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Firsthand Report: The Canyons
By Connie Lawn, DCSki Columnist
March 19, 2006

Those are some steep Canyons! You can especially feel it when you take the Flight of the Gondola and the chair lifts that go up and down over the high ridges and the steep ravines. They are a bit scary, especially when you consider that a lightning warning would require all the lifts and gondolas to close down and they would have to bus people out of the canyons. March 3, 2006 was our third visit to the Canyons, and we have stayed at the Grand Summit Lodge, so we have gotten to know and appreciate the area. This visit was short, but it whetted our appetite for more.

The runs are great, and there are enough to satisfy any category of skier or snowboarder. There were 146 trails open when we were there, and 15 lifts on 8 mountains. Six natural halfpipes were opened, as well as two terrain parks and five bowls. The ones we were on were not as wide as the ones at Park City and Deer Valley, and became congested. Part of the issue was the Friday afternoon timing; students are allowed out of school early to ski, and they take advantage of it. The rush of speed skiers and skateboarders was frightening. Canyons has “slow skiing signs” and volunteers posted to remind athletes to slow down. They were needed and appreciated!

The Canyons are expansive, wild, and dramatic. They are one of the largest areas in Utah and still developing. DCSki’s John Sherwood recently provided a detailed Firsthand Report from his visit to the Canyons. One of his colorful comments was certainly apropos - the construction crane can be the “official bird” of the Canyons! The construction on the base level is constant, but should be handsome when complete. And, many of the condos appear more affordable than the mansions in other ski resorts. Still, they are not cheap, and are growing more valuable each day. Other houses are still available in the million dollar range.

Eric Mosel (left), also known as “Crush” on the DCSki Message Forums, joins Connie and Charles (right) at his home ski base, the Canyons. Photo provided by Connie Lawn.

One of the best parts of our return trip was the chance to catch up and ski with Eric Mosel, also known as “Crush” on the DCSki Message Forums. He is one very bright IT consultant and engineer who has relocated from Washington, D.C. to the Canyons. Much of his heart is still “back home” and he is a frequent letter writer to DCSki. Eric still has fond memories of his days at Liberty and Whitetail. At the Canyons, he keeps up his racing edge and training. What a skier! He swallows the mountains with long, graceful racing strides, and tucks down to near- snow level to speed across the flats. Eric was gracious enough to ski with my husband Charles and I, and we covered three times the area we would have on our own. Thank you for spending time with us; we know we slowed you down!

Our ski tour was cut short by a storm moving in, and threats of lightning. It was very impressive to note the safety precautions taken at Canyons. The employees hustled everyone to the lifts and off the mountain as soon as possible when the wind picked up and the clouds threatened. In addition to concern about wind and lightning, they are very conscious of avalanches, and check the snow often. As in all Western areas, there is frequent blasting of the terrain to create controlled avalanches and prevent the spontaneous ones from hurtling down the mountain.

In short, I second John’s recommendations of the Canyons. But, there is also the shuttle bus service from there to Park City and Deer Valley. Any visitor to the area should take advantage of all three resorts, as well as beautiful, serene cross country skiing nearby. It traverses wonderful country and a horse farm, and offers the view of the beautiful mountains in the background.

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Crush
12 years ago
WOW! Connie that was such a fun day with you and C. !!! You can ski with me anytime, with or without computer problems! You are such a descriptive and visual writer …. I guess I do look like I am “swallowing” the mountain as I ski it… oh well that’s just me. Glad you had a great time here and I enjoyed your thoughts and feelings about the mountains so much .
John Sherwood
12 years ago
I’ve enjoyed reading your series of articles on Utah skiing. Since you have now visited just about all the major areas there, what’s your favorite mountain and why? “I loved them all” is not an acceptable answer. :)

If you could only return to one area you visited this year, which one would it be and why? Inquiring minds want to know.
John Sherwood
12 years ago
Perhaps you would consider writing an article this summer about the pros and cons of all the Utah areas. Which skiers would like which mountains and why? Obviously, each mountain caters to a certain type of crowd, but as you know, there are a lot of contrarians on this list—people who might enjoy steep untracked snow one day and groomers the next. Also, we have a lot of mixed ability groups who need to “compromise” venues. For me Canyons was sort of a compromise but a good one: it allowed me stay within walking distance of a lift, ski groomers as well as untracked snow, and have easy access to PC for restaurants and apres ski.
John Sherwood
12 years ago
What’s the job market like in UT. especially if you’d rather live in PC than SLC? How easy is it to transplant yourself from DC to UT?
Connie Lawn
12 years ago
Hi John - we are reading each others minds. Let’s get together on the boat this summer and discuss all this.
My favorite areas are Park City, Deer Valley, and Snowbasin. Snowbasin obviously has the most room for expansion. I am not a great skier, so these three have the best terrain for me. I like gentle, wide slopes, well groomed with medium moguls. I am not the skier I was 45 years ago.
Let’s get together in person!
John Sherwood
12 years ago
Would love it, but I want to show up early (about 7 am) because the birds are so good on Lake Barcroft…. I still remember that Northern Pintail we saw on my last visit.
JimK
12 years ago
Eric/Crush is a great unofficial Canyons Ambassador, esp for his adopted mid-Atlantic friends. I wonder if he ever thought of becoming an official skiing ambassador for The Canyons? Or is he having too much fun freeskiing?
Crush
12 years ago
Oh yo! Well you have to be more-proactive and make your opportunities … I cherry-pick my clients so they can afford my rather high prices … I only take high-end retail clients that need fairly sophisticated networks … no installing Norton AntiVirus on home computers for me! And I get to ski most of the time … I believe in setting my servers up rite!!!! :-)

JimK - yeah well we had some good dumps lately sorry I have been skiing to the max for the last 5 days … I live off of Ibueprofin these days !!!! Bases are huge now I’m just trying to take it all in … damn feeling my age!!!
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