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SLC January 1 - Am I missing anything?

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
Hi guys,

I've searched and read a bunch of great threads on SLC/Sandy, Alta/Bird and just want to run my trip details by a few people and see if there are any potential issues.

My father and I are planning to fly from Calgary to SLC on Monday January 1 (arrive 10:30am) and fly back to Calgary Sunday January 7 (flight 5pm) in the afternoon. We plan to rent a car and stay in a motel/hotel in SLC or Sandy and do day trips to Alta, Snowbird, Solitude and Brighton (probably one day each to Solitude and Brighton, other 3 days at Alta/Bird, maybe one of the half days at another hill to check it out). We don't care about fancy accomodations, shopping or any of that crap, we just want to ski hard.

We're booking through Travelocity as they have really good package prices (e.g. $1100CDN/person for flight, hotel, mid size rental car, 5 days lifts at Alta/Bird/Brighton/Sol).

Questions I'm hoping to get some help with

1) Hotel options - I've been looking at the following places (not knowing the city, just using Google maps and threads I've read here):
- Best Western Executive Inn - Midvale
- LaQuinta - Midvale
- Comfort Inn - Sandy
- Super8 - Midvale

Any recommendations? I was thinking Comfort Inn but have read it's really crappy. Would be nice to have a breakfast included to save time/money in the mornings. Again, we don't care about glitz, just want the most comfortable bed for the price. All 4 of these are within $60 price differential for the 6 nights. Open to suggestions of course. Is Sandy/Midvale a good location to base out of for LCC and Solitude/Brighton?

2) What are the chances of getting a half day at any of the resorts the first day if our flight lands at 10:30am? I think you clear US customs here but can't remember (haven't been to the US in a while). Would also have to pick up rental car.

3) I'm thinking we might ski the morning and leave the hill at noon to head back to the airport for the 5pm flight, assuming the weather is ok. Would this be enough time?

**4) Is it worth the price premium to go from an 'intermediate/standard' (Olds Alero apparently) sized car to an SUV? I've read you basically need AWD/4WD or chains to get up the LCC road to Alta/Bird if it has snowed. It would cost $336 for an intermediate from Hertz and $672 for an SUV from Avis. What about taking the bus if it storms? (Defeats purpose of car I know, but we want flexibility). Can we do better than these prices

**EDIT** Orbitz.com seems to have way cheaper prices, $450-$500 with taxes for a week. Will probably split out the car rental through them. Can get either a Ford Escape (those are 4WD I hope) or Suby Outback Wagon for $504 with taxes for a week with unlimited miles.

5) I'm assuming there are lots of places in SLC and the hills to rent fat skis for a day? I would be bringing my 188cm Dynastar 8800's but would like to ride a pair of ~105mm skis if we are lucky enough to get a big dump. I might have a pair of Armada ANTs (106mm) by this trip but I might bring the 8800's anyway incase there is no new snow. I think 2 pairs of big skis with metal bindings will be over the weight limit for the airline.

Thanks for help! Looking forward to finally getting to ski Utah!
post #2 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by gramboh View Post
Hi guys,

I've searched and read a bunch of great threads on SLC/Sandy, Alta/Bird and just want to run my trip details by a few people and see if there are any potential issues.

My father and I are planning to fly from Calgary to SLC on Monday January 1 (arrive 10:30am) and fly back to Calgary Sunday January 7 (flight 5pm) in the afternoon. We plan to rent a car and stay in a motel/hotel in SLC or Sandy and do day trips to Alta, Snowbird, Solitude and Brighton (probably one day each to Solitude and Brighton, other 3 days at Alta/Bird, maybe one of the half days at another hill to check it out). We don't care about fancy accomodations, shopping or any of that crap, we just want to ski hard.

We're booking through Travelocity as they have really good package prices (e.g. $1100CDN/person for flight, hotel, mid size rental car, 5 days lifts at Alta/Bird/Brighton/Sol).

Questions I'm hoping to get some help with

1) Hotel options - I've been looking at the following places (not knowing the city, just using Google maps and threads I've read here):
- Best Western Executive Inn - Midvale
- LaQuinta - Midvale
- Comfort Inn - Sandy
- Super8 - Midvale

Any recommendations? I was thinking Comfort Inn but have read it's really crappy. Would be nice to have a breakfast included to save time/money in the mornings. Again, we don't care about glitz, just want the most comfortable bed for the price. All 4 of these are within $60 price differential for the 6 nights. Open to suggestions of course. Is Sandy/Midvale a good location to base out of for LCC and Solitude/Brighton?

>> we have stayed at Crystal Inn in Midvale/Sandy area. basic bed with free hot breakfast and indoor pool/tub. close to LCC, BCC.

2) What are the chances of getting a half day at any of the resorts the first day if our flight lands at 10:30am? I think you clear US customs here but can't remember (haven't been to the US in a while). Would also have to pick up rental car.

>> i think all the PC resorts have same day free plan. download the form from the websites - and show them the boarding card. you can be at the lifts by 1pm.

3) I'm thinking we might ski the morning and leave the hill at noon to head back to the airport for the 5pm flight, assuming the weather is ok. Would this be enough time?

>> more than enough. however check the weather report. if it is a big storm day - i would not ski the LCC, BCC resorts on the last day - as the canyon road might close - leaving you stranded. i would instead ski one of th PC resorts on the last day.

**4) Is it worth the price premium to go from an 'intermediate/standard' (Olds Alero apparently) sized car to an SUV? I've read you basically need AWD/4WD or chains to get up the LCC road to Alta/Bird if it has snowed. It would cost $336 for an intermediate from Hertz and $672 for an SUV from Avis. What about taking the bus if it storms? (Defeats purpose of car I know, but we want flexibility). Can we do better than these prices

**EDIT** Orbitz.com seems to have way cheaper prices, $450-$500 with taxes for a week. Will probably split out the car rental through them. Can get either a Ford Escape (those are 4WD I hope) or Suby Outback Wagon for $504 with taxes for a week with unlimited miles.

>> I would get the SUV - more flexibility that way.

5) I'm assuming there are lots of places in SLC and the hills to rent fat skis for a day? I would be bringing my 188cm Dynastar 8800's but would like to ride a pair of ~105mm skis if we are lucky enough to get a big dump. I might have a pair of Armada ANTs (106mm) by this trip but I might bring the 8800's anyway incase there is no new snow. I think 2 pairs of big skis with metal bindings will be over the weight limit for the airline.

>> check out Utah Ski and golf - a number of outlets and great selections.

Thanks for help! Looking forward to finally getting to ski Utah!
....
post #3 of 20
>1) Hotel options
i would absolutely pick la quinta over comfort inn, others i don't know about, bfast at la quinta is fine.
>2) What are the chances of getting a half day at any of the resorts the first day if our flight lands at 10:30am?
don't know about customs but imagine it is quick. one guy gets car, other gets skis/gears and stands in medium waiting for car. sometimes rental car lines can be dreadful(30 min.'s), otherwise you WILL be skiing by 1p(but likely 12:30) at the latest. grab a quick bite while walking through airport, get to rental car line pronto!

>3) I'm thinking we might ski the morning and leave the hill at noon to head back to the airport for the 5pm flight
this is SLC we're talking about, you leave at noon for 2:30 flight. From LCC, ski down to mid-gad where you left your car for 2pm, 30min.'s to change and pack gear, that gives you one hour to gas up at MiniMkt in front of BCC and get to airport, that's plenty. You arrive at airport at 3:30, drop off skis/gear/partner to Island Luggage guys, get boarding pass(oops maybe not for Int'l dept), still drop off at curb, one guy in line, one guy drops off car (I do this every year at least once for 20) Actually, last day is a good day to do Snowbasin. Can still ski to 2p.

>**4) car - see if you can get the Subaru on Hertz. When I've taken the bus on powder days it has been a "riot" to get on. couldn't find a parking spot within a 1/4 of bus stop.
5)>skiis...
to me 2 pair is def'n of "bogus". remember, LCC has best snow on list-served earth, but it will be skied out right away unless it is actually snowing.(of course there are patches and runs days later). I think PC resorts are also skied out right away, so think fatties only if is snowing right now. But I think Snowbasin/POW Mtn is the place for skiing fluff all day a day or so after a storm, although i never hit them then.

Buy your lift tickets at the hotel desk or ski shop down the street.
with 6 days, might as well hit a PC resort to see that side of hill. For experts i vote in order, PC, Canyons, Deer Valley.
post #4 of 20
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the great advice guys!

Marty:

- I think we will choose Crystal Inn or LaQuinta, I like the hot tub and breakfast options.

- I emailed PCMR to see if they still have that deal for half day on arrival

SnowbirdDevotee:

- Thanks for the airport tips, they will come in handy. Luckily it's only a 2 hour flight so we won't be tired from travel on day 1.

- We will get the Suby if we can for sure

- Turns out I am getting a pair of Armada ANTs, i'll try em here to see how they manage harder snow and decide whether to bring em or the Dynastars. I know the bigger/stiffer ANTs (106mm vs 89mm) will be better in powder/chopped powder/mank, but if we get bad luck and ski hardpack then they won't be much fun.

What do you guys think of the resort choices? Alta/Snowbird are a must of course, and I've read a lot of good stuff about Solitude and Brighton. Snowbasin I haven't heard much about, but seen some nice pics from there over at TGR. I put the Park City resorts behind all these for what we want to ski based on what I've read. Powder Mountain is pretty far from SLC isn't it?
post #5 of 20
Def hit SnowBasin! Probably PowMow too. Not too far from SLC just a bit North.
post #6 of 20
Given a choice I would hit Powder Mtn and Snow Basin before the Park City areas.
post #7 of 20

Slc

Gramboh,
Check on http://www.skiutah.com/hot_deals/lodging before making any commitments....they have some great deals listed.
Also, check on www.priceline.com , they have some great packages...I don't know how they deal with a Canadian departure airport, but I have used them extensively for overseas travel from the US
post #8 of 20
You might be interested in this for your half day at skiing on the arrrival day.

http://www.parkcityinfo.com/skiing/quickstart/

from their site:
"It’s a big claim: Catch a morning flight from almost anywhere and you can be on our slopes the same afternoon. The Park City Quick START (Ski Today and Ride Today) Vacation lets you convert your airline boarding pass into a same-day lift ticket to the Park City resort of your choice. It’s your chance to get a free same-day lift ticket at The Canyons Resort, Park City Mountain Resort or Deer Valley Resort. You will need to bring the completed, required redemption voucher, along with your same-day boarding pass and out of state photo I.D., to the resort ticket window, to receive your same-day lift ticket. You’ll discover the best skiing and riding you’ve ever experienced, not to mention the most conveniently located resort town in the West. Park City is located just 35 short minutes from Salt Lake International Airport."
post #9 of 20
Some resorts used to (Park City/Deer Valley?) offer a ski free the first day when you show your boarding pass at the ticket window. Do some research for that deal, it's worth it.

edit: LOL! I had this response written but got sidetracked by another thread.
Anyway, have a great time when you visit.
post #10 of 20
Definitely do the QuickStart thing mentioned by asland. Also, customs shouldn't be an issue. All Canadian flights I'm aware of clear U.S. customs at Canadian airports. Make sure you rent a car from one of the majors and you'll be able to just walk to your car from the terminal rather than taking a bus.
post #11 of 20
yup - ditto on quickstart. My first day plan last year was Deer, simply because eating lunch there is so good, then an easy day of skiing (and acclamate to altitude), harder stuff the next few days. Also they have the highest ticket price and you're getting 1/2 day free.

Got there around 1145 after landing at 1015 and speeding through baggage (flight was 1/2 full
post #12 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Talisman View Post
Given a choice I would hit Powder Mtn and Snow Basin before the Park City areas.
I second this opinion.

If you can't bring both skis, bring the 8800s. If it dumps and all you've got are the 8800s, rent a pair of wide boards from the Lift House on Ft. Union.
post #13 of 20
you're a day early for quickstart.
google quickstart park city, restrictions, it starts Jan 2nd after the holidays.
post #14 of 20
Thread Starter 
Thanks again for the replies.

We might go with Snowbasin the last day as it sounds like it's closer to the airport so we can ski until 1 or 2pm and make it to the airport at 3. Powder Mountain looks interesting, especially with $8 cat rides up that ridge, and I hear it doesn't get as busy as the other resorts. Is the terrain interesting/challenging like Alta/Bird?

Sucks that we are a day early for the quickstart special, oh well half days are cheap enough.

Skiswift, thanks for the links, I'll check them out later today. It seems like Travelocity has the best deal on flight/hotel/lift tickets and Orbitz on car rental.

rquick, you are right, we clear customs here in Calgary, been a while since I've been to the U.S. by air.

ct55, I've heard about lunch at Deer Valley, but the terrain doesn't seem interesting to me other than a few areas, given the short stay and all the areas we want to hit, we might skip it this time. I hope to come back for a 2 week trip when I get out of this job and into one that allows more flexible hours in the winter.

Jer, I'm trying to buy a Dakine double ski bag on eBay so I can take both pairs as I really want to have the Armadas if it snows. I figure the bag should weight 10lbs, each pair of skis 15lbs, so another 10lbs for poles and random clothes. I'll double check the weight limit per bag on the airlines first of course.
post #15 of 20
I've only done the trip a few times, but I'd guess that Snowbasin would be furthest from the airport (other than Powder Mtn.) of areas discussed here.
post #16 of 20
yeah maybe so although there is some more challenging stuff over on Empire and Ontario bowl. For me being realistic means easing into the altitude, terrain etc.

It really depends on the conditions too - there was some crusty stuff over there last year so it made things a bit more challenging.
post #17 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by gramboh View Post
I figure the bag should weight 10lbs, each pair of skis 15lbs, so another 10lbs for poles and random clothes. I'll double check the weight limit per bag on the airlines first of course.

You could always ditch some of the clothes, add a posi-drive and a small glue bottle, take the bindings off and put 'em in your other checked bag then re-mount them when you get there.
post #18 of 20
powder mtn is very interesting. It certainly has plenty of challenging expert terrain, but the mountains have a funky layout and there is quite a bit runout. I skied it last year end of Feb(2nd time), the lower elevation and sun had turned the conditions suprisingly "poor" so early in the season, and i skied LCC on both sides of that day. I don't think you have to worry about sun exposure in early Jan, but I would skip powder mtn if it hadn't snowed in 3 days. save that for a powder day or soon after. The cat ride is nice, again, funky, irregular terrain, good snow for many days after a storm, but not long lines of steep. Definetely a must-do for a utah skier, but don't waste a good day at LCC or BCC for pow mtn, if you haven't hit all the canyon resorts. also: the lifts are very slow!!! and long!!! rides because of irregular terrain.

I have two SLC trips this year, am heading out in two weeks, praying for snow.
post #19 of 20
Last year we stayed in the Residence Inn by Marriot in Sandy or the Cottonwoods one. It will be pricier than your current picks, but it is nice and includes a full hot breakfast as well as dinner I believe.
post #20 of 20
Thread Starter 
Just wanted to say thanks to everyone for the info again.

We booked Jan1-7, flying in at 4PM on Jan 1 (the 10:30am arrival wasn't available when I booked, but now it is again? Weird, might try to change flights if it's not too expensive) and out 5PM Jan 7. Staying at Crystal Inn Midvalley and 5 days Alta/Bird/Solitude/Brighton for $1920US all in from Calgary.

Just have to rent a car now...
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