I'm going to utah in february and have made lodging reservations in a place by alta and the rest of the trip in park city. I know i'm going to alta. But out of the three ski areas in Park city should i go?
I had a blast at Park city resort, especially fun were the runs a short hike away from some of the upper lifts. Of course, when I went to the canyons there wasn't much open, and I've never b een to deer valley.
IMO, you'll be spoiled by Alta. Two years ago we stayed near The Canyons, we hit DV (1 day), The Canyons (2 days) and Alta (2 days). We're middlin intermediates but loved Alta. We seemed to like The Canyons a bit better than DV; I thought the scenery was prettier. DV is probably better for long groomers. The Canyons is not very intuitive, it's very spread out and there are some rather long run outs. We took a free mountain tour our first day and found it very helpful. DV is VERY upscale and the on mountain food is fantastic. We ate lunch at the Silver Lake Lodge. Really an amazing meal. But we enjoyed The Canyons more, guess we're not DV people. I think you'll find fairly similar terrain at any of the three Park City resorts. We didn't ski PCMR. Alta was a completely different experience. The extra height gets you up into lots of open bowls and the mountain scenery is much more dramatic than the PC resorts. Snow quality was amazing (we actually hit some boilerplate at DV that resembled what one might find in NE) and the layout lets you dabble in off-piste without getting too far from groomed terrain. Clearly, we didn't get the best of what Alta has to offer but it completely spoiled us. Park City itself is a very lively and fun base. FWIW, we liked the Buffalo burgers at the No Name Saloon so much that we went back a 2nd time. We also liked the Wasatch Brew Pub - basic pub grub but excellent beer and a fun atmosphere.
I'd go to Alta/Snowbird, but The Canyons, Park City, and Deer Valley are all good too. Powder Mountain and Snowbasin are also fairly close in Eden, UT. In fact, Powder Mountain recently got one of the best hidden gem award somewhere which is slipping my mind.
One vote for Deer Valley. One of the best run resorts out there. Pricey though!
Not a fan of Park City Mtn Resort, it reminds me of Killington. Too spread out with not enough vertical or top-to-bottom runs.
Canyons is good, but not great. Also does not flow well.
I also agree that Alta and the Bird will spoil you.
Its so personal, for instance, I just recommended someone to go to Steamboat when I didn't like the place at all, but they were into groomers, trees and bumps, so it really is what you like. I don't like The Canyons at all, but others do, and I didn't like it when it was Park West or Wolf Mtn., I just find their runs short and not too exciting. Park City is ok, the stuff up top is nice, Jupiter bowl. Deer Valley is actually pretty sweet, great groomers, good pitch, nice amenities.
My recommendation would be to ski all three, it isn't like any one of them suck, you'll have great days at all three. Plus you can ski the Olympic runs at Deer V and PCMR.
If you like seafood I definitely recommend you go to the Seafood buffet at the Deer Valley lodge for dinner, it is awesome! Park City as a town is great, one of the better ski towns. Enjoy!
I'm with Chris,hit em all if U can.If your a wanderer the Canyons,if you like super buff then DV,powder hound/like it steep then Alta/Bird.Obviously you don't board because their outlawed at Alta and DV.PCMR is a cross between DV and Canyons.I will testify that it's worth an hour or so drive to Snowbasin.Would love to do the Olympic downhill(s) again.And if you can cover that much, Powder Mtn(5500 acres)will keep you from gettin' bored!Have fun!
I'll post this with the following disclaimer, so you can take it with a grain of salt. I own a timeshare week in one of the properties located in the base area of The Canyons, and go out to Park City for a week each March.
Basically, any of the 10 or so major ski areas in within an hour or so of salt lake City (Alta, Snowbird, Brighton, Solitude, The Canyons, Park City Mountain Resort, Deer Valley, Snowbasin, Powder Mtn, and Sundance are all real solid resorts, with a few of them legitimately in the category of "world class", and Utah snow is about as good as any in the world.
Alta, you'll love it, just about everyone does, and if its a clear day when you're there, the views of Mt Superior, the Wasatch backcountry and on down Little Cottonwood Canyon just add to the experience.
The Park City areas each have their own personalities.
Park City Mountain Resort, is my least favorite, but that being said, I still 3 years out of 4 will ski there for a day during the week in early March that I go out to Utah, and enjoy that day. Basically, the mountain is laid out with essentially a lower face and middle flat/ridge line and an upper face. It skiis basically in segmenst/pitches of 1000 to 1500 vertical feet, with a nice mix of some eastren feeling trails and some wider western trails and some nice gladeed/bowl areas uptop in the McConkey's and Jupiter areas. It has the best terrain park in Park City, if not all of Utah. Tends to be/feel the most crowded of the 3 Park City areas to me.
Deer Valley, I thought I'd hate the place before I ever skied there based on the "snobby" and super buffed out groomer reputation that it has. Now, this March will be the 7th trip to Utah where I'll ski Deer Valley and I'll have almost 15 days on the hill there wheh I fly home. I really like this mountain, and they really, really know how to take care of their customers. One of the most efficient lift systems anywhere in the world. World class groomers down some really good falline terrain, and while it does have a bit of the 1200-1500 vertical foot runs all over the mounatin like at park City Mountain resort, Deer Valley feels like it skiis bigger to me. It's advanced/expert terrain is easily the most underrated part of Deer Valley, just grab their "experts only" trail map (only the expert runs are listed on the trail map, and enjoy. The food, well you have a tough time actually calling it ski area food, as it's actually as good (if not better) than you'd find in many restaurants, and if you've goit kids, their kids programs are phenomenal.
The Canyons, still my favorite of the three in park City, all the the gap for me between Deer Valley and The canyons is closes each and every time Igot there. I will say that i like the terrain at The Canyons the best of the three, but at The Canyons, you're the most likely to spend more of your day moving laterally across the hill than up and down if you try and hit every corner of the resort. This place is HUGE, and I think one of the most fitting signs in all of the ski industry is when you take The Flight of The Canyons Gondola out of the base area upto Redpine Lodge Mid-mountain (this is where basically where all the skiing starts) you crest a ridgeline which reveals a view of most of the resort and there is a sign on the lift tower that says simply "WOW!" enough said. Basically the Canyons is as it's name implies a bunch of canyons/ridgelines that you ski. The lifts riun up the spine of the ridgeline in basically an East to West direction and you ski down into the canyons from the top of the lifts (the trails generally have either a north or South exposure) The North facing slopes generally hold that famous dry Utah powder longer and have alot of really nice falline runs and primarily pine tree gladed runs. the southerly exposure as expected gets softer and heavier sooner and the also have great falline cruisers and tend to be glades of Aspen trees. Once you get out of the base area in the morning, pretty much the only line you'll wait in the rest of the day is in one of the on mountain lodges for lunch.The "worst" lines once up the hill I've had there in 20 or so days on the hill is maybe 5 minutes at the Tombstone lift, which they just upgrade from a high speed quad to a high spped 6 pack this year, so they'll be even less. When you see all of the infastructure from lifts to buildings in the base area, you'll easily see where/how ASC got into so much debt
Enjoy, because your basically choosing between BMW's and Mercedes with the mountains your looking at skiing!
Not a fan of Park City Mtn Resort, it reminds me of Killington.
I gotta tell ya, the first morning I ever skied in Utah (Feb 1987 ) was at PCMR and I had a slight let-down. I didn't voice it, but riding the lifts with my buddies (who I had convinced to fly out there) I was thinking to myself this place is an awful lot like terrain we had experienced at Killington. That's not all bad, it just lacked the verticality you see at places like Aspen or...Snowbird. But there is more to it than meets the eye as DrJeff ably articulates.
I too really liked DrJeff's write-up. Thanks for taking the time to post that. I have never skied DV but have done the old Park West/ Canyons.
Serendipity has landed me with a free condo in Park City next week. I'm headed out for 3-4 days of skiing, probably one day each at Park City, the Canyons, and Alta, with a floater day in there somewhere. Hopefully that will be two days at Alta.
Park City is a fun base of operations but the better skiing is in Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons or up at Powder Mtn or Snow Basin. If you get fresh powder and don't feel like worrying if BCC or LCC has road closures head to Deer Valley where there will be less competition for freshies.
My last trip to Utah I decided I won't stay in Park City anymore (unless I score a free condo) as it is very expensive compared to Salt Lake City.
Posted: Dec 07, 2006 - 7:42 PM GMT
Edited: Dec 07, 2006 - 7:44 PM GMT
My recommendation would be to ski all three, it isn't like any one of them suck, you'll have great days at all three.
Agreed: try 'em all. I grew up out in Salt Lake City, so I know all three mountains well.
PCMR has some fun bowl skiing off the Jupiter and McConkey's lifts, and the cruisers off of Thaynes and King Con are always fun. The hidden gem, for me, is the Ski Team lift, which has the old World Cup runs (Willy's Run and Erika's Silver) where Tomba, Zurbriggen, Hess, McKinney and Girardelli used to rip it up. While they don't groom these runs often, they have good pitch and a great view of the Snyderville Basin.
Deer Valley is known for its impeccable service and grooming, but it also has a wild side in the form of Empire Canyon (which is the backside of McConkey's Bowl at PCMR - the two resorts are separated by a few ropes, but they don't sell a combined pass as DV doesn't allow snowboards). Also, the long cruisers on Bald Mountain (e.g. Stein's Run or anything off the Sultan or Mayflower lifts) are a real kick in the pants: nice rolling pitch, great view of the Uinta range, and decent length (to me, they're like a shorter version of Sun Valley's Warm Springs run). And the food - oh, the food....
The Canyons has improved markedly over the past decade. ASC has invested a lot in expansion, snowmaking and lifts, and the results are impressive. There are a few longer runs there, but the fun is in the fact that there's a lot of fun steep stuff (in good snow years, especially), and that the area is so expansive that you can find good powder stashes after PCMR and DV (as well as Alta & Snowbird) have been skied out.
If you have the chance, it's worth the drive to Snowbasin or Powder Mountain. Snowbasin is an under-appreciated gem of a mountain. Its terrain has great variety - bowls, cruisers, trees, steeps, etc. - and the place is seldom ever crowded. Additionally, the lift system is great, and the food is a close second to DV. Also, taking a cruise down either the Grizzly DH or Wildflower DH runs (sites of the Olympic mens' and womens' speed events, respectively) is a helluva lot of fun - even better when they groom the runs. And the view from the Grizzly start shack (accessible from the top of the Olympic tram) is impressive on the clear day: you can see clear across the Great Salt Lake and Bonnevile Salt Flats.
Powder Mountain is a throwback with great snow. There's a lot of hike-to-ski terrain that's in-bounds at PM (due largely to the fact that the resort is on private land), and while the lift system is mostly old, the skiing is great.
Plus you can ski the Olympic runs at Deer V and PCMR.
Actually, this is only the case at DV (Big Stick and Know You Don't runs were used in 2002). C.B.'s Run and Picabo's Run at PCMR are in the racers-only Eagle Race Arena, and are seldom ever open to the public for skiing. The public can ride the Eagle lift to see the teams that train there (Rowmark Academy, Park City Ski Ed Foundation, University of Utah, Waterford Academy, and occasionally the USST), and you can get a sense of how steep the top of C.B.'s actually is. The only stretch of Olympic ski run you can ski at PCMR is the top flat of the GS course, which rises to skier's right from the top of King Con/Eagle Ridge. There used to be a fixed-grip triple that served the Olympic/World Cup start area, but that lift has been relocated as the Silver Star lift, which serves a PCMR-owned condo development (said lift unloads mid-way down the Temptation run on the King Con area of Thaynes Canyon).
But, like I said earlier, you can ski the Olympic DH and SG runs at Snowbasin.