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First time skiing in Utah.... looking for recommendations.

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 

Hello all, I'm new to the forums but not new to skiing. I've been living in the Vancouver area for the last 10 years (20 years skiing in Western New York prior) and spend my day trips skiing Mount Baker, Whistler or Steven's Pass WA. Do a fair bit of slackcountry touring and have spent the last 5 seasons heading the the BC interior for 10-14 days couch surfing and skiing Revelstoke, Whitewater and Red Mountain.

 

This year me and buddy, who I consider advanced as well are heading to Salt Lake City for 10 days of skiing, with so many options to choose from the snow (and how much falls) will determine what hills we hit.

 

What advice would you guys give for what we NEED to ski when we're there.... we're likely going to stay near Park City (got a deal there) but have no problem driving to good snow or terrain.

 

Any advice is welcome!

post #2 of 28

20101006_snowbird_tram.jpg

 

AltaBird pass.

End thread. 

post #3 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by COBillsFan View Post

20101006_snowbird_tram.jpg

 

AltaBird pass.

End thread. 

 

icon14.gif

 

A trip to Snowbasin would be worth it as well but what he saidsnowfalling.gif

 

and bring your touring geareek.gif

post #4 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by UGASkiDawg View Post

 

and bring your touring geareek.gif

& booze!

 

JF

post #5 of 28

It's all good. I would stay flexible depending on snow. I have a condo in PC and stay there. But, I ski all over. if the PC areas got a bunch of powder over night, doesn't seem worth the drive to Cottonwood Canyons. But sometimes it's 6 inches in PC and over a foot in the Cottonwood Canyons. Then it is.Sometimes the Northern areas (Snowbasin and Powder Mountain) get the goods more than PC or Cottonwoods.  I watch the weather and pick wherever seems to to be the best for the next day. Lots of choices. 

post #6 of 28

If you're a "True" pow hound and want get some deep stuff............. locals won't tell ya this but avoid Park City and head to Snowbasin/Powder Mtn or Solitude or anywhere in Big Cottonwood Canyon or Sundance...... Alta/Bird and just about all of PC get skied off by 2nd chair ok maybe 4th chair! LOL............. so unless you have local knowledge head to the remote areas in Big Pow!popcorn.gif...... on second thought..........since the OP has never been there .......... better to hit Alta/Bird and PC to get that out of your system........... especially the cool ski tunnel at Alta/Bird + amazing terrain, and the food and service at Deer Valley................

post #7 of 28

Here is my take on Utah. I'm not local, but accumulated some "knowledge" over the years visiting SLC:

 

1. Park City - fancy little town, typical American destination resort town. It takes about 40min on freeway to get there from SLC. From Park City town center it takes 5-10min drive to all of 3 resorts there:
 
    - Deer Valley - relatively small (still big compared to any Tahoe resort), snobby (very expensive tickets, even 2 years old paid $45!!! in 2002). Best grooming in US. They have limited ticket sales to control crowds, which is plus during holidays. Get there earlier to get a ticket! And no snowboarders - skiers only.
 
    - Park City - right in the town center. 2002 Olympic site. Crowds, crowds, crowds...
 
    - The Canyons - kinda on the side, less snobby out of the 3 resorts, smaller crowds due to a little bit weird resort layout. It spreads over 3 canyons (thus the name). Takes time to get to the good stuff, but once there it is all good. Can be crowdy in the morning when the mob tries to get to the bottle neck gondola in the bottom - this might change recently sine they opened an additional lift, me thinks.
 
Out of these three, I prefer The Canyons. But it could be difficult for snowboarders since there are a lot of traverses.
 
There is a ski bus going around in case you do not rent a car. Relatively easy to get around the city.
 
2. Little Cottonwood Canyon is home for Utah's legends - Alta and Snowbird. Both are about 1 mile from each other, Snowbird, then Alta when coming up the canyon from SLC. You can get a dual ticket to ski both (there is a pass-thru on Baldy Mountain thru Mineral basin when coming from Snowbird side). I would not recommend to buy it though - the ticket is way too expensive and you will not be able to cover both areas in one day. Do it separately - day Alta, day Snowbird. Alta still does not allow snowboarding and is more rusty (slower lifts, not fancy everything ect) to preserve "real skiing spirit". Less crowded than Snowbird and arguably has the best powder in US.
 
Snowbird is big and spreading across 3 sides of a ridge. All good - huge terrain variety. There are 2 options for tickets at Snowbird - with or without tram. Without is like $10 cheaper and in my opinion there is more than enough terrain to ski without tram given you will be there for a day. YMMV though.
 
Both resort have some on-the-mountain accommodations (Alta less, Snowbird more) from where you can walk to the lifts. If you are alone, there are dorms available. I do not have details, but you can get them on their web sites.
 
Big Cottonwood Canyon - Brighton and Solitude. Brighton is a paradise for snowboarders - never been there. Solitude is a close second to Alta for powder and the name speaks for itself - no crowds. Very nice mountain, especially if you go deep inside over the ridge. It is less crowded because big sisters on the other side in Little Cottonwood completely overshadow it. There are some resemblance of accommodations over there as well.
 
If you decide not stay in one of the Cottonwood canyons, then you need to stay in Sandy - it will take about 30 min on a car from its center to either one of the Cottonwoods. There is a ski bus stopping at most of the hotels and I estimate it will take an hour - an hour and a half to get to the lifts.
 
Keep in mind that on snowy days they may shutdown both canyons for avalanche control. Big Cottonwood usually opens first.
 
3. Snowbasin - close to Ogden north of SLC. This place being a little of the track is less known and thus empty. It is also relatively new place that was virtually rebuilt for 2002 Olympics - both Men and Women Downhill has taken place there. It is 20 miles of Ogden. If you get there - restrooms are the one of the places to visit. Seriously - it is a must see.
 
Mountain is one of the biggest in US - close, if not bigger, to 3000 acres. Has all you possibly can have - groomers, cliffs, bowls, trees, whatever. Based on the lifts layout it is kinda spread over 3 independent ridges, but it is still easy to get around.
 
DO NOT BUY LIFT TICKETS IN THE WINDOW AT THE RESORTS! Any local ski shop or hotel in SLC or Sandy will have them with at least $5 (even more for multi-day) discount!
 
Go to http://www.skiutah.com/ - official Utah's site and browse thru. Lots of good info and lots of coupons and tips for how to get discounts....
 
Hope this helps,

 

cfr
 

post #8 of 28

Alta/Bird & Snowbasin are the class of UT. 

post #9 of 28
1. Discounted lift tickets can be found on Liftopia.com . As suggested above, do not buy at the window.
2. The three resorts in Park City are world class. The ultimate terrain may be in Alta or Snowbird, but you will have great skiing right at your door step. I'd try to ski it all.
3. When you know what resorts you will be skiing, the locals and resort "Ambassadors" here can give you the can't miss runs to make the trip more memorable. For example, I can help out at Canyons.
4. Check out the Ski Utah Interconnect Tour, which is a backcountry adventure hitting up to five resorts in one day. This is different than the "Interconnect", which is a concept to link seven Utah resorts with lifts that may or may not happen in the future (it is a long story). I was going to do the backcountry tour last winter but canceled because the snow was sparse when I was in Utah.
5. I must disagree with a poster above. The three PC resorts won't run out of powder in a few runs, and perhaps not in a few days. Canyons and PCMR resorts are huge with lots of powder well after each storm. Deer Valley, despite the ultra grooming, still has powder stashes to find well after a storm probably due to the resort banning boarders.
Edited by quant2325 - 10/16/12 at 10:29pm
post #10 of 28

I love the terrain at Snowbird and Alta but the drive up the canyon can really suck when conditions are at their best.  Even late in the season the "locals" can be super aggressive when there is powder to be had.  I would far rather ski Snowbasin and Power Mountain.  I can find more than enough good skiing there to keep me entertained for a week or more and the locals are almost always super friendly.  The higher base areas in LCC give Alta/Bird a big advantage when the whether is more marginal like late spring or all of last year.

post #11 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by cstreu1026 View Post

I love the terrain at Snowbird and Alta but the drive up the canyon can really suck when conditions are at their best.  Even late in the season the "locals" can be super aggressive when there is powder to be had.  I would far rather ski Snowbasin and Power Mountain.  I can find more than enough good skiing there to keep me entertained for a week or more and the locals are almost always super friendly.  The higher base areas in LCC give Alta/Bird a big advantage when the whether is more marginal like late spring or all of last year.

 

i just took the bus up form the bottom of the canyon when the snow was bad...

 

Coming off collins i was following the folk i was on the lift with and the hot girl dropped her pole entering high traverse... so i stopped to pick it up for her... i then got hit by about 5 folk who i was int he way of!!! got it all on video pretty funny!!!

post #12 of 28

My take as a local:

 

Little Cottonwood (Alta/Snowbird): each has a different feel, but both have good challenging terrain with plentiful snow. Best combo of snow and challenge in Utah.

 

Big Cottonwood (Brighton/Solitude): Both are smaller areas worth a day. I prefer Brighton. Most of the teenage boarders stay in the park. Solitude can be ok, but hard to get around, imo.

 

Park City resorts are lower in elevation don't get as much snow as LCC or BCC. But if the snow is good, they are each worth a visit. I view all 3 as mostly blue cruising resorts lacking the off trail challenge of alta, snowbird and snowbasin.

 

Snowbasin should be on your list. Great layout. Good challenging terrain. Only hit against it is the lower elevation can mean worse snow conditions than LCC or BCC.

 

If you are staying in PC, I would watch the snow report and plan accordingly. Alta, Snowbird and Snowbasin should be the top 3 to visit.

 

As someone else said, get your tickets at any ski shop and save some $.

 

If you hit Alta, shoot me a PM and I would be glad to show you around.


Edited by cbgarrett - 10/17/12 at 11:14am
post #13 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by scottydonald View Post

Coming off collins i was following the folk i was on the lift with and the hot girl dropped her pole entering high traverse... so i stopped to pick it up for her... i then got hit by about 5 folk who i was int he way of!!! got it all on video pretty funny!!!

 

Where is video?

post #14 of 28
Thread Starter 

Wow thanks guys, lots of things to think about for sure. I am traveling with a border, may have to dump him off and ski Alta with touring gear, if that works out I'll Pm you CBgarrett. Looks like we're going to be staying up around Ogden, bit of a change of plans from my OP, that said being from the Vancouver area, I'm used to waking up, checking reports and driving up to 3 hours to ski depending on who got the most/driest snow. Whistler hardly ever gets my $.

 

Great advice guys, thanks a bunch!

post #15 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by cfr View Post

 

Where is video?

actually on youtube but no american can see it due to copyright if i remember right -

 

but try - in this trip report... 2nd vid...

 

http://www.epicski.com/t/112065/spring-skiing-round-salt-lake-city-april-6th-to-15th

post #16 of 28
post #17 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by scottydonald View Post

actually on youtube but no american can see it due to copyright if i remember right -

 

but try - in this trip report... 2nd vid...

 

http://www.epicski.com/t/112065/spring-skiing-round-salt-lake-city-april-6th-to-15th


 I can view it... Quit a few falls, huh wink.gif

 

Cheers!

post #18 of 28

Lot's of good advice here.  I'd just say play it loose and hit a bunch of different resorts and see what you like.  Look at the snow reports and go where the goods are (assuming you can get there)

 

I'd say the following are must ski:

 

Alta, Snowbasin, Snowbird

 

Then one BCC resort (Brighton or Solitude) perhaps both.

 

And one PC resort (PCMR, Deer Valley, The Crayons)

 

There's your first 5 days.  For the next 5 days, use what you have learned and go where you like.

 

I haven't skied Powder Mountain or Beaver Mountain, so I can't comment on those.  Skip Wolf Mountain/Wolf Creek or whatever they call it.  Sundance is kinda neat, but it's a long way from Ogden for a not very large resort, so I can't recommend that.  Don't go to Brighton on a Saturday.  Alta/Snowbird tend to be swamped on powder days (it's like everyone in SLC calls in sick to hit the slopes) - if you're crowd averse you might want to go elsewhere on powder days.  Then again, there's a reason why those two are swamped more than the others...

post #19 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gcooker View Post

Wow thanks guys, lots of things to think about for sure. I am traveling with a border, may have to dump him off and ski Alta with touring gear, if that works out I'll Pm you CBgarrett. Looks like we're going to be staying up around Ogden, bit of a change of plans from my OP, that said being from the Vancouver area, I'm used to waking up, checking reports and driving up to 3 hours to ski depending on who got the most/driest snow. Whistler hardly ever gets my $.

 

Great advice guys, thanks a bunch!

Its a short and easy driver to Snowbasin from the Ogden area and the drive to Pow Mow is short but more difficult.  I recall it taking about a hour or a little longer to drive to LCC from downtown Ogden.  I think Pow Mow is worth checking out while you are in the area.  Its not like any place else I have skied.  It has a seriously funky vibe with the whole bus serviced skiing part but there are little to no crowds and the place is huge.  Its not too hard to find good snow days after a storm there.

post #20 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by cfr View Post


 I can view it... Quit a few falls, huh wink.gif

 

Cheers!

yep... the tomohawk was the best one... 4 flips... down high rustler...

post #21 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by cfr View Post

Here is my take on Utah. I'm not local, but accumulated some "knowledge" over the years visiting SLC:

 

1. Park City - fancy little town, typical American destination resort town. It takes about 40min on freeway to get there from SLC. From Park City town center it takes 5-10min drive to all of 3 resorts there:
 
    - Deer Valley - relatively small (still big compared to any Tahoe resort), snobby (very expensive tickets, even 2 years old paid $45!!! in 2002). Best grooming in US. They have limited ticket sales to control crowds, which is plus during holidays. Get there earlier to get a ticket! And no snowboarders - skiers only.
 
    - Park City - right in the town center. 2002 Olympic site. Crowds, crowds, crowds...
 
    - The Canyons - kinda on the side, less snobby out of the 3 resorts, smaller crowds due to a little bit weird resort layout. It spreads over 3 canyons (thus the name). Takes time to get to the good stuff, but once there it is all good. Can be crowdy in the morning when the mob tries to get to the bottle neck gondola in the bottom - this might change recently sine they opened an additional lift, me thinks.
 
Out of these three, I prefer The Canyons. But it could be difficult for snowboarders since there are a lot of traverses.
 
There is a ski bus going around in case you do not rent a car. Relatively easy to get around the city.
 
2. Little Cottonwood Canyon is home for Utah's legends - Alta and Snowbird. Both are about 1 mile from each other, Snowbird, then Alta when coming up the canyon from SLC. You can get a dual ticket to ski both (there is a pass-thru on Baldy Mountain thru Mineral basin when coming from Snowbird side). I would not recommend to buy it though - the ticket is way too expensive and you will not be able to cover both areas in one day. Do it separately - day Alta, day Snowbird. Alta still does not allow snowboarding and is more rusty (slower lifts, not fancy everything ect) to preserve "real skiing spirit". Less crowded than Snowbird and arguably has the best powder in US.
 
Snowbird is big and spreading across 3 sides of a ridge. All good - huge terrain variety. There are 2 options for tickets at Snowbird - with or without tram. Without is like $10 cheaper and in my opinion there is more than enough terrain to ski without tram given you will be there for a day. YMMV though.
 
Both resort have some on-the-mountain accommodations (Alta less, Snowbird more) from where you can walk to the lifts. If you are alone, there are dorms available. I do not have details, but you can get them on their web sites.
 
Big Cottonwood Canyon - Brighton and Solitude. Brighton is a paradise for snowboarders - never been there. Solitude is a close second to Alta for powder and the name speaks for itself - no crowds. Very nice mountain, especially if you go deep inside over the ridge. It is less crowded because big sisters on the other side in Little Cottonwood completely overshadow it. There are some resemblance of accommodations over there as well.
 
If you decide not stay in one of the Cottonwood canyons, then you need to stay in Sandy - it will take about 30 min on a car from its center to either one of the Cottonwoods. There is a ski bus stopping at most of the hotels and I estimate it will take an hour - an hour and a half to get to the lifts.
 
Keep in mind that on snowy days they may shutdown both canyons for avalanche control. Big Cottonwood usually opens first.
 
3. Snowbasin - close to Ogden north of SLC. This place being a little of the track is less known and thus empty. It is also relatively new place that was virtually rebuilt for 2002 Olympics - both Men and Women Downhill has taken place there. It is 20 miles of Ogden. If you get there - restrooms are the one of the places to visit. Seriously - it is a must see.
 
Mountain is one of the biggest in US - close, if not bigger, to 3000 acres. Has all you possibly can have - groomers, cliffs, bowls, trees, whatever. Based on the lifts layout it is kinda spread over 3 independent ridges, but it is still easy to get around.
 
DO NOT BUY LIFT TICKETS IN THE WINDOW AT THE RESORTS! Any local ski shop or hotel in SLC or Sandy will have them with at least $5 (even more for multi-day) discount!
 
Go to http://www.skiutah.com/ - official Utah's site and browse thru. Lots of good info and lots of coupons and tips for how to get discounts....
 
Hope this helps,

 

cfr
 


Great post, let me add  Powder Mountain to the list..... With 14in or less of fresh, there is no where else I would want to be in Utah.  Fresh lines all day!     More then 14in of fresh, stay way, its not steep enough

post #22 of 28

Ya know .............we really need to keep our mouths shut! ...............Me included!................ Powder Mtn really sucks!............. Massive crowds, terrible service and you can get lost out there! Don't go there in search of Pow!!!!! .............. You won't find any!!!!

post #23 of 28

If you're staying in Ogden, I'd focus the most attention on Snowbasin and Pow Mow, unless the snow dictates otherwise. No sense in driving an hour fifteen to the CCs everyday when you can drive 20-25 minutes to Snowbasin or Pow Mow. Snowbasin is the best all-around resort in Utah when you consider terrain, lack of crowds, lifts, etc. Snowbird has more big-mountain terrain, but Snowbasin will definitely keep you entertained. 

 

Pow Mow is the place to mine for fresh when the last storm was days before. It's not particularly challenging compared to Snowbird/Snowbasin/BC, but it has its spots and has the snow long after the others.

post #24 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yo Momma View Post

Ya know .............we really need to keep our mouths shut! ...............Me included!................ Powder Mtn really sucks!............. Massive crowds, terrible service and you can get lost out there! Don't go there in search of Pow!!!!! .............. You won't find any!!!!

Don't forget the asbestos and rabid yetis.

post #25 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by cstreu1026 View Post

Don't forget the asbestos and rabid yetis.


OMG .............You've seen them too!!!!! .............. nasty things!!!!

post #26 of 28
Thread Starter 

Powder Mountain was first on our list of places that we needed to check out.... I like the feel of less "resorty" ski hills, more akin to Red Mountain/Whitewater type vibe.

post #27 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gcooker View Post

Powder Mountain was first on our list of places that we needed to check out.... I like the feel of less "resorty" ski hills, more akin to Red Mountain/Whitewater type vibe.

The local ski hill in Indiana feels more like a resort.

post #28 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gcooker View Post

Powder Mountain was first on our list of places that we needed to check out.... I like the feel of less "resorty" ski hills, more akin to Red Mountain/Whitewater type vibe.

You will love Powder Mountain then.  I will only ad that Alta and Snowbird are the only resorts with long top to bottom vertical runs...have not skied Snowbasin but that must  as well or it could not host the Olympic DH.

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