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Alta,Snowbird - is it worth it?

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 

I'm planning a trip to North America late Feb, coming from the other side of the globe.

 

My plan is to go straight to Sun Peaks (from Vancouver) Thu 24 Feb for 7 nights, meet family, and do possible day trips to Revelstoke, Silver Star, Big White etc. if I feel like it.

 

Then head to Whistler for 4 nights, then fly from Vancouver to Alta/Snowbird for 4-5 nights.

 

Is this too much? I'm a keen skier, but I've only been to W/B previously, and would really like to see some more resorts, both U.S. and Canada. I think this would be manageable, because I'd only be in 3 different accommodations, making logistics OK.

 

Any thoughts?


Edited by straightplanks - 11/17/10 at 10:47pm
post #2 of 29
Thread Starter 

Any thoughts?

post #3 of 29

Need a valet?

post #4 of 29

If you want to hit a different resort every day that you're here in Utah, that will be easy to do and won't involve much driving--depending upon where you'll be staying. From my house I have 7-8 major resorts within 45-60 minutes from driveway to ski area parking lot. One canyon north of LCC where Alta and Snowbird are located is BCC with Brighton and Solitude. Then on the eastern side are the three Park City resorts of PCMR, the Canyons and Deer Valley. No problem doing a different one each day while here and you can get a great deal on the Salt Lake Super Pass, just do a search on this site.

post #5 of 29

Dooo Eeeeet

post #6 of 29

Vancouver Airport to Sun Peaks by car is about 5 hours. Sun Peaks to Revelstoke or to Silver Star is 2 1/2 to 3 hours and to Big White is close to 3 1/2 hours. Silver Star is the most central of the four B.C. interior resorts in relation to each other so it would be the best one to stay at if your just wanted one place for the week. However with the cost of travel taken in to consideration I would suggest stay and ski for 2 days each at Sun Peaks, Revelstoke, and Silver Star, skip Big White and WB and just fly Kelowna to Salt Lake City.

post #7 of 29

I'd also think it makes more transport sense to ski Whistler first, then BC interior and on to Salt Lake, but that also depends on what kind of airtix you're getting from start point. (Oz?)

post #8 of 29

I'd combine the advice of the 2 posts above for best logistics.

 

Start with Whistler.  Then stay Sun Peaks, Revelstoke and Kelowna (45 min to Big White, 1 hr to Apex or Silver Star).  This assumes you can get a reasonable air deal from Kelowna to Salt Lake.  Maybe the Vancouver to SLC flight is much cheaper, have to decide whether it's worth the extra 5 hours drive back.  In any case the drive distances in B.C. are long enough that you should move the lodging base and not try to daytrip 2-3 hours one way from a single base.

post #9 of 29
Thread Starter 

Thanks all for your input. I'm somewhat limited by air tickets, availability and flexibility, but I'll probably scrap Silver Star and Big White for this trip, and do a couple of non-consecutive day trips to Revelstoke from SP. I'm fairly accustomed to doing day trips 2.5-3 hrs. If I'm bored, I can throw in a heli ski .

 

Also, in Salt Lake City, is it better to stay at Snowbird, or somewhere in the city if I want to ski more than Snowbird? .e.g are there easy transfers available from Snowbird? A valet would be great.

post #10 of 29

Quote:

Originally Posted by straightplanks View PostAlso, in Salt Lake City, is it better to stay at Snowbird, or somewhere in the city if I want to ski more than Snowbird? .e.g are there easy transfers available from Snowbird? A valet would be great.


not exactly sure what you are asking?  of course if you want to ski more at Snowbird, then it would be easier to stay there.  but if cost is a factor, you could stay 25 minutes away, in the Salt Lake Valley at a hotel in Midvale or Sandy, at the base of the mountains.(use orbitz.com or kayak.com for hotel) You would need a rental car, but you would save a lot of money.  Yes, there are easy transfers by shuttle from the airport to Snowbird.  Standard hotel rooms can be had in the valley for $60/nt including breakfast. 

post #11 of 29
Thread Starter 

I meant that if I wanted to ski at more than one resort.  I'll check out hotels in the valley as you suggest and also prices at some of the resorts. If you could only ski 2 local resorts, what would they be?

post #12 of 29

Alta-Snowbird are the best by any measure, except cost to stay there, that's why bargain hunters stay 30 minutes away down in the valley, read the wiki below for travel considerations.

post #13 of 29

Salt Lake City is the place to go.  Forget about Whistler and go for the snow.  The weather and snow quality are just too risky.

 

You can ski Snowbasin, it's a great mountain.  I would go back!  Solitude I hear is great and Powder Mt too.  But Snowbird and Alta offer more than enough, they are fantastic.

 

You can get a place in Sandy and rent a car.  But, you could get shut down by a big snow when they close the road.


Edited by Paul Jones - 11/22/10 at 5:59am
post #14 of 29


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Crocker View Post

I'd combine the advice of the 2 posts above for best logistics.

 

Start with Whistler.  Then stay Sun Peaks, Revelstoke and Kelowna (45 min to Big White, 1 hr to Apex or Silver Star).  This assumes you can get a reasonable air deal from Kelowna to Salt Lake.  Maybe the Vancouver to SLC flight is much cheaper, have to decide whether it's worth the extra 5 hours drive back.  In any case the drive distances in B.C. are long enough that you should move the lodging base and not try to daytrip 2-3 hours one way from a single base.

 I'm changing my recommendation to agree with the above as it is the best logistics. IMO skip Whistler as you have been there before. Spend more time in Utah and the B.C. interior as both offer the highest quality snow that you will find anywhere. Usually the B.C. interior will have less snow volume per storm than Utah but way less people in the B.C. interior competing for the powder.

 

Several day trips from Sun Peaks to Revelstoke is a poor idea even if you have free lodging at SP as the cost of fuel for a round trip is about the same as a hotel room in Revy. Also in order to ski a full day you will be traveling in the dark on 2 lane twisty winter roads, possibly snow covered. The estimated round trip of 5.5 to 6 hours is for dry pavement by an experienced British Columbia winter driver. BTW Revy is for black diamond skiers so don't bring any intermediates as they won't be happy.
 

When at Sun Peaks, look me up at Elevation Ski Rentals in the Delta Hotel lower level. I will be working there afternoon/evenings, Thur.-Sat. While I am an old guy, I can still give you a better black diamond tour of SP than most of the official Sun Guides and by late Feb. I will have returned from my own first time trip to Snowbird/Alta.

post #15 of 29

"Alta,Snowbird - is it worth it?"

 

What, are you kidding me?  I can't think of a more worthwhile place to ski.  I can think of hundreds of other places that are not worth as much.

post #16 of 29
Thread Starter 

Wow DanoT - you've certainly got me thinking. In any case, I'm sure to enjoy it whatever I end up doing. One consideration is that I hope to avoid driving while I'm there, which generally means an extra night at each place for the same amount of skiing due to shuttle times. 

post #17 of 29

straightplanks.  there is not a shuttle in utah, its' a city bus.  you are much better off renting a car, they are cheap and the driving is not too hard.  if you insist on the bus, check out the Crystal Inn, it is fairly close to the bottom of the valley.  not sure if it is the closest though.  it is much more relaxing of a vacation to have your own wheels and it gives you the option to go to park city(3 resorts)  and snowbasin.  you won't regret it,  there are 8 super resorts in SLC, all but one within an hour of sandy/midvale. (snowbasin is 85 minutes and worth the drive).  of course yet another option is to go to SLC for 5 days, then drive up to Jackson Hole for 3 days, that would make more sense than going back to Whistler to where you've already been, plus you will catch a little of our american west culture, you know, cowboys and guns.

post #18 of 29

Sunpeaks, Silver Star, and Big White have a lot of similarities (family oriented, great intermediate runs, good quality snow) and any of them would probably take three or four days to fully ski. If you want to branch out from Sunpeaks and taste something different, Revelstoke does offer a bit more of a big mountain experience. I always try to get a couple of days in during the season as part of my BC circuits there. Note that you will be able to ski most of the runs in a single day (other than the upper North Bowl which requires doing a longer circuit to get back to the Ripper chair after each run). You should go there though, just to ski the 5000' vertical of Snow Rodeo run which has to be one of the classics of Western Canada. If you like challenge, I'd try and work in a trip to Kicking Horse as well--think 70+ black and double black chutes and four alpine bowls (they're opening Superbowl as part of the patrolled terrain this year). The difficulties in doing this are that it requires a (normally) 90 minute to 2 hour drive over the Rogers Pass on a road that experiences a fair number of delays and closures for avalanche control/cleanup (I've had two trips in the last two years where I've spent four hours waiting on the highway for the road to be opened).

 

On the other hand if you do go to Big White for a day or so, send me a pm and I'll give you a tour. I'll be out there most of February aside from a trip down to SLC which ends at the beginning of the month, and a week long safari through the Kootenays around President's day.

 

You really should try for two months rather than two weeks if you want to hit the highlights.

post #19 of 29

DanoT and SnowbirdDevotee offer sound advice.

 

Daytripping from Sun Peaks to Revelstoke is not a good idea.  At least 3 hours one way on not the easiest roads.  Move the lodging base.  I like Whistler more than most of the comments above, but if you'r objective is to see more places I'd agree to skip it this time.  So allocate half the time for B.C., moving lodging base from Sun Peaks to Revelstoke to Kelowna.  Daytrip from cheap lodging in Kelowna is no more than an hour to Big White or SIlver Star.  Silver Star also works for the day you move between Revelstoke and Kelowna. 

 

So now you have 8 days in Utah.  Here the stay in Salt Lake and daytrip plan makes sense because the distances are so short. Powder Mt. is 1.5 hours away, Snowbasin 1 hour and the 3 Park City areas and 4 Cottonwood areas well under an hour.  Alta and Snowbird are the class of the region (and North America in general IMHO) but with 8 days you'll try some other places too.  The other good thing about the stay in SLC plan is that you can decide each day where to ski based upon expected weather, crowds, conditions.  And you can pick up discount lift tickets at SLC ski shops in the early morning for where you're going that day.

post #20 of 29

Don't throw Silver Star out with the bath water. I prefer SS over either Sun Peaks or Big White because of the double diamond terrain on the back side.  There is much more challenging terrain at Silver Star than Sun Peaks.  As a bonus, you'll feel like you're alone on the mountain even if the lift is full.  The resort is smaller, but the good stuff is more abundant. 

post #21 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by skier219 View Post

"Alta,Snowbird - is it worth it?"

 

What, are you kidding me?  I can't think of a more worthwhile place to ski.  I can think of hundreds of other places that are not worth as much.

 

 

I was only asking in the context of having already committed about 7 days to a 14 day trip to BC - SLC looks like a destination in itself, would love to have weeks there
 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SnowbirdDevotee View Post

of course yet another option is to go to SLC for 5 days, then drive up to Jackson Hole for 3 days, that would make more sense than going back to Whistler to where you've already been, plus you will catch a little of our american west culture, you know, cowboys and guns.

 

I've thought about scrapping SLC for this trip, and doing Jackson only, but I've also got future plan for a Wyoming/Montana double


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Crocker View Post

 

Daytripping from Sun Peaks to Revelstoke is not a good idea.  At least 3 hours one way on not the easiest roads.  Move the lodging base. 

I've taken this on board as per the other posters. At a minimum, I'll be staying in Revelstoke as well as Sun Peaks. While I want to see a couple of new resorts, I also don't want to be moving non-stop. As a general rule, I think minimum of 4 nights in each place would suit me, but if Revy is on the way and transfers and check-in are easy and you advise this, then I'll do it

post #22 of 29

On of the reasons SLC is so attractive - snow.

 

I would love to ski Revelstoke.  Jackson Hole would be incredible.  Whistler is too unreliable.

post #23 of 29

Staying in SLC (Midvale and Sandy are contiguous suburbs of SLC) has pros and cons.  The pros are that it gives you the advantage in picking a resort(out of the 8 or 9 - the 9th being Powder Mtn) to ski based on weather etc.  The costs are low, $60/nt for a room with breakfast, only 30 minutes from the airport, and cheaper lift tickets purchased in town.  You can ski half days coming in and leaving, depending on your flight.  The negative is that you have to drive 30-45 minutes each day to ski(or a little longer for Snowbasin/PowMow) and the other negative, not important to all, is that you won't be staying in a ski resort atmosphere, but in a city/suburb, although your hotel will be filled with at least 50% skiers, doing the same thing as you.

 

What sets Snowbird/Alta apart from other places is the unarguable best snow and best chances for a powder day, on expert/advanced terrain arguably comparable to that anywhere else.  Snowbird especially, has top to bottom expert terrain at every turn!  And, Alta is legendary for many reasons. Right next door are Solitude and Brighton, which although smaller, have the same snowfall (25 inches per week) and excellent terrain for all levels.  Then there are 3 Park City resorts, 45 minutes away, which although have lower snowfall, they are also world class resorts, in fact they are "more popular" than the 4 Cottonwood resorts.  And then there is Snowbasin, the best resort you've never heard of!

 

http://picasaweb.google.com/GlennCz/SLC2010#

http://picasaweb.google.com/GlennCz/09FebAlta#

http://picasaweb.google.com/GlennCz/09FebSnowbird#

http://picasaweb.google.com/GlennCz/Utah08#

http://www.epicski.com/forum/thread/49115/snowbird-pic-s-12-9


Edited by SnowbirdDevotee - 11/23/10 at 3:01pm
post #24 of 29

 

Quote:
 

I would love to ski Revelstoke.  Jackson Hole would be incredible.  Whistler is too unreliable.

 Whistler is considerably more reliable for snow conditions than either Jackson or Revelstoke IMHO.  Don't any of you ever think about sun exposure and its effect upon surface conditions?

 

Quote:
 have the same snowfall (>100inches per week)

 I assume he meant month.

Average inches new snow per week:  Alta 22, Snowbird 20, Brighton/Solitude 18, Snowbasin/Park City 13, Powder Mt. maybe 15.  FYI those inches are distributed very unevenly among weeks.  The odds of significant powder on an advanced booked week are not that great, even at Alta.   I have analyzed this issue in some detail: http://www.firsttracksonline.com/boards/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=6822

 

Since a significant proportion of weeks have not much new snow, that's why it's important to think about sun exposure.

post #25 of 29

Whistler = rain

post #26 of 29


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Crocker View Post

 

Quote:
 

I would love to ski Revelstoke.  Jackson Hole would be incredible.  Whistler is too unreliable.

 Whistler is considerably more reliable for snow conditions than either Jackson or Revelstoke IMHO.  Don't any of you ever think about sun exposure and its effect upon surface conditions?

 

Quote:
 have the same snowfall (>100inches per week)

 I assume he meant month.

Average inches new snow per week:  Alta 22, Snowbird 20, Brighton/Solitude 18, Snowbasin/Park City 13, Powder Mt. maybe 15.  FYI those inches are distributed very unevenly among weeks.  The odds of significant powder on an advanced booked week are not that great, even at Alta.   I have analyzed this issue in some detail: http://www.firsttracksonline.com/boards/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=6822

 

Since a significant proportion of weeks have not much new snow, that's why it's important to think about sun exposure.


For me it is the super dry air and thus super dry snow pack that makes Sun Peaks one of the best places to ski when it is not snowing. And it is cold enough that the southern exposure that is a lot of SP does not matter except late in the season when there isn't always great corn snow.

post #27 of 29

The upper part of Whistler (where you actually ski most of the time) gets rain 2-3 times per season.  It snows more frequently than most places in the Rockies so usually the alpine gets resurfaced soon after those rains, 2005 being the rare exception.  Since most of the alpine faces north and there is chronic overcast it tends to preserve very well.  2 of my trips were late March and early April and it was all winter conditions up top.

 

FYI the bottom half of Revelstoke is low enough to get rain, which it did in both January and February last year.  TR's reported mediocre at best surfaces below the 2 upper chairs for much of last season.  I've mentioned Jackson's exposure problems many times, and this particularly trip (beginning of March) is late enough for it to be a big issue if it doesn't snow when you're there.

 

I agree about Sun Peaks cold climate, which is fortunate because it averages only 205 inches snowfall.   Most of the  expert terrain is under the south-facing Burfield chair, and it was sun affected when I skied it on Feb. 27.  For families and intermediates Sun Peaks is a great area.

post #28 of 29


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Crocker View Post

The upper part of Whistler (where you actually ski most of the time) gets rain 2-3 times per season.  It snows more frequently than most places in the Rockies so usually the alpine gets resurfaced soon after those rains, 2005 being the rare exception.  Since most of the alpine faces north and there is chronic overcast it tends to preserve very well.  2 of my trips were late March and early April and it was all winter conditions up top.

 

FYI the bottom half of Revelstoke is low enough to get rain, which it did in both January and February last year.  TR's reported mediocre at best surfaces below the 2 upper chairs for much of last season.  I've mentioned Jackson's exposure problems many times, and this particularly trip (beginning of March) is late enough for it to be a big issue if it doesn't snow when you're there.

 

I agree about Sun Peaks cold climate, which is fortunate because it averages only 205 inches snowfall.   Most of the  expert terrain is under the south-facing Burfield chair, and it was sun affected when I skied it on Feb. 27.  For families and intermediates Sun Peaks is a great area.

 

Your estimate of the amount of rain at WB may be optimistic but even if it isn't, any place that has green garbage bags with their logo and arm and neck holes already cut is way too prepared for rain imo. I have also skied WB with beautiful thigh deep real powder but you get 2 runs and its done.

 

At least WB is set up to ski the upper mountain whereas Revy is not, but as you eluded to it needs to be. The Stoke chair accesses the top 2000' and it needs another chair of 1500' to 2000' vert. to feed it. It's in the plans but the economics of Revy as a ski resort means it will likely never happen.
 

post #29 of 29

Whistler should be on a skiers bucket list!

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