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Snowbird. Rent a car or using the shuttle

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

Hi. We (that means my wife, 3 boys and me) are staying for 12 days at Snowbird next January, planning to ski Snowbird and Alta. We don't have plans to go to other resort near SLC. My question is: Do I rent a car/SUV or I use the shuttle from SLC to the resort?

 

Given the fact that we are 5, the price of the shuttle is half the price of renting a SUV.

 

But, on the other hand, the day I reach SLC I'll need to do some shopping (both food and maybe gear) and we'll have all the luggage with us and that will be a problem.

 

I have one additional question: it is a possible to go from Snowbird to SLC after a ski day to have dinner? Or it is not advisable to drive at night? From example, when we went to Snowmass we used to go to Aspen some nights. But it seems to me that the road conditions are much difficult here? is that true?

 

Thanks in advance

post #2 of 15

The compromise solution and one that would work fine is to rent a full size car as opposed to a SUV. Probably would be the same as the shuttle for 5. The road is fine so long as it's not snowing hard, and it would be easy to go to dinner in SLC. Once again, so long as it's not snowing. But if it's snowing, just stay put. And with that many days, I would give some consideration to going to ski somewhere else as well. I always like the flexibility that having a car provides. The one glitch would be if you arrive or have to leave during serious storm. Then you need all wheel or SUV car. You will be amazed how short the drive is up LCC from SLC. I think it's about 8 miles from the mouth of the canyon to Snowbird. But it's a big change.  

post #3 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by TanoB View Post

Hi. We (that means my wife, 3 boys and me) are staying for 12 days at Snowbird next January, planning to ski Snowbird and Alta. We don't have plans to go to other resort near SLC. My question is: Do I rent a car/SUV or I use the shuttle from SLC to the resort?

 

Given the fact that we are 5, the price of the shuttle is half the price of renting a SUV.

 

But, on the other hand, the day I reach SLC I'll need to do some shopping (both food and maybe gear) and we'll have all the luggage with us and that will be a problem.

 

I have one additional question: it is a possible to go from Snowbird to SLC after a ski day to have dinner? Or it is not advisable to drive at night? From example, when we went to Snowmass we used to go to Aspen some nights. But it seems to me that the road conditions are much difficult here? is that true?

 

Thanks in advance

I second the idea of considering a car.  You could make a reservation that can be cancelled, then make a decision about whether or not to use it closer to the date of the trip.  With good snow conditions, there is certainly more than enough fun to be had at Alta/Snowbird for 12 days.  But since you are so close to other good ski areas, it would be a shame not to check at least one or two out.  I'm thinking in particular about Snowbasin, which is an easy 1.5 drive from Alta by car.  Also, have heard the Olympic museum in Park City is worth a visit.

 

The ski bus up the canyon is geared towards those heading up in the morning and going back to the city in the afternoon.  The last bus goes about 5:30 or 6:00pm.  So definitely not a reasonable option for dinner in the city.

 

From what I understand about Aspen, LCC is very different.  The town of Alta is quite small, not someplace to walk around for shopping or other activities.  There is a reason that the lodges in Alta all include meals for guests who stay there.  Note that you could eat dinner at the lodges and the food ranges from very good to excellent, but certainly not cheap.

 

If you decide to rely on a shuttle from the airport, I'm pretty sure it's possible to have the driver stop for groceries on the way to Snowbird.  I know people who have stopped to get discount lift tickets on their way to Park City.  Should be able to ask the shuttle companies.

 

It's possible to get transportation from Alta to the city for shopping.  I know a guest at Alta Lodge who wanted to go shopping and they arranged for transportation.  I assume it's possible to do that for dinner as well.  But I think if you did that a couple times, it might be just as reasonable to rent a car.  Obviously if driving is iffy due to snowstorms, you wouldn't be going into the city for dinner in any case.

 

Do you know what Interlodge means?

post #4 of 15

I am in a similar position as "TanoB". My wife and I are thinking of going to ski in SLC next Jan/Feb for just over 2 weeks, and I am debating whether I should fly or drive up to SLC from San Fran.  Should I fly or drive?

Also any hotel recommendation in Sandy/Midvale area which is close to the shuttle for Alta/Snowbird?

post #5 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scavenger View Post

I am in a similar position as "TanoB". My wife and I are thinking of going to ski in SLC next Jan/Feb for just over 2 weeks, and I am debating whether I should fly or drive up to SLC from San Fran.  Should I fly or drive?

Also any hotel recommendation in Sandy/Midvale area which is close to the shuttle for Alta/Snowbird?

Hmm, looks like a 10 hour drive.  Very much a personal preference choice.  My ski buddy drives from NM to SLC for a late season get together with friends at Alta Lodge every year.  He stays overnight along the way and makes it in time for afternoon tea.  Makes it much easier for him to bring his quiver (2-3 pairs of skis).  For a 2-week trip, I'd be thinking about driving in order to not have to pack for airplane travel with skis, boots, etc.  But then I drive 4 hours one way for ski weekends in VA.

 

If you are happy with a basic motel room, the La Quinta in Midvale is okay.  Has an indoor pool with hot tub, and free hot breakfast that includes make-your-own waffles.  Can get a SuperPass at the desk.  I think there is a ski bus stop about a block away.

 

The bus from SLC up to LCC or BCC is a city bus, but runs only during ski season.  If you get a SuperPass, that includes a bus pass.

post #6 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scavenger View Post

I am in a similar position as "TanoB". My wife and I are thinking of going to ski in SLC next Jan/Feb for just over 2 weeks, and I am debating whether I should fly or drive up to SLC from San Fran.  Should I fly or drive?
Also any hotel recommendation in Sandy/Midvale area which is close to the shuttle for Alta/Snowbird?

last April I was at a residence inn in Sandy, not sure if it's close to the bus though, it was cheap, good new rooms and had free breakfast and a full kitchen which is nice even for a take out dinner! can have beer always cold in the kitchen :-) probably will stay there again

about driving or not I think it depends on how much stuff you guys will have, if you are bringing 2+ pairs of skis each, plan on renting apartment with kitchen and do your all things at least a few days I would drive, if you are renting gear that would already make me wanna fly
post #7 of 15

I'll second the Residence Inn, but I've stayed in the one at the base of big cottonwood.  It's about the same distance to LCC.  Also not sure about the bus, just drove up.  There are several decent restaurants you can walk to nearby.

 

I'd suggest the OP reserve an AWD vehicle.  I don't think there are enough restaurants in LCC 12 days, and you'll save enough on food driving down a couple times to pay for the rental.  It's a similar distance as Snowmass to Aspen.  The road is either fine, or it's not and you stay put.

 

You need AWD reserved in case there are restrictions when you show up.  If the road is clear you could always downgrade.  If there's a storm at the tail end of your trip, you should be able to get *down* LCC in any vehicle.  It's going up where you sometimes *need* four wheels driving.   If there are restrictions, I don't think they check folks going down, but I could be wrong.

 

Also, you'll need a car to get the the Patagonia outlet.   That's the one shopping stop I always make when I ski LCC!

post #8 of 15

Get a car.. Ive stayed in places like the Crystal Inn numerous times and always had and always recommend getting a car even though a shuttle was already paid for. So much else to do at night and during the day. If the roads closed you can use the shuttle that day.

 

Another advantage of a car is that you can go around to Park City if you want. If your kids are into the terrain park stuff at all PC is an awesome place. Brighton too.

Snowbird is, and will always be my favorite place, but there are some other world class places around to see.  Murray is minutes from Snowbird and has shopping, restaurants and everything else. Just a quick ride in a car to get to it all.  I have a wife and three kids also and a rental car is  a must for us.  

post #9 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scavenger View Post

I am in a similar position as "TanoB". My wife and I are thinking of going to ski in SLC next Jan/Feb for just over 2 weeks, and I am debating whether I should fly or drive up to SLC from San Fran.  Should I fly or drive?

Also any hotel recommendation in Sandy/Midvale area which is close to the shuttle for Alta/Snowbird?

I drive and fly from Phoenix. By looking at the map I'm 100 miles closer. The drive is 11 hours for us from our door to the condo at Park City and exactly 700 miles. We leave at 11pm at night and get in around 10am. After sleeping while I drive the family hits the slopes while I get some sleep. Then I go around 3-4 pm to the slopes until 9pm (PCMR).

 

Flying is way easier, but you have the additional expense of a rental car. Also the expense of luggage unless you fly southwest.

post #10 of 15

Get a car. The skiing at Alta and Snowbird is great, but after that it's just a couple of expensive bars.  Sandy is a boring suburb, so you really need a car there.  The bus ride from downtown SLC is too long.  Solitude, Snow Basin and Powder Mountain can all be worth visiting if you have a car.  I like Brighton and Sundance as well.

Always get a car for Utah. You never need a car in Steamboat, Aspen or Telluride.

 

BK 

post #11 of 15

My wife and I drove up form Phoenix and spent ten days in SLC the week before Xmas. Although we used the shuttle to get us up the Box Canyons, I can't imagine the inconvenience of not having a car to get us around the rest of the time. Even if you ski everyday, you still need to shop, eat, sight see and go to the movies. We would have been prisoners in a motel without our own transportation.

 

The other thing to consider is where to ski and how to get your tickets. There are so many world class resorts in the area, it's a shame to get locked in to just the four with the Super Pass. We used Liftopia and were able to hit Alta, Snowbird, Brighton, Park City and Brianhead at huge savings over any of the passes and other discounts. We never paid over $50 for a ticket and got some for close to $30. Plus we had the flexibility to follow the snow. The shuttle looks good, but you are limited to what you can carry and are bound by their schedule. We were done one day by 11 at Alta, but had to wait till past 3 to get the bus back down.

 

Even if you use the shuttle, you still need a car.

post #12 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thanks everybody. It seems there is a consensus that I should get a car. Marznc, yes, i have heard about interlodge, thanks. I will also consider visiting a couple of other resorts, too
post #13 of 15

Here's a suggestion for a relaxed day for exploring.  Sleep a bit late, drive into SLC for some shopping, then head over to Brighton.  Can get a Twilight ticket that's good 12:30-9:00pm.  Ski into the lights.  Not all the trails are lit, but enough for few more runs instead of having to pack up at 4:00pm.  Brighton has Mountain Hosts, so it's easy to get advice about where to go that's most appropriate for your family's abilities and snow conditions.  Then could have dinner in SLC before heading back to Snowbird.

post #14 of 15

12 days is a long stay.  If it were me, I would rent a car.  This will give you some flexibility to do want on your schedule and give you the opportunity to explore the area.

post #15 of 15
Did you see the movie, The Shining? Might want to rent it before deciding if you want to be stuck in a hotel...for 12 days...in the winter. Just saying.
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