My picks; Snowbird- Cliff lodge. Alta- Peruvian lodge- Both are nice. Cliff is modern, with concrete and glass, restaurants, a spa, but the setting is spectacular and it fits beautifully in a landscape of granite cliffs and tall pines. It's built like Hitler's Atlantic wall as it's adjacent to Mt. Surperior's slide path. Good room rates, especially before Christmas. This is where I stay, for the great rates and the spa. Peruvian is a very rustic, old style ski lodge with checkers in the lobby and a cozy common dining room. Best apris-ski bar at Alta. I spent the night there once (jan 96) when the entire Canyon started to slide* and all the skiers at Alta and Snowbird had to take refuge at the hotels. people spent the night in the hallways, and Peruvian broke out all the extra food and blankets, paying guest or no- but that's a whole story in itself. Alta Lodge, Snowpine, and Goldminers are also rustic- real old school core, roaring fires in the lobby, lots of wood, but I don't know what their rates are. Rustler Lodge is inexplicably expensive, but I have friends that love it. Sounds like fun!
P.S.- don't think AltaBird is all steeps, chutes and cliffs- there's plenty of that but also tons of cruisers and wide open bowls to hone powder craft on. Greely, Ballroom, Little cloud, Mineral basin- a good school room for advanced intermediates- much better than Vail's back bowls, IMHO, better quality snow and more consistant pitches...
* O.K, details- It actually rained in early January at Alta- freak warm snap- the next week it snowed like seven feet. that Saturday started with a moderate snowfall increasing to an all out blizzard- the kind where your'e tracks are gone on the next run- and the slides started at 3;00 pm. First to go was the road-about four cars got buried with people in them. Ski patrol dug everyone out instantly, they live for this- but had everyone abandon their cars and get inside- anywhere. I spent all night and all the next day at the Peruvian, living in style (got the last bunk in the men's dorm} It was a party, the north wing got hit, the Peruvian staff was outstanding, and everyone watched the Packer game (title year!) in the big common room the next day in their longjohns. Patrol blasted all day and wouldn't let us out 'till evening. Snowbird, however, lifted interlodge and the people stuck at the Cliff lodge got to ski that day. The canyon road never opened until evening, to let us down...so they had it all.
My wife, meanwhile, is doing charity medical work in the Mekong Delta and hears about it on the radio.