We Sing the Slopes Fantastic

UTAH :: ALTA & SNOWBIRD

    Photo: courtesy, Snowbird Ski Resort

MOUNTAIN STATS:

SUMMIT, 11,000 feet (Snowbird)
VERTICAL, 5,260 feet (combined)
SKIABLE ACRES, 4,700 (combined)
ANNUAL SNOWFALL, 500 inches
LIFT TICKET, $47 (Alta); $59 (Snowbird); $66 (both resorts)
888-782-9258, www.alta.com; 800-453-3000, www.snowbird.com

THESE PEAKS ARE THE ODD COUPLE of mountain resorts—think hardcore Alta dudes and snazzy Snowbird debs—but their souls are united by heavenly powder.
WHY WE LOVE IT: In a word, the white stuff. At Little Cottonwood Canyon, the light-and-dry goods are nonpareil. The evidence? When the Ringling Bros. circus sued Utah for using the slogan "The Greatest Snow on Earth," the case went all the way to the Supreme Court—and Utah won.
NUMBER-ONE RUN: A long, technical traverse perches you atop Alf's High Rustler, a 40-degree, 2,000-foot pitch aimed straight at the Alta parking lot. Legend has it that veteran ski-school director Alf Engen once bombed the whole run, with nothing but nipple-deep powder to slow his mad descent.
HOT LODGE: Snowbird's Iron Blosam threads the ski-lodge needle: It's got all the perks of a high-end hotel—two-story windows, private decks, full kitchens, and an outdoor hot tub-but it's steeped in a laid-back atmosphere that reminds you of a family cabin in the mountains. (Doubles, $249-$539; 800-453-3000, www.snowbird.com)
SOUL PATCH: After Snowbird's last tram heads down for the day, don't be afraid to join the contingent of ski-crazy locals who gather at the top of Lone Pine for what is usually a low-key party, then take in the sublime view of the spectacular, canyon-framed sunset.

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