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Skiing at the Rockies; European newbie;

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 

Hello.

 

FIrst of all, let me say hi to everyone and say that this is an incredible site for ski and mountain lovers... I have been a while reading your posts and finally I request your help!

 

My firends an I are planning a trip to the Rockies for this winter. We are from Europe and we really want to en joy our stance at your continent ;). We have two options:

 

· Staying in Park City; and skiing in Park City Resort and The Canyons.

 

· Staying in Salt Lake City; and skiing in Brighton, Snowbird and Solitude.

 

Our level is high but we are not very used to ski off-piste although we really enjoy when we have enough snow to do it in Andorra and other parts of the Alps.

 

We would appreciate any suggestions, tips and recommendations for a 6-days-ski-trip…

 

*Alta and Deer Valley are not a choice because 3 out of 4 of us are snowboarders (yeap I am the only skier in my group…)

 

 

Thanks in advance!

 

Mod note: moved to Resorts, Conditions & Travel

post #2 of 24

You'll get a bunch of various recommendations based on personal biases but for me if it's your first trip you probably want to do a bit of sampling.  

 

My bias is toward finding a reasonably priced motel somewhere in SLC and having a rental car- Midvale is a pretty good choice (but reality is traffic isn't so bad that it takes you that long to get around on the interstate/highways).  You can park at the mouth of the canyons and take the bus up if snow is really bad.  Get a multiday pass from SkiSaltLake or whatever the vistor's bureau deal currently is or check out Canyon sports for cheaper day passes.  I'd also recommend a day at Snowbasin.

post #3 of 24

Yeah, getting a car and finding a hotel on the east side of SLC is a good idea. You can drive over to the PC area or even up to Snowbasin and Powder Mountain from there. And of course Snowbird and Brighton/Solitude are easy to get to from there as well.

 

I would suggest spending the first day skiing Brighton and the second day skiing Park City. That should give you an idea of where you'll want to spend the next few days. Or, you could make a plan to ski all the areas, spending two days skiing PC/Canyons, two days in Brighton/Solitude, a day or two at Snowbird, and maybe a day at Snowbasin (if you don't do two days at Snowbird). That's usually what my family does when we meet up in SLC for some skiing.

post #4 of 24

If you guys are accustomed to Andorra, you'll really appreciate the more "Western" feel of Park City......... well whats left of that anyway.The streets are super busy kinda like Andorra La Vella, so it will feel familiar and a bit more like a real ski town as opposed to staying in SLC which will feel like any random city anywhere w/ very little true character. I will second on hitting Snowbasin and Powder Mtn while there and would recommend those areas over Brighton, and even GASP..... Snowbird (compared to skiing Europe anyway)! Not sure, but you can ask if Powder Mtn still has snowcat skiing on a per run basis making it a MUST DO while there if it is still available. 

 

Other than possibly Deer Valley, prepare yourselves for the food here........ you've been warned............ it's not Europe! LOL

post #5 of 24

Fatbob, CerebralVortex and Yo Momma have got it right.

 

I will add a couple of caveats.

 

If staying in SLC you will need a hire car. You can manage without a car if staying in PC. Good urban skibus transport. While it is possible to and from the LCC/BCC resorts it is not that convenient. I stay in SLC and always hire a car.

 

If going out in the evening and expecting a ski resort ambiance is important then PC is a much better choice. I enjoy exploring PC on foot, lots of history/variety. SLC is about as bland as it gets unless you are into Mormon history.

 

Boarders like Brighton and it has a younger vibe than other nearbye resorts .

 

If you want good Indian food then the Bombay House  2731 Parleys Way, Salt Lake City, UT 84109 is the goto joint

 

I live on a sailboat in the Caribbean and Chinese restaurants are rare good one very very rare. So I always enjoy at least one Chinese meal on my ski trip. The La Cai 961 S State St, Salt Lake City is the best I have found BUT it is almost always crowded with Vietnamese and Chinese locals. Which I suppose is a good sign. Be prepared to wait for a table.

 

BTW I will be skiing SLC for three weeks in Feb 2016. Feel free to PM me.

post #6 of 24

·Staying in Park City; and skiing in Park City Resort and The Canyons.

Good choice if your emphasis is on staying in convenient resort town with plenty of intermediate skiing and fun apres ski.

 

·Staying in Salt Lake City; and skiing in Brighton, Snowbird and Solitude.

Good choice if your emphasis is on beautiful, challenging skiing/snowboarding, then a meal in a suburban restaurant on the way back to your motel for early night in bed.

 

The above two choices don't have to be mutually exclusive.  You could do a little of both.  The one ski area on your list that most advanced American skiers/boarders would have on their must ski list is Snowbird.

 

 

post #7 of 24

Jamesj really summed it up nicely and succinctly.

 

The only reason to consider Park City is if you're looking to experience a classic western ski town and have easy access to shops, nightlife, restaurants, etc. If you want to save money and focus on skiing, Salt Lake and the Cottonwoods are the only answer.  

post #8 of 24

Snowbird, Brighton and Solitude are more challenging than Park City and Canyons. If you are very good skiers you would probably prefer Snowbird, Brighton and Solitude. Keep in mind that in the US there aren't many truly advanced pistes that are groomed. Advanced skiing will usually be moguls or powder. American ski resorts are generally smaller than European ones and it is possible to control the entire ski area for avalanches, so the risk of skiing off piste is much less than in Europe, although not quite zero. If it turns out that you aren't the skiers you thought you were there will still be plenty of intermediate skiing at Snowbird, Brighton, and Solitude. The main advantage of Park City/ Canyons is avoiding the need for a car.  For me a ski trip is only a real vacation if I don't have to drive. 

post #9 of 24
Thread Starter 

Ok Yo Momma,  I will look the snowcat up because that has to be awesome! ;)

post #10 of 24
Thread Starter 

Thanks TQA!! of course we would like a good apres-ski ambient, but the most important thing for us is to enjoy the Rokies. If it is as good as everyone says we will come back and we will explore morea reas! We will see how far the apartment that the agency provide us is from Brighton and the other resorts included in our pass.

 

BTW not a bad place to live, I can imagine worts places ...jajajja

 

:D

post #11 of 24
Thread Starter 

Ok Yo Momma, I will look the snowcat up because that has to be awesome! ;)

 

Thanks TQA!! of course we would like a good apres-ski ambient, but the most important thing for us is to enjoy the Rockies. If it is as good as everyone says we will come back and we will explore more areas! We will see how far the apartment, that the agency provide us, is from Brighton and the other resorts included in our pass. BTW not a bad place to live, I can imagine worse places ...jajajja

 

What we really want is to enjoy as much as we can the Rockies!!! So I think that, as Jamesj and from the other comments I can see, what best fits what we look for is Brighton, Snowbird and Solitude.

 

The bad thing JoeUT is that we will have everything booked from Spain, so we have to choose one area or the other (PC&Canyons or Brig-Snowb-Solitud), but we will come back for sure to keep exploring!

 

I think that we are going to choose Snowbird, Brighton and Solitude for our first try...I really loce to ski on powder but we don't ussually have so many chances...One thing old goat, My gear are some Salomon Street Racer 8 which are perfect on piste for carving, but are not very agile off-piste, is a must thing for me to rent there my equipment, right? I thing it is better to not carry my gear by plane...

 

Thanks to all you guys!!!

post #12 of 24

I think it's best to plan on renting skis while you're there. Bring your boots if you have a good pair that fits well, but rent skis when you get there. The shops will have all sorts of options, and they're usually happy to let you change if you want to try something different after a day or two.

 

The price will still be a bit more expensive than bringing your own skis, but you won't have to deal with the hassle of carrying them to/from airports and you'll have the option to try different models throughout the week.

post #13 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by javchav View Post
 

Thanks TQA!! of course we would like a good apres-ski ambient, but the most important thing for us is to enjoy the Rokies. If it is as good as everyone says we will come back and we will explore morea reas! We will see how far the apartment that the agency provide us is from Brighton and the other resorts included in our pass.

 

BTW not a bad place to live, I can imagine worts places ...jajajja

 

:D


Welcome to EpicSki!  Alta is my favorite, with Snowbasin high up on the list for the Rockies as well.  My guess is that you'll want to go back to SLC in the future. :D

 

Look under Topics Discussed (right hand column) for the tag link to SLC Travel.  There are plenty of threads related to lodging and how to get around SLC, including handling the drive or bus to LCC (Alta/Snowbird).

 

For example, parking ideas:

http://www.epicski.com/t/134354/alta-and-snowbird-parking-recommendations

post #14 of 24

Hey Javchav,

 

It's like Cerebral Vortex says........ leave your skis at home and rent. If you get even a few inches of powder your carving skis will rob you of all that powder love! Renting is easy and ask the shop for advice on which skis are best for the conditions. Also if you're not used to deep pow take an advanced lesson bec you will learn to do it correctly on wider skis (yes the technique is very different), you'll get a mtn tour and you get to skip lines while in class!

 

Realize that the ski areas in Little and Big Cottonwood Canyons (Snowbird, Alta, Brighton, Solitude) are an absolute ZOO during big powder days. On a weekend the entire area other than maybe Solitude........ can get skied off by 11 am. While you're trying to figure out where to go ........... the first tracks dream goes up in smoke. Go where the storms hit the most but if you want to experience true pow w/o the crowds........Powder Mtn and Snowbasin are your ticket to maximum first tracks. Don't get sucked into the vortex as even Snowbird is small by European standards so use the location of storms as your guide as to where to ski. Always follow the storm track and if it dumps all over, head north to the areas I mentioned. 

 

Y que? No van a Baqueira Beret o Sierra Nevada este ano???? :) Me encanta Espana!

post #15 of 24

Staying in SLC does make sense if you want to sample a variety of areas.  I totally agree with Yo Momma above regarding the crazed atmosphere at Snowbird on a powder day and that you should visit Snowbasin and Powder Mountain.  However, if you are looking for mountain village charm and atmosphere - you will not find that staying in Salt Lake.  Plus you will have to drive every morning and every evening.  There is something to be said for staying up at Park City and not driving around so much.

post #16 of 24

Also bear in mind that mountain village charm if you're used to Europe is not even existent in Park City - it's more a theme town with a bit of genuine mining heritage.

post #17 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by CerebralVortex View Post
 

I think it's best to plan on renting skis while you're there. Bring your boots if you have a good pair that fits well, but rent skis when you get there. The shops will have all sorts of options, and they're usually happy to let you change if you want to try something different after a day or two.

 

The price will still be a bit more expensive than bringing your own skis, but you won't have to deal with the hassle of carrying them to/from airports and you'll have the option to try different models throughout the week.

I will definetly do that then!

post #18 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yo Momma View Post
 

Hey Javchav,

 

It's like Cerebral Vortex says........ leave your skis at home and rent. If you get even a few inches of powder your carving skis will rob you of all that powder love! Renting is easy and ask the shop for advice on which skis are best for the conditions. Also if you're not used to deep pow take an advanced lesson bec you will learn to do it correctly on wider skis (yes the technique is very different), you'll get a mtn tour and you get to skip lines while in class!

 

Realize that the ski areas in Little and Big Cottonwood Canyons (Snowbird, Alta, Brighton, Solitude) are an absolute ZOO during big powder days. On a weekend the entire area other than maybe Solitude........ can get skied off by 11 am. While you're trying to figure out where to go ........... the first tracks dream goes up in smoke. Go where the storms hit the most but if you want to experience true pow w/o the crowds........Powder Mtn and Snowbasin are your ticket to maximum first tracks. Don't get sucked into the vortex as even Snowbird is small by European standards so use the location of storms as your guide as to where to ski. Always follow the storm track and if it dumps all over, head north to the areas I mentioned.

 

Y que? No van a Baqueira Beret o Sierra Nevada este ano???? :) Me encanta Espana!

Great, thanks for the tip, we will be getting up really early to enjoy as much as we can...maybe just go one night out or just hang on the afternoons in a pub so que can be skiing really early.

I think i will take a lesson the first day and see how I can manage myself on pwd snow.

jajaja, this year one week in Grandvalira before Utah and maybe a few weekends in Baqueria...but there is nothing sure yet except that we are travelling across the atlantic; In Spain everyone is always welcome u know :) !!!

post #19 of 24

Coming in late here...but 

 

I would stay in Park City and not even consider SLC. PC is a ski town, exactly what SLC is not.  SLC is a big city. You can drive around to Snowbird and the cottonwoods in no time at all and if its snowing hard, you'll be in line to get up the road regardless of where you stayed...unless your at one of the cottonwood resorts.

 

Park City is expensive and has a draw for a reason, and despite what all the powder snobs say it has some VERY NICE slopes. Sure, its no Snowbird, but walking from the slope to your door after an 11 hour day on the slopes is nice and not possible unless your at the Solitude village or a room at Alta or the bird.  Unlike those places, after dark theres a lot in Park City that you can get to by free..yes FREE bus rides.

 

We used to stay in SLC and ski PC and the cottonwoods multiple times a year, now we stay in PC and ski PC and the cottonwoods multiple times a year .. Same thing, just from nicer place.

 

With that being said, you don't want to miss the experience at the bird/alta or etc.

post #20 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by kurtis500 View Post
 

Coming in late here...but 

 

I would stay in Park City and not even consider SLC. PC is a ski town, exactly what SLC is not.  SLC is a big city. You can drive around to Snowbird and the cottonwoods in no time at all and if its snowing hard, you'll be in line to get up the road regardless of where you stayed...unless your at one of the cottonwood resorts.

 

Park City is expensive and has a draw for a reason, and despite what all the powder snobs say it has some VERY NICE slopes. Sure, its no Snowbird, but walking from the slope to your door after an 11 hour day on the slopes is nice and not possible unless your at the Solitude village or a room at Alta or the bird.  Unlike those places, after dark theres a lot in Park City that you can get to by free..yes FREE bus rides.

 

We used to stay in SLC and ski PC and the cottonwoods multiple times a year, now we stay in PC and ski PC and the cottonwoods multiple times a year .. Same thing, just from nicer place.

 

With that being said, you don't want to miss the experience at the bird/alta or etc.


I agree. If you're on a trip with your friends and want to enjoy apres, great atmosphere, a real western ski town, etc all with free shuttles and a walkable village just stay in Park City. You won't need a car for the entire trip and can take a ski bus to your days at Alta/Bird, Brighton and Solitude. Free bus system to PC/Canyons and Deer Valley. All of which have awesome skiing, just different than places like the Bird, which you should also experience because it is great. 

 

This is what we did last spring, and even with very subpar snow conditions in PC we had an absolute blast. We took a ski bus to Alta/Bird and Solitude and had an amazing time. We found a very good deal on a small condo on the free bus route and only 10 mins from town and PCMR. 

 

I think coming from Europe especially where there are so many wonderful charming ski towns/ villages and proper mountain towns, it would be disappointing staying in SLC and commuting to different mountains the whole time. 

post #21 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by G Unit View Post

 

I think coming from Europe especially where there are so many wonderful charming ski towns/ villages and proper mountain towns, it would be disappointing staying in SLC and commuting to different mountains the whole time. 

 

I'm kinda the opposite, coming from Europe I don't really see the erstaz ski resorts as worth paying a significant premium for and quite enjoy the freedom to drive in and the amenities available in a larger town/city from eating options to movies, hockey and basketball.  Appreciate that for many ski-in/ski out is some kind of nirvana.  Not that Park City isn't a big enough town to have many town options available.


Edited by fatbob - 8/19/15 at 6:57am
post #22 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by fatbob View Post
 

 

I'm kinda the opposite, coming from Europe I don't really see the erstaz ski resorts as worth paying a significant premium for and quite enjoy the freedom to drive in and the amenities available in a larger town/city from eating options to movies, hockey and basketball.  Appreciate that for many ski-in/ski out is some kind of nirvana.  Not that Park City isn't a big enough town to have many town options available.


Yeah, that makes sense for some people I am sure. I wasn't talking about ski in/out in any way. Just talking about staying in Park City as opposed to SLC, which are very, very different places. In PC you have access to a real mountain town and no need for a car the entire trip so its really nice in that regard. I've done both and find staying in PC much more enjoyable for both skiing and relaxing. Besides the sports you mentioned PC has a wealth of everything else, and for me, SLC is not very charming. IMO its huge, spread out, flat, and kind of ugly. PC is the opposite IMO. As always, YMMV. 

post #23 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by G Unit View Post
 


Yeah, that makes sense for some people I am sure. I wasn't talking about ski in/out in any way. Just talking about staying in Park City as opposed to SLC, which are very, very different places. In PC you have access to a real mountain town and no need for a car the entire trip so its really nice in that regard. I've done both and find staying in PC much more enjoyable for both skiing and relaxing. Besides the sports you mentioned PC has a wealth of everything else, and for me, SLC is not very charming. IMO its huge, spread out, flat, and kind of ugly. PC is the opposite IMO. As always, YMMV. 

And smoggy, you forgot smoggy.

post #24 of 24
Well if you like basketball there is the utah jazz playing and there is a stop using the uta light rail. I prefer slc for cheaper pricing
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