tinkertwain

Booting up
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Dec 27, 2018
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5
We are self taught skiers and have been skiing for the last few years. Taos is the place we have frequented the most. We live in TX, so logistically Taos works out the best. Although, we could cover most trails in places like Massanutten, in Taos we can only do its green runs comfortably. Their blues are challenging for me (wife can do some of the blues though). We tried taking lessons last years and the matter became worst and I started to fall down. So, I decided to ski the way I used to as it feels comfortable and I am not nuisance to other skiers.

This year we decided to expand our horizon, and bought Mountain Collective passes. The first upcoming trip is to SLC with two days each at Alta, Snow Bird, and Snow Basin. While looking at the maps of Alta, I observed that both Alta and Snow Bird do not have many green runs. When I looked at the youtube videos of their blue runs they did not seem as steep as the ones in Taos. I feel like I should be able to do them without much trouble. However, I do not want to be in a situation where I go up and not able to come down (this is the situation I found myself in many ago. I gave my skis to a nice passerby to take them down and came rolling down amidst whistling and hooting of other skiers.

I tried to find information comparing various trails but could not find any. So, posting on this forum. Would highly appreciate If any one who has been to both Taos and Alta and is familier with terrain throw some light on Alta/Snow Bird vis-a-vis Taos trails.
 

Josh Matta

Skiing the powder
Pass Pulled
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Dec 21, 2015
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Alta is easier, snowbird is harder.

Find someone to make you better, and realize that if you intend to get better you may need to go back to MUCH easier terrain. Skiing is just applied physics, sure what your doing "works" for where you are being forced to ski, but it obvious that your ideas on how to ski is not correct or it would work everywhere.
 

Fuller

Semi Local
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Feb 18, 2016
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741
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Whitefish or Florida
My first thought is that if you are only spending 2 days at each resort there are plenty of runs that will be on the easier side and you won't run out of terrain. Plan to have fun and you will. That said, I don't think those resorts are known for their volume of beginner / intermediate terrain. Other folks will have a better take on that future trip choice.

You will also get some advice on why taking more lessons is the right thing to do, even if it didn't seem like it the first time. Pugski is a great resource for folks who want to get better at skiing. Many have been in your position and have progressed further than they could imagine.
 

Wade

Getting off the lift
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Nov 19, 2015
Posts
287
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New York
Alta will be a much better choice for you than Snowbird.

The main green run at Snowbird is Big Emma. Before the top portion of it was reclassified to a blue run, it was claimed to be the steepest green run in the US.

If you wind up at Alta, you’ll want to go to the Albion base area rather than The Wildcat base. There are a bunch of relatively flat greens off the Sunnyside lift. I can’t think of much for you to ski off of the Collins or Wildcat lifts.
 

tromano

Goin' the way they're pointed...
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Dec 28, 2015
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Layton, UT
Enjoy your trip and please take some lessons.

At snowbasin start on little cat and then ski the green runs off the wildcat and Becker chairs. If you want more challenge than those offer step up to needles gondi and ski the run affectionately know as "miss piggy" which is taking the strawberry traverse to porky traverse to middle bowl traverse to boardwalk to ease along to bear Hollow. This is the easiest way down from needles GLHF.
 

James

Out There
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Dec 2, 2015
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11,835
The main green run at Snowbird is Big Emma. Before the top portion of it was reclassified to a blue run, it was claimed to be the steepest green run in the US.
That's kind of funny but illustrates a glaring deficiency in trail ratings. Too many green runs really aren't beginner friendly. Maybe we need a separate category for very gentle terrain. The whole trail would have to meet the standard. Say just "Beginner" or "Beginner Green".
Too many green trails have nightmare sections for beginners or are too steep in general.
It's really where the ratings are most important - the terrain for new skiers, and where our rating system is often an epic fail.
 

Started at 53

Making fresh tracks
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Mar 26, 2017
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Not Ikon, UT
The FATMAP APP is your friend! Buy the upgraded version that allows you to download the ski area on your phone and you can refer to it while on the slopes. For guys like me it is invaluable, I am venturing onto Blue runs, but not all Blue runs are equal, this app shows gradient in several different ways.

Essentially I “map out” the runs I am willing to take that day and stick to it. I make a plan for each day the night before and stick to the plan.
 

James

Out There
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Dec 2, 2015
Posts
11,835
am venturing onto Blue runs, but not all Blue runs are equal,
Yes, Jackson even has double blues. I saw someone fall on one of the firm surface double blues. He slid for nearly 100 yards. Didn't know self arrest skills were needed in blue terrain.
 

Started at 53

Making fresh tracks
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Not Ikon, UT
Yes, Jackson even has double blues. I saw someone fall on one of the firm surface double blues. He slid for nearly 100 yards. Didn't know self arrest skills were needed in blue terrain.
The wife’s favorite run at DV is a double blue, and it looks like a straight drop off a cliff to me. IF you did fall on that steep pitch you would slide for several hundred yards. NOT FOR ME!!!
 

whumber

Booting up
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Apr 27, 2017
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Killington, VT
The wife’s favorite run at DV is a double blue, and it looks like a straight drop off a cliff to me. IF you did fall on that steep pitch you would slide for several hundred yards. NOT FOR ME!!!
Would that be Orion off the Empire chair? I remember that one having a short but fairly steep section and some fantastic views at the top.
 

CalG

Out on the slopes
Pass Pulled
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Feb 5, 2017
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1,965
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Vt
Remember!

Trail ratings are RELATIVE to other trails at that particular ski area.
Green = easier
Blue = more difficult
Black = Most difficult

Trail ratings have NOTHING TO DO WITH SKIER ABILITY. There is no such thing as a "double black diamond skier" . There is some scary terrain out there! And conditions change daily!

There is some expectation regarding trail selection left to the discretion of the skiing guest, based upon self assessment.
 

Tom K.

HRPufnStf
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Joined
Dec 20, 2015
Posts
3,277
Yes, Jackson even has double blues. I saw someone fall on one of the firm surface double blues. He slid for nearly 100 yards. Didn't know self arrest skills were needed in blue terrain.
QFT. Jackson is the real deal. Before the advent of double black diamond trails, they had their own icon for extra-tough trails, which was a red triangle with a red exclamation point in it.

SO much cooler than a double black diamond!

Back on point, according to my recently aged-out-of-the-sport Dad:

Funnest, easiest green runs: Big Sky's Southern Comfort Lift.

Steepest green runs: Sun Valley's Seattle Ridge.
 

tball

Unzipped
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Nov 12, 2015
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2,940
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Denver, CO
@tinkertwain how did the trip work out for you?

One thought for next year is to consider a Monarch season pass:
https://www.skimonarch.com/season-passes/

Lots of Texans drive up to Monarch and it's a much more approachable mountain than Taos and the other Mountain Collective areas. You could take dirt cheap lessons at Monarch, and there are a ton of free days at other ski areas including a bunch in NM. Three are also three free days at Copper Mountain, Loveland, and Ski Cooper for a trip up this way. Monarch has partnered with an amazing number of areas on their season pass.

I think you'd probably enjoy the areas on the Monarch Pass more than the steeper Mountain Collective resorts.
 
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