Perfect 10

Perfect 10It’s time to truly experience the Greatest Snow on Earth with these 10 runs

Published by Salt Lake City Weekly

Don’t just ride the mountain—explore it. It’s time to toss out your tick list, ditch the standard run routine and search out some freshies—and we don’t just mean snow. You’re about to spend a day in rugged yet surreally beautiful mountains layered in powder so dry you might have to swim till you snap on your skis. Keep your eyes open and your curiosity piqued; the oft-overlooked treasures you’ll find will extend way beyond the errant powder stash. To borrow some slightly clichéd, but annoyingly truthful, surfer lingo: Live the search. Here are a few ideas to get started on your own personal pilgrimage.

“Luge Run” @ Snowbird
Everyone should be open to having some seriously goofy fun. Hidden among the trees between Harper’s Ferry and Harper’s Ferry East, just skier’s right of the Wilbere Chair, you’ll find just that. The ski-school brigades that pie-wedge through here are really good at tracking their teacher. The mini-snowplows in mittens create incredibly smile-inducing luge runs. What this means for you, your grandma, the spiky-helmeted kid on the lift and the local pros is a rollicking good time. Try out one of these little snow-slides and see if you can help bragging to your friends about your new favorite (green) run.
9600 E. Little Cottonwood Canyon Road, Snowbird, 801-933-2222,

Twilight to Harmony @ Canyons Resort
Such a large, sprawling resort is a natural choice for meandering turns. Here you can link together some incredibly long, wonderfully winding lines. Practice some deep breathing on the ride up to Dreamcatcher, sidle up to the top Alpenglow, which leads to Twilight, which dead ends in Harmony, and bomb away. You’ll sluice past plenty of pretty scenery while carving your way to thighs of steel.
4000 Canyons Resort Drive, Park City, 435-649-5400,

North Star @ Solitude
Yes, Honeycomb Canyon is absolutely ridiculous. Examining every last inch, picking a favorite shot and declaring your devotion to the world is a very worthy mission. But Solitude is more than just the mothercomb; it offers some great beginner terrain. Get tangled up in greens and blues off the Sunrise Lift. A choose-your-own-adventure spin on North Star lets you hook up with the super-fun South Star spur or take it up a notch to zoom down a cruiser blue. It’s enough to keep the newbies smiling and the old hats sharp on switch.
12000 Big Cottonwood Canyon, Solitude, 801-534-1400,

Gadzooks @ Snowbird
Go get the good kind of lost in the Gad 2 trees. Gad 2, Snowbird’s shiny new high-speed quad upgrade, scheduled to open in December 2013, services one of the most enchanting forests in Utah. Dive in on Gadzooks, a fun black diamond, then back off on blue run Bananas. Really, you can’t go wrong here. It’s a great place to work on transitioning to blacks or, if it’s the end of a long day, vice versa. When you get to the bottom of these meditations-in-motion, it’s just another lovely ride through the woods to the top.
9600 E. Little Cottonwood Canyon Road, Snowbird, 801-933-2222,

Jordanelle @ Deer Valley
Powder is the password to Utah thrills, and its allure is indisputable. But it’s equally undeniable that groomers deliver a darn good time. There is something fascinating about the sheer willpower required to manicure an entire mountainside, just for kicks. Deer Valley, a monument to whim, delivers some of the most expansive grooming in the state. Take a cruise down Jordanelle, serviced by its own personal gondola, and ponder the power of motivated man. And yes, powder holes here are often overlooked if you tire of the corduroy.
2250 Deer Valley Drive South, Park City, 435-649-1000,

Night Halfpipe Run @ Brighton
Play snow-riding rock star on Brighton’s halfpipe at night. Throwing down tricks—or trying to—under the bright lights below the Majestic Lift taps into the glitzier side of mountain sports. The sky is black, the air is crisp and the snow is gleaming. Hear the crowd (or your friends) roar as you come screaming out of the pipe. Lap it up or go for a 200-acre after-hours tour.
8302 S. Brighton Loop Road, Brighton, 801-532-4731,

Satisfaction @ Eagle Point
At 3.5 hours from both Salt Lake City and Las Vegas, Eagle Point is a little out there, so it’s prime for a some serious exploration. Looking to extend your skills? This resort’s bountiful snow and breathtaking views create a spectacular backdrop to bring a smattering of black diamonds into your largely blue days. Take every shot the Lookout quad chair has to offer. Start on the edges, where shorter steeps mean less intimidating lines, and work your way to a longer burn on the appropriately named Satisfaction.
1040 N. Elk Meadows Drive, Beaver, Eagle Point, 435-438-3700,

Sister’s Bowl @ Snowbasin
It’s hard to talk about taking in the glory of Utah’s ski hills without mentioning the views from the Strawberry Express Gondola. When you’re seeking an image to invoke inner peace, this is the place you want to picture. If you want a piece of the Seven Sister shoots, you’ll need backcountry gear and the skills to use it, or just take in the view from Sister’s Bowl to catch a corner of the famous face, no hike necessary. Choose from a variety of fun black runs to reach the gondola’s base.
3925 Snow Basin Road, Huntsville, 801-620-1000,

Big Kash @ Powder Mountain
Cat skiing isn’t subtle, but it is a unique way to traverse snowcapped terrain, providing fresh perspectives on familiar winter-scapes. At Powder Mountain, $18 ($15 for season-pass holders) and a smile will get you to the top of Lightning Ridge. From here, everything is downhill fun, but it’s hard to resist the long line and of Big Kash.
8000 N. 5100 East, Eden, 801-745-3772,

Westward Ho @ Alta
Set the tone for the day by pulling in to Alta Goldminer’s Daughter Lodge at 7 a.m. Watch a slow sunrise wash Mount Superior in a range of warming colors, then spend the day enjoying a mountain full of legendary runs. To bookend the day with beauty, catch a last ride up on the Wildcat Chair. Forget about the awesome run coming right up and look around; feel free to laugh at your good fortune. Ridge your way over to Westward Ho, then point it all the way to the Peruvian Lodge bar.
210 Little Cottonwood Canyon Road, Alta, 801-359-1078,

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