The Ski Utah Interconnect – The Best Way to Ski 6 Resorts in One Day
Looking out the window to bluebird skies and a smattering of fresh snow I experienced that deep fluttering excitement that only comes from opening the curtains knowing you have a day of skiing ahead of you. Though this wasn’t going to be just any ski day; today myself and Katie from the ski team would go where few skiers are allowed to go, today we would ski 6 of Utah’s best ski resorts, crossing under ‘no entry’ ropes and boot packing up the backcountry from Deer Valley to Snowbird and everywhere in between (Park City, Solitude, Brighton and Alta) – we were doing The Ski Utah Interconnect Adventure Tour.
We pulled up to the Deer Valley car park at 8am and headed into the Snow Park Lodge where we met our guide, Chris Peters, and our fellow tour participants, a state trooper and two firefighters, both from New York. If things got sketchy out there, at least the emergency services would be present! Our guide gave us a quick run-down of the day’s plan, presented us with the obligatory “it’s not my fault if you die” waivers, then handed out avalanche transceivers and the Holy Grail of Ski Passes – the Ski Utah Gold Pass which would allow us to access to chairlifts in all the resorts we would enter. I tightened up my ski boots and we were ready to get going.
The Ski Utah Interconnect Tour is open to advanced to expert skiers who can confidently ski in diverse snow conditions and have the necessary fitness to be able to sidestep on skis for approximately 15-20 minutes uphill. Some boot packing to reach the best snow is optional, the group can decide whether they feel like pushing themselves a bit more throughout the day depending on skier levels, conditions and how everyone is doing. Unfortunately (or not depending on your leanings!) due to the nature of the tour going through the skier only resorts of Deer Valley and Alta, snowboarders are not invited. To make sure we were all up to par we started off on the immaculately groomed slopes of Deer Valley where we were put through our paces tearing down the deserted pistes – happily we passed the test.
After a spot of window shopping as we zipped down through the stunning slopeside private homes of Deer Valley (might need a pay rise) and we were ready to duck the fence and head into Park City. It should be noted that being caught doing this outside of an organised tour will cost you, with hefty fines placed on those trespassing between resorts, so I definitely felt special being allowed to cross over. On the Park City side we scooted through trees to a beautifully untouched powder field, gliding down creating fresh tracks put the biggest grin on my face that didn’t leave for the rest of the day.
One of the nicest things about the tour was getting to experience incredible backcountry skiing, all without the need for specialist equipment such as touring skis – I would consider it an excellent introduction to backcountry skiing. The powder, peace and quiet we found means it definitely won’t be my last foray off the beaten track. We would have been hard-pushed to cover the 26 miles that we did without a mechanical helping hand of chairlifts on some of the uplifts, I think I’ll need a few more gym sessions before I attempt the same trip on touring skis!
After an intense morning everyone’s stomachs were starting to rumble and happily lunch is included in the price of the trip. After a quick foray over into Brighton, ticking off our third resort of the day, we skied back into Solitude where we stopped off at the Last Chance Grill to refuel on the terrace in the sun with delicious beef, chicken and shrimp tacos and chocolate cookies and lamented on the incredible journey so far and discussed what was still to come.
Suitably recharged and ready to get going, we boarded the chairlift and headed to the top of Solitude and into the back bowls of Alta. Here we traversed as far as we could then began the most strenuous part of the day which involved sidestepping round a steep bowl before deciding to take it further by popping our skis on our backs and boot packing up about 15 minutes to an elevation which not only allowed us the most stunning views of the valleys we started our day in and the valleys we’d end it in, but also access to some untracked tree skiing through deliciously sun softened powder. We spent a moment catching our breath and taking a few pictures before pushing off, leaving appropriate gaps between each skier as dictated by good mountain etiquette of course.
A few more tree runs, powder fields and stunning vistas later we found ourselves crossing the final threshold from Alta into Snowbird. Coming to the end of the day spirits were high, tricky to be anything other than ecstatic with weather and snow conditions as they were.
Our guide for the day, Chris, was wonderful, giving us expert hints and tips. It was clear that this wasn’t just a job but a passion for him and he was eager to share his favourite spots on the mountain with us, he used his knowledge of the slopes and the snowpack to find the best and safest snow on the mountain so I felt very well looked after from start to finish. We arrived at the base of Snowbird weak at the knees and ready for a cold beer, satisfyingly exhausted from a brilliant day spent in the great outdoors.
To find out more about the Ski Utah Interconnect Tour and skiing in Utah in 2016/17, simply get in touch with our team of Ski Specialists. You can call them on 0131 243 8097 or you can request a tailor-made quotation here.