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Utah 2018-19: travel planning, snow conditions, deals

marzNC

Angel Diva
#21
Do we know that the combined Alta/Snowbird using 2 days bit is confirmed? I noted that people were told both ways (combined usage = 1 day and combined usage = 2 days) preseason, but I'm not sure I've seen confirmation of either one once things opened. I suppose it is unlikely to matter, as we're only there for 5 skiing days and will likely check out Solitude and Deer Valley. :smile:
Yes, now that I think about it, I sent the question directly to Ikon in October. Here's the Q&A:

Q) Since the number of days for an Ikon pass is based on Alta and Snowbird combined, does the pass function like the Alta/Snowbird combo pass? Meaning that it’s possible to ride lifts at both resorts on the same day.
A) Unfortunately, no. If you go to Alta one day and in that same day go to Snowbird, that would take two days off of your pass. If you have anymore questions, please call us at 888.365.IKON.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
#22
Fantastic, will start him at Alta. I think their price is still quite reasonable for their beginner lesson and he will be happy there. Brighton was a pretty awesome value though, will go early if we go there together
Might be worthwhile for him to wait until the second day if he is feeling any issues related to being at higher altitude. SLC is around 4500 ft, which most people don't feel at all. But sleeping a night before skiing at 8000 feet wouldn't hurt.

The other advantage of starting at Alta is that it's certainly more of a treat if he decides not to ski much afterwards. The view from the diningroom of the Rustler or Alta Lodge is iconic.
 

LKillick

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#23
Hm, I also saw someone who asked Ikon directly and was told one day for both resorts. I will attempt to confirm in person. Would be nice for everyone if they were combined days!

Good call on the altitude. I think we're both likely to wait until Weds to ski regardless, as we don't land until 2pm. Didn't realize SLC was even at 4500! Nice to get to sleep at the lower elevation.

thanks again :smile: Yes, I think he'd be happier to relax at Alta. And the ski bus is such a nice option if he wants to leave early, either of us can bus!
 

LKillick

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#24
Found it. Hope its ok that I post this here -- apologies and happy to remove if not! Looks like they've either changed their mind or individual agents are unsure. I will attempt to clarify in person for us this week!

Screen Shot 2019-01-07 at 9.25.28 PM.png
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
#25
Interesting about Alta/Snowbird and Ikon.

The MCP has gone back and forth. First only Alta was on the MCP, then Snowbird was added but only as the combo Alta/Snowbird. The combo is more expensive, so for the 50% off days when someone only wanted to ski one place that meant actually spending more. For 2018-19, you get 2 days at Alta and 2 days at Snowbird but separately. That works for me because I save money skiing additional days at Alta only.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
#26
Good call on the altitude. I think we're both likely to wait until Weds to ski regardless, as we don't land until 2pm. Didn't realize SLC was even at 4500! Nice to get to sleep at the lower elevation.
My first few trips to Alta mid-season in the last decade included staying in SLC. These days I go straight to Alta Lodge, which is about 8000 ft. Takes a couple days to full acclimate but it's not high enough to be a major issue for me. At least in comparison to Taos Ski Valley where the lodging near the base is at 9000 ft. The town of Taos is around 7500 ft and Albuquerque is about 5000 ft.

Certainly no point to ski on the day of arrival. I only do that when I get to Alta Lodge in time for lunch and the snow is very good. There is a lift ticket that starts at 2:30 for those who want to just get in a few runs the first afternoon. Or can ski on Sunnyside only for $12.

That reminds me, there is a Beginners lift ticket for Sunnyside only that probably makes the most sense for Kris.

Sunnyside and Collins open at 9:15 and stay open until 4:30. The upper mountain lifts close earlier. Pay to pay attention to the time if you want to ski over to Collins in the afternoon instead of taking the transfer tow. Also good to watch to see if the Collins return (CBT) cat track that goes from the Sugarloaf side over to the Collins side is open or not. High wind, low visibility, or avalanche danger off Mt. Baldy can close it.
 

Sparky

Angel Diva
#27
Hi @LKillick! I just got back last Friday from a 8 day trip to Utah! We actually stayed at the Hyatt Place in Cottonwood, right across the way from Residence Inn. We were trying to escape the holiday crowds at Mammoth and also wanted to take advantage of our IKON passes. Seems MarzNC has given you a ton of great tips, but I’ll share just a few tidbits from my recent experience as well.

Our plan was to do Snowbird, Alta, Solitude, Brighton, and Deer Valley, and extra days at whichever we liked. We ended up at Snowbird 4 days, and one day at each of the others, except for Brighton which we never made it to. We skipped one day after DH hurt his knee a little, but it was totally fine because it 0 and below that day!

Yes Snowbird does mountain tours and we actually did one and found it helpful, even though we had been there a few times before. They run at 9:30 and 10:30 daily and only go on blue and green runs. Lasts about 2 hours. I couldn’t decide whether I like Alta or Snowbird better in the past, but after this trip, I decided I like Snowbird the best. I love the open bowls of Snowbird, whereas sometimes I feel like I’m doing more flats or traversing at Alta. Since January is learn to ski month, I heard they have a great beginner deal for like $50 which even includes lift and rentals. This might be a good option for your better half.

We went to the Rustler at Alta last season and it was very nice. This time we went to Collins Grill for lunch which is tucked within one of the mid mountain lodges off Collins lift. Nice views of the hill if you can get a window table but you need to make reservations. They even provide comfy slippers for you if you want to take your boots off while you dine! We wanted to take the connector from Snowbird a couple times but just never did. Our understanding was that it will ding you a day off your pass at both.

We did Solitude on a Saturday since we were advised Snowbird and Alta would be crowded. While it indeed wasn’t that crowded, coverage wasn't great when we went but we still had fun. A guy we met said he was having more fun that day then he had had at Brighton the last two days. And that some of the stuff that people go to Brighton for wasn’t open due to lack of coverage. Based on that and also that we heard there’s a tendency to have more kids at Brighton, we decided to skip it.

We moved to the Hyatt in Park City for our last two nights so we could ski Deer Valley. We wanted to try DV because we had never been. We didn’t experience any of the world class grooming they were known for. The groomers we did had lots of icy patches and it seemed like all the blacks were huge deep mogul fields. Not the cool down day I was looking forward to. And tons of kids, then you would have people racing down the hill. Not safe! Very nice place but I would probably never go back. Especially when there’s Alta and Snowbird. Oh, and make sure you reserve your tickets online, they don’t have straight to lift there. There’s a link to IKON reservations on the DV website. Go to Main Street one night for dinner and drinks.

We drove to the resorts everyday, and traffic was fine, except for the morning after about a foot of snow, when it took us about an extra 20-30 to get to Snowbird. And on the way down one day when it was snowing, it took us over an hour and a half to get down the hill, which wasn’t fun. Other than that, driving was fine.

Wow, I just wrote a book here! Oops

Have fun!!!
 

Abbi

Angel Diva
#28
@Sparky re: Deer Valley and Ikon. You mentioned reserving tickets; do you mean one needs to have them reserved, just in case, before arriving at deer Valley? I’m going at the end of February. Thanks for the clarification!
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
#29
@Sparky re: Deer Valley and Ikon. You mentioned reserving tickets; do you mean one needs to have them reserved, just in case, before arriving at deer Valley? I’m going at the end of February. Thanks for the clarification!
Deer Valley limits the number of day tickets. Sounds like Ikon tickets are counted as day tickets, which makes sense. There is a reason that DV is the only Alterra-owned ski resort that is limited in the number of days even for a Full Ikon.

During a holiday period, I can see DV maxing out the number of day tickets.

By the way, Powder Mountain also limits the number of day tickets. As well as the number of season passes. But my impression is that they only sell out on powder days.
 

LKillick

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#31
Sparky, thanks for the tidbits -- love it! You're making me excited for Snowbird, as I really loved Squaw's bowls last year. And thanks again to Marz as well, of course!

Decided I'll definitely do DV for one day... It is only a 35 min drive from here, not really further than Alta maps to be, you were right, not bad at all. Excited to have that experience.

Either Alta or Snowbird tomorrow I think, depending on if K wants to ski tomorrow... we actually drove up to Solitude tonight to activate our IKON passes for the ski bus to increase flexibility. Appreciate the beginner ticket tips, super helpful to have in this thread, but K actually has an IKON too, since we knew we'd be doing Snowshoe last spring and Sunday River/Steamboat/SLC/Snowshoe this year. He's gonna have to get over this knee thing to get his money's worth, though, right he's only up to about 5 days skied on his IKON. :tongue:
 

LKillick

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#34
Wow, you all gave lovely advice. Thank you.

I started at Snowbird, and our free tour ended up being 3 hours long. Tipped that guide nicely -- what a wonderful morning. Had a blast at Snowbird that day. Alta day 2. Took the level 6 intermediate class, enjoyed it, but they told me not to come back. :tongue: Enjoyed the mountain so much I returned the next day and I took the advanced level entry to off-piste type workshop, which was absolutely superb. My instructor kept it simple with a couple of main themes and I learned so much in an afternoon. Two thumbs up for Alta ski school. My instructors said some things that really linked together things I've been told by various instructors over the last two years -- incredible.

Checked out Deer Valley very quickly on Sat, then spent a large chunk of yesterday at Solitude. Honeycomb Canyon is super neat. Loved that area.

Overall, two thumbs up. The Residence Inn had a shockingly decent breakfast, and the location was very convenient. Will repeat. Thanks for the planning help :smile:
 
#35
Alta day 2. Took the level 6 intermediate class, enjoyed it, but they told me not to come back. :tongue: Enjoyed the mountain so much I returned the next day and I took the advanced level entry to off-piste type workshop, which was absolutely superb. My instructor kept it simple with a couple of main themes and I learned so much in an afternoon. Two thumbs up for Alta ski school. My instructors said some things that really linked together things I've been told by various instructors over the last two years -- incredible.
Who did you have? Was there a ski-off for the Adult Workshop? It's been a while since I've been at Alta mid-season.

I started at Snowbird, and our free tour ended up being 3 hours long. Tipped that guide nicely -- what a wonderful morning. Had a blast at Snowbird that day.
Did you get into Mineral Basin?

Certainly sounds like you had a great time! What about BF?
 

LKillick

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#36
My workshop instructor was Jonathan Doty. Yes, there was a ski off. Those 2.5 hours were crazy exhausting after being used to the groomers!

I did get to mineral basin. I laughed a bit reading this question because I managed to get stuck in mineral basin for about 3 runs longer than intended at the end of the day — but I loved it until I was exhausted! Gorgeous, and great morning light.

K is struggling. Having such a hard time getting out of the backseat so he’s immediately exhausted. Not falling anymore though, and good control, just not in a good position. He’s wondering if he should try a snowboard. I’m wondering about his boots.. don’t want to spend crazy bootfitter money when he isn’t sold yet but want to make sure they aren’t contributing to the problem. I’m having some heel lift in mine, so think we will go talk to my boot fitter together.
 
#38
My workshop instructor was Jonathan Doty. Yes, there was a ski off. Those 2.5 hours were crazy exhausting after being used to the groomers!

I did get to mineral basin. I laughed a bit reading this question because I managed to get stuck in mineral basin for about 3 runs longer than intended at the end of the day — but I loved it until I was exhausted! Gorgeous, and great morning light.
Lucky you had good visibility. The first time I took my ski buddy from Ohio to Alta, he was in the middle group for the Adult Workshop. Went on the High T more than once but had no idea where they went down because it was pretty foggy that afternoon. I wasn't good enough then for the High T so was in the least advanced group. It was our first ski day. I quit after 2 hours knowing that I was too tired the first day at altitude even though we hadn't skied that hard.
 

bsskier

Certified Ski Diva
#39
LKillick, good to know the breakfast was overall decent at that Residence Inn. Were the rooms decent as well? I’ve considered staying there if I’m on a late inbound flight.
 

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