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park city

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 

Park city sounds great for our family (3 kids 19, 17, 15 - one boarder and 2 skiers -- all advanced, comfortable on diamond and double diamond) and my husband and me (intermediate only).  We can only go between Christmas and New Year due to schedules.  Crowds???  We skiied Snowmass last year and were suprised at how short lift lines were and happy with fairly empty slopes even tho we heard the lodging was at capacity.  But, snow was icey.  Looking for that good powder..... what do you think?  Will we spend more time in lines than on the slopes??

post #2 of 27

I will recommend the Canyons Utah...  The only line that you need to worry about is the Gondola up to the first 1/3 of the mountain.  After that you have 7 peaks to enjoy.  The largest obstacle is to not get separated, as even if you know the resort it takes 40min of aggressive skiing to and lift riding to get from one side to the other (with not lift lines).  They have a great ski school program for any of you that might want it, and terrain to challenge anyone, short of hucking cliffs.  I also like it because you avoid some of the crowds of Park City.

post #3 of 27

I suppose it kind of depends on how long you are going to be there and if you were planning on just staying in a slope side hotel.

Because, for the most part, the resorts in Park City, and up Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons are all pretty close together, and with a rental vehicle or potentially even the bus (I know they run up BCC and LCC, and I think they go up to Park City as well, but I'm not sure, I don't take the bus because I don't live in Salt Lake City, but I'm not that far away) you could ski quite a few different resorts without much trouble if you're going to be here for a while.

Though I guess Alta isn't an option since you have a snowboarder.

 

As for snow conditions... I've only been to Park City resort once and I wasn't really that impressed with it, although it may have had to do with the time of year, and I really don't know how much it has changed because that was like 10 years ago and I haven't bothered to go back, mostly because there are a lot of other choices.  The snow wasn't that great and the lines were longer then what I was used to, maybe it was just a bad day.

Deer Valley is also out because you have a snowboarder, I've never been there and don't really know many others who have either.

The Canyons, it mostly depends on where you ski.  The older part of the mountain tended to be pretty bad and icy a lot, but they've expanded it a lot over the last 10 years, and the times I've been there lately I've always ran into good snow, at least on the newer parts of the mountain, as thats where I spent most of my time.  The only thing about that is that most of what I was skiing was more advanced runs, so I'm not sure how the intermediate runs are.  As skiknight said, its a big resort and takes a while to get around it.  I ran into quite a few lines near the lower lifts, but the lines were usually pretty short in the farther off lifts that tend to service mostly more difficult terrain.  Of course I haven't been enough to say consistently how the snow quality or lift lines are.

 

The resorts up the Cottonwood Canyons (Brighton/Solitude, and Alta/Snowbird) all generally have really good snow conditions, its been rare that I've had bad days at them.  But they are all quite a bit smaller then Park City and The Canyons, which probably isn't a problem for a day or two but it might be if you plan on being at the same resort for a week.  The lines at all of them can be good or pretty long at all of them, just depending on the day.

 

Although over the Christmas to New Years break there are a lot of people off work/school and most of the resorts are probably going to be pretty full.  At least with The Canyons and Park City they are a bit farther away and probably won't get as swamped with people as the other resorts, which are all right outside of SLC.

post #4 of 27

If you want good snow and relatively low holiday crowds look into Solitude, UT.  Cute little base village at a higher, snowy elevation than PC and it's right next to Brighton ski area.  Only thing, not the numerous diversions of a town like PC or Aspen/Snowmass, but maybe that is a good thing if you want to be sequestered for quality family time.

post #5 of 27

I skied Park City pretty regularly as a kid in the 80s and that was always the most crowded week- still had a good time, but there were a couple of years where it was still early season conditions with no powder to speak of.  Utah (esp Alta/SB) gets great snow, but, like anywhere, it is not a foot fresh guaranteed every day.

post #6 of 27

I'm not sure I'd definitely choose Utah over Snowmass based simply on snow.  Having been to both places, it's true that Utah gets more snow than Colorado, and sometimes better quality snow ....but as MEfree says, there are no guarantees.  I've been to Utah and had icy, over-groomed conditions on piste and refrozen mank off-piste.  It's always a bit of a crapshoot and while Utah is a better statistical bet, it's not a sure thing. 

 

My $0.02 is that Snowmass has the chance to be less crowded at that time b/c once they max out lodging, there's no one else coming.  In Utah, you have the entire SLC metropolitan area, plus visitors who are visiting and staying there.  So you can end up with far more skiers at peak moments (which is Xmas vacation). 


If you simply want to try a different place, Utah is great.  And I'd second Solitude or perhaps Snowbasin as places that don't get as crowded.  But don't assume snow at Snowmass is always icy or that snow in Utah is always good, that's all.

post #7 of 27

^^

I agree, if you didn't have the boarder and you could stay ski in/out at DV it might be nicer.  But PC and the Canyons aren't nearly as good as Snowmass and if you add in Aspen Mt. and Highlands, it's not even close. 

LCC/BCC have really good snow, but they also have 2 million people that live within an hour.

post #8 of 27

SNOWBASIN!  40 MINUTES FROM PC but more than worth the trip!

 

 

post #9 of 27

I like a Solitude and Brighton a lot. Never stood for more than 2 minutes in a line.

Plus you gotta love anything called 'Honeycomb canyon'...

 

 

 

post #10 of 27

What does everyone think of the Canyons?

post #11 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by c bell View Post

What does everyone think of the Canyons?



It's neat.

 

As to the OP, my best suggestion is to just forget about crowds and plan the location that looks best for you. It sounds like you're looking for a full-on resort destination as opposed to a ski area (limited to no lodging, restaurants, shops etc.), and those tend to be the most crowded any time of year, but particularly at Xmas. Basically there isn't a more crowded time of year to go skiing than that week, but if it's the only week you go, just expect crowds and try to maximize the other aspects of the trip.

 

Park City is basically Utah's only real ski town, so it's going to be crowded on Christmas. Even Snowbasin, which is one of the least crowded big resorts in Utah is pretty swamped during the holidays, though the lines other than Needles Gondola aren't typically too bad.

 

Have fun, whatever you decide!

post #12 of 27

Last year was hard packed at Snowmass when you were there; I was in Little Cottowood Canyon at Snowbird the same time.  They had hardpack until a wet storm blew in to convert it to two feet of thick dense powder.  Colorado got the same storm and it softened it up as well. While the conditions can and do differ between Colorado and Utah, when the west gets stuck in a period of no snow and warm temperatures, it can be hard packed across the region.  The dry warm spell lasted through January for the California resorts. 

 

So, It isn't a safe bet to pick Utah for snow conditions vis a vis what happened last year in co or anywhere else for that matter.  Instead, I'd think about terrain, features, expense, and lift lines. Places with smaller crowds at Xmas include Aspen/Snowmass and Big Sky.  In Utah, I'd pick Snowbasin, it seems to get overlooked despite its world class amenities and terrain.

 

Mike

post #13 of 27

Been there 3 times, I'd pass. Never liked it. Ya got to wonder about a ski are called The Canyons instead of The Peaks.


 

I have always found it difficult to get around there and too many short pitches and then ski out, no continuity to the place. It's altiude also is comparatively low.

 

Snowbasin was fabulous! Uncrowded. (No overnight accomodations and a bit off the beaten track). Really great terrain and varied and laid out better. The Lodges are exquisite! It's owned by The same folks who own Sun Valley, so top notch food and again the lodges are gorgeous!  As you may remeber the 2002 Olympic Downhill, SG and Combined were held there. It is about a 40 minute drive from downtown Park City

 

High-speed gondolas, chairlifts, and a tram whisk snowsport and food lovers up nearly 3,000 vertical feet, unveiling variety of choices that satisfy all appetites. Snowbasin is known for high alpine bowls, steep chutes, perfectly groomed cruisers, deep-powder glades and two of the most challenging downhill race courses ever traced on a mountain. With diverse terrain for beginner ease, to challenging expert runs, Snowbasin also features three terrain parks and 26km of groomed nordic trails. Don't miss the four lane, lift assisted tubing hill for endless family fun.

 

 

http://www.snowbasin.com/mountain/trailmaps/

 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by c bell View Post

What does everyone think of the Canyons?



 

 


Edited by Atomicman - 11/15/11 at 12:27pm
post #14 of 27



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Quote:
Originally Posted by habacomike View Post

Last year was hard packed at Snowmass when you were there; I was in Little Cottowood Canyon at Snowbird the same time.  They had hardpack until a wet storm blew in to convert it to two feet of thick dense powder.  Colorado got the same storm and it softened it up as well. While the conditions can and do differ between Colorado and Utah, when the west gets stuck in a period of no snow and warm temperatures, it can be hard packed across the region.  The dry warm spell lasted through January for the California resorts. 

 

So, It isn't a safe bet to pick Utah for snow conditions vis a vis what happened last year in co or anywhere else for that matter.  Instead, I'd think about terrain, features, expense, and lift lines. Places with smaller crowds at Xmas include Aspen/Snowmass and Big Sky.  In Utah, I'd pick Snowbasin, it seems to get overlooked despite its world class amenities and terrain.

 

Mike



 

post #15 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by c bell View Post

What does everyone think of the Canyons?



Skied PC, Canyons and Alta last year (1st time in the SLC area).  While there were some great runs at the Canyons, I wasn't a huge fan of the mountain layout.  Found it a huge pain to move from the Gondola to the resort peaks further south and even a bigger pain trying to traverse back to the Gondola area in the late afternoon when patrol was steering everyone on to the "easy way out".  If you're caught at the Gondola at the end of the day downloading is a zoo.  Part of that was probably unfamiliarity with the resort, but felt like I was spending more time in the lift lines than skiing at times.  Someone who knows the resort well has probably got some secrets for getting around, but for a "newbie" it can be frustrating.

post #16 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by c bell View Post

What does everyone think of the Canyons?


I'll echo what others have said.  I skied it a handful of times years ago when it was much smaller and called Park West- the name correctly implied that it was the little brother of Park City.  

 

I skied there one day in 2004 and definitely ran into at least one navigation issue- As part of their expansion that added roads and homes up on the mountain along with some ski tunnels and over passes.  I was following what was basically a cat track sort of road and must have missed a turn somewhere and ended up in a spot where the option was to either: 1. hike back up and try to figure where I missed the turn or 2. take my skis off, climb down a snow bank, walk across a road that led up to a guys driveway, climb the snow bank on the other side and continue on down.  I choose the later and never figured out exactly where I made the wrong turn.

 

post #17 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by MEfree30 View Post


I'll echo what others have said.  I skied it a handful of times years ago when it was much smaller and called Park West- the name correctly implied that it was the little brother of Park City. 

Yeah, when it was Park West I didn't really care for it either.  I think the new expansions they've done have really openned up a lot better areas.

 

I also haven't found a good way across the lifts to get back to the lodges/parking area, it just takes a while.  If you plan on going back and forth much its a big pain, if you just do it once at the beginning and end of the day then its not too bad. 

But if I'm not mistaken they just put in a new lift this year to move people across the mountains without having to traverse 3 greens and 2 lifts to get back.

 

I made it there twice in the 2009/2010 season because they occassionally have decent deals on lift tickets (2 tickets and 2 lunchs for $100) otherwise I would generally hit other resorts.

post #18 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by joycelan View Post

Park city sounds great for our family (3 kids 19, 17, 15 - one boarder and 2 skiers -- all advanced, comfortable on diamond and double diamond) and my husband and me (intermediate only).  We can only go between Christmas and New Year due to schedules.  Crowds???  We skiied Snowmass last year and were suprised at how short lift lines were and happy with fairly empty slopes even tho we heard the lodging was at capacity.  But, snow was icey.  Looking for that good powder..... what do you think?  Will we spend more time in lines than on the slopes??



I've skiied Snowmass during President's week and Park City on both President's and Xmas weeks. (Kids can really put a damper on avoiding crowds).  I found park City to be no worse than Snowmass for crowds. Just stay away from the main base area and most of the other lifts were only a few minutes wait.  Probably 10 minutes once or twice a day when a lift might have stopped for a while. If you stay off the green and easier blue trails you will find you are alone alot of the time.  PC also provides much more to do when not skiing.

 

There are an abundance of good restaurants and plenty of shopping on Main Street. Enough to keep my wife (a semi professional shopper) happy for a full day while we skiied. At the end of the day we just skiied down to the town Lift and met her right on Main St.

 

If you go, don't miss Olympic Park.

 

post #19 of 27

I have been to the canyons twice and love it for what it is.  Yes you cant go from one end to the other quickly but I am not into that.  I like going to the furthest area and work my way back.  I haven't run into lines and generally avoid areas where they occur.  Plenty of terrain to explore and have fun.  Next trip out west (not sure when) would include the canyons as well as solitude and hopefully alta/snowbird

post #20 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by c bell View Post

What does everyone think of the Canyons?


 

There's a recent thread here about the Canyons you should look for as there's a lot of opinions.  Anyway, while da 'Bird is my favorite, if I'm in Park City, I'll go to the Canyons, over to the Dreamscape area and get a run after run with essentially no one around, even on holiday weeks. No liftlines at the Dreamscape or Iron Mountain sides during MLK weekend or President's week.

 

I never understood the confusion about getting around the Canyons. If you can follow a trail map it's really not brain surgery. Really. The place is just pretty big and spread out. 

 

Way prefer it over PCMR. 

post #21 of 27

Canyons sounds kind of like Sunday River in a way.  

post #22 of 27

The closest area to me this winter (today anyway) is Deer Valley.  Never been there but will.

 

Got to rip a little corduroy; but where to go there for off piste?  I will find it, but any help would be appreciated.

post #23 of 27
Thread Starter 

Thank you for all of the input.  If we choose a big resort in Utah, it will be Canyons.  But, I am looking into Snowbasin before I make my decision.  Sounds like we got unlucky with weather last year, which is always a roll of the dice with skiing.  Snowmass/Aspen may be our best bet to try again.  The point about Snowmass not having a big city near by is a good one - crowds are maxed out when lodging is full.  Thanks so much!  If we try Canyons or Snobasin I will let you know what we think!

post #24 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by joycelan View Post

Thank you for all of the input.  If we choose a big resort in Utah, it will be Canyons.  But, I am looking into Snowbasin before I make my decision.  Sounds like we got unlucky with weather last year, which is always a roll of the dice with skiing.  Snowmass/Aspen may be our best bet to try again.  The point about Snowmass not having a big city near by is a good one - crowds are maxed out when lodging is full.  Thanks so much!  If we try Canyons or Snobasin I will let you know what we think!

I love Snowbasin, but it's often sitting in the middle of a cloud - it's like the Whistler of Utah for visibility. Make sure the day you go it's supposed to be clear, as it can get real gnarly off the top of Strawberry. Sometimes the other side is (much) better - often not.
 

 

post #25 of 27

Canyons can make a nice "home base" while visiting Utah.  It is close enough to Park City for convenience, but just slightly off the beaten path.  You can hop on the free shuttle to Main Street for dinner, drinks, and some shopping, or head to Utah Olympic Park which is only a few miles away.  Also, it is less than an hour from Snowbasin/Powder Mountain and not much more to BCC/LCC.

 

Regarding the skiing at Canyons, we also experienced the "navigation issues" so often discussed on this forum our first few visits.  However, we quickly learned that with a good strategy, Canyons is a fun resort.  The best strategy is to pick a side of the mountain and ski it for a few hours instead of criss-crossing back and forth.  We like heading over to Dreamscape early and will usually stay on that side for the morning.  After lunch we typically explore the other side and ski the many runs off of Super Condor, including Murdock Peak.  Getting over there has been made much easier (and comfortable) with the addition of the new heated Orange Bubble chair.  Also, the Peak 5 and 9990 lifts typically never have a line and offer some great runs.  We stay away from the Tombstone lift at all costs, especially at lunch time and towards the end of the day.  This becomes the “boulevard” for everyone navigating back to Red Pine or the base.

 

Also, as others have said, a trip to Snowbasin is a must ... and not just because it is my home mountain.  It offers a wide variety of runs for all abilities, from top-to bottom cruisers to open bowls to chutes to trees and everything in between.  And I have to agree that there are times when visibility is an issue, especially over on the Strawberry side.  However, contrary to many posts, this is not the norm at Snowbasin.  More often than not the visibility is decent.  On a clear day, the views to the west across the Great Salt Lake from the top of the Strawberry Gondola and Mt Allen Tram are nothing short of amazing.

post #26 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by snofun3 View Post

I love Snowbasin, but it's often sitting in the middle of a cloud - it's like the Whistler of Utah for visibility. Make sure the day you go it's supposed to be clear, as it can get real gnarly off the top of Strawberry. Sometimes the other side is (much) better - often not.
 

 


I've never seen the entirety of Snowbasin covered in fog. On foggy days, you avoid Strawberry and open bowl areas, but there's still plenty to ride (though it helps to be comfortable on all levels of terrain).

post #27 of 27

You can't go wrong-The PC resorts are adjacent. DV and PCMR  share a ropeline and now that Canyons has added Iron Mountain, it's just a few yards from PC's Pinecone Ridge. Snowbird and BCC are a scenic 45 min drive and Snowbasin and Powder Mountain are an hour up I-84, one of the prettiest drives in the nation. Ditto Sundance, to the south. Utah is super kid friendly, and at 7000' Park City is pristine and beautiful. I always prefered staying up here than in SLC, which is a city after all, and driving, even if it was going to Alta every day.  But you needn't drive if you don't want to, although when you add up taxi fare from the airport a car makes sense. PC has a free bus and now there's a PC-SLC bus too. Anyway, do a search. There's tons on this. 

 

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