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Copper vs. Winter Park vs. Alta vs. ?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
I've been to Copper two seasons in a row now, four days each season. At the end of the first season, I was skiing intermediates comfortably. During my second season, I had the good fortune to get some pointers from a volunteer ski instructor, and made swift progress. By the last day, I was skiing every double black I touched with ease, and even had a lot of fun on a DB Extreme on Tucker.

Now, I'm trying to figure out what I want to do this season. Either I will have significant influence over where our normal group goes, or I will be making the group arrangements myself. I loved the teasers of powder I got last season, so Alta has a certain allure, but it's 400 miles farther of a driver (making our trip 25% longer), and I'm not sure how prices will compare to Summit County. We normally split a condo, coming out to $12pp/pn or so. Meals at Copper are cheap enough--nachos at Endos, or Chinese comes out to $6-8. I normally rent skis ("last year's" K2s), boots and poles for $10/day from Virgin in Frisco. $30/day + lift ticket is hard to beat, and I can pretty easily swing that for the 8-10 days I'd like to stay this season.

Now that Copper has pretty much kept out-of-towners away from the Fourpasses, lift tickets should all cost about the same at Copper, Winter Park, A-Basin, and Alta. Here's the pros and cons I see to each of these options.

+ I know it well enough to be able to keep away from the crowds
+ Great green and blue groomers
+ Good powder if I want to wait 2 hours for the cat
+ Good terrain park, so I can catch some air pretty safely
- The whole been there, done that thing

Winter Park
+ I hear it has great tree skiing and plentiful kickers for getting air
+ Something different
+ Less crowded than Copper?
- An apparent focus on bumps; Copper has enough bumps for my taste, the only ones I like are off Sierra lift
- Not as much powder as Copper?

+ Great powder
- Limited groomers
- 400 miles longer to drive to
? Lodging, ski rental and food costs

I think most of my group, including me, would really like to try Alta, but my girlfriend is going, and I'm concerned about a lack of beginner terrain for her first few days. It could also end up being much costlier for our group if lodging, food, and rentals aren't as cheap as in Summit County.

Anyone care to weigh in on this delima?
post #2 of 10

wow, that is cheap....

I think alta is a good value, but a day ticket is around 45, rentals are 39, and i dont know how you found a room for 12 per person. would you be my travel agent?
post #3 of 10
Haven't been to either WP or Copper so no valid comparisons. Winter Park looks really fun to me but, at this point, I suspect we won't be able to make it this year. All I'd really say about Alta is that it actually has very nice beginner terrain and there are groomed blues off every lift. There's also not much of a village at Alta.
post #4 of 10

Good problem to have

This is a really good problem to have. I've been to all 3 places, they're all gerat. Here are my opinions

Powder - Not much you can do on this one. Either you catch a storm or you don't. I've had amazing powder days on all 3 hills, and crap days on all 3 hills. In general, I'd say you're chances of catching a powder day are probably higher in Salt Lake.

Terrain - You'll be able to find groomers and beginner terrain at any of the mtns you're considering

Copper - been there done that for you

Winter Park - Don't worry about the bumps, they're concentrated around the Challenger lift on the MJ side. The WP side is mostly cruisers.

Alta/SLC - If you don't mind the extra drive this is probably the way to go. You could stay in Salt Lake, it's a short drive to the mtns. The other advantage is that you could try a few different mtns - alta, snowbird, solitude, brighton.

Just to confuse matters further, you might want to consider Steamboat one year

Good luck, you'll be fine no matter where you end up.
post #5 of 10
Originally Posted by SandInMyShoes View Post
+ Great powder
- Limited groomers
- 400 miles longer to drive to
? Lodging, ski rental and food costs
Alta does have great powder, but you've gotta be willing to sweat for it and you've gotta know where you're going because there are usually a lot of other guys looking to beat you to it. Of course, this is true at pretty much any ski area. But it's really true at Alta. You can always try Solitude or Brighton though.

Unless you're staying up canyon, lodging and food will be significantly cheaper in SLC than in Summit Co.
post #6 of 10
i think there is some good advice here. i work at WP and do so for a reason. i have an obvious bias, so take my advice with a grain of salt.

historically we get great snow. depending upon the stats you believe and tossing out silverton, the most snow in colorado.

i'd be lieing if i suggested to you that you or your group won't have a great time at any of the three resorts. each have subtle differences.

IF you want to learn to ski and love bumps i'd have to say we have every shape and size of every imaginable pitch.

i do have one question.........what's a volunteer instructor?
post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 
Well, some of my friends have booked a condo at Copper for Jan 21-24, so I'm going to either try and slip in with them, or book my own for the same time. Right now it looks like total cost per person for 5 days of skiing (4 at Copper + 1 at A-Basin) will be about $650, but if fuel prices go through the roof it will be a bit more. Since they're only going to be there 4-5 days, I may stay for a few days at WP after they leave.

I'm kind of wondering how WP would differ from Copper for the terrain I like. My favorite parts of Copper were bombing the bumps beside Sierra lift, and staying in the trees underneath American Flyer, all the way to the bottom. I didn't like trees when it got as rough as Sail Away Glade (far too many rocks that seemed unavoidable), but loved cruising through them next to the blues. I also really loved everything I tried in Union bowl, and The Taco (on Tucker) blew my mind. Maybe I should try Upper Enchanted and Spaulding Bowl? I also enjoyed blazing down some of the blue groomers like Andy's Encore, but they just didn't hold much appeal once I found I was good enough to enjoy Union Bowl

So, is Winter Park going to offer terrain I'm interested in? Now that I read more about Copper, Spaulding Bowl and Upper Enchanted sound really good, and maybe even Graveline Gulch... Looks like I still have a lot of ground to cover at Copper before I get bored!

Looks like $39 per day is the cheapest I'll get for lift tickets, and I can get both Copper and WP for that. I should probably just do Copper most of the time, and spend a couple days at WP at the end to see how I like it.
post #8 of 10

You can stay at the foot of the canyon in Sandy or in SLC for cheaper than any mountain town. You can eat cheaply too, fast food for that matter.

If you want powder, this is the best. Also, Alta specializes in extreme terrain, so you will have plenty of fun stuff to ski.
post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 
Would I be able to get around at Alta in a FWD car with chains?
post #10 of 10
Yes, unless the road is completely closed.
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