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Three Utah Resorts: Alta Rules!

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 
Utah trip report for those who care. Impressions of an advanced intermediate.

First off what’s with this low test Mormon beer crap??? And nuthin” else???

I’m used to going to a resort and enjoying a nice glass of wine or some “real beer”—i.e. something with like 5% alcohol or better. Not the 3.2% or Bud lite crap that was available. I faced no wine and/or yellow water bubble drink (aka beer-geez!) at all the resorts in Utah. I was warned by my haircutter guy to BYOB/Wine to Utah. I took a case of high end CA wine based on his advice. He was right! Took me three days to discover the location a State liquor store. ($20 tip next haircut, that’s fer sure!!! )

So the report. Deer Valley. Perfect and expensive. $77 tickets. Well groomed and well run. For the groomer zoomer, heaven. Loved the lift Nazis. They would yell FRONT LINE! And we would move out in groups of four. No complaints it worked well. Adult lifties-a nice touch compared to other resorts. (I like well run resorts) But the place was groomed to death and had no soul. Quite frankly my wife and I were bored after four hours. Good food tho.

Solitude: OK. Kinda reminds me of my local hill, Dodge Ridge. Low key and fun. My experience was marred by some a-hole who squeezed in his car next to mine and then made it an issue that my car was too close to his (as in door ding). Go figure?


Then there was Alta. Alta.

The reason we will return to Utah. Need I say more? Everything a resort should be. Great runs, great snow and good people. Yea, the Mormon beer issue was there, but we had learned to adapt and we had a bottle of Chardonnay in the trunk of my car. Soo…It was good.

An observation. Day one at Alta. Wow! Lots of fast skiers. Groomer zoomers. I am feeling like Mr. Slow. 70% of the skiers leave me in the dust. Day two. Alta gets 10-12 inches of fresh snow. The zoomers are stymied. My wife and I have no problem on our Metrons. I go from Mr. slow to Mr. Faster than most. And able to work my way down any hill, unlike 90% of the crowd. (hey my form might suck, but I had fun )Funny how that works, but the wife and I are used to non groomed conditions and we find ourselves in our element. I am told that 80% to 90% of visitors to Alta are groomer skiers and can’t deal with fresh ungroomed snow. Seemed to be the case. Day three, all groomed and a good time was had by all. I got faster by day three and was average or better with my speed.

Bottom Line: It’s all good. But we liked Alta but found DV to be a bit artificial. To each their own. Solitude was OK but why bother with Alta as a choice.
post #2 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by SNPete View Post
I am told that 80% to 90% of visitors to Alta are groomer skiers and can’t deal with fresh ungroomed snow. Seemed to be the case. Day three, all groomed and a good time was had by all. I got faster by day three and was average or better with my speed.
I've had the complete opposite observation the couple times I've been to Alta. There are lines of skiers working their way across the traverses into Devil's Castle, East Castle, Baldy Shoulder, etc... It's always seemed to me that most of the skiers (myself included) are working pretty hard to stay as far from the groomed as possible. :
post #3 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by SNPete View Post
Day two. Alta gets 10-12 inches of fresh snow. The zoomers are stymied. My wife and I have no problem on our Metrons. I go from Mr. slow to Mr. Faster than most. And able to work my way down any hill, unlike 90% of the crowd. (hey my form might suck, but I had fun )Funny how that works, but the wife and I are used to non groomed conditions and we find ourselves in our element. I am told that 80% to 90% of visitors to Alta are groomer skiers and can’t deal with fresh ungroomed snow. Seemed to be the case. Day three, all groomed and a good time was had by all. I got faster by day three and was average or better with my speed.
This might be the most inaccurate trip report I've ever read. Either you see yourself as a much better skier than you really are (carving up the powder on Metrons? : ), you were skiing in the wrong area of the mountain, or you had no idea what's going on around you. The level of skiers (particularly fat ski, powder skiing rippers) at Alta is probably the highest of any mountain in the country.
post #4 of 27
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the kind words.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Harry Dunn View Post
This might be the most inaccurate trip report I've ever read. Either you see yourself as a much better skier than you really are (carving up the powder on Metrons? : ), you were skiing in the wrong area of the mountain, or you had no idea what's going on around you. The level of skiers (particularly fat ski, powder skiing rippers) at Alta is probably the highest of any mountain in the country.
Just reporting what I saw and heard. Nothing more. Nothing less.


Re the metrons; the "powder" was only 10 or 12 inches deep. You don't need 99mm underfoot to ski in 12 inches of powder. At least I don't, anyway.
post #5 of 27
Thread Starter 
I should clairify something. This was our first time in Utah. We stuck to runs that were normally groomed or at least marked. I am no expert backcountry skier and my wife didn't want to ski too far off trail.

Day two at Atla the normally groomed runs were covered with 10 to 12 inches of fresh snow. Conditions that my wife and I really enjoy. However it appeared that most of the skiers on the normally groomed runs were having difficulties. I suspect that those struggling skiers were not used to ungroomed skiing.

So my observations are based on what I experienced. I did notice people hiking and skinning all over the place, but I did not ski in those areas.
post #6 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by SNPete View Post
I am told that 80% to 90% of visitors to Alta are groomer skiers and can’t deal with fresh ungroomed snow. Seemed to be the case. Day three, all groomed and a good time was had by all.
I'm sorry, but this is truly insane.
post #7 of 27
Alta is not known for the groomers and 80 -90 % off visitors are groomers zoomers? i strongly beg to differ. Who is your source for that in correct tid bit? Don't tell the die hard Alta pass holder that. They would eat you alive. And then spit your bones in the fire
post #8 of 27

inconsistent statements

WTF? Inciting with groomer comments about Alta when your home hill is Dodge? A day at Solitude and all you can talk about is door dings? TR about chardonnay?

Please, tell us we didn't log on all the way from Gitmo to read this. Tell us your TR contains more than comments about wine tips from your hairdresser, adult lifties at DV, and 3.2 beer!
post #9 of 27
Wow - and people around here call me a hard-core local bro a$$hole.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Harry Dunn View Post
This might be the most inaccurate trip report I've ever read. Either you see yourself as a much better skier than you really are (carving up the powder on Metrons? : ), you were skiing in the wrong area of the mountain, or you had no idea what's going on around you. The level of skiers (particularly fat ski, powder skiing rippers) at Alta is probably the highest of any mountain in the country.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Barfing Beaver View Post
I'm sorry, but this is truly insane.
Quote:
Originally Posted by tahoetr View Post
Alta is not known for the groomers and 80 -90 % off visitors are groomers zoomers? i strongly beg to differ. Who is your source for that in correct tid bit? Don't tell the die hard Alta pass holder that. They would eat you alive. And then spit your bones in the fire
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dino View Post
WTF? Inciting with groomer comments about Alta when your home hill is Dodge? A day at Solitude and all you can talk about is door dings? TR about chardonnay?

Please, tell us we didn't log on all the way from Gitmo to read this. Tell us your TR contains more than comments about wine tips from your hairdresser, adult lifties at DV, and 3.2 beer!

First off - I don't know about 80-90%, but many of the "visitors" (i.e. vacationers) truely don't know how to deal with "fresh ungroomed snow".

Second, he said he was skiing on marked trails which were usually groomed. These represent about 10% of the trails at Alta as opposed to the gated traverse/hike to areas everybody naturally thinks of when they think of Alta (80% of the trails at Alta). This goes a long way towards explaining his seemingly warped view. Believe it or not, some people only ski right off the lifts at Alta. Sure, they're really missing out but that's thier problem.

Third - I thought his TR was ok. Have any of you ever seen the other TRs at Epic? Multiple photos of luxury hotels? Someone wedging down a 15 degree, 5" deep "powder" slope at Vail? Distant, blurry shots of empty tracked out moguls? What are you guys expecting - TRs about day after day of deep powder blasting? You've come to the wrong place.
post #10 of 27
Thread Starter 
This has got to be an Epic first: being flamed for a TR.

Well whatever. Next time I do a TR it will only contain multiple photos of luxury hotels, someone wedging down a 15 degree, 5" deep "powder" slope at Vail, distant, blurry shots of empty tracked out moguls and reports of day after day of deep powder blasting.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jer View Post
Wow - and people around here call me a hard-core local bro a$$hole.




First off - I don't know about 80-90%, but many of the "visitors" (i.e. vacationers) truely don't know how to deal with "fresh ungroomed snow".

Second, he said he was skiing on marked trails which were usually groomed. These represent about 10% of the trails at Alta as opposed to the gated traverse/hike to areas everybody naturally thinks of when they think of Alta (80% of the trails at Alta). This goes a long way towards explaining his seemingly warped view. Believe it or not, some people only ski right off the lifts at Alta. Sure, they're really missing out but that's thier problem.

Third - I thought his TR was ok. Have any of you ever seen the other TRs at Epic? Multiple photos of luxury hotels? Someone wedging down a 15 degree, 5" deep "powder" slope at Vail? Distant, blurry shots of empty tracked out moguls? What are you guys expecting - TRs about day after day of deep powder blasting? You've come to the wrong place.
Interesting that the one guy who thought my report was OK and took the time to realize that this TR was written from the perspective of an intermediate (who mainly skiied the groomed runs) lists Alta as his local hill.
post #11 of 27

We're at work; toss us a bone!

The "skiing" in the TR was buried in complaints about beer/wine & door ding rage. We "got" it. We were just looking for a little "pump" in a TR instead of whining.

BTW, sorry if the reference to A Few Good Men in the prior post was too obtuse to soften the criticism, which was the intent...
post #12 of 27
Thread Starter 

OK. I'll try this again. Since you asked

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dino View Post
The "skiing" in the TR was buried in complaints about beer/wine & door ding rage. We "got" it. We were just looking for a little "pump" in a TR instead of whining.

BTW, sorry if the reference to A Few Good Men in the prior post was too obtuse to soften the criticism, which was the intent...
Perhaps the culture of Mormonland was a bit novel for my wife and me.

So how was the skiing? From my perspective, an intermediate who skis 70% groomed and 30% off trail. I have only been in this sport for four seasons, but have skied roughly 130 days in those four seasons. My point of referrence is Dodge Ridge and Kirkwood as they are my "home mountains". My wife is somewhat more experienced, with 15 seasons under her belt. Advanced level. We both agreed on the quality of the skiing of the three resorts.

DV, we found the resort as a whole to be remarkable in the high level of service, the fancy bathrooms and the helpfulness of staff. But when you pay $77 for a ticket you better get quality. The snow was of good quality as they had received several feet two days before we skied there. For those who care they do a good job with grooming. But we found the place lacked soul. The skiing itself was fine, but the runs were uninteresting. Maybe it was just us, but both of us were underwhelmed by the resort.

Solitude. Perhaps the Utah opposite of DV. had a feel similar to Dodge Ridge CA. Small, friendly, low key and interesting. Better snow that DV and had variety. From my standpoint a good experience (with one notable exception) Good snow, fun runs for all levels. I would rate it as a good place for beginners, but with enough challage and variety to make advanced skiers happy.

Alta. We thoughly enjoyed Alta. The snow was the best we experienced on our trip, plus we loved skiing in a foot of fresh powder the second time (of three) that we skied Alta. Like I said we mostly stuck to runs that were normally groomed and had a blast all three days, but day 2 was the best. We discovered for ourselves that fresh Utah snow is indeed lighter than fresh Sierra snow and easier to ski in. Alta felt like a resort for the more advanced skier. But there is plenty for the intermediate to enjoy. We highly recommend it. One thing I liked was I could ski off trail in ungroomed snow next to groomed runs. Which is great for those whose off trail skiing experience is limited.

Personally, I can say that my 3 days at Alta improved my skiing. Both my wife and I will return to Alta. The only downside to Alta was the crowd. We skied midweek and were surprised at how many people were there. Food was decent and the beer was...well it was Utah. :
post #13 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by SNPete View Post
. Solitude was OK but why bother with Alta as a choice.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SNPete View Post
The only downside to Alta was the crowd. We skied midweek and were surprised at how many people were there.

There, you answered your own question!
post #14 of 27

Thanks SNPete

Now we know why you had a good time. FWIW, your experience at DV echoes that of my wife, who was intermediate at the time. The thing she liked about DV was that they groomed 1/2 the width of some runs, so she could ski a few bumps & then bail.

Other than that, DV was only good for seeing Christie Brinkley ski in a white tiger striped ski outfit. NTTAWRT...
post #15 of 27
I have the opposite view as well. I've had powder days at Alta, Snowbird, and Canyons, but my favorite time skiing was at solitude in 4 day old hard snow! The place is beautiful, no one on the mountain, I mean no one! It has steeps and technical areas and about a million things to huck off of.

Deer Valley was surprisingly good with plenty of challenging areas as well. Good chutes. Snowbird great but too open for my tastes. Alta good but slow ass lifts and crowds are a bummer.

Park city is for the birds. Big mountain lots of everything but super slow lifts! Canyons was super fun but mabe it was the waist deep pow pow!
post #16 of 27
comments from an alta pass holder

I am little surprised by you liking alta over solitude. Solitude would fit what you want perfectly. FYI to those reading SNPete review solitude has some VERY steep sections that are accessed though alta like traverses.

Pete you reviews of alta on the marked runs is spot on. Also I will say that although alta isnt know for its grooming its top notch and I havent spent days over there enjoying maching wide open groomers in between tree runs. Alta doenst have the in your face steeps of snowbird, and the vertical but unlike the bird alta has something to offer to everyone. From the hardcore brobrah ripper, to the quiet expert who just enjoys the sport, to the scared mom who wants to ski off sunnyside lift everyday(best beginner lift I have ever had the joy of using). Alta and the town of alta has a soul you cant pin dow,n but no other ski area out here matches it. simply as they alta its for skier, and they mean every skier.

to the guys that are talking about skiing offtrail all the time, I am sure when its frozen coral reef bump that you guys skied that over the groomers right?

Next time you head over this way I show you around either resort in LCC on a day off. Trust me you will have a great time.
post #17 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dino View Post
Other than that, DV was only good for seeing Christie Brinkley ski in a white tiger striped ski outfit. NTTAWRT...
Like this lady with the matching pants and helmet?

My wife in forground. (note to fashion police she is wearing a headband/ear covers)
525x525px-LL-vbattach1439.jpg
post #18 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BushwackerinPA View Post
comments from an alta pass holder

I am little surprised by you liking alta over solitude. Solitude would fit what you want perfectly.
True: if all I wanted to be was an intermediate. My goal is to progress and because Solitude fit my ski level perfectly it was good. But Alta took me a step up. I gotta make up for a late start so I need to be challenged to progress. Plus IMO Alta is a....how shall I say it without offending? A better, more challenging resort. Plus we didn't encounter any parking lot a-holes

Solitude is great. Alta IMO is better. We're not not talking good and bad here. Just good and gooder.
post #19 of 27

A Strategic Question

Reading this TR and the back and forth makes me wonder...
was SNPete skiing a foot of fresh on "normally groomed runs"
after the swarms of experts had tracked out all the signature
terrain? Makes you think about how to plan your day,
doesn't it?
post #20 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdf View Post
Reading this TR and the back and forth makes me wonder...
was SNPete skiing a foot of fresh on "normally groomed runs"
after the swarms of experts had tracked out all the signature
terrain? Makes you think about how to plan your day,
doesn't it?
Nope. A foot of fresh was our experience over the groomers for the first 2 hours. . Then crud (which we also enjoy). I suspect the experts were not skiing the normally groomed areas. I did note that the fresh lasted all day on the areas we could see, but did not ski. Day 2 offered chopped up powder and crud on the off trail areas. We did some of the easier blacks and had fun.
post #21 of 27

nice

SNpete,

I liked your TR. Thanks for sharing your experience.

I've never ski'd in the rockies, despite multiple years of over 100 days on the snow. Tried to resolve that this year, didn't work out.

Will get it done next year....got a no 1 son who moved out west, so should be able to hook up with him next season.....

I have Alta at the top of my list, Solitude 2nd....

I have no deep snow experience, but I have just bought some mint Volkl Explosivs so I plan to be experienced when I get back

Keep posting, I like it
post #22 of 27
Nice TR from a different perspective than the usual Epic/TGR Alta Bro/Bra adventures.

On your next trip, may I suggest making the short hike in the Catherine's Area to ski So Long and making the short traverse on the High T and ski Sunspot. Fairly mild off-piste terrain that most strong intermediates of your ability could handle without problems. It is on terrain like that and the experience of getting to it that you truly begin to understand what Alta is all about. [Just beware of and yield the right of way to all those Bro/Bras flying past you on the pain train and you'll be fine. It can be worse than a door ding. ]

BTW, I'll be there tomorrow for my anual pilgrimage.
post #23 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by SNPete View Post
Like this lady with the matching pants and helmet?
You think she's styling? You should see her husband. These two can be seen pretty frequently...

http://www.alta.com/slideshows/chara...aracter_06.php



I'm also willing to bet most of the folks pete saw weren't LCC locals, they were vacationers just like him. That would explain the difference between his preception and the reality noted by many of the locals here.
post #24 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cornbread View Post
On your next trip, may I suggest making the short hike in the Catherine's Area to ski So Long and making the short traverse on the High T and ski Sunspot. Fairly mild off-piste terrain that most strong intermediates of your ability could handle without problems.

Another great (and glaringly obvious) intermediate powder zone is Ballroom. Most of the guys salivating for patrol to drop the rope are actually gunning for Baldy Shoulder and traverse past Ballroom without even looking at it. Ballroom is all gravity traverse and pretty mellow. Past Main it gets steeper and turns into a hiking (side-step) traverse. For powder on runs that are usually groomed, Sleepy Hollow and #9 off the Supreme lift are usually pretty good.
post #25 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jer View Post
Another great (and glaringly obvious) intermediate powder zone is Ballroom. Most of the guys salivating for patrol to drop the rope are actually gunning for Baldy Shoulder and traverse past Ballroom without even looking at it. Ballroom is all gravity traverse and pretty mellow. Past Main it gets steeper and turns into a hiking (side-step) traverse. For powder on runs that are usually groomed, Sleepy Hollow and #9 off the Supreme lift are usually pretty good.
Looked at the trail map on line.

We did ski Ballroom on day two. Fun.

We also skied Amen and Extrovert on day two. They (for me) were a bit of a challange, but very fun. The snow on those two runs was a mixture of crud and chopped up power as it was in the early afternoon.

One run that I did not care for was corkscrew. The place is a bottleneck for skiers returning to the bottom of Collins lift. I was amazed there were no collisions.
post #26 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by SNPete View Post
One run that I did not care for was corkscrew. The place is a bottleneck for skiers returning to the bottom of Collins lift. I was amazed there were no collisions.
I'm not sure I know ANYONE that likes corkscrew....
post #27 of 27
I just wandered onto this thread. As an old Altaholic, I enjoyed the report too. I learned to ski at Alta, starting there my third day on skis and progressing over twenty years, nine of them as a season passholder. It hasn't changed much. During that time Deer Valley has become a ghetto for the rich and is about as much fun to ski as a parking lot between the Ritz Carleton and the Four Seasons.
Part of it is just that you "got" Alta. It's about soul. Things unfold as you progress as a skier, but it's always just beautiful. The groomers with fresh snow on them are actually some of the hardest skiing at Alta. It's easy to rip down a 40' face of untracked pow when you know how, but negotiating 12" of crud on a pretty flat run takes some work for everybody. Especially in the old days of pencil skis. Metrons sound like as good a tool as any. The "visitors" really do stick to the groomers, by and large, thank goodness. And the groomers really don't suck either. There's great skiing in Utah, but Alta's church. You can buy full strength beer at the State Liquor store. I give my tech guys a case at Christmas. And everybody hates Corkscrew- origin of the saying "Alta bowling." See you next year.
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