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Skiing+Riding in Utah in Early December

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

Hi.  Have a multi-part question.  Any help would be greatly appreciated.


I'm a relatively new snowboarder who rides mostly alongside a friend who's a very experienced skiier.  We've been to Park City Mountain Resort twice in the after New Year winter and both loved it, in large part because of how well-rounded a resort it is: enough green and blue runs for me to have fun and challenge myself and enough black runs for him to venture off and experience some good powder.  Mostly we stick together though.


We're returning to Utah in early December for a few days and were wondering what PCMR is likely to be like then, and also what other good options would be.  (The tickets have already been bought and are a part of a return trip to the East Coast, where we live, from a work trip out west--so we can't delay the trip until conditions are more ideal.)


We realize the obvious options for early December are Little and Big Cottonwood Canyons and totally want to explore them.  There is some hesitation though, and any direction would be greatly appreciated.  Our primary concerns are as follows:


1.  Snowbird looks awesome and big, but we're concerned it's going to be too advanced overall for me; I was a pretty solid blue rider at the end of last season after 9 days (ever) on mountains.  To give a reference point for those familiar with PCMR, I was handling blues like Thaynes Canyon, the King Con Blues quite well, and was making my way down Payday without falling.  I was no longer falling on the greens by the end of the season.


2.  Solitude and Brighton look less intimidating than Snowbird, but they also look quite small.  I would hate to have to get on lifts every 10 minutes because the runs are so short.


I am likely going to need a bit of time (half day at most hopefully) to get under my feet again, I realize.  So I guess my questions are: is Snowbird too advanced for a rider like me?  Looking at the numbers according to On The Snow, Snowbird seems to have more green+blue terrain than Solitude and Brighton have overall terrain (individually).  But are those green/blues really a different standard (and considerably more difficult)?  Will I spend those days falling and miserable and never get under my feet?  Are Solitude and Brighton too small to really get some good runs in at my level?  Or are they small but well laid out?


Any direction would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks.



post #2 of 8

If you're talking about the blues at Snowbird, they are definitely a step above PCMR in difficulty. Especially, the King Con blues which are pretty easy groomers. But they're not nuts either. I think you would be ok.Just be careful of venturing off the groomers as it's easy to get over your head when venturing off piste. I would ski Brighton first day which has easier and very fun runs, maybe 2nd day at Solitude which is a bit steeper as far as their groomers go and then hit SB. For early December, there should be more terrain available in Cottonwoods than PC.If there's some powder while there, experiment with getting off groomers.  

post #3 of 8

It's been a general consensus here that Snowbird sucks for intermediates and beginners. Blue terrain isn't necessarily difficult, but it is a lot of switchbacking cat tracks and not a whole lot of fun terrain. The trail map is deceiving because it shows the color, but not the orientation of the terrain, which is primarily narrow, crowded switchbacks. Search the forum for a more in-depth discussion (I'd imagine "Snowbird, intermediates" should do it), but that's the short of it. IMO, Snowbird is a great option for advanced and expert riders, but not so much for lower riders, especially on their first trip of the season.


I spend early December exclusively in the Cottonwoods unless there is a major storm elsewhere. So I'd forget all about Park City and plan a trip to the CCs. Solitude and Brighton are both fun mountains and worth the visit. If you're feeling up to it, you can always try Snowbird later in the trip.

post #4 of 8

If you go to Snowbird, stick with the Gad Valley side  or the right side as you are looking up. At least until you settle in.  There are plenty of intermediate slopes there comparable to PCMR.

post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all this.  It's all really useful and informative.  Will give Solitude and Brighton a go and then venture over to Snowbird.

post #6 of 8

For what it's worth, I skied alta/bird with a group of beginners from texas and they had a great time.

post #7 of 8

Solitude and Brighton are not small.  They are not among the biggest, but they both have respectable terrain, well worth skiing for anyone.

If a couple more good storms go through and the base is at least 30" and both gondolas are open, Snowbasin is the place you would probably pick as your favorite in Utah.

If you go to Snowbird, go to the top and ski all 3 bowls, but just take a hard look at the easier way down, the blue on the map.


post #8 of 8
Originally Posted by bscorp View Post

Thanks for all this.  It's all really useful and informative.  Will give Solitude and Brighton a go and then venture over to Snowbird.

icon14.gif You will probably find plenty at Solitude and Brighton for your trip for both of you. Many people (my self included) think the Bird is bad for lower level skiers. Some people think it is just ok. No one I am aware of says it is good compared to the other nearby options. The best reason to go is if you want to be nice you your friend who may want some more challenging trails, which is very nice of you.

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