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Utah Crowds?

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
Hello Bears,

I am planning a trip with my son to Utah March 8-18, 2007, that gives me up to 8 non-travel days for skiing. FWIW, we both in recreational race programs, level 6-8 skiers, we will spend little time on groomers, I can do that at home in Ontario.

I have been to Snowbird, Alta, DV before and want to spend 3-4 days at Snowbird and Alta. Based on reading various opinions here, I am also thinking of spending a day each at a few other areas (Solitude, Brighton, Canyons, Snow Basin, Canyons, Park City).

Any thoughts on where the least amount weekend line ups are (I am assuming mid-week line ups will not be an issue)?

Also, I realize that's a lot of ski areas in eight skiing days, any opinions on which ones I should by-pass and which ones are a must-ski?

post #2 of 21
If you want small crowds check out Powder Mountain or Snobasin by Ogden. Definitely not as crowded at these areas as the Snowbird/Alta circus.
post #3 of 21
As killclimbz says Powder Mountain/Snowbasin will be less crowded on the weekends(especially Powder Mountain). The rest of your lineup looks good and you should enjoy them all. I've skied all of them and while I like some more than others, they're all good. Have fun!
post #4 of 21
2 days powder, 3 days snowbasin, 3 days canyons: BLISS!!!!!!!!!!!

post #5 of 21
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by killclimbz
If you want small crowds check out Powder Mountain or Snobasin by Ogden. Definitely not as crowded at these areas as the Snowbird/Alta circus.
Putting things in perspective for me, am I safe to assume there won't be a 'circus' if I do Snowbird/Alta midweek?

Thanks again,
post #6 of 21
I would do the Park City resorts during the week[although Deer Valley does limit the # of skiers on any given day and you won't have to deal with borders being there on the weekend], and perhaps do the Ogden resorts or those in Big Cottonwood on the weekends.
I ski 3-4 weeks a year in Utah and this tends to work for me.
Of course crowds are relative and if you are comparing the weekend throngs to the Northeast resorts you won't have a problem anywhere you go.
post #7 of 21
I think that you should decide where to ski based upon the conditions. Right after a big dump of snow, I'd go to Alta or Snowbird until they are skied out. The only problem you might have is that Little Cottonwood Canyon is often closed for much of the morning after a lot of snow so in that case, you might want to go to Park City if the road is not open. Solitude tends to keep fresh powder longer than most of the other areas so go there after Alta and Snowbird are skied out (a day or two later). Alta usually very good on weekdays and it is less crowded on weekends than Park City or the Canyons, which you should do on a weekday. The least crowded places on weekends are the Ogden Resorts. Brighton is okay, even on Saturdays, but it is my least favorite of the Cottonwood Canyons resorts. Sundance isn't worth trying for the skiing.
post #8 of 21
Originally Posted by GordM
Putting things in perspective for me, am I safe to assume there won't be a 'circus' if I do Snowbird/Alta midweek?

Thanks again,
Mid week is always best at any resort. Definitely much less of a circus midweek for Alta and Snowbird. Another thought. If you do end up going to one of Utah's "power" resorts. Better to go on a Sunday than Saturday. All those of Mormon faith have to do their Mormon thing all day cause god sez so. Definitely a drop in numbers on that day.
post #9 of 21
The Canyons may have an "interesting" 2007. ASC and Wolf are squabbling over who will run it. ASC has 60mil invested and another 10mil in progress, but they defaulted on their lease and Wolf wants it back. Judge is deciding. It's ASC's for the moment.
post #10 of 21
The Canyons is made up of few diffrent parcels that are under diffrent owners. The group that owned Wolf Mountain now the Canyons still owns and leases out a large part of the Canyons. The Wolf Mountain group leased to the Canyons an area that if Wolf Mountain got it back would make it near impossible for the Canyons to operate.
Now back to the question, I would not worry to much about crowds unless it isa major holiday weekend. Your best plan is to wake up early check the snow reports. If Brighton/Sloitude look good go. If The Park City areas are looking good go there. Have fun relaxe and enjoy.
post #11 of 21
Thread Starter 
Employing the "wait to see where the snow goes" approach requires the ability to drive or shuttle to the areas. That raises two concernsfor me: 1) Are the roads open?
If I stay around Wasatch Blvd will I get stopped by a road closure if it dumps? (keeping in mind that might mentally kill me)

2) How far apart are the areas? Is it practical to drive from Park City around Wasatch Blvd up to Alt/Snowbird?

When I look on Mapquest it looks like there are are pretty much the following groupings (without returning to Wasatch Blvd):

Canyons, Park City, Deer Valley, Brighton, Solitude (can I get to Brighton/Solitude by following 224 to 190 in the Winter?)

- or -

Alta / Snowbird

- or -

Powder / Snobasin
post #12 of 21
Staying on Wasatch Blvd would be ok and would leave you about 25 minutes from Snowbir/Alta and Brighton/Solitude. Add 10 minutes for PC and Deer Valley.

Little Cottonwood(Alta/Snowbird) is the most prone to road closure followed by Big Cottonwood(Brighton/Solitude) which doesn't close except for truly monster dumps and I-80 up to Park City only closes in a blizzard. The road up Ogden Canyon doesn't close much either and you can go around the other way even it does close down near Ogden.
post #13 of 21
224 ( Guardsmen pass) from Park City to Brighton is closed in the winter. Just asa side note the road up to Alta/Bird is the most avalanche prone road in the nation Thats open all year. They are pretty god about getting the roads open but it might take some time for the control work to get avalanche work done. The road might open at 10am but with a long line of cars waiting at the bottom of the Canyon the trip up can be slow going. On those days it is just a lot less painful to make the trip over to the Park City side. in 10 years I80 between Park City and Salt Lake City has only been closed one or two times.
One of the great things about skiing in Utah is that you have 10 world class ski mountains all within an hour or so from each other.
post #14 of 21

RE: getting to Alta/SB from PC

I remember the first time I went to Alta we saw that road on the map between there and PC and thought - great we'll drive. We got to Alta and there was a wall of about 15 feet of snow at the end of the canyon road .

Canyon Hop (van) is a way to get to Alta/Snowbird from PC without a car if you're interested. Normally I rent a car but last time stayed in PC and did busses and this method when we wanted to hop over to the canyons. They also have discount tickets and have a regular loop they pick people up on. The only thing is we actually preferred to go to Solitude that day but there weren't enough people interested in it so we had to do Alta again. Oh well

You can take a cab too or private limo but it's a lot more $$.

I have also heard about Snowbasin from some locals but haven't done it - don't tell too many people though - supposed to be a somewhat hidden treasure! Some even claim it's nicer than DV as far as lodges etc which is really saying something ....

I can say DV was a mob scene on February vacation weekend last year.
post #15 of 21
The treasure has been discovered.
post #16 of 21
I am in Utah 4 days in that same time frame 10 of the past 11 years. I am based in Snowbird 3 of the 4 days. The Snowbird tram line is long on the weekends, but you can get anywhere using the chairs. Even the tram may lighten up with the new Peruvian HSQ going in this year. Historically I would refuse to set foot on Alta on the weekend, but with the new Collins quad even Alta is manageable now.

That said Powder Mt. is a clear #1 for crowd avoidance, followed by Snowbasin and Solitude.

Of the areas you haven't visited, for terrain I would rank them: Snowbasin, Solitude, Park City, Canyons, Powder Mt., Brighton. But if the weather is warm, Brighton and Solitude will have much better snow. If it last snowed 3-4 days ago and didn't get too warm Powder Mt. will be well worth the longer drive as it will still be mostly untracked.
post #17 of 21
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the feedback. I will probably do Snowbasin/Solitude weekends, Snowbird/Alta midweek. But I am also intrigued by Powder Mtn.

I get the impression from statements like 'great intermediate runs' that Powder does not have as much steep terrain. I don't put too much stock in resort trail map markings and percentages of beginner / intermediate / advanced - I see those as marketing (e.g. Kicking Horse's green run is a cat track/traverse from top to bottom).

From people who have skied Powder, would you categorize the level of terrain as closer to Deer Valley as opposed to Snowbird or Alta?

Thanks again, the plan is coming together.
post #18 of 21
Crowds...... what are crowds.....?

Oh, right, I don't live in Utah anymore.

Neener Neener.......
post #19 of 21
>Any thoughts on where the least amount weekend line ups are (I am assuming mid-week line ups will not be an issue)?

no. besides a powder day that'll draw all the locals up the canyon, you will find that a high percentage of utah skiers are destination skiers, and are coming and going at various times through the week. I have seen some very uncrowded Sundays at Snowbird in mid-season. Don't do too much skipping around worrying about the crowds, worry more about the snow quality. You really aren't going to find the crowds terrible at Snowbird, however you are right smack in the middle of spring break and it is my understanding that the 1st 3 wks of March can be the busiest, except for xmas and Presidents Day. I've been skiing weekend after Pres Day for years, and crowds never into our decision where to ski for the day. You have in right in skiing a different place each day, why not? But why 2 days at the canyon?

I am a very aggressive, high vertical all day skier and in Utah I alway get my phil!
post #20 of 21
At Brighton, you won't ever stand in a lift line. Same goes for Solitude, but there lift system is awful. Park City is a great resort with varied terrain, but it gets crowded on the weekend. I'll be out there then too.
post #21 of 21
as much as PCM has been maligned, their lifts and general layout are better than Canyons IMO. My impression is Canyons is OK from midmountain up (once you get there), probably has more terrain in that area than PCM, but it's a pain to deal with the whole base area etc. The base lodges and all just don't make a whole lot of sense - you could tell they kind of planned big but the execution left much to be desired (ran out of money?).
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