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Utah Trip Report

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
We flew back into L.A. late Saturday night from Utah and what had to be the most incredible ski trip in the short few years my wife and I have been skiing. We skied seven days while we were there and hit seven different resorts. I used to be able to rank my favorite resorts fairly easily. Now I'm convinced that my favorite is anywhere in Utah as long as there is fresh snow. Here's a re-cap of our trip:

Day 1 - Flew into SLC and our flight got stuck in a holding pattern for about 45 minutes because it was snowing so heavily. This delayed our Park City Quick Start, but we're usually too tired to do much on our first day. We headed to Deer Valley and were on the slopes at around 11:45 a.m. Last year, we hit DV on a bad snow day and weren't impressed much. This year with about a foot of fresh powder on the runs, it was a completely different experience. Most of the runs were tracked out and there was none of that easy, famous, groomed stuff. We had a blast. We each checked out a pair of fat skis from the Rossignol demo center for a few runs after lunch. That was both of our first times on fat skis and that opens up a whole new world. The downside is that my wife now wants a new pair of skis. Lunch was incredible. I tried the turkey chili and it was as good as I'd heard. I don't even think DV food is expensive for what you get. All in all, I think I take back anything negative I'd ever said about DV and wouldn't hesitate to recommend it.

Day 2 - A blue sky day at Alta. There was only about 4 inches or so of new snow overnight, but the snow from the prior week was still in excellent condition. Since the powder was so much softer than we'd ever seen before, we were attacking terrain we never would have dreamt of trying previously. Moguls are actually kind of fun when you aren't real concerned with the consequences of falling. Last year it was snowing too hard to soak up any of the scenery - This year is was clear most of the day and the views were stunning. It's hard to pick a favorite spot on that mountain as there's something fun to be found everywhere. If I had to pick a favorite run, it would be the Razorback run since it was a little difficult to get to and, as such, wasn't very tracked out. We got a kick out of the line of people (about 100 deep) who waited for about four hours for Devil's Castle to open.

Day 3 - We trekked up to Snowbasin, one of our favorite spots from last year. The snow conditions were way better than the prior year and we had an entirely different experience. We stayed mostly on piste at Snowbasin since we were pretty tired from our first two days. Snowbasin probably does as good a job at grooming their trails as anywhere we've been. I kind of had to learn to make turns on groomed runs after the first couple of days of deep powder. The service level there is incredible. We got there a little late in the morning and the shuttle waited for about ten minutes by our car for us to put our ski boots on and then dropped us by the curb. We never waited in line all day long. The people we met there were among the most friendly we encountered all week. The lodges are the most oppulent things you can imagine - we actually felt guilty tromping around in our ski boots in them. When we were done, the shuttle again dropped us right next to our car. Imagine getting that kind of treatment at Vail!

Day 4 - For whatever reason, we went up to the Canyons. We weren't expecting much, but we were pleasantly surprised. That resort is huge! The area we enjoyed the most was off of the Dreamscape Chair and another right next to it. We did several laps through knee deep powder wherever we looked. The other end of the mountain wasn't as fun as it was hard-packed and a bit icy, but there is definitely something for everyone at The Canyons. We took the gondola down to one of the lodges at the base for lunch and I would definitely recommend that - no crowds and the food was top notch. We enjoyed ourselves so much there, we skied until they wouldn't let us anymore.

Day 5 - Snowbird. My wife hung out on the bunny slopes with her snowboarding sisters so I was off on my own. It had snowed about a foot or so in the 24 hours before we got there and snowed like crazy the entire day. Up until this point, this was the softest, deepest powder I'd ever skied. After several nice powder runs around Mid-Gad, I headed over to the tram and crowded in for the ride up. When I got off, I took one look around, surveyed the situation, and got right on the next tram down. It was snowing so hard and was so windy that you couldn't see fifteen feet in front of you. The powder was so fresh and deep on the lower mountain, I couldn't see any reason to stay up top in those conditions (although I'd really love to do Mineral Basin after having peered into it from Alta). I spent most of my day doing laps on the Wilbere and Powderhorn lifts and never once had to wait more than a minute for a chair. This was definitely the best snow I'd ever encountered until:

Day 6 - Solitude. Had to take the bus up the canyon because of all the snow from the day before and overnight. I went from knee-deep powder to waist-deep and higher powder in spots. I ventured back into Honeycomb Canyon and got my first true taste of truly deep, untracked powder. When I got off the Summit chair, I was in awe of the scenery and of all the untracked powder. I just went down the first nice run I saw (Black Bess) and of course I ate it - luckily I found the one ski that fell off. I figured out later that I should have traversed along the top of the canyon further to get a longer run. That run at the base of the canyon that I figured would be a pretty easy cat track kicked my butt pretty good. My only complaint is that they make it so hard to do a run back there that I didn't really have any energy to go back for more. It would be nice if there were a lift somewhere in the middle of the canyon on the opposite side of the chair that takes you back to the front face of Solitude. Most of the chairs at Solitude are pretty well dated, but it didn't really matter because, like every other day, I never had to wait in line.

Day 7 - Brighton has to be the absolute best value in all of skiing. For the cheapest lift ticket in town, you get three well placed high-speed quads with very few lines. We arrived to find another half foot or so of fresh powder from overnight and it snowed continuouly throughout the day. We were a little worried on the bus ride up the canyon because the road sounded wet and we figured the snow at the top would be a little heavier. We were wrong - it was as light and fluffy as every other day on the mountain. I thought the terrain was right on par with everything else we'd experienced during the week (the runs off the Great Western chair were especially fun). We ventured over to the Millicent and Evergreen chairs around noon. We were too lazy last year to make our way over to those chairs last year. There was untouched powder almost everywhere we looked up there - and this after the resort had been open three hours! If you can overlook the abundance of snowboarders on the hill, Brighton is hard to beat.

All in all - the best week of skiing ever for us. Today, it's around ninety degrees in L.A. and I'm becoming depressed that skiing season is over.
post #2 of 8
Yeah, you go powderhound! :

Took the tram back down, you should be ashamed.
post #3 of 8
Sounds like a great trip, Roger. Thanks for the report. It's almost enough (but not quite) to make me nostalgic for Utah.

And I'm glad you enjoyed Snowbasin - it's wayyyy up there on my list.

Bob
post #4 of 8
Glad you had a good time here. But what do you mean ski season is over? We still have at least a month and if you ask Bob he will tell ypou it is never over. The man can find something to ski in Augest
post #5 of 8
Great trip report. Snowbasin is way up on my list, too! Tell me, any evidence of accommodations being built? I keep telling my crowd the minute they get some lodging on the mountain that's the resort we're headed to this year (whenever that year may be...).
post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 
Someone mentioned to me that there are plans to build some base lodging at Snowbasin, but I didn't see any signs of construction activity. I think I had read somewhere that they were exploring the viability of running a gondola from downtown Ogden to the summit (not that anybody is really wanting to stay in Ogden). If the Grand America is any indication of what to expect from Holding, I would think any lodging constructed would be fairly upscale.

And Utah49, if I lived as close to the slopes as either you or Bob, my season definitely wouldn't be over yet either. We're hoping to move to Utah sometime before next season - I just need to find a job there!
post #7 of 8
Earl Holding had a stroke last year. From what i have heard the plans for Snowbasin have put on hold due to his health. rumor has it that The Family wants to sell Both Sun Valley and Snowbasin. Then again rumor is that just about every resort in the west is up for sale. The Gondola from Ogden to the Top of Snowbasin was voted down by The City. IMHO that was a bad move something like that could have been the spark to revitalize Ogden. Ogden is in need of something. With some investment and a vision for the future Ogden could be a nice charming little city.
post #8 of 8
Quote:
Originally posted by Utah49:
From what i have heard the plans for Snowbasin have put on hold due to his health. rumor has it that The Family wants to sell Both Sun Valley and Snowbasin. The Gondola from Ogden to the Top of Snowbasin was voted down by The City.
The latest I've heard is that all base development is on hold. Haven't heard anything about the family wanting to sell, and I'd doubt it. As far as the Tram or Gondola, every study has ended the same way: ugly, neighborhood blight, and not financially viable!
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