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Planning first trip to Utah torn on where to choose

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

Starting to look into plans for our western ski trip this season. I will be taking the wife and kids on this trip. Normally its myself and "the guys", but my son stated after last years trip, that "this is the last time your going out west without me dad", and he meant it, and I love that he enjoys skiing as much if not more then I do, and that its something he wants to share with me. Anyway.......

Believe it or in my 40 years of skiing and several years living in Colorado, I have never visited or skied Utah. I have tried to convince my buddy to go to Utah, but we always return to Telluride, which of course isn't a bad thing, especially visiting my good friend Niel.

To get back to my point, I am torn between Snowbird/Alta versus Snowbasin/Powder Mtn. My wife and kids could probably careless either way. I am torn because Alta is a "must ski" on my list of destinations, but I have read and heard many great things about Snowbasin and Powder Mountain. I realize a rental car is probably in order if I choose the latter. Neither place really has a night life, if that were part of the equation I would be heading to Park City. Of course that brings up another question. Do we go to Park City and do day trips to the above mentioned resorts.

Anyway just looking for some input.

1)Stay in Snowbird and ski Snowbird/Alta?

2)Get a house or Condo and ski Snowbasin/Powder Mtn?

3)Stay in Park City and ski there?

4)Get a house in Sandy and bounce around the various resorts?

(kids are solid blue skiers, wife is still learning, myself accomplished skier who still thinks he's 25 living in Crested Butte)

post #2 of 19

Go for option 4.

 

If you rent a house at the mouth of the Cottonwood Canyons, all 4 CC resorts are about 20 min drive, the Park City resorts are about 30-40, and Snowbasin is about an hour and ten minutes.

 

Much cheaper than staying slopeside, plus you get to sample all the resorts.

 

Think twice before taking this crew to Snowbird - it's probably too steep for their tastes.  All the other resorts should be fine.

post #3 of 19

 

 

Alta/Bird shouldn't be missed.  Alta for all, assuming all are skiers (no boarders at Alta).  Bird for you.  Agree your group should not base at Snowbird.  Go with #4.   Plenty for your group at Sol/Brighton too.  Snowbasin is worth a trip on a pretty day, variety of terrain, great lifts&lodges.  Powder Mtn good if you want off-piste, which doesn't sound like your group.  Park City is a consideration if you want a conventional vacation experience with nice town to stroll and a wide variety of ski areas/terrain.  One day you could go to Snowbird on your own for extraordinary black diamonds.  If money were no object one of the lodges at Alta would be sweet for your group.

Maybe this is of interest:  http://www.dcski.com/ubbthreads33/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=61449

post #4 of 19

If you like to ski hard and go back to your place and cook supper then Alta/Bird is hard to beat. If all the other possible activities available at most ski areas are part of your travel plans I'd pick Park City and drive over to Alta a day or two.The three ski hills near PArk City are world class too. It's a little farther than staying in the City and driving up but you would be in the mountains instead of spending your off-slope time in a typical American city.

post #5 of 19

If you care about ambiance I'd vote for Alta.  They have several classic old school lodges that serve family style meals, included.  You'll meet lots of families of the same ilk, trading stories over drinks by the fire.  And of course Alta has great but manageable terrain, huge snow, and Snowbird next door.  Snowbird Village is kind of like a concrete jungle.  Great hill but not much of a base, in my opinion.  

 

Sandy is basically suburban SLC.  That's fine but coming from Bergen Co., NJ, you won't feel like you've had much of an escape.  There's smog.  And you have to drive twice a day.  Those drives could be stressful if you get lucky with the weather.

 

Powder Mtn and Snowbasin are awesome but if you're really motivated you could day trip there from Alta.  Or stay there 2 nights if you don't mind changing venues.  Or better yet stay in Alta and just daytrip to Solitude or Brighton, both of which have fine skiing and small crowds.

 

Park City really isn't comparable in terms of terrain or snow.  Only advantage is the town.  Just my opinion.

post #6 of 19

Find a place in Kimball Junction.

It's a more centrally located place with moderate priced housing available, especially if you check with vrbo.com

 

This does require renting a car/suv for the family.

 

Staying in Kimball Junction, puts you 5-10 min to Canyons ( has its merits), 15 min to PMR and 20 to Deer Valley.

Snowbasin is 50 min away and the BCC about 35 and LCC 45 min by car, if no snow on the road to Alta/Snowbird.

 

Checking the snow forecast each morning gives you the option of going for the resort with the most snow fall.

 

Kimball junction is near the Redstone shopping area with lots of groceries, Starbucks, wine shop, deli, restaurants, ski shops etc available if needed.

My .02cts.

lcs

post #7 of 19

A happy wife is a happy life!  If she is just learning, she may not want to ski everyday. My recommendation is to stay in Park City and make a day trip to Alta and Snowbird. Your wife will hate Snowbird! When she doesn't want to ski she can enjoy Park City. You can all ski at Park City and you will find what you like in Jupiter Bowl and McConkeys Bowl. You are still the same distance from Snowbasin of a trip there.

post #8 of 19

Vince is on the right track.

 

Park City is fun to walk around in and shop.

Apres ski is fun there.

I particularly recommend Chimayo restaurant for a special night out.

(forget the kids, if you can).

 

Kimball Junction area still gets my vote for being the most ski centric and close to other activities as well.

 

BTW, as a woman who loves BOTH skiing and shopping, I hope this helps.

L.

 

post #9 of 19

I agree...Kimball a good choice.  I have been to all the resorts.  Deer Valley is my #1 choice.

post #10 of 19

If you decide on the Kimbally Junction area, you may want to also consider a number of areas around Canyons which are only a few minutes further from the freeway (and a few minutes closer to town and skiing).

post #11 of 19
Thread Starter 

Thanks to everyone for the input, I will let you know what we decide.

post #12 of 19

Kimball Junction is very practical, but it is not interesting or charming.  For a family or "just the guys" trip it is probably what you want, provided you are skiing some of the PC/DV/Canyons/Snowbasin/Powmow.

 

If I was looking for more of a "vacation" feel, I'd stay in the old part of Park City proper (near the town lift).

 

If I was skiing Snowbird/Alta/Solitude/Brighton, I'd stay down in Sandy near the mouth of the Cottonwood canyons.  (That's what we did last time - $238 for a clean divided room with 3 beds, microwave, and fridge... total for a week.)  Or if you can afford it, stay up near the ski areas.

post #13 of 19

I think the question you need to ask .. Is this a family vacation with skiing or a skiing vacation with family?

 

If it's the former, I would really suggest Park City.  Tons more to do if you're not skiing but still lots of great skiing.  Alta is NOT that far away (a bit over an hour). if you're used to driving out of Jersey to ski anywhere in the East it's a real easy drive (unless the weather's bad, but then you can just ski some of the bowls at PC or the Canyons).  We went last year with another family, stayed in Park City and did manage a day trip to Alta on one of the days.  My wife (who's intermediate at best) chose to hang out in Park City that day and took advantage of the shops and spas in town for a little pampering while we skied Alta.  When we skied PC, the ladies could ski the morning and hop a shuttle (or ski!) into town in the afternoon.  Overall everyone had a great time and no one felt like they needed to ski all day, every day (unless of course they wanted to! biggrin.gif)

 

If it was me and the guys the only requirement is skiing (and beer beercheer.gif), then Alta/Snowbird would be the place to go. With the family we needed a bit more variety for the week and Park City was the perfect solution.

post #14 of 19
Thread Starter 

We have decided that Park City is the best option. I like the idea of being in a "ski town". Day trip to Alta sounds easy enough.

Looking through VRBO, does Old Town North or South make a difference in choosing a place to stay?

 

post #15 of 19

We stayed out in a Condo off Kearns Blvd near the high school.  It was a LOT cheaper than staying in town (close to 1/2 the price of a downtown home during President's week) and the bus transportation is great .. there was a bus stop about 2 blocks from the condo.  (Of course we had 8 people to accommodate which is much harder to find slope side)  

 

If you're going to have a car and plan on skiing around the area (Canyons, DV or up to Alta) being out a little bit is easier for those days you're driving.  We used the savings on lodging to pay for valet parking when driving in to PCMR ... and it was still cheaper than 1/2 day of parking in Boston :)

 

PC is really pretty small and very easy to get around. 

 

If I was staying in town, I would probably stay on the north end of town closer to the main base lodge.  The town lift is pretty cool, but takes some planning to get back there at the end of the day.

 

Here's a link to the condo we used to give you an idea of that area.  http://www.resortquestparkcity.com/rental/house.html?ID=38

 
post #16 of 19

I'm a bit fan of option 4 and done it many times.

post #17 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by OldEasternSkier View Post

I think the question you need to ask .. Is this a family vacation with skiing or a skiing vacation with family?

 

If it's the former, I would really suggest Park City.  Tons more to do if you're not skiing but still lots of great skiing.  Alta is NOT that far away (a bit over an hour). if you're used to driving out of Jersey to ski anywhere in the East it's a real easy drive (unless the weather's bad, but then you can just ski some of the bowls at PC or the Canyons).  We went last year with another family, stayed in Park City and did manage a day trip to Alta on one of the days.  My wife (who's intermediate at best) chose to hang out in Park City that day and took advantage of the shops and spas in town for a little pampering while we skied Alta.  When we skied PC, the ladies could ski the morning and hop a shuttle (or ski!) into town in the afternoon.  Overall everyone had a great time and no one felt like they needed to ski all day, every day (unless of course they wanted to! biggrin.gif)

 

If it was me and the guys the only requirement is skiing (and beer beercheer.gif), then Alta/Snowbird would be the place to go. With the family we needed a bit more variety for the week and Park City was the perfect solution.


Pretty much this. Salt lake valley is a bad place to go for a vacation. Its ugly, poluted (depending on weather), sprawly, etc... But for a cheap ski trip, salt lake valley is near ideal in terms of snow, resort choices, accessibility, cheap lodging, etc...

post #18 of 19

The lay of the land in SLC/Park City totally allows for easy day trips anywhere and everywhere. I-80 can be downright ridiculous in the wrong weather though. We're talking accidents left and right, 15mph traffic - I've even seen it 4x4 only once with police directing non 4x4 off the road. With that being said if those conditions exist I would say getting from PC - SLC would be too nerve wrecking in the mornings for me. You have a potentially terrible drive over I-80 and then another slow painfull drive up LCC road which is already going to be jam packed with traffic.

 

If I were you I would head to Park City (and stay in Park City). It is really the place to be, everything is right there and geared towards skiers. SLC really takes away from the vacation feel as you really feel like you are dealing with the same ole if not worse traffic then your morning commute already has. Sure you can hop up the canyons every morning and do that, if that is for you then great. You can stay on Fort Union Blvd or 10600 (with public transportation being really viable on fort union) and ski up the canyons in the day - and dine at a TGI Fridays at night.

 

I have never skied up north in Ogden. I hear conflicting things about it - all of which keep me from going. Visibility, less snowfall, lower elevations, terrain traps/gullys to deal with as you search for pow @ Pow Mow. 

 

If you want to do something amazing that most don't attempt and still say you skied "all of Utah" - I would do the interconnect tour. Start @ Deer Valley and end your day @ Snowbird. Basically reiterating the importance of being in Park City. 

 

I think staying in SLC sucks, but I've stayed "all over SLC" - the airport, west side of town (ugh to both locations), 10600, etc. All the hotels suck really though, with none of them being close enough to make you feel like you are avoiding the city (unless you stay up the canyon).

 

If your idea of a vacation is driving - then staying in PC and driving to SLC will offer you tons of it. I would either stay in PC or in LCC. BCC is great and all but I would rather be in LCC considering the costs. If I could I would stay at Montage @ Deer Valley and do the interconnect trip daily, that's a vacation :)

 

I don't want to sound like a total promo guy, but Hyatt has a credit card that offers 2 nights free anywhere in the world upon sign-up. The Canyons has a Hyatt Escala Lodge (which is a very nice hotel). Slopeside. Costs like $250-330/nt, but you can use those 2 initial nights at that hotel there. 

 

 

The terrain is easy to compare really. PC has basically rolling mountains with less gnarly terrain. BCC/LCC have gnarly terrain, cliffs, less exposed faces - mountains in your face approach to skiing. Between all of the PC area resorts you can definitely find some fun, especially @ the Canyons and the 9990 chair, or Jupiter @ Park City. I just think if you are going to go to a BCC/LCC resort - do it right and stay up the canyon. Anything else and you are really just not going to get the right ski vacation. Especially if you've been to Telluride time and time again. 

 

 

If its good it is going to be good, but keep in mind that LCC/BCC can be tracked out ridiculously fast where as PC has less powder hounds and more skiable acres. I've spent like 30-40 days in LCC/BCC/PC and basically I have had all sorts of epic days, but if you show up in the morning after a huge dump (LCC/BCC) and it is bluebird - everything gets tracked up immediately as it is opened. If you are showing up as it has snowed overnight and it continues to snow all day long - its just epic. The powder just keeps up with the people it seems (omg I remember this one day at Alta, just empty it seemed and the powder kept dumping), but then the canyon gets closed or goes 4x4 - logistical nightmares, realizing you need to park your FWD vehicle at an already full park & ride and have 7 cash per passenger to ride up and down the bus that day (that is once again packed). I can tell you that 4x4 rentals can be had for $400-440 (walk up to the counter negotiate) a week, but you will not necessarily always find SUV's on the net for below $600-700 a week quite often - so most people don't rent them because of that.

 

I had to end my powder day due to my vehicle- having no chains, not being 4x4, canyon going 4x4 restriction at like 2pm and closing at 6pm. Drive down in a rental with suicide slicks on it.......not fun.

 

Others are spot on as well - SLC is kind of a gloomy crappy city. Inversions and nasty smog, yuck. SLC is interesting to drive around though. If you ever want to drive around an area full of jobs, building, and expansion. SLC seems to be it. They just dig a hole if they need some more jobs. SLC doesn't build up, they just build out. So it is miles and miles of city in every direction. You should make sure to get creeped out by the massive fortresses downtown that the mormons own as well. I bet there is more interesting stuff going on behind closed doors there then @ area 51 now.

 

 

 


Edited by jackinthehat - 11/12/11 at 9:56pm
post #19 of 19

Nice first post! Welcome to epic. Just a few notes.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jackinthehat View Post

The lay of the land in SLC/Park City totally allows for easy day trips anywhere and everywhere. I-80 can be downright ridiculous in the wrong weather though. We're talking accidents left and right, 15mph traffic - I've even seen it 4x4 only once with police directing non 4x4 off the road. With that being said if those conditions exist I would say getting from PC - SLC would be too nerve wrecking in the mornings for me. You have a potentially terrible drive over I-80 and then another slow painfull drive up LCC road which is already going to be jam packed with traffic.

 

...

 

If its good it is going to be good, but keep in mind that LCC/BCC can be tracked out ridiculously fast where as PC has less powder hounds and more skiable acres. I've spent like 30-40 days in LCC/BCC/PC and basically I have had all sorts of epic days, but if you show up in the morning after a huge dump (LCC/BCC) and it is bluebird - everything gets tracked up immediately as it is opened. If you are showing up as it has snowed overnight and it continues to snow all day long - its just epic. The powder just keeps up with the people it seems (omg I remember this one day at Alta, just empty it seemed and the powder kept dumping), but then the canyon gets closed or goes 4x4 - logistical nightmares, realizing you need to park your FWD vehicle at an already full park & ride and have 7 cash per passenger to ride up and down the bus that day (that is once again packed). I can tell you that 4x4 rentals can be had for $400-440 (walk up to the counter negotiate) a week, but you will not necessarily always find SUV's on the net for below $600-700 a week quite often - so most people don't rent them because of that.

 

 

 If I80 is closed / restricted its a good bet LCC and BCC will both also be closed / restricted. You want to have a sleeping bag in the car in LCC if its storming since they can and will impose restrictions or close the road out  in the afternoon some days and if you don't make it out you are stuck there until morning (or whenever).

 

Quote:

 

I have never skied up north in Ogden. I hear conflicting things about it - all of which keep me from going. Visibility, less snowfall, lower elevations, terrain traps/gullys to deal with as you search for pow @ Pow Mow.

 

You don't know what you are missing.

Quote:

If I were you I would head to Park City (and stay in Park City). It is really the place to be, everything is right there and geared towards skiers. SLC really takes away from the vacation feel as you really feel like you are dealing with the same ole if not worse traffic then your morning commute already has. Sure you can hop up the canyons every morning and do that, if that is for you then great. You can stay on Fort Union Blvd or 10600 (with public transportation being really viable on fort union) and ski up the canyons in the day - and dine at a TGI Fridays at night.


 

If you want to do something amazing that most don't attempt and still say you skied "all of Utah" - I would do the interconnect tour. Start @ Deer Valley and end your day @ Snowbird. Basically reiterating the importance of being in Park City. 

 

I think staying in SLC sucks, but I've stayed "all over SLC" - the airport, west side of town (ugh to both locations), 10600, etc. All the hotels suck really though, with none of them being close enough to make you feel like you are avoiding the city (unless you stay up the canyon).

 

If your idea of a vacation is driving - then staying in PC and driving to SLC will offer you tons of it. I would either stay in PC or in LCC. BCC is great and all but I would rather be in LCC considering the costs. If I could I would stay at Montage @ Deer Valley and do the interconnect trip daily, that's a vacation :)

 

I don't want to sound like a total promo guy, but Hyatt has a credit card that offers 2 nights free anywhere in the world upon sign-up. The Canyons has a Hyatt Escala Lodge (which is a very nice hotel). Slopeside. Costs like $250-330/nt, but you can use those 2 initial nights at that hotel there. 

 

The terrain is easy to compare really. PC has basically rolling mountains with less gnarly terrain. BCC/LCC have gnarly terrain, cliffs, less exposed faces - mountains in your face approach to skiing. Between all of the PC area resorts you can definitely find some fun, especially @ the Canyons and the 9990 chair, or Jupiter @ Park City. I just think if you are going to go to a BCC/LCC resort - do it right and stay up the canyon. Anything else and you are really just not going to get the right ski vacation. Especially if you've been to Telluride time and time again. 


I had to end my powder day due to my vehicle- having no chains, not being 4x4, canyon going 4x4 restriction at like 2pm and closing at 6pm. Drive down in a rental with suicide slicks on it.......not fun.

 

Others are spot on as well - SLC is kind of a gloomy crappy city. Inversions and nasty smog, yuck. SLC is interesting to drive around though. If you ever want to drive around an area full of jobs, building, and expansion. SLC seems to be it. They just dig a hole if they need some more jobs. SLC doesn't build up, they just build out. So it is miles and miles of city in every direction. You should make sure to get creeped out by the massive fortresses downtown that the mormons own as well. I bet there is more interesting stuff going on behind closed doors there then @ area 51 now.

 

 

There are some **** hotels in SLC, they are all down town and are quite reasonable compared to Park City. Though downtown SLC isn't very cute or walkable. Also, the Pavillion Inn in Murray is a very nicely run *** that is reasonably priced.

 

The Marriott in downtown Ogden is also a nice place to stay and reasonable. Downtown Ogden is very cute and walkable. Not a bad base for N. Wasatch.


Edited by tromano - 11/13/11 at 8:04am
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