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First Time to Solitude - Questions

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

Greetings,

 

Last several years, we had our annual ski vacation at Park City / Canyons, and always had a great time.  However, the ski school for the kids at these big resorts was getting way over my budget (over $500 per day for 2 kids), so, for this January 2016 trip, we decided to book a place at the Solitude village to save some $$$ and stay somewhere new.  My one and only visit to Solitude was a day visit some 10-12 years ago, so things have probably changed.  The marketing info for Solitude all looks great, but I was hoping to get some independent feedback to help me plan the vacation.

 

1. I'm planning to rent an SUV at the SLC airport.  The car rental agency does not state if its an AWD, but I hope it will be.  Any idea if I'll also need chains to get to Solitude?  What are the general snow chain policies for Big Cottonwood Canyon?  If it snows heavily, are there snowplows that keep the road open?

 

2. I'm hoping to get some night skiing on the night of the arrival at Brighton.  How does it compare to night skiing at Park City?  Is there enough light to see the terrain?  Crowded or not?  Any lodges / places that stay open late so I can take a break / warm up.  Should I drive from Solitude or is there a shuttle between Solitude and Brighton?

 

3. Any opinions on dining options at Solitude or nearby areas?  If the weather is clear, is it worth driving all the way to SLC for dinner?  Any recommendations of good restaurants that would be worth the drive?

 

4. Wife doesn't ski.  Any ideas if there are any fun activities for folks who dont ski?

 

5. Ski  / snowboard rentals for kids - how is the condition of rental equipment at the resort?  Would prefer to rent on the mountain, but can also rent from SLC ski shops on the way to the resort.

 

6. On the way there, I'd like to stop by a market and buy some breakfast / lunch provisions.  Also want to buy some beer, wine and maybe scotch / bourbon.  Any recommendations for a good store near Big Cottonwood Cyn?

 

Thanks!

post #2 of 14
If you have an AWD vehicle you'll be fine. You don't need chains if you have some form of four wheel drive and all seasons. The Big closes for Avalanche control work much less than LCC.

Brighton has a good amount of lighted terrain, plenty enough for a good time. The lights are definitely bright enough to see well and on full moon nights you can even ski some trees. Molly Greens is the best place to eat or imbibe at Brighton. It's located adjacent to the two opens lifts. Molly's beats the hell out of the lodge cafe. I think your best bet is to drive from Solitude to Brighton, it's a hop skip and a jump.

The Silver Fork Lodge is nearby and offers decent food, they have a shuttle that will pick you up from Solitude. Salt Lake isn't a far drive, you might want to drive down and explore a bit. Bohemian Brewery in Midvale is good, the Red Iguana is a famous suggestion. Soho Food Park is a place in Holladay that hosts 4-6 food trucks every night and offers a variety of decent trucks that stop by.

I know they have an ice skating rink and cross country ski trails, other than that I'm not sure. There isn't much in the way of shopping, the base area could be called quaint.

There are a few places to rent around the base of the canyon. My kids learned on equipment from Solitude's rental fleet, all their stuff is in good shape and the staff has always been pleasant.

The closest grocery store is probably the Smiths on Bengal Blvd, via Wasatch Blvd. They'll have everything you will need except wine, for the wine you'll have to find a state liquor store. They do have a "liquor store" at Solitude, but I doubt you'll find much selections there.

Have fun, it's a great place!
post #3 of 14

Not much to add since BobMc covered your questions.  For night skiing, makes more sense to drive.  Very quick and parking won't be an issue.  Note that plenty of local teens take the bus up in the afternoon for a few hours in the terrain parks.

 

Here's a TR with a few pics of a family having fun in Solitude powder to build some anticipation.

 

http://www.epicski.com/t/119804/tr-solitude-3-31-4-4

 

Have seen plenty of families at the Bohemian Brewery.  It's more restaurant than bar.  Food is good.

post #4 of 14

agreed, well covered.

 

only item i'll add is check the closing time of the Solitude bar(s). I doubt this an issue but if it's slow they often close. Funniest remembrance is when my bro in law and I hit it early Dec. Talked him into hitting the hot tub first. We were about to hit the bar and while I was looking at the bar lights from our room, watched em go dark.

 

He didn't believe me at first .. luckily he brought a bottle on the trip, we hadn't picked up any beer at that point but did so the next day.

 

 

yes .. car to Brighton, only around 1 1/2 mi ...  well worth the night skiing if not super cold. Spouse and I did it when it was 10 out .. maybe 0 ... still thought it worth it but man the hot drinks were calling.

post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the detailed responses!  Counting days to the trip and hope this year's El-Nino will not disappoint.

post #6 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by alera View Post
 

Thanks for the detailed responses!  Counting days to the trip and hope this year's El-Nino will not disappoint.


If you post in the Utah thread closer to the date, you might be able hook up with other EpicSki members that week.  All ongoing regional threads are listed at the top of the Resorts section.

post #7 of 14

There is a Trader Joes's in SLC sort of on the way to Solitude. Id recommend getting a few items there since the dining options are limited. The pizza place was good for one night. Id suggest to your wife to bring some good books :D

post #8 of 14

I went there with my non-skiing wife and son about six years ago. Skiing was good, the school for my son was good, equipment was good. However, the name Solitude is very appropriate. Dining options are limited and there's not much else. Even though I liked everything else about it we haven't returned.

post #9 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by whumpf View Post
 

I went there with my non-skiing wife and son about six years ago. Skiing was good, the school for my son was good, equipment was good. However, the name Solitude is very appropriate. Dining options are limited and there's not much else. Even though I liked everything else about it we haven't returned.


How old was your son then, if you don't mind my asking?  Tween (8-12) or young school age (5-7) or younger?

post #10 of 14

At that time he was in first grade, so 7.

post #11 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by whumpf View Post
 

At that time he was in first grade, so 7.


Fun age on the slopes.  Thanks.

 

I first took my daughter to Alta when she was 7 and could ski blacks in the southeast.  Was skiing Alta blue groomers and powder on the edges after the first day of ski school.  Even though it was late season, we arrived during a powder storm.  We left my non-skiing husband at home taking care of the pets.  He's an enabler when it comes to ski trips.  ;) 

post #12 of 14

Solitude: 

 

Dining options are two pricey restaurants and a pizza place, with just pizza and ice cream.  In addition, Silver Fork Lodge restaurant is a mile down the road with a free shuttle.  There is a bar with burgers at Brighton two miles up the road, but not sure how late that stays open, but probably pretty late because of the night skiing. Might be another place up there, but have not heard of anything.  There are also some Solitude on-mountain food service options that all close with the skiing.  In addition there is "The Yurt," which is a limited reservation only deal by Solitude Village.  You snowshoe in the dark with a guide for 15 min. to get to a yurt in the snow for a $100/person several course limited menu meal. The bathroom is a port-a-potty in the snow, but the food is supposed to be very good.

 

There is an incredibly expensive and small convenience store in the Solitude Village. which includes a liquor store that is literally just a closet.  Because of state taxes booze is very expensive and hard to find in Utah, except for the 3.2 beer sold in most large super markets ($40 a case).  Bring a bottle or two from home if you like the hard stuff.

 

There is a bar at the ski area base, but I believe it closes about 5:30 or 6:00.  Other than the two restaurants serving alcohol, the only real bar at Solitude Village is the Thirsty Squirrel.  It is not uncommon for it to close by 8:00, or even sooner, but the hours seem to depend on the crowd.  Talked to some guys in the hot tub last year who said they paid $20 a pitcher for beer.  5 guys, 2 pitchers = $40 apre ski expense.

 

Supposedly Deer Valley is going to improve the food and other services at Solitude, but I am not aware of any new businesses going in this season, but then I am not really in the loop.

 

As for winter activities for non-skiers, there is a cross country ski track and snowshoe track right from the village with rental equipment available 50 yards from the track. There are some fun snow shoe options around the area and right across the street if you want to explore.  There are a couple small shops, but virtually no real shopping at Solitude, unless you want to buy something that says "Solitude" on it.

 

As far as driving to town to eat, unless there is  a lot of snow it is about a 30+ minute drive each way.  A few miles straight down Ft. Union Blvd. at the bottom of the canyon you'll find Dan's grocery store, and within another two blocks is the State Liquor Store and a Papa Murphy's.  Keep going a few more miles and you hit Smith's grocery store, a Walmart super store, and lots more restaurant options.  You can also take the ski shuttle from Solitude down and back to hit all these places.  A tip if you are driving down to ski somewhere else the Lift House right at the bottom of the Canyon has discount lift tickets for all the other areas.

 

I believe the Solitude Village condo rentals all come with access to  the Club Solitude facilities, which include an outdoor pool and hot tubs, and a fairly nice but small exercise facility.

 

The bottom line is that Solitude really does live up to it's name.  Compared to Park City and Deer Valley it is pretty much B.Y.O. everything.  Like the man said, tell your wife to bring a book (or two).

post #13 of 14
Thread Starter 

Thanks again for all the advise.  I'll make space in our luggage for some extra books!

post #14 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by alera View Post
 

Thanks again for all the advise.  I'll make space in our luggage for some extra books!


Or buy her a tablet and some e-books.  If you decide to take the kids over to Alta for a day, there is a nice spa at Snowbird. ;)

 

If your family has an interest in indoor rock climbing, Momentum Climbing is quite a place.  It's near the big REI in SLC if shopping for outdoor gear is of any interest.  Also near First Tracks, which is a consignment store that also has some new skis.

 

http://momentumclimbing.com

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