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November 28, 2006

Utah Locals Polled BY SLC Tribune on Their Favorite Resorts Pick Alta and Snowbird

This is a non-scientific poll done by the SLC Tribune of their local readers. Check the results:

And, finally, the question "Why don't more Utahns ski or board?" produced a predictable response: 472 people, almost 43 percent, cited the cost of lift tickets and equipment. Laziness, fear, dislike of cold also were cited, along with a fair amount of cultural bashing: too many children, too many church responsibilities, too little remaining time and too little regard for outdoor activities.

"After paying 10 percent to the LDS Church for tithing they can't afford to ski," said Mike Montmorency. "I pay my tithing to the snow gods."

FAVORITE RESORTS Like Montmorency, many respondents described skiing at Alta, just being at Alta, as a spiritual experience. While Snowbird devotees gushed about its terrain and the quality of its snow, few described the 'Bird with the reverence Alta advocates regularly reserved for their favored resort.

"God's country," "close to heaven" and "mecca" were three descriptions with religious connotations, along with another conclusion that Alta has "soul." Others called Alta "a purist's mountain," "old school," "the granddaddy of the class resorts" and a "hidden treasure." Andrew Stevens summed it up: "It's cheap (relatively), the employees are friendly and helpful, the terrain is incredible, and the snow is always fantastic. But most of all, the skiers are there to ski, not to be seen, not to judge other's abilities. It's a very pure skiing experience." Or as Billie Daugherty opined: "No snowboarders and as close to heaven as you can get." Ah, yes. No snowboarders. Of the 294 people who designated Alta their favorite resort, 114 (39 percent) cited no snowboarders as one reason why. Conversely, 43 of the 60 people (72 percent) who ripped Alta as their least favorite resort based their answer on the snowboard ban, as did 22 percent of those who designated Deer Valley, which also prohibits 'boards, as their least favorite.

I had a conversation with one of my friends and described Alta as Mecca. If you are a skier, you must make the pilgimage. Insane steeps and deeps. 500+ inches of snow a year including over 600" the last two years. Lake effect snow that keeps coming and coming. Great prices. And 30 minutes from a major Delta hub.

Alta is skiing. It is everything skiing is about. If you are a skier and have not been to Alta, you are not a skier yet. You can ski with a 50 year old in nasty Walmart coveralls who is riding on straight as an arrow 210's that makes you look like a gaper. Or you can see guys hucking off cliffs and rocks. They don't have a terrain park. Instead they have soul. They have ambiance. They have everything a skier is about. You don't need $5,000 worth of gear. Just a skier's heart and soul.

And the folks in Utah that have God's skiing playground at their front door agree.

Posted by Justin at November 28, 2006 08:38 PM