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SLC Trip Report 2/22-26 Uncensored

post #1 of 7
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The Canyons – Flight touched down at 11am, delayed by long lines at Hertz, I remember previous years seeing long lines at the counter while National/Alamo was empty. Picked up the Subaru and headed up to Canyons. $69 for half day ticket, started skiing at 1:30pm. Peak 5 faces north and snow was very nice under chair. Other members of my party skied Dreamcatcher and said the snow was superb! Super Condor closed and it’s south facing slopes were bare. Lower half of mountain was sloppy. 9990 was skied out but in decent shape. I don’t like the Canyons funky layout that forces you to take these long greens to get around. I don’t really like the scenery in the Park City resorts, too many houses and bald hills to ruin the view and they don’t have the big evergreens to give it that high alpine look.

Snowbird – good snowfall night before, canyon road limited to 4wd/chains, cops at bottom checking, about 20 minute delay at bottom. Best to take 9400 street on snowy day. I think they reported about 6” but snowfall was much deeper above. Heavy snowfall with moisture was reported. Heavy powder is much more difficult to ski than light powder, because the ski can get caught up in and there goes the knee! Little Cloud was sweet, visibility was limited in Mineral Basin, snowed off and on throughout day at times was quite heavy. Peruvian lift was brutal with wind/snow/cold so tram had what looked like a 2 tram line in mid-afternoon. Someone commented on the tunnel being slow but I thought I moved along just fine. For good expert skiing try skiing straight down from tunnel, but the slopes get icy/hard because of sun exposure. My favorite runs at the Bird at Gad II chair, never feels the kiss of the sun, which I missed because Gad II was closed and the Primrose Path which is 1200 feet straight down from top of Chips run.

Solitude – LCC road was closed at 7a then open at 8, we lined up at 8:20 before 7/11 and then was a very very slow crawl and after one hour turned around at 1st light and ejected to Solitude. Slow drive up the BCC behind traffic. Got there at 10:30a and had to park on road. Bluebird day, crisp, very light snow. They reported less snow than the Bird but it was very light and had that nice crunch. Lots of LCC rejects no real lines, even on the summit chair. Bumps were to minimum to mod on heavily traveled steeper slopes on hill because of new snow. I take back what I said about Solitude being half day resort. I think my comment was because without snow this resort gets some steep bumps because of traffic patterns and the tree skiing can get dicey in poor conditions because it is steep. Also, this canyon is beautiful, very little development to ruin the view, trees and scenery are particularly picturesque for some reason. Still some powder in the trees and everything skied so nice with new snow.

Alta – No delays whatsoever getting up canyon today and was snowing throughout day with 3” on the car at 5pm. But higher up it snowed at least a foot with some areas feeling like 18-24”. Light and fluffy snow East Greeley was crusty because of sun. Best skiing under Collins chair because it faces north. Everything off Wildcat was really nice. Supreme was packed at 1pm, but empty at 3pm, maybe because Catherine’s closed at 3p. Lots of fresh snow, but very few places where you had “fresh” pure shots like they show you on the web site. Came to conclusion that hiking Alta is fine for locals with plenty of time and local knowledge to fine the hotspots, but for sports/tourists like me with only a few days of skiing the reward/effort ratio just isn’t there to do long traverses loosing elevations or hiking that saps needed energy for everday skiing.

Alta reports 2200 acres while Snowbird has 2500 acres. I stick to my guns in that Snowbird skis much much bigger because much of Alta acreage is in flatsville Albion basin, other flatsville areas, and the huge front of the mountain which requires a huges traverse with lots of elevation loss to skt it.

I apologize for previous commments on traversing at Alta. I don’t think I traverse more at Alta than at Snowbird. I don’t do the huge ones to front of main face because I haven’t taken the time to know my way around because I have better things to do at Alta, like SKI! I have come to the conclusion that sun orientation is even more important than altitude. Alta suffers in that department because some of the good slopes faces either east, East Greeley or west, West Rustler. These slopes will ice up and and make the moguls hard and stiff while north facing slopes like Wildcat stay sweet much longer. The powder gets heavy even if it is cloudy. Same goes for Challenger off Supreme which faces west, I was surprised by how icy it was under the fresh powder. Not east ice, but just snow that has felt the sun and has done some melting/freezing. Next time you are out on a hill, look up, if the sun is directly above the horizon of the hill, that’s good and the snow will stay good. That is one reason I think Snowbird has the best snow, much of it, except obviously Mineral Basin, faces directly north and doesn’t feel the sun to ruin the snow.

Much of the snow that day was what I called Hero Snow. Contrary to reports, pow is not always light and fluffy in Utah, like Friday at the bird. But this day it was light and falling softly with no wind and it made skiing so easy and it was easy to feel like i was looking good.

Snowbasin – Held over for another day because of airport closed back east. Reported 9” but much of it was windpacked and heavy, a few light, deep powder shots in the trees. Had a great day skiing, enjoyed skiing the big lines off the ridges that lay like fingers on the face. I watched the sun and saw it creeping over the top of the back of the hill, although lower elevation this mountain points the right way. Was privledged to take short guided hike with Dan from Whistler and ski untracked in No Name Peak with only a few skiers ahead, light, deep powder. John Paul is a nice expert lift and the snow stays sweet under the lift but I always have trouble with those funky bumps and funnel esp on the lower part of the mountain before the run out. Maybe from snowboarders. Chatter on the gondolas revealed they were overwhelmingly locals skiing that Monday on the mountain. This is a great mountain to just let the skis flight down the hill and this mountain is the only one that I really enjoy cruising on. Try skiing it top to bottom without a rest. As other have said, the food and lodges and two gondolas are Best of Utah at this resort.

I love meeting fellow skiers at the hotel and resorts out in Utah!!! You guys/gals are my kind of people. I could go all year(here in Pa.)without meeting one person like I find everywhere in Utah. The gondolas at Snowbasin are great for just the right length of chat. Wish I could get out there more often. I skied with 6 other Pennsylvania guys, we have had a standing trip last weekend in February and stay at La Quinta in Midvale.
post #2 of 7
Great report! Glad you had fun. Do you fly out of EWR, Phil or Allentown?
post #3 of 7
Very nice read. I echo your sentiments exactly on traversing at Alta. Its not overly difficult, but there's enough of it, with the shorter payoffs before "flatsville" that you kind of feel like there must be better lines somewhere else.

It sounds like Solitude is a nice mountain to try.
post #4 of 7
Great report- always nice to hear other people's adventures to the mountains you go to.
post #5 of 7
Nice Report - FYI - Next time go to the below web site and pre-register for "Free Skiing" with boarding pass on the day you arrive.

\ http://www.parkcityinfo.com/skiing/quickstart/
post #6 of 7
altho no one ever mentions the date restrictions:

Promotional offer valid: Respective resort opening through December 24, 2006, January 2 through February 15, 2007 and March 26 through April 15, 2007.
post #7 of 7
Don't sell Solitude short. I had not been there in 9 years before this President's Day, and it was pretty sweet: http://www.firsttracksonline.com/boa...pic.php?t=2870 .

My annual Iron Blosam trip is second week of March, and I have long had the same opinion as SnowbirdDevotee about sun effect at Alta vs. Snowbird. Thus in March I would probably ski about 3 days at Snowbird for every one at Alta. But in December/January this proportion might be reversed. The sun does not bake the east/west exposures then, and about 80% of Alta skis very nicely on a 4 foot base while much of Snowbird is a minefield until the base gets up to 50 inches or so.

Overall a whole season I'd probably ski 2 days at Snowbird for every one at Alta. Actual experience is 2.6 to 1 due to staying at the Iron Blosam over the past decade. In vertical the ratio is 3.4 to 1 due to Snowbird's more efficient lifts.
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EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Mountain/Resort Related Forums › Resorts, Conditions & Travel › SLC Trip Report 2/22-26 Uncensored