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Snowbird too much? - Page 2

post #31 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by Liam View Post

This comes up about once a year..somewhere there is a good thread about one poster who ignored the good advice about avoiding snowbird if your are a beginner (or even if you are a true intermediate) and he had a terrible time.

 

 

All I can tell you is to please heed the stern warnings and you'll have a much better vacation.

 

Now, if you want the best advice, here it is---for a beginning skier going to utah you will learn to really fall in love with the sport if you spend your three days at Deer Valley.  Honest...yes, it is way more expensive, but if you are not a very athletic intermediate or better, the Little and Big Cottonwood ski  areas aren't that great (yes, I know, Alta has some pleasant beginner and intermediate terrain...but that is no reason to go to Alta!  Solitude is very pleasant as well, but again, for the advancing beginner, DV is way better).  And, Park City is a great place to vacation in.

 

Most folks are too cool for school and will sneer at Deer Valley because it's posh and pleasant (and snowboard free)...But for an advanced beginner looking for a great three days on snow in Utah, DV delivers.  And, It really delivers on the vacation part of a ski vacation!   

 

Great instructors there as well.


Bang! That's it. The thread is over. Seriously if you want to have fun as a beginner in UT DV is the best place to go. Forget about powder (you will hate it) forgetable challenging terrain (you don't want it).

 

post #32 of 54
Thread Starter 

No magic carpet or tow rope for me, please.  I want the lesson to build on what I've already learned, rather than repeating, so will call both places and make sure I am set up for the right level.  Insomnia hit me last night so I watched videos posted by skiers on Youtube of several green / easy blue runs at Alta and Brighton and they seem do-able (not to self: don't get over-confident).  To help prepare, I also will get in a couple more ski lessons before heading west.

 

The more I think about it, I'll probably not do Alta the third day unless I just fall in love with the place.  I've never been to Utah so would like to see more of the state and experiencing more than just Cottonwood will help in that regard.

 

Thanks for all the feedback.  I'll post updates when I return.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by durakski View Post

Make sure that your Alta lessons are going to be up the mountain/on the lift. Otherwise you will be stuck tugging the grizzly tow up the side hill or riding the magic carpet.

 



 

post #33 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by dprice72 View Post

No magic carpet or tow rope for me, please.  I want the lesson to build on what I've already learned, rather than repeating, so will call both places and make sure I am set up for the right level.  Insomnia hit me last night so I watched videos posted by skiers on Youtube of several green / easy blue runs at Alta and Brighton and they seem do-able (not to self: don't get over-confident).  To help prepare, I also will get in a couple more ski lessons before heading west.

 

The more I think about it, I'll probably not do Alta the third day unless I just fall in love with the place.  I've never been to Utah so would like to see more of the state and experiencing more than just Cottonwood will help in that regard.

 

Thanks for all the feedback.  I'll post updates when I return.
 



 


The transfer tow is not part of the beginner area. It is an integral part of ALTA's lift system. It is the fastest way from Albion to Wildcat base and back. All of ALTA's begiiner runs are out of the Albion base, if you park at Wildcat base you will have to take the tow... So make sure you park at Albion.

 

post #34 of 54

Grizzly tow boss, not the transfer tow...but yes, park at Albion.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by tromano View Post


The transfer tow is not part of the beginner area. It is an integral part of ALTA's lift system. It is the fastest way from Albion to Wildcat base and back. All of ALTA's begiiner runs are out of the Albion base, if you park at Wildcat base you will have to take the tow... So make sure you park at Albion.

 



 

post #35 of 54

Kurtis500 made a great point that may have been missed: you can show an airline boarding pass for free same day skiing at Park City or Deer Valley (at least that is the way it has been in the past)

post #36 of 54
Thread Starter 

Unfortunately the free same-day skiing offer is blacked-out from Saturday, February 18 to Saturday, March 31, 2012.

post #37 of 54

If you happen to get on the transfer tow, don't do what this guy did !!!

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6-6pQwo_9r4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

post #38 of 54

Snowbird is one of my favorite places.  Love, love, love it!  But - not a good first step from Crystal Mountain.  If your flight gets in early enough, check out the Park City web site.  They used to have a deal if you printed the form before you left home and showed up with form and a boarding pass from that day you could get a FREE half day ticket.  For your ability I would bet you would love Deer Valley.  Locals call it Fawn Valley, but the grooming is perfect and have free half day mountain guide sessions.  Not ski lessons, but show up at the meeting spot on the mountain, they look at your ability and show you some of the best runs to match your ability.

post #39 of 54

Let's review:  The OP has four days under his belt at a small midwestern resort.  How many here remember being in that position?

 

Ok, since I'm not seeing many hands, let me give my perspective as someone who learned to ski late in life (~40) at a small hill in Michigan (Mt Trashmore).  After four days, I was most certainly not ready to ski anything at Snowbird.  Maybe the OP is a much faster learner than I was, but even if he is, the greens at Snowbird are all cat tracks and pretty miserable to ski regardless of ability.  Those who said "do not go to snowbird" get a gold star.

 

Rewinding a decade and imagining what the terrain in Utah would have looked like to me after my first four days, my recommendation would be to start at Alta.  Alta has some of the easiest beginner terrain anywhere - the runs under the Cecret and Albion chair are roughly the equivalent of the blue runs at Crystal Mt (but a lot longer).  These lifts are free for the last hour of the day (and discounted for a full day pass) so this would be a good choice for arrival day.  If they're a bit too tame, he can always head up the Sugarloaf lift.

 

Brighton is also a good choice, although I doubt I would have been able to ski much of it after only four days.  The blues at Solitude are definitely steeper than the blues at Alta or Brighton, so I'd recommend that the OP save Solitude for the next trip - I would have struggled on the greens at Solitude.

 

The latest itinerary of a day at Brighton followed by two days at Alta is reasonable, but I'd say flip the first two days (Alta then Brighton) and then decide which you like better for the third day.  And get in as many days at Crystal as possible before you go - if you can ski Buck with confidence you should be fine on almost any blue at Alta or Brighton.

 

If there's a big dump of snow, think about driving around to Park City - for one, the road will be less likely to be closed or restricted to chains/4WD, for another they'll get less snow and groom more of the trails so the conditions will be more similar to what you're used to.  I know it's sacrilige to propose avoiding a Utah powder day, but as a beginner you'll struggle in a big dump. 

 

 

post #40 of 54

After spending New Years Day at The Canyons, I would revise my original recommendation for day 3 to include a day at one of the Park City resorts...It was my first full day there this year having been skiing mostly Alta/Brighton.  It is a totally different vibe from the cottonwood canyon resorts and if you are going to be  out here you may as well experience it.

post #41 of 54

Looks like the OP has it dialed.

 

I will never understand posters that insist on pretending Snowbird is good or even serviceable for beginners. It's not it's terrible for beginners. If it was the only resort in the area, and your group insisted on going there, you could find a few runs to keep you occupied. But since it's basically surrounded by other resorts, and since you have a choice of anywhere to go in the state/country, you'd be much better off anywhere else. Snowbird is one of the worst resorts for beginners and low intermediates in the entire country.

post #42 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by Walt View Post

Let's review:  The OP has four days under his belt at a small midwestern resort.  How many here remember being in that position?

 

Ok, since I'm not seeing many hands, let me give my perspective as someone who learned to ski late in life (~40) at a small hill in Michigan (Mt Trashmore).

 

Is "Mt. Trashmore" really the name of a ski area in Michigan???

post #43 of 54
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by durakski View Post

 It is a totally different vibe from the cottonwood canyon resorts and if you are going to be  out here you may as well experience it.



What do you mean by different vibe? 

 

Looking at options for if I do come over to the Park City area I was looking at prices...  I know the guys above recommended DV over everything else, but it is $88 for discounted lift tickets (pricey but I can deal with it) and $155 for a half day of lessons (um, no)?  Are the lessons that much better at DV compared to the other places?  I may just get lessons the prior two days at Alta/Brighton and use DV to practice what I learned.

 

Walt, I've heard of Mt. Trashmore... wasn't it a place downstate (long-since closed if I recall)?

post #44 of 54

"Mt Trashmore" is what the locals call Mt Brighton.  It's still open and running.

 

The rumor is that Mt Brighton is a former landfill, and after they filled it up by heaping up a bunch of garbage they decided to build a ski hill on it.  This isn't true - you can't open a ski hill on a landfill because the decomposing garbage generates heat which would melt the snow.  But, Mt Brighton is entirely man-made;  it's dirt and rock sculpted with bulldozers, not trash.  Despite the fact that it's not a former trash heap, Mt Trashmore name has stuck.

 

As for the "vibe" difference between Park City & the Cottonwood canyons, PC is a destination vacation area where rich people go to be pampered.  If you want to have servants opening doors for you, carrying your skis, calling you "sir", etc. go to Park City/Deer Valley.  Yes, you pay more for this service, and that's why the lessons are more expensive.  I can't imagine that they're any better than the lessons at Alta.

 

While it's worth experiencing DV style pampering once,  I wouldn't recommend wasting 33% of your trip there.

post #45 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by dprice72 View Post

Maui Steve - and others - I read Esumsea's report and it has me questioning things a lot, especially the comments about fresh powder not being anything like the groomed trails to which I've been limited.  Is Utah for me?  Am I better going to Breck or someplace easier in Colorado? 



I think you'll be fine in UT. There are no guarantees on conditions anywhere. If it snows heavily the powder will get piled up and you'll probably find it challenging. Though with lower probability, that could happen in the East. Alta actually has some very easy green trails and grooms trails off every lift. The blues off of the Sugarloaf lift are nice transition trails. We've only been skiing about 9 years and started as adults, we went to Alta as low intermediates and loved it. If you're adventurous there are lots of areas where you can venture off the groomers on terrain that's not very steep and where you can easily get back to groomed terrain. IMO, Powder Mountain is a wonderful place for intermediates to start venturing off piste. I've only been at Snowbird once and was with very good skiers on a day when it was snowing very heavily and visibility was very poor. IMO, it's probably somewhere between the "it's fine for intermediates" and "intermediates should never go here." I found it very challenging under the conditions but I think with a little knowledge and better visibility I could have a real good day there. That said, I don't think it's a great place for lower intermediates. Overall the PC areas are probably better suited and offer more options for beginners/low intermediates. The Canyons and Deer Valley have tons of nice intermediate terrain (I've never skied PCMR for no reason other than I've just never made it on our few UT trips).

post #46 of 54

I've been to Park City and Deer Valley in the area and I"m a lower intermediate. Both are great for my level. This is just from what I've been told - but Brighton is supposed to be pretty much perfect for my level. Lots of nice options from each lift (all between 1200 - 1700ft of vertical), plus it's cheap! I plan on visiting there as soon as I can!

post #47 of 54

If you want some variety I would do a day at Brighton, one at Solitude and one at Deer Valley. The first two being cheaper will average out the extra expense at DV. if you have a bluebird day try to make that your DV day (and hang out at the "beach" at lunch).

post #48 of 54
Thread Starter 

Update on this... I scrapped my plans to alternate resorts.  Today will be my third day at Alta and I'm loving it.  I've done private instruction for two hours each of the previous days (same instructor), and today we're going to do some of the easier blacks.  Easy being relative... they don't mess around with trail ratings here.  This isn't Kansas, Dorothy.  I've alternated between being scared #%!@less to good old exhilaration. 

 

Thanks for all the feedback.

post #49 of 54

interesting, thanks for the update. Has the weather been a challenge?

post #50 of 54

Hey, thanks for checking back in with an update.  So many posters never do.  Looks like you hit some good snow days this week.  Let us know how High Rustler was?!

post #51 of 54
Thread Starter 

Given all the feedback from the crew here, I am posting my TR here but will also add to the Trip Reports section.

 

Day 1:

 

I started a bit later than planned, jet lag from two weeks in Asia and a late flight into SLC conspiring to keep me in bed a couple of extra hours.   After a leisurely breakfast I arrived at Alta at 10:30.  The mountains were incredible, inspiring both awe at their beauty and fear at the height and steep slopes.  As I mentioned earlier, this isn’t Kansas anymore, Dorothy!  As I was purchasing tickets and a group lesson, the place was abuzz about the storm which was due to arrive later in the afternoon.  After inquiring, I decided to drive back to the Park ‘n Ride and take advantage of the ski bus.  My rented Chevrolet HHR was not equipped to deal with the snow.

 

After returning to the top, I took a couple trips up the Sunnyside lift to get a feeling for the Utah snow.  Crooked Mile and Dipsy Doodle / Home Run were manageable but more difficult in spots than the green or blue runs I had done at slopes in Northern Michigan and the Poconos.

 

Upon reaching the check-in for the ski school, I learned there were no other students so my group lesson was now a private lesson.  Awesome!!!  Sid and I chatted briefly, and then rode up Sunnyside so he could evaluate my skills.  I managed to handle Dipsy Doodle okay, and spent the day working on basic skills and tackling progressively more challenging green and blue runs.  We ended the day with a turn down Big Dipper and an agreement to continue the next two afternoons with private lessons.  The day was equal parts scary and exhilarating.

 

It was snowing hard when the ski bus left Alta, but the snow tapered off as we came down the mountain, so I opted to get a badly-needed haircut before buying groceries for the week and returning to my condo.  Bad move.  The snow was really coming down hard when my haircut was finished.  I finally reached my condo two hours later and without groceries or dinner; long story which I am too embarrassed to tell.  I am grateful for the Bonk Breaker in my pack as that was my sustenance for the evening.

 

Day 2:

 

I woke up very sore but ready to tackle the foot of fresh new snow.  I did a few runs to practice what I had learned the previous day, then met Sid for the day’s lessons.  Once again, we worked on basic skills training while working up progressively more difficult runs on Sugarloaf and Collins.  I was making plenty of rookie mistakes, including a couple of nice face plants in snow banks, but things were really starting to click and I was having a blast.

 

We ended the day picking out powder skis for the next day; the Volkl Unlimited AC1 I brought were fine for the groomed trails but poorly equipped for the powder. 

 

Day 3:

 

Loads of new snow the previous night resulted in closed roads and a long line of cars waiting to climb the mountain.  Rather than wait for the ski bus, I found a kind soul (Mike M who does lift maintenance at Snowbird) who let me ride up with him.  Great guy, and I learned a lot about SLC on the way up.  We just missed an avalanche, the cloud of snow the remnants of what must have been quite a show only seconds earlier.

 

Rinse and repeat from the prior two days, with 14 inches of new snow and a twist.  I picked up the rental skis and took a couple of runs down the groomed Crooked Mile and ungroomed / untracked Patsey Marley.  The skis were too much… 10 cm longer than my Volkl and I was struggling to maintain balance.  Back to the rental shop for shorter skis and I was in business.  Back to Sunnyside and Sugarloaf for a few runs and then lunch before lessons.  On the way down I saw an ermine running through the snow carrying a mouse it had killed.  Very cool.  Well, not for the mouse.

 

Lessons for the afternoon were a big success.  We started with a quick review before launching into more difficult hills.  I wish I could keep track of all the runs we came down but we were all over the resort, primarily sticking to runs off of Collins.  Some of the runs were quite bumpy – almost like moguls but not quite?  There also were a couple of short runs that seemed like a half-pipe; these were my favorite of the trip.

 

Recap:

 

  1. Buying lessons was the most beneficial thing I could have done.  Yes, they are pricey, but so worth it. 
  2. I feel very privileged to have learned from Sid at Alta’s ski school.  A very fine instructor and a good man.  I am a better person for having spent so much time with him.  We talked about everything from skiing, to his time spent overseas, to my doctoral dissertation.  If you have a chance to meet him, do so.
  3. If snow is in the forecast, get a 4x4.
  4. If you ignore #3 and choose to get snow chains, make sure a) you don’t buy cheap junk, and b) you know how to put them on.
  5. Alta rocks.  I really enjoyed the varied terrain, some groomed and some not.  I will most certainly come back.

 

post #52 of 54

Thanks for the report, sounds great.

 

Did you drive up on Day 2/3, or get the bus?

 

Any tips for a lower intermediate going to Alta for the first time? Where were the lowest level Blue runs?

 

 

post #53 of 54
Thread Starter 

I did the bus all three days - too much snow falling for me to trust the HHR (Chevy's version of the PT Cruiser).  If the roads were clear I would have driven up - the bus added ~20 minutes to the trip each way. 

 

On the tips front:

 

  1. Get lessons.  Sid is great if you can get him.
  2. Look at the Alta website for the runs marked "easier way down".  These runs are well-marked on the mountain and are as-advertised.
  3. Make sure your skis are suitable for the conditions.  If they aren't, rent them when you arrive.

 

 

post #54 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by BushwackerinPA View Post




I told him not to go. I was told I was a Dick. but I was right


Right about which?   wink.gif

 

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