Just back from a weeks skiing in the Salt Lake City (Utah) area. I'll write a trip report for each mountain we skied, but we'll start with Solitude and where we stayed etc.
We traveled out on the Tuesday from Boston with Delta - a direct flight of just over 5 hours.
We decided to stay in downtown SLC, which is ideally located for all of the Utah mountains, should you decide you want to tour around. It does mean that you have to drive out to the mountains each day but trip times weren't too bad and averaged around 45 minutes to the Park City and Littlewood Canyons resorts and between an hour and an hour and a half to Powder Mountain and Snowbasin. As someone who lives in Boston, a 90 minute drive to skiing is not a big deal at all!
As a note of caution, I would say that Downtown SLC seemed (to me) to be be a little run down. We were approached by a lot of homeless people whilst walking to dinner in the evening. As an adult couple, I dont think this would be a big deal - but we are a family of four and the kids found it a little disconcerting. Its just an observation, and it was nothing more than asking for money etc, but I know some people would probably like to know before they make a commitment to stay in this area.
So, to the skiing:
Day 1 - Solitude
We arrived at Solitude after a scenic trip up the Canyon road. There are a lot of signs indicating the need for 4WD vehicles and snow tires so it is definitely worth insisting on these when you choose your rental car. I can imagine that the benefit of being able to get up the road on a big powder day without having to get the bus, would be worth the extra cost. First tracks on these Cottonwood Canyon resorts seem to be at a premium, and being first to the mountain would certainly be a benefit!
Solitude was our first glimpse of a Utah resort and it was beautiful. The first thing we noticed was how quiet it was. This was the Tuesday of Presidents week, and to be honest, there was hardly anyone there at all. The picture above is taken at lunch time, when the majority of the mountain is coming down to eat at the lodges. It just goes to show where Solitude got its name!
The snow conditions at Solitude improved throughout the day - it was clear that the region hadn't seen a lot of snow for a week or two, and at first, the off trail opportunities were limited to firm, but not icy bump skiing - the trails were in great condition though and excellently groomed. We spent the day exploring the mountain, lapping the Eagle express lift in the morning, enjoying the speed we could muster down the Grumble, Rumble and Serenity trails. They were perfect leg burning groomers, and just what we needed to get the skiing legs into the groove.
After lunch at the wonderful Honeycomb Grill - I can thoroughly recommend the food there - the snow arrived and continued to lay down about 3 inches of powder, not much, but enough to freshen things up a little and encourage us to move off of the trails.
We headed up the Sunrise and Summit lifts to access the higher terrain and were impressed by what we found. At first we just Dynamite and Liberty trails and what could be found to the side of them - up there, the off trail stuff was softer and even when bumped up, it made for great fun... In the end though, we made the decision to go through the gate into Honeycomb canyon and enjoy the opportunities that this area offered. We had the kids with us, so we didnt try anything too advanced, but certainly Buckeye Junior and the run down through the Canyon to the Honeycomb return chair, didnt provide anything too difficult for the kids (they can ski most black diamond stuff confidently) and we did this a couple of times before returning to the Eagle Express for the last few runs of the day.
I would thoroughly recommend Solitude to anyone who is thinking about a trip to Utah. On a powder day, I can imagine it is fantastic... Even on this day - with the worst snow conditions we experienced during our week (we were luck enough to see a lot of snow during the week) it was a joy to be there.