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THREE WEEKS IN UTAH SLC -- HOW LATE CAN I GO?

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

I am retired so time is not my master anymore. Worn out knees so stay on the groomers mostly.

 

My question is how late in the season can I go and still be sure of good snow. Missing the odd day is OK I only plan to ski 2 days out of 3.

 

My current thinking is the first three weeks in March but maybe I should go a little earlier?

post #2 of 16
You'll be fine the first 3 weeks of March in BCC/LCC.
post #3 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by SKI-3PO View Post

Agree. You'll be fine the first 3 weeks of March in BCC/LCC.
March is often (though not always) the start of the snowiest part of the year. A little warmer and wetter, some t-shirt weather, some batten-down-the-hatches skiing, but either way there's plenty of base to play on.
post #4 of 16

You never know. One of the best ski trips I ever took was the last week of March and first week of April. Snowed 165 inches in 14 days at Alta. The last 2 years there has been a warm week in March, but at least the last 2 years it has not been the end of March. Seems to be more a function whether a high pressure ridge sets up over utah. If it's stormy, it will feel like winter. 

post #5 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by TQA View Post
 

I am retired so time is not my master anymore. Worn out knees so stay on the groomers mostly.

 

My question is how late in the season can I go and still be sure of good snow. Missing the odd day is OK I only plan to ski 2 days out of 3.

 

My current thinking is the first three weeks in March but maybe I should go a little earlier?

Where in the SLC area are you planning to ski the most?  LCC/BCC or elsewhere?

post #6 of 16

Best powder day in 53 years of skiing was in early April at Snowbird. YMMV of course.

post #7 of 16
Depending on their season, Snowbird usually starts selling their spring pass mid to late March.
Your savings could be significant or you could ski till June.
post #8 of 16
Quote:
You'll be fine the first 3 weeks of March in BCC/LCC. 

True.  The Park City areas are lower and more east facing, so spring conditions are routine in March there if it hasn't snowed for a few days.

post #9 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post
 

Where in the SLC area are you planning to ski the most?  LCC/BCC or elsewhere?

Will stay in SLC so am likely to ski LCC BCC mostly with trips to Snowbasin Canyons Park City and Dear VAlley when conditions are good.

post #10 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by TQA View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post
 

Where in the SLC area are you planning to ski the most?  LCC/BCC or elsewhere?

Will stay in SLC so am likely to ski LCC BCC mostly with trips to Snowbasin Canyons Park City and Dear VAlley when conditions are good.

In that case, even late March into early April is be a reasonable time to be in SLC.  Usually special deals at Alta starting early April for lift tickets.  Alta Demo Day is probably April 12.  Can't think of a reason to move earlier into Feb.  A warm spell can happen any time, including in Jan.

post #11 of 16

there is no bad time to go.  March is likely more crowded.  my most common trip(at least 12) is arriving the Thurs after President day, and I'll be there again this year.(2/20) I think early to mid-March could be more crowded with spring break and people looking for warmer weather.   it snows about the same amount from mid-December thru mid-April - so even if you are looking for powder anytime in those boundaries is a crap shoot. 

 

the problem with spring (which starts last week in Feb).  is the sun and warmer weather.Park City and Snowbasin in April could be dicey for some.  I've skied PC resorts about 6 times on the first Thurs after Presidents Day (for free of course) and most of the time the sun was already affecting the skiing, in fact on a few trips it was downright "sloppy" on the lower half of the mountains.  the other problem with March on is with a warm front.  warm weather >40F, along with the higher sun will melt the snow surface, fine in the afternoon, but the problem is when it freezes overnight making both on and off trail crusty and what some would call icy.  that problem was pointed out by a thread started by beginner from Florida (EUSA something- the Legend!)a few years ago.  Let's just say he had trouble!  And for the expert skier, warmer weather will make the moguls icy and hard and steep(they steepen as wet snow is scraped off in the afternoon) and the steeps downright dangerous.  In February you aren't EVER (well, almost never) going to have a problem with the melt freeze cycle, not in the Cottonwoods anyway. But the conditions could be just perfect all the way through.  Likely most of the time they will be for you.

post #12 of 16

I don't know anyone whose spring break is in early March.   My timeshare week at Snowbird can start as early as March 5 and end as late as March 18.  The later weeks of that range overlap with Ontario's spring break, which I doubt has much effect on Utah.   In general spring breaks are spread over a 4 to 5 week timespan and never generate the crunch that Christmas does.  Then there are places that get President's week off, so I think it's hard to make the argument that March is a more crowded ski month than February for the vast majority of ski areas.  I would agree that post New Year's to maybe first week of February is less busy than later.

 

I've had a disproportionate number of warm sunny weeks during that timeshare.  Snowbird is one of the best places to ski in that scenario because there is so much steep north facing terrain that retains a packed powder surface even when it's warm.  There are parts of the mountain that can have difficult surfaces, but I've been fairly lucky to have very little of the "widespread refreeze with no warmup" scenario.  Usually what cools down the weather in LCC after a dry spell is the next storm, which in LCC will often bury everything. 

 

SnowbirdDevotee is correct about powder incidence being the same mid-December through mid-April.   Mid-December can have the risk that there's not enough base under the new snow.  For the past 17 years Snowbird averages being 73% open mid-December and 1/4 of seasons are 55% or less open. Last weekend had epic powder in LCC but only half of Snowbird's acreage was open.  Alta was great, but if I'm flying in from afar I want BOTH Alta and Snowbird to be fully open.  I'd rather live with working Snowbird's potential spring conditions in March with the whole mountain open.  And of course the powder days will be better if all the terrain is available.

 

Park City and Snowbasin have less natural snowfall, lower elevation and more east exposure. lf you're booking far in advance I would confine trips with lodging base near those areas to the core  period of mid-January to mid-March, avoiding the considerable risks of incomplete coverage earlier and sloppy surfaces later.  Of course, one of SLC's key virtues is that if the "less reliable" places are good when you're there, it's still no problem to ski them in less than an hour's drive.

post #13 of 16
Thread Starter 

OK guys thanks for all the advice and reassurance I guess I will be booking the first three weeks in March.

 

If it gets warm I can always ski the 'bird and Alta - life is tough.

 

BTW the reason I have not replied here for a few days is I have been sailing up from Bequia St Vincent to St Lucia and we had the nastiest storm of the year with heavy rain resulting in several deaths and much infrastructure disruption on the islands including the wifi !

post #14 of 16

Does anyone else remember skiing in LCC on July 4th a few years ago? It wasn't brilliant, but it was good enough!

post #15 of 16
You have to time it right.

Last year I spent 6 days in March skiing in Park City. I forget which week it was but the temperatures were in the 40s and 50s. Snow was melting in front of my eyes. Aawwwffuulllll conditions for skiing anywhere in PC. I left on a Saturday and the day after I left, the weather drastically changed and the entire area had a TWO FEET DUMP. %&*#$(%&%@@!

You have to time it right.
post #16 of 16
Thread Starter 

Well I am at the end of my three weeks and it has been three great weeks of spring skiing in sunny conditions. I managed a couple of days on the Park City side on post storm days and had good conditions but spent most of my time at Alta Snowbird Solitude and Brighton. Despite the well above average temperatures the Cottonwood canyon resorts skied well even on days when it was 65f in SLC. .

 

So the first three weeks in March are fine.

 

Life is good.

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