Sorry for the yet-another-family-vacation-at-Christmas post thread. Beginner wife, intermediate girls age 11-16 by then, intermediate to advanced Dad. Have been thinking East to save money on airfare (Stowe most likely) but would like to go West. Can fly non-stop from Philly to SLC. No choice but to go 12-24 thru 12-30 or so. No Alta because of the chairlift bars thing. (I know, I know, but I am told it is non-negotiable!) The perfect place for us to ski is Deer Valley because of my wife, but it is just so expensive for any kind of convenience factor and we are looking for some time together without the usual hassles of keeping people entertained and debating where everyone wants to go, so staying in Park City to save $$$ and skiing Deer Valley primarily could create some problems, especially with the kids maybe wanting to learn some snowboarding.
From what I can tell, Solitude has terrain for all including the wife, pretty reliable snow coverage at Christmas, much less expensive and extremely convenient slope access lodging, less crowds than other well-known spots at holiday time, and a pretty contained, safe, easy village for when we are beat where the kids can feel entertained and independent but they really can't go anywhere. I know I have pretty much answered my own question, but looking for any contrarian opinions to consider. So, any downsides? Does the food suck? Are there altitude issues different than anywhere else? Are there problems with their rental equipment? Is the less crowded thing BS? Is it overrun with boarders at Christmas (again, not prejudiced, but the SO has had a few incidents at Whiteface that have left her wary...)? Is there really not that much low-end terrain? Does the lift layout suck? (For example, at Whiteface nearly all of the easier trails on the main side of the mountain serve as funnel areas for the more expert higher slopes so they are serious freeways) If its as great and less crowded as everyone says, why is it that more people aren't there? What does everyone think?