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What to do... 1st ski season in Utah

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 

So my wife and I just moved to SLC from FL this past summer.  We're Intermediate level skiers and will def plan to get out around 20 days this upcoming season.  Have a few questions I was hoping that the locals or people familiar with the area could help with:

 

1)  Season Pass or Ad-hoc?  Right now most of the resorts have early season passes for about $900 - $1200 / person.  If this is the best route which resort should we go with?  We've been here previously for a trip and enjoyed Alta/Snowbird, Solitude, and The Canyons.  I have no experience with the other resorts and am unsure if any have enough terrain to entertain for the entire season?

 

2)  I've read on here and have been told by co-workers that the primary equipment investment needs to be in boots and specifically have a custom/certified boot fitter do this.  Anybody have any recommendations for this in the valley?  (Don't really want to go to PC for this).  I've seen online a place called The Sport Loft (Holliday) and Daleboot in Millcreek.  Any idea on what I should expect for price (range) for the two of us?

 

3) Ski Swaps - Can anyone recommend a good one coming up.  Any tips/hints for things I should be looking for?  I'm not knowledgeable at all about the equipment as previously I've just rented it. 

 

Any other info or advice in general about skiing/the area would be greatly appreciated!  Thanks in advance...

post #2 of 22

Considering that this is your first season there, I wouldn't buy a season pass.  Try out as many different areas as you can and next season get a pass to your favorite one.  Since you'll probably be skiing more than you have in the past you are likely to improve and your taste in terrain may change as the season progresses.

 

Yes, boots are by far the most important piece of ski gear you can buy.  They need to fit your feet correctly so your skis will respond.  The only fitter I know in the area is Brent Amsbury, but he is in Park City.  Don't rule that out because he is about as good as they come.  I know a guy here who got Dale boots maybe three years ago and became sort of a PIA raving about them.  As I recall they are all custom built for your feet.  I don't know anything about the price and find it sort of annoying that their website doesn't say anything about the price.

 

Good luck and have fun.  As far as skiing is concerned, you have just landed in heaven.

post #3 of 22

Soli's cool in that you could buy a day or two during the week for a pass. Otherwise you could by 10 packs for a few resorts. In the past  BYU sold 2fers for the bird PM bushhacky for everything you'd ever want to know about that place. swaps there is a list on ski utahs locals only section their websites good for about anything you want to know. If you had the funds a silver pass would be the way to go. Earl at the sports loft is a boot guro and has a great rep but as pricey as they get. I've had good luck sending people to the lift house or zo at deep powder house is who did some work for me. solid dude.

post #4 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by mtcyclist View Post

Yes, boots are by far the most important piece of ski gear you can buy.  They need to fit your feet correctly so your skis will respond.  The only fitter I know in the area is Brent Amsbury, but he is in Park City.



I'd probably take his advice and go to Park City. I had poorly fitting boots up until about 2 years ago. My skiing went from a low advanced/upper intermediate to just about being comfortable about anywhere on any mountain. It's worth the trip from SLC to Park City for this. Might as well make a weekend trip out of it and enjoy the new boots!

post #5 of 22

If you're skiing 20 days a year, I *definitely* wouldn't buy a pass.  The pass prices in UT are pretty high, as you've seen, and you'd probably only break even compared to other routes of discounted tickets such as Canyon Sports.  I can't say for sure because Canyon Sports doesn't have their 10/11 prices up yet, but I'd bet it'll be close to a break even depend on where you ski most of the time.  Somewhere like Deer Valley's gonna be a lot more than Solitude, even at a discount.  That's just not worth it to lock yourself in somewhere, especially 'cause your first winter you're gonna want to explore the various areas.

post #6 of 22
I'm thinking the Super Pass (Snowbird, Alta, Brighton, Solitude) is going to be close to what it was least year which was around $50 for multiday passes per day. I talked to the hotel where I stay in Midvale to check rates for January and for 6 days skiing with a room it was the same as last year.
post #7 of 22

I never had custom boots and my boots fit just fine.  It's important to make sure you get the right fit, but they do break in and mold to your feet.  Just because some people think they need to spend all kinds of extra money doesn't mean that you have to. If i had to buy a need pair of boots, I wouldn't even consider custom.

post #8 of 22

Most people don't need true custom boots.  The guy I know who bought Dale boots said they were about the same price as upper end Tecnicas so the price for those may or may not be much different than other boots.  A large percentage of skiers, up through at least low intermediates, are likely to buy boots that are too big, either in width or length or both because they're comfy.  I know from experience because I went through several "on sale" boots that felt fine in the store and gave me no control on the slopes.  I couldn't figure out why my hot new skis didn't help me ski better.  It wasn't until I got my Tecnica Diablo Pros that I learned how a boot should fit.  Unfortunately a lot of shops where beginners and intermediates get their gear, like Sports Authority and other big box sporting goods chains don't have sales people who know how boots should fit.  A good fitter will make sure you get a boot that fits and if it turns out to be not quite right, they'll fix it.

post #9 of 22
Thread Starter 



Yeah I just spoke with Chris at the SL and he quoted me a range of $700-1100 for just boots & orthotics for just myself.  I was hoping to get the whole shabang for me and the wife for about $1kish... Looks like that was naive!

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by skifishbum View Post

Soli's cool in that you could buy a day or two during the week for a pass. Otherwise you could by 10 packs for a few resorts. In the past  BYU sold 2fers for the bird PM bushhacky for everything you'd ever want to know about that place. swaps there is a list on ski utahs locals only section their websites good for about anything you want to know. If you had the funds a silver pass would be the way to go. Earl at the sports loft is a boot guro and has a great rep but as pricey as they get. I've had good luck sending people to the lift house or zo at deep powder house is who did some work for me. solid dude.

post #10 of 22
Thread Starter 

Thanks, I think you're right on the pass idea.  I've also heard others talk of the better deals at Canyon Sports vs the resorts... I also hear Cosco has pretty good deals on 5/10 packs...

 

The only other pass I was looking at now is the season pass for Park City resort.  It's $699 (bare bones) so if we go 20 times each it turns out to $35/day per person... Not too bad at all!

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jaobrien6 View Post

If you're skiing 20 days a year, I *definitely* wouldn't buy a pass.  The pass prices in UT are pretty high, as you've seen, and you'd probably only break even compared to other routes of discounted tickets such as Canyon Sports.  I can't say for sure because Canyon Sports doesn't have their 10/11 prices up yet, but I'd bet it'll be close to a break even depend on where you ski most of the time.  Somewhere like Deer Valley's gonna be a lot more than Solitude, even at a discount.  That's just not worth it to lock yourself in somewhere, especially 'cause your first winter you're gonna want to explore the various areas.

post #11 of 22

Quote:

Originally Posted by rmsanger View Post I was hoping to get the whole shabang for me and the wife for about $1kish... Looks like that was naive!

 No 1K is not naive!  In my way of thinking that is way too high.  You should be able to get a pair of boots for $300-$400, probably less than $300 if you can get a deal somewhere now.  And for skis,  you can get ski for $400 or less.  For that you can get a new set that would fit an intermediate just fine, or last years demo's.  To me, as a new intermediate skier, it would be nuts to spend over 1K on eqiupment, because you have to add the ski jacket pants etc, yes the whole thing will cost you 1K.  You don't need top of the line, it isn't going to help, go for a run or do some yoga instead, and that's free.

 

I've been skiing for over 35 yrs all over the place, and find no need to overspend on ski eqiupment.  Also, don't buy a season pass anywhere.  You are living in skiers heaven, SLC!  You can ski 10 resorts, and likely all at a discount with some local knowledge on bargains, why not make it a goal to ski all the resorts this year?  Each one has their own character and flavor.  Lucky you.

post #12 of 22

Try Level Nine Sports in SLC for equipment. On boots, somewhat limited selection, but if you find something that fits well, great deals. However, the advice on tightness is correct. Although they shouldn't hurt, they should be VERY snug. They will pack out after a few days on skis. If you start out having them feel comfortable, they will end up too loose. 

post #13 of 22

I agree that you do not need fancy custom fit boots-just orthotics and a heat molded liner, UNLESS, you've needed knee, leg, or ankle surgery in the past...believe it or not, your feet and ankles and knees may not line up perfectly once you've been whittled on...I'm fortunate, my Salomon's are snug and comfortable until my ankle starts to swell. My Raichles I used for snowboarding were even better because the ankle cuff cants were adjustable, but I fully intend to get custom fitted boots with my next purchase. The boot fitters at Taos were nice enough to stretch the shell where my ankle screws were when they were fitting my husband, who needed new boots after a tib-fib fracture repair with a muscle flap/skin graft closure...

post #14 of 22
Thread Starter 

I also checked with Deep Powder house and they also gave me a price range from $700 - $1100 per pair including Orthotics and "Boot Planning".  That's 2 for 2 in the same range so I'm getting a feeling this is about the market price for quality/custom fitted boots.

 

Thinking this is a bit too much of an investment for our first season.  May just head over to Dicks and get something off the shelf that fits snug for $300-$400.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by skifishbum View Post

Soli's cool in that you could buy a day or two during the week for a pass. Otherwise you could by 10 packs for a few resorts. In the past  BYU sold 2fers for the bird PM bushhacky for everything you'd ever want to know about that place. swaps there is a list on ski utahs locals only section their websites good for about anything you want to know. If you had the funds a silver pass would be the way to go. Earl at the sports loft is a boot guro and has a great rep but as pricey as they get. I've had good luck sending people to the lift house or zo at deep powder house is who did some work for me. solid dude.

post #15 of 22

IMHO.  Priorities: (1)Good boots and (2) Warn clothes

 

Boots: Search topics on this site for Intuition liners. I feel this is the way to go, find a high quality used boot and go for Intuition liners.

 

Warn Clothes: Simple enough. Buy quality. This is the one place I tend not to skimp, good for years. Nothing ruins a great powder day like being cold and wet

 

Skis: Skis will be the one thing you'll want to ugrade through the season. Look for used skis w/ a high quality binding that can switch as you ugrade. Have you decieded what type of ski you want; powder, all teraine. You should be prepared to want dedicated powder for the great Utah pow

 

Start watching Ebay, I've gotten killer deals there.

 

Season Pass: Not sure what to tell you there, you can certainlly get by w/o one. Although I think you'll want to ski a lot more than 20 days once the snow starts falling  There will also be days where you will only want to half day.

 

My observations has been that prices at resorts are higher than in SLC.

post #16 of 22

Do what my wife and I did.

 

Since we planned on being in the SLC area for a while, we just got the cheapest nearby season pass and got to know  every aspect of the mountain.  The money saved on the season pass was plowed into equipment... ski boots from Sport Loft (recommended) were a priority.  We started with Brighton and Solitude passes and will be going to Snowbird soon.  When guests come to town, we buy discounted tickets to the mountain of their choice.

 

Maybe its me, but skiing a single mountain 30+ days a year is still as enjoyable on day 30 as it was on day 1.

 

As you are intermediate skiers, there is a lot about equipment you don't know.  Spend the money and get properly fitting boots early on is a great plan for getting the most enjoyment from skiing.

 

 

 

post #17 of 22

Find a Full Tilt dealer and go try them.  The FT boots use Intuition liners and even their most expensive boot is only $650 on their website and you wouldn't want that boot due to the stiffness.  They also make women's boots.

post #18 of 22

As a local, you can buy coupon books at all the resorts, 5 or 10 day usually.  Try them all for a season or two and then decide what's your favorite.  Do it early or the prices go up.

post #19 of 22

20 days a year. Don't buy a pass, ticket pack or discount card. Just go ad hoc with discounts as you find them.

 

Extensively sample all the resorts in LCC and BCC. Take a day few days to explore PC as well. Try to hook up with locals in the cottonwoods and and learn those areas pretty well so you have a good feel for where you want to buy a pass next season. $.02.

 

post #20 of 22

re: boots -- custom-modified boots with custom orthotics and alignment will run in the $1K range.  They are totally worth it -- if you are extremely hard to fit.

 

If you're blessed with excellent foot/ankle/knee alignment, and you don't have super-wide or super-big or super-small feet, off-the-shelf boots will usually work just fine.

 

Between those extremes, it's possible to just get custom-molded (but not "orthotic") footbeds or aftermarket liners without doing a full custom fitting.

 

Comfortable boots, though, are clutch.  If your feet hurt, it's not gonna be fun.

 

re: tickets -- Based on my trip out there last year, you pretty much can't go wrong.  You could easily spend 20 days at a resort like Alta/Snowbird and not be close to getting bored.  Or you could just buy day-by-day discount tickets this season and try as many resorts as you can.

post #21 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by mtcyclist View Post

Find a Full Tilt dealer and go try them.  The FT boots use Intuition liners and even their most expensive boot is only $650 on their website and you wouldn't want that boot due to the stiffness.  They also make women's boots.



Or maybe he should find a boot that fits HIS foot. Pretty ridiculous advice from an instructor. Is this Newschoolers?

post #22 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by rmsanger View Post

I also checked with Deep Powder house and they also gave me a price range from $700 - $1100 per pair including Orthotics and "Boot Planning".  That's 2 for 2 in the same range so I'm getting a feeling this is about the market price for quality/custom fitted boots.

 

Thinking this is a bit too much of an investment for our first season.  May just head over to Dicks and get something off the shelf that fits snug for $300-$400.

 


 



Don't go to Dicks, go to a ski shop. Get fitted. You don't necessarily need to go to a shop that sells full blown custom boots. But you can still get something at a decent price point that fits your foot. Maybe throw an aftermarket footbed in there. It may be just me, but I have discovered that a good level of fitness, and proper hydration do wonders for how well my feet feel.

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