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Utah 3/25 - 4/1

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Sorry this is so long.

Thanks to all those in the "Park City Black Diamond Trails" thread who shared information with me. It helped make the trip great.

Our group was comprised of family and a few friends, most of whom are intermediate, and admittedly fair-weather skiers.

Saturday 3/25 was a travel day. Got into the Park City area about 8 PM.

Sunday 3/26 PCMR: Most resorts in the area were reporting 6-8 inches of new snow in the morning, and it continued to snow until about 2 PM. Finally, after multiple western ski trips, though this was the first to Utah, I get to ski powder. I took a warmup run on Payday, and then moved over to the Eagle lift. I got used to the feel of the powder, and took a couple of runs off of the King Con chair. I thought 'this isn't so tough.' WOW, was it ever windy at the top of the lifts. I can't remember if it was Fool's Gold or Glory Hole where I really started to feel good. My ski partner and I skied over to Double Jack, where a couple of patrollers were skiing. They stopped and I asked them a couple of questions. They told me that if I was skiing Double Jack, I could likely handle Blueslip (where Powdr suggested I first check out double diamonds). They also told me Jupiter was about to open. Blueslip is steep, but it didn't scare me. The snow must have been approaching 12" deep in the bowl. I started to get the hang of skiing faster in powder. I skied Blueslip a few more times, and McConkey's once. There was a pretty intimidating cornice at the top, but I got in. I stayed on the open part of the bowl because I wasn't confident enough in powder to go into trees when the terrain was steep.

After lunch I hit up the Jupiter chair, and traversed over to West Face. Maybe it's because I was getting comfortable, but I didn't think this was any more difficult than the other doubles I had skied (though there were lines I could see from the chair which I wanted no part of). On West Face I found quite a bit of untracked snow, which was a first for me. I stopped and took a bunch of pictures of my first fresh tracks. By doing so, I sort of ended up in an area I had to hike out of. No big deal. Well worth it. I skied the blacks under Thaynes and Motherlode the rest of the afternoon. My Jupiter run tired me out. This was a great first day. I was absolutely pumped beyond belief. I needed more powder and crud practice because I was having trouble linking my turns on the steeper terrain I was on.

3/27 Alta: Bright sunshine much of the day. Beautiful drive up Little Cottonwood. The Supreme chair had been closed on 3/26, but even without that, I found a good amount of untracked lines. I love how Alta basically lets the terrain dictate the runs. Very little, if any, clearcutting to create a run. I took a small group lesson in the afternoon which did help my technique, but the time it took up kept me from skiing some areas I wanted to hit. The most notable miss was Catherine's area. I needed my legs for the lesson, so I didn't hike/traverse out into it, and the lesson went almost until the chairs closed. My favorite run was probably the Glory Hole Area. In the morning there was a lot of untracked snow in it, and I enjoyed the secluded feeling after it funnels into Glory Gulch. I absolutely need more time at Alta. It rocked.

3/28 Solitude: We had planned on going to the Canyons, but it was raining in Park City. So, we thought we'd try our luck at Solitude. It was snowing once we got there, but it was wet snow. Most of the group skied the blues off of the Eagle Express. Visibility was poor, and it was helpful to ski tree-lined slopes. I was the only person who decided to check out Honeycomb Canyon. This was a nice area, but takes a lot of time to get back to. I only went into it twice. I traversed through Buckeye Junior, and possibly into Black Forest. I couldn't tell exactly where one ends and the other begins. The snow in Honeycomb wasn't nearly as bad as I had feared considering the wet snow. In the bottom of the canyon, Woodlawn wasn't the most challenging run, but it was an area of seclusion. I also skied Diamond Lane, Rhapsody, and others, but I must have skied Challenger 6 or 7 times because the visibility was very poor on the more open slopes.

This day was certainly not my favorite, but that's mostly because of the weather and visibility. Solitude is a pretty cool area. The only complaint I have is that the lift layout is strange, as it required skiers to completely encircle most of the mountain in order to get back into the upper regions of Honeycomb Canyon.

Also, we made it back around to PC just before they ran the bobsleds at the Olympic Park for the last time this season. I've always been intrigued by the sliding sports, so I loved getting the chance to see them flying down the course. Unfortuntely, $200 for a sub 60 second ride is out of my price range.

3/29 Salt Lake: Part of the group had to fly home this day, and the rest of us decided to check out some of the sites in Salt Lake. I was the only person who wanted to ski, but my legs enjoyed the rest after three days of hard skiing. Checked out downtown, Temple Square, the Olympic cauldron, and drove back to Park City for dinner. We could see the clouds hovering over the Cottonwood Canyons most of the day.

3/30 Snowbird: The 'bird reported 16" in the past 24 hours, and 27" over the past 48! Much of the mountain never opened on 3/29, so there were crowds of people hanging near the ropes above Mineral Basin and Road to Provo once rumors that the patrol was about to open the areas spread. I decided to demo some wider skis because my skis are 70mm at the waist, much narrower than most people in Utah. I ski Michigan. Sue me.

All the snow made the rest of my group very apprehensive. They like groomers. I, however, was loving the opportunity to ski such deep snow for the first time in my life. The tram line was about 20 minutes long, but I knew I had to get on it. At the top, most people were skiing over to Little Cloud or wating for Mineral Basin to open. Regulator Johnson was a good place to adjust to the demo skis. (Remember how Payday was my warmup run on 3/26? Now RJ is a warmup! I love it.) Little Cloud had a 15 minute wait. That poor lift was just getting abused as people lurked near the untracked areas.

Once Mineral Basin opened, hundreds of people immediately hit it. I took 4 runs back there before it was extremely tracked out (other than the farthest area, which still hadn't been opened). I had to help two people find their skis after they fell. I hoped I didn't fall and lose a ski! Next, the Road to Provo opened. Everyone swarmed into it, and it was skied out pretty quickly. The Road to Provo itself was a nightmare with so many people on it. Complete carnage. Bodies falling, and multiple collisions. Once, I had to drop into the bowl to avoid two people who had collided. I had a very hard time getting back to the road. The really deep snow tired me out, but I loved the opportunity to ski it.

Midday, a cloud descended over the summit. Visibility was virtually zero. I was hoping to check out the Cirque, but with the visibility as it was, I passed. After descending a few hundred feet, I got onto what I believe to be Primrose Path. I crossed over Chip's at least a couple of times, and found some cool lines between some rocks. I stopped and took pictures because I was truly amazed at the terrain I was now comfortable with.

After my red pepper soup for lunch, I went over to the Gad II lift. Did everyone forget about this area? There was very deep snow in the trees, and several times I found areas where no one had been. Sometimes that made me nervous because I wondered if there was something I was unaware of. Everything was cool, though. Alta and Snowbird to a good job of putting gates for terrain which may have cliffs (though, sometimes it seemed they had cliff warnings even where one wasn't needed). I spent the entire afternoon skiing the trees in this area. I was either skiing Organ Grinder or Black Forest when I thought to myself that some of the single blacks here were steeper than doubles at some other area. Some of the snow back there was well over 2 feet deep.

I was disappointed that I didn't make it back over onto the Peruvian Gulch side of the mountain. I never went back to the summit because of the visibility issues, but the Gad II chair was a dream that afternoon. I needed more time at Snowbird.

3/31 Deer Valley: Just a few notes. Everyone else loved this place. Groomers were nice since my legs were very tired. The weather was warmer and the sun shined much of the day. I talked to people who seem oblivious to the fact that there are any other ski areas on the planet besides Deer Valley. The shrimp pizza with red peppers, cilantro, red and green peppers was great. Bathrooms are called "lounges" here.

Verdict: Utah rules. If it were entirely up to me, I'd ski the Cottonwoods more, but I really did enjoy the conditions at PCMR. I will be back.
post #2 of 8
Nice report. West face isn't the steepest stuff at Park City. It isa lot of fun. Once you get to know some of the areas you know where to fine The wind loaded shots. 6" of snow moved and droped into a shot by the trees becomes thigh deep.
On your next visit put Snowbasin on your to do list.
post #3 of 8
Great report, thanks!!
post #4 of 8

Nice Trip Report.

You moved around and took it all in. I am more inclined to stick with a resort and ski it to death.

So my question is (What Skis you Demoed at The Bird) I am gonna guess Rossi B3 or somthing from Dynastar.

Well what were your fatter skis?
post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 
Utah49, I would have loved to check out other areas of Jupiter and find some steeper stuff. Unfortunately, I was a little nervous about getting in over my head. Had I been with someone who knew the area, I am sure I could have gotten even more out of my time there. Not that I have any complaints! Several of my runs were double diamonds, which is a first. It's great feeling like I improve every time I ski the Rockies.

Snowbasin is definitely on the list next time. Looks like you can rack up some serious vertical there.

MTT, I can understand why you stick with one area and ski it to death. I definitely didn't do everything anywhere, but I know where I want to go back. My demo skis were Dynastar Legend 8800's. Utah really made me understand why so many skiers have multiple pairs of skis.
post #6 of 8
So living here in Utah is why I have 6 pairs of skis? I thought it was just an addiction to gear.
Think of all the stuff you still have to discover when you come back here to ski. Here are just a few at Park City that will have you grining from ear to ear Puma Bowl, Scotts Bowl. and the hike up Pinecone ridge.
If you want to rack up vertical feet Snowbird is the place. Yes you can get a lot in at Snowbasin. But that's not why I think it is Utah's best. Snowbasin is a big playground. Lot of ledges, spurs, rock bands and tree shots off of any of the marked runs. A little traverse here, duck in the trees there. Drop off a little knoll. it's all good. Even the intermediate runs are more interesting in what they have to offer. A lot of fun stuff isn't if you fall you die. It's just enertaining and fun! You can noddle around in the Powder and Trees or wide open bowl while your friends are skiing close by on a groomed run. Your party will all wide up on the same lift. It is a big mountain and skis even bigger.
post #7 of 8
Looks like we where at Solitude at the same time. Wouldn't have seen each other as the vis was so poor Skied Snowbird on Monday in pretty much the same conditions, deep pow. Mineral had been closed the day before so it was all untracked. Could spend a whole month back there.
post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 
I had some time to upload some photos, and thought I would share a few.
I hope some of you enjoy them, though I am sure it was more fun for me to share them than for anyone else to see them!

Utah49, thanks for the info about PCMR and Snowbasin. Hopefully next year I'll be back.

Getting ready to ski Blueslip at PCMR.

On West Face


I believe this was Glory Gulch. I wanted to just hang out here for a while. Nice and quiet. Not many skiers.

Anyone who has skied Alta on a clear day certainly has been amazed at this sight.

Solitude: weather was such that my pictures didn't come out great. This was in Honeycomb Canyon, though.

Snowbird: This first picture helps give a sense for the visibility issues once the cloud descended on the summit.

Loving the trees.

Looking down Little Cottonwood after the sun peeked through.
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