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Help me plan my Utah trip (a zillion questions)
10 posts from 10 users
Updated 13 days ago
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14 days ago

With my sprained knee having passed the snowshoe test with flying colors, I’m moving quickly to firm up my Utah trip.  I leave in 13 days, and this will be my first trip out there since a week in PC in 2011.  A couple of quick pieces of context first:

- I learned to ski at Powder Mountain in the early 80’s.  I’ve only been back to Utah once since then; the 2011 trip where we skied DV, PC, and a day in Alta.  Part of me is tempted to hit PowMow just for the nostalgia, and to see if I remember anything (I was very young).  

- North American resorts I love: Deer Valley, Vail (almost exclusively the back bowls and blue sky basin), Jackson Hole.

- NA resorts I wasn’t as in love with: Whistler, Steamboat (although I only got to ski a third of the mountain before I was injured), PCMR (although I did find a couple of places I liked), Breck.

- Likes: Steeps, bumps, off-piste, good visibility, little wind, high speed lifts, lots of sustained vertical, good meals on-mountain, driving in snow

- Not a fan of: Intermediate groomers, lift lines, slow lifts, tons of snowboarders, parks, flat light / fog, high speed carving (I do it all the time because often that’s all there is on the east coast, but prefer more technical terrain when skiing out west), waiting on / riding buses

- I’ll be in SLC Mon-Thurs speaking at a conference.  My wife will be flying in Thursday night to join me.  The conference gives us lift tickets and transportation to PCMR on Friday.  I still need to book lodging, transportation, and lift tickets for Saturday and Sunday.  We fly out early Monday morning.

- I’m tempted to go back to Deer Valley, because I know I will like it, but I don’t want to pay the $$$ to stay in PC, plus I want to try something new.  So let’s take that off the table.

- I have read numerous forum posts and trip reports here on DC Ski, but it’s always fun to start a thread like this…

- I think the resorts I am considering for Sat/Sun (with PCMR on Fri due to the free tickets) are PowMow, Snowbasin, Alta, Brighton, Solitude, and Snowbird.

- I have Marriott Plat status, so will likely stay at either a courtyard in Ogden (if I ski PowMow or SB), or a Fairfield Inn in Midvale (for the CC resorts).  Both are around $90 a night.  


Now on to the questions:

- Is it worth it to even consider SB / PowMow, or since I have so little experience skiing Utah as an adult, should I stick with the Cottonwood Canyons resorts?

- Which resorts (and where specifically) have the best food / drinks, both for lunch, and for apres ski?

- Which resorts have the “best” lifts?  I’m defining best as high speed, with lots of vertical.

- Which resorts have the least wind?  Which have the best chance of sunshine?

- What else should I be considering?  


14 days ago

Try Solitude and Snowbasin.  Brighton is nice midweek as all terrain is served by high speed lifts.

Snowbird is steep.  Alta gets tracked up fast on powder days.  Powder Mtn. is okay.       

I was not impressed with the Canyons.

Never skied PCMR or Deer Valley.

Lots of good choices in Utah with Snowbasin being my favorite.

14 days ago

Snowbird, Snowbird. 

14 days ago

jimmy wrote:

Snowbird, Snowbird. 

Loved Snowbird for the experience.  Big mountain easy to get overwhelmed tho.  Can go from bitter cold on the top to spring skiing in one run.  Go with someone who knows the resort if you can.  Brighton. LOVE IT!  Trees are great, milly express lift has something for everyone.  Thats where the most challenging stuff is (left turn off the lift if i remember correctly).  I really enjoy Brighton for a day.  


But based on your preferences, you might enjoy Snowbird best of all the Cottonwood hills.  Have fun.


Staying in town is easy. Bus and rental car are good options and ther are good chain and local restaurants.  If you need gear, check out Level 9 in downtown.

14 days ago

Now on to the questions:

- Is it worth it to even consider SB / PowMow, or since I have so little experience skiing Utah as an adult, should I stick with the Cottonwood Canyons resorts?  I liked Snowbasin more than PowMow.

- Which resorts (and where specifically) have the best food / drinks, both for lunch, and for apres ski?  Snowbasin has great on-slope food.  Try the John Paul Lodge: 

I stayed at the Ogden Marriot some years ago.  Extremely nice hotel with good restaurants nearby.  More info here:

Deer Valley also has great food in all on-slope lodges.  

- Which resorts have the “best” lifts?  I’m defining best as high speed, with lots of vertical.

Pretty much everywhere but PowMow and Solitude.  Best sustained vert at Snowbird and Snowbasin. I think there is more advanced/expert skiing at PC than DV.  If you enjoy your Friday at PC it is certainly large enough to entertain you for two more days. More info here:

- Which resorts have the least wind?  Maybe Park City, Deer Valley and PowMow.  Kind of a guess based on lower elevation. Which have the best chance of sunshine? no idea.

- What else should I be considering?  When are you going?  After April 1 you might want to emphasize LCC and BCC becaue of higher elevation over the others and better snow preservation.  

14 days ago

No snow boarders allowed at Alta and Deer Valley!

Canoyns and Park City are managed by Vail, have interconnection trail and gondola lift.  Now largest ski resort in US.

There is a Marriot slopeside at Park City base!

Unbelievable great food at Deer Valley!

Have fun!!!!!!!


aka The Colonel

14 days ago

Hmm … what jumps out at me:

* Sat, Sun skiing, flying out early Mon morning

* wants vertical and high speed lifts

* liked JH but not Steamboat

* would rather avoid being around a lot of snowboarders

Assuming there isn’t a powder storm on the weekend, doesn’t seem worth the extra drive to Ogden.  Don’t think PowMow fits the description of optimal “fun” in this case.  Snowbasin would fit up to a point.

Alta and Snowbird make the most sense.  With Solitude as a possibility to avoid lift lines.  If skiing at Alta, then should have lunch at the Rustle, Alta Lodge, or Collins Grill (top floor of Watson’s, mid-mountain Collins side).

14 days ago

agree with the above - but eat at the Steak Pit in Snowbird!

13 days ago

Alta, Snowbird, Snowbasin

My guess is you’ll probably like Snowbird and Snowbasin the best.  Top to bottom lifts, lots of vertical, great steeps.  

Alta is very unique, it’s a special place. At first glance there are some fun things, but the great stuff requires exploring.  It took me a few trips before I felt like I’d unlocked the place.  Once you discover some of these hidden spots you’ll realize why some people have decided they could ski a lifetime there.

I love Snowbasin, I don’t think enough people venturing to Utah take advantage of it.  The place is essentially two giant bowls.  The skiing is very different from the Cottonwood or Park City resorts.  You can find powder there for days after a storm.  On a blue bird day I don’t think any resort’s scenery can hold a candle to Snowbasin.  Oh yeah, the lodges and food are excellent as well.

13 days ago

If you go to Little Cottonwood I echo the above.  Stick to Snowbird.  In two days you won’t even get to half the mountain.  Alta is amazing but a bit complicated.  Unless you preplan you could end up skiing a lot of cat tracks and traverses and then wonder whats all the hype about… Of course neither have much of an apres scene.

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