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Utah Interconnect

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Going out to PC in two weeks...wondering if anyone here has every done the interconnect tour and what they thought of it... worth it?

http://www.skiutah.com/resorts/interconnect/

Stymie
post #2 of 9
Never done it with the organized tour, but I have doen extensive tours on my own on the same terrain. Here's what to expect, touring wise (assuming a PC to Snowbird route):

- Dropping into BCC from PC to Solitude is easy. It's almost all downhill, through some open spaces and some trees. There is almost a zero avalanche danger due to the low angle terrain and the southern exposure.

- You will enter Solitude's lift system and work your way to Brighton all on lift served and groomed runs. No biggy.

- From Brighton, you will head to Alta via either Catherine's or Wolverine. There is some considerable hiking on either route. Elevation gain is about 1,000', a moderate climb by Wasatch standards. This will be the longest climb of the day and will take a group of various levels over an hour.

- From the ridge above Brighton, you will drop into Alta, usually via Catherine's. It can be a spectacular advanced pitch run down, but can also be sun-crusted glop, depending on the time of year and time of day, as it is a S exposure.

- From Alta into Snowbird is again all lift served and groomed.

- I guess from Snowbird, it's a shuttle back to PC.

Most advanced skiers can do the tour, but you will be wiped out by the last run, especially if you are not used to the altitude (7K' to 10.5K').

Powdr
post #3 of 9

Related question.. Backcountry tours?

Has anyone done a multi-day tour with the Alaska/Exuma mountain guides out of Alta? My wife and I has a good time doing a half-day with them last year, up Patsy Marley and into Grizzly Gulch, and we are thinking of doing an overnight when we are out there in mid-February. I would be curious if anyone has done that trip and what they thought.

We are both in reasonable shape and have camped in cold weather, but are not experts by any stretch. I do tele and am generally competant. My wife is better than she thinks she is, and can get down most anything .
post #4 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stan from Pa
Has anyone done a multi-day tour with the Alaska/Exuma mountain guides out of Alta? My wife and I has a good time doing a half-day with them last year, up Patsy Marley and into Grizzly Gulch, and we are thinking of doing an overnight when we are out there in mid-February. I would be curious if anyone has done that trip and what they thought.

We are both in reasonable shape and have camped in cold weather, but are not experts by any stretch. I do tele and am generally competant. My wife is better than she thinks she is, and can get down most anything .
I believe that Exum Guides have the contract to guide out of both of the Little Cottonwood (Big Cottonwood? and Park City?) resorts. You can hire them to take you out of these resorts or just up a drainage from the base of one of the canyons without using a lift. There are numerous possibilities in the Cottonwoods area. Patsy Marley to Grizzly Gulch is just scrathing the surface.

Solitude also has a back country guiding program called Back Tracks that is run through their ski patrol. The guys involved are friendly and its a pretty agressive day, usually with a morning and then afternoon tour (with a lunch break at Creekside Restaurant in Solitude Village in between).
post #5 of 9
It's totally worth it, Stymie. I did the Deer Valley version last year (6 resorts). It's a unique experience and a great way to enjoy a slice of Utah backcountry. The group consisted of my wife, a married couple who are friends of ours, and 2 guys we didn't know from back east. If you're new to Utah it's a quick way to see 5-6 different resorts in a day. We were lucky to have about 12" of new snow prior to our trip, so the backcountry runs were great, and not too deep as to completely intimidate my friends (who were relative powder novices). We had a couple of out-of-bounds runs at Brighton as well as the standard backcountry connectors, so it added up to quite a bit of untracked touring. Compared to heli-skiing, you get alot of backcountry for a fraction of the cost. Our guides were great - answered all our questions and went out of their way to get us some great runs. My friends did have some trouble with the BCC->LCC traverse, but they survived. One of the east coast guys was an incredible skier, and the guides on a couple of occasions allowed the more stronger skiers different run options (they hiked higher up on Patsy than the rest, etc.) Overall, given the good conditions, it was one of my most memorable ski days...
post #6 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Powdr
- From Brighton, you will head to Alta via either Catherine's or Wolverine. There is some considerable hiking on either route. Elevation gain is about 1,000', a moderate climb by Wasatch standards. This will be the longest climb of the day and will take a group of various levels over an hour.
I believe that typically the Interconnect tour will return to Solitude and take the Highway to Heaven traverse to Grizzly Gulch and down into Alta.

Personally I've found that this tour is cool (done it twice) in that it shows you exactly how close all six resorts are, but if you really want a backcountry ski experience with great skiing on each run you probably want to try one of the other options noted or PC Powder Cats, just 30 minutes west of PC in the Uintahs. Still, friendly and knowledgeable guides make for a pleasant and enjoyable quai-backcountry experience. And besides, how many times can you 'legally' duck the rope from DV to PCMR and also duck the rope next to the Jupiter Patrol shack at PCMR?!
post #7 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by sphrrt
I believe that typically the Interconnect tour will return to Solitude and take the Highway to Heaven traverse to Grizzly Gulch and down into Alta.
I stand corrected.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sphrrt
...And besides, how many times can you 'legally' duck the rope from DV to PCMR and also duck the rope next to the Jupiter Patrol shack at PCMR?!
Never! BC access out of PCMR is strictly verbotten. So to PCMR to DV.

Powdr
post #8 of 9
For those of you with experience with the interconnect tour, what do you think is the minimum level of proficiency required to do (and enjoy) the trip?

I'd like to do it, but I'm not sure if I'm worthy. I'm a level 7, but only have 1 day of powder experience........
post #9 of 9
I believe that SkiUtah says that strong intermediates should be able to make the trip. However, I think that conditioning is more of a factor than anything else, particularly the side-step traverse of the Highway to Heaven section, which is at about 10,000 ft and it really can take a lot out of your if you aren't prepared! Also, the guides do evaluate your skiing ability before you head out of bounds, so they can let you know if they think you will have troubles on the tour.
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