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April 2007 UTAH Trip Planning

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
I know this is a little duplicative of a recent thread, but my question is a little bit more specific and the timing is relevant.

Unfortunately, my family and I are subject to our local public school schedule, which means that our only opportunities for a western ski trip are the extended MLK B-day and Presidentsā€˜ Day weekends or spring break (usually during the week of Easter and Passover). We used Prez day for this season's trip, had a good time, but were constrained by only having 5 days to take the trip (& only 4 days to ski). We didn't consider spring break this year because it fell so late in the season.

Next year, spring break is the first week in April. I am thinking Snowbird and Alta might be the best destinations because their snow, historically, seems to be the most reliable in North America. However, I am concerned about the likelihood that we could be slogging through mash potato snow for a week.

Do fellow Bears think that planning a trip in early April (2007) to Snowbird/Alta is worth the risk or would we be better off taking a shorter vacation in January or February?
post #2 of 24
This past Late March early April was some of the best skiing f the season. I think. March and April is normally a very snowy time here in Utah. The risk of being skunked aren't all that great and the rewards can be big.
post #3 of 24
I think I'll be there at the same time.
post #4 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Utah49
This past Late March early April was some of the best skiing f the season. I think. March and April is normally a very snowy time here in Utah. The risk of being skunked aren't all that great and the rewards can be big.
U49: Thanks. I am not so worried about getting skunked -- Utah is more dependable that way than even Colorado (apostasy!). My main concern about skiing Snowbird and Alta in early April is the type of conditions we could anticipate: spring conditions in the 50s or 60s with mushy corn snow or winter conditions in the 30s or 40s with powder or packed-powder. I am guessing the answer is that both types of conditions are possible and it just depends on the weather patterns at the time. What leads me to thinking Utah might be the best bet for early April is the dependable snow (unlike Whistler) and the greater possibility that we might get cooler temps some of our days there (unlike the Tahoe resorts). Let me know if you think I am wrong. WN
post #5 of 24
Just out of curiosity, what's so bad about spring corn? Yes Utah and other Rocky Mt resorts will give you the best chance of good conditions, but by April, who cares? I love skiing a good firm underbase with 1" of corn on top. That's what you get in the spring around here and if you time your aspects correctly, you get get it almost all day long. To me, good corn is second only to deep powder. And when bases are deep, as they are in April, there are no worries about dirt/mud/rocks, so the warm temps are a great bonus.

Powdr
post #6 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Powdr
Just out of curiosity, what's so bad about spring corn? Yes Utah and other Rocky Mt resorts will give you the best chance of good conditions, but by April, who cares? I love skiing a good firm underbase with 1" of corn on top. That's what you get in the spring around here and if you time your aspects correctly, you get get it almost all day long. To me, good corn is second only to deep powder. And when bases are deep, as they are in April, there are no worries about dirt/mud/rocks, so the warm temps are a great bonus.

Powdr
If it is indeed only 1" of corn over a good firm base, then I'd say it would be okay. I am more concern about the really mash potato stuff that runs deeper than that. That's what we experienced on some days and runs last March (2005) in Tahoe. My wife is an intermediate skier and had a hard, and less enjoyable, time with it.
post #7 of 24
I skied Alta/Bird the 10th - 13th this year. Of course, spring skiing tends to be variable. The first day, Monday, started at Alta. It was cool after a warm weekend following a big dump. All of the off piste was coral reef like conditions - reluctant to soften up. It was a groomer day. Around 11:00 am we decided to uprgade to the Alta/Bird one pass at the top and dropped down into Snowbird. That made huge amounts of groomer cruising available and we had a great day.

Tuesday there was about 6 - 8 inches of new snow. The skiing was great and we stayed at Alta all day. We made tons of fesh tracks and light fluffy stuff was available 1st lift to last. We had a great time in Glory Hole - skiing off the High T etc. Outstanding day.

Wednesday was sunny with very high winds and warm temps. Everything softened up quickly and conditions became pretty sloppy by early afternoon. It was a decent day but not the greatest.

Thursday night it didn't get super cold. The snow pressure was great and there was nice off piste corn skiing. It was a beautiful sunny day with amazing views - one of the greatest spring skiing days ever!

The whole week was quiet - non-existant lift lines. I would not hesitate to do it again next year.

As an aside; we got a great late season deal at the Peruvian that included four nights in a small room with shared bath, all meals, three days of Alta lift tickets and shuttle to and from the airport for a little over a thousand bucks through Allez Travel.
post #8 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MisterK
I skied Alta/Bird the 10th - 13th this year. Of course, spring skiing tends to be variable. The first day, Monday, started at Alta. It was cool after a warm weekend following a big dump. All of the off piste was coral reef like conditions - reluctant to soften up. It was a groomer day. Around 11:00 am we decided to uprgade to the Alta/Bird one pass at the top and dropped down into Snowbird. That made huge amounts of groomer cruising available and we had a great day.

Tuesday there was about 6 - 8 inches of new snow. The skiing was great and we stayed at Alta all day. We made tons of fesh tracks and light fluffy stuff was available 1st lift to last. We had a great time in Glory Hole - skiing off the High T etc. Outstanding day.

Wednesday was sunny with very high winds and warm temps. Everything softened up quickly and conditions became pretty sloppy by early afternoon. It was a decent day but not the greatest.

Thursday night it didn't get super cold. The snow pressure was great and there was nice off piste corn skiing. It was a beautiful sunny day with amazing views - one of the greatest spring skiing days ever!

The whole week was quiet - non-existant lift lines. I would not hesitate to do it again next year.

As an aside; we got a great late season deal at the Peruvian that included four nights in a small room with shared bath, all meals, three days of Alta lift tickets and shuttle to and from the airport for a little over a thousand bucks through Allez Travel.
Sounds pretty good. I was thinking of staying in Sandy and commuting up, but it would be great to good deal on lodging at S-bird or Alta.
post #9 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by wingnutter
If it is indeed only 1" of corn over a good firm base, then I'd say it would be okay. I am more concern about the really mash potato stuff that runs deeper than that. That's what we experienced on some days and runs last March (2005) in Tahoe. My wife is an intermediate skier and had a hard, and less enjoyable, time with it.
It's all about aspect. On a warm spring day (after a re-freeze the night before), you can find anything from bulletproof to deep mashed potatoes. This is the case anywhere. Work the aspects and you can get that 1" on firm just about all day long.


Powdr
post #10 of 24
Here are some thoughts on how to make your spring skiing more enjoyable. I tend to favor a narrow stiff ski. I like my Atomic R11 for spring skiing. The less wetted surface area make for a better glide on warm wet sticky snow. They are also great at "knifing" through crud. No matter what ski you choose, get a spring tune up. This means a structured base and waxed for spring conditions. A structured base helps keep the water from sucking on the bottom of your skis. If it is really warm and sunny I will pack some swik f4 or other wipe on wax product. One those really warm days I have used the F4 about every 3rd run.
One of the hardest things about spring skiing is deciding what Adult beverage to enjoy at lunch.
As powdr said you need to pick your aspects and follow the Sun.
post #11 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Utah49
No matter what ski you choose, get a spring tune up.
So true - after the sloppy conditions on Wed. I had our skis Spring Tuned overnight and the results were dramatic.
post #12 of 24
Well said MrK,
One of the nice things about living in a ski town is you get to meet some really great skiers. When I first moved to park City I met a really fantastic Instructor. I did take some lessons from him. However gene has always been willing to share his knowledge. Like all the best he had more then just advice on how to ski. One spring day I met up with Gene. He was gliding in the spring wet sloppy mush like it was 6 inches of hero powder. In those same conditions I was struggling. He was the first to tell me about a structured base grind for spring skiing. A few bucks and 6 pack of Beer got my skis tuned as gene suggested for the next day. Like you said the results were dramatic. I was no longer fighting the mank. In fact to some extent I was rather enjoying the new experience.
post #13 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Utah49
Well said MrK,
One of the nice things about living in a ski town is you get to meet some really great skiers. When I first moved to park City I met a really fantastic Instructor. I did take some lessons from him. However gene has always been willing to share his knowledge. Like all the best he had more then just advice on how to ski. One spring day I met up with Gene. He was gliding in the spring wet sloppy mush like it was 6 inches of hero powder. In those same conditions I was struggling. He was the first to tell me about a structured base grind for spring skiing. A few bucks and 6 pack of Beer got my skis tuned as gene suggested for the next day. Like you said the results were dramatic. I was no longer fighting the mank. In fact to some extent I was rather enjoying the new experience.
Okay, now I am intrigued. Could you explain the difference between a structured base grind and a conventional tune? Never heard of the former before as a specific method of tuning for spring conditions.
post #14 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by wingnutter
However, I am concerned about the likelihood that we could be slogging through mash potato snow for a week.

Do fellow Bears think that planning a trip in early April (2007) to Snowbird/Alta is worth the risk or would we be better off taking a shorter vacation in January or February?
Sorry to interrupt the tune-talk, but... (ahem)...

By all means go for the longer vacation in April. A longer vacation is always a better idea, eh?

As mentioned above, be prepared for spring snow, but that could mean be prepared for packed stuff, soft buttah or corn:



Or it could mean 3 inches an hour:



Both these pictures were taken the first week of April this year.

Of course your results may vary.

You've got a pretty good shot at a fun time.
post #15 of 24
A structured base grind levels a pattern in the base of the ski. The pattren helps break up any surface tension and suction between the water in wet snow and the ski base. One of the reasons I prefer and narrow ski for spring is there is just less surface area. You don't need a wide ski for skiing crud a good stiff ski with a little bit of meat will do the job just fine.
post #16 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Utah49
Well said MrK,
One of the nice things about living in a ski town is you get to meet some really great skiers. When I first moved to park City I met a really fantastic Instructor. I did take some lessons from him. However gene has always been willing to share his knowledge. Like all the best he had more then just advice on how to ski. One spring day I met up with Gene. He was gliding in the spring wet sloppy mush like it was 6 inches of hero powder. In those same conditions I was struggling. He was the first to tell me about a structured base grind for spring skiing. A few bucks and 6 pack of Beer got my skis tuned as gene suggested for the next day. Like you said the results were dramatic. I was no longer fighting the mank. In fact to some extent I was rather enjoying the new experience.
Gene Gautier? New him back when I taught. Fellow surfer from CA.

Powdr
post #17 of 24
Yeah he is a good guy. Tells the best dirty jokes on the chairlift up between runs. I would love to see him start posting here Maybe do one of the ESA camps.
post #18 of 24
I hate to hijack this thread but I had just a quick question, there is a good chance I will be going to Alta but during Christmas Break. We will probably get there 31 of december and ski new years day and on. How are the crowds at Alta, and the rest of Little Cottonwood canyon during the holiday season. I am used to Keystone during New Years so it can't be that bad.
post #19 of 24
My all time best day of skiing ever was on a New Years day. It snowed all New Years Eve. I mean it was dumping. In the morning it was nothing but cold crystal clear blue Sky. The perfect Blue Bird day and nobody I mean nobody was up and skiing That morning! The snow was the extra light stuff that dreams are made of. Now get this I was skiing Park City! I can't even imagine how good it was over in The Cottonwood Canyons. What I have heard from a number of people who normally take thier ski vacation in Colorado is that even on the busiest day the crowds are nothing like they are at the major Colorado resorts. If you think it is crowded a short drive can get you to some of the lesser known mountains Like Sundance, Snowbasin and powder Mountain. Drive a few hours north and give Grand Targhee a shot.
post #20 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by dubdub57
I hate to hijack this thread but I had just a quick question, there is a good chance I will be going to Alta but during Christmas Break. We will probably get there 31 of december and ski new years day and on. How are the crowds at Alta, and the rest of Little Cottonwood canyon during the holiday season. I am used to Keystone during New Years so it can't be that bad.
I've never encountered really heavy crowds at all there in the last 5 years. To me a 10 minute wait is no big deal and the places are so big you can always find uncrowded areas.

As to the other question about April conditions. On April 17 last year the Bird got a 3 foot dumps over night. Face shots in April. But there is no gaurantee, except that it will be better than anything over here!
post #21 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jxb
Sorry to interrupt the tune-talk, but... (ahem)...

By all means go for the longer vacation in April. A longer vacation is always a better idea, eh?

As mentioned above, be prepared for spring snow, but that could mean be prepared for packed stuff, soft buttah or corn:



Or it could mean 3 inches an hour:



Both these pictures were taken the first week of April this year.

Of course your results may vary.

You've got a pretty good shot at a fun time.
If money were no object and I got get a couple more weeks off of work (not to mention a more flexible school schedule), I'd be on the next plane to SLC! Great pics.
post #22 of 24
Thread Starter 

PC, the Canyons and DV?

BTW, when do Park City, the Canyons and Deer Valley usually close for the season?
post #23 of 24
PCMR looks to be shooting for 4/15, DV traditionally has closed after the first full weekend in April, and I'd imagine TC would be similar... all PC area resorts closed on 4/16 (Easter Sunday) this season.
post #24 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sphrrt
PCMR looks to be shooting for 4/15, DV traditionally has closed after the first full weekend in April, and I'd imagine TC would be similar... all PC area resorts closed on 4/16 (Easter Sunday) this season.
sphrrt: Thanks. WN
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