What level of skier do I need to be?
The tour is open to advanced skiers in good physical condition. On a given day you may encounter a wide variety of snow conditions. You need to be comfortable skiing powder, crud and other backcountry snow conditions. And you need to be in good shape: the tour covers mountain terrain and is physically taxing.
Am I a strong enough skier? Here are a few self-evaluation questions to ask yourself:
If you answered "yes" to all these questions, then you are the right candidate for the Interconnect Tour.
How should I dress?
Weather conditions can change quickly in the Wasatch Mountains. Dress in layers and be prepared for winter weather. Don't forget the sunscreen! Even on cloudy days, the sun is intense at this altitude.
How much hiking or traversing is required?
The majority of the tour is enjoyed skiing downhill, but there are several uphill traverses and a couple of places where side stepping is necessary. It's important to be in good physical condition and feel comfortable walking with skis on. Walking with skis on is referred to as Side-Stepping and is used for inclined traverses on soft or hard snow. The larger surface area helps keep skiers on top of the snow & the "hold" of the skies metal edges helps keep the skiers in control.
Do I take my skis off to hike?
No, the tour is designed for guests to keep their skis on. However, depending on the desire of the group (or part of the group), there are a couple of places where you have the option of boot packing uphill for more powder turns. If part of the group wants to hike and part doesn't, we can split the group for that section of the tour.
Do I need telemark or other backcountry gear to go on the tour?
No, the tour is designed to be skied on alpine gear. However, if you normally ski on telemark or AT gear then, of course, those set-ups will work great. Please remember to use the gear you're most comfortable skiing on. We do suggest that you have powder baskets on your poles to help make the hikes easier and for under $10 they won't put you out.
Do I need climbing skins?
No, our guides carry climbing skins in their packs in case of an emergency.
Do I need to bring an avalanche beacon?
No, the Ski Utah guides will provide ORTOVOX beacons that will be required to wear throughout the tour.
Do I need to carry a backpack?
A backpack is recommended as you are expected to carry your personal gear such as water, snacks, sunscreen and extra layers. Please note that a small backpack such as a “Camelback” is a great non-bulky option.
Is it appropriate to tip the guides?
Yes. Our professional guides spend countless hours of their own time acquiring the knowledge and skills to give you a safe and enjoyable backcountry experience. As with other professional guide services, tips are considered part of the guides' wage. If the guides meet your expectations, a tip of 15 to 20 percent of tour cost is considered standard among professional guide services.
Why can't I do the tour on my snowboard?
Because of the uphill traversing involved, the tour doesn't lend itself well to snowboarding. Beyond that, we pass through Alta Ski Area and Deer Valley Resort which do not allow snowboarding.
How many people are on each tour?
Maximum group size is 12. Minimum group size is 3 for a regular scheduled tour to operate. ONE is all it takes for a private tour to operate.
Is there a minimum tour age?
Yes. The minimum age is 16. Skiers under 18 years old will need a legal guardian to sign a release form before they go on the tour. Anyone under the age of 18 needs to be accompanied by an adult on the tour.
How many vertical feet and how many miles do we ski in the day?
On average, we ski about 16,000 vertical feet and cover anywhere between 24-26 miles.
What if the guides decide that my skiing ability is not up to the demands of the tour?
The guides check ski ability prior to leaving the area. If the guides determine that your skiing ability is not strong enough then you will not be able to finish the tour. This is a safety precaution so that you do not put other skiers in danger. If you are ejected from the tour, there will be no refund for your reservation. Please be honest about your ski ability so that you do not lose any money.
What if I decide to drop out of the tour before the completion?
If you choose to drop out of the tour before the end of the day you will not receive a refund. Guides will leave you in one of the resort's boundaries, and you are responsible for your own return for transportation. (shuttles, public transportation, and driving services are plentiful)
Can I be picked up or dropped off at my lodging before and after the tour?
Guests are responsible for transportation to and from the start of the tour. Park City has an excellent free bus system that stops at Deer Valley Ski area for the six area tour. Canyon Transportation has a special rate for Interconnect clients. For details please contact Canyon Transportation, Toll-Free (800) 255-1841.
Where can I get breakfast?
What does the tour entail?
Professional guides lead you via backcountry routes interconnecting as many as six resorts in one day. There is no other tour of its kind in North America.
A typical Deer Valley departure
(Mon., Wed., Fri. and Sun.) begins at 8:15 a.m. at Deer Valley's Snow Park Lodge. Our guides will talk to the group about avalanche safety, backcountry etiquette and the day's conditions. Guides will also fit each guest with an avalanche transceiver. You'll board either Carpenter Express or Silver Lake Express at 8:50 a.m. before the lifts are open to the general public, then ski several runs as we make our way to the top of the Empire Express and ski into Park City Mountain Resort. After several runs at Park City Mountain Resort, you will take the Jupiter chair and ski off the backside into Big Cottonwood Canyon. Enjoy a long descent through the backcountry to the base of Solitude Mountain Resort. Ski several runs off the Summit chair then ski the upper SolBright trail to Brighton Ski Resort. After a run or two at Brighton, you’ll ski back to Solitude for lunch. You’ll ride the Summit chair after lunch to access the Highway to Heaven. The Highway to Heaven is a dramatic 500-yard traverse into Little Cottonwood Canyon via Twin Lakes Pass. Enjoy another long backcountry descent into the upper base of Alta Ski Area. Ski several runs at Alta before passing through the Mineral Basin gate to make your final turns into Snowbird Ski & Summer Resort. Finish the day in style with a final Tram lap which provides 2,900 feet of vertical back to your awaiting van which will drive you back to Deer Valley.
A typical Snowbird Departure
(Thur. and Sat.) begins at 8:15 a.m. at the Snowbird Activity Center of the Snowbird Center (same level as the tram) for sign-up and orientation. Guides will talk to the group about avalanche safety, backcountry etiquette and the day's conditions. Guides will fit you with an ORTOVOX avalanche transceiver. You'll be among the first skiers on the Tram; warming up with a few turns into Mineral Basin. Ride the Baldy Express chair to Alta and over to the Supreme chair. Traverse out to Catherine's Pass area which leads to spectacular backcountry skiing down to the base of Brighton Ski Resort. After a run or two at Brighton, you'll take the lower SolBright trail to Solitude Mountain Resort where you'll stop for lunch and a well-earned break. After lunch, the tour follows the same route back to Snowbird as described in the Deer Valley departure above.
Depending on conditions, routes may vary from the descriptions above.