcat, now that's really the spot for the steeps, and this Penna., once a year SLC skier, (but 3x last yr and 2x coming up-I trained my kids now i HAVE to go twice<g>) has seemed to have enjoyed more than his fair share of days playing in the fluff under Wildcat, I know at least the last 5 trips i have powder there. (that weekend AFTER President's day has been so right for us!) But again, you have that first 400 ft pitch off the lift, or traverse along the Alta/Snowbird spine. And then you basically have 110-112 to ski down, big wop, 3 different choices! And at the bottom of the wildcat, which i recally from >5 yrs ago, gets bumped up to hell, tight and gnarly, maybe overdoing it. But at the bottom, again more runout, to the lift YUCK YUCK YUCK. And don't get stuck too far to the snowbird side, you'll only do that once.

Right now I've had enough and I am not going to even begin to compare the Snowbird terrain. Because IMHO, it doesn't even compare.

So why do many experts say they like Alta over the Bird? To do that we have to leave God out of this discussion. It's all about the snowflake sweater. Pick your color, white or red. I remember seeing one on the plane last year, Alta skier?, yes, how did you know...Always seem to be at least one on the plane. I can't wait to tell my kids to look out for them. And i have total respect for that sweater and the character and what Alta has retained. I look in the eyes of those people who come back to Alta every year for decades and wouldn't think of going anywhere else, i have total respect. They are pulled from nooks and crannies throughout our country and drawn like a magnet to that very special place.

This year I am going to stay at Alta, never have, with my kids 1st weekend of April, just because I want to be with those sweater people. Honestly!! Alta - I love the lunch up at Wildcat and the croweded atmosphere and the menu and the people who dish the stuff out, we just don't have those people out my way in the Poconos.

What people refer to as "the glitz" at Snowbird is very overrated. The food facilities stink!, I don't even like the menu, up and down those damn steps in boots, they even make you climb step at Gad restaraunt. Cliff lodge, another very special place, with very special people working there.

enough for now, I have just enough light to go out and do some xc skiing. (which is a great workout and my ski training for SLC - i don't bother skiing in the poconos).
post #2 of 97
Your beating a dead horse. You, are the expert,you know it all about Utah. People who live and have skied for years know nothing. We are humbled by your local knowledge. how could we have been so wrong.
*Did some editing reads better now . When i first posted i was only on my 1st cup of coffee still my over all feelings are the same. You like snowbird we get it already!
post #3 of 97
Dude, I'm all for the snide comebacks, but how 'bout a little spelling and punctuation?

Advantage= glenncz.
post #4 of 97
post #5 of 97
glenncz 4tw

post #6 of 97
Why choose?

Now you can purchase the combined Snowbird/Alta pass and enjoy both resorts.

Why limit yourself?
post #7 of 97
Frankly, I don't understand that whole combined ticket thing. There is way too much terrain at both, Alta and Snowbird, to try to ski them both in one day. Why waste the money? Ski them both. Enjoy them both. Along with Jackson, they are two of the best three places to ski in North America. Probably, the only people to argue with me are the editors of SKI Mag.!
post #8 of 97
Sunny day & no new snow = the Bird

Any other time = Alta

Of course that's just me, Mr. Vegas.
post #9 of 97
Originally Posted by Canyons
Frankly, I don't understand that whole combined ticket thing. There is way too much terrain at both, Alta and Snowbird, to try to ski them both in one day. Why waste the money? Ski them both. Enjoy them both. Along with Jackson, they are two of the best three places to ski in North America. Probably, the only people to argue with me are the editors of SKI Mag.!
I won't argue. I'm convinced that the only reason for that ticket's existence is for tourists who want to say they've skied both areas in a day. And that's coming from a tourist! Who didn't buy it!
post #10 of 97
Dude, For the record I'm Dyslextic. proper grammer and spelling, glenncz wins. As for all his post on skiing Utah I love how he passes judgment on places he has skied 1/2 day and or never skied at all.
post #11 of 97
Originally Posted by Utah49
Dude, For the record I'm Dyslextic. proper grammer and spelling, glenncz wins. As for all his post on skiing Utah I love how he passes judgment on places he has skied 1/2 day and or never skied at all.
Why do you bother with this trivial BS? Have you read this guy's post on The Canyons? NOT A CLUE!!!: I think that I am safe in saying that there are just some posts to be taken with 1/2 grain of salt!
post #12 of 97
Nope, after careful consideration I stand by my suggestion.

Purchase the combined pass, naysayers be damned.

Ski the whole friggin mountain, get an early start and make them pull you off the lift.
post #13 of 97
Canyons I have ignored glencz post on Utah for a long time now. Maybe I just woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning. Anyway I have to finish some work here so i can get a few runs in this afternoon. Had a great time at the Canyons yesterday. We will have to make plans to get afew runs in there. maybe we could have a mini epicski day at the Canyons Lodro you up for it? Gadgit you still around?
I can walk to PCMR from my home, but I'm thinking next season I'm getting a Canyons season pass.
post #14 of 97
Was that a late night post or an early morning post Glenncz?

That being said, I may agree that there is a greater quantity of advanced/expert terrain at Snowbird than at Alta and they are relatively equal in acreage. I guess it can also be argued that Snowbird has more advanced/expert terrain than Jackson Hole as well but I'll let someone more qualified, like Bob Peters, comment on that.

Still, as far as that terrain goes, I always thought everything at Alta was more skiable, open, and accessable. The place just has a look and a feel to it that you can get to it and ski it. Snowbird is more rugged and tree and rock strewn. Snowbird has plenty of traverses that access the good stuff as well: "Bookends Traverse", High Baldy Traverse", and the infamous "Ho Chi Minh Trail aka Cirque Traverse". I feel much of the terrain off of these traverses is similar in length, steepness, and difficulty as what you will find next door at Alta (ok, there is that stuff under the tram). The difference being how open the terrain is. Also, unlike Alta, I rarely see folks skiing off of those traverses when it has not snowed in a while.

I like both and go to both. My favorite is Alta and yes I am proudly one of those guys on the plane wearing my Alta garb whether it's a trip to SLC or PA.
post #15 of 97
typical "from elsewhere" skier.

the unstated message:

Alta has slow, old lifts and you have to traverse a lot to find the best terrain. Since I'm lazy and spoiled and used to highspeed megachairs, and identify more with a "resort" than a "ski hill," Snowbird must be the better of the two.

what nonsense. nice try glenncz. very nice try. I'm sure you can convince them over on Paula's Ski Lovers. not here.
post #16 of 97

If you don't get it, you don't get it. I'm probably wasting my effort here, but here goes:

Alta is not about lift served skiing, it is about lift assisted skiing. You use Alta as a tool to access some of finest BC on the continent. God forbid you would have to traverse or even *gasp* hike/skin to the best stuff. Maybe Vail is more to your liking anyway. I heard they have installed magic carpets in place of stairs (since you don't like those either). Maybe instead of you not liking Alta, Alta just doesn't like you.


PS: Its actually NOT about the sweater, it about the blue dot sticker!
post #17 of 97
Originally Posted by Powdr
Alta is not about lift served skiing, it is about lift assisted skiing.
Hear Hear! This is the point that escapes so many becuase so few people are willing to work for turns.

And, I couldn't be happier about that.
post #18 of 97
hmmmm....Alta. Which is harder is a toss up-they're each hard. Alta involves more work and more of an adventuruous spirit (and why I love it). The steeps off the snowbird tram are certainly a gut check...but the often ignored steep lines way over in the wildcat area of Alta spook the heck out of this skier (not to mention short but sweet steeps like 'Glory Hole'). And, East Devil's Castle (both getting up to it and coming down it) are as hard as anything I've tried anywhere. Ah dang-they're both so good, but, I'd rather be trapped on the Collins lift for life than the tram or Gad 2 (though none of these would suck). Alta-it just is.
post #19 of 97
All right!! I love these kinds of arguments.


I get the feeling you may not have sampled all that Alta has to offer. You didn't mention quite a few areas that some of my Altoid friends have taken me to that'll put a pretty severe crimp in the 'ol sphincter. Alta's a mountain that takes much exploring, a lot of hiking/traversing, and some willing local guides to really appreciate.

So I wonder if you've actually skied everything at Alta that would fit in your "expert terrain" definition. If not, your conclusion is seriously flawed and I suspect you're not quite sure what you're talking about.

Having said *that*, I'll agree with you.

IMO, Snowbird has more and arguably better "expert" terrain than Alta. (It also has steeper runs on average than Jackson Hole, but that's just a parenthetical aside.) Snowbird's difficult terrain is generally easier to get to and has more sustained pitch than Alta's. It also has a much wider range of exposures, so you can search out better places in specialized weather conditions.

That's on the plus side.

On the minus side, all those modern lifts mean far more people. Snowbird is much more of a crazed powder frenzy during and after a storm because Snowbird can haul people up the hill so much faster. Snowbird also has a high percentage of boarders and that takes a toll on the quality of the snow and the experience on many parts of the mountain.

Alta is about long and intricate traverses, hidden little shots in the trees and under rock bands, places you can reach with a couple of friends if you're willing to put in a little work. Alta is about low-pressure skiing. You can actually pause for a moment or two at some of the little shots you hiked to without someone flying out of the trees and poaching your line.

Snowbird is Type-A raging. High-speed clattering down the Ho Chi Minh Trail so you can; a) get to the untracked in the Cirque ahead of the 75 maniacs right behind you, and b) try to make sure you don't get run over by those same maniacs who are all headed roughly the same place you are. It's about getting to your shot as fast as you possibly can and then dropping in instantly because *someone* is probably aiming for the same line.

Both offer great skiing, but completely different experiences.

Both are good.

post #20 of 97

The Blue Dot Club

Powdr: "PS: Its actually NOT about the sweater, it about the blue dot sticker!"

post #21 of 97
Thread Starter 
Very sorry that only a few people even bothered to answer my post. Most of the answers truly show that you are from from PC and you care more about what validates your life than what is true. This post had nothing to do about PC or the Canyons. Have no idea why you choose to answer it the way you did, but i guess it does show that you are hypersensitive about "your hills" and you have to use snide remarks than argue with the truth. Okay, so let's get it all in the open!!!! Take the gloves off.

Utah49 >Your beating a dead horse.
What horse. I've been reading every comment on this board for 2 months, have read alot about SLC, but no real good comparisons, what's wrong with some friendly banter among resorts that are right next to each other and are similar in many ways, esp snowfall.
>People who live and have skied for years know nothing.
I don't think in any of my posts i went out of my way to condemn local skiers knowledge, in fact I have alot of respect for it, I'm sure many of your guys have skied all of these hills dozens of times, and can pick your days to do it. No one bothered to correct me if I was wrong because you know what i said was true.

Really, I'm not looking for a fight here. I've had some of the most fun days of my life skiing YOUR hills. Well, I guess they weren't your hills, let's just say over the hills. So I went through my old posts.
glenncz - The difference in snow quality between Park City, Deer Valley and the Canyons compared to the Cottonwood Canyons can be dramatic.
glenncz - It can and often is wet and yucky over there while the boys over the hill are playing in nice fluffy snow. This difference is even more dramatic if it hasn't snowed for a week or more
>And what Utah, i mean the Cottonwood canyons, has is the most reliable and dependable, most easily accessible snow on Planet Earth.
YOU KNOW THIS IS TRUE FOR AT LEAST NORTH AMERICA and likely the world, although i may have been reaching.
>Another thing about the Park City area, the scenery is not nearly as beautiful. Not what you are expecting for the "western", downright drab in my opinion.
>The drives up and down Little and Big Cottonwood Canyon, offer SPECTACULAR scenery.
>Snowbird is the hands down favorite for me
FOR ME THIS IS TRUE TRUE TRUE - I'm a Snowbird devotee and it has absolutely nothing to do with lifts, food, lodging, tickets, or sweaters. Only for what GOD DID.
>Check out the picture of the day at alta.com for 1/30 and see what can happen when they "report" 4inches of snow! LIARS!
>My suggestion, either Park City or Downtown, rent a car. Hit a different resort each day.
Where am I wrong in this post?
>ps tons of advanced skiing at Park City, Deer Valley and the Canyons! esp for 1st trip out. You won't get shortchanged on this type of trip there(trip with the mrs.)
In this post I am starting to realize there might be people with THIN skins on this forum.
>RE: CANYONS >I only skied 1/2 day there(free!). And I recall that the snow,except for up high, was marginable, compared to what my friends were skiing on the "other side of the hill".
>RE: CANYONS > I don't like the fact that after a medium size shot I remember distincly remember having to ski all these beginner long runouts down to the next lift. I remember doing that alot. I like to ski the entire resort when i ski. Another thing is that ther report 3500 acres, that is total bull in my opinion
TRUE IN MY OPINION. 3500 acres??? and the say Alta has 2500 and Snowbird has 2500 for 4700combined. Please how do they come up wiht 3500 skieable acres. Some marketing geek with a protractor who never skied the hill.
>and there are alot of funny unskieable gullies and whatnot. But all in all, certaintly worth your time!!! It is just in the comparisons to other SLC skiing is when it falls short IMHO.
> Alta/Snowbird hold the snow when everyone is in the slop. For an expert skier, sweet snow is where it is at!, plus it's alot safer on the steeps.
>I love how he passes judgment on places he has skied 1/2 day and or never skied at all.
1/2 day, that's all it takes to figure things out, for me at least.
>Had a great time at the Canyons yesterday.
See I envy you. It is just that here in Penna. People schedule a trip and all they think of if they've never be to SCL is Park City, like a buddy of mine who went out and stayed at PC for 5 days and never even knew that he should've tried to figure out a way to take a ride over the hill. It happens alot!!
Cornbreak >My favorite is Alta and yes...I am proudly one of those guys on the plane wearing my wearing my Alta garb
-----Now that is the kind of answer that i was hoping for!
>typical "from elsewhere" skier.
THIS SAYS IT ALL. Right, we wait all, year, have maybe 4-8 days to ski a real mountain and we don't have time to fool around with poor snow when a short drive can make all the difference in the world. And only someone who LOVES to ski the powder like me could understand what i am talking about.
>Alta has slow, old lifts
I don't think the lift system has much to do about it, I ski Little Cloud, Gad II, Peruvian last hour of day, and yes Mineral Basin does have the quads but i'm not even talking about lift systsm, they are comparable.
>Maybe Vail is more to your liking anyway.
imtermediates hill
>Bob Peters
You obviously don't live in Park City! Good man with a good answer.

But I do admit, I'm the dope here!!! I'm getting what i deserve from you locals. In all honesty I should've realized by your posts that some of you live in PC and may make your $$$ on tourists coming to ski. I should've been more sensitive. Honest. And noone wants to hear that their place isn't the best. I can truly appreciate that. And this will be my last. I'm not a flamer kind of guy. And I think we have more in agreement that we can argue.
post #22 of 97
Thread Starter 
Very last word!

How dare that marketing corporation call their resort

The Canyons

I know where THE Canyons are!
post #23 of 97
Originally Posted by glenncz

How dare that marketing corporation call their resort

The Canyons
Cuz calling it "The Condominiums" was panned by the focus group.
post #24 of 97

The Condominiums

that just made the whole thread
post #25 of 97
Originally Posted by drb
"The Condominiums"
post #26 of 97
Nothing scarier than the half-crazed hard-sell from the time-share salesmen at the base. Kinda like the pod-people in "Invasion of the Body Snatchers".

And I actually like the place.
post #27 of 97
The Canyons Resort goes back a long way. Park West was a great place to ski. The Canyons has improved upon a fantastic mountain. Currently, The Canyons offers some of the best snow and most diversified terrain in North America. This place will thrive despite ASC! I consider it to be top 10 in North America.
Regarding your original post, you have received some very accurate and honest responses. If you like great snow, steeps, and easier access, and don't mind traffic and snowboarders, Snowbird is the place to be. If you like great snow, steeps, working for untracked pow, and don't want to be buzzed by hotshot snowboarders, drive the extra mile to Alta.
I like both places very much, and would be happy to own a season's pass to either. IMO both Snowbird and Alta are in the top 3 in North America, and top 5 in the world.
post #28 of 97
If you live in Utah the only problem with Snowbird and Alta is if you want a short drive to get there you have to live in Sandy.

What makes PC so cool isn't necessarily the skiing but the town.

I have a seasons pass at Snowbasin and we get people driving here from PC and SLC instead of going to Snowbird/Alta on a pow day because of the lack fo crowds.

Throw crowds into the mix and Snowbasin is better than Snowbird/ALTA IMO.
post #29 of 97


Ogden as a Gathering '06 spot.
Snowbasin and Powder Mountain right there.
Hmmmmmm. Interesting.
post #30 of 97
Originally Posted by ryan
Ogden as a Gathering '06 spot.
Snowbasin and Powder Mountain right there.
Hmmmmmm. Interesting.
Damn, I thought we were going to Butte so we could ski Discovery.
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