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PCMR 3/28 - 4/2

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 

The MDcatV family just returned from its spring break trip to PCMR.  We are a family of 4 with two adults, a 9 y.o. (daughter) and a 4 y.o. (son).  We stayed at the Sundial through a VRBO reservation, and it was really nice as well as convenient..  

 

Some highlights:

 

our daughters bloody nose in the airport before we went through security and nearly missing our flight despite being at the airport 2 hours early;

 

our son vomiting while our plane was taxiing after landing in SLC

 

so, both kids went through their "spare" outfit in day 1!  woot traveling with kids!!

 

our daughter's boot bag staying in chicago while we were landing in SLC (great job to United for getting it to us before ski day 1)

 

me shutting my thumb in the door of our shuttle vehicle when we got to canyons

 

15+ inches of powder on ski day 1

 

me skiing with instructor Martin Stoilkov through all his fav spots in Canyons on tuesday afternoon.  I did an adult workshop and was paired up with Martin.  We hit mid thigh to waist deep snow in the woods under the Tombstone, Peak 5, Saddleback, and 9990 lifts.  the highlights were Charlie Brown run and the natural half pipe run out, and this cliff under the Peak 5 lift (photos are from the lift while riding later in the week on Friday).  Great instructor and a lot of fun if in PC Canyons.

 

  

 

 

Apres ski swimming in a blizzard 

 

4 more inches of new snow in ski day 2 and heading over to the PC side to meet up with some friends

 

lapping McKonkey's with tons of fresh snow in the bowl and through the trees below

 

Traversing from Canyons to the Town Lift on Thursday with my daughter to meet my wife and son at High West for Mac and Cheese lunch on Thursday (3/31)

 

The moose we saw off the Iron Mountain lift on the way(you'll have to zoom in to see, it's the dark shape between the pine trees)

 

 

 

 Getting to the town lift with my best ski buddy

 

 

Our 4 y.o. going to ski school

 

 

Spending Friday with my daughter on a perfect blue bird ski day

 

 

 

and finally, my wonky knee flaring up just in time for the plane ride home.

 

Overall, it was a great trip with some of the best snow conditions I've encountered.  Thank goodness for my non-skiing wife putting up with our "spring break" ski trip another year.  

 

I'm pretty new to this web site, but there seems to be a negative bias toward PC.  This was our first trip to Utah after several to Colorado (summit county, copper mtn, vail, beaver creek) and we really enjoyed it.  The proximity to SLC makes the trip really easy, no car needed with the shuttles and bus service (both free and Uber is there for other trips), canyons base area is a little quiet but has some activities, lots of varied ski terrain, and PC is a pretty cool town.   The adult workshop was fantastic, it was $115 and turned into a private lesson on a mountain I've never been to so I was fortunate enough to hit lots of terrain on a powder day with local knowledge for a guide.

 

Overall, the family agreed that they prefer Beaver Creek for the additional non-ski activities in the village like the evening kid parade, ice skating rink, and "props" on the mountain for kids to ski to/through, but PC/Canyons is in the rotation! 

 

Thanks for reading.

post #2 of 23

Nice thanks for the TR! Bummer about the knee though. 

post #3 of 23
Quote:

Originally Posted by MDcatV View Post

 

Overall, it was a great trip with some of the best snow conditions I've encountered.  Thank goodness for my non-skiing wife putting up with our "spring break" ski trip another year.  

 

I'm pretty new to this web site, but there seems to be a negative bias toward PC.  This was our first trip to Utah after several to Colorado (summit county, copper mtn, vail, beaver creek) and we really enjoyed it.  The proximity to SLC makes the trip really easy, no car needed with the shuttles and bus service (both free and Uber is there for other trips), canyons base area is a little quiet but has some activities, lots of varied ski terrain, and PC is a pretty cool town.   The adult workshop was fantastic, it was $115 and turned into a private lesson on a mountain I've never been to so I was fortunate enough to hit lots of terrain on a powder day with local knowledge for a guide.

 

Overall, the family agreed that they prefer Beaver Creek for the additional non-ski activities in the village like the evening kid parade, ice skating rink, and "props" on the mountain for kids to ski to/through, but PC/Canyons is in the rotation! 

 

Thanks for reading.

 

Great report! Thanks for sharing... nice to see that your family had a good time.

 

As far as the negativity, that's simply because PCMR doesn't have a lot of the type of terrain, low cost, or lack of crowds that usually get kudos from a lot of the expert skiers around here. (Vail and Steamboat tend to get the same treatment, and Vail in general as a company gets pretty beat up sometimes.)

 

But there are a lot of folks that like PCMR if you read enough threads. And for family vacations, of course, the criteria for where to go are very different than a lot of the folks that travel here looking for cheap, uncrowded, steep, deep snow.

post #4 of 23

Nice TR. It's tough to beat a powder day in Utah!

post #5 of 23
Quote:
I'm pretty new to this web site, but there seems to be a negative bias toward PC.

In Utah context it's a third rate ski area.  Alta/Snowbird have the best lift served snow in the world over the season as a whole and are on the short list among the best resorts in North America for advanced/expert terrain.  The second tier in Utah is Brighton/Solitude for snow and Snowbasin for terrain quality.

 

Park City gets barely half the snow as Alta/Snowbird and is also heavily east facing (vs. north) and 1,500 feet lower on average.  I skied there there day before you arrived as the storm was starting. http://www.firsttracksonline.com/boards/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=12115  The snow filled in and the day got progressively better, but the subsurface was mostly refrozen except for a few high north facing areas, notably Charlie Brown where you skied with your guide.

 

For a family with young kids and a non-skiing wife, Park City makes a lot of sense, but you got very lucky with the snow as it's usually quite sloppy in the spring.  If you go back, I'd recommend you stick to the mid-January to mid-March core of the season. If you're constrained to late March, the Colorado areas with much higher altitude and north exposure are a safer bet.

post #6 of 23
OP, FWIW, when I was skiing with my daughter on vacation trips years ago, Park City was one of our favorites. Families have different priorities than just the skiing, and being able to get to a wide assortment of activities all within walking distance is huge. Anything that minimizes hassle is huge. And we had four feet of snow when we went one April. We might have liked the Canyons better, but they'd sent half their staff home and couldn't staff the lifts so the place was mostly closed the year we were there. We preferred the SKIING at Alta, the food at Deer Valley, but overall Park City won. Now that she's all grown up (late 20's), we might feel differently.
post #7 of 23

You hit some fantastic weather.  Snow early in your visit, then sun and dry powder on your last days.  Things started to get manky on Sunday.  I've been in SLC since 3/30.  Heading home tomorrow.  Today was a flash freeze, but finally about 2pm things got decent on parts of the mtn at Snowbird.

post #8 of 23
Love to read about families skiing together and the great times and lasting memories that are created. I've been skiing now for 50 years and it 's my observation there are less and less families skiing together.

My family prefers the beach. Wife in Costa Rica with her sister this week, and I'm out in Vail .
MDCatV you look like David Duval the golfer in your pic!;
post #9 of 23

roundturns, my family was at PC 3/26 to 4/02. I've only been skiing 40 years but a lot of that was with the family. Our son is now 30 and our daughter is 26 but skiing as a family is still great.

My wife and I sure can't keep up with the kids anymore but getting together for lunch or at the end of the day to share the experiences is wonderful. Park City offered something for everyone. We even added a new member to the party, my daughter's boyfriend. Skiing is still a sport you can enjoy as a family for a life time and across generations.

MDcatV keep at it and enjoy them enjoying skiing, I don't plan on stopping anytime soon. I'll be 69 in May and we're already talking about next year.

post #10 of 23
Thread Starter 

lol @ david duvall, i've never heard that before.  hopefully i resemble him during his skinny period! :-)

post #11 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by roundturns View Post

Love to read about families skiing together and the great times and lasting memories that are created. I've been skiing now for 50 years and it 's my observation there are less and less families skiing together.

My family prefers the beach. Wife in Costa Rica with her sister this week, and I'm out in Vail .
MDCatV you look like David Duval the golfer in your pic!;

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by RCC55125 View Post
 

roundturns, my family was at PC 3/26 to 4/02. I've only been skiing 40 years but a lot of that was with the family. Our son is now 30 and our daughter is 26 but skiing as a family is still great.

My wife and I sure can't keep up with the kids anymore but getting together for lunch or at the end of the day to share the experiences is wonderful. Park City offered something for everyone. We even added a new member to the party, my daughter's boyfriend. Skiing is still a sport you can enjoy as a family for a life time and across generations.

MDcatV keep at it and enjoy them enjoying skiing, I don't plan on stopping anytime soon. I'll be 69 in May and we're already talking about next year.

 

You both are living one of my life goals ... to go on annual ski vacations with extended family and make turns with multiple generations!  Love it!

post #12 of 23
After six days in LCC and BCC I went to Canyons side of PC yesterday 4/6. Only had time for two hours before flight home, but 11 lift rides counting the cabriolet:-) On firm spring mornings PC's lower elevation facilitates the switch from firm to softer and friendlier snow earlier in the day. Made it as far as Cloud Nine Restaurant above Dreamscape chair. Very last three runs were off Sun Peak Chair in memorable "hero" corn snow conditions.
post #13 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by MDcatV View Post

 

 

I'm pretty new to this web site, but there seems to be a negative bias toward PC.  

 

Tony Crocker covered the technical reasons why PC is a 2nd or 3rd tier resort in the eyes of many Epic skiers.  But if you're having fun, that's all that matters.  I managed to keep a group of diverse skiers thoroughly entertained in PCMR this Feb 8-13.  

 

post #14 of 23
Quote = SpikeDog:
Feb 8-13

That's right in the sweet spot for expected snow conditions at a mountain like Park City.   In late March you need to be lucky.  After 38 years, I'm not comfortable with excessive reliance on luck for advanced booked ski trips.

 

No question Park City is good for many families and has a great apres ski town, really the only one in Utah.   It is a nearly perfect fit with Vail's other resorts so it's easily to see why they went after it. 

 

So I'm not in any way deterring people who would enjoy Park City. I'm just suggesting the safest time frame for the best skiing there.

post #15 of 23

Adventurist guys out there, enjoy!

post #16 of 23

You can never have too many family vacations...Its GREAT!

post #17 of 23

I found your profile and am in the middle of planning our family Spring Break for '17.  We have 4 boys (11,9,5 1/2 and 3 1/2) and were at the Canyons the exact time you were there- stayed at Grand Summit in a VRBO, and it was an absolutely fabulous family vacation- we rented a 2 bedroom condo, and my in-laws AND my sister-in-law and her family (husband and 3 sons) joined us-  we had 7 boys between 1 and 10- and 6 adults at the peak, and it was plenty of room (not that I spent any time in the room other than to get dressed, sleep and change for après ski swimming)- but I would recommend the configuration and location for having plenty of space/accommodations for folks and proximity!  Our friends came only for 3 days, but they stayed in the same unit as us with only the 6 of them (2 adults, 4 kids) and said it was way too big!    Anyway, thanks to having truly memorable ski conditions at Park City (I really was amazed at our luck in late March/early April- it was awesome!), our oldest two are now obsessed with skiing (despite us living in VA) and are already asking when we will be going back (even asked if we could go to Wintergreen the following weekend).  Taking us to the current tragic April 8-April 15 week for 2017 Spring Break, the fact that while good skiing, 4 kids in a car for who knows how long from Denver to whichever place is still open sounds terrible to me (after the 40 min uber to the Grand Summit in the Canyons at Park City with 4 kids 10 and younger).  So we've toyed with Canada.  A friend here (in VA) recommended Big Sky and my husband is doing his guys ski trip to Telluride in early Feb., so he's thinking of getting an PASS that will cover him for Telluride and Wherever we go (hence Whistler works). I've been skiing since I was 2, but he snowboards, so we have to consider that wherever we go (and my kids are good at skiing, so I doubt that they will like snowboarding even though they are both 'trying' it at Snowshoe later this month).  Anyway, you are the perfect east-coast skier to ask with 2 young(er)-ish kids, and me feeling grateful to have an experienced ski-sporter (even if its not skiing) spouse.    So my guess is you are in our boat with Spring Break- are you returning to Beaver Creek or have you landed on a spot for next April???  I went to Aspen pre-kids, and that was great, even though (being a girl and friends from grad school) I had to ski with the guys who all like to ski really fast- or out of control- or both, and I'm not a crazy-fast skier- and we never went to Snowmass (not sure why, but we were staying in town and walking distance from everything).

 

Anyway, I would love to hear what you have planned or have liked, though Beaver Creek sounds like a good option as well!!!

 

THanks!!

post #18 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by kirkeboy6 View Post
 

I found your profile and am in the middle of planning our family Spring Break for '17.  We have 4 boys (11,9,5 1/2 and 3 1/2) and were at the Canyons the exact time you were there- stayed at Grand Summit in a VRBO, and it was an absolutely fabulous family vacation- we rented a 2 bedroom condo, and my in-laws AND my sister-in-law and her family (husband and 3 sons) joined us-  we had 7 boys between 1 and 10- and 6 adults at the peak, and it was plenty of room (not that I spent any time in the room other than to get dressed, sleep and change for après ski swimming)- but I would recommend the configuration and location for having plenty of space/accommodations for folks and proximity!  Our friends came only for 3 days, but they stayed in the same unit as us with only the 6 of them (2 adults, 4 kids) and said it was way too big!    Anyway, thanks to having truly memorable ski conditions at Park City (I really was amazed at our luck in late March/early April- it was awesome!), our oldest two are now obsessed with skiing (despite us living in VA) and are already asking when we will be going back (even asked if we could go to Wintergreen the following weekend).  Taking us to the current tragic April 8-April 15 week for 2017 Spring Break, the fact that while good skiing, 4 kids in a car for who knows how long from Denver to whichever place is still open sounds terrible to me (after the 40 min uber to the Grand Summit in the Canyons at Park City with 4 kids 10 and younger).  So we've toyed with Canada.  A friend here (in VA) recommended Big Sky and my husband is doing his guys ski trip to Telluride in early Feb., so he's thinking of getting an PASS that will cover him for Telluride and Wherever we go (hence Whistler works). I've been skiing since I was 2, but he snowboards, so we have to consider that wherever we go (and my kids are good at skiing, so I doubt that they will like snowboarding even though they are both 'trying' it at Snowshoe later this month).  Anyway, you are the perfect east-coast skier to ask with 2 young(er)-ish kids, and me feeling grateful to have an experienced ski-sporter (even if its not skiing) spouse.    So my guess is you are in our boat with Spring Break- are you returning to Beaver Creek or have you landed on a spot for next April???  I went to Aspen pre-kids, and that was great, even though (being a girl and friends from grad school) I had to ski with the guys who all like to ski really fast- or out of control- or both, and I'm not a crazy-fast skier- and we never went to Snowmass (not sure why, but we were staying in town and walking distance from everything).

 

Anyway, I would love to hear what you have planned or have liked, though Beaver Creek sounds like a good option as well!!!

 

THanks!!

 

Hi @kirkeboy6, welcome to EpicSki! Sounds like you've got some great possible trips coming up, with some logistical challenges. I'm also in Virginia, but don't have the family travel concerns. 

 

The OP (original poster), @MDcatV hasn't posted around here since last season, but perhaps paging him will work. (Typing their user name starting with the @ sign, then selecting a name from the drop-down user list will notify the person that they've been mentioned.)

post #19 of 23


thanks @dbostedo for the tips!  this entire forum is a great help regardless!  Yes, balancing younger kids attention spans (and energy levels) with our older ones make planning challenging- tho PC covered most of what we needed (and non-skiing grandparents who didn't mind watching their younger grandsons helped too)

post #20 of 23
Thread Starter 

Hi There @kirkeboy6 !  You're much more organized than I am on the trip planning!  Given how late spring break is this year, I would anticipate conditions at lower elevation places like PCMR to be muddy, or even closed for the season.  Same at Beaver Creek and Steamboat.  For late trips like this years spring break will dictate, I dont think you can beat Copper Mountain or Breckenridge (I'm biased toward Copper just because I've skied there more than anywhere else).  In 2014, we went to Copper from (or about) 4/14 - 4/20, got a superb deal on ski in/ski out through VRBO, had exceptional conditions on an empty mountain.  Much of it was closed, but enough left open to have a lot of fun.

 

The downside was that the village at copper is kind of lame for non-skiers or youngsters when it's mid season, when it's empty the only people left there are the few mountain workers finishing out their seasons, so to go out to dinner it's beneficial to have a car to go to breck/frisco/vail, or beaver creek.  Breck has a superior town that can keep everyone entertained.  I dont know if Breck keeps most terrain open late season or how they stage their shutdown, but for a big crew, as far as ski towns go, it's pretty tough to beat.

 

Other downside (for me and my family anyway) is altitude.  Going to summit county, co, you're living at about +9K feet and skiing from there to +12k feet.  Given that I live in MD at like 400 feet, I have a tendency to sleep poorly and get headaches, especially after 2 or 3 days.  It has impacted the kids too in that they have the same issues and don't want to eat or drink, so it has become a cycle of grouchiness!  In my experience staying at Beaver Creek, Steamboat and PCMR, where you're a little lower largely mitigated the altitude issues.

 

This season we may have to go a different route for various reasons, but are likely going to get mini-trips in locally or up in the NE.  Unless I can't swing it for business reasons, I'm going to hit summit co in mid march with some buddies, but that's a whole different trip profile!

 

Let me know of other questions, I'd be happy to try and offer advice but just haven't been logging into this forum recently.

 

Good luck!

post #21 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by MDcatV View Post
 

Hi There @kirkeboy6 !  You're much more organized than I am on the trip planning!  Given how late spring break is this year, I would anticipate conditions at lower elevation places like PCMR to be muddy, or even closed for the season.  Same at Beaver Creek and Steamboat.  For late trips like this years spring break will dictate, I dont think you can beat Copper Mountain or Breckenridge (I'm biased toward Copper just because I've skied there more than anywhere else).  In 2014, we went to Copper from (or about) 4/14 - 4/20, got a superb deal on ski in/ski out through VRBO, had exceptional conditions on an empty mountain.  Much of it was closed, but enough left open to have a lot of fun.

 

The downside was that the village at copper is kind of lame for non-skiers or youngsters when it's mid season, when it's empty the only people left there are the few mountain workers finishing out their seasons, so to go out to dinner it's beneficial to have a car to go to breck/frisco/vail, or beaver creek.  Breck has a superior town that can keep everyone entertained.  I dont know if Breck keeps most terrain open late season or how they stage their shutdown, but for a big crew, as far as ski towns go, it's pretty tough to beat.

 

Other downside (for me and my family anyway) is altitude.  Going to summit county, co, you're living at about +9K feet and skiing from there to +12k feet.  Given that I live in MD at like 400 feet, I have a tendency to sleep poorly and get headaches, especially after 2 or 3 days.  It has impacted the kids too in that they have the same issues and don't want to eat or drink, so it has become a cycle of grouchiness!  In my experience staying at Beaver Creek, Steamboat and PCMR, where you're a little lower largely mitigated the altitude issues.

 

This season we may have to go a different route for various reasons, but are likely going to get mini-trips in locally or up in the NE.  Unless I can't swing it for business reasons, I'm going to hit summit co in mid march with some buddies, but that's a whole different trip profile!

 

Let me know of other questions, I'd be happy to try and offer advice but just haven't been logging into this forum recently.

 

Good luck!

 

If you'd still like Utah in early April, Alta and Snowbird would be the place to be. @marznc is there in early April every year I believe, and can probably comment more.

post #22 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by kirkeboy6 View Post
 


thanks @dbostedo for the tips!  this entire forum is a great help regardless!  Yes, balancing younger kids attention spans (and energy levels) with our older ones make planning challenging- tho PC covered most of what we needed (and non-skiing grandparents who didn't mind watching their younger grandsons helped too)


Welcome to EpicSki!  As mentioned, I've been taking late season trips to Alta in April every year since 2008.  That first trip my daughter was 7, had learned to ski southeast blacks at Massanutten, and was skiing easy blues after a day of ski school.  One year we were there the third week of April.  Another year there was a big storm that dropped 36" in two days.  First morning we were skiing in 25" of fresh powder and it was still snowing.  In short, I never hesitate about planning my April trip to Alta.  I'll be there with friends April 5-15 next spring.

 

For your group, getting lodging at Snowbird would work out better.  There are often deals but of course a little harder to find during a spring break week.  Can easily take a free bus up to Alta for those who aren't up for skiing over.  A friend of mine did that last April and had a very good time.

 

As I remember, Big Sky closes around the first weekend of April.

post #23 of 23

April 8-15 is on the late side and you're likely to see winter snow only at the highest and most north facing resorts.  It's also unfortunate that some of those (Telluride, Taos, Crested Butte) close before then. 

 

I've frequently referenced people to my article on family vacations: http://bestsnow.net/fam_ski.htm  For that time frame a spring rating of 4 is minimum acceptable IMHO.

 

Summit County CO is an obvious choice.  A-Basin and Copper are among the elite in snow preservation.  Breck has primary east exposure but its advanced terrain is above 11,500 so the snow is very good up there in April.   People like MDcatV with known altitude sensitivity should get a Diamox prescription if you're sleeping at 9,000+ feet.

 

Mammoth should be an obvious choice with its excellent April track record and broad range of terrain for all abilities.  We don't see a lot of easterners due to difficult access, but those who make the effort are rarely disappointed.   Mammoth's flights are mostly from SoCal airports.  Otherwise you need to fly to Reno and drive 3 hours south.

 

Mt. Bachelor is another great spot in spring, outstanding for intermediates, similar access issues as Mammoth. You need to fly to Portland and either drive 3 hours to Bend or take a connector flight to nearby Redmond.

 

Alta/Snowbird are my favorites, but some families may be put off by minimal non-ski activities there and/or Snowbird's strong expert orientation.

 

Whistler's high alpine preserves well in April and is a solid spring choice for advanced skiers.    Intermediate terrain mid-mountain will be more spring like and the bottom will be slop but can be downloaded. 

 

Banff/Lake Louise has a cold climate that preserves snow well.   Both Lake Louise and Sunshine have a decent amount of intermediate terrain though not the vast amounts that Mammoth and Bachelor do. 

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