Originally Posted by BobbyChicken
First of all, I never said I would rather have six feet out Mt. Baker. After three of four feet of solid powder the stuff on the bottom is compressed and no longer powder. Also, after a huge storm I would rather have Alta. But I've been to Alta and I didn't get the storm. After a small storm, I would rather have Baker simply because it's pre-compressed snow so it does last longer. For example, I went to Steamboat and got 14". It was the best inbounds skiing in the world; but only for a day. I went to Brighton, Utah and got six inches of snow that was more like sleet (it was an aberration, they don't normally get that, its usually just like Alta, so don't think bad thinks. That stuff was worse for the first day, but even after being heavily tracked it was still in great shape. That six inch storm made for better snow for half the time. 14 inches would have been better than Steamboat after the first run and would have lasted for 3 or 4 days. So yes, when skiing virgin powder snow quality matters. But unless your heliskiing, you get only 4 or 5 runs of powder before its gone. Its great, but I'll take the snow that stays good just as happily. This is about consistency: extreme snow every day, because when I go somewhere for a week, I go to ski for a week, not 2 days. And when you say that the heavy stuff turns to ice faster, I want to cry. When the sun bakes it, it takes the water first and so the snow stays the same, possibly even gets better. I've skied them both and was just as pleased, if not more pleased, skiing the heavy stuff. If I lived there and could go skiing only after a dump, then I would appreciate the light stuff. But the fact is, I live in Houston. Quit telling me about Alta. I've been there, got the amount of snow I was supposed to get and was displeased.
If you were displeased with Alta and you like heavy snow, then come on over to Baker. You'll be in heaven. However expect any new snow to be completely used up in about 45 minutes from opening.
From your descriptions, I doubt that you have skied deep snow very much. Much of what you say makes no sense to me and I ski it a lot. How sun on heavy new snow makes for an improvement completely escapes me.
My experience is that light powder packs slowly and remains softer and more fun to ski for a longer amount of time. As long as it stays cold, it lasts well.
When snow is heavy it compacts like a snowball after a short time and can even turn to ice quickly. When it gets sun on it, snow melts or softens unless the temps are low (which they are not when the snow is heavy) and when the sun goes away it refreezes as ice.
Now I have not skied everywhere and there may be different laws of nature somewhere else, but in the Cascades, that's the way it works.
If you're looking for a sure-fire week of guaranteed daily pow shots at Mt. Baker, think again. When it happens there is lots of new snow, no doubt. Sometimes it is of very high quality. But you can't predict when it will happen far in advance. We also have "rain events" and long times of no snow at all. I advise you to pick a place that has a high chance of good snow conditions. Mt. Baker ain't it. It's a great local area with very challenging terrain, and probably a place to put on your list of places skied, but it's not a destination resort for good reason.