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Planning trip to Alta

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
I'm planning a trip to Alta around MLK Jr weekend in January and have never been there before. About 4-6 guys, all flying in from different places, none of us have done SLC before , mostly skied CO and Tahoe but we're trying to branch out.

Any suggestions on places to stay, hints on making the trip easy/easier etc would be greatly appreciated. Should we stay at Alta/Snowbird, or stay somewhere else and drive each day? What's the shuttle like? Do we need to rent a car? Stuff like that.

Thanks in advance.
post #2 of 19
I would stay at the Peruvian at Alta. My friends like the Rustler, but it's a bit pricey. I used to stay at the Cliff Lodge (Snowbird) a lot- which is very modern- all the Alta Lodges are rustic- lots of wood, communal dining, big fireplaces. The Cliff is glass and concrete (it's in Superior slide path- concrete on the slide side, glass on the resort side) and like a bunker, only wierdly cozy. It has a decent spa and an elegant restaurant, a good place to take a date. If I was traveling with the guys, I'd go rustic and stay at Alta.The atmosphere is real core skiing and the people couldn't be nicer. I'll never forget January 96 when avalanches sealed the canyon and stranded thousands of day skiers all night and all the next day. The Alta lodges passed out pillows and blankets and put up people in hallways and conference rooms- and fed everyone. I was at Peruvian, scored the last bunk in the men's dorm, and the staff couldn't have been more gracious. We were interlodged all the next day, with only a Packer game for comfort (they won it all that year). Down the road, at the Cliff Lodge, Snowbird opened up and all those stranded skiers were let out to 2' of fresh pow- with the canyon sealed shut.
post #3 of 19
If you don't stay at Alta/SB, a cheaper option is to stay in SLC. I've done many years. You then can pick from 9 resorts depending on conditions. However, SLC is definitely not the resort experience, but for a group of guys, works fine. However, if you get big time snow while there, it is nice to be up in the Canyon already as there can be road issues going up into canyon. If stay in SLC, definitely rent a car as opposed to depending on bus.
post #4 of 19
A group of friends and I stayed last year in a condo at the base of the Big Cottonwood Canyon, and we rented cars (get 4-wheel drive if you do.) It was extremely convenient, and had nice views from the hot tub outside. That also made it a little easier to of ski where we wanted -- we did Alta, Snowbird, Solitude, Deer Valley (45 min. drive), and Snow Basin (about a 1.5 hour drive but well worth it.) You can find places to stay on (vacation rentals by owner) and other similar sites. For us it was much cheaper to do that than to stay in the canyon itself, full kitchen and all that. Also be sure to check out the Lone Star Taqueria on Ft. Collins road for really excellent authentic Mexican (it's a tiny place, we did take-out.) I think we were technically not in Salt Lake but in Midvale. The bus pick-up for the Big Cottonwood resorts was easy walking distance from our condo. Oh, also, get your lift tickets at one of the ski shops in the valley to save money if you're skiing different places different days. It's an amazing place!
post #5 of 19
There's another question about this in "Resorts, Conditions, and Travel," someone there mentioned the Canyon Racquet Club. That's where we stayed. Good place.
post #6 of 19
I've been to SLC many times to ski. There are certainly positives to staying on the mtn in Alta, however personally I prefer to stay in SLC.
Here's why.
If they close the road on your arrival day you will be staying in SLC for one night anyway.
If they close the road on your departure day, you will have airline troubles.
If it dumps while you are there enough to prevent you from getting up LCC, Snowbasin has a good access road and you should spend a day there anyway.
BTW, all options are good choices - you can't hardly go wrong skiing around SLC.
Have fun.
post #7 of 19
I vote for the Goldminer's Daughter, since (as I've said in past posts) you'll be drinking in their bar anyway.
post #8 of 19
I stayed in SLC just down the Cottonwood Canyon. It was a best western. There was a shuttle bs, but we decided to have a rental car and drove up the canyon. It was $89 a night and included a lift pass, for either Alta, Snowbird, Brigton, Solitude. It was a great deal and included a breakfast also.

This year I am only going to Beaver mountain near Logan
post #9 of 19
I live in SLC. And have had friends come visit for skiing. Large groups always stayed in condos. Search SLC for condo rentals. Rent a 4x4, for transportation, because if it happens to snow big, you won't get far in a sedan.

Alta is for skiers only, as is Deer Valley. I recommend Alta, Snowbird, Solitude, and Powder Mountain. Those are my favorites. If you stay up at Snowbird/Alta, it will be more expensive, and tougher to get around to the other areas...if those are not objections...then that is probably what I would actually do. You could spend a week at Bird/Alta and not get tired of it. By far the best two areas, IMHO.
post #10 of 19
Originally Posted by jayhawkskier View Post
I'm planning a trip to Alta around MLK Jr weekend in January and have never been there before. About 4-6 guys, all flying in from different places, none of us have done SLC before , mostly skied CO and Tahoe but we're trying to branch out.
How long are you there for? If it's only 3 to 4 days and money is no object, stay in LCC and ski Alta/Snowbird. Have fun. I've heard great things about the Peruvian Lodge, but my ski budget doesn't allow it.

If you're there a bit longer or want to check out the other areas, find a condo near the base of LCC/BCC and drive up each day. That way it's 20 to 30 minutes to any of Alta/Bird/Solitude/Brighton. The three Park City resorts plus Snowbasin are about an hour.

The trade off is basically: staying up the canyon is more expensive, but you don't have to drive or rent a car. And with a group, anyone can wander back to the room when he's had enough for the day. Staying in town is less expensive, you have options to ski the other resorts, and altitude issues are less of a problem since you're sleeping low.

I've always stayed in town. Your priorities may be different.
post #11 of 19
Check out the motels around Forte Union in SLC. There's quite a few, and that's one of the main ski bus routes up to both canyons. You can check out the ski bus details on the Utah Transit site (it's quite good). Then compare the price of that to staying at Alta.

There's some big new places with kitchenettes etc around Forte Union, and some smaller more standard motels. Some have shuttles that go up the canyons, others you can just walk out onto Forte Union and catch the bus (there's several). Plenty of shops and supermarkets and eating options down there, and a decent transit system up to SLC cbd although beware, the buses stop in the evening, and most don't run on Sundays (however, the ski buses do run on Sundays).

There's a few of these motels down near the Trax light rail, and that is not a bad idea as Trax runs later at night and on Sundays, and you'll get a seat on the ski bus! As it goes up Forte Union, it fills up (with resort staff, mostly).
post #12 of 19


In the canyon stay at any of the lodges at Alta. There are lots of condos to rent in the cottonwood heights area too. But be warned, that's one of the busiest weekends of the year. A big snowfall and a temporarily closed canyon create horrible traffic. Be warned
post #13 of 19
I live in Big Cottonwood Canyon and I would recommend that if you have never been to Utah you stay in SLC and rent a 4wd. In SLC you are centrally located to a lot of great ski resorts and you can ski at a different place every day, plus it will be cheaper and there are more choices for food and drinks.
Although I don't ski much front country anymore, my favorites are Solitude and Powder Mountain since I hate crowds when I ski in-bounds.
post #14 of 19
We just reserved a "Ski, Stay, & Drive" package at Super 6 for $91.33 per person per night for "triple" (and probably big tax). Pick up and drop car at airport.

We are flying down from Portland, Oregon get there 10am January 7, and leave 7:30pm January 11. Hope my legs can hold up. Do they still have that deal where you ski for free with a boarding pass for that day?

2 ladies with me are drinkers if anyone wants to get together. We can also still cancel motel if there is a better deal out there.

post #15 of 19
Oh my! Moe, that Super 8 is on the corner of 900e (main drag in SLC, in my opinion) and Forte Union. I caught the bus down 900E every morning before dawn to get the ski bus up to my job at Snowbird, and every morning we dropped a Mexican girl off at the Super 8, she worked there. She and me and the bus driver would chat all the way down 900e. Memories!
post #16 of 19
Glad to help spark the memories. Are you hinting that it might not be the best place to stay? And where the heck do you ski in Australia? (I looked at your profile).
post #17 of 19
Originally Posted by Ice Queen View Post
Also be sure to check out the Lone Star Taqueria on Ft. Collins road for really excellent authentic Mexican (it's a tiny place, we did take-out.)

Get the fish tacos!
post #18 of 19
Haven't skiied in Oz in ages. We now have officially the most expensive resorts in the world. Lift tickets cost more than Chamonix, St Moritz and Vail. Even more than Stowe. I'll get motivated to do some tele touring next winter, got some nice new leather boots and all.

The Super 8 looked OK, it sure is well-located, right in the middle of things. It was grey weatherboard, seemed kind-of middle-aged but well-kempt. I assume you've poked around at the other places in the district, the LongStay America place, Homestead et al?

The Mexican girl had a penchant for very tight trousers, but she and me and the driver would chat every morning, pretty much our routine for 5 months. It does bring back memories.
post #19 of 19
Oh, Lone Star! Top little joint. Everyone goes on about the fish tacos, but you know, SLC is a long way from the sea. I loved the meat burritos, oh boy, drooling now.

And it's just up from the library.
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