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snowbasin, canyons, deer valley and sundance resort

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 

Flying home today from this trip over past few days, here's my take:   of course no new snow and none expected, but snowbasin was da bomb, really loved it.   Great grooming, great lodges, got in more vertical feet in one day than I could handle.  Canyons: my second time there, confirmed feeling of first time:  it sucks (sorry Epic).  You spend all your time on lifts and traverses, very badlty laid out, feels more like a real estate tour than a ski resort.   Deer Valley:  crowded, and for the price I was surprised by the poor grooming, got very icy pretty quick; plus a tad on the snobby side, the people here are all "m'as tu vu" (as they say in France) and no ski.   And now the best kept secret in Utah:  I got a pass to Sundance on liftopia for $22 (with a $10 coupon).  I have ski'd nearly every resort in the west, and I have to say this was one of the most memorable experiences; super laid back, runs are great and grooming is great, people are super nice, nice campfire to kick back by, views are among the most memorable in the world.  Will definitely be going back, don't miss it (Thanks, ordinary Bob).   Plius you can stay pretty cheap in Heber City fifteen minutes away (recommend swiss alps inn).

post #2 of 28

what is your recommendations for beginners?  Is snowbasin too much for them?  I know it is about an hour outside pc but would love to stop over there

post #3 of 28

Snowbasin has a chair dedicated to beginners. Big flat wide open area. Not much vertical, but beginners don't need a lot.

post #4 of 28

Snowbasin is not the best choice for beginners. Powder Mountain, Alta, Brighton, or any of the Park City areas (especially PCMR) are better choices.

post #5 of 28

we are staying in pc and more than likely will only ski three days.  looking at 2 days at canyons and 1 at deer valley.  Me personally, I  would go over to snowbasin or snowbird but that is not going to happen :(

post #6 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by mtebor View Post
 

we are staying in pc and more than likely will only ski three days.  looking at 2 days at canyons and 1 at deer valley.  Me personally, I  would go over to snowbasin or snowbird but that is not going to happen :(

If you can, skip a day at the Canyons and ski PCMR.  IMHO PCMR > Canyons.

post #7 of 28
I just returned from my second Utah trip this month.

I skied Snowbasin one day earlier this month. This was my third time there. I agree with you about Snowbasin. I love the place. There is wonderful variety to the skiing there. The lodges are schwank and beautiful. The food is delicious and reasonably priced. Also, the bathrooms are the best in the world.

I recently returned to another nearby place that I love, Powder Mountain. The Lightning Ridge snowcat ride is a worthwhile experience.

I skied Canyons for the third time in the past three years. Like you I wasn't that impressed the first two times I skied there. Maybe the third time is the charm, because my friends and I found lots of places with good pitches that held great snow. It also helped that I already knew how to navigate the place. Maybe Vail Resorts will do some things to improve the place. It has great potential.

I skied Deer Valley last season and was kind of disappointed with the place. I think that it is highly overrated. The grooming wasn't that special. The lift placement seems to increase skier traffic around the mountain. It is also a little strange to feel like your are going to ski through the back yards of many mansions.

I skied Sundance three seasons ago and really enjoyed the experience. I also want to go back there.

(BTW - I used my Mountain Collective pass for two days of skiing both Alta and Snowbird on the same day. One day I skied Alta in the morning and Snowbird in the afternoon. On the other day I started at Snowbird, skied Alta, and then returned to Snowbird to ski before and after lunch, just because I could. Yes, either resort has more than enough on its own. Still it was a fun experience.)

I love skiing in Utah. It is amazing how resorts can be so close to each other and have entirely different personalities.
post #8 of 28

How was the snow?

Does Sundance have long groomers?

post #9 of 28

Absolutely with you on Sundance; that little area has "IT".  Hard to touch or explain but Sundance has it.  

 

Snowbasin is "IT". Great ski area.

post #10 of 28

is snowbasin mainly groom or ungroomed?  some of the people I ski with didn't care for snowbird because a lot of it wasn't groomed .I told them to rent wider skis. 

post #11 of 28

Canyons is absolutely a mountain that you need to visit a few times to fully appreciate and understand how to get around.  If you try to do the whole thing in one day you will have a miserable day with too much traversing. For me, it is a two day mountain with only going as far "left" as tombstone lift on the first day.   On the second day you can spend just about the whole day doing 9990, Peak 5, Day break, and Dream Scape lifts.   I normally skip the Iron mtn area completely- just too much of a hassle unless I have lots of time to kill.   Lots of great tree skiing at Canyons as well if you are willing to explore a bit.   

 

IMO...PCMR is not nearly as good as Canyons.  

post #12 of 28
Quote:
 ~~is snowbasin mainly groom or ungroomed?

 

Snowbasin has a lot of terrain that is typically groomed--plenty to keep a person busy for a few days or more.  It is a fairly open mountain however so there is quite a bit more that is never groomed.

post #13 of 28

Utah is the best bang for the buck destination IMO. I been there to many times to count, always stay in park city because of the most places to stay. Check out the condos just below the Olympic ski jumps by the exit off rt 80. Been to almost all the mountains. Not Alta because of boarders with us and Sundance. Will get to Sundance. In general the snow bird / alta canyon gets more snow. I'd say snowbird is my favorite, but they are all great, world class mountains. Had bad, icy, old snow, lack of fresh snow a few times. No place is great then. When that happens we go straight to snowbird, it's normally  better there. I heard they need snow bad this year, so don't judge the place until you ski there with fresh snow.

 

Tom 

post #14 of 28

Sundance, really???  Went 1 day in 1986, don`'t recall much, it was snowy and dreary.    On my list, thanks for the info.

 

Pending to discover in UT:  beaver, sdance, powder, brian.

post #15 of 28

Sundance is a neat little resort.  Not a lot of trails or lifts, but what's there is quality.  Good for a day excursion, but I doubt I'd fly across the country to spend a week there especially with the other resorts in the area.

 

Note that it's at a lower elevation than nearby resorts, so the snow will be heavier and spring skiing will come earlier.

post #16 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by gpaulski View Post
Pending to discover in UT:  beaver, sdance, powder, brian.

 

I notice that Wolf Mountain is not on your list.  http://www.wolfmountainutah.com/

 

Been there?

post #17 of 28

Wolf??  Never gave it a thought, could be nice for day/night, and private lessons!

 

Gracias.

post #18 of 28

Wolf is pretty small and pretty low.  More of a local hill for Ogden and after school racing programs etc.  Never been, but passed it several times on the way to Powder Mountain while staying in Ogden.  Snowbasin has great terrain but I have yet to hit it when it has great conditions.  When I can go to Powder Mountain and ski a foot of fresh and Snowbasin has dust on crust I can live without the great lodge and wonderful bathrooms. (they really are something to see and enjoy though)  

 

Agree that Utah is an amazing ski destination for the variety of resorts close together and the ease of flying in and out of SLC.

 

I have skied the Canyons a few times, going back to before it was called The Canyons.  Yes they have added a lot of low angle stuff that seems to be designed mainly to develop high-dollar on mountain real estate, however, there is a lot of steep and fun terrain there...though you have to be there when the snow is fresh.  

 

My impressions of these ski areas do not take into account their grooming or their groomer trails.  

post #19 of 28

I've actually skied at Wolf Mountain, but only once.  It was early January a few years ago when it was dumping like crazy - SLC itself got about 6 inches that day.

 

With it's low elevation, Wolf is definitely not the place to go on a powder day.  This was the heaviest, wettest, thickest, mashed potatoes goop I've ever encountered.  It made Tahoe or Whistler seem like blower. 

 

I don't think anybody on the hill that day had ever been skiing before because anybody who knew anything about skiing would immediately recognize how truly unskiable the conditions were.  Now, I'm stubborn enough to ski in damn near any conditions - freezing rain that leaves an inch of cystal clear ice on top of everything, spring slush, minus 30 temps, 40 mph winds, white outs, fog so thick you can't see your skis, etc. But  Wolf Mountain beat me - I quit after four runs.

 

But I bet the place is a bit of fun on groomer  days.

post #20 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by SB77 View Post
 

Snowbasin is not the best choice for beginners. Powder Mountain, Alta, Brighton, or any of the Park City areas (especially PCMR) are better choices.

 

Regarding the Park City resorts: while PCMR & Deer Valley are great choices for beginners, Canyons Resort can get boring after a few days for beginners.  There just are not a lot of beginners runs.

post #21 of 28

This is a good companion thread to the one started by TCC. Everyone has their individual idea of which mountain is good and not!

 

My personal experience? 

- Deer Valley: First visit was positive. Second visit was a disappointment. Gave it one more try to see if I was mistaken. Nope. It's supposed to be groomer heaven but the grooming was not that great. Very icy. Mayve because I only went there when there's no new snow... (the trees were interesting though)

 

- Canyons: I wouldn't have thought of it much but I have a couple of buddies who has season pass there. So I got shown all the secret stuff tourist don't find till their fifth visit on my first time. I thought it's a pretty nice mountain with lots of out-of-way powder stash no one bother to touch (well, most people never find it)

 

- Sundance: I can see the potential. But so far, it's undelivered potential. The times I was there, the groomers were lumpy and the freshies heavy. It's got a lot of varied terrain but snow quality was poor. Not bad since I was there (twice) on a freebee. But my experience doesn't motivate me to pay to ski there. 

post #22 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by SportyandMisty View Post
 

 

Regarding the Park City resorts: while PCMR & Deer Valley are great choices for beginners, Canyons Resort can get boring after a few days for beginners.  There just are not a lot of beginners runs.

Beginner mountains review, sounds like it needs to be another thread. I was just in Big Sky, and the main base lodge side would not be a good place for beginners, not any greens there. Where North star in Tahoe has the whole front side with a lots of greens. Some mountains are better than other, keeping us all where we belong. I'll ski any ware anytime, but I'd rather not get stuck cruising greens to get back up top, just saying.  

post #23 of 28

Since this is a recent thread, plus Sundance is featured, I'll revive it.  I'm headed there March 21.  It's the only Northern Utah resort I've never been to.

 

I see two parking lots on the trail map.  Which one is closer to the lodge?  If I wanted to switch out skis during the day, would one lot be easier to get too than the other?  It'll be a Friday, so it shouldn't be too crowded.  Good idea looking on Liftopia, Scrptdr - there is only 1 ticket available however (what's up with that?) at $41.  I'm taking wife and son on his spring break.  Is there a nice restaurant to hit?  Gotta take care of the wife.  Is there still artisans at the base blowing glass, etc?

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

Since this is a recent thread, plus Sundance is featured, I'll revive it.  I'm headed there March 21.  It's the only Northern Utah resort I've never been to.

 

I see two parking lots on the trail map.  Which one is closer to the lodge?  If I wanted to switch out skis during the day, would one lot be easier to get too than the other?  It'll be a Friday, so it shouldn't be too crowded.  Good idea looking on Liftopia, Scrptdr - there is only 1 ticket available however (what's up with that?) at $41.  I'm taking wife and son on his spring break.  Is there a nice restaurant to hit?  Gotta take care of the wife.  Is there still artisans at the base blowing glass, etc?

The upper 'overflow' lot will save you some climbing to change skis if it is open.  You will be climbing a few stairs from the lots below but it ain't Everest.  Hope the snow is good for you there, it is pretty low elevation compared to a lot of Utah.  

 

They cook a great burger on the patio for lunch too.  

 

Enjoy your day.

post #25 of 28
I really enjoyed skiing Sundance.
I was impressed with the little restaurant at the top of the Arrowhead lift.
Also, If they still offer free mountain tours I would recommend taking one.
post #26 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by gpaulski View Post
 

Sundance, really???  Went 1 day in 1986, don`'t recall much, it was snowy

 

Sounds terrible.

post #27 of 28
Take your wife to the Tree Room for dinner. I had the most memorable stay at Sundance after a lovely afternoon cross-country skiing about 10 years ago.
post #28 of 28

Spent the day at Sundance this Friday.  The access road was pretty undeveloped - I thought I'd meet a guy with a banjo at the end.  We parked in the upper parking lot and hopped on Jakes.  That got us into the hill pretty quick, and we bought our lift tickets at the upper lot too.  It hadn't snowed in a couple of weeks, and even though we started at 10:30 the hill still hadn't softened up. We hit the Bearclaw at the top of Arrowhead for lunch, which was pretty good (try the Frito pie).

 

Bishop's Bowl after lunch was nice at the top, still icy at the bottom since it is shady there.  We found the best snow at Hill's Headwall and Freddies.  Grizzly Bowl had a sun crust when we hit it first, but was OK late in the day.  Since the sun was in and out, it was tough to gauge the slopes.  The scenery was great.  The hill has some awkward traverses - ride Ray's Lift up to get back to Jakes from the Arrowhead lift base.  I don't know if it would be noticed by everyone, but one liftie was playing matador on the chair bump.  C'mon man, make an effort!  Back down to Jakes for a few laps at the end of the day, and skied within 5 feet of our truck.

 

We passed on the Tree room for dinner; our perennial favorite is the Dairy Keen in Heber (the train place).

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