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Skiing and Lessons at Snowbasin or Powder Mountain?

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 

We are heading to Utah for the first time ever and have decided on Snowbasin and Powder Mountain for this coming Christmas.   We are taking our sons (9 and 6), who have skiied and some friends who have never skiied.  

 

Which area is better for beginner and/or kids' lessons?   We plan on putting the boys in all-day lessons for at least two days.

 

I had read that Powder Mountain's beginner lessons are more tucked away from the general populace, which may be better for our friends.

 

Any other advice on the area would be greatly appreciated as well.

 

Thanks

post #2 of 26

I do not have a ton of experience with either - but Powder Mountain is a pretty minimalist place. While Snowbasin is pretty "full service" - in a bunch of ways that would likely benefit newbs. Plus Snowbasin has the benefit of 4ster keeping the instructors in line (seriously, a good thing).

 

Don't get me wrong. I'd love to play more at Powder Mountain. You'll probably have fun there. But I'd definitely bet on Snowbasin for instruction.

post #3 of 26

Snow Basin.  World class base area, lift system, and a well separated beginners area at the bottom.  They have the terrain and ski school available for a good learning progression for new skiers.  

 

Look up 4ester here on Epic.  He has taught there a long time.  If you are considering private or semi-private lessons he has been recommended many times here.  I would send my family out with him in a heartbeat.

post #4 of 26

I have a grand total of one day each at these ski areas so take following with a grain of salt.

 

 I think the combo would be quite nice for a Christmas trip since neither get extremely big crowds.  Agree with Spindrift that Snowbasin has a far more sophisticated infrastructure and is a great place for fairly skilled snow riders to ride state of the art lifts and cover a lot of ground.  It could easily be described as an intermediate/advanced paradise, but with proper snow conditions also can entertain super experts. The lodges are opulent with delicious food and the place is world class in many ways, BUT as you may know there is no slopeside lodging.  Many visitors stay at accommodations in nearby Eden/Ogden Valley or 30 minutes away in the city of Ogden. 

 

What do you plan to do for lodging?  

 

Powder Mtn is like a mom and pop ski area on steroids.  Plain lodge, very down to earth ambiance and a slow, awkward lift  network, but ironically it has slopeside lodging that is relatively affordable and could be utilitarian and convenient for a family group with young kids.  It might be a fine place to beat the holiday crowds and build confidence in beginners.  Much of the lift served terrain is very mellow.  The better skiers can explore the exceptional offpiste ski opportunities there, including a la carte snowcat skiing.  But anyone who bases their Utah ski trip at/near Powder Mtn MUST make a few day trips to nearby Snowbasin.

 


Sorry, I never commented on lessons because I did not take any at either ski area.

 

Here's a thread containing more comments and photos on the two places:

http://www.dcski.com/ubbthreads33/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=61449&page=2

post #5 of 26

Any ski school should be fine for a first time lesson. I don't think you will need to do a lengthy private lesson for a beginner / never ever kids. My only experience with a ski lesson at either was I took a never ever snowboard lesson at snowbasin and I thought it was perfectly adequate.  I would expect Snowbasin to have a better ski quality rental fleet, but I have no first hand knowledge of that.  

 

The beginer area at pow mow is segregated from the rest of the mountain, this is both good and bad. Good in that it is separeated from the rest of the lift system and seldom busy or crowded, bad in that it is separated from the lift system, some one has to walk / bus over to get there, and hard to ski together or meet up for lunch, etc...  I think pow mow has many times more terrain and trails suitable to a true beginner or first time skier than snowbasin. It won't make any difference day one for a true never-ever, but days 3+ if the new kids are progressing well to normal beginners, POWMOW offers much more. 

 

Bear in mind that Xmas time is pretty early season. And pow mow relies on natural snow. Snowbasin has a much more extensive snowmaking capabilities so pending weather it may be a much better option. I don't think this will impact beginner terrain much, but its something to watch. 

 

Also the "base" of pow mow (where the beginner area is)  is up at 9000' while the base of snowbasin (where the beginner area is) is at 6500'. So it would be warmer and easier to breathe at snow basin, but maybe better snow at pow mow...

 

Lots to think about. 


Edited by tromano - 7/7/12 at 12:25pm
post #6 of 26

+1 for Snowbasin in general, and 4ster in particular.  I went there this March with some friends ranging from beginner to intermediate, had a blast.  Jim was the consummate pro, he showed us the mountain and showed us how to ski (and even lent a hand to my gaper snowboard buddies).  SB is a fantastic place with good terrain and the best bathrooms anywhere (no really; whoever built the place had a thing for privys).  You will not be disappointed.

post #7 of 26
Thread Starter 

I appreciate all of the advice.

 

We are going to stay in Eden (Moose Hollow).  Our plan is to drive to Snowbasin with the option of shuttling to Powder Mountain if we want to split up.

 

Based on the advice, we will start at Snowbasin and play Powder Mountain by ear depending on conditions.

 

Should we rent/buy on or off mountain?  My wife and I might buy new boots while we're out there?

 

This is our first trek off the beaten path, so to speak, where entire ecosystems has not been created around a resort, which we're pretty excited about.  I look forward to skiing and relaxing. :)


Edited by DABBER - 7/7/12 at 1:00pm
post #8 of 26

Diamond Peak Sports have good boot fitting services in Eden, UT

post #9 of 26

Snowbasin is PERFECT, in every aspect.  My favorite along with Mammoth.

 

My kid was 4y/o, one of the best schools ever.

 

Went 1 day to Powder back in '84, never been back.

 

Enjoy.

post #10 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by gpaulski View Post

Snowbasin is PERFECT, in every aspect.  My favorite along with Mammoth.

 

My kid was 4y/o, one of the best schools ever.

 

Went 1 day to Powder back in '84, never been back.

 

Enjoy.

 

Snowbasin has limited offerings for beginner trails and what they do have is typically very crowded (by western standards). This guy has kids who have "skied some" and a few never-evers... Not really perfect for them...

post #11 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by tromano View Post

Bear in mind that Xmas time is pretty early season. And pow mow relies on natural snow. Snowbasin has a much more extensive snowmaking capabilities so pending weather it may be a much better option. I don't think this will impact beginner terrain much, but its something to watch. 

 

 

Neither one is known for it's early season conditions.  I think you'd be better off at Grand Targhee or maybe Solitude?  I guess you could always drive down there if necessary.?

post #12 of 26
Thread Starter 

Originally, our plans were to go to Grand Targhee.   There were some traveling issues we decided to skip.  We changed our plans and decided on Utah, since we had never been.

 

Any snow is better than the 85 degree Christmas we'll have in Florida. :)

post #13 of 26

I'm sure you'll probably be fine.  Just be aware that you may have to drive for optimal conditions, but your driving from Eden regardless?

post #14 of 26
Thread Starter 

We've only been able to ski during Christmas for the last fifteen years.  So, we're used to the conditions.

 

We're looking forward to it.

post #15 of 26

If you have not done UT before it is a no loose situation, provided there is any snow for you.  There really is a lot to experience there.

 

Make the time to walk around Temple Square in SLC during an evening.  I am not Mormon but their outdoor lighting and displays of nativities would be amazing for any ages.  The new 'City Creek Mall?', across the street should offer you some fun choices for a hot chocolate  break; think Rockefeller Square Utah style.  The region really does have a lot of flavor to it, or a least types of vanilla.  

post #16 of 26

+1 on the 'opulent' lodges at Snowbasin.  I've taken my wife there a few times, and that's what sticks in her mind above all else (I have no clue how that woman thinks, even after 27 years).

post #17 of 26

Wolf Mountain is another option, if it opens, and if splitting up is an option. I haven't been following the story, but it is/was up for auction, so not sure what the outlook is for the upcoming season. It's basically the default in the area for beginners - a small resort with mellow terrain and cheap prices. It's in Eden about 15 or 20 minutes from Pow Mow.

 

Of the two mentioned, I think Pow Mow is a better beginner's mountain. Like Tromano said, Snowbasin has a limited amount of beginner's terrain and it filters in other riders from above, which can be intimidating for beginners. That's especially true early in the season when there's limited terrain open - look for the thread about the fired Snowbasin instructor from last year to see what a $#it show it can be during a lean early season.

post #18 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by SHREDHEAD View Post

 

Neither one is known for it's early season conditions.  I think you'd be better off at Grand Targhee or maybe Solitude?  I guess you could always drive down there if necessary.?

 

All true.

post #19 of 26
Thread Starter 

Now, I'm back to being conflicted. :)

 

My kids learned to ski at Winter Park, where they are initially separated from the general populace with their own hill.  Once they get over that, they were further up the mountain.  The only hectic section was at the bottom where everyone funneled.   I know that was a bit daunting for new skiers, but it was only the last run.

 

Our friends, who are brand new to skiing may get intimidated.

post #20 of 26

No need to be conflicted.  Spend a day at each area, then decided which one is the best fit for the group.  Assuming you're staying for a week, you'll have plenty of opportunity to ski both areas.

post #21 of 26
Thread Starter 

We will definetly go to both.   I was unsure of where to take our kids and friends for lessons.   It looks like Powder Mountain may be a better choice for the abundance of greens and blues for them at least for their lessons.   Then we can hit up either for after that.  

 

Our plan is to have the kids in lessons for two full days and then they can ski with us.

post #22 of 26

I haven't taken lessons from either place, but agree that both can be good choices ... depending on how much terrain is open when you are there. 

Since PowMow does not make snow, their open terrain will be fully dependent on the early season snowfall.  If there is a lot of natural snow, they should have a good selection of easier terrain open. Snowbasin will make as much snow as possible in order to open as much terrain as possible by the Christmas holiday.

 

It is true that some of the easier runs at Snowbasin funnel down to a few main runs towards the bottom which can get busy (i.e. Bear Hollow, Blue Grouse, City Hill, etc.).  However, for the true beginner they have the Little Cat area at the base which usually has most of the slope partitioned off from the runs above so is a nice place for beginner lessons.  Then, once they advance beyond this stage, the instructors will know the best places to continue their lessons.  And as already has been mentioned, 4ster is your best bet for insight into instructors, lessons, conditions, and more when it comes to Snowbasin.

post #23 of 26

Snowbasin - no contest.  Snowbasin is world class.  I've skied all over Utah - and it is my favorite with Alta coming in a very close second.  

 

Don't get me wrong - Powder Mountain's off-piste skiing is second to none.  And while I can appreciate the "bare bones" aspect of the place - it just isn't my cup of tea and would be one of my last choices to take my children.  You'll have a much different experience and a more well rounded day at Snowbasin.

post #24 of 26

Another vote for Snowbasin as the place to introduce your friends to skiing in general.  If they are having a good time, consider a day at Brighton or Solitude.  Although I don't know how crowded it will be during Christmas.

post #25 of 26

I am a local at Snowbasin & Powder Mountain resorts. Both resorts have great ski school programs.  You would get quality instructors at either resort.  I would recommend trying both resorts while you are in the area.  If you have not made your room reservations then please check out our lodging at http://www.basinviewlodging.com
 

post #26 of 26

Haven't been to Powder Mountain (yet) so can't comment there, but my daughter (aged 9) spent 4 blissful days in lessons at Snowbasin in early January this year. She had 3 different instructors (owing to scheduled days off -- otherwise there'd have been more continuity), and they were all great. The ski school layout is very user friendly for kids, and while my daughter wasn't a beginner, there appear to be at least two distinct areas set aside for novice skiers. There is plenty of intermediate skiing, and the area has a sophisticated snow-making operation that ensured a good base when we were there, which Powder Mtn, sadly for us, did not. We stayed in a motel in Eden, which was a nice wee town and would have been very convenient to Powder Mtn had we gone up there. Even closer is Wolf Mountain, which is known as a beginner's hill. It offers night skiing, which the kids might enjoy (if it has any snow that early). Lift tickets are super cheap.

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