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Chances of getting on LCC Bus During Storm

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 

I posted this in another thread a while back, but didn't get any hits.

 

In short:

  • The plan is to rent 2wd as it is a third of the cost or even less when booking through priceline vs 4wd. We're there the week before President's Week.
  • The plan is to drive to the resorts if it isn't storming or forecast to storm.
  • If storming, we'd take the bus to Snowbird as our condo is a 3 minute walk to the 8200 S @Wasatch Blvd Park and Ride (the Swamp Lot).

 

The question:

  • Will the buses be filled by the time it gets to our stop- the 8200 S @Wasatch Blvd Park and Ride (Swamp Lot), or do they not normally fill up until the LCC Canyon entrance park and rides.  The plan is to get to the resort before 1st lift.

 

The 2nd question:

  • If the bus is filling up, do they send in a 2nd bus to handle the overflow, or do you have to hope the next scheduled bus will have seats?  If this is the case, I'd rather just drive to BCC, Snowbasin, or Park City.

 

I'd like to have this information in hand before standing all day at a bus stop, all the while missing sweet POW!

 

Thanks.

post #2 of 21

I can't really help with your specific questions because I've never made first bus. From what I've heard it gets pretty packed though.

 

One thing to consider; if it's snowing so bad that you're worried about driving, first chair isn't as big a priority. That means that it's still snowing and you'll find fresh tracks all day as long as it keeps up.

 

On the other hand, if it snowed over night (the situation where you really want to get up for first chair) they may have the road cleared by the time you're going up. I'm constantly impressed by how efficiently they're able to get the road clear. Or they may have the road closed for avy control and you'll just have to wait it out anyway.

 

post #3 of 21
Thread Starter 

I'm surprised that for the amount of people that recommend taking the bus in other threads, there's so few who chime in on this topic.  

post #4 of 21

The bus is the least bad option. Reality is if you have 2WD rental car and want to go up the canyon in a storm either you take the bus, or you take your chances getting busted or wrecking. I think typically if the light is flashing that because of a winter storm warning and that usually will impact both LCC and BCC. If you want to drive you would have to go to park city, not BCC. I don't think anyone would recommend the bus if it were not the only legal option to get in to the cottonwoods during a storm given a 2wd rental car. I never take the bus because I have snowtires and a subie.

 

Given my experience with city buses (not in LCC), I would say you should expect the bus to be either early or late, full on arrival, and to break down half way up the canyon. And do not expect a second bus to be sent in any circumstances. That way all surprises will be pleasant.


Edited by tromano - 12/18/10 at 6:05pm
post #5 of 21

Joe, I think the reason people don't chime in is because it is hard to give exact advice.  Most of us don't do the bus or have only done it a few times(I have).  So it is something that is hard to get real experience with, unless you are a townie.  Also, since it doesn't snow every trip, it is hard to judge exactly what will happen with the bus at your particular stop.  It is very specialized knowledge.  All I can tell you is that there are many situations, sometimes the temporary road closure causes a backup all the way to the 7/11 at the bottom of the BCC.  I have done the bus thing because i had a 2WD and couldnt' even get a parking spot at lot near the 7/11. 

 

To best enjoy your trip and all the $ you spent getting and being there, at least consider booking a 4WD if there is snow in the forecast when you arrive.  The small Jeeps and what not aren't that expensive compared to your lift ticket if split in a group.

 

If the LCC is flashing, then the BCC will also be flashing, however the delays for BCC  are much less frequent. 

 

And don't expect first tracks, even on a stormy day, (except in the morning), because during regular season the whole place(AltaBird) gets skied and is chopped up fairly quick, although it may be termed powder it is far from first tracks.  You'll have to venture off the beaten path to the nooks and crannies to find true first tracks, and those will be short pitches.

post #6 of 21

The buses fill up with staff early on. In fact, when I used to try and catch the snowbird bus at Fort Union/900 East, it was often already full with housekeeping, I think they came in on Trax and got on where the bus started.  In Feb, when the season geared up, it was horrible. Snowbird put a van on for staff which started up near 900 east so could get to work, but it filled up too!  The ski bus will keep putting people on, but when there's people sitting in the front footwell they stop taking on passengers.

 

I rent 2WD cars too (money) and usually they're OK, but if it's dumping, they won't want you in the canyon. The Swamp lot is probably a better bet than the mouth (mainly staff at the swamp, from memory), and (I'm really wracking my memory now) I think the bus that visits that one is different from the one that comes up Fort Union, so it might not be pre-packed with staff.

post #7 of 21

Some follow-up thoughts: If it were me, I'd spend the extra cash on a 4WD. Saving cash is great and all, but not when it cuts into your vacation. It seems like you're saving money by staying off-mountain, eventually you're going to have to ante up or miss out on some turns. Also, you can drive up LCC in a 2wd when the lights are flashing, but you need chains. Packing a pair of chains may be your most cost effective way of getting up there quickly during a storm without having to deal with the bus.

 

The bus is a great option when you don't feel like driving and don't have a specific schedule as to when you get there and get back. It's not great if you're trying to be somewhere at a specific time.

 

And if skiing untracked is your only priority, avoid BCC/LCC problems altogether and go to Snowbasin. The drive is a lot easier, no chain restrictions and you'll be skiing untracked all day rather than for an hour in the morning. No need to worry about first chair either.

post #8 of 21

The only problem with going to Snowbasin on a powder day is that you could get 2 feet at AltaBird and 4-6" at Snowbasin.  Esp since the totals are often so much more than reported in Little Cloud and on top of the mtn. But is still an option to consider, esp if Snowbasin has got the goods for sure. 

I really love those long, long lines you get at Snowbasin, esp over at Strawberry. (as in skiing not waiting) 

post #9 of 21

Or you might get 1' at snowbasin and 1' in LCC. These past few storms have lacked any sort of NW flow that favors the cottonwoods.

post #10 of 21

...Or you could get over a foot at Snowbasin & only 8" at Snowbird, which is what happened yesterday.  Too bad it was rain at the bottom today, but a lot of snow fell up higher today, & it was snow all the way to the base when I left at 2:30.

 

JF

post #11 of 21

 

Quote:
The drive is a lot easier, no chain restrictions and you'll be skiing untracked all day rather than for an hour in the morning. No need to worry about first chair either.

Those days have begun to disappear, although it is still lasts longer than the others except maybe Powder Mountain.

JF

post #12 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by 4ster View Post

 

Quote:
The drive is a lot easier, no chain restrictions and you'll be skiing untracked all day rather than for an hour in the morning. No need to worry about first chair either.

Those days have begun to disappear, although it is still lasts longer than the others except maybe Powder Mountain.

JF


You've probably been here longer than me (only my third season), so you have a different perspective. But compared to everywhere else I've ridden (excluding Powder), Snowbasin has a wealth of laid back untracked terrain. By laid back I mean "don't have to get there at 9 a.m. sharp to find it." When I lived in Steamboat, it was either get up for first chair or miss out on most of the fresh lines (outside of the trees), whereas at Snowbasin, I roll out of bed whenever is natural and still find more fresh lines all day than I would ever have at the Boat.

 

I've heard that the "old days" were even better; I wish I'd been here to see them.

 

 

post #13 of 21

Sundance is another place to consider on powder days if LCC is sounding too ugly.  Down in Provo Canyon. Not sure how far it is, I drove from there to SLC airport one evening after training on a space-saver spare tyre and it was do-able, if not particularly pleasant. Sundance is nice, I have the impression they don't groom? No fast lifts, no grooming = good snow.

post #14 of 21
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all the advice.

 

Another option for us would be to cross the street, and take the bus to BCC.  Last year when we were there, it was a drought and the best snow was definitely in BCC... I could imagine you'd be getting fresh tracks all day long in a storm. 

 

Snowbasin was a nice mountain, but it didn't fare well in the drought.  I read a review that said the mountain didn't bump up much, based on lack of traffic vs snowfall.  But when we were there, it was all bumps off the groomed runs.  It was too bad, because there was so much sweet looking terrain... and bumps tire this guy out way too fast for them to be fun.  I'd rather go fast.

post #15 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeUT View Post

Some follow-up thoughts: If it were me, I'd spend the extra cash on a 4WD.



^^ Ditto.

Last weekend at Hood, it was dumping snow Friday night and Sat morning. As much as I didn't want to spend the bucks on 4wd, they gave me a GMC Arcadia. Way bigger than what I wanted, but it's 4wd and tires rocked. I had zero problem driving up and around the mountain. I even tried to get it to slip, playing around in parking lots and deep snow, and it was as sure-footed as a mountain goat. I couldn't get it to slide for anything. TOTALLY worth it. As it was storming Saturday morning, I was one of the first up to the resort area. Rock on!

post #16 of 21

JoeSchmoe, don't give up on Snowbasin.  That's was an unusual situation if you say it was all bumped up, except for the John Paul, where it can get nasty in there with no way out.  And if you want to go fast, there is no better place to rack up vertical in Utah than at Snowbasin.  I'm not a "cruiser", but I do love flying down those hills top to bottom if possible w/o stopping.  Great place to let it rip!

post #17 of 21

If there has been a snow drought and it is the first day of major snowfall in many weeks, everything will be jammed. The roads, the bus, etc. Get a 4x4 and use your proximity to be among first in line to get up the mountain when they open the road.

 

I should mention the almost calamitous drive I had down LCC last year in 2WD rental car. I happen to be a decent and cautious winter driver, but I ended up due to my enemies at the rental car company with a tiny kia with bagel tires and no ABS and a plane to catch home. Going up the canyon was fine, but around noon it started dumping at the top and raining at the bottom of the canyon. a very bad combo of temperature and precipitation. Luckily I only had one spin out on the way down and it thankfully ended up with me facing backward still on my side of the road. Enough said. So even if you can drive up OK, you may have difficulty getting down in some conditions.

 

BTW, if there are only one or two people you may have luck hitching up with a kind fellow in a subaru legacy (If you are reading this, I don't remember your name, but thanks for the lift).

post #18 of 21

aschick's story is a good reminder. Driving downhill with ice is NO fun. If I was hell-bent on going up LCC when it was snowing in a 2WD (and those rentals have rubbish tyres, I popped one in the carpark at Sundance on a ball of ice!), the ski bus would be an alluring prospect.

post #19 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ant View Post

aschick's story is a good reminder. Driving downhill with ice is NO fun. If I was hell-bent on going up LCC when it was snowing in a 2WD (and those rentals have rubbish tyres, I popped one in the carpark at Sundance on a ball of ice!), the ski bus would be an alluring prospect.


I won't be going up LCC in the 2WD if there is any threat of significant snow... hence the reason for posting the thread about taking the bus.

 

And with rentals for mid sized SUV's being $70/day, and priceline full-size car rentals being about $20/day the savings is not insignificant.  I guess though I will make a cancellable SUV rental just in case conditions are forecast to be like they are now.

post #20 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeSchmoe View Post
 I guess though I will make a cancellable SUV rental just in case conditions are forecast to be like they are now.

 

Great plan! I'd go that route.

post #21 of 21

The other choice is to see if the rental car company has chains or buy a set from Les Schwab. They have a deal that you can return them for a refund if you don't use them. It's supposed to be buy them now and return them in the spring if you don't use them. Not sure if they would let you return them after only a week or two. The problem with the bus on many days is that they are always full, which is why so many of us drive. I always pick up people at the mouth to either canyon if I have room in my car, so that is another option, hitchhike. Most folks don't have to wait very long for a ride up the canyon. Did that this morning without a problem. Conditions at Alta were wonderful icon14.gif  lots and lots of powder, especially when they opened Supreme. Didn't get skied out that quickly either, but there are always stashes if you know where to look.

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