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Utah 2019-20: travel planning, deals, snow conditions

contesstant

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#41
The Learn and Earn program is wildly popular here, and also sells out early-usually in the spring.
 

Bookworm

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#42
For the first part of my trip in December,I’ll be staying in Murray and will have a rental car. It’s not 4-wheel drive. I hear the law is that you have to have 4WD to drive through the canyon to Alta. Any advice besides taking the bus? Rent a $$$$ 4WD? Ugh.
 

Bookworm

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#44
Because I will be staying in Park City the second half on Hilton’s dime. I thought it’d be fun to ski DV the second half and Alta/Snowbird/Solitude/Brighton the first half. December 7-13 is when I’ll be there. If I remember right, it was cheaper to stay in Murray and it looked to me to be closer to the Alta area.
I’m open to changes if you have some advice. I have Ikon so I can’t ski the entire trip at DV.
 
#45
For the first part of my trip in December,I’ll be staying in Murray and will have a rental car. It’s not 4-wheel drive. I hear the law is that you have to have 4WD to drive through the canyon to Alta. Any advice besides taking the bus? Rent a $$$$ 4WD? Ugh.
There are very specific days that 4WD is required for LCC/BCC canyon roads . . . when the roads are covered with snow. If you get that lucky in Dec, take the UTA Ski Bus. But I wouldn't worry about changing the car rental for an early season trip.

For a mid-season trip to SLC, one option is to reserve both 2WD and AWD/4WD. Then cancel the one that isn't going to be needed.

Because I will be staying in Park City the second half on Hilton’s dime. I thought it’d be fun to ski DV the second half and Alta/Snowbird/Solitude/Brighton the first half. December 7-13 is when I’ll be there. If I remember right, it was cheaper to stay in Murray and it looked to me to be closer to the Alta area.
I’m open to changes if you have some advice. I have Ikon so I can’t ski the entire trip at DV.
Staying in Sandy/Murray makes the most sense for an inexpensive motel room when skiing LCC/BCC. I've done it and would do it again for a short solo trip. Definitely more convenient that staying in Park City when planning skiing Alta/Snowbird or Solitude or Brighton.
 
#47
Thanks! I’m looking forward to Solitude/Brighton. It may be more friendly for my first time out this year.
Brighton has more mellow terrain as I remember. Meaning in comparison to Solitude. Solitude groomers are on the steep side. Fun but a few blues feel steeper than Alta blue groomers.

It's worth the effort to go into the round mid-mountain lodge, even if only for a break. Go up to the top floor (there is an elevator) for a nice quiet space. Bill liked the lunch menu better than what was in the base cafeteria.
 
#49
Powder Mountain sells 5-packs. They are $376 after a 15% discount until late Nov. Good for anyone to use. But still need to reserve a ticket in advance if it looks like a powder day because there is a limit on the number of day tickets.

Per usual, the season passes sold out. I think the cap is 1500.

Noticed that for the Women's Program that is set up as 4 Saturdays, it's also possible to do just one 3-hour session.

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#50
Winter has arrived in the Utah mountains! Powder Mountain and Snowbasin seem to be the big winners for this storm, which is still going on. Already 1-2 feet and another foot is likely, if not a bit more.

PowMow put up a snowstake that is a bit different. One side is for the storm total and the other is cleared every 24 hours. Snowbasin had 19 inches when the snowstake there was cleared off.

Powder Mountain Snowstake 7am 11/28/2019
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#51
Don't remember when Alta usually gets over 100 inches for the season, but it happened for this season with the current storm. Automated snow alert emails were sent out about tonight. Another foot expect on top of the 16+ inches in the last 24 hours. Storm total was up to 56" as of 4pm MT 11/29!

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#53
With a big storm dropping 2-3 feet of snow in a short time, Ski Utah came out with a comprehensive article about transportation in the canyons. Not only what equipment a private vehicle needs but also public bus alternatives and how to get better parking. There are lots of links in the article to relevant websites, apps, and social media accounts. The info has been available online for quite a few years but is scattered across assorted sources.

Below are key points I noticed, but it's well worth checking out the entire webpage if planning a ski trip to SLC. Big, quick storms that impact driving can happen any time from mid-Nov thru late April. The first time I ever skied really deep snow at Alta was 25+ inches on an April 15th, and it was still snowing that day to add another 10 inches.

https://www.skiutah.com/blog/authors/yeti/winter-driving-tips-for-utah-ski/

Want front-row parking? All you need to do is carpool.
  • Alta — 25% of the Wild Cat parking lot at Alta is dedicated to those who carpool with three or more (first come, first serve).
  • Snowbird — Preferred parking for carpools with three or more people at Entry 1 and Entry 2 (first come, first serve)
  • Solitude — Front-row parking for carpools with four or more people in the Moonbeam Base Area - Entry 1 (first come, first serve). For the 2019-20 season Solitude Resort now requires payment to park in their lots. The lowest fare of $5 is available for those who carpool with 4 or more.
Does an All-Season tire qualify for UDOT's requirements?

No. There is a difference between All-Season and All-Weather, sound confusing? It's really not, you can tell them apart by the 3PMSF icon. "The 3PMSF symbol is a seal of approval of sorts that indicates the tire has been tested and it is capable of at least 110 percent of the traction of a reference all-season tire. ...it is a laboratory test that actually tells consumers more than an M+S marking, which is just a calculation of tread geometry." CarAndDriver.com


Are rental vehicles equipped for the Utah traction law?

If you are going to be renting a vehicle during your Utah visit we do recommend reserving either a 4x4 or all-wheel drive vehicle. While it is common to outfit a 4x4 or all-wheel drive vehicle with an all-season tire, it is not as common to outfit the rental fleet with M+S (mud and snow) and/or 3PMSF (three peak mountain snow flake) ratings. To be certain your rental vehicle is properly equipped for the Utah traction law, we recommend you inquire with your rental company. Law enforcement does not make exceptions when the traction law is in effect.
 
#54
What's worth noting for advanced/expert skiers who aren't familiar with Alta is that immediately after a big snowstorm, there is usually a fair amount of terrain that's not open for a day or two. Alta Ski Patrol has a long history. It can take a while for their work to be completed. Ballroom and the Backside usually open before Devil's Castle.

As of Sat, 12/14, 4pm
Screen Shot 2019-12-14 at 6.53.08 PM.png
 
#55
Snowbird has a link to Guru Dave's blog on their website these days. Here's what he had to say on 12/13, in the midst of the Dec. 12-14 snowstorm.

HEAVY DELIVERY
12-13-19

The rain thundered on the skin of The Trailer all night long with a fury, telegraphing a heavy delivery up on the hill. Traffic up the Canyon was light to start out early, but with a delayed opening on the hill, the faithful were lining up at Gad Zoom to await the opening. The Tram opened around 10:15AM with the Peruvian side of the hill opening around 11:30AM. The new installment was quite heavy and wind affected, which made a direct power approach the way to keep it moving. I was looking for the outside lines that seemed to be getting ignored.
 
#56
Is it worth adding the Ikon pass to my life to take advantage of early skiing at Brighton? Currently staring out my (new, Park City life) window and at my skis and just plain giddy....makes the MESS of the cross country move totally worthwhile.....
Did you ski this weekend, Dec. 14-15?
 
#57
Powder Mountain had 20 inches fall during the Dec. 12-14 storm, in comparison to 32 inches at Alta. Between wind and settling, the Storm Total Snowstake shows about 14 inches as of 9am, Dec. 15. Of course, the untracked powder will last days longer at PowMow than in LCC/BCC. Deer Valley is another place for advanced/experts who aren't hard chargers looking for steep and long to consider for untracked powder soon after a big storm.

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#58
I think the 30-night prepay option at Goldminer's Daughter is new. You buy the package at the beginning of the season, then choose the dates later. Of course, it's subject to availability. Come out about $200 per night, which includes hot breakfast and a nice dinner.

Alta Lodge also has space used to store skis between stays. There is even limited space for people who want to store their skis over the summer.

"We have just the offer for you selective Storm Chasers! our storm Chaser program is for the true powder hounds! Prepay for 30 days of your choice and receive a special rate of $192 plus tax for single occupancy. Remember, our rates include breakfast and dinner! This offer is available anytime of the season based on availability. And of course, complimentary early check-in / late check-out is included when available. Need to store your gear between visits? No problem! We hope we’ll be seeing a lot of you Storm Chasers. Please call 800-453-4573 for more details or to purchase your Storm Chaser Package."
 
#59
With big snow also comes danger for those who ski backcountry. As has been discussed among folks who hike for turns, going out a gate into "side country" is just as dangerous. Terrain that where a ski patrol doesn't do mitigation work is "backcountry" even if it's close to a ski resort boundary. People without proper avalanche training and gear shouldn't be going there.

A snowboarder who went out a gate solo at Park City died in an avalanche on Dec. 15. There are pictures of the avalanche in the official report. The investigation is on-going.

https://utahavalanchecenter.org/avalanche/48826
" . . .
Accident and Rescue Summary
Preliminary Report. Will be updated this evening.
A 45 year old male snowboarder left the Canyons Village of Park City via the backcountry exit gate at the top of the 9990' lift to access Dutch Draw. Part of the way down the slope (Conehead area of Dutch Draw), he triggered and was caught, carried and killed in an avalanche.
. . ."
 

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