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Utah Trip Report - Feb 25 - March 4

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
My wife decided to take me out to Utah for my 30th birthday. This is our first ever trip out West.

Short Review -
Loved Utah but the weather was not ideal. Temps were around mid 30s in the morning and warmed up to 50s after lunch.
Deer Valley - Liked it a lot
Canyons - Liked it
Alta - Loved it
PCMR - Didn't like it
Snowbasin - Loved it

Long Review -

Arriving Flight-
We were flying America West which made us sign a waiver that they are not responsible for ski damage. That was kind of a great start to my vacation. The flight was at 6:30am from Logan and we had a connector in Phoenix that we had to run for because headwinds slowed us down a lot. We landed in SLC around 1:30pm local time. Our bags and skis both made the connector so they were waiting for us in SLC.

We rented a Subaru Outback from Hertz and we were on our way to Park City.

Hotel -
We stayed at the Radisson that was renovated not to long ago and is about 5-10 minutes from all three PC resorts. The food is not great but they have the standard free breakfast which we ate a bunch of times. The jacuzzis and pool is nice after a long day.

Skiing -
Sunday Feb 26th - Deer Valley Resort
We parked at the Snow Park lodge and got dressed in the locker area. We did Basket check for $5 per bag in case we needed to strip a layer.

The first lift we took was the Silver Lake Express and then to the Wasatch Express Quad where we did laps on the blues and double blues like Wizard to warm up and see how our legs were doing.

We then took Steins Way to the Sultan lift and did laps on the runs over there. Tycoon and Perseverance were funs runs and the latter had some bumps to play with in the left side.

We headed back over to the left side of Bald Mt and skied some of that before heading to Flagstaff. Flagstaff has pretty mellow runs and looked like a favorite spot for beginners and intermediates. The runs were fun but short and not pitchy.

We ate lunch at the Royal Street Cafe at Silver Lake Lodge. The food and service was excellent.

After lunch we headed to Empire Canyon to check out the bumps. They were still crunchy and hard so we did a few laps and headed back to Bald Eagle Mt where we did most of the runs and called it a day.

We did about 22 runs and 24,000 vert which isn't a bad start.

Overall we liked Deer Valley and the lifts and food cannot be beat. They had plenty of ungroomed blacks and doubles to add challenge so the "They groom everything is BS".

Monday Feb 27th - The Canyons Resort
We parked at the bottom of the Carbriolet lift, which takes you from your car to the base area. There isn't any parking for day skiers at the base area, which is annoying. They are doing a ton of construction above the base area so we had to suit up in a locker area and walk over to the Flight of the Canyons Gondola.

We then hit the Tombstone Express and did laps over there but avoided the Ninety Nine 90 Express because I wasn't sure how the terrain was doing with the thaw refreeze going on. My wife was getting used to her demo AC3s so I wanted to take it easy in the morning,

We headed over to Saddleback and Sun Peak Express and did laps over there. There were some fun bumps and they were warming up so I was hitting them hard.

Once we felt solid we hit the Super Condor Express, which has some excellent terrain. The double blacks were nasty so we stuck to the blacks and had a blast in the bumps.

We stopped for lunch at the Sun Peaks Lodge, which had basic cafeteria food.

After lunch we headed all the way back over to Dreamscape and ended the ay doing all the blue bumps runs over there.

We did about 31 runs and over 28000 vert.

We did not love the Canyons but the terrain is interesting and tough which we liked. The layout, runouts, and setup are the only negative points.

Tuesday Feb 28th - Rained Out
It rained all day with winds approaching 70 mph so we hit the Olympic Park and Main Street for shopping.

Wednesday March 1st - Alta
The rain turned into snow and Alta got about 4-8 inches so we headed there. It took us about 45 minutes from the Radisson and the access road was clear. We parked at the Albion Base area because we didn't know the layout and it looked like the easiest to get back to at the end of the day.

We were amazed how many people were there on a Wednesday. It was more crowded the Deer Valley and The Canyons combined. We hit the Sunnyside triple up to the Sugarloaf Express Quad. I did a few laps off that lift in perfectly untracked snow. Extrovert and the other blacks off the quad were a good warm-up.

We then made our way over to the Collins and Wildcat lifts which had excellent single and double blacks. I was popping in and out of trees, bowls, and whatever but could still hop back on a trail when I got tired.

Lunch was at the cafe at the base of the Sugarloaf quad. It was probably the best cafeteria food out of all the mountains. The had a ton to choose from including normal and micro brew beer.

After lunch we did laps off of the Supreme chair, which has everything from scary doubles to easy blues.

We only did about 18 runs with almost 21000 vert but they were tough runs.

Overall we loved Alta as it was a big playground with snow on it. You could go anywhere you wanted which is something I was not used to. My only concern is I don't think I would love it so much on a non snow day as the base area near the Collins and Wildcat had ice chunks from hell and the groomers is not what Alta is all about.

Thurday March 2nd - Park City Mountain Resort
We parked at the base area and got ready in the Legacy Lodge. We hit the Payday lift to Bonanza to McConkey's. We did laps off of McConkey's and the Pioneer lift. Conditions were very hard and granular especially in the shaded areas.

We then checked out the Motherlode and Silverlode chairs and were not impressed with the terrain or conditions.

We headed to the Mid Mountain cafe for some mediocre food.

After lunch we checked out the Jupiter Bowl area, which had some fun bumps and trees, but the snow was variable from ice to slush.

We did about 20 runs at almost 23,000 vert.

We hit every lift on the mountain and a ton of trails but did not like the mountain. The trails had no soul and the terrain was pretty basic. It is an intermediates dream and the beginners were out in full force. I don't think we would go back there.

Friday March 3rd - Snowbasin
After a direction mix-up we got to Snowbasin around 8:45am which sucks because we missed first chair. We skipped lunch because of the partially late start.

The lodge is the most ridiculously nice ski building I have ever been in. The bathrooms had brass fixtures with individual stall rooms with wood doors. The cafeteria looks like a dining room. We ordered breakfast burritos thinking we could eat them on the fly. They gave us nice plates with a burritos with salsa and cheese on top with potatoes on the side. This place is overwhelming at first.

We hopped on the Needles Express gondola and headed towards the Strawberry area to get the early sun. We did blue laps over there off the Strawberry Express that were like 2100 vert per run. The blue runs were long but there was also some fun blacks and bowls over there to play around on.

We then hit some of the harder terrain off the Needles Express, which has some cliff areas and fun bumps.

After a short water break we hit the John Paul Express and took the Mt Allen Tram to the top. We took the Grizzly Downhill runs from the very top all the way down. My legs were hurting after some of those fast turns but they were fun as hell.

We ended the day by exploring all the terrain off of the Porcupine triple that had some untouched areas between some trees and rocks. The slush was getting too heavy to be fun around the base areas.

We only did like 10 or 11 runs but we did about 21,000 vert.

Overall I think Snowbasin was awesome and probably our favorite mountain. The runs were varied and long without a ton of runouts. The terrain was like a combination of Alta and Deer Valley. It is a must try if you go out to Utah.

Food -
Wasatch Brewery - Great apps, burgers, and of course beer.
Taste of Bankok - Awesome Thai food with an award winning wine list.
Adolphs - Great Swiss dishes and steaks. Food and service were great.
Radisson Restaurant - Horrible steak and food.
Baha Cantina - OK mexican food but loud and busy.
Buena Vita - Excellent Italian food and that is coming from a 100% Italian boy.
Buena Vita - All other restaurants were booked so we went again and had excellent food once again.

Pictures -
http://peakphotoalta.com
The photographer was Matt Lovejoy and the date was 03/01/06 ML_3154 - ML_3160.

More pictures to come after I resize and post them.
post #2 of 20
Terrible timing. Utah has had one of the best seasons I can remember, but.....the last week sucked. Early December was good, January through the end of February was good, but early March has been the worst of the season. Rain, dust on crust, warm...oh well. Sorry you coudn't experience true Utah powder one your 1st trip out here.

Powdr
post #3 of 20
Thanks Powdr. While we didn't get to experience the "true" Utah Powder - we still had a good time and got to see the mountains. Plus, skiing there was still better than the skiing at home this winter!

Thanks to everyone who recommended Snowbasin - we really liked it there!

Oh, and I liked the Polygamy Porter!
post #4 of 20
I have said it before and I'll say it again Snowbasin is my favorite Utah Mountain. The lodges are a little over the top for my taste. The on mountain food is good might not be Deer Valley quality yet. But it is a good deal for better then most mountains. Goerge Castanza from Sinfeld would be in public restroom heaven at Snowbasin.
post #5 of 20
Snowbasin Rocked!!!! I had a blast there. The lack of new snow did not ruin the week.... and if you played the sun right good skiing could be found
post #6 of 20
Scalce,

We were at Alta on Wed., & able to catch some untracked early in the A.M.

We made two runs in Ballroom before it became tracked up, & one in Devils chute (If I pronounced it correctly) after the avalanche team finished their
work. Awsome!

Ray
post #7 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by rayl1964
Scalce,

We were at Alta on Wed., & able to catch some untracked early in the A.M.

We made two runs in Ballroom before it became tracked up, & one in Devils chute (If I pronounced it correctly) after the avalanche team finished their
work. Awsome!

Ray
Yeah ballroom got tracked really quickly.

There were a ton of charges going off in the morning and alot of choppers flying overhead too.

Definately a great day

http://members.bellatlantic.net/~jsc...027_resize.JPG
post #8 of 20

How can this be?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scalce
We headed to the Mid Mountain cafe for some mediocre food..
Mid Mountain is the best place on the Mt. IMO. It costs more but locals who know what to order love it there. Go for the chowder, chili, or stew nextime. It's the chili cheese fires for me, or the cornbread.

I'm sorry you didnt hit PCMR on a good day. Most feel its the best in PC ans sells more season passes than any other.
post #9 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ratherbskiing
Mid Mountain is the best place on the Mt. IMO. It costs more but locals who know what to order love it there. Go for the chowder, chili, or stew nextime. It's the chili cheese fires for me, or the cornbread.

I'm sorry you didnt hit PCMR on a good day. Most feel its the best in PC ans sells more season passes than any other.
My wife got the chowder and was not impressed.

Season pass sales doesn't mean anything but to each his own.

I know alot of people on this board said to avoid it altogether but I wanted to give it a shot.
post #10 of 20
[quote=Scalce]

to each his own.

QUOTE]

exactly
post #11 of 20
More season pass sales might be missleading. PCMR hosts all the race teams in town and has by far the best race program and arena (probably in the US). It also has the best terrain parks ans slopestyle area in Utah. The young 'uns flock to the place, especailly w/ a $99 local student pass. DV, at $1200, is obviously going to attract a more refined and smaller crowd. The Canyons is, frankly run by ASC and is too far out of town for most PC locals. So PCMR naturally attracts more season pass holders. I have a pass acsess to all three and end up @ PCMR often out of convenience more that any other reason. That, and McKonkeys/Jupiter/Pinecone kick a$$ over anything else on this side of the Wasatch.

Powdr
post #12 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Powdr
PCMR hosts all the race teams in town and has by far the best race program and arena (probably in the US).

Powdr
Thank you, I work for the race department.
post #13 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by ratherbskiing

I'm sorry you didnt hit PCMR on a good day. Most feel its the best in PC ans sells more season passes than any other.
We didn't love PCMR because of the layout of the mountain. We like top to bottom skiing and felt that PCMR had short runs expecially compared to the other mountains in the area. Not to mention that $73 for a lift ticket (yes I know you can find deals) is a little ridiculous - I'd rather ski Deer Valley for $74 and at least get good food. Scalce didn't mention that I had the best butternut squash soup there - yummy!
post #14 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ratherbskiing
Thank you, I work for the race department.
If you get me a job in Park City I'll change my mind about PCMR.

post #15 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Powdr
The Canyons is, frankly run by ASC and is too far out of town for most PC locals.
You Utah people are so spoiled I'd hate to see what would happen if you had to drive 2+ hours to good mountains like us
post #16 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by ratherbskiing
Thank you, I work for the race department.
So why did PCMR get rid of the World Cup Races. America's Opening,,,, they had a great thing going to get people in the mood for the season. I had read some where the were scared that when the tv camers showed the resort with only ribbons of snow ,, ie, man made snow, and the rest of the country brown, they were worried about the opions of the the rest of the country. Oh PCMR only has man made snow..
Well they could of tried to rescheduled the reaces later in the season.
post #17 of 20
America's Opening was "ify" too many times I guess. We would not have been able to do it this year for example.
post #18 of 20
Utah is the warmest area of the Rockies. The World Cup wants to be in North America in November because the Alps are unreliable for both snow and cold/snowmaking. One of the Park City openings had to be relocated to colder Copper Mt.

No one is really reliable for snow year-in and year-out that early, but Lake Louise is definitely reliable for cold, so that's why they go there. Panorama and Sun Peaks are open privately in November for World Cup race training for the same reason.
post #19 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by tahoetr
So why did PCMR get rid of the World Cup Races. America's Opening,,,, they had a great thing going to get people in the mood for the season. I had read some where the were scared that when the tv camers showed the resort with only ribbons of snow ,, ie, man made snow, and the rest of the country brown, they were worried about the opions of the the rest of the country. Oh PCMR only has man made snow..
Well they could of tried to rescheduled the reaces later in the season.
Good luck working out a rescheduled North American date w/FIS, from what I hear, it was the weekend BEFORE Thanksgiving or nothing. And hmmmm, they would have had to cancel the races this season and last if they were scheduled, so not a bad choice to dump AO in my book! BTW, I never heard about the ribbon of snow issue, I've always thought that the networks that show these events always manage to show just the race courses when conditions are poor and then fill in the rest with b-roll footage...:
post #20 of 20
PCMR's decision to not hold WC races was based on a few reasons (early season PR being one of them) but biggest of all was that it is frankly no longer needed to boost PCMR's image. They used to spend half a million hosting the event, not mention personnel and snowmaking resources that were taken away from the skiing public. PCMR used to have to lay down a minimun of 3' on CB's, often redoing it due to melt offs. PCMR would be behind their neighbors in terrain open immediately after the WC. Instead, they now focus on opening as many runs as they can to the public. You can't fault them for dropping a money losing event in favor of boosting skier-days. After all it must be working as they continue to report new records last year and this year.

Powdr
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EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Mountain/Resort Related Forums › Resorts, Conditions & Travel › Utah Trip Report - Feb 25 - March 4