• Welcome to AlpineZone, the largest online community of skiers and snowboarders in the Northeast!

    You may have to REGISTER before you can post. Registering is FREE, gets rid of the majority of advertisements, and lets you participate in giveaways and other AlpineZone events!

ss20 Takes on Utah

thetrailboss

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Jun 4, 2004
Messages
30,088
Points
113
Location
NEK by Birth
Asked around but I didn't hear anything. Collins was down all day a week ago as well. Collins was spinning (empty) on my way out at 4pm. As a bonus they kept Wildcat and Sugarloaf both open til 4:30. Not sure if they're not releasing the full amount of parking reservations but both today and Saturday were dead. Saturday I know was "sold out" based on the reservation site, didn't check for today. I started down the canyon at about 4:20 and the average speed down was the typical dry-road 35-40mph.

I'm hearing rumors about Snowbird being critically understaffed. Could very well be true based on their job openings. Snowbird is requiring employees to be vaxxed, Alta is vax or test weekly.
Weird about Collins. It is older than one would think (2005 or so I think?)

We had a parking reservation today. With all the hassle in getting it, I must say that it turned out to work for us (so far). The only lift that was crowded was Sunnyside due to Collins being down. I did not call it crowded--busy but not crowded. It felt like pre-IKON days.

Yes, Snowbird is hurting. At first I thought it was due to the warmth and its impact on snowmaking. But it is becoming more painfully evident that they have burned too many people and just don't have enough staff for snowmaking and running the lifts. John Cumming is reaping what he sown.

It is also evident that they are hurting financially. They've already started doing stupid shit like repricing services and items at higher prices than even a few days before and reneging on promotions. Examples: valet parking was $30 last week; now it is $40. My season pass discount on Snowbird logo gear "mysteriously" expired despite the fact that the website clearly states that we have said discount all season. They did the same thing to employees in 2018 when Christmas sucked due to low snow--they cut pass benefits and lost a ton of longtimers. It is stuff like this that saves pennies now but costs many dollars later.

Now before John Cumming's time Snowbird was a notoriously terrible employer. Dick Bass was a weird dude and though he owned it he did not like spending a lot of money on operating it. It got better when Ian Cumming stepped in. Then he died and it was one low snow season and back to being a terrible employer. Now John is really losing $$$. I hope he moves on to other projects. I recently got a survey from them and I was shocked that the final two questions were SPECIFICALLY about my impressions of POWDR. I answered truthfully.
 

ss20

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 13, 2013
Messages
3,530
Points
113
Location
A minute from the Alta exit off the I-15!
Weird about Collins. It is older than one would think (2005 or so I think?)

We had a parking reservation today. With all the hassle in getting it, I must say that it turned out to work for us (so far). The only lift that was crowded was Sunnyside due to Collins being down. I did not call it crowded--busy but not crowded. It felt like pre-IKON days.

Yes, Snowbird is hurting. At first I thought it was due to the warmth and its impact on snowmaking. But it is becoming more painfully evident that they have burned too many people and just don't have enough staff for snowmaking and running the lifts. John Cumming is reaping what he sown.

It is also evident that they are hurting financially. They've already started doing stupid shit like repricing services and items at higher prices than even a few days before and reneging on promotions. Examples: valet parking was $30 last week; now it is $40. My season pass discount on Snowbird logo gear "mysteriously" expired despite the fact that the website clearly states that we have said discount all season. They did the same thing to employees in 2018 when Christmas sucked due to low snow--they cut pass benefits and lost a ton of longtimers. It is stuff like this that saves pennies now but costs many dollars later.

Now before John Cumming's time Snowbird was a notoriously terrible employer. Dick Bass was a weird dude and though he owned it he did not like spending a lot of money on operating it. It got better when Ian Cumming stepped in. Then he died and it was one low snow season and back to being a terrible employer. Now John is really losing $$$. I hope he moves on to other projects. I recently got a survey from them and I was shocked that the final two questions were SPECIFICALLY about my impressions of POWDR. I answered truthfully.

@thetrailboss 's happiest life moments-

birth of children
marriage to wife
completing that survey!!!!

I've only heard amazing things about Dick Bass since moving here.
 

thetrailboss

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Jun 4, 2004
Messages
30,088
Points
113
Location
NEK by Birth
@thetrailboss 's happiest life moments-

birth of children
marriage to wife
completing that survey!!!!

I've only heard amazing things about Dick Bass since moving here.
Well, if it weren't for Dick, there would be no Snowbird. And as you've probably learned, Ted Johnson was an Alta regular when he quietly bought the mining claims that became Snowbird.

Dick loved Snowbird.
 

ss20

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 13, 2013
Messages
3,530
Points
113
Location
A minute from the Alta exit off the I-15!
It's about to get wild... snow began this afternoon... when it stops, no one really knows. There is a very real possibility we get 100"+ by the new year. That would put us at 170" of snow for December, one of the snowiest ever. Open Snow has us getting 120" in the next ten days. The global weather models don't pick up well on the mountains but one "plot" for the Canadian Model had us pegged at 109" by Jan 1. It starts with light snow tomorrow and then a slopfest tomorrow night. Over 3" of liquid!! NOAA has Alta "expected" to get 36" and "up to" 40" by Christmas morning.

It's going to become another world out there and I'm stoked! I'm so glad we're getting big snow early in the season. Alta has a ton of historical snow resources on their website, and should we get to 260" season total (160" current + 100"), it'd be only the third time in 17 seasons that number's been reached before the new year. We'd be on-par for a near-record season if we had a "normal" November... instead it was one of the 5 worst in the last 80 years.
 

ss20

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 13, 2013
Messages
3,530
Points
113
Location
A minute from the Alta exit off the I-15!
To me it's just been so cool watching things "fill in". For example, the magic carpet is on its own embankment 15 feet above the surrounding ground...now it's only 5 feet above snow level. There's a huge rock in the middle of one of the beginner trails. Early season skiers were going around it...now they're skiing over it and what was once a 10ft rock is now a 2ft little hump. The parking lot has a massive 30-40ft drop to slope level. Well now they've pushed/plowed snow so that people can boot up at the car and ski a nice mellow pitch to the Albion lodge. To me, 500" of snow is unfathomable. I simply can't comprehend it and how the resort will look. Let's see it Ma Nature!
 

ss20

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 13, 2013
Messages
3,530
Points
113
Location
A minute from the Alta exit off the I-15!
Tough to take off the rose colored glasses...

We are four days into the holiday week. All four have been impacted by snow on top of what is the deepest base in Utah. I really thought this week was going to be the "culture shock" of crowds and traffic woes but that has yet to happen. I don't think it's Ikon blackout as parking has "sold out" every day. I put it in quotes as the Albion lot never gets beyond 80% full. Lift lines at Sunnyside are 5ish minutes at peak times (a bit longer in the first hour of the AM). With the wonderful snow I've been skiing after work...I love Collins spinning til 4:30. 1-3 runs an afternoon with new friends and no crowds is a great way to end the day. The lift is typically under a 5 chair wait at 3:30. As far as ski school I am pleasantly surprised and am averaging nearly double in pay what the director quoted me at over the summer. Life is good...I am happy. It seems I may very well get through all of December without a 1hr+ commute up/down canyon. I was not expecting to say that. Dreams of a 100"+ end to December are thoroughly stomped on but we've still received three feet since the 22nd and will probably eek out another 2-3 feet before the New Year. Overall it'll still be a very above average December (it'll be at least the best in a decade+...too tired to look at the older data).
 

jimk

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 1, 2012
Messages
1,517
Points
63
Location
Wash DC area
Forecast for mid-mtn Alta over last days of Dec 2021:

Wednesday Overnight into Thursday
Snow likely. Chance of precipitation is 60%. Total nighttime snow accumulation of 3 to 5 inches possible.
Thursday
Snow. Chance of precipitation is 80%. New snow accumulation of 4 to 8 inches possible.
Thursday Night
Snow. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New snow accumulation of 14 to 20 inches possible.
Friday
Snow. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New snow accumulation of 2 to 4 inches possible.
Friday Night
Snow. Chance of precipitation is 80%. New snow accumulation of 1 to 3 inches possible.

That adds up to a good chance of about 30" in 48 hrs! I start driving out there in about two weeks with possibly a short stop to ski CO along the way. It's been super mild here in the mid-Atlantic in Dec, but I put snow tires on my car a couple days ago anyway:D
 
Last edited:

ss20

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 13, 2013
Messages
3,530
Points
113
Location
A minute from the Alta exit off the I-15!
I counted my chickens before they hatched...we finally got a storm that wayyyy over performed. 2-4" by 5pm today turned into 10" and the red snake was finally happening. The base lodge was open (with beers) til 6:30pm for an awesome happy hour as people talked about the powder fever of the day. It took 2.5 hours to get home...tough not to laugh about it! Honestly not a huge PITA...I could certainly handle it if it's once a month or so. Kinda a perfect storm with the holiday crowd, wayyyy more snow than predicted, and traction law not in effect on the way up the canyon. The turns were amazing though! Graupel snow! I got a solid 4 runs between 3:30 and 4:45, plus a couple beers, and carpool commeradity for the looonnnggg way down.
 

ss20

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 13, 2013
Messages
3,530
Points
113
Location
A minute from the Alta exit off the I-15!
Snowbird Day 1, 1/7/22

Snowbird has been very slow opening terrain but they've finally caught up and surpassed what Alta has open. We got a really really dense storm on Wednesday that dropped about a foot of cement. Blue skies, wind, and temps in the 30s today made it perfect to try Snowbird. It was the first day Peruvian, Little Cloud, and Mineral opened since the storm, and their openings were staggered today so I had stuff to look forward to as the day went on. Peruvian was already loading when I arrived at 10:30 and the singles line was up to the main trail so I kept going to Wilbere to warm up. I ended up getting into Gad 2 which had terrain that reminded me a lot like home. Tight trees, more natural obstacles like stumps/rocks, and tighter bumps than at Alta. I quickly learned that Snowbird certainly does not have the same quality of snow as Alta. The bottom 300 feet off-trail was almost unskiable....super slick. Because of that I stayed high mostly on Gad 2, then Little Cloud and Mineral once they opened up. Mineral was super fun! Wow! Felt like the bowls at Alta just much much longer. I stayed there most of the day. At the end I skied Little Cloud a couple times which was a wind-buffed paradise! I ended on Cirque...that was a lot of fun! A real vertical drop-in...another thing I haven't really found at Alta (yet). Overall I loved the terrain! It reminded me a lot like Killington where there's a ton of steep stuff wherever you go on the mountain. The snow was definitely much slicker and chunkier. Crowds were bad too! I don't think I've waited more than 10 minutes for a lift at Alta after noon my entire season....at 2:30 I was still waiting 15 minutes for Mineral and even 10 minutes for Little Cloud at 3:15 for my last ride up!

It felt good to ski more than 1,800 vertical! And with no traverses!!! I'll certainly be back... probably not on a Friday and certainly only if we've gotten really dry snow recently!
 

jimk

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 1, 2012
Messages
1,517
Points
63
Location
Wash DC area
Glad to hear Snowbird is shaping up. Hope to start skiing there regularly before the end of the month. The lift line for the Mineral Basin chair is often the longest on the mtn when the sun comes out on busy days. On those days it's best to ski Mineral Basin early or late and enjoy the frontside during the middle of the day.
 

ss20

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 13, 2013
Messages
3,530
Points
113
Location
A minute from the Alta exit off the I-15!
Glad to hear Snowbird is shaping up. Hope to start skiing there regularly before the end of the month. The lift line for the Mineral Basin chair is often the longest on the mtn when the sun comes out on busy days. On those days it's best to ski Mineral Basin early or late and enjoy the frontside during the middle of the day.

Good tips, thank you! I love it as I feel like I "know" Alta pretty ok...I'll certainly know it well by the end of the season. But doing Snowbird just once a week...that'll be like a vacation in itself! New mountain and new trails to explore every day I'm over there!
 

Tonyr

Active member
Joined
Jan 6, 2019
Messages
509
Points
43
Thanks for all of the updates. We are heading back out to Alta Snowbird in February and are very much looking forward to it. I've only skied there less than a handful of times but absolutely love the terrain especially on the Snowbird side. While the Cirque and Mineral Basin gets all of the attention I love all of the steep tree skiing on the far right side of Snowbird's trail map. Make sure to visit that area as well.

I'm going to try and ski the good stuff off of the Collins lift next time, I was with my family last time so I didn't get to ski all of Alta's best stuff. Looks similar to the terrain off of the Cirque.
 

ss20

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 13, 2013
Messages
3,530
Points
113
Location
A minute from the Alta exit off the I-15!
Thanks for all of the updates. We are heading back out to Alta Snowbird in February and are very much looking forward to it. I've only skied there less than a handful of times but absolutely love the terrain especially on the Snowbird side. While the Cirque and Mineral Basin gets all of the attention I love all of the steep tree skiing on the far right side of Snowbird's trail map. Make sure to visit that area as well.

I'm going to try and ski the good stuff off of the Collins lift next time, I was with my family last time so I didn't get to ski all of Alta's best stuff. Looks similar to the terrain off of the Cirque.

Yep...I'm getting quite familiar with the High Traverse! All the stuff you see on that side from the Collins lift is fun and open...but I highly highly recommend going all the way across the T, through "piss pass" (it has snow cover mats and spits you on the backside) onto the "front" face to the chutes that spit you out along the rope tow. Some great tree skiing in there and it sees very little traffic.
 

Tonyr

Active member
Joined
Jan 6, 2019
Messages
509
Points
43
Yep...I'm getting quite familiar with the High Traverse! All the stuff you see on that side from the Collins lift is fun and open...but I highly highly recommend going all the way across the T, through "piss pass" (it has snow cover mats and spits you on the backside) onto the "front" face to the chutes that spit you out along the rope tow. Some great tree skiing in there and it sees very little traffic.
Great, thanks for the heads up. I'll check that out.
 

crank

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 3, 2005
Messages
1,080
Points
48
Location
CT
Just catching up with this ongoing report thread. Good stuff.

One piece of advice from a former ski bum - make sure you have some gas in the tank. One time in Tahoe I was stuck on the road for 3-4 hours coming down the hill while DOT cleared an avalanche. I was almost out of gas and had to sit in a cold car or risk running out.
 

ss20

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 13, 2013
Messages
3,530
Points
113
Location
A minute from the Alta exit off the I-15!
@thetrailboss Sunnyside 6 pack officially announced on Liftblog with Albion/Sunnyside triple removal.

Been a nice, quiet, dry, warm week. I haven't skied the past two days...ready for MLK madness!!! Fun exploring new terrain that's been closed. I gotta get up to Baldy one of these days
 
Top