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First time Utah Ski Trip ~ Location location location - Page 2

post #31 of 52
 I agree that Snowbird is near the top for skiing.  For overall experience though, you definitely need to ski Alta one day, especially if you have a bunch of skiers that tend towards the middle skill levels -- either intermediate, or conservative-expert.  While there is terrain for everyone, it's my opinion that Alta serves that middle range very well.  There are a lot of trail choices in the blue-black range, and plenty of options for you to explore outside that range without getting into trouble.  And if you really do want "clamp the butt cheeks tight" terrain, it's there too.

There is an overwhelming sense of history and heritage at Alta that you won't find at the other SLC resorts, and it's true when people say the place has a unique vibe (which I happen to like).  Even though Alta is right next door to Snowbird, there is a noticeable difference in terrain, snow, and exposure, so you will still get a lot of variety if you ski both places.

Be sure to hit the GMD bar after skiing for a pitcher and nachos/pizza, as it completes the experience.  If I'm around when you're there, I'll buy the first pitcher!  And BTW, if you do hit Alta, PM me for some trail suggestions.  If I am around, I'd be glad to guide your group into Catherine's area -- it's a mildly-adventurous sidecountry jaunt that might be intimidating for first timers, but is actually pretty easy/safe if you know the right way in and the various options to descend.  On the right day, it can be a very memorable experience with great views and scenery.
post #32 of 52



From one Michigander to another, I have stayed with www.jbjane.com twice. Will be staying at "The Benji" Feb 10-17


Clean houses, excellent service, not to bad of a drive to LCC & BCC, great views, close to the express way, plenty of things to do, and there is a Canyon sports on the way to the hills!!

For my 2cents... I love skiiing in Utah. I really found Brighton Enjoyable. There are a ton of knuckledraggers everywhere, but we were able to make fresh tracks in the trees "Coin Slot" all day after a 20" dump . We made fresh powder turns on our first and last runs of the day!

post #33 of 52
Just saw this.  I am heading out there again this year.  I will there from 2/4 - 2/8.  We are staying at the BW Cottontre in Sandy.  What days are you going?
post #34 of 52
Thread Starter 
 Thanks for the added tips.  At this point we're booked for a house in SLC which will accommodate the size group we have coming.

Arrival date is February 25th!
post #35 of 52
I will et you know how the skiing is then.
post #36 of 52
 Forget just peeing at Snowbasin, to truly appreciate it, you have to take a good dump. 

Track down one of the Ambassadors names "Kevin", give him a big hug and tell him that he is the only one that can show you around. Awesome guy and a great guide. 
post #37 of 52
i been visiting Utah for twenty years and considered my traveling opinion well refined so here goes.

Stay in sandy/midvale. if ya need to do big city nightlife with alcohol take the trax (light rail subway) in and out of slc and ya don't need to worry about the driving. There's five or six decent motels within 500 yards of the 7200 south trax station. otherwise there is plenty of dining and evening pub type places its just not an all night scene. If its your first time skiing in Utah my guess is you wont be out late,,,,,you'll be smoked. all alcohol laws in Utah are now the same as most anywhere in the U.S.but the beer is still 3.2

the two canyons for skiing...solitude, Brighton, Alta, snowbird,

Outlying area to ski for me is always snow basin killer terrain,super lift system, first class outfit.....powmow has great terrain but crappy lift capacity and the bus/truck/snocat/ski mobile/donkey cart thing is a pain in the butt...great skiing just add some high speed quads.

The Utah super pass gets you a discount at all little and big cottonwood resorts PLUS gets you a daily trax ride and daily bus ride (if the canyons closed for cars a lot of times the buses still run) its a handy extra and its basically included for free.
post #38 of 52
BWPA speaks some truth.  I like snowbird,  but you will mostly like it if you are a higher level skier.  If they haven't gotten snow in a while,  I find it a bit difficult for me.  If they have gotten recent snow,  its pretty nice for intermediates and above.  When you think Snowbird,  think vertical,  nice long runs,  but not so easy.

Brighton is nice and not that crowded except on the weekend.  It seems to be the local snowboard hangout on the weekend.

Solitude is nice for beginners and intermediates,  but if you are more advanced choose Snowbird.  Its pretty easy to ski to me at Solitude except for the best runs which is Honeycomb canyon.  Its a pain to get there and back.

POWMOW too flat.

DV & PC- nice when the snow is good,  usually good in February,  but no so much in March.

Canyons - I find it confusing and lots of tracking around.  But there are definately some good runs there.

If conditions are good everywhere,  and you are a good skier, with skiing being your focus
Brighton or Solitude

PC, Canyons, or DV if you like mega type resorts.  They are nice but definately more crowded and more to do outside of skiing.
post #39 of 52
Overall, considering the many factors, Snowbird is very likely the best lift served skiing on planet earth.  It certainly is the best in US/Canada. Not only is it the best skiing, but it is the most accessible for most of the US and it is also the "cheapest" ski trip too. 
post #40 of 52
It is true that the layout at Solitude leaves something to be desired, but it has one great virtue that overrides all others--it usually deserves its name and there are rarely crowds. Solitude is the place to go a day or two after a big dump. When Alta and Snowbird are all skied out, you can usually still find some stashes at Solitude. Yes it does take more work to get to them, but that's why they're still there days after a storm.

PCMR and the Canyons are destination resorts and with that feel could be almost anywhere else (like in Colorado). DV is like that with the added gaper factor thrown in --BUT the plus side to these resorts is that much of the best snow isn't skied by Mom and Pop and the kids, and they all have expert areas that can be great fun with some very good snow.

Each place has its own feel and vibe. The only way to figure out which ones float your boat, is to ski them all and see for yourself.
post #41 of 52
Originally Posted by Zman View Post

Each place has its own feel and vibe. The only way to figure out which ones float your boat, is to ski them all and see for yourself.

We've got a winner here, folks.  Like demoing skis, the only way to know what you like is to try it yourself. 

I'm not a big Snowbird fan since I'm not a great skier. YMMV, but I'm not going to ski the bird so that I can brag about how rad I am on the intertubes.

I'll be leaving the flatlands in a few hours to do the SLC thing for five days.  The tentative  itinerary is

Sun Solitude
Mon Alta
Tue Snowbasin
Wed Brighton
Thu Sundance

I'm sure I'll find plenty to suit my tastes.  So would anyone else.  Especially a fellow troll. You're in for a treat in a month, TC.
post #42 of 52
What makes Snowbird so special is the top to bottom expert skiing that is available across almost the entire mountain.  3,000 ft of vertical with innumerable ways down, hundreds of nooks and crannies to explore.  And then there are the Experts Only gates, does anyone know how many of them there are.  Most of them are quite skiable by the average advanced skier, but each one has its' own unique character and geography. The only one I stay away from is the one under the Gadzoom, I'll leave that to the real experts.  Then there are the major features like Little Cloud Bowl, the Cirque, Mineral Basin on good days and tucked inside is Gad II.  The place is a never ending playground of good fun of most days. 

Consider the snowfall, which averages 2 feet per week in season.  I suppose it is the same as the other Cottonwoods, but there is nothing lift served comparable to Cottonwood snowfall.  And I can assure you that the Bird doesn't exaggerate their totals.  Add the tram, the sweetest lift I have ever rode. Almost the entire mountain is faces north, keeping the snow sweet for many days after a storm.  Alta doesn't have that geography, both sides of Greeley get the sun, and the only true north facing skiing is in the nooks and crannies of Supreme, but suffer the runout for the short vertical, and Wildcat, which a few days after a storm becomes a mogul skiers delight. 

There are entire areas that an expert skiing Snowbird might miss, like looking up, the far right above the Baby Thunder lift.  Don't miss the curves of the Black Forest, which I never miss.  How about the snow and pitch under Gad II, the snow is always perfect for you to show your skills to lift riders.  And there is no need to worry about runout at Snowbird, almost right across the mountain it is steep right down to the bottom 50 ft of vertical.  The best way to ski the Bird is to simply follow the tracks into the unknown off the main runs.  Left left left, right right right we call out, and slow down until ours pals behind can see the faster skier disappear off-piste into the unknown.  (although the word off-piste doesn't translate well to US skiing like it is defined in Europe)

   Trail Map

The best time to go is from Jan through the end of February.  I have made over a dozen trips the weekend after President Day and the snow is ALWAYS good.  But there is signs of danger.  The sun is getting higher every day and driving down the canyon after a day of skiing you can feel that the warmth of spring is soon to come. The higher sun and longer days of March brings not only the Spring Break crowds, but also the threat of ruined snow by a warm front with sunny days.  The freeze thaw cycle begins, which you won't find earlier in the year.  The cycle begins Much earlier in the Park City resorts, and while skiing PC the same late Feb week, i am always shocked by the difference in snow quality between PC and the Cottonwoods.  Don't book a PC trip after March 10th unless you want to experience the strong likelihood of skiing in slush.  It can happen in the Cottonwoods too, even though the snow cycle continues strongly until mid-April. 

I have my $47/nt hotel room booked traveling with my spring break daughter and friend.  And once again I booked free Delta tickets.  This year will be my shortest trip ever, 2 nts from the East coast.  But I have never been delayed from my 10:30am arrival which usually has me waiting for the 12:30pm lift ticket window.  And doesn't the Bird/Utah have the most inexpensive tickets considering the discounts?  The last day we ski until 2pm to leisurely catch the 5pm back to Newark or Philly, that is after we do the parking lot Salt Lake City shuffle, usually in the commuter lot at the bottom of the hill.  (same on the way up).   I have about 4 dozen SLC shuffle's under my belt. 

I never get tired of skiing Snowbird! I remember one year we booked a house in Park City, but ended up driving to the LCC every single day after the first day.  The last morning we woke up in PC to a light dusting of snow and clear skies.  But at Snowbird that morning we skied literally 2 ft of new powder that mysteriously fell overnight.  I can still remember those turns on the Blackjack side in 2 feet of fresh powder.  The only thing I think that can be improved at Snowbird is the food.
post #43 of 52
 SnowbirdDevotee you left one thing out. For all how good the Bird is during the winter, I especially like hitting 18 inches of fresh at the end of May. Great powder with no one on the mountain in the morning, super slush in the afternoon and having to pick your way back down to the tram across the mud. May not sound like fun, but it really is something special. Makes me smile all week until I can get back the next Friday for more of the same. To me, besides the great steeps, that's how the Bird really stands out.
post #44 of 52
Zman, unfortunately, I have to leave that good fun for you locals!
post #45 of 52
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Canyons View Post

Leave your skis at home, and demo BROs, DPS, Moment and Volkl skis from Wasatch Powder Skis

Be ready with the right skis in all conditions
Hey Canyon's, we're in Utah, where are you?
post #46 of 52
Originally Posted by Trekchick View Post

Thanks all for the helpful info.  Ski3PO, knowing you as I do, that advice means something in particular.


It will be a 5 day ski trip with 9 others included(3 of which are wives who don't ski), and some influence of others on location, however......My personal posse will be the most core skiers(4 of us).  I have told them that I WILL ski Snowbasin at least one day!!
After all I have to pee at snowbasin, don't I 

One of the reasons we have scoped out this particular house to rent is location for those who don't ski, accommodation for up to 10 people, and price.  I was hoping that the description that it was not terribly inconvenient to skiing in any direction was correct.

I guess we'll take a chance and book the place. 
That sounds like a good plan. If you're going to be driving to resorts anyway, an extra 15 minutes here or there isn't going to make or break the trip. SLC or Park City would definitely be your best bets for non-skiers. Staying in downtown SLC will also be a good bet for dining/nightlife/off hill--you can drive to the mountain, but you really shouldn't drive to the bar (not if you want to have a good time anyway), so staying in SLC should be the most fun all around.
post #47 of 52
Originally Posted by Philpug View Post

 Forget just peeing at Snowbasin, to truly appreciate it, you have to take a good dump. 

Track down one of the Ambassadors names "Kevin", give him a big hug and tell him that he is the only one that can show you around. Awesome guy and a great guide. 
Lol, this is true. Snowbasin is the only resort I've ever been to where I'm actually excited to have to deuce. If it weren't for the killer riding waiting outside, I could stay in the stall all day.
post #48 of 52
Thread Starter 
post #49 of 52
LOL! Snowbasin is more famous for its bathrooms than for its skiing! Nice photo Trekchick. BTW folks that's REAL marble and REAL hardwood and REAL gold fixtures...errr....ok, I lied about the fixture part.
post #50 of 52
Jeeezes, you guys skiers of pee-ers???
post #51 of 52
Thread Starter 
 We're mosdef skiers, but I can check "peeing at Snowbasin" off my must do list.
Check out the TR here.
TR: Utah treats us well
post #52 of 52
Originally Posted by Trekchick View Post


The next time I go to Utah, that's where I'm going to stay. 

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