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Looking for a resort in Utah for early December - bang for the buck

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 

Hey everyone, looks like I am finally going to make it out west. We (2 people) would be arriving from Florida on 12/9, and leaving 12/14. We would ski 12/10,12/11,12/12. and 12/13 (4 days). A friend recommended Deer Valley and the Canyons, but lift tickets are ~$95 and rentals ~$55. Is this the norm for Utah? I have never had lift tickets that were so expensive. We would like to stay somewhere where a rental car is not necessary and we can rely on lifts to get us to the slopes. The Canyons seemed to have a couple nice places on VRBO that could do this for around $125 a night. Park City also had a shuttle that could take us to the grocery store which would be nice for dinner meals in the apartment/condo. Are their any other good resorts in Utah what can offer this which may have cheaper prices for lift tickets and rentals? 

post #2 of 29

I think the trio of ski areas around Park City is probably the best option for you:  convenient shuttles (not free) from airport, good resort town to explore, lots of reasonably priced condos/motels on free shuttles around the town of PC.  If you want to save, don't look at ski-in, just get something near a shuttle stop.  Maybe near base of PCMR rather than Canyons, so you'll be close to town for apres ski dining, shopping, and strolling.

 

If you were hard core I might suggest taking public trans to Brighton and stay in their old slopeside lodge, chance for better snow, but far less apres ski action there.

post #3 of 29

A couple of suggestions. First rent a car. It's an easy drive from airport to PC and you can probably rent one for not that much more than the resort shuttles will cost for you and whoever you're traveling with. If you get in early enough, take advantage of the ski free the day you arrive. Go to Park City visitors bureau for info on "Quick Start". Re lift tickets, you can get discounted lift tickets in SLC ski shops. Also, Costco has even heavier discounts for PCMR and the Canyons. Coincidentally, I arrive and leave the same days as you. Should be a good time, and usually the resorts are empty at that time. You should be able to get a good deal on VRBO as it's a slow time. If you have a car, you don't need to be slope side and you can find even cheaper deals on condos. I have a condo in Bear Hollow Village. I have some friends in complex who rent out. I rent mine out as well, but I'm staying in mine same time as you. If you want their e-mails, PM me and I'll give them to you. Anyways, as usual, that is my 2 cents FWIW.   

post #4 of 29

Book your flights on Southwest.  If conditions aren't good, you can change them at no charge.

 

Wait until the last minute,  Then book this package if your a fairly decent skier, looking for a premium experience.

 

http://www.snowbird.com/lodging/hotdeals.php?deal=51

 

I've never seen this promotion sell out and I use it a lot, early and late season. 

 

Rental cars are cheap in SLC.  If your a fairly competent driver and the canyons not restricted, just drive yourselves for what a single shuttle would run.  If not,  Canyon Transportation is ok and they will stop at the Smiths if you ask nicely. 

post #5 of 29
Thread Starter 

What is the tram in the $99 deal? Does that take you from lodging to the slopes? How long does that take? Is the place nice to stay at?

post #6 of 29
Thread Starter 

Also, I was looking for shuttles from SLC airport to PCMR, and its like $80 a person?? Maybe we will rent a car. I figured we could cab it for around $50 but that doesn't look to be the case.

post #7 of 29

Given that your girlfriend is close to a beginner, I would not recommend Snowbird. Please see Esumsea's trip report in trip reports. or perhaps Resort Guides. If there is a enough snow in PC, she will be happier there.

post #8 of 29
Thread Starter 

I saw that PCMR has a promotion that is similar for $79 a night, but when you look into it the price jumps to like $1800.....any suggestions?

 

http://www.parkcitymountain.com/winter/plan/package-deals

post #9 of 29

Yes, it takes you to mostly blue and black slopes. I think the lodges up at Snowbird are pretty nice, 3+ stars.   If your a beginner, Park City may be a better choice.

post #10 of 29

If you want a ski town where you can ski down into town and have your lodging and lot sof stuff to do right there, in UT only park city offers that. Problem being that the 2nd week of December is very early season and particularly for park city. There may not be much skiing open.

 

I would recommend you look into alta if you want to best chance for beginner level runs that have good snow during the time of your trip. Prices should be low that early in the season everywhere. If you can't find deals you probably are not looking hard enough. Also some times its better to get on the phone.


Edited by tromano - 10/13/11 at 11:45pm
post #11 of 29

Try Bird

post #12 of 29

There are three choices, PC, Snowbird/Alta or down in SLC/Midvale/Sandy.  Also staying at Solitude is a possibility.  Each one has pros and cons.

If PC gets off to a slow start with snowfall, the skiing might be limited somewhat. 

Cheapest option is stay in Sandy/Midvale at Super 8, La Quinta or Crystal Inn at about $70/nt.  You'll eat in suburbia, not a ski town.  You could drive your rental to a different resort each day. But you'll miss out on the feeling a staying in a ski town like PC, which you would likely enjoy being your first trip out west.  You can buy discount tickets, not sure of price, but probably $65/day. Look up SuperPass - it gives a discount on rentals too.  But rent a car. If you rent a car you could ski one day in PC.

You would probably like staying in the skiing atmosphere of PC the best, but it would be expensive.

I love staying at the Cliff at Snowbird.  You're in the mtns, right at the lifts, but apres ski is limited.  If you two are athletic and would appreciate staying in an alpine setting, that might be a good pick for you. Esp if you can take advantage of the early season deal.  It's a quiet, but beautiful place. At the cliff you would ski both Snowbird and Alta, and wouldn't need to rent a car, you would pay for the shuttle. Canyon Transportation.

post #13 of 29

Early season in UT, Brighton, Solitude, Alta and Snowbird will likely have better snow conditions than PCMR, DV or the Canyon which are at lower elevations.  The BCC and LCC resorts have lift tickets way cheaper than $99 a day.

post #14 of 29

The best bang for the buck is to rent a car, stay in town (Sandy, Midvale, Cottonwood Heights), and ski at the Cottonwood Canyons resorts, buying your lift tickets at the sporting goods stores instead of at the ticket window.   This season's prices are not yet published, but this should give you an idea:  http://www.visitsaltlake.org/skiutah.discountlifttickets.htm

 

$55 to $65 will get you a lift ticket in SLC. 

 

As others have said, early season might not be kind to the lower elevation resorts (everything in Park City, Snobasin, Sundance), but there should be good snow in the CC resorts (Alta, Snowbird, Solitude, Brighton).

 

If your partner is a beginner, DO NOT go to Snowbird. I'd recommend starting at Alta, which has some of the easiest green trails anywhere and work your way up from there.  Brighton is another good choice for easier terrain.

post #15 of 29

I'd echo what Tromano and Walt (probably others too) said. I typically only ride Snowbird that early in the season because other Utah resorts tend to be crap. Given you have a beginner in tow, forget Park City and look into Alta. "Bang for your buck" starts with good conditions, and Alta is your best chance for them. Also lift tickets and lodging are cheaper.

 

Come to think of it, Park City is pretty much the worst possible option for a cheap, early season ski trip--worse to potentially terrible conditions, much more expensive lodging, more expensive lift tickets = bad choice.

post #16 of 29

Disagree with JoeUT except for conditions part. While PC can have good conditions at that time, no question that Cottonwoods are more reliable for early season snow. However, i've skied PC at Thanksgivng when it was pretty good. Depends upon the year. For lodging, I can tell you as a PC condo owner that rents it out, you can get incredible deals at that time of year as there is hardly anyone coming to ski until closer to Xmas. It's a renter's market at that time. Re lift tickets, if you buy Canyons or PCMR tickets at Costco, they are cheaper than buying Alta tickets at SLC ski shops. Anyway, that is my 2 cents.   

post #17 of 29

i've only skied SLC on two trips but can recommend these insights.   first trip was early dec (4thish) and found a decent early season at Solitude.  They have a quint built up village and it and Brighton had good conditions, funny thing was after hitting the bar, sitting in a hot tub and then getting ready to re-hit the bar again (not much choice in the village) I happened to look out the rooms window and noted the lights go out ... 9 pm, my bro in law thought i was joking.  moral, the action can be pretty sparse early.   We drove up to Brighton for drinks at Molly Greens.

 

second trip was a feb trip and we (wife this time) had lots of powder, my wife though loved staying a few days in PC.

 

The town itself had great appeal to her (but I can even say I liked it) so if you tend to like a happening area, it may be worth considering if the snow is friendly or you're willing to drive elsewhere.  She loves to ski too, far better finesse than I have but there is also the romance side one may wish to consider.  If your good with only needing a bottle of wine or together time, then plan where snow is most likely.

 

We split our time with 2 days in SLC and 2 in PC, figured with a rental car we had various options open for multiple locations.  We stayed downtown at the Little America where they had a ski package which was a great deal, and bought an extra set for the third day at reduced rate.  Many of the hotels have these deals, Best Westerns, etc.  There are also more local shops with cheap rentals, but if not positive on what you need for your beginner, mountain rental and lesson may be worth it.

 

My comment for options would be consider hotel ski and stay packages, free lift ticket on day of arrival, PC if needing some more active village/town (thought down town SLC was pretty lively) and or splitting the trip with two locations.   All the locations are close.

post #18 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maui Steve View Post

Disagree with JoeUT except for conditions part. While PC can have good conditions at that time, no question that Cottonwoods are more reliable for early season snow. However, i've skied PC at Thanksgivng when it was pretty good. Depends upon the year. For lodging, I can tell you as a PC condo owner that rents it out, you can get incredible deals at that time of year as there is hardly anyone coming to ski until closer to Xmas. It's a renter's market at that time. Re lift tickets, if you buy Canyons or PCMR tickets at Costco, they are cheaper than buying Alta tickets at SLC ski shops. Anyway, that is my 2 cents.   


 

Do you rent your condo for the 50 bucks or so that it would cost to get a room in Sandy?

 

Park City is a big rip-off compared to every other Utah ski destination (assuming you don't mind staying off the base). Maybe you're right, but I have trouble envisioning renting a PC condo for less than you'd pay at a budget hotel in Sandy.

post #19 of 29



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeUT View Post


 

Do you rent your condo for the 50 bucks or so that it would cost to get a room in Sandy?

 

Park City is a big rip-off compared to every other Utah ski destination (assuming you don't mind staying off the base). Maybe you're right, but I have trouble envisioning renting a PC condo for less than you'd pay at a budget hotel in Sandy.



There are always deals to be found, you just need to shop around. I rented a 1BR condo at the base of PCMR for $950 for seven nights, last Xmas week. 

Using FF miles and Liftopia lift tickets, it was one of my families least expensive ski vacations. And it was Xmas week in PC.  For comparison, we spent almost as much the previous year for 3 nights at Okemo.

post #20 of 29

And don't forget Delta credit cards.  It isn't like it used to be.  Where you could sign up get 25K free, take a trip, cancel the card.  6 months later get another card and play it all over.  All the airline credit card now seem to be on to that scheme. But I still "play" the airline cards.  It drives my wife crazy because she's the bookkeeper and get mixed up about what is good and what has been cancelled, but I keep track of it.  I cancel them after the free first year, also, I've gotten my kids cards which I used for their trips or stole the miles and used them myself. 

post #21 of 29


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeUT View Post


Park City is a big rip-off compared to every other Utah ski destination (assuming you don't mind staying off the base).


While I don't disagree that Park City can be expensive, it does offer something that just can't be found in a Sandy/Midvale/Cottonwood Heights hotel.  But if you are a diehard skier and just want a great cheap ski trip, then your suggestion is right on.  Four great resorts within a half hour, and nice accommodations for a good price make for a great and inexpensive ski trip.  And given the OP asked about bang for the buck, then I agree with you.

 

However, there are some who want more than just great skiing when they plan a ski vacation.  For those, Park City offers a little more when not on the slopes.  The town just feels like a ski town with lots of restaurants and shops on Main street, as well as non-ski activities like bobsled/luge/ski jumping at Utah Olympic Park, cross country skiing, sleigh rides, dinners in a yurt, etc.

 

The best part is that Utah offers everything from a quick & cheap ski getaway, to a full-on ski vacation, and everything in between.  Hard to complain about that.

 


Edited by NeedToSki - 10/26/11 at 9:13am
post #22 of 29

I'm sure a 1 BR condo in PC could be found for the trip for under $100 a night if you stay at least 4 nights. My place is  3BR, so a bit different. If you factor in being able to cook in as opposed to going out, I would not call it a rip off. And, it's a ski town, not Sandy. Which for some people, is worth something.  But for straight sking, I would agree Cottonwoods are better. But PC ain't bad. Very Coloradoesque, which many consider not bad.

post #23 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by NeedToSki View Post


 


While I don't disagree that Park City can be expensive, it does offer something that just can't be found in a Sandy/Midvale/Cottonwood Heights hotel.  But if you are a diehard skier and just want a great cheap ski trip, then your suggestion is right on.  Four great resorts within a half hour, and nice accommodations for a good price make for a great and inexpensive ski trip.  And given the OP asked about bang for the buck, then I agree with you.

 

However, there are some who want more than just great skiing when they plan a ski vacation.  For those, Park City offers a little more when not on the slopes.  The town just feels like a ski town with lots of restaurants and shops on Main street, as well as non-ski activities like bobsled/luge/ski jumping at Utah Olympic Park, cross country skiing, sleigh rides, dinners in a yurt, etc.

 

The best part is that Utah offers everything from a quick & cheap ski getaway, to a full-on ski vacation, and everything in between.  Hard to complain about that.

 




Oh I agree. I'm no Park City hater. I've enjoyed my time there and there are few better places in the country for a full-blown "ski town" experience. But when it comes to bang for the buck for straight skiing (which is mainly what the OP was focused on), Park City comes in far last in Utah, particularly in early December.

post #24 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeUT View Post


... when it comes to bang for the buck for straight skiing (which is mainly what the OP was focused on), Park City comes in far last in Utah, particularly in early December.


 

You've never skied Wolf Creek, have you?  Little buck, but very little bang.

 

I'd also put PC ahead of Sundance, especially shoulder season.

post #25 of 29

Southwest just sent me an email offering 2 round-trip flights for two if I sign up for their credit card and make on purchase (no minimum).  I hate collecting more cards but that's a tough one to pass up.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SnowbirdDevotee View Post

And don't forget Delta credit cards.  It isn't like it used to be.  Where you could sign up get 25K free, take a trip, cancel the card.  6 months later get another card and play it all over.  All the airline credit card now seem to be on to that scheme. But I still "play" the airline cards.  It drives my wife crazy because she's the bookkeeper and get mixed up about what is good and what has been cancelled, but I keep track of it.  I cancel them after the free first year, also, I've gotten my kids cards which I used for their trips or stole the miles and used them myself. 



 

post #26 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Walt View Post



 

You've never skied Wolf Creek, have you?  Little buck, but very little bang.

 

I'd also put PC ahead of Sundance, especially shoulder season.



Well, Wolf Mountain still offers better overall bang for buck because you have Powder and Snowbasin right around the corner. So you stay at Days Inn in Ogden, do a warm-up day or night at Wolf if you want (15 or 20 bucks for a night ticket, I think) and then go to Powder or Basin.

 

I've never been to Sundance, but I'll take your word for it.

 

Park City is last on my list because there's not much of any cheaper options of places to stay, unless you want to stay on the highway in Coalville. Every time I've looked for a room there, it's like $150 +, much more than I tend to spend anywhere else. Combine that with some of the lowest snowfall totals in Utah and its a pretty low bang-for-buck in skiing-only terms.

post #27 of 29
Quote:

Originally Posted by JoeUT View Post

 

Well, Wolf Mountain still offers better overall bang for buck because you have Powder and Snowbasin right around the corner.

 

I've never been to Sundance, but I'll take your word for it.

 

Park City is last on my list because there's not much of any cheaper options of places to stay, unless you want to stay on the highway in Coalville. Every time I've looked for a room there, it's like $150 +, much more than I tend to spend anywhere else. Combine that with some of the lowest snowfall totals in Utah and its a pretty low bang-for-buck in skiing-only terms.



Agree that the best thing about Wolf Mountain/Wolf Creek is that there is good skiing at other nearby resorts. (c:

 

For cheap digs in PC, check out http://www.chateauapres.com/?page_id=15  - $40/night for a bed in their dorm room, walking distance to the lifts.  I know of few places anywhere where you can get slopeside accommodations that cheap.  Maybe the Yurts at Mt BoHo.

 

I'd still vote for Sandy/Midvale & the CC resorts for best bang for the buck.

 

 

 

 

 

post #28 of 29

I might be traveling to SLC over Thanksgiving, any chance to ski over that time?

post #29 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by sammy87 View Post

I might be traveling to SLC over Thanksgiving, any chance to ski over that time?


Yea there is a chance.

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