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USA inter mountain west

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Simply put, you have never experienced great recreational skiing if you have not skied America's inter mountain west because this is where you find the best skiing conditions in the world. Consider how much snow you must melt to get an inch of water. On America's east and west coasts, in Europe, and pretty much everywhere else, 1" of water produces 8' of snow. In the inter mountain west, 1" of water produces 15-18" of snow. This is the lightest, fluffiest snow in the world (although there is place in Japan that may tie it). This is the only place in the world where true "powder" exists.

My wife has a good definition of good inter mountain west conditions-- you can't hear your turns on groomed runs. Try that in the Alps.

Inter mountain west skiing is centered within a 90 minutes drive of Salt Lake City, Utah, but the great inter mountain west snow zone extends from central Utah (Brian Head) to southern Montana (Bridger Bowl).

One condition in picking a resort: the otherwise spectacular Jackson Hole Resort becomes problematic from mid February because it is south facing mountain.
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Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Off to Snowbird tomorrow, hope the snow keeps falling snowHead
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Fairly big storm predicted for Sun pm into monday
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In canyons at moment . Lots of wind no snow yet . Only gondola running fron canyons this morning one hell of a queue about an hours wait . Didnt ski today went to town on the bus . town lift was empty no queues .
Still windy . Looks like they dropped at the chairs off of the orange bubble . Park city base was running ok .
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
I was in SLC for work last week. Had a chance to ski for the afternoon at Snowbird. 47F at the summit but the snow was still soft and chalky. Low humidity and low moisture content make a big difference in the conditions. If that had been in Tahoe or PNW, then it would have been mushy.
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Snowbird... they had more since that report, but it warmed up over the weekend and we're now riding on last week's snow.

This from a run off the first tram this morning. Piste conditions were actually soft pretty much everywhere all day as the overnight temperature wasn't cold enough to freeze everything up.

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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
There's an awful amount of BS spread about Utah snow - yes its light and fluffy when it does fall but its as prone to the sun, drought and over trafficking as anywhere else. I've skied over 20 days in Utah over 3 trips and have had one powder day which wasn't particularly deeper or better than anywhere else. & I've skied conditions at Park City which would fairly be described as downright bony - bare south facing slopes in late Feb.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
I have skied Colorado/SLC for the last few years and this seems to be a freak warm year.

EG at Breck on Feb 12th it 57f at the base on Peak 9. Spring snow conditions by 11am. Denver had it's warmest Feb day on record around that time.
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I'm not sure you can describe this season at Snowbird as poor. There has been more snow this year than for quite a number of preceding years. The whole mountain is covered with locals reporting lines being skied that have not been possible for years. It has been an epic season so far, just our luck that we got here just as the storms ended. We had powder the first couple of days but heavily wind affected. Still, the conditions are good, plenty of snow and spring skiing now. Just a shame the clocks went forward at the weekend as it's a longer wait for the softening this week.
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It's been the *best* season for several years, with snowfall already exceeding last season's full total I believe.

Certainly the marketing people sell a particular perspective, but the weather forecast is free and you need to time it right anywhere you ride. I didn't bring a powder board for this trip as it was clear what the conditions were going to be.

I think Utah resorts generally (with the possible exception of PC) are not really mainstream tourist resorts and need to be treated accordingly.

Today was spring conditions, which were excellent.
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Regular visitors to Snowbird as we have a timeshare here. As you say, conditions vary every year. Very hot just now so happy there is a deep snowpack or things could be a bit sketchy by now.

Agree in regards to the ski hills not being regular resorts. For me that is a bonus as there is quite a laid back feel to most places, with the exception of Park City/Canyons, which is now Vail corporate, and the mega-expensive Deer Valley. The locals are not far away though, so powder days can get very manic, especially the first few hours - then they have to go back to work! But its great to sit and eat your packed lunch with them, share a love of skiing and feel like you are getting under the skin of the place. An adventurous spirit is also required to make the most of the ski area.

Personally, I love Snowbird and rarely venture to the other Utah resorts. It has changed a bit over the last few years, with new faster lifts and the Summit building, so will be interesting to see if it can stave of the corporate world now Dick Bass has left us. Hopefully the SLC folk will ensure its atmosphere is preserved.

Alta is loved by many for similar reasons.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
and just to add, where else do they use Howitzers for avalanche control Exclamation
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
runkmc wrote:
and just to add, where else do they use Howitzers for avalanche control Exclamation


lots of places. Whistler has a prominent one on a mount around Franz's Meadows.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
runkmc wrote:
and just to add, where else do they use Howitzers for avalanche control Exclamation


I thought they were the snow cannon wink
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
runkmc wrote:
... Park City/Canyons, which is now Vail corporate, and the mega-expensive Deer Valley. The locals are not far away though, so powder days can get very manic, especially the first few hours - then they have to go back to work! But its great to sit and eat your packed lunch with them, share a love of skiing and feel like you are getting under the skin of the place. An adventurous spirit is also required to make the most of the ski area.
...
Alta is loved by many for similar reasons.

Yes. The PC thing will be interesting considering how they're monetising the season ticket there. "Deer Valley skier" is, I'm told, a pejorative. As a snowboarder I don't know as I can't go there, but I probably wouldn't want to unless it was an illicit "raid". Alta I also can't ride, although it's just there and I would assume similar to Snowbird.

When I first went to Snowbird I didn't get it: I needed local assistance to "get under the skin" to find the good stuff. I'm sure many miss that. I worry slightly about what may come, although if the snow continues to fall then Snowbird has advantages of location and terrain.

Today was similar to yesterday - a bit cooler to start than yesterday, but starting early then following the sun as things warmed up. Tomorrow (Saturday) should be more of the same, although likely busier (because it's a locals resort not a tour-operator driven changeover-day place).
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Off to stay in Park City next weekend for 4 days but skiing Deer Valley for 3 as my Steamboat lift pass gives me that. Looking forward to seeing what it's like. Do they have a mountain hosting/guiding service there?
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Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Quote:

Tomorrow (Saturday) should be more of the same, although likely busier (because it's a locals resort not a tour-operator driven changeover-day place).


Yes, it will be busier, especially around Creekside. The kids all come up for racing and there are also usually lots of tiny tots whizzing around in ski lessons having a great time. Our last day tomorrow and due to be very hot.

Alta is a bit different to Snowbird, more of the good stuff requires traverses/hikes to get to and there are a lot of flat areas which wouldn't be great on a snowboard.

As for Deer Valley, yes they do have mountain hosts, I think most North American resorts do. The food on the hill is pretty good there but you'll need a fat wallet.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
philwig, Go on poach a run in Alta wink Hike up Baldy from Snowbird and drop in, you can then board all the way back to the bottom of Collins lift - catch the bus back to Snowbird, job done Toofy Grin

Alta do ban snowboarders from riding their lifts, and theres no uphill traffic to stop you walking up - nothing to stop you going down of course. Seen this done before Madeye-Smiley

But really all you are missing is the traverses as they are needed to access stuff.

Bookends used to be inaccessible to boarders too, but they have now run a cattrack all the way out there for you, eliminating the traverse and hike up. Unfortunately its made it accessible to folks who don't have the ability to be there Sad

Its a great place but have noticed the more corporate side in recent years, compared to what it was.

You know where to have fun when over there Smile
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Quote:

This is the only place in the world where true "powder" exists.

Japan!

But for those living in the US of A, Utah is arguably ONE of the "best" destination. Next to Colorado that is.

For US based skiers, Utah has many advantages: cheap flight from just every corner of the country, diverse terrain, cheap lodging, and cheapER lift pass, compared to many other competing destinations such as Colorado.

But "best" needs to be qualified once you add other part of the world into the equation.
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Quote:

Alta is a bit different to Snowbird, more of the good stuff requires traverses/hikes to get to and there are a lot of flat areas which wouldn't be great on a snowboard.

Quote:

But really all you are missing is the traverses as they are needed to access stuff.

ALTA stands for Another Long Traverse Again! Toofy Grin
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I have the "Alta Snowboard Team" sticker but I'll give it a miss wink Taos I actually wanted to ride (and did).
Bones wrote:
... Bookends used to be inaccessible to boarders too, but they have now run a cattrack all the way out there for you, eliminating the traverse and hike up. Unfortunately its made it accessible to folks who don't have the ability to be there Sad
..

I rode them lots before the alterations, although I'm a hard booter so traverses are easy for me Happy I suppose now I could no board out there along with the tourists... but today those heading out there were unlikely to find much of interest I'd say. Another day of too-warm temperatures, so good conditions if you worked at hitting it right. This is about a month too warm... they have a huge base so the cover's secure, but colder temperatures and snow would be good. Of course if it rains that would be bad.
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