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January 2015 Ski Trip in NA...Where should I go? - Page 2

post #31 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by SportyandMisty View Post
 

I'd suggest staying in Park City.  In early January, the snow on Deer Valley groomers is usually great as they pay extreme attention to snow making, and meticulous grooming is their signature.

Lodging in Park City seems to make a lot of sense.  All 3 PC ski areas will have good groomers.  You could ski them and still make a day trip to Snowbasin and/or Alta.  I'm not sure how prices will compare but PC has a ski lift right in town and lots of good restaurants.  Staying in SLC is either full of strip malls or urban in downtown neither of which goes well with my idea of a ski trip.  Plus the drive can get real old, especially if it's snowy.

post #32 of 53
Quote:
Note that current long-range weather forecasters say an El Nino condition is likely (some say the odds are better than average; others say it is quite likely).  If this happens, expect a lot of snow.   

El Nino season snowfall in the Wasatch is 99% of normal.  That's about as irrelevant as it gets. 

 

Quote:
I'd suggest staying in Park City.  In early January, the snow on Deer Valley groomers is usually great as they pay extreme attention to snow making, and meticulous grooming is their signature.  

In a lean January I could easily detect the snowmaking subsurface at Deer Valley vs. the natural in the Cottonwoods, and the comparison was not favorable.   Early January IS early enough that you will notice that snowmaking dependence at the Park City areas in a below average season.  That said, I think Deer Valley groomers have better fall lines for the OP's preferred skiing than PCMR or Canyons, which have more runouts and flat sections.  

 

Overall Snowbasin I think is #1 in Utah for long fall line groomers.  Since you're on the advanced side of intermediate, you should not fear Snowbird in this regard.   However, Alta or Snowbird is definitely where you want your wife to take a lesson is you want to explore more "interesting" terrain.  Quality of instruction is very high at both. 

 

El Nino/La Nina seasons by region

 

  El Nino Neutral La Nina
California 112% 89% 96%
Pacific Northwest 88% 94% 124%
Interior Canada 86% 96% 112%
U.S. Northern Rockies 95% 96% 113%
Utah 99% 100% 103%
Northern & Central Colorado 95% 99% 100%
Southern & Western Colorado 102% 95% 100%
Northeast 96% 99% 99%
Equal Region Average 97% 96% 106%
Seasons           13           19           11 

 

A somewhat crude exercise, as the El Ninos/La Ninas are not classified or weighted by strength.  Nonetheless the table demonstrates that impact is limited to a few regions, Utah and Colorado not among them.

 

post #33 of 53
How do all three categories show up as below normal for the Northeast?
post #34 of 53

For people who like groomers, I would definitely stay in PC. All 3 resorts have tons of nice groomed terrain. And the town is definitely a ski town as opposed to SLC. As for Alta, while i think the scenery is better than the PC areas, and the off piste is great, there's not as much variety for groomers. if you don't need a ton of groomers to be satisfied though or want to try some forays into the off piste, then definitely recommended.  Don't think your wife and Snowbird would get along. lastly, Snowbasin is great for groomed sking. Perhaps the best in utah for wide open, let your skis fly sking. A 1 hour drive from PC through some very nice scenery.

post #35 of 53
For starters, ski the 4 options below: 
Snowbasin
Any 1 of the 3 Park City Resorts... they're largely similar relative to the other Utah resorts
Snowbird or Alta
Brighton or Solitude
 
Depending on what experience you like, fill in the last day by choosing one of the options above.  
 
Of course, local snow conditions would trump all "predecisions".  If snow is iffy, don't bother with Park City, and if its plain BAD skip Snowbasin too... The 4 Cottonwood resorts can still make an AWESOME trip.  To be honest, based on your comment about this being about the skiing I'd skip Park City altogether.
 
Downtown SLC is a good headquarters for your plan. 
post #36 of 53
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Crocker View Post
 

Overall Snowbasin I think is #1 in Utah for long fall line groomers.  Since you're on the advanced side of intermediate, you should not fear Snowbird in this regard.   However, Alta or Snowbird is definitely where you want your wife to take a lesson is you want to explore more "interesting" terrain.  Quality of instruction is very high at both. 

 

This confirms what I was thinking (and hoping) would be a good approach in our particular situation.

 

As for staying in Park City, I have free lodging at the downtown Sheraton in SLC.  Similar lodging in Park City would cost me at least $1,200 for the week.  Staying in a ski town is nice, but so is saving my money for my next ski trip.

post #37 of 53

I've stayed at the Sheraton on just about all of my Utah trips.  My daughter lived, at the time, in the avenues.  It was relatively easy to drive to the Cottonwoods and even the trip to Snowbasin was manageable.  Free lodging and the club makes a difference.

 

Mike

post #38 of 53

Free is good.   Just an FYI,  that particular Sheraton is a little long on the tooth.

post #39 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by SHREDHEAD View Post
 

Free is good.   Just an FYI,  that particular Sheraton is a little long on the tooth.

They did do some modest remodeling a couple of years ago...

post #40 of 53
Thread Starter 

My trip has been booked...flying into SLC on January 12 with 5 full days of skiing Tuesday through Saturday.  We will be staying in SLC and will have an SUV rental.  Based upon the helpful advice contained in this thread (especially the contributions of @nathanvg, @marznc and @Tony Crocker), we will be making "game-day" decisions on where to ski based upon road conditions, snow, grooming reports, etc.

 

Notwithstanding those variables, here is the tentative game plan that I am considering (keep in mind, I've skied at a lot of places, but have never been to Utah and am wanting to hit as many different spots on this first trip as possible):

 

Monday: Flight arrives at SLC at 10:55 AM.  Wondering if it is worth our time to make the drive up to Alta and ski from 3:00 - 4:30 on the Sunnyside lift for $10 (if they have this option next season).

 

Tuesday: My wife wants lessons and I've heard that the instruction at Alta is top-notch.  I love the idea of her having a morning lesson while I spring for the AltaBird pass to get some runs in the morning at Snowbird.  We would meet up for lunch and then ski the afternoon together on the groomers at Alta.

 

Wednesday: Lesson again for my wife in the morning at Snowbasin while I check out the Wildflower and perhaps Grizzly Downhills (after giving Grizzly a good look).

 

Thursday: Deer Valley perhaps.  I liked the point @Tony Crocker made about Deer Valley having fewer flat stretches and run-outs compared to Park City and Canyons on their groomers, making Deer Valley the better terrain for us of the Park City locations.  Of course, if this area hasn't been getting much snow, we may return to Alta, Snowbasin or check out Solitude.  But it would be nice to hang out a bit in Park City after skiing before heading back to the hotel in Salt Lake.

 

Friday:  PCMR maybe?  Canyons?  Snowbird?  A return to one of the others that we fell in love with?  I love having lots of options.

 

Saturday: Solitude is what I was thinking would be the best spot to hit on a Saturday as some of the other places may be getting more weekend traffic and the word is that Solitude is NEVER crowded...even on a Saturday.  True?

 

While far from being an ironclad itinerary, I wanted to share some of what I was thinking (based upon the recommendations made thus far) to see if there is some logic to my planning.

post #41 of 53
I cant recall if its open nights on Mondays or not but if so, for day 1 its definitely worth it to head to Brighton and get an afternoon/night ticket.

Otherwise, that's a solid tentative itinerary... Other than the fact I'd personally skip the PC resorts in favour of another day at snowbasin or any of the 4 Cottonwoods resorts... But it sounds like you won't be talked out of that.
post #42 of 53

At Snowbasin, book your lesson with @4ster (Jim Forster).  He's amazing.

 

Since you are staying in SLC, make sure you hit the Red Iguana one evening for dinner.  Best Mexican food anywhere, including Mexico!

 

Mike

post #43 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by habacomike View Post
 

At Snowbasin, book your lesson with @4ster (Jim Forster).  He's amazing.

 

Since you are staying in SLC, make sure you hit the Red Iguana one evening for dinner.  Best Mexican food anywhere, including Mexico!

 

Mike

+1

 

There are two locations for the Red Iguana.  It pays to arrive early in any case.

 

This season there was a 2:30-4:30 lift ticket at Alta that worked out perfectly for me the day I arrived around 11:30am.  Think it was $32.  Depending on the conditions and how you feel, might be worth the extra dollars to be able to at least do the groomers off Sugarloaf and Supreme.  Not really enough time to check out both sides on a first look.  You could easily do one or two of the short blacks off Supreme while your wife cruised down the groomers.  Easy to meet up at the lift.

 

I recommend Arthur Haskell, Level III, for the lesson at Alta if you want to book a private.  He usually is off for a couple days mid-week but is willing to be flexible.  My friend who is a mom trying to keep up with her tween kids and husband really enjoyed working with Arthur.  She an intermediate (learned as an adult) who is willing to do some easy off-piste like the Yellow Bear trail through the trees that the kids who do ski school absolutely love.  She ended up extending the lesson from 2 hours to 3.  I had a great time with Arthur for a couple lessons a few weeks ago.

 

You are going to have a great time!

post #44 of 53
Quote:
How do all three categories show up as below normal for the Northeast? 

Percents are calculated at the area level, then averaged through a region.   In different years there can be different areas reporting.  In the 1970's I have less than half as many areas as now.  I make judgment calls when it gets to the point of too few areas to be credible for a region.  There's enough data since the mid-1970's to be informative and useful but "averaging the averages" overall gives a number typically in the 97-101% range.  The data from the late 1960's/early 1970's that is insufficient to use for regional averages by season but is included in determining area averages over 40+ years tends to be above average in snowfall.  I know this is particularly true for the Northeast.

post #45 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeSchmoe View Post

I cant recall if its open nights on Mondays or not but if so, for day 1 its definitely worth it to head to Brighton and get an afternoon/night ticket.

I just checked it out, and Brighton is open Mondays for night skiing. IMO you should definitely go here, especially if you're going to Alta another day. Its the easiest of the Cottonwoods resorts and would be a good warm up. If you take your time, you should be able to get here by 1. Ski the whole mountain other than the night skiing area on Crest during the afternoon. Then when they start night skiing at 4, finish off with an hour or two under the lights.

The nice thing about Brighton is that your wife will like the nice groomers, and if you want, you can duck into the trees (pretty much anywhere) and never be too far from her. The POW lasts for days (weeks) in the Brighton trees.

My buddies all like Brighton the best out of all Utah resorts (most are intermediate to advanced) and we don't even like terrain parks. I'm partial to Snowbird, with Brighton #2. Snowbasin would be up there too... and we've planned to go there every year, but 2 out of 4 years we've bailed on that plan due to snow conditions. Like you, we have tentative plans of attacks, but always change them up based on conditions. On our 2nd visit to Snowbasin, we were skiing off-piste crust, and hard pack groomers, when the next day we had trees full of powder at Brighton... with no new snow. That said, if we were luckier with snow, Snowbasin would probably be at or near the top as it probably has the best overall terrain for our level.
Edited by JoeSchmoe - 4/29/14 at 8:41pm
post #46 of 53

I like Brighton too.  But since the OP is arriving in SLC at 11am from Missouri, could be that a couple of hours of skiing will be enough that day.  I imagine they will be getting up pretty early for the first leg of the flight.

post #47 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post
 

I like Brighton too.  But since the OP is arriving in SLC at 11am from Missouri, could be that a couple of hours of skiing will be enough that day.  I imagine they will be getting up pretty early for the first leg of the flight.

 

Maybe... but thats 12pm Missouri time.  I'm not sure what time that means they need to head out to their airport.  With me, my stoke level is so high on day 1 that kind of travel itinerary couldn't slow me down.  Also, they're hitting Alta anyways the next day.

post #48 of 53

I'm a fan of Bombay House on Foothills for Indian food as well. The restaurant scene in SLC has greatly improved in past 10 years. Recommend looking at Salt lake City magazine and I think it's City Weekly for recommendations. And yes Red iguana is outstanding. The reality is that you will have to look at the weather. If storming big, LCC can be late to open sometimes. Be flexible depending on forecast. 

post #49 of 53

If you hit Snowbasin make sure you lunch at John Pauls after spending the morning on Strawberry.

 

For great groomers Dear Valley has the edge over Park City but neither will disappoint.

 

Bombay House is a FIND.

post #50 of 53
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeSchmoe View Post
 

 

Maybe... but thats 12pm Missouri time.  I'm not sure what time that means they need to head out to their airport.  With me, my stoke level is so high on day 1 that kind of travel itinerary couldn't slow me down.  Also, they're hitting Alta anyways the next day.

 

I like this thought and would love to give Brighton a go on arrival day.  I too am especially stoked to get on the snow as soon as possible...

post #51 of 53
Thread Starter 

A few things are taking shape for my first trip out to Utah in January.  I'm landing in SLC on a Monday morning and strongly considering skiing somewhere that day (was initially leaning towards Brighton, but now am tempted by PCMR due to having an Epic Pass).  Tuesday will without a doubt be at AltaBird to take advantage of their half-price boarding pass day.  The rest of the week will be following the snow with hopeful visits to Snowbasin, Deer Valley and Solitude.

post #52 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lofcaudio View Post
 

A few things are taking shape for my first trip out to Utah in January.  I'm landing in SLC on a Monday morning and strongly considering skiing somewhere that day (was initially leaning towards Brighton, but now am tempted by PCMR due to having an Epic Pass).  Tuesday will without a doubt be at AltaBird to take advantage of their half-price boarding pass day.  The rest of the week will be following the snow with hopeful visits to Snowbasin, Deer Valley and Solitude.

 

I've never been to PCMR but I've been to the Canyons.  

 

Coming across the continent, and only having limited ski days, I'll take a paid day at Brighton over a free day at the Canyons.  I'd probably do the same for PCMR as I take its relatively similar terrain wise to Canyons (at least when compared to the Cottonwoods).  If you think you can get to Brighton anyway, then maybe the free day makes sense.


Edited by JoeSchmoe - 11/14/14 at 8:52pm
post #53 of 53
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeSchmoe View Post

 

 

Coming across the continent, and only having limited ski days, I'll take a paid day at Brighton over a free day at the Canyons.

 

Thanks for the advice.  It somewhat coincides with my thinking.  If I am wanting to maximize the "Utah Ski Experience" in 6 days, I would hate to leave Brighton out of the mix for what would in essence be a day at The Canyons.  (M: Brighton, T: Alta/Snowbird, W: Snowbasin or Deer Valley, Th: Snowbasin or Deer Valley, F: PCMR/Canyons, S: Solitude is still the tentative plan.)

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