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Alta Early Dec Trip - Logistics?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
Hello Everyone, I'm been reading a lot of posts here to get info to make my first ski trip out west, yeah! I'm booked for 5 days in early Dec, staying primarily at Alta.

My flight is arriving at 10:30 am and I'm hoping to use the Quick Start program to ski a resort at Park City on the first day. And then head over to Alta at the end of the day for the next 4 days.

My question is what shuttles are there between SLC and PC and then PC and Alta. Im staying at Snowpine in Alta, so no need for a rental car.

But then, I can't figure out what to do with all my ski/boot bags and luggage on the first day that I'm skiing PC. : I figured on the last day at Alta, I could keep my luggage at the front desk (my flight is late night, red eye).
post #2 of 17
Thread Starter 
Oh, forgot to ask: if you had to ski only one PC resort in early Dec (Dec 7th) which one would it be.

My ski level: I've skiied maybe a total of 10 days in the midwest, but went straight to the black diamonds in Michigan (I know, I know) on my frist day of learning how to ski. I had a friend from the east coast teaching me and I guess I learned fast.

Last season, I was skiing backwards, doing some small jumps, taking some video of my snowboarding buddies :.

So based on that, do you recommend DV, PCMR or the Canyons? Looks like it would be a half day, hitting the slopes around noon.
post #3 of 17
OK, a few things:

1) As you might know, Utah does not have the best conditions right now. Alta is opening this weekend w/ a 2-4' base. Very boney for Alta. Skiing will be limited to blue/green slopes that don't have many boulders underneath. Other resorts are open too, but also have very limited terrain. The PC resorts have far more snowmaking capacity, but were late to get started, as temps were warm until last week. Expect 5-25% of the the mountain open at each resort. Now for the [potentially] good news: Major change in the weather pattern is expected to start Saturday (11/26), with much a much more active pattern in place to replace the blocking high dominating the West right now.

2) Private shuttles do exist that will take you from PC to Alta & vice versa. They are not cheap and you might want to reserve your spot. PC based shuttles are: All Resort Express, PC Transportation (& some others). Cottonwoods based shuttles are: Canyon Transport (& some other that I can't remember).


3) DV won't open until the 2nd w/o Dec., so that's out, leaving PCMR & The Canyons. Check the day of your arrival on most terrain open and go there.

Have Fun!

Powdr
post #4 of 17
Thread Starter 
Hi Powdr, thanx for the quick reply.

Yeah, I dont know if I should get nervous about the trip or not. From some of the pics that you've posted from Alta, it looks skiable. Can I ask how are you getting on the mountain without the resort being open. Are you hiking up the whole thing :

2 to 4 feet is still decent, I presume, but not ideal is what I'm reading, right. Should I worry about cancelling the trip, or look to heading over to Jackson Hole?

If the shuttles are going to be expensive, is it worth it to rent a car?
post #5 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by JamminSki
Hi Powdr, thanx for the quick reply.

Yeah, I dont know if I should get nervous about the trip or not. From some of the pics that you've posted from Alta, it looks skiable. Can I ask how are you getting on the mountain without the resort being open. Are you hiking up the whole thing :

2 to 4 feet is still decent, I presume, but not ideal is what I'm reading, right. Should I worry about cancelling the trip, or look to heading over to Jackson Hole?

If the shuttles are going to be expensive, is it worth it to rent a car?
Yes, most of Alta is skiable right now, but that's only due to the low skier traffic, which currently is the hiking/skining crowd. Once the lifts start running, that base gets packed down and the boulders really start showing. Yes, I do skin up to get my turns, sometimes all the way to the top of Baldy, about 2.5K' vertical up from the base. It's a lot of work, but the rewards are well worth it

JH is generally in the same boat as us. A decent amount of base fell a few weeks ago, but not enough to open the good stuff. I'd say the LCC/BCC resorts and JH need at least another 3' before it really starts happening. CO has some snow (up to 6', I hear), but you end up with big box type skiing. If that's your thing, then maybe you should go there.

The shuttle from the airport to PC is $30-40, and I assume the same from PC to Alta. Add up all your legs and see if it's more than a rental. I doubt it.

Powdr
post #6 of 17
Thread Starter 
Hmmm, ok I found shuttles that'll do PCMR to Alta for $30, so that's $90 total for all legs: Airport - PCMR - Alta - Airport.

But, I still can't figure out what to do with my luggage while I'm skiing that first day at PCMR before checking in at Alta. I'm thinking that getting a rental car for the first day will solve my problem. I get the car from the airport for about $30, drive to PCMR, ski, drive back to airport, drop off car and take shuttle to Alta. Round trip with Alta Shuttle is $50.

Does that sound too crazy or is that feasible?

I know AWD is best for driving around there, but what are the roads like between SLC and PC. Will a compact FWD car do just fine? I presume so. I've driven from Reno to Tahoe a few times (cross country trips ), so I know mountain roads, is it something like that or more like a highway?
post #7 of 17
I think you're tilting at windmills to get much skiing in at PCMR or Canyons on the first day. Let's do a little timeline analysis. Your flight is scheduled to arrive at 10:30. Assuming it arrives on time, you should count of 30-45 minutes to clear the plane move to baggage claim and collect your bags. So now it's 11:00. The shuttles collect passengers from multiple flights and may not be ready to leave when you are. Let's assume another 30 minute delay - if you rent a car, count on the same delay. So now it's 11:30. The drive time from the airport over to PCMR is about 45 minutes in good weather. So now it's 12:15. You'll be hard pressed to find lockers to store all your stuff, but if you rent a car, instant locker. BTW, the drive from SLC to PC is pretty easy in a FWD car. I've made it several times in snowstorms. If it is snowing, make the drive time closer to 90 minutes, though. You'll have to get changed, get your boots on arrange for your free skiing, etc. Another 30 minutes? So now it's 12:45. Sun sets mighty early that time of year and the upper lifts close at 3:30 at PCMR. So all that hassle for 2:45 of free skiing. I'm getting old, so that doesn't seem worth the effort to me. Then you're driving to Alta in the dark and missing out on some fantastic scenery on the drive up LCC. If the weather's sketchy, much better to make that ride on a shuttle in the daylight from the airport and bag the free skiing in marginal conditions in PC.

My $.02
post #8 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thanx for that timeline analysis BJohansson. Yeah, Im thinking that it might not be worth it with all the hassle to go to PCMR for the free skiing. I think I'm better off going straight to Alta, checking in my luggage and hitting the slopes for some afternoon riding and not deal with another shuttle ride at the end of the day from PCMR to Alta. Plus, the money that would be spent on the extra shuttle to PCMR could be used for the half day pass to Alta.

We had our first snow here in Chicago this morning and I'm thrilled. Let's hope it dumps in SLC over this weekend.
post #9 of 17
Also you will be adjusting to altitude, which affects some people more than others. Some people find they can't even walk up the stairs in their lodge that first day at altitude. I'd suggest just going right to Alta. If you feel like skiing that first day, buy a half-day ticket when you get there. If you feel exhausted from the altitude, take it easy so you'll be fresh for your first full day of skiing at Alta.

Thatsagirl
post #10 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by bjohansson
Sun sets mighty early that time of year and the upper lifts close at 3:30 at PCMR.

PCMR staggers its closing, as all large resorts do. Jupiter Access does indeed close at 3:30PM, but rest assured, there is lift served skiing on much of the mountain until 4:30PM (actually longer if you count the 10:00PM night skiing on Payday/1st time). You don't have to be off the mountain until final sweep, which is as late as 4:45 in some places.

I have brothers that regularly arrive in Utah at 11:00AM and get up to PC by noonish. We get many, many runs during the afternoon, sometimes even after getting lunch 1st. I've never heard a compliant about it not being worth it. Free is free.

Powdr
post #11 of 17
I've arrived on the 10:30a delta flight from phila many times, usually it comes in a little early, i've never had any problem catching the first lift at 12:30. You won't be saving any $$$ with all the shuttling around, if I were you, ski Alta/Snowbird, then while you are there you can figure out how to get over to PC areas for the day, or maybe you'll hook up with someone and travel with them. (snowbasin!). Now just pray for more snow, the weather looks like something is moving in. Oh, Dec 7th, that is like 2.5 weeks away, I would think odds are decent that Snowbird/Alta will be mostly skiable.
post #12 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Powdr
PCMR staggers its closing, as all large resorts do. Jupiter Access does indeed close at 3:30PM, but rest assured, there is lift served skiing on much of the mountain until 4:30PM (actually longer if you count the 10:00PM night skiing on Payday/1st time). You don't have to be off the mountain until final sweep, which is as late as 4:45 in some places.

I have brothers that regularly arrive in Utah at 11:00AM and get up to PC by noonish. We get many, many runs during the afternoon, sometimes even after getting lunch 1st. I've never heard a compliant about it not being worth it. Free is free.

Powdr
My point was that it wasn't worth it for him with all of the hassle. I guess I was thinking about how I skied PCMR...only skied the lower runs to get to the car. Does the free skiing offer include night skiing? Even if it does, his ultimate goal was to get to Alta on day 1 for the true vacation - and his bed. If he was staying in PC, I would have agreed that it was worth it, but because he has to get back to Alta and figure out how to store his luggage while skiing in PC, not worth it. Do you pick you brothers up curbside at the airport and get them to PC in under an hour after their plane arrives? Great. Are you offering that service to him as well?
post #13 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thatsagirl
Also you will be adjusting to altitude, which affects some people more than others.
Thatsagirl
Hey Thatsagirl, yeah I've been reading up on altitude sickness and know that hydration is very key. I drink water like a fish on a regular basis at work (but then I gotta frequent the bathroom often ). I've hiked up to the Continental Divide at the Rocky Mtn Natl Park before and had no problem and I spent about 10 years of my life above 7000 ft, but I'll still be cautious that first day

SnowbirdDevotee, thanx for the advice. Hopefully, a lot can change in two weeks. Fingers crossed.

Powdr, do you know of proper lockers that I could use for the day, that would hold my ski/boot bag and duffle at PCMR?

I was wanting to get in PCMR on this trip, so that I could ski at least 3 different resorts and make a good opinion of them and see how it compares to reviews and all the banter on this site and elsewhere, like in magazines. I know, that I wont be skiing in pristine conditions, but something's better than nothing
post #14 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by bjohansson
...Do you pick you brothers up curbside at the airport and get them to PC in under an hour after their plane arrives? Great. Are you offering that service to him as well?
Are you kidding? This is my brothers we are talkin' about here. They have to rent or take the bus. They usually get slopeside within an hour and half, sometimes less. Still *very* much worth it for them. Again, free is free

Powdr
post #15 of 17
Thread Starter 

Alta Slopeside Meet

Would anyone care to meet up while I'm at Alta this week (Wed-Sun)

I'm heading straight for Alta and skipping the free skiing at Park City, due to all the shuttling around and luggage situation. But, man has it been snowing at Alta or what

I think I'll take a lesson on the first day to get used to my first powder experience. The weather looks great and I am so excited. Bags are packed, camera batteries are charged, let's go already!

I'm staying at the Snowpine, so leave a message for Jay K if you'd like to meet up apres or on the mountain.

Cheers.
post #16 of 17
forget about the lesson, here is all you need to know, ski with both skis at the same time. go upstairs and take your shoes off, hop back and forth on your mattress, remember that both of your legs will always be doing EXACTLY the same thing, once one leg is doing something different than the other, you are sunk! You need the exact same amount of pressure/weight on each leg. Start with intermediate terrain without moguls and move on.

First timers are "fooled" into thinking that Utah is all powder, without a doubt you are placing your chips on the best hills when you choose Alta/Snowbird for powder, but if it hasn't snowed for 2 days, it'll only be in the out of the way places. True powder gets skied out almost immediately. You best hope is to be there in the middle of a storm for non-stop fun.
post #17 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SnowbirdDevotee
forget about the lesson, here is all you need to know, ski with both skis at the same time. go upstairs and take your shoes off, hop back and forth on your mattress, remember that both of your legs will always be doing EXACTLY the same thing, once one leg is doing something different than the other, you are sunk!
Intewesting... I'll try that tonight. Thanx for the tip

So, would using a jump rope be good training for powder skiing?
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