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Headed to PCMR, what should I know about?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

I will be joining friends vacationing at Park City Mountain Resort this winter. I will be there from  January 25, 2014 to February 2, 2014.

 

I am 54 years old, fairly fit, level 9 skier. I am fairly competent in any snow conditions.  I prefer ungroomed snow to groomers, but do not mind the latter, especially at the end of the day when the old legs get tired.  This will be my second trip to Utah, after Snowbird/Alta two years ago.  My understanding is that PCMR is easier than either of the LCC ski areas.  It also looks like the mountain has to be skied in 1500 vertical feet increments.  The Canyons Resort looks like it has a more interesting trail layout, but plenty of flats at the bottom.  Where should I ski?

 

Also, is there interesting "sidecountry" that is lift accessible at either area.  I have AT gear and skins, so I do not mind a traverse or boot pack to get to the goods.  I do not mind skinning back up at the end of a run either, as long as it can be done within reasonable time (no more than 45 minutes).  Do any such opportunities exist at either PCMR or the Canyons?

post #2 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pacobillie View Post
 Where should I ski?

 

Also, is there interesting "sidecountry" that is lift accessible at either area. .  Do any such opportunities exist at either PCMR or the Canyons?

 

 

LCC.  Your going to be there during Sundance, bring your black clothes.

 

 

Dutch Draw at the Canyons has a disproportionate amount of fatalities.  Be very careful!

post #3 of 6
Park City has the back bowls, Jupiter, Puma and Scotts, and some legitimate "sidecountry" in Pinecone Ridge. Pinecone is a serious bootpack & southeast aspect, but it's vast and when it's good & cold, it's fantastic. It's bombed, so it's not true BC, but almost no one goes there because few can hack the climb. The Canyons has a great deal of BC off the backside down into BCC and an easy skin up, but I only know that from others- I'm sure you could get some great info on here or from local touring sources. Try checking with White Pine Touring in Park City for a start. Dutch Draw is a killer but mostly because it's easily accessed from the resort and people drop in there with no equipment, no training, & no brains on high danger days.

Sundance can be insanely busy in town- best to have a kitchenettes and stock up on groceries- but the resorts are uncrowded.
post #4 of 6

The post above gave you info about PCMR and skiing in Dutch Canyon (off 9990).  Canyons is a bit more complicated.  If really 8 separate mountains each with its own personality that connect to each other, and most visitors miss the good stuff because they don't know where it is or take a wrong trail and end up where they don't want to be.  Here is what you need to know:

 

1) 9990 is where you want to spend some time.  It is never crowed since it is expert only terrain.   If you ski too far away from the 9990 lift you can end up on the Saddleback lift, which defeats the purpose of skiing that side of the resort.  So I'd avoid runs like Charlie Brown and Red Pine Chutes until you want to head back in that direction.  There are plenty of YouTube videos of tourists skiing 9990.  You won't find the number of cliffs or chutes that hallmark Alta or Snowbird, but the powder will stay there for a while and you are unlikely to see more than a few people on the runs, and perhaps no one else through the trees.

2) The resort has six fun natural half pipes that almost all first time visitors miss.  Ski them.  A perfect example is Canis Lupis, found off a long gaper-groomer called BOA.  The locals ski it end of season in a fun race  (Check out all the Canis Lupis Challenge videos on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4axLinPFhms . The groomer is paradise for intermediates and will be boring for you.  Canis Lupis is fun and void of skiers because they have no idea it is there.  There is a theme here: Some of the fun stuff is where other people can't see it.

3) On powder days it is possible 9990 opens late for blasting (there have been deaths in past years).  No problem.  The Abyss (through gates) and Mystic Pines (no gate) will be open and the Peak 5 chair will have no lift line.  When 9990 opens just skate over to the lift.

4) When heading back consider taking a fun run off the Tombstone lift called Grande, which leads into another natural half pipe (Pinball Alley). The map doesn't line them up right, but trust me on this one.  Grande starts out through the fence and is flat with likely some bumps, then goes through trees that lead you to a flat open field that is quite steep, which leads you into the half pipe.  It beats skiing a double blue when heading back to Red Pine Lodge. 

5) There might be leftover powder a few days after a dump off Saddleback.  Just take a hard right after getting off the lift, go through the trees (really a facade) and you will wonder why no one else is skiing it.  From Ecstasy to Shadows, it is all void of skiers.  There are a lot of tourists skiing Saddleback, and I usually avoid it because there may be a lift line.  I hate lift lines.  But I like the tourists that always miss the fun stuff.

6) On the other side of the mountain you have some nice runs off the top of Super Condor if there is coverage.  On most years there is no problem.  The last couple of years was a bit dry.  Anyhow, these runs are a blast when there is coverage. 

7) Canyons has a couple of gates with access OB.  Be very careful since there have been deaths on days when avalanche danger was considered high or moderate.

8) Consider trying the Ski Utah Interconnect Tour and hitting six resorts in one day through the back country.  I have never done it but heard it is pretty good.

 

Yeah, there are run outs.  There are also a bunch of mountains to ski without any crowds if you get away from the Red Pine lodge. Both PCMR and Canyons are very big in size.  You could have some serious fun there.

post #5 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pacobillie View Post
 

I am 54 years old, fairly fit, level 9 skier. I am fairly competent in any snow conditions.  I prefer ungroomed snow to groomers, but do not mind the latter, especially at the end of the day when the old legs get tired.  This will be my second trip to Utah, after Snowbird/Alta two years ago.  My understanding is that PCMR is easier than either of the LCC ski areas.  It also looks like the mountain has to be skied in 1500 vertical feet increments.  The Canyons Resort looks like it has a more interesting trail layout, but plenty of flats at the bottom.  Where should I ski?  

 

For your level of skiing, I have to recommend Canyons over PCMR.  For your age, I'm thinking Super Condor area over 9990.  Better fall lines and less lift lines over there... well at least this was the case pre-orange bubble monstrosity days.  

post #6 of 6

You'll catch the last day of Sundance, so it shouldn't be too much of an issue. Usually during the festival the mountains are shockingly empty. It seems all the rooms are booked by people more interested in film and cinema than skiing.

 

The three resorts in Park City (PCMR, Canyons, Deer Valley) are convenient to ski and all very close. The free bus system in town makes access to any of these resorts a snap. Without generalizing too much - I find Deer Valley to have the best groomed terrain, Canyons the most variety, and PCMR the easiest to explore.

 

There aren't any publicly accessible backcountry gates at PCMR (to my knowledge) due to the surrounding land being privately owned. As mentioned a couple times already, Canyons offers a few sidecountry options, although it seems every year a group of ill-equipped skiers and/or riders find themselves on the wrong end of a slide.

 

As quant2325 suggested, try the Interconnect Tour. It's a long day, but the experience is generally reported to be very positive. If you are on vacation sometimes paying a little bit more for someone else to make all the arrangements is worth it! Leave the planning to someone else :)

 

One thing I might suggest is to broaden your scope... Snowbasin to the north is an amazing mountain, especially with recent snow. Oftentimes during a lackluster storm in Park City, Snowbasin will report double the snowfall. Another great option is Powder Mountain. They offer very reasonable Snowcat skiing at a per-ride rate. I think it's about $15 - $20 per trip.

 

Our company, Park City Four Wheel Drive, rents new SUVs to visitors that want to go explore these other mountains. Our vehicles are equipped with 4 wheel drive, rooftop cargo boxes and room for 5. If you don't want to rent a car for the entire time you're in Park City, consider having us deliver one directly to your hotel for the day and we'll pick it up when you're done. Feel free to drop us a line if we can help.

 

Have fun!

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