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snowbird vs solitude?

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
Deciding between slopeside 5 days at Snowbird vs slopeside 5 days at Solitude starting Monday January 4th. Looking for as much powder skiing as possible. Can get both for the same price. I understand U. of Utah is still on winter break then, so am concerned they might contribute to crowds if there is a dump.

If you had to choose between the two, which would you prefer (taking into account crowds during that week [especially if there is a dump], quality of powder skiing, competition for lines, variety, etc)? Would Snowbird see significant crowds and competition for powder during this midweek period?
post #2 of 26
Snowbird is much! better than Solitude in all categories. Some will say Sol has better powder skiing because of less crowds, but I have skied both on a powder days and the amount of terrain at Snowbird spreads the crowds out, so that the difference btw skier/acre is about the same. I enjoy skiing at Solitude and I would ski one day at Alta and one day at Solitude(if you can get there from Snowbird). But for 5 days of skiing, there is much to see at Snowbird while Sol is much smaller comparatively. There is so much unique terrain at Snowbird for the advanced skier that Sol just doesn't have, like the bowls. Although Sol has some very steep tree skiing if you dare and is a fun place to explore for a day or half day!

I skied that week once and didn't notice any crowds, I don't ski during Holidays, but crowds never bother me at Snowbird.
post #3 of 26
Stay at Snowbird. Solitude is DEAD as fas as everything else beside skiing. But as far as the skiing goes I prefer Solitude. Snowbird too wide open for me. But splitting hairs, both pretty dam good.
post #4 of 26
Thread Starter 
One other week I am considering (in addition to 1/4) is the Monday-Friday period 3/9 -3/13. Would "spring break crowds" during that period make a 5 day stay in BCC better than a 5 day stay in LCC in terms of powder skiing?

And I don't care if a place is dead at night. The only thing I care about is powder.

post #5 of 26
If you have the choice I think the Jan dates are better. The odds are extremely high everything will be open and skiing well throughout the BCC & LCC. I haven't skied March for years, but I recall crowds, and more unstable conditions due to the high son and lengthening days. I think the powder chances are very likely equal at anytime between mid-December and late March. Staying at Solitude blindly is a mistake unless you have been out there and know what you are looking for. There is a reason that the crowds are very low at Sol and it is not just because not one has found the place yet.
post #6 of 26
What kind of skier are you?? Honestly-are you a true expert (complete control and energy in all conditions on all pitches??))?? Snowbird is fantastic-probably the best ratio of quality deep snow to steep pitches in North America (I know I'm asking for trouble with that statement). But for the intermediate, even the strong intermediate, it's 3500 acres of terrain you might not really enjoy. They're intermediate and advanced beginner errain is minimal-and not that enjoyable.

Solitude, though smaller than the Bird, is still, compared to even the largest (K-mart) east coast area quite big (in fact it's double the size of killington). Also, it has some really great, I mean great steep groomers, and lots of fun, fairly long, tree lined intermediate groomers as well. There's plenty of excellent off piste (and the only honest to goodness tree skiing in either cottonwood canyon!), steeps and what not-but they all eventually drop you back on a nice groomer (and not just a run out or mountain 'funnel'-I hate those). For most ski trippers, it's probably closer to what they're looking for.

That being said, if you're an accomplished skier, hard charder, etc-hard to beat snowbird-and when coupled with Alta (after all, you are going to ski Alta aren't you???) it's the best 5000 acres of expert skiing terrain in all of skidom.

AS for crowds-neither is particularly crowded (but solitude less so)-The Tram at the 'Bird has neat effect-it makes it feel crowded when lining up and riding up, but if you wait 2 minutes after getting off for the crowd to disperse, you'll be all alone at the top, you will see very few people on the way down (3000 feet of down) and you'll know that no one will be coming up behind you for at least another 6 minutes.

post #7 of 26
If you are unfamiliar with both places, your chances of skiing powder (as opposed to cut up/crud) are much much higher at Solitude.
post #8 of 26
Thread Starter 
As far as I can tell the following are the pros/cons of solitude compared to snowbird:

1) less crowds
2) powder lasts longer
3) similar terrain (though less of it)
4) easier to get to in a snowstorm
1) less terrain
2) less nightlife (though snowbird has very little)

What jumps out at me is the following: the only significant drawback is that it is smaller than Snowbird. Since that is the case, why doesn't it draw a larger crowd? It has to be something...

and to answer the other questions, i'm not a super expert, but enjoy deep powder on advanced terrain (loved rendesvous bowl/hobacks/saratoga bowl but avoided the double blacks at Jackson). I've skiied alta for 5 days in jan '07 with no powder...
post #9 of 26
Thread Starter 
As far as I can tell, here are the pros/cons of solitude compared to snowbird:
1) less crowded
2) powder lasts longer
3) similar terrain (though less of it)
4) roads less likely to close
1) less terrain
2) less nightlife (though snowbird has very little as well)

Based on the above, it seems the only significant con for serious skiers is that there is less quantity of terrain. There has to be some other reason why Solitude gets so much less visitors. Am I missing something (for example, does one require much more traversing than the other, do the lifts suck, etc)?

To answer the other questions, I enjoy advanced (but not super expert) powder skiing (e.g. I loved rendevous bowl/hobacks/saratoga bowl at Jackson, but avoided the double diamonds)
post #10 of 26
check your maps.



Somehow the posted acreage of the two shows Snowbird only 2x as big as Solitude, that is ridicuous! There has to be almost 4x the true skiable acres Bird compared to Sol. You could probably fit most of the skiing at Sol into Mineral Basin alone. Snowbird is a huge, experts delight that I never tire of skiing and exploring.
post #11 of 26
Thread Starter 
Other than having less quantity of terrain than snowbird, it seems that solitude is otherwise equal (and better in terms of crowds, how long powder lasts, etc). There has to be SOME reason why it is much less popular than snowbird. Am I missing something?
post #12 of 26
Go with the Bird. It is the safest bet. Solitude just doesn't compare in terms of the mountain. Snowbird is massive and skis even way bigger than its size! Solitude on the other hand can get boring after half a day. Plus, staying at Solitude isn't too exciting.
post #13 of 26
I think that you'll enjoy either one though I mostly ski Alta and Snowbird, and haven't skied Solitude very much (something I plan to rectify this year). You'll find great skiing at both with plenty of advanced terrain. If you do come up for one week in January and the other in March, then I'd plan on Solitude (+Brighton) in January and Snowbird (+Alta) in March. If you decide that you're tired of skiing one place, there are plenty of other areas close by. If you'll only come up for one week, then toss a coin. Just make plans to spend one day at whatever area you didn't pick so you can compare.
post #14 of 26
2 of my favorite days on ski's were at these 2 mountains.

Don't let anyone kid you.....you will NOT be disappointed with Solitude. There is a lot skiing there for all abilities.

OTOH, Snowbird is huge with lots of expert terrain. Mineral Basin is a skiers paradise.

Flip a coin.....you can't go wrong.
post #15 of 26
I think if you haven't been to either before -- and assuming that a) you're an expert, and b) these are the only two resorts you'll consider -- you have to go to Snowbird first. I say this having never been to Solitude (and I definitely want to go). Snowbird is a must-ski. Solitude a nice-to-have.

And don't decide based on nightlife. Not like there's so much going on at Snowbird either. But if you're skiing it correctly, you won't care.
post #16 of 26
Thread Starter 
ZMan - why would you say BCC in early January and LCC in early March? I was thinking of doing the opposite, as I figured crowds would be worse in early March due to spring breakers, hence the better time to stick to solitude.
Thanks guys for all your help. This site is awesome (but addictive)
post #17 of 26
Originally Posted by petey View Post
... it seems the only significant con for serious skiers is that there is less quantity of terrain. There has to be some other reason why Solitude gets so much less visitors. Am I missing something ...
No, you are not missing anything.

Yes, Solitude is smaller than Snowbird, but does offer some nice terrain. However IMO, the problem with the BCC resorts of Solitude and Brighton is that they are only 1 canyon away from the iconic LCC resorts of Alta and Snowbird (just rated as the top ski destination in North America by Outside mag). From the valley, the only difference is choosing which canyon to enter.
post #18 of 26
Well ... not much to add but it depends on what you want. Soli is much smaller and more homey. Snowbird is more of a large resort style place - trams, tons of people but also tons of terrain, also more difficult terrain. The other thing is for the most part everything is in front of you at Snowbird vs you kind of have to know where to go at Solitude.

Personally, I can't see spending a whole week at Solitude. If you stayed at Snowbird you could ski Alta also pretty easily one or more of the days. Plus there's more stuff at the bottom. But depending on the week stuff gets hammered out pretty quickly by comparison. Meaning ripped up - not in the east coast sense of all the snow blows/gets skied off. That's only on the bailout trails at Snowbird (which a lot of people end up on at some point in the day - it can be pretty brutal skiing all those steeps!).

But if you want a getaway with more chances of being alone skiing in snow Solitude's great. The reason less people go there is the reason some people go there (?? but true).
post #19 of 26
Actually, the other drawback to Solitude is a weird and annoying lift layout.

I had one day in SLC last spring (an airport layover) and chose to go to Solitude (and then Brighton for night skiing). I made that choice because I figured that as a clueless out-of-towner I would have a much better chance of finding untracked powder. I only found one completely fresh pitch, but I'm sure the score would have been zero in LCC.

Solitude has plenty of scary stuff for a few days -- a whole week might be different. I had a great time.

(I stayed at a motel at the airport, since i was leaving the next morning.)
post #20 of 26
I lived in SLC for a year, with a pass at Solitude.

Snowbird is tremendous for steeps and snow. It's up there with Jackson Hole and Whistler, but with better snow, and deeper.

I didn't like the tense, competitive frenzy at SB on fresh days, especially as the tram docks up top. Too many people wanting it too badly. Not a vibe I enjoyed.

At Solitude, the terrain is less extreme and smaller, but still plenty big with all the challenge I needed (some great steep lines in Honeycomb Canyon).

Mostly, I loved Solitude because I could always find fresh lines. The feeding frenzy at Snowbird gets tiring. If you know SB, and the sidecountry, you can avoid the crowds. But that's usually a local's privilege (takes time to learn). SB has the goods, but everyone knows it.

Nightlife at both Solitude and Snowbird is Nada (Solitude is slightly worse).

As another said: it all depends upon your agenda. If you just want to charge steeps, and don't mind competition, Snowbird is the better bet.

If you just want deep snow, with good terrain that isn't overrun, you could do worse than Solitude.
post #21 of 26
Petey-Nothing scientific, just based upon the crowds that I've seen. It seems like a lot of people continue their Christmas breaks past the start of school here and Snowbird remains a bit more crowded longer (it is always more crowded than Solitude). I generally don't ski over the holidays so I'm really ready to hit the slopes as soon as my kids go to school and yet there are still quite a few vacationers here that week. That said, other than on the Christmas break and President's Day week, the crowds are not that bad compared to many other resorts. Solitude doesn't have the same numbers and isn't quite the draw so I think that you should have it significantly better there early in January. Spring break isn't any one week, so the crowds are never as bad in March as at Christmas or President's Day. All that said, on both weeks, plan to at least get out to the adjoining resorts of Brighton-Solitude and Alta-Snowbird. If you will be here on a Saturday, then I strongly suggest planning on skiing at Solitude that day or taking the day to go up to Snowbasin (Ogden). Solitude and Snowbird have almost exactly the same conditions since they are so close. Snowbasin usually has less snow, but if you time it right, it can be great, and there won't be any crowds.
post #22 of 26
For sure the time to go to Solitude is when it is snowing in the valley, the road is delayed and not scheduled to open until at least 9:30am and the line of traffic stretches all the way past the 7-11 at the base of the Big Cottonwood, that is the time to head right up to Solitude and ski the powder!
post #23 of 26
Snowbird has amore terrain. Solitude seems to have about the same variety as Snowbird, just not as much.

If you have a mixed bag of skiiers I'd to got Solitude, you can get to the top of the mountain, those with less experience can take groomers down to the bottom, those with more experience can actually drop off the groomers to more challenging territory.

If you're staying for a longer amount of time, I'd go with Snowbird. Too me 5 days is longer. I could easily be done with Solitude in 2 days. Snowbird will take longer.
post #24 of 26
yeah good point about mixed levels. So many people bail out at Snowbird and frankly there aren't a lot of bailout ways down so those trails get hammered and are crowded with boarders and skiers. There are more balanced levels of trails at Soli.
post #25 of 26
Originally Posted by petey View Post
I've skiied alta for 5 days in jan '07 with no powder...
Don't judge Alta by that. That was the worst winter in recent memory. I remember riding up Supreme one day and hearing some guy on Challenger yell to one of his friends "This is icier than Vermont!".

As far as your question regarding people flocking to Bird and Solitude being absolutely dead - I have no idea why that happens. The tram? Because it's Snowbird? Personally, I really like Solitude.
post #26 of 26
snowbird and solitude are so COMPLETELY different. but together, especially given their proximity, they are just about THE ideal 2 resort combo. charge the bird for a day. then recoup at solitude. ski pow on storm days at the bird. then keep huntin down fresh tracks for days to come at solitude. if i ever have to pick two, and ONLY two, resorts to ski for the rest of my life, snowbird and solitude may very well be the ones
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