Alta Jan 21-25
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skier219
January 11, 2008
Member since 01/8/2005 🔗
1,318 posts
Woo-hoo! I'm headed out to the ski mecca of the West in another week or so, and looking forward to it. I have been toying with a trip like this for years, and procrastinated so long I almost missed out on all the good flights, but I finally got my ass in gear and worked it all out. Fly in Mon Jan 21, ski Jan 22, 23, 24, and fly home on Friday Jan 24. For another $60, I could have worked it to also ski on Friday and take an 11pm flight back home, but that would have resulted in a 16 hour ski day with only a couple hours of airplane sleep before I got home the next morning as a zombie. Not sure I can hack that nowadays. So, I'll have to make do with three days of skiing, which will still kick my butt. This will be my first time at Alta, and I'm sure it will be an eye-opening experience.

P.S. Since I'm heading west to ski for the first time in 7 years, there is a huge probability that the snow and conditions will be Epic in the east, so plan accordingly. Last time I went west, WV got more snowfall than Tahoe!
The Colonel - DCSki Supporter
January 12, 2008
Member since 03/5/2004 🔗
3,107 posts
If you have never skied at Alta be aware that Utah snow is far different than Tahoe, far more light powder and not Sierra cement. Also be aware you can get a ticket that is interchangable between Snowbird and Alta, really increasing the available terrain. By the way, the Sundance Film will be on-going in Park City and if you get a chance, definitely see a live rehearsal of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir on Thursday evenings in SLC.
ENJOY,
The Colonel \:\)
crunchy
January 12, 2008
Member since 02/22/2007 🔗
596 posts
nice man! where you stayin? Midvale is close enough to the canyon and cheap for lodging and you can stop at on of the ski shops on the way to get lift ticket vouchers to save a few bucks off the window price too. Ballroom is a good place to traverse over to from collins lift for some warm up off piste, then roll over to high-traverse for all those lines \:\) man im jealous! you gonna hit snowbird one day too? gotta ride the conveyor belt tunnel to mineral basin \:\)
fishnski
January 12, 2008
Member since 03/27/2005 🔗
3,530 posts
I took my $2200 gamble a few years back & Skied Mashed potatoes for a week without one flake falling while I watched WV get Dumped on...Murphy's Law..Sorry Murphy!....BUTTTTT It was an Eye opening experience as you say....Your going to have a blast..wish I was there now...next weekend...HMMMmm WV Looking GOOD!
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skier219
January 12, 2008
Member since 01/8/2005 🔗
1,318 posts
I'll be staying at the Goldminer's Daughter right at Alta. It only cost about $300 more than doing the Midvale/Sandy routine when I factored in everything, and I think it will be more reliable than driving up the canyon every day if there are big snows. I am hoping that will be $300 well spent. My thinking was, for a short 3-day ski mission, I wanted to maximize access to the slopes. When there is a big snow dump that closes the road up the canyon, I have heard Alta and Snowbird turn into private powder clubs...

Colonel, I have enjoyed Utah Powder before at PCMR, but have been wanting to get over to Alta forever. I may upgrade my ticket to an Alta-Bird combo one of the days, but I am thinking I will probably spend all three days at Alta this time around -- there is more terrain there than I could explore in five days, never mind three!

I've got some 186cm Fischer Watea 94 skis lined up for the trip, which is good; I don't really have a suitable above-treeline, big-mountain, wide ski in my quiver. I think my PEs would probably do OK, but 179cm is short for my weight and height for the kind of skiing I plan to be doing at Alta.
JohnL
January 12, 2008
Member since 01/6/2000 🔗
3,518 posts
Alta and Solitude are two of my favorite places on this planet.

 Quote:
I may upgrade my ticket to an Alta-Bird combo one of the days, but I am thinking I will probably spend all three days at Alta this time around -- there is more terrain there than I could explore in five days, never mind three!


The combo pass is not worth the extra money. You are better off buying a single day pass at either area. There is plenty of terrain at each mountain. Alta - $59, Snowbird - $69 (tram), $59 (chair), Combo - $84.

Wow, just noticed that Alta is pushing the $60 barrier. While it is still value priced, it is no longer cheap. Canyon Sports only saves you $5.

 Quote:

I've got some 186cm Fischer Watea 94 skis lined up for the trip, which is good; I don't really have a suitable above-treeline, big-mountain, wide ski in my quiver. I think my PEs would probably do OK, but 179cm is short for my weight and height for the kind of skiing I plan to be doing at Alta.


You'll still be doing a lot of skiing below treeline. Some of best lines are in the trees, trails cut through the trees, or through tight spots.

For terrain hunting, Alta is a funny place. Most of the primo lines are visible from below; you just have to figure out how to get to them. This is not as easy as it would seem.

Even a trail as obvious as Alf's High Rustler is tricky to get to. Follow High Traverse (High T) until it cuts across the top of the ridge (infamous mat area.) At the mats, take a very tight left, and follow the traverse near the top of the ridge line (stay high, don't go low.) Just before the ridge ends or right at the end, bear left down the other side of the ridge. It opens up after a bit, but some of the initial lines into Alf's have a bit of a pucker factor depending upon which one you hit. You are going from one side of the ridge, crossing to the other side, and then crossing back to the first side to get to where you want to go. Make sense? That's Alta, and part of it's beauty.

The other stuff you'll have to find yourself.

Beware, a lot of the traverses (High T in particular) can be bony and *very* bumped/washboarded up, so pay attention. I almost got a concussion one powder day on High T. It was nearly a whiteout on the open faces, like the other powder hounds I was going 90 miles per hour on High T to get to the next powder line, and then plowed my ski tips into the front face of a three foot dip in the snow. Couldn't see it at all.

Collins - Wildcat - Supreme. Which lift to choose first on a powder day? Everyone has their favorite.
JohnL
January 12, 2008
Member since 01/6/2000 🔗
3,518 posts
Go Heels! Great B-Ball game this afternoon.

Some more Alta strategery stuff.

Some areas open later than others during/after a pow dump. Watch for what is closed and try to get a scoop to openings. Lift gossip is usually a good source. Ballroom is one such area. Not the best terrain in Alta, but if it is covered with two feet of pow, who cares? Gets steeper the further out you traverse. Devil's Castle usually opens several days after a dump. It is a two minute hike from the top of the Sugarloaf lift. Choose your lines carefully on Ballroom and DC; sometimes the avi debris messes up the pow lines. (If you're hiking or traversing, ya want da goods.) If you find it, some great minimally skied, rolling terrain below DC. Beware, there is a serious cliff band in the vicinity. It is clearly visible from the Supreme and Sugarloaf lifts, so scout the lines as you are riding up.

Baldy Chutes, accessible via a hike from the top of the Sugarloaf lift (exits above Ballroom) is another good hike to. Pays to scout out the lines from below on the Collins lift. Beware, on top of that ridge, it is not obvious what you are hitting. On my hike, I asked a local what was what to get my orientation at the top.

If your curse continues, strategery for skiing Alta when new snow hasn't dumped in a bit. (I've hit Alta a day or two when the conditions were East Coast Pow, i.e., needing a good ski tuner.) AM, Greely Face corns up nicely. Best approach is top of the Collins lift, head straight off the ramp, take a hard left past the ridge. Or you can take the hike at the top of the Collins lift at the ridge top to access a bit more vert. Further out ya go, the faster it corns up. Or you can hit High T to the mat area, traverse right. More sheltered, and generally doesn't corn up, but on a warm day, ya never know.

PM, West Rustler gets a lot of PM sun. Often some nice soft bumps.

Were you the Sugarbush local? PM me if you want to swap some more Alta stashes for SB stashes.
skier219
January 12, 2008
Member since 01/8/2005 🔗
1,318 posts
Thanks for the info JohnL. I am really liking the looks of Ballroom/Traverse as a place to get started until I find my comfort zone. I will have to watch out for the traverses -- I can't tell you how many times I have bought it on catwalks at other areas when I am not paying attention.
skier219
January 12, 2008
Member since 01/8/2005 🔗
1,318 posts
Yes, I was the Sugarbush regular (not a local though) from about 1988-1998. I'm afraid I don't know much about the real good stashes other than by word of mouth (ie, Bear Claw and The Church between Heaven's Gate and Castlerock). There are some great trails in the Slidebrook area, off the backside of the North Lynx lift, but I have never skied them myself. If you go there, sign up for the adventure program with John Egan. For a small fee, he'll show you to all the good spots. I was hoping to do that next time I get up there.

This is Bear Claw, which dumps out on the Castlerock bailout and gets you to the Heaven's Gate lift:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tocCE-nqhGU

You pick it up somewhere along the Long Trail between Heaven's Gate and Castlerock.
tromano
January 13, 2008
Member since 12/19/2002 🔗
998 posts
 Originally Posted By: skier219
Woo-hoo! I'm headed out to the ski mecca of the West in another week or so, and looking forward to it. I have been toying with a trip like this for years, and procrastinated so long I almost missed out on all the good flights, but I finally got my ass in gear and worked it all out. Fly in Mon Jan 21, ski Jan 22, 23, 24, and fly home on Friday Jan 24. For another $60, I could have worked it to also ski on Friday and take an 11pm flight back home, but that would have resulted in a 16 hour ski day with only a couple hours of airplane sleep before I got home the next morning as a zombie. Not sure I can hack that nowadays. So, I'll have to make do with three days of skiing, which will still kick my butt. This will be my first time at Alta, and I'm sure it will be an eye-opening experience.

P.S. Since I'm heading west to ski for the first time in 7 years, there is a huge probability that the snow and conditions will be Epic in the east, so plan accordingly. Last time I went west, WV got more snowfall than Tahoe!


I think you picked a good time to head out. Utah has been in a very active weather pattern for the last 4 weeks with storms rolling in once or twice a week. The snow is looking good so far and if the pattern continues you could see a deep day during your trip.

IMO, snowbird is much easier than alta to find your way around until you learn the ropes. Almost everything at alta that is really good requires a traverse or short hike. Which means you sort of need to know where you are going. If it were a deep day I might recomend going to bird over alta simply the runs are steeper (you wont get stuck as much) and because you will probably have an easier time finding terrain you want to ski. On the other hand alta has generally more mellow terrain than the bird.

I think a medium flexing ski in around 90-100mm in a 185 length is a great size for all around use at altabird.
The Colonel - DCSki Supporter
January 13, 2008
Member since 03/5/2004 🔗
3,107 posts
skier219,
I just looked at the Accuweather professional forecast for the next 15 days for Park City, UT. During the time you are in Alta they are predicting 2 ft. plus for PC, so Alta and Snowbird might well get 3-4 ft. if the forecast holds up.
Enjoy!
The Colonel \:\)
pagamony - DCSki Supporter
January 13, 2008
Member since 02/23/2005 🔗
840 posts
Well, congrats there, Craig - may alta will be the bomb and may you have face shots all day(s). Good move on staying up there, if you are not going every winter then you might as well get the full experience, I think. Especially since the homeground has been so utterly bleak so far. Isn't it time for bushwacker to chime in?
skier219
January 13, 2008
Member since 01/8/2005 🔗
1,318 posts
I'm already wishing I planned a longer trip and I haven't even started packing my bags yet! But I have a feeling three days skiing at Alta is going to wear me out and probably count for about a season's worth of grins. I had budgeted for a trip for two, but my wife doesn't have enough time off at work and wasn't real interested in going anyhow . So I am half thinking I can maybe do another solo trip this year, or put the money aside for a trip next year (it's against my logic to put ski money back in the bank).
Denis - DCSki Supporter
January 13, 2008
Member since 07/12/2004 🔗
2,225 posts
I did a week at Alta once staying in the Peruvian. Story here,
http://www.telemarktips.com/Alta.html
Any of the Lodges at the Alta base have the same deal, one price for bunk, 3 meals and a lift ticket. Goldminer's Daughter is next door to Peruvian. For a skier to stay at any of these places is to think you have died and gone to heaven. Have fun.
skier219
January 14, 2008
Member since 01/8/2005 🔗
1,318 posts
Awesome writeup Denis, just awesome. I can't wait to get there.
tromano
January 15, 2008
Member since 12/19/2002 🔗
998 posts
Dennis, that was an awesome write up. I know I have spent time skiing manoy of those same lines you mention. --Tim
The Colonel - DCSki Supporter
January 15, 2008
Member since 03/5/2004 🔗
3,107 posts
Wonderful word picture, Dennis. Convinced me so I arranged a last minute Ski Week (next Mon AM through Sat.) at Alta. I got the air, now I need to decide where to stay, either Goldminer's Daughter or one of the lodges with a pool, unless I decide to camp out at Snowbird.
The Colonel \:\)
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