Well, as a combo season pass holder – I will offer my unsolicited opinion. I ski about 3/4th of the time at Alta – here are some random thoughts.
1.If you ever need an idea for a funny video – show up at the tram line at 8:45AM on a big pow day. Carry your skis thru a full maze, and tell people in line you are meeting buddies in the front. The average Alta skier is 30 year old+ who has lived in the area 10+ years. Whereas at the Bird you get the twenty somethings (who tend to not be as laid back) here for a couple seasons (or you get the tourist). Alta is basically a local hill (or long term repeat customer hill) especially on a storm day, Snowbird is not – generally speaking. It is simply more like home to many individuals.
Full disclosure, I have patience with people going slow on the High T, but if they stop at a bottle neck – will politely tell them local etiquette is to step off the trail.
2.As I will continue my stereotyping … the boarder thing is really just a way to age discriminate. Boarders tend to be younger. A 40 year old boarder (or skier) and a 15 year old boarder (or skier) have different perspectives on speed and control.
3.The tram closes much earlier than Collins. For me anyways, you can get an extra hour of “good” skiing off Collins versus the Tram. This may not seem like much, but when often times – I am working around job and family schedule – it is an extra 2-3 runs.
4.Alta has better tree skiing, and skis better on storm days. Skiing in Mineral or Little Cloud is not as much fun as High T in a storm. Additionally, Baldy is not likely open on these big days. So yes, I would take High T over the Cirque (and Mach Schnell which is great) on a big snow day. Gad2 chair is slow and does not stack up either, except for variety sake. Gadzoom – nothing too great, Peruvian – can be real good if Baldy open.
5.The tram is a deal maker and or killer. Unless you have black pass or are taking lessons – I think it is arguable that you actually get more vertical at the Bird on the Tram. You certainly can’t get more than 2 laps an hour, given a 2 or 3 car wait. I have skied 7 Collins (also not possible when crowded) when arriving at 2:30PM ~13K of vert in slightly more than 2 hours.
6.So why ski the Bird at all. It skis better when Baldy and Mineral are open. Baldy (5 minute hike) is better/longer than the Castle. The Keyhole may be the best run between the two. Bookends (a long traverse) are very comparable and do not get clogged (except the short sidestep) like the Castle does. None ever really skis out. Baldy can be subject to the sun as well, as it is west facing. In good conditions, Snowbird will ski longer untracked – mostly due to Baldy and Powder Paradise.
7.When the tram is not crowded – you can really have some magical days off it. It really depends on the crowds. Also, Entry 1 parking spot may get you home an hour earlier than Alta on crowded days.
In the end, it is like choosing between 2 super-models, hard to go wrong. I am fortunate to call them both, home hills.