There's a battle that goes on in Utah. At least between skiers, there's a battle going on. And it's probably one of many battles. But this one surely is on going: is Snowbird *the* best resort in Utah? Some would argue so, while others will argue that Alta is. So who is right?
To be exact, no one is. Alta remains my favorite ski resort anywhere (not just in Utah), but Snowbird is a very close second. Alta and Snowbird could almost be considered the same resorts in regards to snow and terrain. Snowbird is just a bit bigger...but also just a bit more developed. There's gives and takes to each resort, and an argument between staunch supports of each can go on for ever.
I didn't get to ski Alta this past weekend (we had a boarder with), so we did the next best thing: Snowbird. Snowbird has terrific snow, tons of terrain, and a great lift system to allow for quick and easy access to anything on the mountain. We opted out of the tram ticket on this trip because there hadn't been any fresh snow in 7 days. We decided to save money and just utilize the Peruvian Chair and tunnel to access anything we needed in Mineral Basin. This was a good decision as it saved us a few bucks so we could have a few beers at the end of the day.
We made our way back into Mineral Basin upon arrival, where the sun had already warmed up the snow. The turns were soft and creamy--almost like spring skiing. We lapped the middle section of Mineral before making the traverse out into the Bookends. We traversed as far over as we could to skier's right and were able to find some fresh, untouched snow. We made a few laps here until it was break time. We sat in the warming shack next to the tram for a few minutes to catch our breath, then went back out into the warm, sunny bluebird day. We shredded down Shireen to the Black Forest gate to work our way over to the Gad 2 lift. We went through the gate leading to Thunder bowl and found knee-deep snow, although a little chewed up, it proved to be some of the softest turns of the trip so far. The turns were a great work-out! We worked our way down Thunderbowl, picking our lines through the treed-up meadow, even finding a few untouched powder fields we were able to access after a little bush-whacking. We lapped this area the rest of the day, never really making the same turns. It was a phenomenal way to end the day.
Another great thing--besides the knee-deep snow days after a storm--is the lift system at Snowbird. All the chairs are fast, and get you to your destination quickly. Not too many resorts can claim this (especially in Utah).
Lastly, if you want to save a few bucks on a lift ticket, visit a local ski shop in Salt Lake and buy a ticket. You can save up to $10. We stop by The Lifthouse just at the mouth of Big Cottonwood for our tickets. This makes skiing at Snowbird affordable. But once you do a bit of exploring and find where The Good Stuff is, you'll pay any price to get back there. I know I would.