New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

TR: Utah 1/21-1/28

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
Just got back from eight days in Utah. Here's my report. Hopefully, there will be a few nuggets of interest.

1/21 Brighton: Had skied there before. Just went there because some friends from Florida were by coincidence skiing there that same day. Had vouchers for my brother and I from "Ski Salt Lake" through Travelocity (valid at any of the four Cottonwood resorts) that I was actually going to use with my brother when he arrived later in the trip. I had a question if I could actually go ahead and pick up the tickets that day to use LATER IN THE WEEK. To make a long story short, the girl at the ticket window took the vouchers to ask a manager about it, they scanned the vouchers for two people that day, which obviously I didn't want them do. I would say they weren't very helpful in rectifying the misunderstanding. It was basically "tough, we already scanned them, even though you don't want/need two tickets for today, you're stuck with them". BIG NEGATIVE FOR SERVICE BASED ON THAT EXPERIENCE. On the positive side, I stayed for the night skiing which was kind of fun. There was one advanced bump run (My-O-My) that was well-lit and fun.

1/22-1/23 Powder Mountain: Almost hate to include this secret gem. Stayed at the Columbine Inn right at the base (which in Powder Mountain's case is actually at the top of the mountain). It's unbelieveably inexpensive-- not posh, but clean and you can't beat the location. It's all about the skiing-- very isolated up there (no cell phone service for my brother or me-- not even analog roam). Neat though that it's so undeveloped. In many directions the vistas do not include a hint of civilization. Skiing was good-- not scary steep-- but plenty of powder even days after the last snowfall. Especially on Monday 1/23, we saw just few people on lifts and in the distance, but there was literally one occasion the entire day when someone (other than my brother and me) was skiing on the same run as we were.
Overall, very "old school" in a good way. Don't expect luxury or apres-ski though.

1/24 Snowbasin: Stayed at the Jackson Fork Inn in Huntsville (about 7 mi. from Snowbasin). Our room was actually two levels. Again very reasonably priced. Would be good for a family-- had a "nook" for kids to sleep on the first floor and two queen-sized beds upstairs. Snowbasin was very scenic-- some impressive craggy rocks. Seemed like a lot of skiable terrain-- especially Strawberry area. Has some scary steep stuff if you're an expert skier. Facilities are very new and luxurious-- felt guilty walking in the base lodge in ski boots. There isn't any overnight lodging or even a significant apres-ski scene.

1/25 Snowbird: Stayed at the Best Western Exec. Inn in Midvale for the rest of the trip. Again a decent clean place that's a good value. Convenient location (if you have a rental car or want to take UTA to the slopes-- train/bus station is basically across the street). Had been to Snowbird before, but Mineral Basin area was new to me. Unfortunately, the Gad 2 chairlift wasn't working-- but I believe it's back up now. Snow conditions weren't ideal-- given the overall difficulty of the mountain that can rule out a lot of terrain. Snowbird's double-blacks (which are truly double-blacks) aren't much fun on windblown hardpack (for me at least). Under more forgiving snow conditions, it can be a really fun mountain though. (However, if you're with intermediates or beginners steer clear of Snowbird.)

1/26 Alta: My long-time favorite ski area. Had some fresh snow. Installed faster lifts since the last time I was there. I could go on and on about how great it is.

1/27 The Canyons: Not sure how I feel about the lift from the general public parking lot. The design seems a bit elitist. Not a huge deal though. Seemed a bit commercial-- signs around touting real estate, etc. Layout is rather wide so you can end up on cat-tracks a lot going from area to area. Best to concentrate in certain areas-- 9990 is good for advanced skiers, Dreamscape is good for blue terrain (but it's a long haul over there-- see above cat-track comment) and the area to the far right as you face the mountain has some nice terrain also. Also, more uncrowded-- crowds tend to stay in the middle areas.

1/28 Deer Valley: First time there. Not much into groomed runs, so had never been there. Luxurious as its reputation suggests. Did see quite a few Bogner suits. Layout reminded me a bit of The Canyons-- although very high-speed lifts carry you from section-to-section rather than cat-tracks. Also, the homes amidst sections of the resort take away any natural feel, but I must say those are some impressive homes! It's actually a pretty good place if you like to venture off-trail because not many people do. Also, the Rossignol demo center is free, so that was cool. Despite my initial "reverse snobbery" about it, I actually liked it pretty well. The Empire Canyon area is fun and you can get lots of ski time in with those speedy lifts.

Hope that provides some insights, lodging tips etc.

-- Wags
post #2 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wags
Not sure how I feel about the lift from the general public parking lot.
Well, we all hate it! LOL. Actually it is really not that bad -- better than the long hike a lot of resorts put you through and it take less time then it feels like. Thankfully they have a pass holders at the base..
post #3 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wags
...The design seems a bit elitist. ...
I don't quite understand this. To me, it's a pain in the A$$ (as you also said), but I not sure about the elitist part. The worst thing is if you want to go back to your car to get something...forgetaboutit. Takes about an hour out your day before your recovered and back skiing where you were.

Glad you had fun,

Powdr
post #4 of 15
At Powder, did you see MANY groomed runs? It seems interesting, but we basically ski groomers, steep and long ones!
post #5 of 15
So anybody can demo Rossis for free at Deer Valley? Sounds like a deal.
post #6 of 15
"The design seems a bit elitist."


I don't get it. ::
post #7 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gpaul
At Powder, did you see MANY groomed runs? It seems interesting, but we basically ski groomers, steep and long ones!
There are plenty of Groomers at Powder Mountain but they are not very long. Their strong point is their tree skiing in my opinion!
post #8 of 15
Thanks for putting that together Wags. I like your perspective. Would you care to elaborate on Alta, including how it compares/contrasts with the other Utah areas you visited.
post #9 of 15
Thanks for the info! I leave on Saturday for a week in Utah, and you hit many of the same places I plan to ski.
post #10 of 15
Thread Starter 

More on Utah

Deer Valley: Yes, you can demo Rossi's for free. The tent is near the Empire Canyon lodge (at the base of the Ruby and Empire lifts). They're open 10a-3p. You can keep each pair for up to two hours, then switch them out to something else. When I was there, they had Rossi B2, B3, B4 (noB1s) and Z9s available to try. (I tried the B2 and B3s) It's really easy-- you just fill out a release form, sign a credit card slip-- (that they obviously tear up once you bring the skis back-- cause as I said it's totally free), stay in your boots, step up on a platform and they'll fit the bindings and off you go. It's NOT an annoying "hard sell" situation or anything, cause I don't think you can buy them right there anyway. But it's actually pretty smart on Rossi's part. I had an interest in the B2s based on magazine reviews and now I think I'll buy them after trying them.

The Canyons: The lift at the bottom seemed a bit elitist in that the "special" people who are lodging overnight, own property, or have season passes at the resort get to park up near the skiing, while day pass visitors are relegated down the valley. It just seems that since it was designed relatively recently, they could have come up with something better. Maybe at least a "parking lot run" where you could ski down there at the end of the day. Would probably need snowmaking on it due to the low elevation and high skier traffic though.

To GPaul: Up in the Ogden valley, Snowbasin is probably a better bet than Powder Mountain for groomers. For instance, when I was at Snowbasin they groomed basically all of the Olympic women's downhill course and much of the men's. Those would definitely fit your long and steep criteria. Of course, there are other nice groomed runs also. As the ratings in the ski magazines suggest, Deer Valley is great for groomers also.

More on Alta: It's always seems to have good quality snow-- the sheer quantity, elevation, exposures all work together in that regard. It doesn't seem to be as vulnerable to wind and bad weather overall as Snowbird. While the expert terrain at Snowbird is very much in your face-- which can be a bit intimidating-- the expert stuff at Alta often requires effort (i.e. a bit of a hike). Some might not like that, but I think it adds an old-fashioned, rugged spirit to the place. I will say that it's tough to get to Alf's High Rustler (the resort's "signature run"). It takes a long traverse to get there and I always seem to end up above some rocks or whatever where it's tough to drop into it. Don't worry-- there's plenty of good stuff that doesn't require hiking or long traverses though. For a group of varying abilities Alta is nice because-- unlike Snowbird-- the beginner terrain is fairly extensive and pleasant-- even for a more advanced skier to just cruise and enjoy the lovely scenery. The beginner terrain includes the Albion and Sunnyside lifts and the Cecret lift-- which is higher up and allows beginners to feel like there not just stuck near the base.
As you probably know, Alta doesn't allow snowboarding. I consider that a positive. I'm not biased against snowboarders personally or anything, but I do think "skiers only" keeps the snow conditions nicer-- tight areas or high traffic areas get scraped off more quickly with snowboards.

Hope that answers questions. As you can tell, I enjoy sharing about this great skiing region (should probably get back to work now though!).
post #11 of 15
Great report Wags. I've never been to Powder Mountain. Time to go.
post #12 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wags
The Canyons: The lift at the bottom seemed a bit elitist in that the "special" people who are lodging overnight, own property, or have season passes at the resort get to park up near the skiing, while day pass visitors are relegated down the valley. It just seems that since it was designed relatively recently, they could have come up with something better.
This is what happens when a ski area is built in order to sell real estate. People who stay at the resort hotel have their own gondola lift line. Fortunately for us proles, its a pretty good ski area, and the "people mover" from the parking lot is pretty painless (except for the Night of the Living Dead timeshare salesmen at the top). And, given that you want to get as high up on the mt as possible, its not like you would be shlepping back to the parking lot anyway.
post #13 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gpaul
At Powder, did you see MANY groomed runs? It seems interesting, but we basically ski groomers, steep and long ones!
There are loong groomers but definetly not steep. And as you will be skiing on old sloow fixed chairs with little vertical rise, you will not get much of them. Save this mountain for a snow day.
post #14 of 15
I still don't get it.

There really isn't much room on top for a huge parking structure so everyone can park next to the Gondola, the Cabriololet is the next best option.

It is more a matter of function, and business sense, to have the Cabriololet.

And as far as the top parking being for pass holders, I appreciate it. consider how much you spent at the resort compared to a guy like me, seasons for me, wife and two kids, many lunches, ski tune, you name it. It is the least they can do.

The terrain is great.
post #15 of 15
I am not disagreeing. But you must admit that these perks figure into a non-stop real estate/resort stay marketing blitz that apparently is as necessary for ASC's finances as it is tiresome for its (day-use) patrons. But this is a relatively minor nuisance; as you state, the terrain is great. And 9990 has to be the least busy lift-served expert terrain in Utah.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Resorts, Conditions & Travel