Gorilla Stance

Booting up
Sep 4, 2018
I apologize if I missed this if answered in earlier thread, but I’m wondering if someone could give a Pugski-style breakdown of the 4 cottonwood resorts. I have an IKON pass this year and will be able to ride at least 2/4.

I’d like to try my hand at the more moderate off-piste stuff because I’ve grown tired of groomers (older members of the extended family LOVE DV :huh:). That said, open to hearing general comparisons even if not off-piste specific.



What do I know; I'm just some guy on the internet.
Nov 13, 2015
New England
Here's a start; others will kick in.

Alta: Original (and still one of the best) powder meccas. Generally open in feel, with a surprising amount of moderate terrain to go along with some hairball stuff. Not a lot of groomers. Long traverses to get the steepest goods. Old-school vibe that is moving into 21st century with new lifts. You have to go if only to say you did.
Snowbird: more thickly tree'd, steeper, most hard-ass. Considered the jewel of Utah by experts. Often great conditions, but I find a bit of an bro attitude at times. Many green-blues are actually cat tracks; be able to ski diamonds anywhere in order to get the best out of the terrain.
Solitude: the name says it. Least travelled. Smaller, with an awkward (to me) lift setup. No top-to-bottom runs. Generally open feel with wide runs on the front side. Moderate on the front; Honeycomb canyon is expert off-piste. Upscale amenities. I often go there on my first day to warm up.
Brighton: old-school vibe. Smaller like Solitude, but with top-to-bottom runs. Snowboarders mecca. Generally moderate, though you can find steeps if you want. I like to go on powder days b/c it's less used than Alta/Snowbird and the boarders congregate in the park.

I like them all for different things, though Alta/Snowbird have horrendous traffic problems if there's good snow.


Out on the slopes
Oct 2, 2017
Duluth, MN
Solitude Honeycomb Canyon has moderate(single black) terrain if you drop in straight from the lift and work the sides of The Valley. The expert stuff is hiking or traversing in from the head wall.

What I really liked about Brighton was the rocks. I am just starting to dabble in rock drops and chutes and Brighton offers some great playful terrain if you like that stuff. With the ability to pick your level of challenge and exposure, but mostly it is for short bits, so less committing than many other resorts’ terrain of similar level.
Wren Hollow at Brighton is (one of) my favorite runs I have ever skied. Quiet, Lot’s of variety, not to wide, rolling, windings, rock drops(optional), moguls, loser angle powder, it has it all.
(not my video)
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Jim Kenney

Travel Correspondent
Team Gathermeister
Nov 27, 2015
Brighton and Alta are good for moderate difficulty (black/blue) off-piste. Snowbird's offpiste/trees are excellent, but often steeper. I don't have much experience at Solitude, but agree with Slim that Honeycomb Canyon is moderate black offpiste terrain.


Making fresh tracks
Mar 24, 2016
SF Bay Area
I would say there are plenty of groomers at alta; in that their groom is well manicured and smooth cruising; In comparison snowbird "groomers" are not really smooth cruising but still work.
But yea, then the other 2 in BCC are even more accessible for the intermediates/family ski.

When people say Snowbird is the jewel, the thing to take away is it is not only the areas of steepness, but the degree of terrain-iness. There are weird features everywhere compared to a more 2dimensional mountain. So going 10feet over is going to be different than 10feet over and provides decades of interest to explore and figure out; versus a big swath where everything is pretty much the same except for slight variations in aspect.


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