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Utah 2004

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
I am planning a trip with my 16 year old son for end March/early April 2004-because of his school dates we cant change that-and we are thinking about Utah.

We have never been before so we have no knowledge of the areas,what is good/not so good nor where to stay etc. We are both reasonable skiers and are reasonably adventurous without, in my case at least, wanting to go jumping off cliffs or the like ! We have skied Sun Valley, Whistler twice and Tahoe twice so we have experienced US/Canada skiing.

Can anyone help with the places to go to/avoid- we would have say 6/7 days skiing.

Also is it better to stay in Salt Lake City and drive or not. That would not be a problem to me if it was a good idea-alternatively is there somewhere better to stay, or two places as we dont need to restrict ourselves to one base if that is a bad idea.

Also I would appreciate a frank view on whether that time- which we cant change- renders this a bad idea in the first place. Is it too late?
post #2 of 14
If you stay in the Park city area, you will be within shuttle distance to Park City, Deer Valley and the Canyons.

But you will probably pay relatively high lodging costs.
At last year's Academy, we stayed at the Extended Stay in Midvale, for about $35 a night double occupancy. This included a small kitchenette, which saved us major bucks on over priced resort breakfasts. You are about 30-40 minutes from Alta and Snowbird, and a slightly longer drive to Park City.
All in all, you cannot go wrong in Utah! [img]smile.gif[/img]
post #3 of 14
Colin,
I travelled with United via Chicago to SLC. While there I was determined to ski a few resorts, and I think I did quite well:
Alta
Brighton
Deer Valley
Park City
Snowbird
All are within a reasonable drive of the city - nearest would be about 20 minutes, furthest about an hour, and given that Alta and Brighton don't really have much accomodation or nightlife, I think staying in Salt Lake is the best bet.
Deer Valley is OK if you want to be seen, and want to flash the cash.
Park City has quite a bit of good skiing
Brighton is where we had the academy, and is a great SMALL ski area. You won't get any queues, but facilities are limited.
Alta & Snowbird would be your best bet. By US standards, they have a lot of terrain, and they are both suitable for all levels of skiers. It is possible to get a bus from SLC out to either resort - I think the cost was $5 for a return ticket.

Oh, and there's the Goldminer's Daughter bar at the Wildcat base in Alta, where Courtney & Jezza will pour you a reasonable pint of Guinness...

S
post #4 of 14
Alta/Bird. Go right to the source.

Stay at Goldminers Daughter, or one of the Bird's less expensive accomodations.

Plenty of skiing for 6-7 days. I was just there Apr. 5-12. 2 waist deep powder days, then great spring conditions.
Also, just a short ride to Brighton/Solitude.
post #5 of 14
Honestly, I don't know why people haven't mentioned Snowbasin. You could get some good ski package deals at the hotels in Ogden, and you probably won't run into as many crowds. Plus, you could go to Powder Mountain, and avoid all that mainstream stuff in the Cottonwoods, if that's what you're looking to do.
post #6 of 14
Colin,
You've already made a very smart decision by going to Utah. The rest really depends on your wants/needs. For the cheapest and most versatile route stay in the Sandy region of SLC. However, if LCC and/or BCC get a big dump you could be shut out due to road closures in the canyons. (I personally have never seen the road up Parley's Canyon closed.) If your budget and length of stay allow I would suggest; in no particular order, 2 nights in LCC at either the Alta Peruvian or Rustler Lodge (expensive but you will have no regrets) skiing Alta and Snowbird, 1-2 nights in Sandy (ski Solitude and/or Brighton), 2 nights in Park City (ski Deer Valley and either Park City or The Canyons). Also, I would reccomend a trip up to Snowbasin which would be most easily accessed from a base in Sandy or downtown SLC. My "must ski" areas would fall in this order Alta, Snowbird, Solitude, Snowbasin, Canyons, Deer Valley, Brighton, Park City. My preferences lean toward steeps, powder, and trees with factors such as grooming and amenities taking a back seat. The Utah resorts are extremely diverse and depending on the factors important to you your list could easily be just the opposite of mine.

A couple of other pointers, do not ski Snowbird or Brighton on a Saturday, be sure to hit the Seafood Buffet at the Snow Park Lodge at Deer Valley, buy discounted lift tickets in SLC at many locations (notably the Lifthouse Ski Shop near Sandy) and easily save $10-15 USD per ticket/day over resort window prices.

Hope that helps you out, there are also several Bears in the area that may be able to ofer even better deals (I know I've made several maggot hookups for freebies but I don't know if you guys do the same here.)
post #7 of 14
Quote:
Originally posted by teledave:
Also, I would reccomend a trip up to Snowbasin which would be most easily accessed from a base in Sandy or downtown SLC.
No, it wouldn't. Go to Ogden/Bountiful, anywhere inbetween. It's a lot shorter trip. Sandy would easily be an hour and a half on a good powder day, possibly longer. Downtown SLC would see similar situations, even on weekdays because of rush hour traffic. Get closer if your going north of Park City.
post #8 of 14
There are tons of places in Utah, for all different tastes. From what I have seen (PC, DV, Canyons, Solitude, Alta), I believe the four places at the end of the Cottonwood Canyon:
Alta, Snowbird and Brighton, Solitude come closest to
"go jumping off cliffs or the like ! " and be "andventurous".
DV is the furthest away, which I perceive as beginner to intermediate/advanced heaven.
post #9 of 14
Thats a pretty late season trip, and since we have no idea what snow will be like, I'd plan on the Cottonwood Resorts. North facing, sheltered slopes, which are the norm in the two canyons keep snow around longer than the East facing slopes of the Park City areas. It could be great in PC, but its more reliable that time of year in the Cottonwoods (Alta, Snowbird, Brighton, Solitude). Stay in Sandy, rent a car, ski lots of areas. Enjoy.
post #10 of 14
Hi Colin,

Utah is a good choice for diversity and terrain, as well as accessibility. AltaSkier does, however; bring up a good point as to your needed focus at that time of year. ..A couple of years ago I showed up there during the third week of March and found most of what I skied to be substandard. (1)The first afternoon I skied Deer Valley and it was as slushy and varied as any place I didn't want to be skiing at could be. (2) The next morning I headed for Alta, where I encountered heavily iced lift served runs. There were spots that were still in fair shape, but they weren't a significant part of the skiing. (3) That afternoon I moved over to Brighton where I found delightful conditions(considering what I had just been skiing). (4) The next morning I went to Snowbasin, where I once again found a very challenging mix of snow conditions.

Based on that experience, I would reccomend Alta/Snowbird and Snowbasin if there are still good powder conditions during your stay. During any periods when snow quality is one of your major concerns, Brighton might be the place you want to explore. [img]smile.gif[/img]
post #11 of 14
Quote:
Originally posted by feal:
The next morning I headed for Alta, where I encountered heavily iced lift served runs. There were spots that were still in fair shape, but they weren't a significant part of the skiing. (3) That afternoon I moved over to Brighton where I found delightful conditions(considering what I had just been skiing).
Based on that experience, I would reccomend Alta/Snowbird and Snowbasin if there are still good powder conditions during your stay. During any periods when snow quality is one of your major concerns, Brighton might be the place you want to explore. [img]smile.gif[/img]
You skied Alta and Brighton in the same day? Let me sum up Brighton for you: short runs, no consistent vertical, crowded on the weekends, lots of dnowboarders (which I have no problem with).

Stay in SLC. Depending on where you stay, the PC resorts can be just as close as the Cottonwood resorts. Play it by ear. Go the resorts that offer the best conditions. The corn skiing in the Pinecone area at PC is great. If you have any backcountry experience, the backcountry access from the Canyons can be incredible. Only do this if you have all the necessary rescue gear and know how to use it.

This year, the begining of April had some of the best powder days of the year. April is one of the wettest months of the year in this area, so chances are you will see some fresh snow. All the resorts should be open until the middle of April, when they start to close down.
post #12 of 14
April can be some of the best skiing of the season. No matter where you go in the Wasatch Mountains. Then again if we have another low snow year who knows? I know the first year I moved here conditions were so good in mid April that all the resorts stayed open an extra week. If it is alow snow year your best bets will be the resorts in the Cottenwood Canyons. If you stay in Park City There is free city bus service and Deer Valley The Canyons and Pack City Mountain Resort are all within a few mins of each Other. Park City is the only ski town in Utah. most of the old town was built in the 1880's Some of the best Restaurants in The Mountain West are on Main St. again if conditions are good go to Snowbasin. It's a big Mountain that so far hasn't been discovered. From Park City it is only 45 mins to snowbasin about the same to Alta and Snowbird ad a few mins to get to Brighton or Solitude. The last few years due to a lack of big dumping powder days getting up to Alta and the other Cottenwood resorts has been pretty tame. before the draught hit. There were many days when they couldn't get the roads open up the Canyons untill noon and as I recall one or two days when the roads were closed for more then 12 hours. On many of those days The resorts would also be on what they call Inbounds. In other words the Avalanch hazard was so high They would not let people outside. I know the days when the roads are closed to Atla without hearing an Avalanch report. I'll be rideing the lift with skier that have Alta stickers on thier skis.
post #13 of 14
Cololi,

Sure, Alta till noon(no need to stay longer when everyone is complaining about the snow being crap!), and then on to Brighton by 2:30(They let you ski till 9:00 PM). [img]smile.gif[/img]
post #14 of 14
We almost always stay in Sandy, and it works out about perfect. It's like 25 minutes to Alta/Bird, 35 to Solitude/Brighton and about an hour to Snowbasin, and an hour and 15 to powder mountain.

It seems like late season in utah you either get a HUGE dump, or sub-par spring skiing (in my oppinion, because of the low water content of their snow). The past couple years sure have had their share of dumps late season. I wish you the best.
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