“IT WAS A SPRINGLIKE SUNDAY in the mountains above Salt Lake City, where a cluster of ski resorts occupy adjacent valleys of granite, thick forests and deep powder snow. The Ski Utah Interconnect Adventure Tour had started five hours earlier, with an 8:30 a.m. chairlift ride at Deer Valley Resort, the first ski area of six our group would visit that day.”
That’s the lead-in to my story in the New York Times’ Sunday Travel section this weekend on Ski Utah’s Interconnect Tour, an epic guided journey I took two months ago while on assignment for the newspaper.
A daylong guided trip, the Interconnect Tour follows a circuitous route of in-bounds ski trails and steep backcountry runs. Chairlift rides are combined with out-of-bounds traverses to connect the resorts that sprawl through this part of the Wasatch Range.
In a single day, Interconnect skiers travel about 25 miles through the mountains, carving more than 15,000 vertical feet of turns on the slopes and adjacent backcountry at Deer Valley, Park City Mountain Resort, Brighton Resort, Solitude Mountain Resort, Alta Ski Area and Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort.
At no other place in the Western Hemisphere can you find a similar concentration of ski resorts. All six areas — plus the Canyons Resort, a nearby 3,700-acre behemoth touted as the biggest ski area in the state — have property lines that fall within a 10-mile radius.
In the age of $80 daily lift tickets, the Interconnect Tour is relatively economical, too: Its $195 per-person fee includes a pair of professional ski guides to lead the trip; lunch at Solitude Mountain Resort; a free (and compulsory) avalanche transceiver for use during the day; lift passes to all six areas on the schedule; shuttle-bus transportation at the end of the day back to your point of origin; and a finisher’s pin to prove you’ve done the trip.
“Nothing I’ve done outside of Europe compares to this tour,” said Mike Carroll, a real estate developer from Richmond, Va., one of the 10 guided clients I skied with last month.
See my full story in New York Times here, including a slideshow of images from the trip: nytimes.com