Unfortunately, that is the only time that we can go; typically, we plan for a post new years trip like you recommended, but with school and work this is the best we could do. The SLC idea is what I actually began to look into, but not through the ALTA website, although 3 years ago, I found a great deal; stay in Sandy @ a Super 8 and catch the shuttle up.
We wanted to try steamboat, since so many have said that the snow is really nice early in the season, and flights from Newark are direct there as well. Through expedia, for 7 days including 5 day lift tickets, flight, and 7 night Holiday Inn hotel it came out to $2,400 for 2. I have yet to price out SLC, but I'd imagine it would be about $400-600 cheaper, which would be nice; either way that is quite a chunk.
Thanks for the NYT suggestion Christy