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Utah or Colorado?

post #1 of 50
Thread Starter 
Probably a already disccussed isse but i didnt get any good answers from earlier threads..

We are a group of very advanced skiiers from Europe who wants to ski in the US next year.
All of us are skiing 20-30 days a year. Usually going with a guide and hiking alot. Always offpist.
Whats the pros and cons with Utah and the pros and cons with Colorado. How are the pricelevels but most important where are the best snow and ski conditions for advanced skiiers?

Thanks in Advance

post #2 of 50
Welcome to EpicSki!

How long are you thinking of going for?

My initial response would be to say "go to Utah", cause that's my preference (I'm in England).
post #3 of 50
Thread Starter 
Hello WTF Hat,


We are aiming for 10-14 days. When is the best time? I read that its a "no no to" go around presidents day (this year feb 15) so before or after?

post #4 of 50

For your type of advanced skiing here is a brief comparison of Utah (specifically the adjacent ski areas of Alta and Snowbird) compared to much of Colorado:

Pros: Utah gets a little more snow, skiing takes place at a little lower elevation for easier breathing, possibly smaller crowds and slightly lower lift ticket & accommodation costs than the premier Colorado resorts.

Cons: Utah night life/restaurants/bars are less varied, flight time is two hours longer with possibly fewer direct flights, mountain scenery less majestic, less variety of hotel and apartment/condo accommodations.

Look at these good candidates for Utah accommodations to see if they fit your budget:

I should add that excellent advanced skiing can be found in both Utah and Colorado. If you find air travel to be significantly more affordable and convenient to one destination over the other this may surpass other considerations. Late February and early March is the best time for excellent combination of snow and sun in both UT and CO.

post #5 of 50
double post
post #6 of 50
Thread Starter 
Thanks for your answer James. If we go to SLC area isnt it better to rent a house/lodge outside the skiresort?(closer to other areas and price/value) in this case Alta. I rahter pay for guides/heli/Cats.
post #7 of 50
James, I agree about the longer flight time, but if you balance that out with the transfer time - Denver to Vail/Aspen is going to be 3 hours+, SLC to 7 of the big resorts will be under an hour.
post #8 of 50
Second WTFH. The traveling time of both would end up being the same.

If the group is planning to shell out guide fees, might be a better question to ask where they'll have a better chance on that front.

Personally, I found Utah have easiest access for inbound un-guided off-piste venture. I also suspect Utah would be a good destination for "between resort" type of side country excursions.

Of the Colorado resorts, I prefer Aspen and Vail more than the Summit county cluster. But that totally negates whatever travel advantage of CO.
post #9 of 50

There are many more affordable options for accommodations in Sandy, Utah and other locations not directly beside the ski slopes, especially if you have a group of 4 or more people. You will probably want to rent a car if you stay in this type of location, then you can drive to other ski areas within 60 miles/100 kms.

As at_nyc alludes to, the thing about Alta and Snowbird is that the inbounds skiing can be like offpiste if there is fresh snow. You can roam across an untracked mountainside, but still ride chairlifts after each run. Guides not needed and you can avoid the high cost of heliskiing.

Two offpiste operations in Utah:




post #10 of 50
I think James summed it up pretty well.  Travel time would really depend on your gateway, but I think Colorado has a slight advantage.   SLC would be two flights from most places.  Aspen has directs from Denver,  Chicago, Atlanta, LAX and San Francisco.  Aspens also two flights, but the airport is a three mile free bus ride into town. Yes,  Aspen's airport is weather dependent.  But when it works, it works really well!

Alta and Snowbird are some of the best lift served skiing in the world.   But the Wasatch Front is a relatively small range with a large population of outdoor enthusiast close by.  You can get a lot of fresh tracks, but you need to work it, because they can go pretty fast, even in the back country. Salt Lake City will be the cheapest option.  

Personally, I would go to Aspen or Jackson, but I like nightlife and  I like ski towns. I also think you would have a much better choice of guides.
post #11 of 50
Thread Starter 
A lot of good information. Thanks! We will be 8-10 guys so i think the best option is to rent a "chalet" or a big apartment and we will rent cars. Big cars ofcourse :) I live in Frankfurt the rest in Sweden so the flight time will be 15 hours+++ whatever we pick . Maybe we can combine? End the trip with some days in Jackson Hole? I understand that the resorts are really close to eachother in Utah(SLC area) but how is it in Colorado?
post #12 of 50
You could drive from Salt Lake City to Jackson Hole (~5 hours) or Aspen (~6 hours), but you will also find other worthwhile skiing nearby (~1 hour):  Snowbasin, Park City MR, Deer Valley, the Canyons.
post #13 of 50
"End the trip with some days in Jackson Hole?

Absolutely!!! Utah has the edge again in that regard.

JH also has well established guide service for side country tours. (I understand Aspen does too, but Aspen is a bit of a distance away from Summit county -- no better than traveling from SLC to JH).
Day tripping to different resorts in Utah somehow feels easier, even though the distance isn't much shorter than say Frisco to Vail. I think not having go over any mountain passes helps.
post #14 of 50
Renting a house or couple of condos at the base of either LCC or BCC is the way to go.  Check out www.skiutah.com for general info on Utah skiing and lodging.
post #15 of 50
Thread Starter 
Decided to go to UTAH. Any good advices where to go For SnowCat skiing?
post #16 of 50
Originally Posted by ZekeWolf View Post

Decided to go to UTAH. Any good advices where to go For SnowCat skiing?

You could do this www.alta.com/pages/snowcat.php but personally I would rather hook up with some locals and spend that money buying them lunch and beers for the week. I would save the cat skiing for BC.
post #17 of 50
Thread Starter 
BC but thats in Canada :) But good idea to "hire" some locals.
post #18 of 50
I don't think I would waste my money with the Alta cat in Grizzly Gulch.  It will probably be shredded long before the cat ever gets there.
The $ 12/ride cat at Powder Mountain is worth a lap or two, if there's no line.  The bus is faster and free. The full day cat terrain is supposedly very flat and that's saying a lot at PowMow. 

There is an operation out of Park City, but I don't know of anyone that's ever ridden with them?
post #19 of 50
You could revisit the Colorado option and go to Steamboat (large jet service to Hayden airport from Dallas and other places) and ski steamboat powdercats. Or, go south to Telluride. (fly into Montrose, also large jet service). Telluride has the charm of Aspen and beautiful mountains. And, it's a quick drive to Silverton (back country guided lift-served skiing) and access to both heli helitrax.com/Helitrax.html and cat skiing www.sanjuanski.com/ options.

Also T-ride has a reputedly very good back country guide service: San Juan Mountain Guides :

Finally, they claim it will be an El Nino year, which should favor a southerly snow pattern. Sorry, don't know why i can't turn underline off....

Have fun where ever you decide!
post #20 of 50
Utah it is.

I would encourage you to be aggressive in bargaining for a condo.

Sounds like you might like Powder Mountain for at least a day.  The two things they have there which would interest you: 1) cheapest cat skiing I know of and 2) bus pick up on the road skiing.

Not sure what the price is now, but a few years ago you bought a cat ride for $7 which opened up I would guess 800 to 1,800 (if you hiked a bit and skied to the bottom runs)  Buy 3 cat rides at the beginning of the day.  There is an upper and a lower bowl, a short face and some excellent tree skiing.

On your drive in to the base lodge look to your right for possibilities for bus pick up skiing.  I believe the ski map shows the area which is bus pick up.  Kind of a cool way to ski the area.  Powder Mountain has the base lodge about 2/3 of the way up the mountain.
post #21 of 50
Try these folks for cat skiing.


You can also ski Powder Mtn, and do a few Cat runs for $12 a ride. Would suggest doing some side country skiing, as there is quite a bit of options. Tree skiing is good there too.
Cheaper to rent a house outside either BCC or LCC. I imagine that Utah will also do the super pass ticket option again this year. Do a search on this site and you will get lots of info. You will have no problem finding variety of ski terrain between Alta, Snowbird, Solitude, Snowbasin, PowMow, and the Park City resorts if you so choose.

Would also suggest checking out VRBO.com for home rentals during your stay.
post #22 of 50
I second the opinion that going cat skiing in Grizzly Gulch at Alta is not worth it.

If you are fit and don't mind hiking, you can hike or skin up the cat track at Powder Mountain almost as fast as you get there waiting for the cat.  It is a very short ride and you can hike up the cat track with your skis on your shoulder in 15-20 minutes instead of spending the $12.  Also, the top of Powder Mountain is about the same elevation as the bottom of those other areas, so the snow will likely be better at those three places.

Alta, Snowbird, Snowbasin and Solitude all have hike to on-area skiing with excellent terrain.  Often times it takes them a day after a storm to open the hiking areas, so you can get untracked  for a couple of days if you don't mind a 15-30 minute hike. 

I would recommend staying in Sandy and renting a 4-wheel drive vehicle.  Get a Super Pass that is good at Alta, Snowbird and Solitude and pick which one you want to ski when you get up in the morning, or hit one of the other areas if the snow is better.  I always start the day by calling the one ski report that gives you all the areas so you can see who got the most snow.  The money you save by not staying at Alta/Snowbird will help pay for a day of heli-skiing with Wasatch Powder Guides who fly out of Snowbird.
post #23 of 50
Thread Starter 
thanks for all useful information guys. Really looking forward to this trip. In aprl we will climb up Mount Blanc and ski down the north face but i think that will be a little bit different that facing the best powder in the world :)

We are going for a house in Sandy so the heli skiing sound interesting. Are there more companies than Wasatch Powder Guides that provides Heli-Skiing?
post #24 of 50
Diamond Peaks flies out of Powder Mountain, but most of their terrain is pretty mellow. 
post #25 of 50

In return for all the useful responses you have recvd - you MUST post a Trip Report of your Mont Blanc trip.

post #26 of 50
If you are going for 10 days for sure you should go to Jackson Hole for 3 or 4 of them.  An entirely i different atmosphere and a great mountain. Beautiful scenery, the American West.
post #27 of 50
I suggest Salt Lake City in late Feb. and all of March for the deepest snowpack and there seems to be a lot of new snow in March. When you first visit SLC and there is a big storm, it will be nearly impossible for advanced skiers visiting SLC for the first time to not want to be in Alta/Snowbird. I have done this twice and now know better. Be warned, the locals combined with the tourists track out these two mountains in a matter of hours. I would suggest Solitude, Snowbasin and Powder Mountain on a big dump. Powder Mountain has a nice the low key atmosphere.
post #28 of 50
Originally Posted by mia1220 View Post

. Be warned, the locals combined with the tourists track out these two mountains in a matter of hours. 

I hear this all the time, but when I went to Alta after a dump, a lot of the mountain took hours to even open. This made for a lot of untracked opportunities throughout the day.

I had sunshine the rest of the trip, but with some modest hikes and choosing trees, I found great snow over at Snowbird over the next couple of days. While I may have crossed a few tracks, it was a big step above crud. 
post #29 of 50
Thread Starter 
So who is around in SLC from 18-27 feb?
post #30 of 50
 Go Colorado... Best snow and resorts you'll find. I prefer places like Copper Mountain or Winter Park. Either will do you great and you can't really go wrong with any place in Colorado :)
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