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DEEP POWDER in UTAH

Jan. 14, 1957
Jan. 14, 1957

Table of Contents
Jan. 14, 1957

Last Seconds Of A Champ
Events & Discoveries
Helfand's Record
Football
Basketball

DEEP POWDER in UTAH

On the following pages SPORTS ILLUSTRATED offers a guide to the Alta-Brighton ski area—all you should know to spend a week's vacation in America's best powder snow country—with a map of runs and tows, plus five pages of color photographs on Utah skiing by Joern Gerdts

This is an article from the Jan. 14, 1957 issue

You should know...if you would like to spend a winter vacation skiing the fast downhill runs and beautiful cross-country trails in Utah's Aha-Brighton area

The area at Alta, only 26 miles by road from Salt Lake City, is a tight little Alpine complex of three chair lifts, two major rope tows, four lodges, a ski shop, and a U.S. Forest Service Snow Ranger Guard Station wedged into a valley 8,500 feet up in the mountains of the Wasatch National Forest. Nobody really does anything there but ski simply because the snow is so good—the best in the country, according to most experts—that it's silly to waste your time doing anything else. The mountains jutting above the valley are high and steep, and mostly open; and although there are some fine intermediate runs on the upper slopes, Alta has a reputation for being expert's country.

Brighton, where skiers enjoy the same fabulous snow that Alta gets-some 40 feet a year—is just over Twin Lakes Pass from Alta (see map). Automobile distance from Salt Lake: 27 miles. With two chairs, a T bar, rope tow and only one important lodge, Brighton has cleared some gentler slopes, and therefore does a bigger business with beginners and intermediates.

How to get there
United Air Lines and Western Air Lines are the major carriers flying into Salt Lake. By rail you can travel Union Pacific, Western Pacific, Southern Pacific and Denver and Rio Grande Western. Once you get to Salt Lake, you can make a deal with a cab driver for about $10 to either resort; or call the Salt Lake Transportation Company (Empire 4-4335) and have them drive you for $7.50.

The season
Alta lifts open the weekend before Thanksgiving, close the first of May. Early birds and diehard spring skiers who don't mind walking can start in early October and keep going until June. Brighton's dates are about the same, although with their flourishing summer sightseeing trade, they usually keep the lift going all year.

The lodges
Last year Alta catered to 80,000 skiers, and the four lodges handled the bulk of the out-of-staters. Brighton logged 145,000 for the season; and although most of them were day visitors from Salt Lake, the Alpine Rose Lodge had more overnight guests than any of the inns at Alta. With 29 rooms priced from $7.50 to $19, the Alpine Rose took in 2,500 customers. Many of these came on the lodge's economical Learn to Ski weeks (seven days' room, board, lift tickets and ski lessons for $78 to $88.25). Food in the main dining room is excellent, especially steak and broiled trout. Any skier in a hurry can get a hamburger or soup in the Chalet Room cafeteria, open 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Night life is quiet—jukebox dancing, ping-pong—but after seven hours in the deep powder you can't handle much more than that anyway. Only bar alcohol at ski resorts in semi-Prohibition Utah is 3.2 beer, so bring your own bottle (you can buy one in a state liquor store in Salt Lake).

At Alta the lodges are split into two distinct types—the Rustler and Alta lodges, which handle most of the post-college, married, business crowd, and the Peruvian and Snow Pine, where the collegians and high schoolers seem to gravitate. Rates at Rustler run from $8 for a bunk room to $28 for a double. Package weeks, $80 to $115. Rustler has a pleasant, darkish drinking lounge downstairs, carpets in the living room and an atmosphere with faint Ivy League overtones.

The Alta Lodge—$7.50 for dormitory up to $32 for the Tyrolean room—is slightly less quiet then Rustler, but the feeling is about the same. The party usually breaks up at a sensible hour, say about 11 or 11:80. Entertainment is homemade, mostly folk dancing, comfortable drinking in sweaters and ski pants, singing if anybody has a guitar. Meals here and at Rustler are good but there is no menu, i.e., everybody eats the same thing. Tip: if you forget to "buy a bottle in Salt Lake, the Alta Lodge is the only licensed liquor dealer in the area. Incidentally, the Alta Lodge also has Learn to Ski weeks running from $78 to $121. Peruvian Lodge rates are lower, from $6 for a dormitory (bring your own bed roll) to $16 for a conventional double. Learn to Ski weeks, $70.30 to $98.30. Upstairs lounge and bar has jukebox dancing in the evenings, beer at the bar. Snow Pine is mostly a weekend place, with dorm rooms renting for $6 a night. Private rooms are available for $10 and, as with all lodges at Alta and Brighton, rates are American plan.

Lifts and runs

At Alta, the Collins single chair takes skiers the first big step up the mountain. Starting from the valley floor it rises 780 vertical feet on a 2,750-foot cable. Rides cost 50¢ apiece, $3.50 for a day pass. Collins lift services Low Rustler (gentle intermediate run), Corkscrew (intermediate), Nina Curve (steep and narrow—experts only), Schuss Gulley (easier but still expert), Collins Face (tough, bumpy intermediate), Bearpaw (steep, and deep powder—expert), Wildcat (same as Bearpaw) and Westward Ho (steep, deep and through the trees).

Running up to Peruvian Ridge from the head of the Collins lift is the Collins service rope tow. This opens upper Bearpaw (a real cliff), Wildcat Bowl (not quite so bad but snow bunnies stay away) and upper Westward Ho (more powder for the experts). Straight ahead as you get off the Collins lift is the Germania double chair, rising 1,010 feet over a distance of three-quarters of a mile. Cost of rides is the same as Collins. Germania services Eagles Nest (nothing but trees until the trail widens into a chute halfway down—beautiful expert's country), High Rustler (possibly the scariest-looking run in the West—a three-quarter-mile chute with 40% slope, no trees and frequent avalanches), Greeley Bowl (open slopes, steep at top but a nice challenge for intermediates), Gunsight (narrow, steep, and best in spring when snow settles), Yellow Trail (a little steep at the top, but intermediates thrive on it), Green Trail (long and rolling, fine for novices), Sun Spot (open, good for intermediates but likely to avalanche after a storm), Race Course (steep at the top but a nice intermediate runout through the woods at the bottom), Mambo Alley (long and easy), Main Street (long and good for lower intermediates), Ball Room (same as Main Street) and Tombstone (springtime only, top expert).

Rustler Chair—open weekends only—gives beginners a 1,000-foot ride up the open slope on Little Rustler. Cost is 20¢ a ride, 10 rides $1.80.

At Brighton the 3,700-foot Mount Majestic double chair rises 750 feet, carries skiers at 50¢ a single ride, day pass $2.50. It services Totem Off, Lost Maid, Mambo and Zanes Hill, all easy, open slopes for novices. The Majestic T bar rises 500 vertical feet up the same hill, costs 20¢ per ride, day pass $2.10, and feeds into Zanes Hill and Lost Maid. The Majestic rope is 400 feet long, costs a nickel a ride, or all day for $1.10.

The Millicent single chair (4,000 feet long) climbs 1,200 feet into some good expert's country and a variety of lower intermediate runs. Cost of a single ride is 50¢, day pass $2.75 weekdays, $3.25 weekends and holidays. Toughest runs off the Millicent chair are Millies Face (rugged headwall), Scree and Lone Pine (a little easier), Little Millie (shorter, but still for experts), Devils Dip (narrow, but a good intermediate can handle), Backbone (fine intermediate slope), Back Door (lower intermediate), Spaghetti (high intermediate, with a couple of sticky places just under Twin Lakes dam), Evergreen (intermediate but fun for experts, with rolling terrain through trees) and Wagon Road (same as Evergreen).

Cross-country trails
Most popular trail from Alta, largely because it requires only a 400-foot climb, is the Baldy Traverse into Peruvian Gulch (advanced intermediates can handle this one, but check with the Snow Rangers for avalanche danger before you go out). Easiest trail to ski is the Twin Lakes route to Brighton (1,400-foot climb and simple downhill skiing). Coming back, take Catherine Pass and swing down into the rolling powder in the Albion Basin. Possibly the most rugged trail in the area is the one over Cardiff Pass. Don't go on this one without a guide (avalanche danger in the pass and some rather vertical skiing down the other side). American Fork Pass, Dry Creek and Majestic Pass aren't particularly hard, but they're long, and you either have to walk back or take a long cab ride home. Park City trail out the Salt Lake road from Brighton, then up over Scotts Pass, is about the same—fun, but a long walk back.

Ski schools

The Alta Ski School, one of the best in the country on deep powder, is run by Alf Engen, U.S. Olympic ski coach in 1948. Beginners are well taught, but intermediates and experts really flourish in this school. The classes are small, move along fast, and you learn a fascinating, rhythmic technique for fast, deep-snow skiing. All instructors are serious pros, certified by the Inter-mountain Ski Association. Class lessons cost $2.50 for two hours, private cost $7.50 per hour.

The Brighton School, run by K. Smith, puts its emphasis more on beginners, with less on advanced and expert techniques. However, the school can, when called upon, do a fine job in turning out experts. Lessons at Brighton cost $2 for class, $6 private.

Equipment and clothing

The best skis for Alta-Brighton's powder are Heads, Harts, Attenhofers, Dynaglas and the more flexible wood skis. Release bindings are an absolute must, with the Deep Powder shop at Alta and the House of Edelweiss at Brighton doing their heaviest trade in Cubcos and Millers. Quilted parkas are best to keep out the high-altitude cold. Also be sure to bring plenty of sweaters and long underwear. A last word: when you come, leave the chic after-ski outfit back home. Alta-Brighton is a place where people ski a lot, drink a little, and dress for warmth and comfort.

MAPJAMES CARAWAYTHE ALTA-BRIGHTON SKI AREA
Hyphenated line[CROSS-COUNTRY TRAILS]
Solid line[DOWNHILL RUNS]
Dotted line[SINGLE CHAIR LIFT]
Double dotted line[DOUBLE CHAIR LIFT]
Ripple line[ROPE TOW]
T bar[T BAR]
MAPJAMES CARAWAYSALT LAKE SKI COUNTRY includes 10 separate areas within 125 miles of city. Best skiing is at Alta, Brighton.
LOGAN
TO BEAVER MOUNTAIN
OGDEN
SNOW BASIN
GREAT SALT LAKE
LITTLE MOUNTAIN
SALT LAKE CITY
ECKER HILL
SNOW HILL
SNOW PARK
KEETLEY
BRIGHTON ALTA
TIMP HAVEN
MT. TIMPANOGOS (12,008')
PROVO
UTAH LAKE
KOLOB
SPRINGVILLE
TO CLEAR GREEK
MT. WASTON (11,473')
HEBER MOUNTAIN (10,275')
FIVE PHOTOSJOERN GERDTSPHOTOJOERN GERDTS
ACROSS FROM MT. BALDY'S SKI-MARKED SLOPES, A LONE SKIER STIRS UP A CLOUD OF FRESH POWDER AS SHE SKIMS BENEATH A CORNICE OF SNOW IN CARDIFF PASS ON HER RUN DOWN TOWARD THE MAIN PARKING LOT
PHOTO

FAST TURN IN FRESH POWDER

His red nylon parka standing out brilliantly against a fresh fall of deep powder snow at Brighton, Ski Patrolman Ronnie Young-berg (right) swings down through the evergreens on Mount Millicent. Turn page for more color photographs on Salt Lake skiing.

Snow bunnies Sue Sheffield (on ground) and Annette Christopherson (waxing Sue's skis) started in the Deseret News-Telegram ski school, are now regulars at Little Mountain.

Ski school mob of 300 pupils from the Salt Lake County Recreation Department's free ski school swarm onto beginners' slope to get in extra practice at bottom of Zane Hill.

Fatherly boost up one of Little Mountain's two parallel rope tows is provided by Dave Rewick, a Salt Lake public accountant and avid skier, to his daughter Kathy, age 9.

KEYS TO RUNS AND TRAILS

1 WESTWARD HO
2 WILDCAT BOWL
3 WILDCAT FACE
4 BEARPAW
5 COLLINS FACE
6 NINA, SCHUSS GULLEY
7 MEADOW
8 CORKSCREW
9 LOW RUSTLER
10 HIGH RUSTLER
11 EAGLES NEST
12 LITTLE RUSTLER
13 PERUVIAN GULCH
14 BALL ROOM
15 MAMBO ALLEY
16 MAIN STREET
17 RACE COURSE
18 SUN SPOT
19 RUSTLER TRAVERSE
20 GUNSIGHT
21 GREELEY BOWL
22 BALDY TRAVERSE
23 TOMBSTONE
24 YELLOW TRAIL
25 GREEN TRAIL
26 BACK DOOR, SPAGHETTI
27 WAGON ROAD
28 EVERGREEN
29 BACKBONE
30 DEVILS DIP
31 LITTLE MILLIE
32 MILLIES FACE
33 LONE PINE
34 SCREE
35 ZANES HILL
36 LOST MAID
37 MAMBO
38 TOTEM OFF
39 MAJESTIC PASS
40 CATHERINE PASS
41 DRY CREEK
42 ALBION BASIN
43 GERMANIA PASS
44 AMERICAN FORK PASS
45 PERUVIAN BOWL
46 GAD VALLEY
47 PERUVIAN GULCH
48 CARDIFF PASS
49 TWIN LAKES PASS
50 WOLVERINE