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Wasatch roads/driving/bus service questions

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

Headed to SLC Saturday with the wife/kids - planning to ski Sun-Tues.  I can't believe I worried that our trip might be "too late in the season" for good snow.  lol  I've been sitting here on the internet watching the snow dump into the cottonwood canyons the last couple of days and now realize that...at least as far as road closures are concerned...maybe it IS possible to have too much snow.

 

Looks like the biggest part of the dump will be over with by the time we get there...but it did get me started thinking about the road situation.

 

We are staying downtown SLC.  I rented a little rollerskate econobox because the ski bus schedule from downtown looked very inconvienent.  The little car obviously doesn't have snow tires and Thrifty doesn't allow/provide chains on their cars.  I planned to drive to the mouth of the canyon and get on the UTA bus at that point.  Is this the best way to go?  Are chains ALWAYS required in the car - or only when the snow falls?  If the roads are clear, would it be advisable to go ahead and drive the little car on up the canyon?  

 

I assume when the roads are closed, they don't allow the busses as well.  Anyone ever get "stuck" at the resorts in the evening/overnight?

 

Does the LCC road close more/get more snow than BCC?  I've got the "superpass" and could ski any of the areas.

 

Sorry for all of the questions, but I never thought just getting to the area would cause me any concern this late in the season.  I skiied Alta/Snowbird a couple of times in April last year while in SLC for work and I just rented an econobox and drove up without ever giving it any thought - ingnorance is bliss - glad it didn't start dumping snow and leave me stranded up there.

post #2 of 11

Keep in mind the roads typically close for avy control work, not because they can't plow the roads themselves.  The roads can be clear but may still close for control work.  So the closure schedule is a little more complex than you might think.  LCC closes more than BCC because it is more avy-prone, with more slide paths.

post #3 of 11

It isn't so much that LLC gets more snow then BCC. They get about the same amount. The closures are due to avalanche danger. That has to do with how narrow the canyon is and how steep the Canyon walls are.

  Yes you can be stuck up in the  Canyon over night if there is to great a risk of Avalanche.

post #4 of 11

Good feedback from skier219 and Topper above.  Avy work is the reason for most road closures.  If it is snowing, they may require 4wd or chains.

 

I will also add that based on your schedule, Sunday may be the only "iffy" day for your econobox.  A quick moving storm is on track for Sunday, but should be through by Sunday evening.  Monday and Tueaday should be fine, as long as they are not doing avy control work.  If the road is clear (not requiring 4wd or chains), I would recommend driving up to the resort rather than dealing with the bus.  However if there are restrictions, just park at the canyon entrance and hop on the bus.

post #5 of 11

It's rare for LCC or BCC to close for more than a few hours.  If chains or AWD are required to go up, the police will be there to check each car.  I have gotten by many times with only a FWD rental car and not had problems.  Just plan on going to a Park City area if its dumping in the canyons.

post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 

That is a good point about the closures being due to avalanche danger/control rather than snow - I hadn't realized that.

 

Yeah...looks like Sunday might be the only "iffy" day - although I haven't figured out who to get the best forecast from (different sites seem to differ wildly) - we will probably ride the bus that day and then then hopefully be able to drive the next two days.

 

Thanks for all of the advice and input.

 

-Hugh

post #7 of 11

Be careful, because very few of the weather sites give an accurate forecast for LCC.  Use this one:

 

forecast.weather.gov/MapClick.php 

post #8 of 11
Thread Starter 

Hey, thanks.  That is one of the sites I had found.  That is what I'll use, then.

post #9 of 11

Utah highway Patrol has a site you can use to check if chains and or 4x4  are required to drive up the Canyons. Also check The mountain reports from the resort web sites. Lifts can be on wind hold  during storms.  It is not uncommon to have close to hurricane force winds at the top of Snowbird.  Just a little insiders tip if it is really dumping and LCC and BCC are iffy go to Deer Valley. I have had some great  powder days skiing there.  You can see the back of brighton from the top of Empire chair at Deer Valley. My guess would be that it is less then 2 to 3  miles from there to Brighton maybe 4 or 5 to the Top of Alta. You also miss th mad rush of Powder junkies that you will get at both Alta and the Bird.

post #10 of 11


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Topper View Post

 

Utah highway Patrol has a site you can use to check if chains and or 4x4  are required to drive up the Canyons. Also check The mountain reports from the resort web sites. Lifts can be on wind hold  during storms.  It is not uncommon to have close to hurricane force winds at the top of Snowbird.  Just a little insiders tip if it is really dumping and LCC and BCC are iffy go to Deer Valley. I have had some great  powder days skiing there.  You can see the back of brighton from the top of Empire chair at Deer Valley. My guess would be that it is less then 2 to 3  miles from there to Brighton maybe 4 or 5 to the Top of Alta. You also miss th mad rush of Powder junkies that you will get at both Alta and the Bird.


 

Shhhhh.  This trick is supposed to be a secret.

post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the tip.  Unfortunately, I've already paid for the 3 day Superpass for the whole family - so I feel like I'm kinda limited to the 4 Cottonwood Canyon resorts this time around.  Looks like Sunday would be the only day of concern for us - hopefully it won't be a problem.

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