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2nd time in SLC, where to ski?

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 

On my first trip I did 1/2 day at Deer Valley, 2 days at Snowbird, and 1 day at Alta.  I loved Alta/Bird.  Deer Valley not so much.  On my radar for this trip are Snowbasin, Powder Mtn., Solitude, Brighton, and return trip to Alta/Bird.  I will have 4 days to ski.  It will be a holiday weekend (New Years) so places that are less crowded are a bonus.  Thoughts?

post #2 of 29

Solitude is fun.  Lifts are slower, but also a lot less crowds.  You never have to wait in line, though I never found Alta, or Snowbird to be overly crowded either.  I could spend all day in Honeycomb Canyon.  Brighton is heavily groomed, but there's some good tree skiing to be had.  Never been to pwdr mtn or snowbasin, but I hear they're lots of fun and no crowds.  Though Odgen doesn't get as much snow as the cottonwoods, so I dunno about coverage in early January.

 

It would feel weird to hit up Utah without going to Snowbird or Alta though...those places are way too fun to ski at.   If you're looking to avoid crowds, check the snow report to see how coverage is in Odgen...if good, I'd spend 2 days there and then a day at Snowbird (least busiest day) and a day at Solitude.  If coverage is no good around Odgen, then you can just do 1 day at each place in the cottonwoods.  Pick the 2 least busiest days if you can to ski at Alta and Snowbird.

post #3 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by PJS32000 View Post

On my first trip I did 1/2 day at Deer Valley, 2 days at Snowbird, and 1 day at Alta.  I loved Alta/Bird.  Deer Valley not so much.  On my radar for this trip are Snowbasin, Powder Mtn., Solitude, Brighton, and return trip to Alta/Bird.  I will have 4 days to ski.  It will be a holiday weekend (New Years) so places that are less crowded are a bonus.  Thoughts?


Sounds like you got it figured perfectly. Snowbasin is the best all-around resort in Utah, imo, with its mix of terrain, fast lifts and beautiful lodges (and don't forget those shitters!). And though it doesn't get as much snow as the Cottonwoods, it's not bull-rushed on a powder day, so you can be skiing fresh lines all day (and into the next couple days) without even trying too hard.

 

Powder Mountain is the same thing in terms of fresh snow, and since it's so huge, it's even better for finding freshies days later. It's a little flat compared to other ski areas around the state, and the lifts can be slow and frustrating, but it's definitely worth a visit. I highly recommend doing the Lightning Ridge cat at least once (I think it's $15 per ride this year and opens up all kinds of additional terrain and stashes). The shuttle-served Powder Country is also a blast, though the shuttle can take a while to get there to pick you up. When you ski Powder, just bring a super-relaxed, laid back attitude as opposed to a runs-maximizing, vert-counting attitude, and you'll have a much better time.

 

I've only skied Solitude and Brighton once each. Solitude has a lot of nice terrain if you don't mind a little traversing, and Brighton has some really fun trees. Both are less swarmed than Alta/Bird so a little easier to find powder.

 

Basically, I think your plan is right on.

 

The only caveat: since it's relatively early in the season, I'd consider waiting to see who's got the best base/most terrain. Cottonwoods should be a safe bet this year, but Snowbasin and Powder could be limited depending on what happens over the next few weeks. I was at Snowbasin yesterday and they opened John Paul just for the weekend. The base is still pretty low and there are a lot of rocks/bushes/obstacles. They probably open it full time until we get a couple of good, solid storms, and it's been pretty warm the past few days. In other words, if there's not much snow over the next three weeks, Snowbasin might suck on New Year's.

post #4 of 29

Brighton has the most groomer-cruiser terrain and is generally less steep than the other three Cottonwood Canyons resorts if that's your cup of tea.  Both it and Solitude are like Alta/Bird in that there's not much development so it's less "resorty" than the Park City resorts.  There are generally fewer type-A people in Big Cottonwood Canyon than Alta/Bird and fewer people in general at Solitude.  I'd say give both Solitude and Brighton a shot and make up your own mind.

 

Don't go to Brighton on a Saturday.  It's the only SLC area where kids ski free so it has a tendency to be filled with large LDS families on Saturday.  Sundays when they're in church or a weekday is a much better bet.

 

Agree that Snowbasin is probably the best all-around resort in Utah, assuming that having no slopeside accommodations at all doesn't disqualify it from that title.  Worth a trip.

 

Haven't been to Powder Mountain, but I plan to rectify that in the not too distant future.

post #5 of 29

If Pow Mow is on your radar, I would give that a shot given it's New Years. Even the holidays are uncrowded there. The holiday crowds can be annoying elsewhere. 

post #6 of 29

Quote:

Originally Posted by JoeUT View Post

The only caveat: since it's relatively early in the season, I'd consider waiting to see who's got the best base/most terrain. Cottonwoods should be a safe bet this year, but Snowbasin and Powder could be limited depending on what happens over the next few weeks. I was at Snowbasin yesterday and they opened John Paul just for the weekend. The base is still pretty low and there are a lot of rocks/bushes/obstacles. They probably open it full time until we get a couple of good, solid storms, and it's been pretty warm the past few days. In other words, if there's not much snow over the next three weeks, Snowbasin might suck on New Year's.

 

Haha, If we dont' get another storm for 4 weeks then EVERY WHERE in UT will suck on New years.

 

Its still the first week of December. There is nothing to worry about.


Edited by tromano - 12/6/10 at 3:39pm
post #7 of 29

get to Snowbasin at least 1 day if not 2, then hit Alta/ Bird. Now your all set for your next time out 3rd trip, you will have skied all the biggies out there

post #8 of 29


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by tromano View Post

Quote:

Originally Posted by JoeUT View Post

The only caveat: since it's relatively early in the season, I'd consider waiting to see who's got the best base/most terrain. Cottonwoods should be a safe bet this year, but Snowbasin and Powder could be limited depending on what happens over the next few weeks. I was at Snowbasin yesterday and they opened John Paul just for the weekend. The base is still pretty low and there are a lot of rocks/bushes/obstacles. They probably open it full time until we get a couple of good, solid storms, and it's been pretty warm the past few days. In other words, if there's not much snow over the next three weeks, Snowbasin might suck on New Year's.

 

Haha, If we dont' get another storm for 4 weeks then EVERY WHERE in UT will suck on New years.

 

Its still the first week of December. There is nothing to worry about.



Oh not worried, but it's something to consider if you're traveling from out of state.

 

The Cottonwoods have a much better base than Basin and are a better bet if things don't turn around. Early season isn't that great at Snowbasin.

post #9 of 29

The season is off to a great start. Where were we last december 6th 2009, or 2008, or 2007? I can tell you it was alot worse shape than this.

 

It doesn't need to turn arround it just needs to keep rolling. You are talking about what if the wheels fall off the car.

post #10 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by tromano View Post

The season is off to a great start. Where were we last december 6th 2009, or 2008, or 2007? I can tell you it was alot worse shape than this.

 

It doesn't need to turn arround it just needs to keep rolling. You are talking about what if the wheels fall off the car.



I must have forgotten the part where a good start automatically equates to a great rest of the season. It was 40 degrees and raining in Snowbasin over the weekend. And the lower part of the mountain was some of the worst crud I've ever skied--wet, heavy concrete; hard, crunchy crust on ungroomed trails; and rocks, bushes and roots everywhere. (Upper mountain was great). So just because the season started off well (i.e. two, three weeks ago) doesn't mean it's going to be great at the end of the month. It hasn't really "been rolling" of late.

 

And if the conditions weren't great when I was about to spend hundreds of dollars on a trip, I'd go to where they were most likely to be better. Not sure where the argument is.

post #11 of 29

I ski mostly at Beaver and the snowpack for us is bomber like 200% of normal. Snowbasin is at what 100% of normal? Hardly bad for you guys.

 

It rained at 7000' this weekend. So what? I will take a coastal snow-pack over a coloradan one this time of year. If it was raining at the base then it was dumping higher up. Alot of snow gets blown off at snowbasin. You want a wet snow to stick to everything up top fill in the rocks and chutes. 


Edited by tromano - 12/6/10 at 5:50pm
post #12 of 29
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the input so far.  I like to ski new places as much as possible so I don't want to spend my whole trip at Alta/Bird like I did last time in SLC.  I'm sure I'd have a blast there though.  Lodging is not a concern, I'll be staying with a friend locally.  Conditions will certainly be a factor though and I'll keep a close eye on it as my trip gets closer.

 

I'll be skiing Thurs, Fri, Sat, and Sun on New Years weekend.  Whichever resort gets the most crowded I'll probably hit on Thurs.  I suspect Snowbasin and Powder Mountain will be the best ones to hit on Sat and Sun since they are farther from SLC which I'm assuming translates to smaller crowds.  Sounds like maybe Alta/Bird on Thurs and Fri, unless someone can convince me I should go to Brighton or Solitude instead. :)

post #13 of 29

Solitude is totally worth a look (Honeycomb Canyon rocks and fresh stuff lasts longer!!).  You'll get to see another new place so for your 3rd trip, you'll have an easier time making a decision as to where to go.  Alta is great, but there's a lot of traversing to ski good terrain.  Also, on pow day, it gets skied out a lot faster. Overall, Alta is a little better than Solitude, but I'm recommending Solitude only cause you haven't been there and you should give it a shot (I think it's also cheaper).  My recommendation for you is bird/soli on Thurs/Fri for best crowd avoidance.

post #14 of 29

I have been blessed in that I go to Alta 2 times a year.  Skiing Alta is, in a sense, like going back 30 years.  Everything about Alta is up to date except the attitude.  Alta has, well......limited nightlife.  That's not really accurate.......more like zero.  But, it is filled with people who love to ski.  It has the greatest scenery, the best and deepest snow and no snowboards.  I suppose that is why we origianlly chose Alta because my wife has been hit about four times by snowboarders and me twice.  I do not 'hate' snowboarders but they clean off a trail real quick, and have no where near the ability to avoid others.  We also like the fact that it is only twenty minutes from Salt Lake so we can stay at reasonable accomodations and have a huge choice of restaurants.  There are a few other areas I would like to take my wife to ski but when we pull into Alta's parking lot, we feel we have arrived home.  We did ski Deer Valley a few years ago and it was so-o-o-o-o crowded.  Great cruiser trails, not much in the way of powder runs, but grooming was unbelievable.  Food was great as advertised and not as expensive as everyone let on.  HUGE difference in scenery from Deer Valley to Alta.  Kinda like Great Gorge in New Jersey to Zermatt in Suisse.  If you love to ski you will fall in love with Alta.  Have a safe and enjoyable trip regardless of where you end up.

post #15 of 29

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by PJS32000 View Post

 On my radar for this trip are Snowbasin, Powder Mtn., Solitude, Brighton, and return trip to Alta/Bird.  I will have 4 days to ski.  It will be a holiday weekend (New Years) so places that are less crowded are a bonus.  Thoughts?

 

 

Don't miss Snowbasin. For the other three days, just do whatever you want. 

 

Snowbasin, Powmow, and Solitude should be less crowded.

 

post #16 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by tromano View Post

 

Snowbasin, Powmow, and Solitude should be less crowded.

 

 

What about the Crayons?  How are the crowds there?

 

I've been meaning to ski there for awhile and will probably hit it this trip - I'm going about the same time as the OP, but I'm sticking around for the week after.   Since I'll have my choice of uncrowded hills for most of the trip I'm basically picking the first couple of days based on crowds (or lack thereof).  Anybody have a hunch about the Crayons over NY weekend?

post #17 of 29

Crayons are available at any corner drug store. Should not be crowded. biggrin.gif

 

I would think the Park city areas would be more busy in the holiday time. The canyons is huge so once you get off the beaten path near red pine, I am guesing it would be fine. They just rejiggered their lift system and opened new stuff, so if it all works according to plan might be less crowded. I don't realy know how that will  change things. HTH.

 

post #18 of 29

The Canyons is still trying to get their poop in a group, and aren't even open yet due to construction issues.  By New Year's they should be OK, but.....

 

By the time you get to SLC, the situation at the Canyons should be better known.

post #19 of 29

I rarely ski over the New Year's Day weekend because I find all the Cottonwood Canyon resorts to be extremely crowded on every day including Sunday. That's not to say that the Park City side is any better because it isn't. All of that said, Solitude is often the least crowded resort of the four CC ski areas. Check the snow reports when you get here and pick the best places where you haven't yet skied. No doubt that you'll be better off at Snowbasin or Powder Mountain when it comes to crowds than down here. If you want to try something different and not really challenging, but a nice place anyway, you could hit Sundance on that Sunday--don't go there on Saturday. It hasn't opened yet, so I don't know how it's doing, but with the start we've had so far this year, it should be fine. Just don't think that you'll find any place around SLC that isn't crowded that weekend.

post #20 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zman View Post

I rarely ski over the New Year's Day weekend because I find all the Cottonwood Canyon resorts to be extremely crowded on every day including Sunday. That's not to say that the Park City side is any better because it isn't. All of that said, Solitude is often the least crowded resort of the four CC ski areas. Check the snow reports when you get here and pick the best places where you haven't yet skied. No doubt that you'll be better off at Snowbasin or Powder Mountain when it comes to crowds than down here. If you want to try something different and not really challenging, but a nice place anyway, you could hit Sundance on that Sunday--don't go there on Saturday. It hasn't opened yet, so I don't know how it's doing, but with the start we've had so far this year, it should be fine. Just don't think that you'll find any place around SLC that isn't crowded that weekend.



You've obviously never been to Breckenflat if you think cottonwood canyons get "extremely crowded"  ;-)

post #21 of 29

PJ, your first trip covered the Cottonwoods, so why not go north to Powder MT., Snowbasin and Canyons, I'm sure you'll find some fine skiing and few crowds.

Hell, Snowbird got a foot last night and I'm sure the Cirque is already tracked-out!!! Crowded or not! lol

post #22 of 29
Thread Starter 

Thanks again for all of the input thus far.  Any updates on the conditions out there, particularly for Snowbasin and Powder Mtn.?  Looks like I'll be skiing on Thurs, Fri, Sun, and Mon this weekend.  I'm leaning towards Alta/Bird for Thurs and Mon, and Snowbasin/Powder for Fri and Sun.  It looks like Alta/Bird are fully open with a good base so far so I'm not too concerned about the conditions there, but would love a first hand update on some of the other resorts.

post #23 of 29

Snowbasin is in full operation, great skiing/coverage & a juicy storm on the way for Wed. & Thurs.

JF

post #24 of 29

I'd ski where there's the most new snow. Also - if LCC is closed, I'd ski BCC or Ogden. Also - if it snowed a bunch overnight, I'd get up early. Like 5 am.

post #25 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by 4ster View Post

Snowbasin is in full operation, great skiing/coverage & a juicy storm on the way for Wed. & Thurs.

JF


Did you make it out for the first day Strawberry opened? I was kicking myself because I missed it, wondering how it was.

post #26 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeUT View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by 4ster View Post

Snowbasin is in full operation, great skiing/coverage & a juicy storm on the way for Wed. & Thurs.

JF


Did you make it out for the first day Strawberry opened? I was kicking myself because I missed it, wondering how it was.


No, I missed it.  Strawberry officially opened at noon on Saturday.  My window was earlier in the day.  I did skin out there last week, & it was really nice in the way out areas.  It was on wind hold most of the day yesterday, so I imagine it was pretty nice this morning after the new snow yesterday.

 

I have been spending most of my time on JP & the tram, less crowded & quicker for me if duty calls.

 

JF

post #27 of 29

4ster, assuming this upcoming storm is a "northern track" event, does that equate to less wind for Snowbasin? I know it means more POW than a "southern tracking" storm.

T-minus 4 weeks and counting. Tick-tock,tick-tock....

 

Get your orange juice while it is cheap, we had another freeze down here this week.

post #28 of 29


Stop skiing the green groomers and maybe you won't run into as many noobs on the mountain.

 

-EDIT-

 

Unless you ski 20+ times a year... if you have been hit by snowboarders 4 times, then it just might be something that you are doing that is putting yourself at higher risk.

Quote:
Originally Posted by captainken View Post

I have been blessed in that I go to Alta 2 times a year.  Skiing Alta is, in a sense, like going back 30 years.  Everything about Alta is up to date except the attitude.  Alta has, well......limited nightlife.  That's not really accurate.......more like zero.  But, it is filled with people who love to ski.  It has the greatest scenery, the best and deepest snow and no snowboards.  I suppose that is why we origianlly chose Alta because my wife has been hit about four times by snowboarders and me twice.  I do not 'hate' snowboarders but they clean off a trail real quick, and have no where near the ability to avoid others.  We also like the fact that it is only twenty minutes from Salt Lake so we can stay at reasonable accomodations and have a huge choice of restaurants.  There are a few other areas I would like to take my wife to ski but when we pull into Alta's parking lot, we feel we have arrived home.  We did ski Deer Valley a few years ago and it was so-o-o-o-o crowded.  Great cruiser trails, not much in the way of powder runs, but grooming was unbelievable.  Food was great as advertised and not as expensive as everyone let on.  HUGE difference in scenery from Deer Valley to Alta.  Kinda like Great Gorge in New Jersey to Zermatt in Suisse.  If you love to ski you will fall in love with Alta.  Have a safe and enjoyable trip regardless of where you end up.


Edited by Tarzanman - 12/28/10 at 7:44am
post #29 of 29
Thread Starter 

Keep doing the snow dance, it looks like it's working!  Can't wait to hit the slopes tomorrow!  Do you think the canyon road will be closed by this storm?

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