I'm in the same boad as OP. I'm looking to sabbatical (unless my current position changes in the next 5 months) next spring and have been torn between SLC and SLT. My only problem with SLC is that the town seems to be either ski/board crowd or mormons. There doesn't seem to be any middle ground. While I dig the ski/board crowd, the scene can be a little too snow-bro, even for me. I got a pass for Kirkwood for next year (can't beat 299), but I'm still up in the air for what to do and where to end-up. I wasn't a huge fan of Brighton and I have a difficult time justifying the cost of a Snowbird tkt. UGH.
In response to OP (not to treadjack) Tahoe is Great. Since you are from the mid-atlantic, you're used to the commute to worth-while mountains. Reno is a pretty quick shot to the tahoe resorts (don't forget about Kirkwood, they still have decent network pass prices) Reno is 90 mins from Kirkwood and Sac is 2 hours.
I'd rather be shot than to move to LA for boarding, even if it is at Mammoth!
Traveling the States and Taking Pictures