Alta report/pictures
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skier219
March 16, 2008
Member since 01/8/2005 🔗
1,318 posts
Here are some pictures from the recent Alta trip I took with my wife:

http://hunter.pairsite.com/craig/alta0308/

We had three excellent days of skiing and a fun time staying/eating at Goldminer's Daughter Lodge. This was my wife's first time out west and I think she is hooked; hopefully we can turn this into an annual trip.

Here are a few movies:

Avy dogs goofing off after work:
http://hunter.pairsite.com/craig/alta0308/avy-dogs.mov

Run down a green trail with my wife:
http://hunter.pairsite.com/craig/alta0308/albion.mov

Ride up the Supreme Chair during a snow squall:
http://hunter.pairsite.com/craig/alta0308/supreme1.mov

Same ride under sunny skies about 45 minutes later:
http://hunter.pairsite.com/craig/alta0308/supreme2.mov

(We tried to make a hard-core movie of me skiing through some rocks and trees, but all that came out was 10 seconds of my wife's mitten over the lens.... which is pretty much how it goes when I try to look cool for the camera).

The first two days were excellent packed powder on groomers and 5-6" of sun-baked powder off trail (previous snowfall was 2 days before we arrived). It was Bluebird weather most of the time, though the last morning started with cloudy skies and flat lighting (I took Lou's advice and brought some yellow goggle lenses which helped a lot). Snow tended to be firm in the mornings but softened up nicely by mid-day. Never saw a bit of ice or granular on-piste, just real good packed powder. My wife was very impressed by the quality and uniformity of the snow and felt it was a lot easier than skiing typical eastern conditions; I think this was her first time on honest to goodness natural snow. On the third day, it snowed hard for about 45 minutes and dropped 2" of new snow on windward slopes, which was very nice (probably the nicest measly 2" of snow I have experienced). Of course, Alta got 16" of snow in the three days after we left, but I'm trying not to think about that too much! As it was, the 2" dusting was a nice surprise to cap off three great days.

The GMD is definitely a great place to stay, with the excellent food and the relaxed, easy going atmosphere. It's pricey on paper, but when you factor in the included meals, the convenient location, and the benefit of not dealing with a rental car and possible canyon closures, I think it's well worth it, especially for short trips. And Alta -- well, let's just say I could only ski at Alta the rest of my life and not miss anything else. In fact, I may never venture elsewhere for major trips now that I have the SLC/Alta/GMD combo all figured out. Utah locals are very lucky to have this level and quality of skiing in their backyard. It's such a huge step above what we have to live with in the mid-A, and price-wise I think it's a viable alternative to a Vermont trip. I feel like we got a concentrated dose of high-quality skiing and vacationing at Alta in a short period of time.

A final note, for anyone thinking about taking lower-level skiers along: Alta turned out to be a great place to bring my low-intermediate wife. The green trails over in the Albion area are just great, and she was able to do some of the easier blues off Supreme and Sugarloaf. With some planning, she could ride up Wildcat and Collins and then take an easy way down. I liked the fact that we could both ski off the Albion chairlifts, her hitting the greens and blues and me hitting some of the nice terrain in Vail Ridge. And after lunch we split up for the rest of the day, which was more than enough time for me to get my fill on the tougher blues and black trails.

Craig

jimmy
March 16, 2008
Member since 03/5/2004 🔗
2,650 posts
Craig sorry we missed you guys last week. We did make it to Alta on Thursday and the snow was awesome. They got snow overnight and it snowed most of the day Thursday; visibilty sucked and we spent most of the afternoon in the trees on sunnyside and sugarloaf. I did buy a pair of "snow goggles" Thursday morning after struggling with visibility at Park City Wednesday. That mountain was eastern hardpack but loosened up in the afternoon. It's amazing how tiring absorbing with your legs instead of your brain can be.

We had a super day at Snowbird on Sunday, bluebird skies and fresh tracks most of the morning in Mineral Basin. JohnL and bruce pushed us pretty hard that day, to the point of my legs cramping after a late lunch. Had a blast at Brighton on Tuesday skiing trees and soft bumps. We skied Canyons on Monday, i dogged it a bit to rest my legs. Finshed the week Friday at Snowbasin on some heavy powder off trail, perfect packed powder on, a mix of clouds & snail and from time to time the sun broke thru for a run or two. Out of six days of skiing the only not so great was the morning at PC.

Can'twait to go back.
skier219
March 16, 2008
Member since 01/8/2005 🔗
1,318 posts
Sounds like you had a good time Jimmy! BTW, thanks for leaving me that message on Tuesday night.

I pretty much had tears in my eyes as we boarded the airport shuttle Thursday morning with the new snow coming down. When we woke up around 7:30am, the parking lot had a light dusting. By 11am there was at least 4" or so. I heard Friday was just totally epic at Alta and Snowbird, and they are in for a great few days coming up. I really need to spend two weeks there for my next trip!
JimK - DCSki Columnist
March 17, 2008
Member since 01/14/2004 🔗
2,721 posts
Thanks for sharing. I took that fun vicarious ride with you on the sunny video up Supreme lift. It was fun to see you almost get scenary-swoon near the top turning the camera in all directions.
Looks like your wife took the bait and is now hooked on Alta! I gather no problems with altitude?
skier219
March 17, 2008
Member since 01/8/2005 🔗
1,318 posts
Jim, we both had minor headaches the night we arrived, but were fine the rest of the time. I was a little nervous about how the elevation would affect my wife, but she did great. I even slept a little better than normal myself, possibly because she kept me on an east coast schedule.
crunchy
March 17, 2008
Member since 02/22/2007 🔗
596 posts
looks like you had some sweet condish!
k_alice
March 17, 2008
Member since 11/22/2005 🔗
92 posts
Great information! We've already planned a trip to Utah for spring break 2009, and it's fun to read your details, esp. about Alta potential for lower-level skiers. (We're hoping to convince our beginner-intermediate friends to join us.)

Also, I was very interested to learn about the lodge you stayed at, with meals included. I love this option, but my impression was that it's a little difficult to find "meals-inclusive" hotels or lodges in the states. We just got back from 6 days skiing in the French Alps and had the "full pension" package, which is relaxing and social. I'll try to post pictures of that trip soon...
skier219
March 17, 2008
Member since 01/8/2005 🔗
1,318 posts
I think Alta is the first place I have been to that pretty much standardizes on a meal plan at all the four lodges, and it is reasonably priced for what you get. They even offer a rate for single occupancy at a couple lodges, which is a weclome break for people who may travel/ski alone. When I was there in January by myself, the costs were just about half of what it cost for both of us in March.

I don't think you can get lodging plans without meals at Alta. I guess that may be due to the fact that there really isn't anyplace else to eat once you're that far up the canyon, so they pretty much plan to feed all the guests.
GRK
March 18, 2008
Member since 12/19/2007 🔗
404 posts
219...thanks for the report. Going to Park City next week and might do a day trip out to Alta. Was encouraged to hear that lower intermediates could enjoy the "easy way down".

Also have to give Kudos to Lou for the yellow goggles...great in flat light.
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