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Hellgate Condos/Alta "review?"

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
Hey - curious if anyone here has stayed at the Hellgate Condos. I'm planning a week in Little Cottonwood, have stayed at the Cliff and the Rustler, but this time around, thinking about condos in the canyon. Hellgate is at the top of our list - anyone stayed there? Location is good, price is, well, Little Cottonwood has it's own economy, it has a hottub, shrug - seems like a good deal.

Any input appreciated!

Iain Mannix

[ December 09, 2003, 12:53 PM: Message edited by: Iain Mannix ]
post #2 of 26
Stayed at Hellgate last year, down by the stream, sort of moldy, place need some serious upgrading, if a big storm, interlodge lockdown is more of a problem than at some other places because of its location in a slide area. Staff is great and super accomodating. Will have to take the shuttle to go skiing, no access to slopes at all. Pay for garage as parking lot is on side of road and you get plowed in. Go directly to Alta and do not pass go.
post #3 of 26
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the reply! Glad to hear they're nice people - I've had good luck with them as far as discussions go.

"Moldy," eh? Hmmm. Of all the places I've been in LCC, I've never seen "moldy." I've only stayed as a guest at the Cliff and Rustler, but I worked there for a few seasons in the late 80s/early 90s - I'd grown the opinion that there were no dives in LCC, beyond maybe Goldminer's.

I think we're going to stay there. The shuttle is not terrible,
really, we can deal with that.

I just hope it is not TOO moldy. The pictures look good!

Iain(thanks for the parking tip!)
post #4 of 26
I have been to the Cliff Lodge and Goldminer's Daughter (added on is a 10% lodging tax and a 15% service charge). They are both pricey - but if you have excess money, go for it.

I prefer to stay in southern Salt Lake City - it's a lot less expensive (for hard liquor, wine, good beer, and lift tickets) and they don't have a service charge. I have been there for a month in 1999, and stayed at the Homewood Inn just north of South I-215 (two blocks north of Ft. Union Boulevard/7200 South). I rented a car just for convenience, but there's a UTA Ski Bus stop right across the street.

You ought to check out Utah Ski Vacations - they have houses or condos that 6 or 8 people can stay at - go to the website, and you'll find plenty of up-to-date homes or large condos.

Go to the Lifthouse (7200 South at Wasatch Boulevard) to get discount lift tickets for Snowbird, Alta/Snowbird, Solitude, and Brighton. They open at 8:00 AM. Go to Canyon Sports on Ft. Union Blvd. - right across the street from the state liquor store - to get lift tickets for Alta - it's only a dollar less.

My friends and I stay at the Marriott Residence Inn right off Wasatch Blvd. and I-215 - we got to Alta (the Wildcat base) within 15 minutes, we got to Snowbird (the Tram base) in 10 minutes, we got to Solitude in about 20 minutes - you ought to check out Honeycomb Canyon - I had first tracks on No Man's Land four days after a snowstorm, and I never had to wait in any lift lines - I skied to the chair, the only hassle was the electronic gate at the start of the lift line.

Brighton is kind o' small - but it has steeps on the far right and the far left (looking up at the mountain from the base).
post #5 of 26
My group stayed at the Hellgate last Feb. Overall, I was happy with it. It is about the best deal in Little Cottonwood Canyon (condo wise). The women in our group (my wife and Mom) thought it needed "updating" (new carpet, drapes, furniture, etc...). Of course all units are different. We had a good unit right near the front office on the corner.

1. cheap
2. in LCC

1. right on busy road
2. older furnishings
3. no ski access

Overall, I would rather stay right at Alta for ski in/out, but hard to justify the price. I have stayed at Goldminers daughter before (during the Olympics), and it was so much better to ski right from the lodge.

We are staying at Blackjack condos (on the Bypass road) this year. It is a little more money, but is off the main road and looks a little nicer. You can also ski to Alta and Snowbird.
post #6 of 26
Thread Starter 
Thanks! I agree - the price makes it hard to justify on-slope; I would rather have ski in/out, but Blackjack does not have a hottub (not -my- requirement, but it was made a Requirement, want a condo (last year's week at the Cliff cost $$$$ in food), ehh,

Blackjack is damned near perfect, really - I love both hills, with a slight nod to Snowbird; something about walking outside and putting skis on for a quick skate to the Tram does it for me.

It'll be good, reservations just made - I think next year we're going to look for a house & invite more friends.

Staying down at the mouth of the canyon is financially appealing, but I did the Sandy--->LCC commute for years - I fear that it'd feel more like going back to work than on a vacation.

post #7 of 26
We stayed at Hellgate condos just this past Thanksgiving, so a bit more info if you don't mind. So far, all accurate advice:

Super-nice management.
Best price in LCC. [img]graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img]
Interlodge can be a problem--Hellgate condos are right between avalanche control gates. We were restricted to the condo overnight, but interlodge was lifted in the morning of Thanksgiving (10" plus overnight...we were nervous, to say the least that we'd be stuck inside all day!)
Kind of dated as far as interiors are concerned, but who cares at the end of the day, right?
Get a garage space if you do stay there, or you'll get plowed into your outside spot if there is snow.

Check to make sure the hot tub is up and running, if this is important to you. It was broken when we were there 1 1/2 weeks ago, but they comped us the garage spot to compensate.

I would probably stay either at one of the lodges next time, or if it has to be a condo, it would need to be on the access road. Interlodge for Hellgate is risky

Well, have a great time, wherever you stay!

Here's a little somethin' to get you ready...19" ...
post #8 of 26
Thread Starter 
Great! Thanks for the insight.

In all the time I've spent in LCC, I've only been interlodged a few times - but never between the gates, HMMMM.

I'd like to THINK that getting trapped in the condo while people are skiing does not happen often. That'd suck.

Lots have mentioned the parking issue. We have two cars, we'll put the bigger one in the garage, hope that I have a lot of digging to do at the end of our week.

Iain (digging my car out after a week in LCC, that's a good problem
post #9 of 26
Originally Posted by mannix
In all the time I've spent in LCC, I've only been interlodged a few times - but never between the gates, HMMMM.

I'd like to THINK that getting trapped in the condo while people are skiing does not happen often. That'd suck.
Well, this is my first time in Utah and LCC. We are staying at Hellgate. So far, every night, we have been interlodged every day till 10:30 or so. It does hoover...the rest of the mountain has opened at 8:30.

In my mind, this is dumb. We can ride their shuttle to the ski area WHEN THE MARSHALL ALLOWS. Why can we ride their shuttle but not drive our cars? The drive has an avalanche beacon. Let's think about this....why not give everyone who stays here a beacon and make them sign in and out?!?!?

The bad part is, no one mentioned this when we made our reservations. Everyone talks about interlodge, and intermountain, but no one mentions that the whole mountain can be open but Hellgate locked in. It wouldn't be so bad if they informed you of it (or made plans to copensate...see above).

Now, I realize this has been a tremendous snow year, etc..... I think this is a case of the government (read marshalls) trying to protect us from ourselves. If it is ok for them to run the shuttle knowing where everyone is because they have beacons....then hand out beacons. Let us take responsibility for our own actions.

The staff is friendly, nice, etc..... But sitting in the lodge while everyone else skis hoovers.

In conclusion....I would stay away from hellgate.

post #10 of 26
1) screw the hottub- if memory serves the blackjack condos have a sauna room and are SOOOO much better situated

2) that said, if you stay in a condo in LCC planning is KEY- amke sure you do big shopping in S.L.- all parties should plan their meals and someone with skills/experieince should put a major list together and make sure you have the basics etc- going back down the canyon "hoovers" -- unless perhaps the member of your party that is insisting on the hot tub is also willing to drive down the canyon while you are making turns??

3) can we talk about this hot tub requirement?????

wishing you many, many face shots- and a good time in the hot tub---
post #11 of 26
TJ Maxx, they will give you the beacon but your estate has to pay for the recovery of your body from the Avalanche. Seeing that the Sheriffs and Avalanche control haven't lost anybody on the road in Lcc since 1951 they are doing a pretty good job.
post #12 of 26
Originally Posted by Utah49
they will give you the beacon
"They" who?

Originally Posted by Utah49
but your estate has to pay for the recovery of your body from the Avalanche
Ok. That is exactly what I would expect. Let me take responsibility for my own actions.

Originally Posted by Utah49
Seeing that the Sheriffs and Avalanche control haven't lost anybody on the road in Lcc since 1951 they are doing a pretty good job.
Well, I wouldn't look at it like that. Heck, by that standard, I could do just as good of a job.

Just my $0.02 worth....there is a scale going from totaly wreckless and irresponsible to overly cautious. There is a fine line in the middle that balances the two. I would prefer the government err on the side of being a tadd wreckless and let me make the decision.
post #13 of 26

Options in Little CottonWood Canyon

I like this thread...
I've stayed in a private cabin in LCC. And in The Snowbird Lodge. And in the Alta Peruvian. If you are part of a large family group and need the ability to let kids be kids... Yep, the condo is the best compromise. However if you do not need the condo I highly recommend the Peruvian for classic "alpine" life and a social dip in the pool/spa in the snow. And good conversations around a family style dinner table.

But I still think the condo thing is where you make your own experience if you are looking for the "quality family time" experience. In which case it comes in the experience in all aspects... Snowed in till X or working together to free the car or playing cards/monopoly/dominos until late at night with your closest loved ones who you have hardly seen in your busy lives all year.

Kinda' forced association. Good in the bigger picture. And that is why it is called a Family Vacation.

Sincerely Keith L.

PS if you are going to book a long vacation I recommend showing up with the muscles in shape and ready to ski. I use to train before the trip. Look to see if you can find one in your area.

PPS if you or your kid is Snowbarding then you are not going to Alta.
post #14 of 26
I can see you have littel experiance with being in real mountains, Mountains with the real dangers of what can happen if an avalanche hit. You don't understand about the other lives you could also put at risk. Would your estate also pay for a wrongful death of a rescue worker killed in an attempt to save you becuse you choose to go out in very dangerous conditions? Or is it more likly you if you lived or your estate would sue becuse you were not told or didn't understand the risk? Should resorts just let people ski in areas when they can't keep up with wind loaded snow? Maybe we should just forget avalance forecasting and control work. Just let everyone just assume the risk. I think you have a compliant with the Condo you rented they might have said something about the chance of innterlodging in thier location. Don't blame the the very people who are out there working hard and yes risking thier life,to save your sorry butt becuse you couldn't get first chair! Like I said B*tch to the Property Managment company for not telling you in advance about the possibility of being held indoors untill it was deemed safe to travel. If you stayed in Sandy i'm sure you would also whine about the goverment is not allowing you to drive up Canyon before they did thier job. There are times when the Canyon has been shut down and nobody gets in or out. everyone is Innterlodged all up and down the Canyon. Dat trippers have to sleep on the floor or where ever they can find a place to sleep. Many locals when going up for a day pack extra clothes tooth brush and a sleeping bag. the last few years have been low snow years. this year so far is looking like the draught is over. Next time relaxe it's just part of skiing in the Cottonwood Canyons
post #15 of 26
OK. Let me try this again (I had it written once, and mistakenly closed the browser...ARG). I may miss some things I had written before.....If something isn't clear, just ask.

We just got back from our trip, and I wanted to finalize my review of Hellgate.

We were in Utah Sat. to Sat. (the 8th to the 15th). We stayed at the Hellgate Condos in Little Cottonwood Canyon ( The staff was VERY nice and friendly. The units were nice. The price was right (about 1/2 anywhere else in the canyon). The skiing was good. There were some disadvantages to staying at Hellgate, and I think it is important to point out because no one tells anyone about these things. Before I get started, here is a drawing showing where Hellgate sits in the canyon:

As you can see, the Hellgate condos sit between two road closure points. On the inside of either of these road closure points are two avalanche chutes. Just a bit of trivia, the western chute is called Hellgate.

There is a condition in the canyon called interlodge (everyone knows about this) where you cannot go outside. But what never gets mentioned is that it is not a canyonwide state. The marshalls can put different parts of the canyon on interlodge at different times. While we were there, Sun. - Mon. we were on interlodge all the time; however, the rest of the canyon opened between 8 and 10. Becuse we were interlodged, we couldn't get out. Hellgate had to get special permission from the marshalls to take us out in their shuttle. When we did this, the driver had a beacon. We would drive up the canyon to the road closure gate, he would get out, open the gate, get back in, drive through, get out, close the gate--well, you get the picture. So, there are times the canyon is open, everyone is skiing, but you are stuck at Hellgate.

Additionally, there is a condition called maximum interlodge where you can be "extra" confined. When this happened, we had to go to the basement (actually, staff quarters).

Sunday and Monday, the conditions were as I described above. Everyone was interlodged and the road closed till 9ish. We were interlodged all day. The only way we could get out was the Hellgate shuttle and "special" permission of the marshall.

Tuesday, the entire canyon above Snowbird was interlodged all day except for a two hour period. Alta never opened. Snowbird was sort of open (very limited). Tuesday we were on maximum interlodge for 2.5 hours.

Wed - Fri was great skiing. The road was open, we could get in and out, etc....

We were on maximum interlodge one other morning, but I don't remember when it was.

In conclusion, I liked the skiing. The staff at Hellgate was excelent. The units were clean and well cared for. Would I stay again? I don't know. You take a risk...if it snows like it did while we were there, you could be on interlodge all the time. You could go to the beach and it could rain every day. No one can predict the weather. If I went back to Alta to ski, I would probably spend the extra $$$ and stay at an all inclusive lodge slopeside with ski-in/ski-out ability. This would cost more, but I think the convienience of ski in/out would be worth it. I'm not ruling out Hellgate...I would consider staying there again. I'm upset with the management/those who run the place because they were not clear about what could happen. The staff did their best and went above and beyond to make up for our lack of information.

Utah49, I don't know what you are trying to say. You are correct when you say I have little experience in "BIG" mountains in the winter. However, you would be incorrect in thinking I have little outdoors experience. I could survive in the wilderness quite well. I have respect for nature, and understand that stuff can go bad fast.

Yes, avalanches are real and a real danger. They are a real threat (look at what happened at Park City on the 14th. Look at other avalanches where people were dumb...the people took the risk with none of the responsibility. No Becons. No probes. No shovles. No nothing). People don't respect nature. They always think someone else will be there to bail them out (and as you mention, those other people put their lives on the line to rescue the dumb person when they cannot handle it).

What I don't understand is why we could ride the Hellgate shuttle and be perfectly safe (even though we had to sign about 15 releases ) but our own vehicles could not be just as safe? Why does the marshall make provisions for the hellgate shuttle but those own provisions aren't good enough for our vehicles??? If it is safe enough for one, it is safe enough for the other.
post #16 of 26
Like i said i think you have a solid complaint with the managment at your lodging. They should have told you about the possibelity of interlodging. Maybe with a few e mails you will get a free night or something like that? Now here is why you would be less at risk in a bus. Lets say they have 20 people on the bus. The ride is 10 mins. That 10 mins is a small window of risk. Now lets say there is 20 cars that window now is over 200 mins or or so. But there would be a lot more then 20 cars. If it were just you and your auto it would be one thing, but now they have to think about a lot more people. I to could survive in the wilderness. A part of that survival is knowing when the risk are to great. Your best bet is to trust the judgment of The Avalanche Control in the Cottenwood Canyons. They are some of the best in the Nation. In fact much of what we know about snow safty was first learned in the Cottonwood Canyons. That road up the Canyon is the most Avalache prone road in the Nation that is open all year.
post #17 of 26
I stayed in Midvale last week. I rented a 4x4, skied Monday in Alta, Tuesday in Solitude, and the rest of the week in Alta. Got stopped for 20 minutes on Tuesday for av control. I didn't mind the 25 minute drive up the canyon or paying under $50/night for the hotel. In my mind, it's either ski in/out or anywhere else. Just my $.02
post #18 of 26
Originally Posted by mannix
Hey - curious if anyone here has stayed at the Hellgate
I've been planning a first trip to LCC this year. (Be there in two weeks!) There's six of us, so we decided on a condo rather than rooms at one of the lodges.

We took a hard look at the Hellgate, but one of the people I spoke to tipped me off to it being frequently interlodged when everything else is open.

I was quoted $340/night.

We opted for a condo at The View: $420/night. It looked nicer, has ski-in/ski-out to Snowbird, and we shouldn't run the same interlodge hazard.

FWIW, the people at the Hellgate did seem very nice.
post #19 of 26
aschick, keep in mind that so far this season and last season have very littel in common. The past few years have been low snow years that 20 min wait could be a wait untill 10am or maybe even noon. I think there has been at least one day when you could not get up the Canyon at all. Interlodge can happen anytime up there. ever notice how the buildings at snowbird look like WWII bunkers that could take a hit from an Atom bomb? The good news about being interlodged at Alta or Snowbird is that when they do open you will be the first to get the goods. If you do go up the canyon and it is snowing do as the locals do and pack a change of clothes toothbrush and a sleeping bag. makes for a much more comfortable night if you have to sleep on the floor of the lobby or dinning room.
post #20 of 26
Originally Posted by Browner
We opted for a condo at The View: $420/night. It looked nicer, has ski-in/ski-out to Snowbird, and we shouldn't run the same interlodge hazard.
Any more info you care to pass along? Is it run by snowbird? How many people does it sleep?

post #21 of 26
Originally Posted by aschick
I stayed in Midvale last week.
Any info (website, etc...) you care to share?
post #22 of 26
Originally Posted by tjmaxx
Any more info you care to pass along? Is it run by snowbird? How many people does it sleep?

I booked through Canyon Services, but I think that the various units in the building can also be booked through Snowbird, Alta, from other booking agents, and by owner direct.

The one we're staying in is queen in the master bedroom, 2 × double+twin bunk beds in the 2nd bedroom, queen sofabed in the living room.

The photos here make it look pretty nice.

I'll give a full review in a few weeks.
post #23 of 26
Originally Posted by Browner
I booked through Canyon Services, but I think that the various units in the building can also be booked through Snowbird, Alta, from other booking agents, and by owner direct.

The one we're staying in is queen in the master bedroom, 2 × double+twin bunk beds in the 2nd bedroom, queen sofabed in the living room.

The photos here make it look pretty nice.

I'll give a full review in a few weeks.
HEY...I remember seeing that while we were skiing. I remember thinking it looked sweet. I'm ready for your review.

Enjoy the snow!

post #24 of 26
Oh, to hava all of the Utah snow problems!! I'm leaving for Whistler tomorrow; check out THAT forecast.:
post #25 of 26
Originally Posted by tjmaxx
Any info (website, etc...) you care to share?
We stayed in the extended stay in midvale. It's a decent no frills room with a kitchenette for about 50/night. minutes from Canyon sports, or any other shopping needs. It took about 30 minutes from there to Alta. For someone like me who's on a budget it worked out well. Even with the expense of renting a 4x4 (about 50/day) it was stil much cheeper and you can easily get around town if you're inclined. (We had some friends to visit in the city, so it was necessary) but the public bus stops right near there anyway if you really need to save cash.
post #26 of 26

Hellgate Condos is a great place to stay

I've stayed at Hellgate Condos several times and have had a wonderful experience. The staff were extremely friendly, the rates were great, the condos have fireplaces, free movies and a hot tub with great views and easy access to both Alta and Snowbird. It's perfect for big groups that want to stay together and cook meals in their own condo. It's rustic and has lots of character.

I have been told up front each time I stay about the possiblity of being interlodged and yes... I too have been interlodged - even maximum interlodged. It's just part of staying in the LCC and the snow is well worth the wait. Sure, maybe someone that stayed at the Cliff gets on the tram before you... but come on... do you really want slap down that wad of cash and stay at the Cliff? With interlodge, the staff at Hellgate are looking out for your safety and so are the avi forecasters. I agree that they are some of the best in the Nation, I've lived in Colorado and spent much time at other resorts.

The staff aren't trying to keep you indoors for any other reason than your safety. why would they want you hanging out all day in the lodge when you've of course come to ski? Chances are, they want to get out to go skiing too!

As for driving your own car - not possible as the gates have security locks (for good reason) and like someone else mentioned, 10 cars with 2 people in them is more of a risk than 1 van with 20 people in it. There's no reason to put rescuers in a situation of having to recover 10 cars. Plus, what if you were in the last one they found? And if you go out there taking your own risks - who are you going to look to when you get buried???? I've seen Superior slide and I've seen the Peruvian get filled with snow and cars in the lot get turned upside down (winter 2002). I'm telling you, out there in your car or on foot in a wouldn't make it!

I would recommend Hellgate Condos to anyone and am in fact heading there myself in 2 weeks for some skiing. And guess what? I'm looking forward to it - with the possibility of interlodge and the funky retro-furnishings and all!!!!
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