Because The Canyons is so capacious, getting it right when there’s a powder day is one part knowledge, two parts intuition and three parts luck. Head up the Flight of the Canyons Gondola. On the way up, talk it over with your pals: do you want to head directly to the lower elevation and more wind-protected terrain on the Super Condor lift? Or would you rather make a beeline for the showier, more spectacular bowls up on Ninety-Nine 90 and Peak 5? Duke it out, flip a coin, whatever—just be sure you’ve decided by the time the doors open at the summit station next to the Red Pine Lodge.
Of course, early in the morning on a deep day, there’s a chance that neither Super Condor or 9990 will be open yet when you head up the hill. In that case, you’ll be more than happy warming up your muscles by making laps through the beautifully gladed Pines (skiers left off the Saddleback lift) while the ski patrol works hard to make conditions safe elsewhere on the mountain.
Keep a close eye on the lightboard at the top of the gondola, which indicates when each lift is open. If Super Condor opens first, double back under the gondola to the Short Cut lift. The quick ride up (watch for moose) takes you to Lookout Ridge. From there, take Super Fury or Black Hole for a long, steep shot down to the Super Condor lift.
If you have the good fortune to be in the middle of a storm cycle and there’s plenty of snow, hit the Southside Chutes. Then hit them again. These are some of the longest, most consistent pitches you’ll find in Utah. If it’s a new dump, any of the runs off Apex Ridge will keep you entertained for hours.
If you choose door number 2 (the southern end of the resort) instead, you’ll need to take the Tombstone lift to get to 9990 and Peak 5. Skiers-left of the 9990 lift is Redpine Bowl with beautifully varied terrain. Directly under the lift are the narrowest and most technical chutes at the resort. After a few runs on 9990 skate over to the Peak 5 lift and charge through the giant conifers in Mystic Pines and as soon as the gate to the Abyss (straight ahead off the lift and a five-minute hike) opens up, be sure to pounce. You won’t be disappointed.