Originally Posted by Powdr
I don't want to flame either, but the OP asked "Are there other spots out there that generate 'mystique' the way Alta does?" and those pictures just don't do it for *me* (emphasis on 'me'). Now before you get all hyped out, I have never skied there and it looks like fun, but it just doesn't give me a sense of 'mystique'. That's just me, and as we've all heard: opinions are just like a$$holes, everyone's got one.
In my book one of the things that makes Alta really special is the fact that there is no development at the top of that canyon. So it's all about the skiing there, since there isn't a whole lot of anything else going on. And of course the powder is, thanks to that particular location, extremely reliable, high quality, and close to a major urban area so its easy to get to. There are some other places that have really good powder like Steamboat or Grand Targhee, but they are not as easy to get to. Because the mountains and the location and the snow are the whole experience, Alta is maybe the closest thing the US has to a pure high temple of skiing.
In the east it seems that MRG has its own mystique. First there is the cooperative ownership thing, it is probably one of the few resorts in the world owned entirely by skiers (kind of like the Green Bay Packers). You add boundaries as a suggestion, the bushwhacking through the trees, emphasis on natural snow and not overly groomed and some serious steep and you have your own mystique going on. MRG is kind of like Darryl, Darryl their brother and Ben and Jerry go skiing together and hang afterwards at Newharts drinking microbrews, as opposed to Alta which is more like Jeremiah Johnson charging the Griz in ten feet of powder before they drink microbrews. MRG does not to look like Alta, but it does have its own feel and that feel is no less about serious skiing.
Just my 2c.