Just returned from SLC this afternoon. 6 ski days at 5 resorts, one knee injury, and one MIA digital camera later I file this report.
This was the first of what we have decided will be many trips to Wasatch ski areas. It was essentially a scouting event. The goal was to ski from every lift at as many resorts as possible. That way we could get a total view of what each area had to offer. We also attempted to sample a variety of terrain at each area such as glades, moguls, open bowls / powder (if any), areas that did involve hop turns but did not involve jumping off of cliffs. Close contact with pointy objects was generally avoided... We sampled: Alta, Snowbird, Solitude, Deer Valley, and the Canyons. Over all the greatest disappointments were the sections we saw from the lift but were unable to ski. Alta was the only resort we visited twice.
What I learned:
* I have been ignorant for years... This is what packed powder feels like.
* We picked the right week to visit SLC. Base depths increased 30" during our stay.
* I can sport a goggle tan line.
* The trail ratings at ski resorts really are not comparable to anything, even within the same resort. There are blues at the canyons that should be greens and Blues that could be blacks... The blue is just a catch all for some resorts. Alta is similar with their blacks. Snowbird with the double blacks... but they mean it.
* Skiing at 8-10 KFt the first day was not ideal. We should have started in park city. A 6500ft base would have been so much better the first day. Huff, Puff, Puff...
* Powdery bumps on a powder base lend themselves well to my <ahem> technique...
* Park City areas seem to have better glades than the cottonwood areas. I like aspens... Deciduous make me feel at home.
* The ski-road underpass: Winner! Worst Terrain Feature Ever!
* Potential New Favorite crash site: Through plate glass and onto a living room couch in $1000+ per night rental unit. I will await EMS and call for EVAC while swilling beer and popping Pringles.
* Large push piles of heavy crud result in lots of air time.
* Living Proof Award: ME! Low speed skier collisions such as 2-3 MPH can cause actual injury. Maybe it was fatigue of four days skiing nothing but bumps, powder, and chop, maybe it was the icy ramp, maybe it was my gratuitous use of the braking wedge... No, it was the random idiot next to me who skied under my right ski as I got off the lift. At least my bindings released. Moral of the story: There are idiots everywhere... in UT more of them ski the same lifts I do.
* A frozen bottle of Dasani and a bottle of ibuprofen are recommended accessories for the imprudent skier.
* Driving in UT is interesting:
a. I was more scared during in the snow in UT than I am here. Mostly because of the other drivers.
b. They close the roads when we would close schools.
c. They just don't know how to drive on a highway. Everyone clogs the right hand lane when there are 3 more perfectly good lanes just to the left. the four left lanes are all passing for those going 10, 20, 30 mph above the speed limit... and so forth.
d. You don't see many abandoned vehicles off the side of the highway, they are usually inhabited.
* Losing a $2--. Digital camera is nothing. Losing a weeks worth of pictures on your first ever trip to UT is worse than busting up your knee.
* And the winner is: Snowbird!
Favorite lift: Tie Mineral Basin Express (Snowbird) & Gad2 (Snowbird)
Runner up: Alta
Honorable Mention: Empire Canyon (Deer Valley)
Images to follow if Madeline can find her digicam.