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Have 4 days to ski in Utah-need your recommendations

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
Annual 40 year old guys trip next March. Have a house in Park City. 4 guys who used to race and ski anything except stuff with major cliffs and drops. Wed-Mon trip. We have hit Summit County and Big Sky in years past.

Snowbird & Alta are certain on the list. What are the other "must ski" resorts? Deer Valley? Solitude, Park City? Two guys(one being me) have never skied Utah and the other two have. We will have two SUV's and don't mind a drive.
post #2 of 25

I would put Snowbasin as 3rd priority on your list for terrain quality after Snowbird and Alta. 

 

You should play it by ear based upon weather/snow.  You get a widespread dump, maybe you save the driving in difficult conditions and get some less competitive powder at the Park City areas.  You get a warm spell, the lower and sunny exposed areas may be sloppy, so you'll want to be in the Cottonwoods most of the time.  Maybe add Solitude to your list in that scenario, but Alta and Snowbird are the best for snow preservation.

post #3 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carl Spackler View Post

Annual 40 year old guys trip next March. Have a house in Park City. 4 guys who used to race and ski anything except stuff with major cliffs and drops. Wed-Mon trip. We have hit Summit County and Big Sky in years past.

Snowbird & Alta are certain on the list. What are the other "must ski" resorts? Deer Valley? Solitude, Park City? Two guys(one being me) have never skied Utah and the other two have. We will have two SUV's and don't mind a drive.

With only 4 days and two with no Utah experience, I would say ski the first day somewhere in PC and spend the other three days in LCC.  One day at Alta, another at Snowbird, and the third at which ever place you all want to explore more.

 

Which areas of Big Sky did you like the best?

 

The afternoon Mountain Workshop at Alta is a pretty good deal if no one knows the mountain well and/or there is poor visibility because you are lucky enough to be there during a good snowstorm.  Not really a lesson, more of a guided tour of off-trail areas.  They split the group into three by ability.  The experts simply take off.  The middle group may spend most of the time off the High T while the lowest group learns where to get into the trees relatively close to groomers off Collins and Sugarloaf.

post #4 of 25

One of the key advantages of a house in Park City is skiing at the three nearby ski areas, preferably walking distance or short, free bus ride to lifts without messing with your SUVs.  If you make two trips to Alta and Snowbird I'd say relax and do the other two days at PCMR, DV or Canyons based on proximity to your house and any favorites from group members with past Utah experience.

post #5 of 25

Tony  is correct. I've been staying in PC and sking wherever for last 15 years. Easier to anarrow it down as you get closer to trip. See what weather forecast is right before you get there. You can have a perfectly good time sking powder at any of the PC reosrts if they get a good dump without the hyper competitiveness for pow in LCC. On the other hand if it hasn't snowed in a week and only groomers are good, then go to PC places, Snowbasin or Snowbird. To me, Alta and Solitude don't have enough groomers if you are actually stuck to them. And, yes, there are times it doesn't snow every week in Utah. Revive this question a few days before you go for some better advice. 

post #6 of 25
If you want lots of off piste, steeps, and gnarly gnar, go to Snowbird. Alta is great too. Groomers/family oriented stuff, go to Deer Valley. For park, Park City. Laid back kinda family oriented atmosphere, Solitude. I heard that Brighton has good tree skiing but I'm not positive on that.

I would strongly recommend Snowbird, but it really depends on what you like to ski.
post #7 of 25
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the recs. We will want to ski more off piste than on depending on conditions. Didn't know if Solitude or Brighton were worth checking out.

Heard good things about Deer Valley but didn't know what the hardcore folks opinions were.
post #8 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carl Spackler View Post

Thanks for the recs. We will want to ski more off piste than on depending on conditions. Didn't know if Solitude or Brighton were worth checking out.

Heard good things about Deer Valley but didn't know what the hardcore folks opinions were.

If you arrive a few days after a powder dump, consider driving up to Powder Mountain.

 

Brighton does have good tree skiing.  Can be busy on weekends but not bad during weekdays.  There are those who really like Honeycomb Canyon at Solitude.  Personally, I would rather go to Snowbasin or PowMow if not going to LCC.  Assuming good conditions, which is certainly possible in March.

 

Check out the EpicSki Unofficial Guides for Snowbird and Alta if you haven't already.

post #9 of 25

1.  PCMR may or may not be open because they are in the process of being evicted over the lease dispute (there is another extensive thread on this).

2. Deer Valley has the panache...but the better terrain in PC  goes to PCMR and Canyons.  You likely already know about PCMR.  Canyons is really 8 or 9 mountains linked together, impossible to appreciate in only one day.  The good food is at DV and Canyons.  DV overgrooms IMHO.

3. It would be a shame not to ski Alta, Snowbasin and/or Snowbird despite the drive from PC.

4. It would be a crying shame not to stop by the Alf Engen Ski Museum & the Olympic Park while you are there.  The museum is worth the visit, as is watching the future Olympians train at the Olympic Park.  If you have money to burn and your back is in good shape, take a bobsled ride.  You will see it on the way into town when you turn off I80.

post #10 of 25

For black diamond skiers, anything that you have previously heard about Snowbird is not hype...It is the real deal. So I would put snowbird on the list for a minimum of at least one day.

 

If it is a sunny but cold day then first thing in the morning head to Snowbird's Mineral Basin as it gets the morning sun. Take the Peruvian Express and then the Magic Carpet Tunnel through the mountain to Mineral Basin as it is a unique and different experience. At one point you end up being 600 feet below the surface and while on the Magic Carpet you go past old mining exhibits making the experience kinda like an amusement park ride.

post #11 of 25

For me, Utah is Alta, Solitude, Snowbasin, Sundance, Brighton and Snowbird, in that order.

I've never been to Deer Valley or Powder Mountain,or spent much time at PCMR or Canyons.  I don't understand why all my friends like Snowbird so much.

 

BK

post #12 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bode Klammer View Post
 

For me, Utah is Alta, Solitude, Snowbasin, Sundance, Brighton and Snowbird, in that order.

I've never been to Deer Valley or Powder Mountain,or spent much time at PCMR or Canyons.  I don't understand why all my friends like Snowbird so much.

 

BK

 

Snowbird=pretty much 3k vertical of continuous black diamond skiing does it for me.

post #13 of 25

I know you're staying at Park City... but I'd ski 2 days at Alta, one at Snowbird, and one at Powder Mountain.  After 20 years of guys' Utah trips, this combination always puts a smile on the most faces.

post #14 of 25
Quote:
To me, Alta and Solitude don't have enough groomers if you are actually stuck to them.

The point is that Alta (and Snowbird) have steep, high and north facing off-piste that will not melt/freeze in March. 

So when a key criterion is

Quote:
We will want to ski more off piste than on depending on conditions.

your ski time should be even more concentrated at Alta/Snowbird if it has not snowed recently. 

post #15 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bode Klammer View Post

For me, Utah is Alta, Solitude, Snowbasin, Sundance, Brighton and Snowbird, in that order.
I've never been to Deer Valley or Powder Mountain,or spent much time at PCMR or Canyons.  I don't understand why all my friends like Snowbird so much.

BK
People like Snowbird because it's steep, has a high vertical drop, has lots of cliffs, has lots of very gnarly lines, is big, has a good atmosphere (none of the drunk and high park kids and lazy apathetic lifties you'll find at some other ski areas), and has a good variety of terrain. Really the only thing it has going against it is that it doesn't have many green and blue runs (and the greens and blues is does have are much steeper than average), it doesn't have a lot of groomers, and the groomers aren't always very well groomed. It's certainly not a good place for beginners, but it's one of the best places anywhere for high-advanced and expert skiers.
post #16 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sh4d0w View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bode Klammer View Post

For me, Utah is Alta, Solitude, Snowbasin, Sundance, Brighton and Snowbird, in that order.
I've never been to Deer Valley or Powder Mountain,or spent much time at PCMR or Canyons.  I don't understand why all my friends like Snowbird so much.

BK
People like Snowbird because it's steep, has a high vertical drop, has lots of cliffs, has lots of very gnarly lines, is big, has a good atmosphere (none of the drunk and high park kids and lazy apathetic lifties you'll find at some other ski areas), and has a good variety of terrain. Really the only thing it has going against it is that it doesn't have many green and blue runs (and the greens and blues is does have are much steeper than average), it doesn't have a lot of groomers, and the groomers aren't always very well groomed. It's certainly not a good place for beginners, but it's one of the best places anywhere for high-advanced and expert skiers.


I know, but I'm stilll not a huge fan of Snowbird.  I'm not exactly sure why.  I know most of my friends who ski well put it at the to of their list.

 

BK

post #17 of 25

Short answers -

 

1) Snowbird - Steeps, great snow - the absolute best of Utah.

2) Snowbasin -Fantastic terrain. plenty of new lifts, great lodges / food. Yes, yes, then there's outrageous bathrooms. Only negative is that often the only cloud in Utah hangs over (and in) it. Make sure a clear day.

3) Canyons  - yes, I know it's not on the usual list of top three SLC sites, and the constant complaints of not being able to figure out how to get around (gawd - :rolleyes), but there's a lot of fine terrain available there, without the insipidness that is DV.

 

Not so much -

PowMow -  flat, with old slow lifts. There's a reason the powder sticks around which is because there's no reason to bother. Last place of SLC resorts.

PCMW - meh. just meh.

Deer Valley - OK, the Empire Canyon area is OK, but, well, with so many good areas around, why bother. Only positive thing is no boarders.

Brighton - Like out-of-control boarders? Then you're home.

Solitude - Absolutely criminal lift layout. They put in a new high speed, and it runs parallel to the existing high speed - go figure. Lifts to the good stuff? Old and slow. Who made that management decision?

Alta - with Snowbird beside it, why bother, but otherwise it would be #4 of the short answers.


Edited by snofun3 - 7/28/14 at 11:50am
post #18 of 25

Just for a different perspective.

 

We have a group that goes to Utah every season for the past several years for a four day trip. At first we used to try to mix it up between the Cottonwoods, Park City and Snowbasin. Driving between the two areas takes it's toll when you have relatively short stay, so we now alternate locations and stick to the local resorts. Last year we did Park City and skied PCMR, The Canyons and Deer Valley. Conditions were best at the Canyons so we went back there for the fourth day. It was so nice just to stay in Park City and have a 15 min drive to all the resorts. It was also easier at night just to get back to the hotel and eat  locally. The year before we stayed in Sandy and hit the four Cottonwood resorts. This is even more important if it snows and the roads get dicey.

 

UT is the kind of place you will most likely come back to, many times. You don't have to try to hit all the best resorts in one trip. They are all good with favorites depending on skiing preference and conditions. Stay local and spend your time skiing, eating and drinking instead of driving.

post #19 of 25

For skiers of your level ski Alta and Snowbird as much as you can tolerate the drive, especially if it's been snowing. Otherwise stick to the PC area resorts. Nothing wrong with Brighton and Solitude and any of the other mountains mentioned but if you're going to drive might as well drive to the best. Expect big weekend crowds wherever you go, especially with fresh snow. Understand that with big dumps access to LCC can be cut off for avy control (and sometimes even the people who are staying up there have to stay indoors while they blast.) And next time stay in LCC.

post #20 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carl Spackler View Post

Thanks for the recs. We will want to ski more off piste than on depending on conditions. Didn't know if Solitude or Brighton were worth checking out.

Heard good things about Deer Valley but didn't know what the hardcore folks opinions were.

 

My favorite area is the bird.

After that Deer Valley. To get your heart going, try the Daly chutes. #4 is my favorite of the bunch.

post #21 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by oldgoat View Post
 

For skiers of your level ski Alta and Snowbird as much as you can tolerate the drive, especially if it's been snowing. Otherwise stick to the PC area resorts. Nothing wrong with Brighton and Solitude and any of the other mountains mentioned but if you're going to drive might as well drive to the best. Expect big weekend crowds wherever you go, especially with fresh snow. Understand that with big dumps access to LCC can be cut off for avy control (and sometimes even the people who are staying up there have to stay indoors while they blast.) And next time stay in LCC.


Good advice from oldgoat.  Go to Alta/Brid at least one day but I suspect the drive will get old.  In ideal weather it's an hour, in bad weather it can take 3+ hours.  You can always plan a future trip back to Alta/Bird and stay closer.

 

The three PC areas are similar to the summit CO ski areas.  Not a lot of top notch expert stuff but each has a little.  If you enjoyed summit CO, you'll enjoy the three PC areas too.

post #22 of 25
Quote:
The three PC areas are similar to the summit CO ski areas.

Yes the 2 Summit Counties are quite similar in snowfall, scale and type of terrain.  Utah's areas are less crowded with half the skier visits.  By mid-March Utah's areas will have swift transitions to spring conditions with lower altitude and a lot of east exposure.  Mid-March into April is Summit Colorado's prime season IMHO. 

post #23 of 25

I'll agree with a few post in this thread that amount to 10" at DV or The Canyons might be better than 16" at Alta/Bird if looking for longer lasting fresh snow providing temps and exposure aren't a concern.

 

If I was Park City based I would hang there if conditions are really good but would certainly drive for a foot at Snowbird versus 3" in PC.

 

So I guess I'm repeating a few other suggestions to check the weather.

 

Conditions being relatively equal my personal Utah itinerary for 4 days would be Snowbird, Snowbasin, Alta and Canyons.

post #24 of 25
Thread Starter 
Awesome stuff, really appreciate the info. My flight gets in about 10am so I am getting a half day at Snowbird/Alta if possible.

Looks like Deer Valley, Canyons and Snowbasin make the cut. Will play it by ear based on snow and roads.
post #25 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carl Spackler View Post

Awesome stuff, really appreciate the info. My flight gets in about 10am so I am getting a half day at Snowbird/Alta if possible.

Looks like Deer Valley, Canyons and Snowbasin make the cut. Will play it by ear based on snow and roads.

Last season there was a special deal at Alta/Snowbird for those with a boarding pass.  Had to be within 24 hours of landing and a weekday.  There were two afternoon rates, starting at 1:00 or 2:30.  Hopefully these will be offered again.

 

If you decide to start at Alta, park in the first lot.  That's called Wildcat and serves the Collins and Wildcat lifts.  You can boot up in the ground floor of the Goldminer's Daughter next to the parking lot.

 

One advantage of having a car is then it's easier to pick up discounted lift tickets before going up LCC.

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