Aug 31 2015
Aug 31 2015
With 500 inches of the precious white stuff falling on Utah in the typical winter, opportunities to realize skiing’s holy grail—from pre-public resort access to boarding a backcountry-bound helicopter—are many. Here’s your guide to getting first crack at fresh powder—from James Bond-style experiences to earning your own turns.
Super bucket list: Eagle Point, a 40-run, five-lift gem in Southern Utah’s Tushar Mountains, is available for private rental—as in you can have the entire place to yourself—Tuesday through Thursday, January 5 to April 3 (Eagle Point is open to the public Friday through Monday). Spend the night at one of 40 base-area condos or cabins. To rent this beauty call 855-EAGLE-PT.
Early access: Alta’s early-bird private lessons, 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. (lifts open to the public at 9:15 a.m.); spend the night in the Beaver Mountain yurt followed by breakfast and first tracks with the lifties; Deer Valley First Tracks, 8 to 9 a.m. off the Wasatch lift and Snowbird’s Seven Summits Pass, guided skiing off the 7:45 a.m. and 8:15 a.m. trams, private locker room and front-row parking. (Note: private and group lessons at many of the resorts afford participants line-cutting privileges during regular operating hours. Contact individual resorts for details.)
Helicopter/snowcat: Alta Ski Area snowcat skiing, Grizzly Gulch sidecountry, alta.com; Diamond Peak Heli-Ski Adventures in the Ogden-area; Park City Powder Cats & Heli-Ski, Uinta Mountains private backcountry; Powder Mountain Lightning Ridge Snowcat single ride; Snowcat Skiing for Nature, upper American Fork Canyon at Snowbird; and Wasatch Powderbird Guides, central Wasatch Mountains from both Park City and Snowbird.
Backcountry guides: Kling Mountain Guides, the Moab area’s La Sal Mountains; Ski Utah Interconnect, ski the backcountry located around the top six central Wasatch resorts; Utah Mountain Adventures, backcountry skiing and mountaineering in the central Wasatch; and White Pine Touring, guided Nordic skiing in the Uinta Mountains.
Fresh pow DIY: Set your alarm and be the first stoked skier in the lift line. (Or as pro skier Rachel Burks did at the beginning of the 2014–15 season: lock in your first-chair status by camping out the night at the lift base.) Head to mellow resorts—Powder Mountain, Beaver Mountain, Brian Head and Solitude—where fresh snow lives on days after a storm. Get real-time 411 from Ski Utah’s king of untracked snow, Matt Baydala, @iskideeppow or on his blog. Buy a shovel, probe and beacon; take a snow safety class through the Utah Avalanche Center and start skinning.
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