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In Other Utah News... [Solitude] - Page 2

post #31 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post

Interesting to hear about the planned changes to Solitude lifts.

Although the base lodging options are limited, some families have a great time at Solitude when they and/or their kids are still learning.  Especially if they also want to try cross-country skiing or one parent is an advanced skier who wants to spend a day or two in LCC.  It can be a good way to get a tradition going for a ski vacation from the flatlands during school holidays.  The easy access from SLC airport is a factor to consider when traveling with kids.


Please do not take my comments a few posts up as being purely negative. I was just stating the challenge from a business perspective. In addition to having good burgers, the place is indeed lots if fun. Some of the SLC regulars who ski there think they have tougher terrain than in PC (not true), but the family activity is as good as the snow once there is coverage. It is IMHO a good place for any visitor to spend a day, since all of the seven areas have a different "feel" to it, with some being dramatically different. Some lifts need to come into the 21st century, and I guess that is happening now.
post #32 of 48

@quant2325 : no problem.  I wasn't reacting to your comments as much as mudfoot wondering why anyone would plan a ski trip out west with Solitude as the destination.

post #33 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by quant2325 View Post


Some lifts need to come into the 21st century, and I guess that is happening now.

The old slow 2-seater Summit Lift is being replaced by a high speed quad, which IMO is very weird because the old lift never ran at close to full capacity except about three times last season.  The new quad allegedly cost $5M and was planned before any of the sale talk.  It appears to be Phase 1 of a future connection with Alta, which owns the backside of Fantasy Ridge (Grizzly Gulch). Supposedly, last spring they surveyed for a short lift from near the top of Honeycomb valley run up to the saddle on Fantasy (CWM Chute), which corresponds to the top of the Alta cat-skiing cat track on the other side.  A high speed Summit chair does not seem to make sense, unless it is part of a bigger plan.

post #34 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by mudfoot View Post
 

The old slow 2-seater Summit Lift is being replaced by a high speed quad, which IMO is very weird because the old lift never ran at close to full capacity except about three times last season.  The new quad allegedly cost $5M and was planned before any of the sale talk.  It appears to be Phase 1 of a future connection with Alta, which owns the backside of Fantasy Ridge (Grizzly Gulch). Supposedly, last spring they surveyed for a short lift from near the top of Honeycomb valley run up to the saddle on Fantasy (CWM Chute), which corresponds to the top of the Alta cat-skiing cat track on the other side.  A high speed Summit chair does not seem to make sense, unless it is part of a bigger plan.


I agree.  One problem with the current 2-seater is going with little kids...it just never seemed safe having a little one by himself/herself on that thing, and waiting for someone to come by and go up with them could take time.  So you could be right, the lift gets so little use now that perhaps something else is planned.

post #35 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by quant2325 View Post
 


I agree.  One problem with the current 2-seater is going with little kids...it just never seemed safe having a little one by himself/herself on that thing, and waiting for someone to come by and go up with them could take time.  So you could be right, the lift gets so little use now that perhaps something else is planned.

 

True, but Summit does not really access little kids terrain.  It scares me, and I'm no kid.

post #36 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by mudfoot View Post
 

 

True, but Summit does not really access little kids terrain.  It scares me, and I'm no kid.

My kids got pretty good early on, and then fizzled out with other interests to where they ski maybe 8-10 days a year...but you bring up a point.  A lot of people go crazy over expert terrain, trees, and whatever, but for most skiers that comprises a couple of runs a day (if that).  This is why Park City is still the top destination in UT for many.

post #37 of 48
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by quant2325 View Post

Some of the SLC regulars who ski there think they have tougher terrain than in PC (not true),

There is nothing remotely approaching Fantasy Ridge anywhere near Park City. If you think PC resorts have tougher terrain than Solitude you really have no clue about the place.

PS. Although the current Summit lift does have a couple high dangles it has always had a safety bar
post #38 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by mudfoot View Post
  They are both nice little areas with their charms, attractions and  benefits, but if you are traveling across the country and spending big bucks on a ski vacation why settle for the minor leagues? 

Because the terrain rocks and the snow is awesome and there are no crowds. You're far more likely to get fresh untracked lines there than anywhere else, other than Pow Mow or Snowbasin.  When I was in the area for Xmas in 2012, Solitude was almost 100% open, other than parts of of Honeycomb Canyon.  Snowbird had poor coverage and not a lot was open. Everyone was going to Alta and by all reports it was crowded, so I went to BCC.  I had on some runs at Solitude off of Eagle Express where I was the only skier, top to bottom.   For my money it was not a minor league experience, it was more of a private box seat/boutique experience at a bargain price.

 

That's why.

post #39 of 48

Came across one of the threads from a few years ago about a family from Philadelphia who had a good time at Solitude.  Had to do the trip during Christmas vacation since they had kids in school.  Mixed ability family from cautious low intermediate mother to advanced father.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by keniski View Post
 

Sorry for the yet-another-family-vacation-at-Christmas post thread. Beginner wife, intermediate girls age 11-16 by then, intermediate to advanced Dad. Have been thinking East to save money on airfare (Stowe most likely) but would like to go West. Can fly non-stop from Philly to SLC. No choice but to go 12-24 thru 12-30 or so. No Alta because of the chairlift bars thing. (I know, I know, but I am told it is non-negotiable!) The perfect place for us to ski is Deer Valley because of my wife, but it is just so expensive for any kind of convenience factor and we are looking for some time together without the usual hassles of keeping people entertained and debating where everyone wants to go, so staying in Park City to save $$$ and skiing Deer Valley primarily could create some problems, especially with the kids maybe wanting to learn some snowboarding.

 

From what I can tell, Solitude has terrain for all including the wife, pretty reliable snow coverage at Christmas, much less expensive and extremely convenient slope access lodging, less crowds than other well-known spots at holiday time, and a pretty contained, safe, easy village for when we are beat where the kids can feel entertained and independent but they really can't go anywhere. I know I have pretty much answered my own question, but looking for any contrarian opinions to consider. So, any downsides? Does the food suck? Are there altitude issues different than anywhere else? Are there problems with their rental equipment? Is the less crowded thing BS? Is it overrun with boarders at Christmas (again, not prejudiced, but the SO has had a few incidents at Whiteface that have left her wary...)? Is there really not that much low-end terrain? Does the lift layout suck? (For example, at Whiteface nearly all of the easier trails on the main side of the mountain serve as funnel areas for the more expert higher slopes so they are serious freeways) If its as great and less crowded as everyone says, why is it that more people aren't there? What does everyone think?

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by keniski View Post
 

 

Ok, TR for Solitude, 12/25/10 - 12/30/10.

 

Thanks to all for the great advice and help prior to our trip.

 

We really enjoyed Solitude. Four and a half days of skiing, and the only lift line we waited on longer than 60 secs was on Eagle Express one afternnon when the power went out for 45 min and they were running on auxiliary. According to the ride data card for the first four days, I logged 63,101 vertical feet. Our last day I went out with my wife and by myself, skied from 9-12 and logged twelve more runs. What a place! 

 

We took it easy Christmas day after we arrived, to get acclimated and get our rental equipment set up. The kids were amazed at the amount of snow. My wife had a little bit of trouble with the altitude for the first two days, but then recovered nicely. It also took her two days to get over her intimidation at the pitch of the green slopes compared to the flatter Eastern beginner slopes. It is definitely different out there. My kids were amazed at how steep and sometimes bumpy the intermediate runs were, but they got used to it quickly. We had skied the blues and a few blacks at Whiteface in the past, and we had a running joke with our Solitude instructor about his definitions of “skied off” and “congestion” compared to what we were used to!

 

I stayed with my 13 and 11-year old mostly. We skied the Sunrise, Apex, and Eagle chairs every day with laps off Moonbeam toward the  end of the day for some easy bumps. I got two runs from the summit done, one with my kids and one without, and skied a few runs off Powderhorn too. We covered the greens and blues, and worked our way up to the blacks off the Eagle chair as well as Powderhorn. I had my first taste of Western tree skiing-- very cool. 

 

We never made it over to Brighton. And we didn’t make it into Honeycomb Canyon this trip. The first day we had about 3-5” on their already huge base, but we were just getting used to skiing again and our instructor didn’t want to get the kids in over their heads. The second and third days we had sun and windblown and bumped up piles over packed powder, we were improving our skills, and I didn’t want to go ski it without the kids. We did take one run from the summit on the groomed blue and black runs on the third day. The fourth day we got dumped on, with at least 18” on top of overnight. We spent the morning skiing the blacks off of Eagle. Our instructor thought the kids were ready by then but Honeycomb was closed for avy work. So it will have to be next time.

 

Our instructor, Eric, could not have been better. He pushed the kids to improve but never on terrain they couldn’t handle, and the same for me. He understood that I wanted to ski with the kids and didn’t try to push me to separate to go do more difficult terrain with him, but we still managed to find me an hour of challenge on the last full day  in the powder when the kids desperately needed a break. He was incredibly patient and encouraging to my wife, and got her alone on the third day and really rebuilt her confidence so that on our last half day she went and skied by herself for 2 hours off of Moonbeam.

 

Travel was simple as could be. Canyon Transportation to and from the airport. Rental equipment was nice, Atomics as the base and I demo’d, which I reported in a different thread. We shipped our clothes and boots and my wife’s skis by Fedex. The Inn at Solitude was fine. Clean, nice people, heated pool and hot tub. Pretty weak water pressure for showering, which was amusing. 100 yards from the Apex Quad. Nice ski locker room in the building, although it is in the lowest level of the inn with the only access to the slopes by way of a pretty decent flight of concrete steps. At least they were indoors, but I found that setup odd and a little less convenient than it should be.

 

There is really nothing to do there but ski during the day. The Club is fun for the kids but during the day there really isn’t anyone there. The guys at the Stone Haus pizza place were great, and entertained my 16-year old who had hurt her knee playing hockey and couldn’t ski. For the most part, the people were extremely friendly and helpful, although it is so laid back there that there is a good contingent of off-hours folks who aren’t that knowledgeable about things. We didn’t have a car, and my wife wanted to take my 16-year old to the movies one day, but no one could really give her a good plan of what to do so they just bagged it. But, since it is so laid back and uncrowded there, that isn’t a big deal most of the time. Guys in the rental shop were helpful and friendly. I walked in at 8:15 on the morning of the dumping pow and grabbed a pair of Coaxs, no big deal or crowd. It was great to have the Dead on Sirius in one breakfast spot and Zeppelin at the other!

 

The Stone Haus Pizza joint was actually pretty good and the lunch food in the mountain lodges was very good. I didn’t think things were too expensive and everything was prepared pretty much to order. The only minor complaint I would have is the limitation in food in the evening. We didn’t eat at St B’s, which I hear is very good but the food choices are a little formal for the kids. Kimi’s is supposed to be the more casual spot, but we weren’t impressed and thought it was overpriced. Little things bugged us there too, like having a request to change a reservation denied and then walking in to an empty dining room, and not being allowed to substitute anything, even on the kids menu. I can understand a chef taking pride in his work, but to have a rigid and somewhat limited menu when you are supposed to be the casual restaurant of only three in the village is just the wrong vibe. We ended up heading down to the Silver Fork Lodge for dinner two nights, which was a lot of fun. Excellent “boot beer”!

 

So overall it was exactly as I had expected. Fantastic skiing, great snow, beautiful place, self-contained and simple. Great first trip out West. I was constantly amazed at the fact that we were there the week between Christmas and New Years, everyone there was saying how full the resort was, and yet we never had to wait to get back up the mountain! It really felt like being let in on some giant secret. And even so we still didn’t ski a huge chunk of what the place has to offer. I think it would be nice to have a little more nearby action for those who ski less, and for my wife it would be good to sleep below 8,000 feet, so I can’t imagine that it will be the only place we ever go, but I would go back in a heartbeat.

 
post #40 of 48

@keniski is a cool dude.  We had fun with him at ESA Snowmass in 2011. 

post #41 of 48
@trekchick is too kind. @marznc thanks for the throwback! Solitude that week was great for us! @mudfoot All of the differences/limitations/criticisms (some definitely valid now that I've experienced Alta/Snowbird for myself) of the place compared to the LCC resorts are exactly what made it the perfect place for us to go, especially over the peak week we had to travel.
post #42 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by keniski View Post

@trekchick is too kind. @marznc thanks for the throwback! Solitude that week was great for us! @mudfoot All of the differences/limitations/criticisms (some definitely valid now that I've experienced Alta/Snowbird for myself) of the place compared to the LCC resorts are exactly what made it the perfect place for us to go, especially over the peak week we had to travel.

Thank you for writing up a TR after the trip!

post #43 of 48

Ok, I'll pile on.  

 

Add me to the list of people who love the BCC.  And yes, we are that family who has made multiple cross country trips with the BCC resorts as our primary destination.  The reason:  bang-for-the-buck.  Both of my kids and my wife started in ski school at Solitude.  My son also made his transition from skis to snowboarding there where I paid the day rate for a group lesson and he in return received an all day private lesson.  Back when they still had it and my kids were younger, we skied as a family of 4 all day at Brighton for $112.  That's two Adult passes for $56 and two free kids passes.  You can't beat that.  It also dumped that day and we stayed until they shut the lights off at 9PM.  Great day.  Great memories.  

 

Yes, on our Utah trips we have ventured out.  Alta is now my daughter's favorite.  We've been to PCMR and Snowbasin (my favorite).  I'll tell you this.  The two BCC resorts will always have a cherished place in our skiing history.  My Daughter and I spent the day there, just the two of us on a powder day.  Really advanced her skiing that day.  

 

Early in my own skiing career PCMR was one of our primary destinations.  And while it was new and fun for my kids on our last trip...if I never ski another day there, I would be fine with it.  I just don't like the way the terrain is chopped up.  

 

There's great skiing to be had at both BCC resorts if you know where to look for it.  And usually, there's fresh tracks to be found, there's no one else around and you don't have to take a huge dent in your wallet to enjoy it.  

 

For what it's worth those are my thoughts on the place.  I'm kind sad that if they ever do get One Wasatch up and going, all the Park City vacationers are going to ruin the BCC / LCC vibe.  I kind of like it how it is now, with all of the people crowding around in PC and good skiing open to those in the know in the Cottonwood Canyons.  

post #44 of 48

I really like Solitude and I am glad that during the gathering we went up there. I wasn't even planning on going, but luckily at the last minute, I dragged myself out of bed and had an unforgettable day with mdf and near nyquist. 

 

I would go there more often if the lift layout wasn't so lame...I really like terrain (even more than before now on skis).

post #45 of 48
Quote:
Solitude is what it is.  Because of the plethora of our ski areas around SLC they cannot really raise the ticket or pass prices, and there is no way to create residential or commercial (hotel/retail) revenue.  With lodging options limited to almost only condo VRBOs, and just a couple of restaurants and bars there is literally no nightlife.  It is not a destination resort unless you plan on doing your own cooking and staying in for après ski activities.  It is essentially a day area for residents and tourists staying in SLC, and it mostly sucks for snowboarders, so they go to Brighton. The experts go to Alta/Snowbird and the intermediates go to PC/DV and Canyons, which leaves Solitude and Brighton caught in between.   They are both nice little areas with their charms, attractions and  benefits, but if you are traveling across the country and spending big bucks on a ski vacation why settle for the minor leagues? 

The above is completely true from a business standpoint.  But the BCC resorts will be big winners if One Wasatch ever comes to pass.

 

I agree with nearly all of the positive comments about Solitude.  But if people love a resort because "it's so uncrowded," that's not exactly a ringing endorsement from a prospective investor viewpoint.  Mudfoot's reasoning shows that there is little upside EXCEPT for the possibility of One Wasatch.  If the price is right and the buyer thinks it will happen, it's a reasonable speculation.

post #46 of 48

I am skeptical that One Wasatch will ever happen.  Assuming Vail eventually takes over Canyons and PC, why would they support or help finance something that would send their skiers to other areas.  It seems to be a huge cost for something that has little practical value, other than as a Utah vs. Colorado marketing concept.  Solitude and Brighton are already connected, as are Alta and Snowbird. The allegedly planned chairs from Alta and Solitude meeting at the top of Fantasy Ridge will connect those four areas.  Building a gondola at a huge cost so that people can go to PC for dinner without driving from LCC or BCC seems unlikely, and will do nothing to improve the skiing.


Edited by mudfoot - 8/23/14 at 8:05am
post #47 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by mudfoot View Post
 

I am skeptical that One Wasatch will ever happen.  Assuming Vail eventually takes over Canyons and PC, why would they support or help finance something that would send their skiers to other areas.  It seems to be a huge cost for something that has little practical value, other than as a Utah vs. Colorado marketing concept.  Solitude and Brighton are already connected, as are Alta and Snowbird. The allegedly planned chairs from Alta and Solitude meeting at the top of Fantasy Ridge will connect those four areas.  Building a gondola at a huge cost so that people can go to PC for dinner without driving from LCC or BCC seems unlikely, and will do nothing to improve the skiing.

One Wasatch increases the entire pie for all seven resorts.  Advertising One Wasatch would be unique in the USA, allowing UT to compete with Colorado and get more international visitors. The perception of having access to all that skiable acreage is too much for anyone on the east coast to ignore.   One Wasatch skiers would have to bed somewhere, and Park City is the logical destination for ski in/out access.  Vail wins big on both mountain revenue and lodging.  If One Wasatch happens, all seven resort will be thinking about the end of Caddyshack:

 

 

 

All seven resorts have ownership that is from billionaires and millionaires (MTN , a public concern, is a lessee).  These people can hire consultants, and do so.  They have a good idea how much their top lines will increase with a One Wasatch, and are solidly behind it.

post #48 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by quant2325 View Post
 

One Wasatch increases the entire pie for all seven resorts.  Advertising One Wasatch would be unique in the USA, allowing UT to compete with Colorado and get more international visitors. The perception of having access to all that skiable acreage is too much for anyone on the east coast to ignore.   One Wasatch skiers would have to bed somewhere, and Park City is the logical destination for ski in/out access.  Vail wins big on both mountain revenue and lodging.  If One Wasatch happens, all seven resort will be thinking about the end of Caddyshack:

 

 

 

All seven resorts have ownership that is from billionaires and millionaires (MTN , a public concern, is a lessee).  These people can hire consultants, and do so.  They have a good idea how much their top lines will increase with a One Wasatch, and are solidly behind it.

 

You are probably right, I'm sure they have experts crunching numbers on future growth and revenue verses cost to them.  They will undoubtedly want the state to pay for part of the gondola based on the old increased tax revenue argument. I know Jackson tried that with their new tram, but I don't think it worked.  Constant growth is the philosophy of the cancer cell and will probably not result in "better" powder skiing, but you can't fight "progress."

 

I loved your Caddyshack clip, it is also perfect for the line up waiting for first chair on a big powder day.

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