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Ski at Alta, Stay at Snowbird -- is this a good option?

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 

Me and a buddy are hoping to take a week-long trip to Alta this year. We're both new to Utah, and we're hoping to score some steep & deep in Utah. (I've heard the snow is behind schedule this year, but anyway...) 

 

We have been somewhat reeling at the lodging costs at Alta. For a 2-doubles + private bath hotel room, Alta vacations quoted us rates ranging from just under $500/nt all the way up to almost $900/nt (not including lift tickets)!! They reiterated many times that Alta lodging includes meals, and I'm not forgetting that, but... damn!

 

We were almost ready to give up and just do Park City instead (there seem to be waaaaay more affordable lodging options over there) but then I thought about checking Snowbird's lodging options, and it seems much more reasonable. Found one package for $275/nt including lift tickets! (albeit SB only.) Seems to me like the savings would more than cover the ticket upgrade to ski Alta as well as food.

 

So my questions are: Am I missing something here? Is there some elephant in the room that I'm not seeing? If Alta were what we really wanted to ski, how much of a handicap would it be to stay at Snowbird? (I'm assuming we would see what SB has to offer too, but the intention of the trip was to see Alta.)

 

Any advice appreciated!

 

post #2 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by ipmcc View Post
 

Me and a buddy are hoping to take a week-long trip to Alta this year. We're both new to Utah, and we're hoping to score some steep & deep in Utah. (I've heard the snow is behind schedule this year, but anyway...) 

 

So my questions are: Am I missing something here? Is there some elephant in the room that I'm not seeing? If Alta were what we really wanted to ski, how much of a handicap would it be to stay at Snowbird? (I'm assuming we would see what SB has to offer too, but the intention of the trip was to see Alta.)

 

If you are strong skiers and you are looking for "steep and deep," why wouldn't you ski both Snowbird and Alta?  They are both awesome and have the same fabled snow and rowdy steeps, but they are also bit different in vibe which makes it fun.  I'd ski both equally if I were staying in Little Cottonwood.  You might even find that you like Snowbird better.

 

And yes, you can stay at Snowbird and ski Alta.  Super easy.  Either you shuttle over to the Alta base or just connect on the mountain if you have a dual pass. 

post #3 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by LewyM View Post
 

 

If you are strong skiers and you are looking for "steep and deep," why wouldn't you ski both Snowbird and Alta?  They are both awesome and have the same fabled snow and rowdy steeps, but they are also bit different in vibe which makes it fun.  I'd ski both equally if I were staying in Little Cottonwood.  You might even find that you like Snowbird better.

 

And yes, you can stay at Snowbird and ski Alta.  Super easy.  Either you shuttle over to the Alta base or just connect on the mountain if you have a dual pass. 

Thumbs UpThumbs UpThumbs UpThumbs UpThumbs UpThumbs Up

 

I recommend the dual pass, ski back and forth.

post #4 of 21

We usually stay at the base of LCC which is a lot cheaper than staying slopeside (or in PC).  It's about a 20 minute drive if the roads are clear, and you have the option to ski BCC, PC or SB as well. It's a short shuttle ride from snowbird to Alta, but by the time you deal with the bus you've only saved 5 or 10 minutes vs staying near the mouth of the canyon and driving.

 

The problem with this strategy is that if there's a big dump you might not be able to get up the canyon to the lifts, but that's never happened to me.

post #5 of 21

We just did this 2 weeks ago.  Stayed in a studio condo at Iron Blosam at Snowbird and skied both mountains.  Mostly Alta because they held more snow from a very windy storm.  There are free shuttles up to and from Alta every morning noon and afternoon.  We had a lot of fun skiing back to our condo at Snowbird from the Wildcat chair at Alta. 

 

Check vacation rentals on Craigslist for SLC.  I got our condo there for $600 for an entire week.  Great deal and we just took the shuttle to and from the airport - easy.

post #6 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by ipmcc View Post
 

Me and a buddy are hoping to take a week-long trip to Alta this year. We're both new to Utah, and we're hoping to score some steep & deep in Utah. (I've heard the snow is behind schedule this year, but anyway...) 

 

We have been somewhat reeling at the lodging costs at Alta. For a 2-doubles + private bath hotel room, Alta vacations quoted us rates ranging from just under $500/nt all the way up to almost $900/nt (not including lift tickets)!! They reiterated many times that Alta lodging includes meals, and I'm not forgetting that, but... damn!

 

We were almost ready to give up and just do Park City instead (there seem to be waaaaay more affordable lodging options over there) but then I thought about checking Snowbird's lodging options, and it seems much more reasonable. Found one package for $275/nt including lift tickets! (albeit SB only.) Seems to me like the savings would more than cover the ticket upgrade to ski Alta as well as food.

 

So my questions are: Am I missing something here? Is there some elephant in the room that I'm not seeing? If Alta were what we really wanted to ski, how much of a handicap would it be to stay at Snowbird? (I'm assuming we would see what SB has to offer too, but the intention of the trip was to see Alta.)

 

Any advice appreciated!

 


The "elephant in the room" is staying down in SLC. Midvale or Murray is 20 minutes away for $50-75 per night and you drive up each day. You didn't say if you will have a car but even with a car rental it's much cheaper. You can also eat off resort which will be much cheaper.

post #7 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Walt View Post
 

We usually stay at the base of LCC which is a lot cheaper than staying slopeside (or in PC).  It's about a 20 minute drive if the roads are clear, and you have the option to ski BCC, PC or SB as well. It's a short shuttle ride from snowbird to Alta, but by the time you deal with the bus you've only saved 5 or 10 minutes vs staying near the mouth of the canyon and driving.

 

The problem with this strategy is that if there's a big dump you might not be able to get up the canyon to the lifts, but that's never happened to me.

 

We're hoping to avoid getting a rental car. Also, I'm "lazy" and prefer SI/SO or short walk -- by lazy I mean I'd way rather do it "on skis" than otherwise -- I'd way rather traverse for 15min, or ride a lift for 15min, than deal with a shuttle or rental car for 15 minutes. Even if staying outside LCC saved us enough to get a rental car, I hate the rigamarole of changing in the car, and schlepping everything in and out, etc. My hope is to stay slope-side at SB and ski back and forth to Alta on the dual ticket (especially attractive since SB tickets are included free in the offer I found -- upgrade to dual is pretty reasonable). Also psyched to see what SB has to offer.

 

Thanks to everyone for the advice. It sounds pretty doable.

post #8 of 21

Staying outside LCC will definitely save you enough to get a rental car, and then some - rental cars go for less than $50/day and we're talking hundreds of dollars difference in lodging costs per day.  And you can split the cost of the car.  Add in the savings of buying a day ticket vs the combo ticket, and we're talking about a significant digit. (either resort will provide plenty for a day, so there's not much to be gained by skiing both in a day vs alternating resorts day-by-day.)

 

But I understand about the convenience thing - I prefer ski-in ski-out as well.  So does everybody else, which is why it's so pricy. Your plan is perfectly fine - stay at Snowbird, get a combo ticket, ski both resorts - there are ways to cut expenses but if the digit works for you go for it.

post #9 of 21

I did a Snowbird lift/lodging package with a buddy last March and it was awesome. Took a shuttle from the airport, and stayed at the Iron Blosam lodge.  

 

You can pay at the Snowbird ticket window for an Alta upgrade any day you want to ski over there.  And if you haven't skied either before, and have the time, you're better off spending a few days at each rather than spending all your time at one.  

post #10 of 21

Did you check Goldminer's Daughter Lodge? You should be able to get a room with breakfast, dinner and high calorie apre ski spread for about $150 per person double occupancy. 200' from the lift. Great food. Good hot tub. Just call them and talk to Jonathan. Say epicski.com sent you. Should be good for at least 10% off. We do have like 40 members staying up there next week. Even better is the Mountain Collective Pass discount, which is 25% IIRC.

post #11 of 21
20% actually
post #12 of 21

Staying in Midavle. 

Total for 2

Hotel - 70

Tickets - 170?

Time about 30-40 minutes drive each.  Possible but unlikely weather troubles.

More eating Choices

Car $20-$75/day

Gas

Generally better sleep lower elevation

 

Staying at Snowbird

much more relaxed pre and post skiing

no hauling and packing gear

limited eating choices that generally cost more

better ski trip atmosphere, by far. 

 

I've stayed both up and down many times.  at this point i'm satisfied to save the money and put the money towards another ski trip, but it's not a mistake to stay up there.  The Cliff esp is a very cool place to stay at.  Nothing like eating breakfast and looking up the mtn while hearing the guns going off.

post #13 of 21

Used to stay at the Cliff & ski Alta all the time. If there's new snow and the road's closed, just run outside and ski Bird. Only happened once, but it was unforgettable.

post #14 of 21

Snowbird has 1200 more vertical feet of skiing off a single lift with very little traversing comparded to A Lot of Travering Around. IE snowbird is alta x 1.5 Plus the bumps at snowbird get regularly mowed down by fat skis and snowbirds making powder skiing there a much faster experience. 

post #15 of 21
my first option would be to stay around Sandy, but if you wanna stay at the resort and snowbird has better options I would ski bird and maybe, just maybe alta! but wouldn't worry too much about how to get to alta!
post #16 of 21

Assuming you're a strong skier, you'll want to go to both mountains for sure.

 

Getting the shuttle up LCC is a bit of a pain, but it's not a deal breaker. If you can save a lot of cash, I think it's worth it.

post #17 of 21

We did this a few weeks ago.  It was not to difficult.  Though we only went over to Alta for one day.  Our room at Snowbird came with free lift tickets, so we only had to pay the $30/day upgrade for a ticket that covers both mountains the day we went to Alta.  It was pretty easy.  Go to the ticket booth on the Tram Deck, upgrade and walk back down to the front of the building where there is a shuttle station right there.  If you had Alta tickets, you could just skip this step. My impression, and I cannot guarantee this, was that you can either hop right on one of the normal buses coming up the canyon or there seemed to be another bus that just looped back and forth between the resorts.  With a lift ticket for that day, there was no charge for the bus. It would drop you off at either base area.  The wait was not long and it probably didn't take 10 minutes of riding to get there.  The other option would be to just ride the Tram up since you are already on the Tram Deck, or cross the bridge and ride Peruvian up and take the tunnel, ski to the bottom of Mineral Basin and ride one lift up to the top of Sugarloaf Pass.  From there you can cross right into Alta. Skiing over and back seems to me to be the way to go, but I found that week that Mineral Basis would be slow to open, due to control work I assume, and therefore you couldn't get to Alta by skiing.

post #18 of 21
Thread Starter 

Just got home from my trip.  FWIW, staying at Snowbird and skiing both resorts worked out great. Being someone who's somewhat "in tune" with architecture, I found the brutalist concrete structures at Snowbird to be somewhat of a "downer", but that's my own personal damage. The package was cheap as could be and included lift tickets for SB (2 people, 6 nights, 6 of 7 lift tickets for ~$1450). For two of our five skiing days, we paid the $30 upgrade and skied over to Alta via Mineral Basin.

 

Had a great time at both resorts, but came to the conclusion that I hate rocky traverses. I can handle a little hiking, like getting up to Catherine's from the top of the Supreme lift, but both the Hi-T at Alta and the Cirque Traverse at Snowbird were sporting lots of exposed rocks which, being on my own skis, was somewhat less than thrilling to me. The Cirque Traverse was the worst. I know that a little P-Tex can fix most gouges, but it's just the anxiety of such traverses that takes a lot of the fun out of it for me. I hit Alf's High Rustler and Middle Cirque once each and avoided those traverses from then on.

 

The other interesting item of note is that you can pay the $30 upgrade at the little shack on the ridge between the two resorts -- you don't need to do it on the tram deck, so if you're over in Mineral Basin and decide you want to go Alta, you can do it right there.

 

All the other routes back (i.e. the Keyhole, etc) from Alta to SB were either formally closed and/or we were advised against using them by the Alta lifties, so we just stuck to the Sugarloaf <-> Mineral Basin crossover point.

 

Thanks for all the help. Had a great time in Utah (despite rocky traverses, and not getting any significant pow)

post #19 of 21
Are both Baldy and Keyhole closed?

I have an MCP and was planning a late season visit.
post #20 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by SHREDHEAD View Post

Are both Baldy and Keyhole closed?

I have an MCP and was planning a late season visit.

Baldy was closed for the last week or so for the Freeride tour, it opened back up yesterday as well as all gates to and from Alta.
post #21 of 21
Thanks!
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