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EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Mountain/Resort Related Forums › Resorts, Conditions & Travel › In Park City Dec 14-25 w/ car. Know LCC. Besides 3 PC resorts, BCC, Ogden Mountains worth the drive?
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In Park City Dec 14-25 w/ car. Know LCC. Besides 3 PC resorts, BCC, Ogden Mountains worth the drive?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

Long title but it explains the thread's purpose. Of course, "3" Park City resorts assumes that PCMR will be up and operational (fingers crossed). I have heard very good things about Powder Mountain and Snowbasin but have no clue if they are worth the hour drive (this is assuming they have enough snow to make the trip viable). I am between high intermediate and expert as a skier, do not really ski chutes or steeps, and only occasionally ski the trees.

 

As an aside, I loved Alta and Snowbird when I went in late April. Got a two foot dumping the night I got there and both mountains (though not fully open) had tons of great stuff; I will never forget my first time dropping into the Cirque and hitting pure powder all the way down.

 

Would love to hear EpicSki's opinions/expertise on the matter. Thanks in advance.

 

Mod edit: changed title a bit so question fits better

post #2 of 8

It really depends on the weather. It's always best to be flexible.  Neither Snowbasin nor Powder Mountain are as consistent as the Cottonwood Canyon resorts, especially early season.

post #3 of 8

During that timeframe it is highly likely that coverage and open terrain will be much better in the Cottonwood Canyons than in any of the Park City or Ogden areas.   You will have a car and can make these calls at the last minute, buying the discounted lift tickets at a Salt Lake ski shop.

 

Snowbasin had to install a decent snowmaking system for the Olympics.  Powder Mt. has minimal snowmaking, and contrary to what they would like you to believe, only gets a little more snow (maybe 10-15%) than Snowbasin's  314-inch long term average.  

 

Last year Powder Mt. was only 18% open on January 15.  If the Paradise chair isn't open, there's definitely not enough snow to consider going there.  Snowbasin's early season record is similar to Park City's.

 

If you enjoy skiing the Cirque at Snowbird, you should not waste your time at areas outside the Cottonwoods while they are still mostly open with manmade groomers.  There will be years it will be worthwhile but you won't know until you get there, or maybe a few days before.

post #4 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Crocker View Post
 

During that timeframe it is highly likely that coverage and open terrain will be much better in the Cottonwood Canyons than in any of the Park City or Ogden areas.   You will have a car and can make these calls at the last minute, buying the discounted lift tickets at a Salt Lake ski shop.

 

Snowbasin had to install a decent snowmaking system for the Olympics.  Powder Mt. has minimal snowmaking, and contrary to what they would like you to believe, only gets a little more snow (maybe 10-15%) than Snowbasin's  314-inch long term average.  

 

Last year Powder Mt. was only 18% open on January 15.  If the Paradise chair isn't open, there's definitely not enough snow to consider going there.  Snowbasin's early season record is similar to Park City's.

 

If you enjoy skiing the Cirque at Snowbird, you should not waste your time at areas outside the Cottonwoods while they are still mostly open with manmade groomers.  There will be years it will be worthwhile but you won't know until you get there, or maybe a few days before.


Much better?  That depends.  If the snow is light, sure. This is usually the case.  If the snow just doesn't come, snowmaking may make the PC resorts better.  Of course, you don't want to travel west of the Continental Divide to ski on man-made snow.  Unfortunately, the status of PCMR is unknown right now.    If the snow is plentiful early on, everywhere is fine. The OP is staying in Park City for a reason (I assume because of travel points, a relative is there, a business conference, he likes PC, or whatever.), and will lose little if anything by waiting to see how the weather pans out.  Like Tony says, sometimes you don't know until you get there, or just before you get there.  A couple of good storms is all it takes...

 

Along with the ski shop deals, occasionally Liftopia has good last minute lift ticket deals.  The local COSTCO stores might have a good deal or two.  A while ago, Backcountry and some others sold discounted lift tickets early season to benefit the Utah Avalanche Center.  This could allow the OP to do well (saving money) by doing good. I am not sure if the deal will come back for this year, but if so look for it in mid-Dec.

post #5 of 8
Quote:
If the snow just doesn't come, snowmaking may make the PC resorts better. 

In 75% of seasons since 1996 Alta is at least 75% open on Dec. 15.  Less than half open, no more than 10% of seasons.  I'm guessing 1976-77 was the only early season so dry that Alta might have had less open on Dec. 15 than someone with snowmaking.  Snowbird is more consistently steep, top to bottom, plus having a lower base elevation than Alta that gets somewhat less snow.  So that 25th percentile is only 55% open vs. the 75% at Alta.  Brighton has better cover than Snowbird with a thin early season snowpack.  I was at Alta during Christmas week of a lean 1986-87 season.  It was overrun from people based at other Utah areas where conditions were crappy. 

 

We're getting to be sourpusses here after the past 3 slow start seasons in many regions, Utah included.  There are some Decembers when you'll have good skiing everywhere in Utah.

post #6 of 8
If Snowbasin is open including Strawberry and runs off base quad, DO, MUST, ABSOLUTELY go!!!!! Best in Utah imho.
post #7 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by whenwaxattacks View Post
 

Long title but it explains the thread's purpose. Of course, "3" Park City resorts assumes that PCMR will be up and operational (fingers crossed). I have heard very good things about Powder Mountain and Snowbasin but have no clue if they are worth the hour drive (this is assuming they have enough snow to make the trip viable). I am between high intermediate and expert as a skier, do not really ski chutes or steeps, and only occasionally ski the trees.

 

As an aside, I loved Alta and Snowbird when I went in late April. Got a two foot dumping the night I got there and both mountains (though not fully open) had tons of great stuff; I will never forget my first time dropping into the Cirque and hitting pure powder all the way down.

 

Would love to hear EpicSki's opinions/expertise on the matter. Thanks in advance.

 

Mod edit: changed title a bit so question fits better

If conditions are decent and there is good visibility, a day trip to Snowbasin is worth it IMHO.  Assuming you intend to return to SLC in the future.  Since the skiing early season is not likely to be stellar in any case, might as well take the opportunity to check out Snowbasin for future reference and the great views.  Have lunch at John Paul if it's open.  I wouldn't spend the extra time driving to PowMow in December.

 

Alta has about 2000 acres in-bounds.  Snowbasin has about 3000 acres and you can see a lot of it at the same time.

post #8 of 8

I ski for three weeks a year in Utah and stay SLC. I make the trip up to Snowbasin 2 or 3 times. It is worth it.

 

Ski your buns off on Strawberry.

 

 Have lunch at John Pauls.

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EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Mountain/Resort Related Forums › Resorts, Conditions & Travel › In Park City Dec 14-25 w/ car. Know LCC. Besides 3 PC resorts, BCC, Ogden Mountains worth the drive?