It snowed a little last night and this morning in Alpine Meadows.
The Unofficial Alpine Meadows Ski Report
Produced by Andy Wertheim
Office website: www.tahoeriverfrontrealty.com
It snowed a little last night and this morning in Alpine Meadows. I would guess a couple inches of rather light, cold snow fell on the mountain. Most likely this has not improved the skiing much, as the south facing slopes must be very firm now. I heard the groomed runs were not bad today, but off piste was another story. Monday and Tuesday the sky was blue and the temperatures much warmer according to my mother who just returned to the hill after a month of recovering from a shoulder accident.
I spent the weekend, plus a couple of extra days in Salt Lake City skiing in Utah. We enjoyed, beautiful, clear, sunny weather with relatively cool temperatures, especially in the mornings. Of course, there was not any powder to speak of at any of the areas that we skied. The conditions were much like Tahoe with large firm, but not icy, moguls on the steeper pitches. Off piste the snow was often frozen, skier tracked, spring snow that might have softened just a tad during the day. Groomed runs were also pleasant, but firm and even harder toward the end of the day as skiers shaved off the softer top layer. All this is changing as I write this Utah report, as snow was scheduled to begin falling this morning in Salt Lake. Forecasters were calling for a few inches today with up to a foot or more in the high country tonight and into tomorrow. Thus, if you are heading for Utah over the long weekend coming up, you should have excellent skiing.
We skied Alta Sunday where the steeper runs tested our knee’s ability to endure the punishment of thousands of good size moguls in one day. Alta remains a favorite for skiers who enjoy long steep runs and good tree skiing along with some wonderful open bowls. Of course, it would have been better with softer surface conditions, but the addition of plenty of newer high speed lifts in the past few years can easily wear out a good skier in rather short order.
On Saturday and again on Monday, we drove about an hour north to Snow Basin, a very nice resort near Ogden, Utah. We were all impressed with the terrain that varies from nice long, open groomed runs to steep chutes and gullies. There is plenty of very steep, treed, and occasionally narrow, out of area skiing in addition to the huge “in bounds” skiing for all abilities. The lifts are up to date high-speed quads in most cases and/or fast gondolas (two) as well as a cool, short 15 passenger, tram shaped like a beer can. The elevation drop from top to bottom is approximately 3000 feet. This area hosted the 2002 Olympic men’s, and women’s downhill events. As if the excellent terrain and contemporary lifts were not enough to temp skiers to try this area, the owner, who also owns Sun Valley, has constructed an opulent array of day lodges at the base areas and on the mountain. Excellent food served in a fantastic elegant mountain setting of logs, glass walls overlooking miles of view, and gold, marble, and leather accents. If you are near Salt Lake, give this area a try. On Saturday the lines were generally shorter then five minutes and on Monday were had to squint to find other people on the mountain. The conditions were similar to those we found at other areas. However, we did find a steep smooth, run on the upper mountain “Lone Tree”, that was the consistency of caulk.
Our last day was spent skiing at Deer Valley. This is an area much like Northstar. Most runs are moderate trail style and groomed each night. There are plenty of lifts, and a good number of high-speed chairs. We found some steeper areas, or cut trails, that were filled with moguls. The best mogul run was under the Empire Chair. The day lodges were certainly up scale as compared to the lodge at Alpine, but pale in comparison to the lodges at Snow Basin. Forget having the Famous Turkey Chili for lunch unless you want to spend the afternoon in the restroom. There were a couple of steep runs accessible from the Empire Chair, but these were not particular good (filled with uneven moguls) on Tuesday. Deer Valley does offer a free guided mountain tour. We took this in the afternoon and had a good time trying to keep up the guide who was skiing at rocket speed. I think we expected this area, especially with the price of the lift ticket, and its reputation to be a place where they pamper a guest. It turns out to be a rather standard area constructed in and around a pack of large homes and townhomes. No one carried our skis to the lift, no afternoon grooming was down (perhaps a rumor) to freshen the slopes, and not every lift offered fancy new high-speed transportation. The employees were very friendly and the transportation from the parking area to the front door (beginning of a long staircase to the base of the first lift) was a step above the tractor scene at Alpine Meadows and much faster. We decided that Deer Valley was not a place to visit again the future. This trip we just did not have time to ski Snowbird, most likely the best area in the Salt Lake region, but the snow conditions were not the best for skiing Snowbird, so we put off this area for a future trip.
Snow is forecast for the weekend at Alpine. Perhaps we will have cold temperatures and Utah snow for this holiday.