Originally Posted by onyxjl
As a follow up question, I will be skiing Alta around March 21st with a small group, one of whom is just starting to venture off-piste. Any suggestions for areas at Alta which would be good for introducing someone to the ungroomed? Particularly glades or easier chutes? Bonus points if these areas also offer more challenging options close-by for the better skiers in the group. Also, are Devil's Castle and Catherine's strictly for expert skiers or could an advanced-intermediate find some skiable lines in there?
Lots of good places.
A great, easy glade is the "Three Bears" area off Supreme chair. There is the main Three Bears trail #14 (which is groomed) and then next to it (but not marked on the map) are Papa Bear, Mama Bear, and Baby Bear in the trees.
The areas around the Sunnyside chair, in Vail RIdge, can be a lot of fun and not too tough.
From Sugarloaf chair, ski #44 to #40 and then follow the rope line on skier's left all the way out. Drop down anywhere between #48 and #49. That area can collect a lot of snow (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RvhQuQuS4II
Also from Sugarloaf, follow #38 Razorback and that leads to some easy blue off-piste terrain. This might be a good place to start as it's a minor commitment.
A fun little chute is right next to Watson shelter at the Collins lift mid station. While in front of the shelter (near the ski racks) looking down the mountain, you will see the midstation on your left, a traverse, a gully, and then a trail through the trees on the right. Drop down into the gully (it's easier if you head towards that trail through the trees then drop into the gully from the right side). The gully turns into a chute, opens up to a trail intersection, then drops into another chute. All fairly easy and fun.
Decent intermediate skiing is off Wildcat lift. Ski down the easy cat track from the top towards Baldy, then make for #97 in the trees.
Ballroom (#61) is fairly easy, though the traverse in can be a little intimidating for first timers. But if your friend can retract/extend over bumpy terrain, it should be no problem. Once in Ballroom, just have fun.
Catherine's is fine for advanced intermediates. The only catch is a short uphill climb to get to the traverse (you'll see it to the left as you get to the top of the Supreme lift). I'd recommend not trying to skate or walk it on skis until everybody is sure of their uphill fitness at 10500 ft. Just boot it up the first time and take it easy. At the top, take a 5 minute break to catch your breath, put on skis, and push off down the traverse. Stay high (skier's right) wherever possible. At one point you will have to scramble uphill sideways for about 6 feet, around some trees (it's easy). Finally, you will come out to a big open meadow (called "the meadow") that leads to #31, which is not too hard (and the lower part is in the shade, so the snow stays good). At the bottom of the run, follow the traverse out and stay left wherever possible.
Devil's Castle might be a bit intimidating, and the traverse in can be scary for some. An easier, but nearly as interesting, jaunt would be into the Cecret Saddle area, through the gate just before Razorback.
I know there is more that I am forgetting. If I am out there that week, I can just show you!