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Snowbird Advice

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 

My husband and I have a long weekend trip to Snowbird planned for mid-December.  He is about a level 8 but I'm maybe a "3.75".  Last year was my first year skiing and I took a handful of private lessons and worked my way up to cruiser/groomed blue runs.  I skied Silver Mountain (Idaho) with a couple trips to Schweitzer (Idaho), and one trip to Sunshine (BC). Overall I've been skiing maybe 12-15 times, mostly in icy refreeze or spring snow conditions... with a couple powder days mixed in.

I've read the recent thread by the true beginner and while I know I have advanced my ability level beyond his, I'm still shaking in my boots.

I plan on taking a lesson right away when I get there and also heading over to Alta.  I'm 26 and in pretty good shape.  I've got my own equipment and boots that have been fitted (with footbeds).  Like I said, I can handle easy blues, especially wide ones.  I'll be able to get a few weekends of skiing here in the Inland NW to warm up before we go to Utah.

Should I get my lesson at Alta or Snowbird?
Any recommended runs at Snowbird for me?  (Or Alta)
How does the shuttle from Snowbird to Alta work? 
Think I could handle skiing the interconnect?

post #2 of 28
post #3 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by SarahforReal View Post

My husband and I have a long weekend trip to Snowbird planned for mid-December.  He is about a level 8 but I'm maybe a "3.75".  Last year was my first year skiing and I took a handful of private lessons and worked my way up to cruiser/groomed blue runs.  I skied Silver Mountain (Idaho) with a couple trips to Schweitzer (Idaho), and one trip to Sunshine (BC). Overall I've been skiing maybe 12-15 times, mostly in icy refreeze or spring snow conditions... with a couple powder days mixed in.

I've read the recent thread by the true beginner and while I know I have advanced my ability level beyond his, I'm still shaking in my boots.

I plan on taking a lesson right away when I get there and also heading over to Alta.  I'm 26 and in pretty good shape.  I've got my own equipment and boots that have been fitted (with footbeds).  Like I said, I can handle easy blues, especially wide ones.  I'll be able to get a few weekends of skiing here in the Inland NW to warm up before we go to Utah.

Should I get my lesson at Alta or Snowbird?
Any recommended runs at Snowbird for me?  (Or Alta)
How does the shuttle from Snowbird to Alta work? 
Think I could handle skiing the interconnect?


3.75 level...

 

on sunny day you can handle the interconnect. If chips runs makes your nervous you can DOWNLOAD the tram. If you can handle easier blues you should be able to handle the chips cat track to who dunnit cat track and Lupine Loop.

 

Recommended runs at snowbird. None really. You will mostly likely be able to ski Baby Thunder if its open, and should be able to ski lupine loop and chips. Having fun is another question though. There is no REAL easy skiing on the mountain everything at snowbird that is 'easy' is contrived cat tracks or marked green just so they have green on the mountain. You will have more fun at Alta there is no question about that. Alta has numerous greens and easy blues and you should be able to ski off every lift there.

 

Lesson take them over at Alta. Although if you can take privates from snowbird over at alta.

 

 

post #4 of 28
Thread Starter 

Maybe I wasn't being positive enough... I really WANT to ski something at Snowbird.  Surely not everything there will kill me?  Every time I go out, I try to ski at least one challenging run so that I can improve.  Anything at Snowbird that might fit the bill?  A nice wide blue perhaps?

post #5 of 28

While I was only at snowbird once (late last season) I would recommend the area over by big emma and the lifts to the right of it (if you are looking at a map).  There are some good blue runs over there as well (sorry don't know names of the top of my head)

post #6 of 28

Probably depends on snow conditions. Chip's run isn't bad so long as snow is nice. I also think the blue cruisers off Gadzoom connecting with Big emma aren't bad. However, watch map and signs carefully as snowbird is one of those places you can get in over your head if you make a wrong turn. If too challenging, stick with Alta. 

post #7 of 28

If you are comfortable on blue runs you will find runs to ski at Snowbird.  A nice place to start is the Wilbere Chair.

http://www.snowbird.com/imagelib/trailmaps/trailmap_snowbird.pdf

Although the Harpers Ferry is marked as black it is a wide run that does not have big moguls on it.  It is a nice wide run.

Another thing, you have your husband to help guide and advise you.  The Florida greenhorn had no one to guide him and show him the ropes, it makes a big difference.  With your prior trips you have plenty of big mountain under your belt, and you live in the mountains as opposed to someone coming from flatsville Florida, where they don't even know what a hill is.

 

Make you hubby earn his keep, with him work your way up the mtn, Wilbere, then either Gad lift, then Gad II - always paying attention to the map.  Then once you are comfortable with the cat tracks, take the tram up and ski down Chip's Run.  Last stop Baldy Express on the other side of the hill in Mineral Basin - again watch your map and your signage, there more than anywhere you could get in trouble and you have to be comfortable on a cat track.

 

Yes, i think you will find the Alta/Bird shuttle in good working order.

Lessons at either place, maybe settle in the first day exploring yourself. 

I have never done the interconnect, but would not recommend it from what your wrote. You don't need to do that to have fun.

 

I really think that Florida guys experience is a exception.  I've been on trips with beginners at Snowbird and they never were such problems, but then there were a group of experienced skiers to guide them, it makes a big difference.

 

Stop shaking in your boots E. Washington girl!

post #8 of 28

I've seen folks say Big Emma would be a black at other resorts but I don't recall anything on it being all that steep. It's not a trail for true beginners though. As an intermediate I just thought of it as an intermediate trail. The steeper head walls on it are also wide. If conditions are good I don't think a 3.75 will have any real issues with it. I also think the greens back in Mineral Basin would be fine. Go in through the tunnel. Ask ski patrol how conditions are before going up and through the tunnel. And if you do that you may want to ride the Tram down? Either that or Chips Run. You can tell how steep the front side really is by looking at the trail map and noticing they've basically cut Chips run as a cat track that snakes back and forth across the face. Basically a way for intermediates to get down from the Tram. Everything that follows the fall line from the summit is pretty steep. Trails that are easy when groomed in nice weather can be much more challenging in other conditions. Lessons are a very good idea. They'll try to keep you on suitable terrain. I do think Alta is a much better choice for you, however. The greens off Sunnyside and Cecret are true greens. The blues off of Sugarloaf are suitable for early intermediates. The Alta trail map marks the easiest way down from every lift and has a blue groomed run from every lift. If you're comfortable with the blues off Sugarloaf you can probably ride any lift at Alta. Some of the other blues have some steeper bits but if conditions are good none are really intimidating. Perhaps the one exception, and I don't recall the name, but kind of a corkscrew run near the bottom of the Collins lift. But there is an easy bail out to the right that takes you around. As early intermediates we did a trip to Park City and decided we'd drive over to Alta one day. I recall driving by Snowbird and thinking, Yikes. We got to Alta, booked a group lesson, and had time to go up Sunnyside and Sugarloaf for a run before the lesson. By the time the day was over we'd skied off every lift (at least every running chair lift) and had a fantastic day. Have a great trip.

post #9 of 28

I took my girlfriend to Snowbird last year, it was her fifth day on skis.  She was a little intimidated at first but after a few runs she did fine.  We stayed mostly on the right side on the mountain (gadzoom, mid gad, gad 2, and baby thunder lifts).  There are plenty of nice blue runs.  I think that you will be fine at Snowbird as well as Alta.  Hope you enjoy you trip!

post #10 of 28

I took my girlfriend to Snowbird last year, it was her fifth day on skis.  She was a little intimidated at first but after a few runs she did fine.  We stayed mostly on the right side on the mountain (gadzoom, mid gad, gad 2, and baby thunder lifts).  There are plenty of nice blue runs.  I think that you will be fine at Snowbird as well as Alta.  Hope you enjoy you trip!

post #11 of 28

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post #12 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by SarahforReal View Post

Maybe I wasn't being positive enough... I really WANT to ski something at Snowbird.  Surely not everything there will kill me?  Every time I go out, I try to ski at least one challenging run so that I can improve.  Anything at Snowbird that might fit the bill?  A nice wide blue perhaps?


you said 3.7 which in my mind means you matching your skis 90 percent of time...IE parallel skiing. short turns, long turns hockey stop.  I am laughing at your comment about "a nice wide blue" those dont really exist at snowbird.

 

Gadzoom

 

The easiest way down is Emma it wide but its steep. Steeper than alot of blues at more areas. unless you have a pretty solid parallel turn its no fun really. You will get buzzed on it if you someone who has to traverse between turns not saying you are someone who does that. 

 

P-Dog chair/ Tram

 

Chips is a marked blue, the easy way down is 60 percent cat track. Its narrow gets cut up, and again has alot of straightlining expert skiers who use only to get between powder/cliffs. There are very few areas of cruising on it as much of the area that arent cat tracks you need speed to get over the flats coming up. 

 

Mineral Basin off Mineral Basin Express 

 

Lupine Loop is the easiest way down, its again another contrived cat track cut into the mountain amoungest much steeper terrain. The bottom is steep but not as steep as Upper Emma. This would be part of the interconnect ski. Lupine Loop is easier from the tunnel.

 

Mineral Basin off Baldy Express

 

the top of baldy express is some of the best learning terrain at the bird. The problem is the you got go down the Lupine Loop headwall or again contrived cat trails at the bottom to get back. it is one of the few places on the mountain that is not frequented by hard charging experts

 

Little Cloud Chair 

 

There is nothing for you here. the 2 groomers are steep and the less steep one(Mark Malu) requires a Cat Walk to get to the top. regulator Johnson is wide groomed black that is easy to ski if use to that short of thing.

 

Gad 2 

 

I could see Bananas being alot of fun with you. the issue is once at Gad 2 the only ways back to emma are both bordline black pitches despite being marked Blue. Election leading to Bassawkards has a steep pitch to get to the trail and bassawkward below the Gad 2 loading station is steep and I treated it as a black for student.

 

Wilbere 

 

ridge trail and west second south that leads to middle emma are both really good choices for you. Why go some place to only ski a 1/3 of the vertical though? 

 

Baby Thunder

 

awesome beginner chairlift but are you noticing a lot of 'but' here? Its sits below alot of avy terrain. Avy danger keep its closed alot of the time.

 

Mid-Gad mid station 

 

Lots of options but again why only ski alittle bit of the place.

 

 

 

 

Long story short I am trying to scare you based on what you say. Alta is a much better place for you. I am not trying to be jerk just trying to inform you. If I was off your level I rather ski in the wide open groomers at alta than on narrow cat tracks at the bird. post videos of you skiing maybe your better than you think.

 

 

 

post #13 of 28

What SBD said.

Also you can ski the groomed cruisers under the Gad Zoom chair - like Bassackard, lunch run. Really mellow there.

 

The interconnect between SB & Alta is nothing more than a gloried cat walk - really, really flat.

To get there, get to the bottom of mineral basin and take the baldy express chair. At the top of the chair you can skate into Alta. Take little dipper down and just bypass the steeper & usually scraped out section under the sugarloaf chair.  

 

You will have a good time. 

post #14 of 28


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SarahforReal View Post

Maybe I wasn't being positive enough... I really WANT to ski something at Snowbird.  Surely not everything there will kill me?  Every time I go out, I try to ski at least one challenging run so that I can improve.  Anything at Snowbird that might fit the bill?  A nice wide blue perhaps?


Emma is your best bet for a "wide blue". Not that its really all that easy. Steep headwall is above 20 degrees but pretty wide.

 

Other than that there are no real wide easy blue cruisers. Sorry. Listen to Bushwhacker he taught at the bird for 2 years before he moved back east. He knows his stuff.

 

Go to Alta you can ski much more of the vertical and you can find nice cruiser off of every chairlift except wildcat. It will be alot more fun and more level appropriate. I sent my Brother in law there last year when he was level 4ish and he had a great time.

 

Its great that you are hammer down ready to charge, but you are not ready for the bird.


Edited by tromano - 11/9/10 at 4:47pm
post #15 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by SnowbirdDevotee View Post

If you are comfortable on blue runs you will find runs to ski at Snowbird.  A nice place to start is the Wilbere Chair.

http://www.snowbird.com/imagelib/trailmaps/trailmap_snowbird.pdf

Although the Harpers Ferry is marked as black it is a wide run that does not have big moguls on it.  It is a nice wide run.

Another thing, you have your husband to help guide and advise you.  The Florida greenhorn had no one to guide him and show him the ropes, it makes a big difference.  With your prior trips you have plenty of big mountain under your belt, and you live in the mountains as opposed to someone coming from flatsville Florida, where they don't even know what a hill is.

 

Make you hubby earn his keep, with him work your way up the mtn, Wilbere, then either Gad lift, then Gad II - always paying attention to the map.  Then once you are comfortable with the cat tracks, take the tram up and ski down Chip's Run.  Last stop Baldy Express on the other side of the hill in Mineral Basin - again watch your map and your signage, there more than anywhere you could get in trouble and you have to be comfortable on a cat track.

 

Yes, i think you will find the Alta/Bird shuttle in good working order.

Lessons at either place, maybe settle in the first day exploring yourself. 

I have never done the interconnect, but would not recommend it from what your wrote. You don't need to do that to have fun.

 

I really think that Florida guys experience is a exception.  I've been on trips with beginners at Snowbird and they never were such problems, but then there were a group of experienced skiers to guide them, it makes a big difference.

 

Stop shaking in your boots E. Washington girl!


Wow you have really jumped the shark here. Having hubby guide her down is the worst possible strategy.

post #16 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by tromano View Post


Wow you have really jumped the shark here. Having hubby guide her down is the worst possible strategy.


It's not so bad if you are working on trying to get her to divorce you or you like sleeping on the couch of the condo and you really want no romance on your vacation.  Other than that it seems like a great idea.
 

post #17 of 28

I can't believe that no one has posted the recent trip report from a beginners perspective...

 

http://www.epicski.com/forum/thread/97324/snowbird-not-for-beginners-advancing-beginners-or-low-intermediates

post #18 of 28

this gal can ski! she probably has a SKI BC sticker on her her car, she read "the thread"  and she isn't from FLatsville, but E Wash, she probably has wrestled an elk down with her bare hands and goes steelhead fishing in the winter.  Did you see those pic's of the Florida couple, they are beach bums!  (but he certainly grabbed his 5 minutes of fame on epicski, he'll go down in history here...

 

Rip it Up SarahForReal

Quote:

Originally Posted by SarahforReal View Post

I skied Silver Mountain (Idaho) with a couple trips to Schweitzer (Idaho), and one trip to Sunshine (BC). Overall I've been skiing maybe 12-15 times, mostly in icy refreeze or spring snow conditions... with a couple powder days mixed in.


I've read the recent thread by the true beginner and while I know I have advanced my ability level beyond his, I'm still shaking in my boots.

post #19 of 28

Oh, I missed the line about her reading the recent thread.

post #20 of 28
Thread Starter 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SnowbirdDevotee View Post

this gal can ski! she probably has a SKI BC sticker on her her car, she read "the thread"  and she isn't from FLatsville, but E Wash, she probably has wrestled an elk down with her bare hands and goes steelhead fishing in the winter.  Did you see those pic's of the Florida couple, they are beach bums!  (but he certainly grabbed his 5 minutes of fame on epicski, he'll go down in history here...

 

Rip it Up SarahForReal



LOL!  I do know what real mountains look like, though I have to say I'm not much for fishing wink.gif

post #21 of 28
Thread Starter 

Thank you, thank you everyone!  You all were far more helpful than the Floridian folks.  I think the general consensus is that I can (carefully) ski some green & blue runs at Snowbird, but I will have much more fun and flexibility at Alta.  I'll ski both just to say I have been there!

 

p.s. My husband is not one to drag me down runs I'm not ready for, no worries.  Usually he goes ahead to scope things out and chooses ones he knows I will like.

post #22 of 28

I am also a "Snowbird Devotee" (I have a timeshare there) but he really is wearing rose colored glasses in his beginner advice on both this and the Floridian thread.  Bushwacker's advice is quite accurate. 

 

Quote:
 Wow you have really jumped the shark here. Having hubby guide her down is the worst possible strategy.

 

Agree, especially if he is not that familiar with Snowbird. 

 

Quote:
 Should I get my lesson at Alta or Snowbird?
 

I say get the lesson at Snowbird.  Then your instructor can evaluate your skiing and show you terrain that is appropriate.  If you go to Alta on your own and stay on groomed blues you will not get in trouble there.

 

I also note that the trip is in mid-December and thus may not have a mid-winter snowpack despite the promising start.  This may call for conservatism as trails may not be as wide or well groomed as when the snowpack is deeper.

post #23 of 28

I'm going to go the other way from what many are encouraging...Don't go to Snowbird or Alta...not at your level.  But hey, it is your trip...do what you want.

 

You can find some fun easier runs at Alta and Snowbird, but not many.  Anytime I saw beginners at Alta, there is really only one place they can go and ski.  Those two are up the same Canyon road and built on the same mountain area.  They are really tailored for intermediate to advanced skiers.  At that time of year, if the snow isn't good at Alta/Snowbird, honestly, it won't be good.

 

I would personally go up the other Canyon Road to Brighton...you will find much better/easier intermediate runs IMO...cheaper, probably less crowded.  And there is advanced stuff for the intermediate/advanced skiers to stay entertained.

 

Edit...will also throw in Solitude, Snowbasin, Powder Mountain, anywhere in PK City....all better for beginners.

 

My wife is about your level...I woulnd't take her to Alta/Snowbird...not unless I wanted a divorce.


Edited by techlogik - 11/22/10 at 12:26pm
post #24 of 28

I would agree with the above poster and take the "other" canyon road up Big Cottonwood Canyon to Brighton and Solitude.  You will have much more fun lapping the Snake Creek Express chair at Brighton than skiing down the cat tracks at Snowbird.  There are 4-5 long, wide blue runs that are very fun, I have done them many, many times in the past.  They may not have the terrain of Snowbird for your husband, but Hard Coin and Sawbuck provide some pretty good steep, tree skiing off the top of Snake Creek.  It will be a much more pleasant experience for you.  My family used to ski here when we were all starting out.  Now Snowbird is more our thing, but I couldn't have imagined enjoying it very much as a beginner/intermediate.

post #25 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by SarahforReal View Post

Thank you, thank you everyone!  You all were far more helpful than the Floridian folks.  I think the general consensus is that I can (carefully) ski some green & blue runs at Snowbird, but I will have much more fun and flexibility at Alta.  I'll ski both just to say I have been there!

 

p.s. My husband is not one to drag me down runs I'm not ready for, no worries.  Usually he goes ahead to scope things out and chooses ones he knows I will like.


Do a day at Snowbasin before you go to the Bird. Think of it as stepping stones (solitude & Alta -> Snowbasin -> Snowbird)
post #26 of 28

Snowbasin is worth the 1hr trip up North of Salt lake...I agree with this.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by comprex View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by SarahforReal View Post

Thank you, thank you everyone!  You all were far more helpful than the Floridian folks.  I think the general consensus is that I can (carefully) ski some green & blue runs at Snowbird, but I will have much more fun and flexibility at Alta.  I'll ski both just to say I have been there!

 

p.s. My husband is not one to drag me down runs I'm not ready for, no worries.  Usually he goes ahead to scope things out and chooses ones he knows I will like.




Do a day at Snowbasin before you go to the Bird. Think of it as stepping stones (solitude & Alta -> Snowbasin -> Snowbird)
post #27 of 28

 

Quote:
Do a day at Snowbasin before you go to the Bird. Think of it as stepping stones (solitude & Alta -> Snowbasin -> Snowbird)

I get the impression

 

Quote:
.....when I get there and also heading over to Alta

that they are staying on-site at Snowbird.   But if staying in SLC I agree some of the ski time should be at Brighton/Solitude.   I like Snowbasin a lot, but it gets much less snow than the Cottonwoods and would not count on it in mid-December.   However we do know that Utah's snow is running ahead of schedule so far.

post #28 of 28


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Crocker View Post

 

Quote:
Do a day at Snowbasin before you go to the Bird. Think of it as stepping stones (solitude & Alta -> Snowbasin -> Snowbird)

I get the impression

 

Quote:
.....when I get there and also heading over to Alta

that they are staying on-site at Snowbird.   But if staying in SLC I agree some of the ski time should be at Brighton/Solitude.   I like Snowbasin a lot, but it gets much less snow than the Cottonwoods and would not count on it in mid-December.   However we do know that Utah's snow is running ahead of schedule so far.



I agree with this also.  This time of year.  But other times of the year, Snowbain/Powder Mountain can be fantastic. This past year Snowbasin was a ghost town mid-week in late March, fresh snow everywhere and about 1-2 feet deep.  No tracks.  Strawberry peak had nobody, and it has the most vert there...it was incredible.  The next day we head over to Alta...wind blown, iced up...finally started snowing 4pm...right before they closed...terrible day at Alta.  Goes both ways.

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