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Utah Spring Skiing for 8 relentless, non-stop, and just exquisitely beautiful days

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
Given the tenor of a lot of folks on this and other forums, note we skiied 3 days Deer Valley, 3 days Solitude and 2 days Alta in the sequence listed. (We did 5 days in Alta in Jan).

Just like any Dad who is focused on fostering his kid's love for skiing, almost always, I'd inform the instructors that he is a "Very Good " skier and quite experienced on big mountains, but I'd rather they put him in Blue Groups since he is still pretty light (39lbs last weigh-in!) and it was pretty amusing to see him get bumped up at both DV and Solitude to the Black groups, and there was this little guy skiing with 9 to 14 year olds...they loved his passion for skiing and ski-smarts..there was of course a huge number of face plants as the snow increased in Solitude and Alta and it was all powder ... (Dad took far more tumbles). Anyway, here are some pics - Utah skiing is just something else...The Greatest Snow on Earth is a well-deserved honor for the locale.

For the Cognoscenti amongst you: Skis used:

Deer Valley : Dynastar Legend Sultan 85's (85mm waist)- perfect, powerhouses
Solitude: Head Liquid Metal - not happy at all but good for training in deep snow, it was rough but managed
Alta: Volkl AC50's (82mm waist) first day - felt too stiff and those Marker Bindings were a b*tch to step into when banana-bail occurred, just not happy. Switched to K2 Phat Luvs - great skis for the conditions (102mm waist). They had sold out of the Legend 85's and actually the K2's suited the conditions much better.

1. Deer Valley 3 days: Regardless of any opprobrium, Deer Valley is actually quite big, has long, broad runs for all levels of abilities. While the old man here did mostly the blues and blacks which were groomed, with some exceptions of a few mogulled up blacks (hard work for this old guy), my little boy had a blast, he skiied everything pretty much including a couple of the Daly Chutes - he loved it. Food on the mountain is best we have experienced in North America, their free ski storage at the base of each lodge is extremely convenient, and they are most helpful all-around. Ski instructors for kids were tremendous and very positive, fostering a love for the sport. The only run where my boy got pretty tired and knocked around on was "Champion", humongous man-made moguls used for racing, he insisted and bugged the instructors so they took him, and it was a great experience.  Deer Valley pics below:

Stein's Way overlooking Jordanelle Reservoir Panorama:

Heading to the Inn at Silver Lake, after a long day of skiing:

2. Solitude: 3 days. (Tuesday was hardpack, rock-ice, and windy as sh*te, almost 50mph on top of Summit chair). Solitude is really quite nice and lives up to its name! One observation several others have posted about and I have to concur, mountain trails and lifts seem hard to figure out even though it does not look like it on trail map and lift system while modern generally (except Summit chair) seemed a tad confusing. Unfortunately, a serious mechanical breakdown on Wednesday led to the closure of the Sunrise chair which is the easier way to access the Summit chair but the Mountain mgmt were pretty helpful by providing cat rides up to the Summit chair (the traverse across this individual did through deep powder through trees etc to get to the cat was one serious aerobic workout, huffing, puffing and wheezing all the way there!)

Solitude - First Real Powder Day, Wednesday last week

Solitude, nice little Sleigh Ride from Village to Moonbeam base:

Solitude: Traversing out at top of Summit Chair to drop in on powder field into Honeycomb Canyon - Run is Voltaire (son did the gnarly drop-ins via Black Forest and Navarone, Dad wisely stayed away from those tight, sometimes cliffed out, tree-ed steep terrain runs!) Traverse rough on the old man but the ride down Voltaire to Honeycomb return was unusually beautiful.
2010-04-01 14.50.53.jpg

Alta: On Saturday West Rustler was just incredible, they called it "West Buffler" since it was wind-buffed to perfection, natural ice-cream or cake icing, better than any man-made grooming this humble skier has ever experienced. It was quite the scene on Friday when power went out in LCC, incredible situation, I know folks who were stranded on Collins lift for over 1 hour. I did'nt hear official cause of failure but there was some correlation to dust-storm and winds from Tuesday screwing up electronic master controls plus rumors of transformer blowouts, and finally replacement equipment delivery showing up at Brighton instead of Alta. Regardless, mountain mgmt jerry-rigged, portable diesel generators to get Wildcat going, Supreme remained closed all day, and Sugarloaf was powered via diesel box on Groomer Cats. Human ingenuity at its finest!

Am on Saddle Traverse getting ready to start run:
2010-04-03 15.01.26.jpg

Alta: All smiles after big powder face-plant:

There is some video..to follow on later date..Really miss being there but Dad's knees are quite stiff, now on 2nd day of respite back in the city.
Edited by dustyfog - 4/6/10 at 1:26pm
post #2 of 15
 Too bad you're not going to be at Snowbird TOMORROW April 7, 2010.  There's 3 feet of 24 hour snow, the ski area was closed today, and there's about another 15-18" forecasted by tomorrow morning.  The road better not be closed tomorrow.
post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 
You are right, Alta webcams of High Rustler face and Sugarloaf show an exquisite ice-cream cover, you must have had a blast today at the Bird.
post #4 of 15
Thread Starter 
Some short clips of our trip!
1. Solitude - Navarone - its a steep narrow run and this was powder day..well, the results are visible..

2. The unbridled joy of kids skiing and conquest at Solitude:

3. Alta powder and Tree chute with perfect landing !

4. Deer Valley - you can see how kids simply outski their parents as things get steeper..you can hear the faint and futile "wait" cry from Pop:
post #5 of 15
Love your videos dustyfog!  Hopefully I will be cheering Dax on in an Olympics the way he is going.  Those little buggers make everything look easy.  I tried to explain to them that its because they don't gain speed as fast as us adults do, but the dont want to hear it. 
Anyhow, as you know, it seems like you had some better luck than I did.  I just missed the snow you got on Wednesday.  It was all ice for me from the 26 - 31st which was a bummer.  I will look into Deer Valley for my next trip.

The search for that one will be "Looking for the best resort with long, wide, scenic, rolly-polly groomed runs for beginners/aspiring intermediates."  I really need a nice place to re-acclimate my wife to skiing after her torn ACL.

Looking forward to more exchanges of information.



post #6 of 15
Very nice report. Love to see those areas again. I have to go there again next year. Have to, have to have to :-)

BTW; this is a nice video someone posted on a dutch forum. Made in Alta.
Enjoy http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6-6pQwo_9r4&

post #7 of 15
Thread Starter 
That video of the guy on the rope-tow is going to go viral..hilarious..the only question i have is how they tracked him heading out to his vehicle...its just too much...laughing all the way!
post #8 of 15
post #9 of 15
 beautiful! thanks for the pics... and the rope tow....
post #10 of 15
Thanks so much for that. Hilarious!
post #11 of 15
Deer Valley was amazing! We had 2 or 3 days of great powder. Best spring skiing I've ever had!
post #12 of 15
Dirk, thanks for the video! It has to be one of the funniest skiing related videos I have ever seen. Call me if you come back here and we will tear it up again.
post #13 of 15
Hey Vince!!!
Nice to hear/read from you again :-)
We are already looking for flight-tickets but at the moment they are to expensive. We'll wait a bit until they drop. Plans are now to go 1 week to Lake Tahoe (different resorts) and than fly or drive to SLC for a week at BCC/LCC, PC and Snowbasin. Maybe also The Canyons so there is also something new for you :-)
Interested in joining Lake Tahoe? Would be great. Plans are end March LT and begin April SLC.
PS: Daphne is in the snow (Austria). Where else...
post #14 of 15
Tahoe would be great. Stay in touch on that one.
post #15 of 15
Thread Starter 
In case anyone wondered, the young lad in all these clips turned 7 years old in the first week of March. (Esum : racing in the East definitely builds character and toughens kids, its hardcore, ice, and bitter cold, and since he did teach Dad when he was 5 that "Skiing is good for Dad's soul" - so as long as he knows "having fun is #1" as one of his ski-instructor pals, Tom C told him, and he lives by "Fear, its the other guy's problem" - and he is happy, then so are we..its a trip)

Another short powder shot...in Alta ... tree runs somewhere between Supreme and Cecret..(10secs)

and for the groomer - lovers (like his Dad, here is a groomer-manna-from-heaven at Deer Valley), this is Nabob and Race Course(2mins)
P.S. We did race on a later run, he beat Dad by a whopping 2 secs...! Nice course, accommodates two simultaneous racers..so parent and kid and test their mettle, it was amusing to see at least two Dad's come back and ask for a re-run to improve their times, we did it once, he raced all season, this trip was R&R and all about big-mountain skiing.

What Solitude was like on Day 1 of the waves of snow hitting the Wasatch on Mar 30..which continued with a day's break here and there all the way to April 7 or April 8(4mins)
This is run back from Apex to Village base..
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