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Any insider tips for a Park City rookie?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

I've never been to any of the Park City resorts and am planning a group trip for early Feb.  We are thinking of coming to Park City for 4 days on the slopes  Our group consists of skiers from mid-intermediate levels up to expert.  I'm personally on the upper end of that range so one of the concerns I have is the terrain.  I've skied Alta/Bird and loved it, and I'm worried PCMR won't stand up.  I have read that the Canyons may be better for expert terrain.  I may also drive our group to Snowbasin for one day.  I've been there once before and thought it was great, and would have good terrain for our full group.

 

We'll likely look for lodging the Park City itself, close enough to walk around town and possibly walking distance to the town lift.  Given the proximity to PCMR, I assumed we'd spend 2 days there, 1 at Canyons and 1 at Snowbasin.  I don't personally have much interest in Deer Valley, I prefer off piste terrain, but some in my group might opt to spend 1 day there.  Based on my advanced terrain concerns, would it make more sense to do 2 days at the Canyons instead?  Another option is for me to trek to Snowbird, even though I've been there a few times it's one of my favorite resorts.

 

If anyone has good suggestions on our skiing approach, good parts of town to stay for both proximity to lifts and town (we will likely be renting a home from homeaway), and ground transfers I'd appreciate it.  If we stay right in town I'm guessing we won't need a car, except to make the drive to Snowbasin.  Are there any shuttles to get there instead?  Thanks in advance for any info you can share.

 

Mod Note: moved to Resorts, Conditions and Travel

post #2 of 14

Jupiter Bowl has some nice skiing at Park City, some good tree skiing there as well.  Also, Thaynes is pretty steep.  Disclaimer - I last skied PC in 1997.  Lots of good intermediate terrain all over the hill.

 

Regarding driving to Snowbasin, It is a great hill, but does not always have great conditions.  If making an excursion from PC I would be checking to see who has the most/best snow.  If you are all skiers Alta my be a good option, or Solitude.

 

Staying in town you will not need vehicles; they have a good, free shuttle bus system around town and to and from the 3 resorts.

 

In my opinion, Canyons may have some steeper skiing , but I like Jupiter Bowl better than anything at the Canyons.  If staying in town for 4 days though I would ski both.  I have not explored Deer Valley much , but I believe they have some off piste terrain there and it may be relatively devoid of skiers?

post #3 of 14

If you can, wait until you get here to make the decision.  Assuming you like powder (ok if you don't) you will be better served going where the snow is.  It can vary greatly from resort to resort depending on how storms come in.

 

There is some good information here:

 

http://www.epicski.com/t/129931/slc-march-5-9-first-time-in-utah-need-recommendations-have-epic-pass-for-canyons-pcmr

 

If your friends are at Deer Valley, you can have fun off-piste there if you go with an open mind.  There are good lines at PCMR too.  You'll have fun at all three PC resorts and there are 6-7 other fun resorts within an hour or so if you want to venture out.

post #4 of 14
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the link, I will read through that thread for some additional advice.

 

The main reason I'm trying to get an idea of what I'll ski in advance is to pick the best lodging location.  My preference is a home rental with ski in/out access, and walking distance to local entertainment like shopping. bars, restaurants, etc.  Staying in the town of Park City seems ideal, but if I only ski 1 day at PCMR it might not make the most sense.  Our housing location will also determine if I need a rental car, something else I need to book in advance.

 

Are lift tickets at PCMR good at Canyons, and vice-versa yet?  I definitely want to get some variety during this trip.  Waiting until arrival to buy lift tickets shouldn't be a problem, unless the prices are dramatically higher then.  The advanced skiers in our group are willing to chase powder, but the intermediates probably will not.  But if we rent cars we'll likely have at least 2, so splitting up is OK.

 

In past trips to Alta/Bird, I've usually grabbed rentals and lift tickets from The Lifthouse, at the mouth of BCC, just since the location is convenient.  I haven't done much lift ticket research on the PC area resorts yet.  The only reason I'm hesitant to go to Alta/Bird is because I've been there numerous times and I'm trying to branch out and see new places.  I have personally skied Snowbasin, Brighton and Solitude once each, Snowbird ~5 times, and Alta 2-3 times.  I did a half day at Deer Valley (free boarding pass lift ticket, does this still exist?) and wasn't impressed, but to be fair I didn't see too much of the mountain either.  But the vibe was not my style.  I'll take no frills terrain like at Alta/Bird over people that help you put your ski boots on at Deer Valley any day of the week, I don't need pampering.  I've never been to PCMR or the Canyons so not sure what to expect there.  Most of my group hasn't been to any resorts in the area except Alta/Bird so it will all be new to them.

post #5 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by PJS32000 View Post
 

Thanks for the link, I will read through that thread for some additional advice.

 

The main reason I'm trying to get an idea of what I'll ski in advance is to pick the best lodging location.  My preference is a home rental with ski in/out access, and walking distance to local entertainment like shopping. bars, restaurants, etc.  Staying in the town of Park City seems ideal, but if I only ski 1 day at PCMR it might not make the most sense.  Our housing location will also determine if I need a rental car, something else I need to book in advance.

 

Are lift tickets at PCMR good at Canyons, and vice-versa yet?  I definitely want to get some variety during this trip.  Waiting until arrival to buy lift tickets shouldn't be a problem, unless the prices are dramatically higher then.  The advanced skiers in our group are willing to chase powder, but the intermediates probably will not.  But if we rent cars we'll likely have at least 2, so splitting up is OK.

 

In past trips to Alta/Bird, I've usually grabbed rentals and lift tickets from The Lifthouse, at the mouth of BCC, just since the location is convenient.  I haven't done much lift ticket research on the PC area resorts yet.  The only reason I'm hesitant to go to Alta/Bird is because I've been there numerous times and I'm trying to branch out and see new places.  I have personally skied Snowbasin, Brighton and Solitude once each, Snowbird ~5 times, and Alta 2-3 times.  I did a half day at Deer Valley (free boarding pass lift ticket, does this still exist?) and wasn't impressed, but to be fair I didn't see too much of the mountain either.  But the vibe was not my style.  I'll take no frills terrain like at Alta/Bird over people that help you put your ski boots on at Deer Valley any day of the week, I don't need pampering.  I've never been to PCMR or the Canyons so not sure what to expect there.  Most of my group hasn't been to any resorts in the area except Alta/Bird so it will all be new to them.


Although it's a slightly longer drive, heading out to Snowbasin might be worth considering, assuming a day with good visibility.  Plenty of terrain for all levels.  Can be a way to get away from lift lines on weekends.

post #6 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post
 


Although it's a slightly longer drive, heading out to Snowbasin might be worth considering, assuming a day with good visibility.  Plenty of terrain for all levels.  Can be a way to get away from lift lines on weekends.

 

Snowbasin is definitely on my radar.  I think it has a great mix of terrain for our group and I love the lift system there, easy as pie to get in lots of vertical.  Barring bad conditions or the lack of a rental car, I expect to spend 1 day there.

post #7 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by PJS32000 View Post
 

Thanks for the link, I will read through that thread for some additional advice.

 

The main reason I'm trying to get an idea of what I'll ski in advance is to pick the best lodging location.  My preference is a home rental with ski in/out access, and walking distance to local entertainment like shopping. bars, restaurants, etc.  Staying in the town of Park City seems ideal, but if I only ski 1 day at PCMR it might not make the most sense.  Our housing location will also determine if I need a rental car, something else I need to book in advance.

 

Are lift tickets at PCMR good at Canyons, and vice-versa yet?  I definitely want to get some variety during this trip.  Waiting until arrival to buy lift tickets shouldn't be a problem, unless the prices are dramatically higher then.  The advanced skiers in our group are willing to chase powder, but the intermediates probably will not.  But if we rent cars we'll likely have at least 2, so splitting up is OK.

 

In past trips to Alta/Bird, I've usually grabbed rentals and lift tickets from The Lifthouse, at the mouth of BCC, just since the location is convenient.  I haven't done much lift ticket research on the PC area resorts yet.  The only reason I'm hesitant to go to Alta/Bird is because I've been there numerous times and I'm trying to branch out and see new places.  I have personally skied Snowbasin, Brighton and Solitude once each, Snowbird ~5 times, and Alta 2-3 times.  I did a half day at Deer Valley (free boarding pass lift ticket, does this still exist?) and wasn't impressed, but to be fair I didn't see too much of the mountain either.  But the vibe was not my style.  I'll take no frills terrain like at Alta/Bird over people that help you put your ski boots on at Deer Valley any day of the week, I don't need pampering.  I've never been to PCMR or the Canyons so not sure what to expect there.  Most of my group hasn't been to any resorts in the area except Alta/Bird so it will all be new to them.

Not sure that this qualifies as insider info, but here goes.

 

As you've already discovered, Park City has a lot to offer and staying in town can be a good choice. You certainly can get away without a  car - the Town Lift literally comes down into to town, making access to PCMR veru convenient, even walkable depending on where you stay. There are also shuttle buses that go both around PC and to DV and Canyons. I'm sure there are other transfer services, but I've used a company called Protrans for the airport/PC run and found them to be very good. They use SUVs that can comfortably fit 4 folks with skis and luggage, are on-time, very helpful and professional and pretty reasonably priced to boot.

 

As to terrain, there is should be more than enough to challenge you on the PC side of the range. One minor complaint about both PCMR and Canyons is the way the lifts & trails are laid out - both resorts span several different peaks and as a result, the layout of trails and lifts seem a bit scattershot. Even though DV doesn't suffer from the same malady, it's lower on my list for other reasons: I'm not in the same social strata as the DV clientele and actually feel a somewhat uncomfortable there. In truth though, it's a pretty nice place with some decent terrain and the trail maps on the lifts are a great idea.

 

In my limited experience with the Wasatch in general, it seems to me that the snow is generally better, often much better on the windward side of the range. As Utagonian suggests, conditions can vary widely among the resorts and keeping your options open as long as possible before a final decision is the best bet. I've found the Wasatch Snow Forecast website ( http://www.wasatchsnowforecast.com/  ) to be very helpful.

post #8 of 14

My best advice for skiing PCMR is to pick a part of the mountain and stick to it.  You can waste a lot of your day bouncing around trying to cover it all.  Last time I was there with friends we found a lot of good skiing on the McConkey 6 pack....not a lot of vert but some good tree skiing.  If the conditions are good Snowbasin is absolutely worth the drive.  The facilities and food rival Deer Valley but the clientele are mostly normal folks.  The terrain is pretty incredible and the views from the top of the John Paul quad are pretty awesome.  As others have pointed out the exposure and lower altitude can have a pretty big impact on skiing...particularly in terms of visibility.

post #9 of 14

Heading out that way in January, staying in town.

 

Anyone know if they're doing their same day boarding pass/lift ticket deal?

post #10 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by GrumpyRestonian View Post

 

 

Anyone know if they're doing their same day boarding pass/lift ticket deal?

 

It would seem that this is no longer available (if someone knows differently, please speak up!).  The only thing similar around there is the AltaBird half-price boarding pass (only available Monday - Thursday).

post #11 of 14

Canyons is too big to ski in a day, and where to ski depends upon it being a powder day or not.  Generally, 9990 will keep you happy...almost never a lift line there.  You absolutely must find Grande on the way home to Red Pine Lodge, which will drop you into a natural half-pipe called Pinball Alley (just enter the fence off Tombstone Express). Note: The map is off and you will enter toward the top 1/3 of Pinball Alley.  Grande has some bumps on top, you have to walk or ski through some tight trees, and then it opens up to one of the steepest slopes at the resort (if not the steepest) before dropping into the half-pipe.  The other natural half-pipe worth skiing is Canis Lupus, on the other side of the resort where the insane race is held at the end of the season: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KIduBNvpl6w   Your friends, who aren't as proficient as you, would enjoy skiing all the natural half-pipes since they give a different experience.  I think there are six dotted around the resort.

 

On powder days sometimes 9990 is closed for a while due to blasting, and then you have to find good runs.   Super Condor (way, way away on the other side)  sometimes opens much later.  If you can make it over there stuff like Yard Sale on up is worth a run or two and possibly you will find first tracks. I only hiked Murdock Peak once, and it was worth it.  Escape Woods off Cloud 9 is usually empty, as is Mystic Pines off Peak 5. More empty runs are anything off Saddleback on a powder day.  Almost everyone goes down the groomers, but if you go through the trees to the right when getting off the lift a bunch of runs open up...and they are usually empty.  The trees are only a façade, perhaps 3 or four deep.  Then it opens up and you have the powder without anyone in site.

 

Most everything else is what you expect when you see it.  The real fun at Canyons is what the tourists don't see.  For example, Several times I started to go through the trees off Saddleback with my kids as a warm up run or just because there is some powder, and people start asking where we are going. If they can't see what is behind the trees or through a gate, they don't have the nerve to ski it.


Edited by quant2325 - 12/10/14 at 8:26pm
post #12 of 14
Thread Starter 

Thanks quant, very helpful and I will try to find some of these spots for sure!  It sounds like you'd suggest doing 2 days at Canyons over 2 days at PCMR if I had to pick.  I expect we'll do 2 days at one of them.  Either that or one day at each: Snowbasin, Deer Valley, PCMR, Canyons.  I'm leaning towards skipping Deer Valley though.

post #13 of 14

If skiing Canyons:

Quote:
Originally Posted by PJS32000 View Post
 

Thanks quant, very helpful and I will try to find some of these spots for sure!  It sounds like you'd suggest doing 2 days at Canyons over 2 days at PCMR if I had to pick.  I expect we'll do 2 days at one of them.  Either that or one day at each: Snowbasin, Deer Valley, PCMR, Canyons.  I'm leaning towards skipping Deer Valley though.


I'd ski Snowbasin or Alta during the trip if possible.  You are surrounded by so many good resorts, it is hard to go wrong.

post #14 of 14
I've skied DV probably 10+ days and not once did anyone ask for my W-2, nor did I feel uncomfortable. YMMV. I put my own boots on.
Now this one time skiing at Canyons, a lady from AZ asked me if, and seemed surprised that we did have an airport in Charlotte. rolleyes.gif

If you want good food for no more than what you pay at the other two, walk up lift tickets that are no more expensive, mostly speedy lifts, terrain to keep intermediates happy, good service, and some advanced terrain for yourself I'd say DV for a day would work for everyone. You wouldn't get bored in one day. You could probably stay on the empire lift for half a day, then move over, skiing Ontario Bowl, then over to Bald Mountain.
If you're right there, might as well see what it's all about.
Edited by WC68 - 12/13/14 at 5:44am
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