Brighton and Alta Feb 8-9 2020

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Brighton and Alta Feb 8-9 2020

Postby sierra_cement » Fri Feb 14, 2020 12:30 pm

As per recommendations in the other thread, we decided to head to Brighton on Saturday as LCC was closed until Noon.

We made it to Brighton around 10:30 AM. We didn't get an early start as we arrived late on Friday night. The traffic was pretty bad as well. We parked in the park and ride lot and took the bus.

I didn't take any pictures of Brighton. The snow was excellent. It took me some time to figure out Brighton's layout. I got hit by a headache around lunchtime and decided to rest in the lodge to recover from altitude sickness. Eventually, I felt better around 3 PM and did some laps on blue trails off Snake Creek and Crest. I never made it to Great Western. There was at most 5 minutes wait, and around 3:30 PM, one could ski onto the lifts. The lifties managing the maze were excellent and made sure all the chairs were fully loaded. I found the trail markings were not sufficient for an area like Brighton where there is a lot of up, down, and around terrain, especially if you are trying to stick to groomed runs. I haven't completely figured out Brighton, but since the crowds were lower than Alta with snow just as good, I'd like to go here again to make up my mind. I certainly won't bring beginners here. The beginner trails have traffic from other trails, so that's not ideal.

On Sunday, we went to Alta. We left our hotel in downtown SLC around 7:50 AM. That was clearly not early enough. As we got closer to the mouth of the canyon, we saw the whole road as red and to avoid being turned away due to parking, we decided to take the bus from the park and ride lot. The bus also got stuck in traffic in one spot for 30 minutes and finally a UDOT cop car escorted the bus by driving on the left side of the road. We started skiing at around 11 AM. The lift lines at Collins were about 20 skiers deep with 4-5 alternating rows. I took the transfer tow to Sunnyside. The lines at Sunnyside were about 4-5 skiers deep with 4-6 alternating rows. I got on the lift in around 5 minutes. I saw the open terrain to my right and understood why Alta is so famous for the off-trail skiing.

top of Sunnyside.jpeg

Alta had closed the Albion lift. I did a few laps on the green runs while checking on Sugarloaf lift every time.
Sugarloaf Line.jpeg

The lifties at Alta managing the lines were not managing the lines properly. They were leaving many chairs empty while shouting at people who tried to take the empty spot on the chair. It was amusing and disappointing to see how they were doing their jobs.

There was a long line at Sugarloaf similar to Collins, so I decided to keep lapping Sunnyside instead. I tried all the greens and a couple of blue sections. Beautiful soft snow everywhere. I also went through a low angle ungroomed area between Bluebell and Race Hill. It was firm and not the fluffy Alta powder I had imagined it would be. Some places had a firm crust. As noted by others, the current storm was an upside-down storm not typical for Alta.

We took a lunch break at the Collins Angle station around 1 PM. The food was quite expensive, and the portion sizes were small. The views were amazing from the window.

Alta Collins Lodge.jpeg

The lines had gone down after lunch. I'm assuming many people who had evening flights to catch left early. I went up on Collins lift after lunch and I skied Mambo -> Meadow-> Corkscrew run. There were many scraped spots, but it wasn't hard to keep making turns. This would be an ideal pitch for me. But there were too many people zooming by at higher speeds even in sections marked "slow", so I decided to go to the Sugarloaf lift. I enjoyed the blue groomed runs off Sugarbowl (Devil's way and Rollercoaster). There were not too many people on these trails in the afternoon.

I also went up on Supreme lift once and skied the Rock N Roll trail. It has a long flat, narrow run-out, and I didn't enjoy that, so I went to Sugarloaf again. Sugarloaf was more to my liking.

Top of Sugarloaf.jpeg

Sugarloaf Devil's way.jpeg

Once Sugarloaf closed at 4, I did a couple of runs on Sunnyside to end my day. The beginner terrain at Alta is great. Except for the home run trail, there is no traffic from advanced skiers on the green runs to skier's right from Sunnyside lift. I plan to bring my family here for a week-long trip in the future. The lesson prices are not as affordable as Mt. Rose but not as outrageous as Vail Resorts.

At my level, I enjoy Park City more than Alta. I was there for pretty much the same dates in Feb last year, and Park City was less crowded, and snow was just as good. On the Iron Mountain lift, we had < 5 chairs wait most of the day. It's a smaller vertical (1400') vs. Collins (1850') but I would take that over the crowds and scaped sections off Collins. I think mid-Jan to mid-March, it makes more sense for me to ski at Park City.

I would probably enjoy skiing at Alta when I can handle ungroomed black slopes. I need to get my boots in order before I feel confident taking on the ungroomed slopes.
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Location: San Jose

Re: Brighton and Alta Feb 8-9 2020

Postby Sbooker » Fri Feb 14, 2020 5:25 pm

Nice report. Pity you didn’t get to experience Alta on a weekday. I believe crowding would be less significant.
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