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Utah 1st Solo Trip - Where to stay?

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 

Glad I found this community as there's a ton of good info on this forum on both locations and solo skiing. Based on some good threads here and lack of success rallying friends to travel outwest I've decided to take the plunge and plan my first solo ski trip for sometime in March this year.

 

The question I'm struggling with now is where to stay. I'm not really concerned about nightlife, I'm going primarily for the skiing and am content just relaxing at the end of the day. Given this I'm thinking of hitting up Solitude/Snowbird or Snowbasin on a 4/5 day trip.

 

Options I've contemplated are hotels in Sandy, dorm room at a lodge at Alta/Snowbird, or hotel near Snowbasin. Main thing I'm trying to balance is cost and convenience, ideally I'd spend under $150 a night.

 

I'm pretty comfortable in any mountain in the southeast (not saying much) but have only been outwest once. Based on this I feel like Solitude and Snowbasin would have the best range of terrain for me. I've heard great things about Snowbasin from friends but have also heard the snow can be less predictable.

 

Would appreciate any thoughts or suggestions for the upcoming trip!

 

 

 

 

post #2 of 20

Staying in Sandy is going to be the cheapest and most convenient option if you want to hit all of those places.  Its pretty easy to get around if you're staying at one of the mountains, but I always feel like I'm somewhat tied to that mountain then and its definitely more expensive.  Ton's of choices in/around Sandy.  It also easier to run over to PCMR, Deer Valley, etc. if the snow ends up being better over there.

post #3 of 20

Yeah, the Sandy/Midvale area has plenty of inexpensive but perfectly fine hotels to choose from, and you're only 30 minutes or so from Alta, Snowbird, Solitude, or Brighton.  Figure 45 minutes to the PC resorts and an hour or so to Snowbasin.  If it dumps, you may not be able to drive up LCC/BCC, in which case you can catch the bus at the base of the canyons or drive around to PC or Snowbasin.

 

 

Snowbird is somewhat lacking in easier terrain, but all the others have runs for any ability from rank beginner to expert.  You'll do fine.  For a first time trip, I'd suggest a day each at Alta and Snowbasin, a day at one of the PC resorts, and a day at BCC (Brighton or Solitude - Brighton has more easy cruisers, Solitude is usually less crowded).  On day 5 go back to the one you liked best.

post #4 of 20

I know people here love staying in Sandy for the cheap hotels, but think about whether you want to spend your evenings alone in a chain motel by the interstate (I've stayed in Sandy, and I thought that was a really crappy way to do a ski vacation, and I wasn't even alone). I think it would be a lot more fun to stay in the dorm room. But it depends on what you value more--company and no commute, or privacy. 

post #5 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Christy319 View Post
 

I know people here love staying in Sandy for the cheap hotels, but think about whether you want to spend your evenings alone in a chain motel by the interstate (I've stayed in Sandy, and I thought that was a really crappy way to do a ski vacation, and I wasn't even alone). I think it would be a lot more fun to stay in the dorm room. But it depends on what you value more--company and no commute, or privacy. 

 

You may want to qualify that "dorm room" comment with your current age.  When I originally was looking at a trip there, I noticed the dorm room option and sort of cringed, but then again, I'm 40.  If I was 25 I'd be more 'hell yeah' but if it is like any other dorm/hostel I've ever stayed in, you're not going to sleep much given all the commotion.  If you're just in it for the skiing and don't care about Apres and just need food and sleep, Midvale is your budget-conscious choice.  If you're looking for more fun, I agree with Christy319, find a different place to stay.  Your choice will end up being about budget and what you are trying get out of the trip.  And don't be fearful of traveling solo--whenever I traveled solo I always met great people to hang out with and I wasn't any social butterfly, either.

post #6 of 20

In March, especially late March, you are likely to find better snow in LCC & BCC than in Snowbasin, since Snowbasin mainly faces East.

 

In my recent trips I have stayed at the Studio 6 near Ft Union, cooking facilities and convenient to LCC & BCC, adjacent to I-215 so not to bad for going erlsewhere either.

post #7 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by eastcoast24 View Post
 

Glad I found this community as there's a ton of good info on this forum on both locations and solo skiing. Based on some good threads here and lack of success rallying friends to travel outwest I've decided to take the plunge and plan my first solo ski trip for sometime in March this year.

 

The question I'm struggling with now is where to stay. I'm not really concerned about nightlife, I'm going primarily for the skiing and am content just relaxing at the end of the day. Given this I'm thinking of hitting up Solitude/Snowbird or Snowbasin on a 4/5 day trip.

 

Options I've contemplated are hotels in Sandy, dorm room at a lodge at Alta/Snowbird, or hotel near Snowbasin. Main thing I'm trying to balance is cost and convenience, ideally I'd spend under $150 a night.

 

I'm pretty comfortable in any mountain in the southeast (not saying much) but have only been outwest once. Based on this I feel like Solitude and Snowbasin would have the best range of terrain for me. I've heard great things about Snowbasin from friends but have also heard the snow can be less predictable.

 

Would appreciate any thoughts or suggestions for the upcoming trip!

 

I get the other points people are trying to make and they are definitely valid, but if what I've bolded is really how you feel, IMO staying in/around Sandy is the way to go.

post #8 of 20

I'm doing a solo trip to Alta this weekend.  Cost is $125 per night in a dorm room at the Snowpine Lodge with breakfast/dinner included.  When you factor in the cost of a car rental/gas and the value of ski in/out (especially if it dumps), to me it is a no brainer.  This equation definitely changes if you share a room/car/etc OR if you require perfect darkness/quite when you sleep.

post #9 of 20
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the quick responses - sounds like Sandy might be the way to go though I'm not opposed to dorming as Christy319 recommended. One of my main concerns with dorming though is security of belongings (I'm guessing there's lockers that can be used?) and how loud/quiet the rooms can get. I don't mind sharing a room and think the lodge experience would be interesting since I haven't done it before. I was looking at Snowpine Lodge which seems like it may not be too loud since I think its only two people to a room.

 

On staying in Sandy, if a storm does come in is there a risk the buses can't make it up to BCC/LCC either? I'm assuming they're pretty reliable?

 

Thanks again!

post #10 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by eastcoast24 View Post

 

On staying in Sandy, if a storm does come in is there a risk the buses can't make it up to BCC/LCC either? I'm assuming they're pretty reliable?

 

If the road is closed for avalanche control, the buses won't be allowed up.  But, they typically will be the first up whenever it does open.  

 

IMO, the bigger issue with the bus is how crowded it can get on a weekend/powder day.  It really sucks going up the canyon trying to balance in the aisle with ski boots on.  Note: you can get on the bus via an earlier stop to try to grab a seat, but then it turns into a ~1 hr ride.  

post #11 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by dshack89 View Post
 

 

If the road is closed for avalanche control, the buses won't be allowed up.  But, they typically will be the first up whenever it does open. 

 

Yes.  But there are also times when the road is not closed for avy control but the 4WD/chains required sign is on.  Those are the days to take the bus. 

 

Try to figure out how to get on at an earlier stop - not just to get a seat, but to get on at all.  if the bus is full they won't even stop at the entrance to the canyon.  It may make the trip longer, but you still get to the lifts at the same time.

post #12 of 20

Also check out the Brighton Lodge at Brighton, UT for moderately priced slopeside lodging.  I might add that dorm mates at a place like Alta are going to trend older and more staid than many other locations.

post #13 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by eastcoast24 View Post
 

Thanks for the quick responses - sounds like Sandy might be the way to go though I'm not opposed to dorming as Christy319 recommended. One of my main concerns with dorming though is security of belongings (I'm guessing there's lockers that can be used?) and how loud/quiet the rooms can get. I don't mind sharing a room and think the lodge experience would be interesting since I haven't done it before. I was looking at Snowpine Lodge which seems like it may not be too loud since I think its only two people to a room.

 

On staying in Sandy, if a storm does come in is there a risk the buses can't make it up to BCC/LCC either? I'm assuming they're pretty reliable?

 

Thanks again!

I don't think the "dorm room" concept that you have in mind is what you'll find at a lodge in Alta.  You won't be staying with college types for the most part.  Note that meals are included in the price.  One advantage of staying at a lodge is that it's easy to meet people to ski with for a few runs.  All the Alta lodges have a table for solo travelers who want to be sociable.  In general, I think most people who stay in Alta are asleep relatively early.  Alta Lodge starts quiet time at 10pm.  The idea is to sleep, eat, and ski . . . then repeat.  The conversation at meals tends to be about skiing and ski gear.

 

My sense is that the only reason a ski bus isn't going up LCC is because the road is closed.  Not to say they can't have a problem though.  Watched two buses slide into a third on the access road to the Wildcat base at Alta last April.  They had stopped before reaching the parking lot for some reason, but the brakes wouldn't hold.

 

Where have you skied in the southeast?  Are you planning on bringing skis or renting?  You may be better off starting at Alta, instead of Snowbird.  Take a look at the guides under Unofficial Guides, as well as the reviews on the EpicSki resort pages.

post #14 of 20
Thread Starter 

In Southeast I've been to Snowshoe, Wisp, Massanutten, Sugar, and some smaller mountains. Planning on bringing my own gear but I'm snowboarding so won't be able to hit Alta.

 

Thanks for all the feedback. Planning on booking something in Sandy/Midvale area and trying to hit up Snowbird/Brighton/Solitude and maybe Snowbasin depending on weather conditions. Renting a car to be flexible and will use the bus if needed. Will checkout those unnoficial guides as well.

post #15 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Christy319 View Post
 

I know people here love staying in Sandy for the cheap hotels, but think about whether you want to spend your evenings alone in a chain motel by the interstate (I've stayed in Sandy, and I thought that was a really crappy way to do a ski vacation, and I wasn't even alone). I think it would be a lot more fun to stay in the dorm room. But it depends on what you value more--company and no commute, or privacy. 


I tend to agree with this.  I'd much rather just be at the mountain, up the canyon for the entire trip. 

 

Driving around for 2 hours a ski day, dressing in the car, staying in a non-descript motel, hitting uninspired chain restaurants in strip malls. . . I can do all of that at home. 

 

That said, I appreciate that cost is an issue and I've done the SLC motel thing multiple times.  I used to meet a couple of buddies there when it was all that we could afford - and half the fun of the trip was hanging out together on the edge of suburban SLC - we were our own entertainment.  But given the choice, I'd book the best accommodations I could afford at Alta or Snowbird (in the case of the OP, a lodge at Alta makes more sense as a solo and from a terrain perspective).

 

Of course, my perspective (and likely that of @Christy319) is skewed by my environment.  We have awesome skiing in reach of Seattle - but generally we have to drive for it.  So at least for me, a main draw of a ski vacation is cutting the driving part out - ski, apres, eat, bed, repeat.  YMMV.

post #16 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by eastcoast24 View Post
 

In Southeast I've been to Snowshoe, Wisp, Massanutten, Sugar, and some smaller mountains. Planning on bringing my own gear but I'm snowboarding so won't be able to hit Alta.

 

Thanks for all the feedback. Planning on booking something in Sandy/Midvale area and trying to hit up Snowbird/Brighton/Solitude and maybe Snowbasin depending on weather conditions. Renting a car to be flexible and will use the bus if needed. Will checkout those unnoficial guides as well.

 

Snowbasin is an easier drive (although longer) than any of the Cottonwood Canyons resorts if the weather is dicey.

 

Definitely hit Solitude or Brighton before Snowbird - I'd say that if you are comfortable on the black runs at either of those two areas then go to Snowbird.  If not, think twice about going to the Bird - even the green runs are steeper than the black runs you are used to.

post #17 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by eastcoast24 View Post

Thanks for the quick responses - sounds like Sandy might be the way to go though I'm not opposed to dorming as Christy319 recommended. One of my main concerns with dorming though is security of belongings (I'm guessing there's lockers that can be used?) and how loud/quiet the rooms can get. I don't mind sharing a room and think the lodge experience would be interesting since I haven't done it before. I was looking at Snowpine Lodge which seems like it may not be too loud since I think its only two people to a room.

On staying in Sandy, if a storm does come in is there a risk the buses can't make it up to BCC/LCC either? I'm assuming they're pretty reliable?

Thanks again!
You haven't shared your gender, but if you're female you may well get a dorm room to yourself; that's what happened to me last spring. The dorms are small, so someone who wants to stay up is more likely to hang out upstairs in the lodge, but although there were several people in the neighboring men's dorms on the floor I heard very little movement at all after about 9:00. And if you like a pitch black night, Alta's a great place to sleep. There are safes in the rooms and huge ski lockers with padlocks in the locker room. If I were traveling here alone I'd definitely use the dorms.

ETA: I understand that buses waiting at the bottom of the canyon get priority once the canyon reopens after a closure, so it's probably worth going to the Park and Ride lot at the mouth of the canyon and squeezing into a bus parked there. My experience is that the ski bus drivers are very cautious and competent, and I've never heard of one going off the road, so I wouldn't worry about bus collisions.
post #18 of 20

Those of you against staying in Sandy/Midvale.  It's more than just budget reasons for some of us.  It's about more flexibility and more options.  From there I can strike any of the SLC resorts and I've been there when it's dumping at Snowbasin and dry as a bone in the LCC and vice versa.  I'd hate to be "stuck" in LCC and know they're getting fresh powder up north.  

 

That said, I completely understand your view and think there's definitely some nice benefits to being situated in one spot and it's definitely more convenient.


Edited by bountyk80 - 2/7/14 at 1:56pm
post #19 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bountyk80 View Post
 

Those of you against staying in Sandy/Midvale.  It's more than just budget reasons for some of us.  It's about more flexibility and more options.  From there I can strike any of the SLC resorts and I've been there when it's dumping at Snowbasin and dry as a bone in the LCC and vice versa.  I'd hate to be "stuck" in LCC and know they're getting fresh powder up north.  

 

That said, I completely understand your view and think there's definitely some nice benefits to being situated in one spot and it's definitely more convenient.

 

This is what I had in mind. Having only been to one of Utah's resorts (Park City) sandy/midvale just gave the best opportunity to try 2-4 different resorts depending on weather and conditions. Cost savings didn't hurt either - my lodging ended up being well below half of a dorm room cost.

post #20 of 20

Have a great trip!  If you want to do the Apres thing hang out at the mountain.  Otherwise, there a plenty of decent places to eat in Sandy.  You may want to take a trip into SLC one evening.  It's a nice city.

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