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I'm glad we choose to ski in Utah this year. My wife and I, and our 8 year old twins enjoyed the great snow and convenience of SLC.

Lodging: We stayed at the Hampton Inn in Sandy. They have a good "deluxe" continental breakfast, free internet access, and comfortable beds. The hotel location next to I-15, shopping mall, and restaurants was great.

Weather: Calm mornings until 10am, until winds and snowfall created visibility problems at the summits everyday. Thank goodness my wife saw the sun on day 3 for most of the morning. I didn't want to keep hearing about the great Colorado weather from previous trips, I wanted more powder!

Skiing: 12/30: Alta. Taking the UTA bus to Alta was a mistake. The UDOT and Snowbird web site posted notices at 5:30am that there were 4-wheel and chains required for LCC so we went by bus from the 9400 & 2000 transfer bus station. The bus was already full at 7:45! Then I was annoyed to see that wasn't any actual restrictions on the vehicles going up the canyon. I could have driven our full-size rental without any problem. So we stood for the 1/2 hr ride to the Albion Base Lodge. My advice is to take the bus only if absolutely neccesary and only if you can get to the TRAX station where the bus originates from. At least we had a seat down from Alta because we boarded from the Albion Lodge. Everyone that got on at the Collins stop had to stand on the slow commute down LCC.

Skiing at Alta the first day of the trip was a mistake. The winds and whiteout conditions (even at mid-mountain) did not help build my kids confidence whatsoever and the narrowish intermediate trails made them feel like we were back at Cannon Mt. I was able to ski the Collins side in the afternoon and saw why Alta is the Mecca for many. I did not like the constant hike up/down to the crowded lodges with terrible food and the long lines for the slow lifts. Why isn't there a base lodge at Collins?? Something was missing, the vibe wasn't there that day. Frankly, the staff attitude at Alta was completely dead and uninviting. Alta was not a friendly place that day.

Fortunately things got much better during the next 4 days....

To be continued....