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Alta March 31-Apr 2

NewEnglandSkier

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#1
I arrived Thursday night after a flight with issue after issue. We got in an hour late due to having to wait to load more fuel and then a catering problem--the plane was missing half the items. I'm staying at the Gold Miner's Daughter again.

Day 1 Friday
Woke up to cloudy skies and some fresh snow from overnight. It was of the heavier, wetter variety given the temperatures are not super cold. Up top was fairly socked in. I have learned that since I hate not being able to see, it's better for me to not force myself to ski in dense fog--it just makes me defensive and wrecks all my progress and ingrains bad habits. Sooo, I stayed low this morning and focused on doing drills off of Sunnyside and Cecret lifts. Not the most exciting way to spend time on a ski trip but it was better than the alternative. I went up Supreme a few times as well and did attempt a shot of Sugarloaf but that was really foggy so I just did one run and done off there.

The sun did come out eventually in the early afternoon. So I took advantage of the brief opportunity and did a bunch of runs off Supreme. The Collins side looked like it never really cleared off all day.
Below is a picture I took off Cecret as I was rushing up to Supreme during the sunny window. You can't really rush on Cecret though since it's so slow!


Then below is a picture off the top of Challenger off the Supreme lift


Around 3pm the snow started to get really grabby and sticky so I called it quits for the day. I went to Alta Java and got one of the belgian chocolate waffles. It was delicious--highly recommend.
 
#2
Boy, you sure get around! :smile: The light in the top photo is really cool. I'll be interested to know what you think of the hotel. One of these years I need to do the Alta lodge experience and I think GD is the one that I'd identified as the best option (if it's the one with only a 3 night stay option).
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
#3
Should be a good weekend!

Last year for the existing Cecret and Supreme lifts. I was paying attention to the views from Cecret when I was on it a few weeks ago. The new lift won't cover that line at all.
 

NewEnglandSkier

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#4
@Christy this is my third year staying at the Goldminer's. I like it. It is very convenient--right at the base of both Collins and Wildcat lifts. Definitely not fancy like the Sun Valley Lodge, but it's comfortable. Parts of the rooms like the bedding, carpeting, televisions are updated/relatively new while some of the furniture is like 1970 ski motel. I'll post a picture of the room later today. Breakfast and dinner are included in your room rate and the food is pretty good--not the best I've ever had but good. I have my favorite desserts especially like the profiterole. I believe they do have a 3 night minimum stay, as I was looking a while back to do just a 2 night weekend and I found it was 3 night minimum--if I wanted just 2 nights I would have to stay at one of the places at Snowbird.

@marzNC yes one of the reasons I didn't mind lapping Cecret was that I figured it was the last year so fun to take advantage of riding it.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
#5
@Christy : pretty sure Snowpine also has a 3-night minimum instead of 4. @kasuncion6 stayed there last April. @alison wong will be staying there soon.

Every one of the five lodges in the town of Alta is unique in their own way. All include breakfast and dinner. The Rustler and Alta Lodge are the more high end in terms of food I think. Both are good for lunch, which is open to any one. The Peruvian is not quite ski in/out but has an outdoor pool and hot tub that is popular and larger common areas. The Peruvian is the only one that includes lunch, but only for those willing to go back midday.
 

NewEnglandSkier

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#6
Here are a few food oriented photos from GMD.
Here is a picture of the dining room. It has a nice view up the mountain with the glass windows.


Here's a close up of the view out the window


And here is a photo of one of the breakfast specials. Today it was Funfetti pancakes.


For breakfast they have 2 specials each day that you order from a server or you can always get an omelette from the kitchen as well. The rest is served buffet style--eggs, breakfast potato, bacon, fruit, small pastries.

Then for dinner they also have some specials each day and the soups always change. Last night they had a tomato bisque or potato bacon soup and the entree specials were a fish (sole I think ) and bbq ribs. Then there are about 7 choices on the set/always available menu as well. There are 4 or 5 salads also available. Last night I got the mixed greens which had candied walnuts, blue cheese crumbles, marinated apples and maple vinaigrette. About 5 choices plus a special for dessert as well.

The Snowpine Lodge was the other place I considered staying. One of my criteria is that I want television in my room--since I travel alone that is all I have to do at night for entertainment since there is no village or anything here to walk around in. Snowpine has televisions only in the new wing, GMD has them in all rooms and Rustler has them in all rooms. The Rustler was way more expensive than I wanted to pay and GMD was the least costly--so GMD it was! But I keep coming back so I do like it.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
#7
Brave Ski Mom did a nice overview of all the lodges at Alta a few years ago.

https://braveskimom.com/the-five-alta-lodges-history-charm-and-family-fun

For Alta Lodge, not having a TV is the rooms is deliberate. Although now with iPads there are far more kids viewing videos than playing with other kids. Used to be that most people only went to their rooms to change clothes or at bedtime. Always see people reading or playing games in the common room. Alta Lodge tends to be very quiet after 9:30 or so. Official quiet time starts at 10:00pm.

Have talked to plenty of people who stay at GMD regularly. Most people who return to Alta often have a favorite lodge. One time there was a family at Alta Lodge with a couple tween/teen kids. The older boy (13?) was moping the entire time because he missed the Peruvian. His parents forgot tomato a reservation at the Peruvian in time so Alta Lodge was the backup plan that April. For kids who have parents and/or grandparents who like Alta Lodge, I imagine they would be equally unhappy at one of the other kid-friendly lodges.
 

NewEnglandSkier

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#8
Day 2 Saturday
It was sunny all day today! I took a 2 hour private lesson in the morning. We worked on making my turns more round and patient (this is one of the things I've been working on this year). We skied mostly off the Sugarloaf lift as that was the softest snow. Towards the end we went over to the Collins area and it was extremely icy and scoured. We did find one pitch off the Wildcat lift that had softened due to the direction it faced. I really need to learn to book spring lessons in the afternoon to take better advantage of the soft conditions for off piste opportunities as opposed to having to stick to crunchy groomers. I enjoyed my lesson and one interesting thing he had me do was not to follow him, but to do synchronized turns--so it made me be more precise with my turns in order to match his--left for left etc. The Supreme lift was down for repairs so that lift was out of play for at least the morning (not sure if they ever got it running as I skied at Snowbird in the afternoon).
Below is a picture I took from near the entry gate into Mineral Basin at Snowbird.


After my lesson was over I went into Mineral Basin at Snowbird and skied a couple runs in there before taking a lunch break at the Summit Restaurant. Below is the view from the upper deck at the restaurant.


After lunch I skied down the frontside of Snowbird. Regulator Johnson to Bassackwards. I then skied over to the Baby Thunder Lift and did some off piste skiing on some of the mellow terrain over there. Once I tired of that I skied off the Gadzoom Lift for a bit before making my way over to the Peruvian lift to get back to Mineral Basin with enough time before it closes for the day to get back to Alta.
I then skied off the Sugarloaf lift for about another hour before quitting. I almost got taken out from behind by someone who was out of control but luckily they didn't hit me--came within inches.

I really like Snowbird. I really need to devote an entire day there sometime. I really don't see it as being as scary as people make it out to be for intermediate skiers; I've always felt fine there. None of the groomers seem overly steep to me. I can see that it may not be the best place for a beginner as that terrain is very limited, but a solid intermediate would be fine I think. I consider my level to be solid to upper intermediate--solid on a bad day and upper on a good day!

As promised @Christy here is the photo of the GMD hotel room. This is the room described on the website as large king.


And since we were talking about food earlier here is this years dinner menu. Many of these items are new this year, as I believe the chef is new this year. It does change a bit from year to year anyway.


Here is the flourless chocolate cake I had for dessert tonight.


Tomorrow is my last ski day and I have to quit a bit early at 2pm in order to get to the airport.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
#9
Glad you got some views. It's always hard to schedule lessons during late season. One year both my lessons were in the afternoon. For one, Arthur figured out where we could find soft snow off-piste. But the second time nothing was softening. That's when I and my friend (not Bill) were trying to follow Arthur as he slowly did turn perfect turns down Collins Face, which was fully groomed. Both of us could only match his speed for 2-3 turns before we were obviously going too fast because our turns weren't round enough.

For me, synching turns when following an experienced instructor works much better than trying to follow or look at their tracks. I do it when freeskiing with instructors too. Really good way to get a feel for a good rhythm.
 
#10
glad you got some clear sky! Nice Pics!
Last few times I've been I have never seen the Mineral Bowl View!! Always socked in!!!

I've stayed both Alta Lodge & GMD.. GMD's elevator sold me. Food is very similar between Alta Lodge & GMD and included in lodge rate. GMD allows more variety in days staying Alta Lodge is smaller and going up and down 4flights of stairs after skiing all day did me in.. vs GMD..I'll take the elevator and the lower rates. already planning next years adventure..
 

NewEnglandSkier

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#11
Day 3 Sunday
Posting this from the airport!
Today was cloudy to start and then the fog rolled in and the snow started. Conditions were typical of spring--were crunchy from the overnight freeze. Since I looked up at Collins and saw it was socked in I made my way to Sunnyside and once again focused on drills on the lower mountain. Falling leaf, pivot slips, side slipping etc. Even Cecret lift was socked in today. I talked to someone who went up Sugarloaf and promptly came down again--he said he could barely see the lift towers.

I took a quick Alta Java break and skied a bit more before breaking for lunch at noon at the Rustler Lodge. Well, then the fog really came in! As I looked out the window, I saw the Snowpine rope tow disappear. I was in no rush to get back out again so I lingered over dessert before heading out again at 1pm for another hour before I had to go back to the GMD to collect my bags and get my 2:45pm Alta Shuttle to the airport. It was funny, despite the fact it snowed all morning, the conditions actually felt crunchier after lunch. Lots of death cookies so it was a bumpy ride.

So yesterday was fantastic, the other days were a bit challenging especially Sunday but I tried to play the hand I was dealt. I wish it would just snow overnight! We'll see what next year brings.
 
#13
The Snowpine Lodge was the other place I considered staying. One of my criteria is that I want television in my room--since I travel alone that is all I have to do at night for entertainment since there is no village or anything here to walk around in. Snowpine has televisions only in the new wing, GMD has them in all rooms and Rustler has them in all rooms. The Rustler was way more expensive than I wanted to pay and GMD was the least costly--so GMD it was! But I keep coming back so I do like it.
First of all, @NewEnglandSkier , I always enjoyed reading your TRs and beautiful pictures: Sun Valley, Steamboat and Alta. It's one of the things I look forward to whenever I am on this website.

I was at Alta couple wks ago and I stayed at Snowpine. I completely agree with you on the TV requirement. I felt very much the same way because I need the background noise, so I have TV on all the time. But then Snowpine offered me a better rate than GMD, so I decided to go w/ Snowpine. (Snowpine was the only lodge offered 20% off for MCP holders, so it was the least expensive among the 4, with the requirement of 3 night min stay.) Additional 2 reasons (minor ones) were, it has an outdoor hot tub, and offers 4 course meal (vs. other lodges offering only 3 I think.)

This was my first time staying at a true ski in / ski out place and I do like Snowpine a lot. I always prefer a smaller hotel because it feels more homey, and Snowpine is the smallest lodge there. They will be closing next year for expansion, will re-open in 2018/29 season adding 40 more rooms, to 60 rooms total. It will also install an elevator. From my experience this time, hauling my ski bags down 3 flights of stairs was not fun!
 

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