Craig, great that you are going to Alta again. Wish I could join you. Please try to get the "Wild Bunch" patch I mentioned previously.
Not sure why, but Alta always closed around the middle of April. I think it is from a lack of local and especially long distance interest. Alta is like a mini climate at the end of a box canyon. There can be great skiing still at Alta while the trees are green and the golf courses open in Salt Lake City.
For those that like to ski later, Snowbird is nearly always open into May, and weekend after that.
As for Intrawest and Canaan Valley State Park. We have gotten way off target here, and bashing Intrawest probably has no relevance to this topic. If Intrawest is chosen to manage and run CV Lodge, Park and Ski Area, they, or whatever company is chosen, will not be able to "build out the place", destroy the ambience, etc. This is after all a state park. They certainly have the expertise to run a first class ski area, improve snowmaking, have great instructors, better rentals, etc. They certainly know how to run and keep up great golf courses. And they have expertise in managing mountain lodges and hotels. All this is good for CV and we skiers. Now if they were to buy Timberline, and, say, try to build out the skiable terrain between TL and CV as was once proposed by ASC, then all bets are off, but I would guarantee that whatever was done would be first class. Bottom line, Intrawest knows what it is doing and generally does it first class. While I fault them for not increasing the ski terrain at Snowshoe, I have heard of environmental problems that have slowed down the progress. Hopefully we will see more slopes built soon. What I would really like is to see the master plan and what it entails (albeit subject to change). Enough about SS and Intrawest.
As for TLine, I like the idea of a first step improvement of installing a mid mountain chair, and eliminating the mid station on the present lift. This still won't completely reduce the number of beginners and low intermediates from stopping the lift fairly often since they can ski green and blue from the top. Some of us seem to want TL to be an expert skiers area, some want more efficient lifts (me still), some want bumps (don't do them for fun anymore, but agree some should be available), some want more terrain park features, some want, some want,...
Bottom line, the skiing experience at TL must be attractive to the most customers if they are to get the money to make improvements in their infrastructure to be able to serve the new customers, and attract even more customers. Even when there are lines at the bottom of the lifts I have rarely found TL slopes crowded. If they were to move more people faster to the top I still believe it would improve the on-slope experience. I think a nice balance would be to take their two DD slopes, Drop and Off The Wall and allow one to bump up and groom the other providing a steeper experience for all seasoned skiers. When there is fresh snow some trails, or at least part of a trail, should be left ungroomed for all to enjoy. Those that like skiing freshies should not expect all trails to be ungroomed, and those that prefer groomed should not demand all slopes be groomed. To be an all around skier one needs to experience both. And we all have to keep in mind that ski areas far from the metro areas must cater to the traveling ski family or individuals if they want to survive. Younger slopers that don't mind jumping in a car and driving for 6+ hours to/from a ski area do not pay the rent, especially during the week.
For me, what the overall experience is like at a ski area location is important. I no longer ski dawn to dusk, so I want to enjoy hot tubs, outdoor heated pools where snow covers your hair while you swim, a few shops, good places to eat (both cheap and more expensive), and most importantly, ski where the customer is treated and made to feel like he/she is important, and ski area employees, like those in any service oriented industry, should always remember it is the customer that really pays there salary.
I have rambled enough. Lots of food for thought.