In Search of Pow

Just Another Wednesday: Tyler Sterling living the dream at Alta. Photo courtesy of Lee Cohen/leecohen.com

It’s time to plan a winter road trip that will bring you to the only thing that matters—the places with the most snow. This guide to resorts beyond the friendly confines of Colorado will help you get it done

utah

SNOWBIRDsnowbird.com

Average Snowfall 365 inches

Best Time To Go Any time starting in January

Travel Time from Denver eight-hour drive; one-hour flight plus 45-minute drive

The Goods Salt Lake locals are so damn spoiled. Right in their backyard they have what is perhaps most epic deep-snow resort in the world. The Tram whisks you up 2,900 verts, from which you can head to the back chutes in Mineral Basin or find the local line down along the tram towers. Ride and repeat, ride and repeat, until your legs burst.

Taking It Deeper Backcountry touring abounds in Little Cottonwood Canyon. Hook up with a local and try an area like White Pine.

Stay The Lodge and The Cliff Lodge at Snowbird are pretty much it up here, but you can easily find a room in Salt Lake and drive up or take public transport.

Eat Chow down at Tram Car Pizza so you barely have to take a break.

Deals Add on Alta with an Altabird Ticket.

Jack Pilot
Making a Splash: Jack Pilot airs Targhee’s Diving Board. Photo courtesy of Mark Fisher/fishercreative.com

ALTA • alta.com

Average Snowfall 563 inches

Best Time To Go Any time starting in November

Travel Time from Denver Eight-and-a-half-hour drive; one-hour flight plus one-hour drive

The Goods More proof of how spoiled SLCers really are, the legendary Alta gets even more of the white stuff than Snowbird down canyon. Snowboards are still banned, however, and there’s no terrain park. But that just means more for skiers who take the High Traverse to East Greeley’s pow Nirvana.

Taking It Deeper When it’s open, take the in-bounds hike up Baldy and down its legendry chutes.

Stay The Peruvian Lodge (altaperuvianlodge.com) is almost as legendary as the snow here.

Eat Stock up on calories at the Goldminer’s Daughter at The Saloon (goldminersdaughterlodge.com).

Deals Add on Snowbird with an Altabird ticket. Liftopia’s Mountain Collective Pass gives you tickets and discounts at Alta, Jackson Hole, Aspen/Snowmass, Squaw and Alpine Meadows for $349 (liftopia.com/mountaincollective).

DEER VALLEYdeervalley.com

Average Snowfall 300 inches

Best Time To Go When the crowds are headed to other Utah resorts

Travel Time from Denver Seven-and-a-half hour drive; one-hour flight, plus one-hour drive

The Goods Much like Beaver Creek in Colorado, Deer Valley has a dirty little secret—rich people ski here and they don’t seem to care about powder. You’ll find stashes days after a storm and avoid the masses who flock to Utah’s other resorts.

Taking It Deeper Traverse out to the Daly Chutes and X-Files.

Stay Unless you want to pay big, you are best off staying in town in Park City.

Eat Splurge at the Royal Street Cafe.

Deals Family Package deals include free tickets for the kiddos.

PARK CITYparkcitymountain.com

Average Snowfall 365

Best Time To Go During the Sundance film festival when all those Hollywood types are not skiing

Travel Time from Denver Seven-and-a-half hour drive; one-hour flight, plus one-hour drive

The Goods: Park City is the spot to ski if you want the experience of riding the lift straight from the streets. For pow, head to Jupiter Bowl.

Taking It Deeper Try the Utah Interconnect (skiutah.com), which tours from Park City over to the Big and Little Cottonwood Canyon resorts.

Stay The reasonable Shadow Ridge (allseasonsresortlodging.com) is within walking distance of the lifts.

Eat The High West Distillery and Saloon (highwest.com)  is one of the best spots for booze in the UT.

Deals Check the web page of VisitParkCity.com for deals all season long.

THE CANYONScanyonsresort.com

Average Snowfall 355 inches

Best Time To Go January or February

Travel Time from Denver Seven-and-a-half hour drive; one-hour flight, plus one-hour drive

The Goods The Canyons often gets overlooked in the Utah ski scene—that’s a mistake because the massive terrain here holds plenty of stashes.

Taking It Deeper The sidecountry is where it’s at here. Carry your avi gear and find a local.

Stay The Sundial Lodge is worthy of a romantic getaway and located right on the slopes.

Eat The Canyons has focused on its culinary offerings, making it the best resort for foodies in the state. There’s a lot to choose from, but start with the upscale locavore fare at The Farm.

Deals Check the web page of VisitParkCity.com for deals all season long.

wyoming

JACKSON HOLEjacksonhole.com

Average Snowfall 459 inches

Best time to go The biggest dumps usually come in January or spring.

Travel Time from Denver Eight-and-a-half hour drive, one-hour-and-45-minute flight

The Goods A pilgrimage to Jackson should be required of every skier and snowboarder. It’s not just the terrain that makes the place legendary (think chutes that test your cajones), but also the vibe and history too (think riding a chair with a stoic dude with a Jackson Hole Air Force patch). Plus, even during a bad cycle, you can find untracked turns.

Taking It Deeper Jackson’s “sidecountry” is more or less a massive resort of its own. Head out and hike Pinedale for the deep stuff or keep it close and power through laps in Rock Springs.

Stay The Teton Mountain Lodge (tetonlodge.com) is your best bet in the village or try The Hostel (thehostel.us) for digs on the cheap.

Eat The Mangy Moose (mangymoose.com) is the local institution, while the Village Cafe (villagecafejh.com) has pizza that pleases our East Coast editors.

Deals Liftopia’s Mountain Collective Pass gives you tickets and discounts at Jackson, Alta, Aspen/Snowmass, Squaw and Alpine Meadows for $349 (liftopia.com/mountaincollective).

GRAND TARGHEEgrandtarghee.com

Average Snowfall 500 inches

Best time to Go It ramps up in December and just keeps dumping.

Travel Time from Denver nine-and-a-half-hour drive; one-hour flight (IDA), plus 45-minute drive

The Goods Targhee gets all the snow of Utah, without the crowds. Tucked in behind the Grand Teton, the low-key resorts sucks up all the good stuff from storms headed east.

Taking It Deeper Not enough of the deep stuff for you inbounds? The resort’s snowcat ferries you out to 14,000-20,000 verts of untracked lines on the other side of the ropes for $349 for a full day.

Stay It’s a bit down the road, but the Snake River Lodge and Spa (snakeriverlodge.com) gives you perfect access to Targhee, Teton Pass and Jackson.

Eat You have to stop at 460 Bread in Driggs (460bread.com) for fresh warm goodies.

Deals Check OntheSnow.com for discounted lift tickets. Targhee also offers snowcat/lodging deals.montana

Teton Backcountry
DEEP THOUGHTS: Entering the Teton backcountry from Targhee. Photo courtesy of Mark Fisher/fishercreative.com

BIG SKYbigskyresort.com

Average Snowfall 400 inches

Best Time to Go January all the way through spring for storms on Lone Peak

Travel Time from Denver 11-hour drive; one-hour flight, plus one-hour drive

The Goods It’s hard to decide whether the best thing about Big Sky is that the terrain is so damn good (the Tram whisks you to Chamonix-level chutes and big, open powder bowls) or that no one is here (the closest city is Bozeman and the locals there ski at Bridger). You will find a core community here though and it’s worth making friends to explore one of the best mountains in the West.

Taking It Deeper Check in with patrol and drop into the pucker-steep heaven of the Big Couloir.

Stay Buck’s T-4 Lodge (bucksT4.com) down on highway 191 combines soul and class, and the employees hand out beta if you have the right vibe.

Eat Go no further than Buck’s T4, where you’ll find everything from burgers to wild game.

Deals A $103 ticket opens up 5,330 acres at Big Sky and Moonlight Basin (moonlightbasin.com).

BRIDGER BOWL bridgerbowl.com

Average Snowfall 350 inches

best time to go January and February

Travel Time from Denver 10-hour drive; one-hour flight, plus half-hour drive

The Goods  Bridger is just a 16-mile drive out of Bozeman, making it one of the mountains with the best hometown vibes in the Rockies, as well as a test piece for anyone seeking steep terrain. The main attraction at Bridger used to be the hike-to Ridge terrain, but the building of a new lift into former backcountry terrain (and access to even more hiking) in Slushman’s (now known as Schlasman’s) opened up 1,700 verts of epic terrain.

Taking It Deeper Access truly extreme (and avi-prone) Saddle Peak from Schlasman’s.

Stay Bozeman is a mix of MSU-ag-student cow town and hipster refugees from Brooklyn, making it the place to stay if you ski here.

Eat In Bozeman, MacKenzie River Pizza (mackenzieriverpizza.com) is a standby. Grab pre-ski breakfast at the Cateye Cafe (cateyecafe.com) or The Stockyard Cafe (stockyardcafe.com).

Deals Bridger’s Powderhound Package offers four full-day tickets and four nights lodging for $269.

washington

MOUNT BAKER mtbaker.us

Average Snowfall 641 inches

Best Time to Go Whenever it dumps—keep an eye on the weather for low-pressure and low temps

Travel Time from Denver 22-hour drive; two-hour-20-minute flight (SEA), plus three-hour drive

The Goods All the true powder seeker really needs to know is that Baker set the world record for snow in 1998-99 with 1,140 inches and consistently gets pounded more than anywhere in the U.S. Sure, it can be wet, but when it’s not, it’s orgasmic.

Taking It Deeper You can’t.

Stay Bellingham? Or sleep in your car in the lot.

Eat Brown bag it.

Deals Look for discounts at OnTheSnow.com. •

 

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