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questions about Alta trip

post #1 of 39
Thread Starter 
This is my first post, so thanks to all for any help.

I normally only get to ski 3-4 days/year at Killington or Sugarbush, but my wife has given me the okay to go on a ski trip out west this year. My friends that I normally ski with cannot go out west. I will probably be going solo and need advice on how to keep cost down.

I am targetting the 2nd week in December for a 5 day weekend and don't need anything fancy, just a clean room with a hot shower. Are thare any places close to the mountain with cheap rooms for singles? I was thinking about getting a room on Priceline near the airport or the Sandy area. I didn't want to rent a car unless necessary. Do they have shuttles that will take you to the hotels from the airport? Up to Alta from the hotels? Any advice?

Thanks
post #2 of 39
The "ski bus" will get you up both Big & little cottonwood canyons to Solitude/Brighton and Alta/Snowbird. The bus stops near most of the downtown hotels as well various other spots throughout the valley. Look here for more info www.utabus.com I haven't ridden the bus in several years, but I know it takes at least an hour and fifteen minutes to get to any of the resorts using the bus. Something to consider if time is a factor. If you decided to rent a car, you can get a compact for reasonable prices at the airport. As to accomodations, there's many affordable options and the Extended Stay Midvale is a popular option which I've used and it will meet all your basic requirements including kitchen facilities to save money on feeding yourself. Hope this helps and I'm sure others with much greater knowledge will chime in.
post #3 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by northeasterner
This is my first post, so thanks to all for any help.

...but my wife has given me the okay to go on a ski trip out west this year.

Thanks
Wussy.
post #4 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by northeasterner
...My friends that I normally ski with cannot go out west...
They don't sound like real friends to me. Tell them that the force field along the Mississippi has been deactivated. Or is it that they just can't get through airport security with their aprons on?
post #5 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by xdog1
Wussy.
Jerk.
post #6 of 39
The way I see it you could go 2 ways:

1. Stay in Sandy at cheap hotel. Rent car or ride bus. This can be cheap, but it will take you longer in the morning to get to the lifts.

2. Check out the dorms at one of the lodges at Alta (Goldminers, Peruvian, Snowpine). I've never done it, but I think they are pretty cheap. That way you would be right there to fall out of bed and walk to the lifts. The all have good food included in the price. Plus you would meet lots of other people staying there and possibly find a local to show you around. You can get one of several shuttles from the airport.
post #7 of 39
I am from Atlanta and we are going to Salt Lake Dec 8th-14th. I won the Sandy Extended Stay on priceline for $36.00 a night. From my understanding Sandy is real close to the slopes and a great place to stay. Here is my suggestion, go to priceline, bid $32.00 and choose 2.5 stars and only the Sandy Area, you will either get the Courtyard Sandy or the Residence Inn. If the price is not accepted increase to $36.00 and add the 2 star zone. You will then possibly win the Extended Stay America in Sandy. Priceline is great, I have saved $1000's of dollars using it. Also check out www.biddingfortravel.com, people list what they win on priceline..
post #8 of 39
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the tips. Now I have some options to research before finalizing my trip. I am worried that the ski bus will take forever to get to the mountain if they have any type of storm. It would also be nice to not have to worry about driving an hour in the dark on unfamiliar and potentially treacherous roads, so I may pay a bit more to stay at one of the dorms.

As for the wussy comment, I take that as a joke, but just in case you're serious I'll explain. I've got 3 kids at home including a 3 year old and my wife works full-time and will be juggling school, cub scouts, etc while I'm gone. If you are naive enough to think that most guys in this situation can pull off a trip out west for a week, you are in for a surprise when you get married and have kids. Hopefully your wife will be as understanding as mine.

GAprofit, I am familiar with priceline and BFT and have also gotten great deals. Maybe I'll bump into you at the ESA.

Later--Gregg
post #9 of 39
Hey northeasterner -
If you're set on Alta without a car, I'd look into cbgarret's suggestion on the dorms (didn't know they had them). Alta's great, no regrets there. check out this link to buses
http://www.alta.com/Frames/services_publictransport.htm
plus any lodge most likely has some shuttle deal to recommend.

If dorms don't work out, for the transportationally challenged, setting up camp in Park City may result in more ski time instead of going the kitchenette in Sandy set up.
PC pros - Day of arrival - free skiing anywhere in Park City with the Quick Start pass. Every other day you can walk or take shuttle to PC lifts from cheap digs in town without renting a car.
For that Alta fix, you could day trip to the slopes on the bus one day.
No idea how that'd price out, or how efficient the uta is , but I'd weigh it against how long it takes the bus to actually get you to the slopes every day from Sandy while the snow you came for is getting skied off, or worse, as the LCC road is shut down cause the place is getting bombed. Again, that's if dorms don't work out. Good luck
post #10 of 39

Advice Needed

I am also trying to figure out the pro's and con's of renting a car or not. We are staying on Auto Mall Drive in Sandy. I originally considered renting ski equipment downtown to save money, but it's only $5.00 cheaper than at the resort. It would probably make sense to skip the car and ride the bus if possible. My understanding is the automall area has a good bit of food choices. I'm a little confused concerning the www.rideuta.com website. Where would be the nearest location to get on the Ski Bus. I don't see a map that breaks it down to that level. Obviously if it was like 5 miles away it wouldn't work out. Also what about using a local shuttle company for daily pickup and dropoff?

Pro's of renting a car
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
Can possibly drive to Alta, don't have to deal with ski shuttle bus and or other transportation.

Not limited to restaurants near the hotel.

Con's of renting a car
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
Cost - Roughly $150.00 - $200.00 for our trip plus Gas.
I'm not accustom to driving in any winter weather.
with many restaurant choices nearby car would not be used much, we only plan on going to Alta.

Anyone familiar with the Automall Dr area, is there plenty of shopping, etc nearby within walking distance? I'm assuming it's a mall area with shops, car dealers. etc..

Thanks for any help..
post #11 of 39
That early in the season Snowbird might have some deals in thier dorm rooms.
Also you can rent skis right at the Airport.
post #12 of 39
Thread Starter 
What is the name of the dorms at Snowbird. I consider myself and advanced intermediate and I like to be challenged. I'll hit up any black diamond and the less hairy doubles at Killington. Is the terrain at Snowbird in that range or is it mostly expert?
TIA
post #13 of 39

How to save a little bit on a car

If you should decide that you want a car, don't rent from the Airport. SLC has buses that run from the Airport right to the downtown main North/South Streets of SLC. I rented from the downtown Enterprise and saved about 40% vs. the airport costs. You could also do something similar by getting a shuttle to your hotel and then having Enterprise deliver your car there.

It's an interesting game, but with Enterprise the non airport rental offices aren't allowed anywhere near the airport.
post #14 of 39
Thread Starter 
I think I'll rent if I can get those type of savings. Thanks for the tip.
post #15 of 39
From Sandy the UTA bus only has to travel 12 miles or so to Alta. The buses are quite reliable as the drivers are accustomed to snow and canyon weather. Probably a much better alternative to a basic rental car as Little Cottonwood Canyon is usually restricted to four wheel drive only or chains in stormy weather. THey check too!!! Four wheel drives are expensive to rent.

Tiger paw. I'm not trying to be a jerk here, but suggesting Park City instead of Alta/Bird is like suggesting Newark as an alternative to NYC for a city vacation experience. There is no comparison.
post #16 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by jstraw
Jerk.
Hm, looks like someone else's wife's got 'em by the short hairs too.

Sorry hoss.

If you need to "ask permission" or "get the green light" from the Mrs., ya done sum'thin wrong when you walked the aisle.
post #17 of 39
Hey donnyb - no offense taken. My post is pretty clear about PC being an option if transportation and cost is that huge a factor.
post #18 of 39
northeasterner,
Select a motel in Sandy, call them ask if ski shuttles to LLC (Alta) picks up there. if so, ask if public transpo from airport stops there. I think most motels in Sandy have a ski shuttle stop close by.
I found info at the ski areas kind of ignor town - pubic transpo is clean and modern in SLC area - upgraded for the Olympics a couple of years ago I guess. But a car is handy, things are kind of spreadout but easy to drive to and if driving up the canyon in bad weather, there is a park and ride the shuttle at the mouth of the canyon.
post #19 of 39
>Is the terrain at Snowbird in that range or is it mostly expert?
>I'll hit up any black diamond and the less hairy doubles at Killington.

then you should be okay and the mountain will be ready for you. If it snows and you are not used to powder, it will be a little hard for you at first. Don't miss out on going to Snowbird. It's always Alta, Alta, Alta on this forum, understand that alot of this is because 20 yrs ago Alta was a quaint place with cheap lift tickets, slow chairs and alot of history. The history is dying out with the old timers.(although you can still catch the old geezers on the single blacks with their snowflake sweaters and fat skis). Although they report the acreage as close for the bird vs alta, it is nowhere close. SNowbird skis about twice as big as Alta once you learn your way around.
post #20 of 39
I am not a big fan of staying down in SLC, especially solo.
In low season I always just stay up at the resort. If you book a single in a nordic room at the Peruvian it's only $103 before tax and gratuity. The food and atmosphere are great.
You can take the Alta shuttle or Canyon Transport from the airport for about $60/RT.

http://www.altashuttle.com/rates.html

I don't think Snowbird has dorms anymore, but all the Alta lodges do. The Snowpine is the cheapest @ $87.
post #21 of 39
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SnowbirdDevotee
>Is the terrain at Snowbird in that range or is it mostly expert?
>I'll hit up any black diamond and the less hairy doubles at Killington.

then you should be okay and the mountain will be ready for you. If it snows and you are not used to powder, it will be a little hard for you at first. Don't miss out on going to Snowbird. It's always Alta, Alta, Alta on this forum, understand that alot of this is because 20 yrs ago Alta was a quaint place with cheap lift tickets, slow chairs and alot of history. The history is dying out with the old timers.(although you can still catch the old geezers on the single blacks with their snowflake sweaters and fat skis). Although they report the acreage as close for the bird vs alta, it is nowhere close. SNowbird skis about twice as big as Alta once you learn your way around.
We've gotten lucky the last few years with powder at Killington. We got over a foot each time, which is nothing compared to Utah, but I did well in the fluff.
post #22 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by SnowbirdDevotee
...It's always Alta, Alta, Alta on this forum...
Sounds like "Marsha, Marsha, Marsha". Jealous?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SnowbirdDevotee
......with cheap lift tickets, slow chairs and alot of history...
Yeah, now it's been ruined with as many fast chairs as Snowbird. It still has more history, however.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SnowbirdDevotee
...The history is dying out with the old timers...
Really? Seems to me to be just the opposite, with a new group of dedicated locals and far away devotees that have done more than just fill in.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SnowbirdDevotee
...Although they report the acreage as close for the bird vs alta, it is nowhere close...
Um...it *actually* is close. 2478 vs. 2292, respectively (based on GIS data):



Quote:
Originally Posted by SnowbirdDevotee
...SNowbird skis about twice as big as Alta once you learn your way around...
For me, I find the opposite to be true. If you include near OB it skis even larger.

Look, I like Snowbird as much as the next guy. In fact I rather like the place and find it fairly comparable to Alta. But to say that one is far better than the next, considering they share such similarities, is ludicrous.

Powdr
post #23 of 39
I've stayed in the dorm at Peruvian and I highly recommend it. Get the 4 person room if you can- It was $40 but that was a bit ago. A single for $103 is a good price. Peruvian has the best apris-bar at Alta, the dining room is great, and the comraderie excellent. It's really an old-style ski lodge, roaring fire, wood beams, giant piles of snow outside. Looks like the North pole. The guys I met at the dorm were dedicated skiers, so everyone turned in early(or partied elsewhere) All the Alta lodges have dorms, ( I think) Rustler,Snowpine & Goldminers for sure. Anyway, no bus, no car, and no worry about canyon closing. Let's face it, SLC sucks. the Town of Alta is magical. Stay up there if you can afford it and are on a short trip.Have fun...and there's plenty for you to ski. Take a group lesson when you get in with what you saved on a rent-a- Ford Fiesta,. There'll be like 2 people in class that early, and don't forget the tip.
post #24 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by northeasterner
This is my first post, so thanks to all for any help.

I normally only get to ski 3-4 days/year at Killington or Sugarbush, but my wife has given me the okay to go on a ski trip out west this year. My friends that I normally ski with cannot go out west. I will probably be going solo and need advice on how to keep cost down.

I am targetting the 2nd week in December for a 5 day weekend and don't need anything fancy, just a clean room with a hot shower. Are thare any places close to the mountain with cheap rooms for singles? I was thinking about getting a room on Priceline near the airport or the Sandy area. I didn't want to rent a car unless necessary. Do they have shuttles that will take you to the hotels from the airport? Up to Alta from the hotels? Any advice?

Thanks
Airfare: $250, you shouldn't have to pay more than 100 each way plus taxes. Check Southwest (Philly), JetBlue (JFK), and other discount airlines.

Hotel: <$200, Hotwire, Priceline etc. $40/night max in SLC. **1/2. Try and get a place with free breakfast.

Car: $150, Rent a car! Check prices online for a midsize.

Lift Tickets: $180, Canyon Sports downtown for discount tickets. Also, you get a free lift ticket to one of the park city resorts on the day you arrive. Find an early flight. Its 5 hours from the east coast but there is a 3 hour time difference. You should be able to make it to the slopes by noon. Register online ahead of time for the free lift ticket.

Total: $780 + food and fuel for 5 nights with 5 days skiiing.

Salt Lake City is probably the cheepest place for a ski vacation if you do it right.
post #25 of 39
In mid-December you definitely want to be skiing BCC/LCC and not the Park City group. Unless it's a huge year like last year it will be mostly manmade groomers over there before Christmas. I would advocate the Enterprise rental car for max flexibility. If it's a low snow year you'll want to be mostly at Alta and Brighton for the highest base elevations. Snowbird is my favorite mountain but the one time I skied there on a 37-inch base Little Cloud was decent but you couldn't get down to the bottom without trashing your skis. I've seen advice elsewhere that 50 inches is the minimum base needed for decent skiing at Snowbird.
post #26 of 39
Thread Starter 
Well, after thinking about it a bit and reading some of the posts on this board, I realize that it is pretty much a crap shoot in December for snow conditions. Since I don't get to go much, I think I'll be going in late January/early February instead of early December. Does Priceline usually have availability and good prices in SLC during peak season? If I rent a regular car, are the roads sometimes closed down if the weather gets hairy?
post #27 of 39
The road up to Alta is the most avalanche prone hwy in the Nation that is open all year. Yes the road can be closed if there is snowing hard. You can also get stuck up the Canyon for a night if they close the road. That's called an inter lodge and you will be spending the night sleeping on the floor with hundreds of your new best friends. It's all part of skiing in The Wasatch Mountains. A good strategy on a Powder day is to Forget waiting in a traffic line and chains. Just point your car toward Park City. You will have 2 to 3 hours of skiing in by the time the first cars hit the Alta Parking lot.
post #28 of 39
I have followed Utah49's advice given above many times - especially on days when i cannot afford to miss my 7pm flight out of SLC. saved my butt.

another occasion when I drove to PC - instead of LCC on a powder day - it was because - Alta had too much of it and was closed. (This was the famous 100 inches in 100 hours storm during thanksgiving weekend - couple of years back). PC was open with tons of powder.
post #29 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by xdog1
Hm, looks like someone else's wife's got 'em by the short hairs too.

Sorry hoss.

If you need to "ask permission" or "get the green light" from the Mrs., ya done sum'thin wrong when you walked the aisle.
Obviously XDOG can't be taken seriously - Just look at his profile.
post #30 of 39
If you bus from SLC, stay at Extended Stay Midvale instead of Sandy. Is a bit further but buses are more regular (unless that has changed in the last 2 years).

I prefer Snowbird to Alta, get lot more skiing in with their lift system and longer vertical. Suggest you do a day at each to see what you prefer for the rest of your week, don't leave Snowbird until the end cause you will want more. Or just buy a combined ticket so you can mix it up during the day.
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