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Denver/Salt Lake??
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Updated 7 months ago
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7 months ago

Ok, for a post Christmas trip, which area traditionally starts strong late Dec/early Jan??  Specific resorts and/or areas, if you can comment on how good the place is for beginners that would be nice too.

 

Thanks.

marzNC - DCSki Supporter
7 months ago

You can get some ideas of where to consider from Tony Crocker’s assessments for early and late season skiing for families.  He put it together a while ago, but it’s still relevant in terms of potential snow coverage.  However, Epic/Ikon/MCP may have changed the “crowd” factor in recent years in terms of where people go for a winter break ski vacation.

http://www.bestsnow.net/fam_ski.htm

If the objective is skiing and not much else, Grand Targhee generally has plenty of snow by mid-Dec.  Either fly to Jackson or do a half-day drive from SLC.  There is a separate beginner area with it’s own lift that is quite fun.  Even includes glades for adv. beginners or intermediate kids.  Lift lines are not an issue.  However, does have a tendency for the upper mountain to be in clouds or fog.

What age for the beginners?

7 months ago

I would go to Salt Lake.  Deer Valley might be best for beginners but any resort around SLC will be OK for them except for probably Snowbird.

marzNC - DCSki Supporter
7 months ago

Keith_Moon wrote:

I would go to Salt Lake.  Deer Valley might be best for beginners but any resort around SLC will be OK for them except for probably Snowbird.

Depends on the exact timing.  Fair to say that all the resorts that are close to SLC are very crowded during the holiday period between Christmas and the end of typical New Year breaks, which will probably mean Jan. 4, 2020.

Park City and Deer Valley are significantly lower than Alta/Snowbird and Solitude/Brighton.  The open green/blue terrain by early Jan could be mostly based on snowmaking.  DV is good for beginners, but lessons are pretty expensive.  Alta has good beginner terrain and a beginner-only lift ticket for Sunnyside, as well as slightly lower group lesson prices.  Don’t know much about Park City but Vail Resorts are not known to have low prices for ski school in general.

Agree that Snowbird is not the best place to take beginners.

Snowbasin or Powder Mountain could be good, however depends on snowfall in December.  Snowbasin will be on the Epic pass for 2019-20.  PowMow typically opens relatively late compared to other SLC ski resorts.

Aspen/Snowmass is usually okay by late December.  Buttermilk is a great mountain for beginners and intermediates, partially because it’s completely separate and advanced skiers rarely go there at all.  The free bus system makes it easy to get around between the four mountains covered by Aspen lift tickets.

7 months ago

marzNC wrote:

Keith_Moon wrote:

I would go to Salt Lake.  Deer Valley might be best for beginners but any resort around SLC will be OK for them except for probably Snowbird.

Depends on the exact timing.  Fair to say that all the resorts that are close to SLC are very crowded during the holiday period between Christmas and the end of typical New Year breaks, which will probably mean Jan. 4, 2020.

Park City and Deer Valley are significantly lower than Alta/Snowbird and Solitude/Brighton.  The open green/blue terrain by early Jan could be mostly based on snowmaking.  DV is good for beginners, but lessons are pretty expensive.  Alta has good beginner terrain and a beginner-only lift ticket for Sunnyside, as well as slightly lower group lesson prices.  Don’t know much about Park City but Vail Resorts are not known to have low prices for ski school in general.

Agree that Snowbird is not the best place to take beginners.

Snowbasin or Powder Mountain could be good, however depends on snowfall in December.  Snowbasin will be on the Epic pass for 2019-20.  PowMow typically opens relatively late compared to other SLC ski resorts.

Aspen/Snowmass is usually okay by late December.  Buttermilk is a great mountain for beginners and intermediates, partially because it’s completely separate and advanced skiers rarely go there at all.  The free bus system makes it easy to get around between the four mountains covered by Aspen lift tickets.

 

Agreed.  The OP didn’t post any cost-related stipulations.  If cost is an issue I would recommend Alta over Deer Valley, because DV IS very expensive and contrary to some peoples’ opinions, Alta is fine for beginners.  Having said that, for me the point of going to SLC is that, really there are no bad resorts there, so you can just gauge the conditions once you arrive and go to the place that looks the best, or even multiple places.  Last year when we went we stayed in an Air BnB in a neighborhhod called Sugar House, which was equidistant to the Cottonwoods and Park City - took about 35 minutes to get to both.  So we did Brighton, Alta and Deer Valley.  But we could have just as easily gone to Snowbird, Solitude or Park City/Canyons.  The point is if you don’t need to stay right at a resort you can just pick and choose as you like.  One more caveat: if you have boarders with you, Alta and Deer Valley only allow skiing.

marzNC - DCSki Supporter
7 months ago

Keith_Moon wrote:

Agreed.  The OP didn’t post any cost-related stipulations.  If cost is an issue I would recommend Alta over Deer Valley, because DV IS very expensive and contrary to some peoples’ opinions, Alta is fine for beginners.  Having said that, for me the point of going to SLC is that, really there are no bad resorts there, so you can just gauge the conditions once you arrive and go to the place that looks the best, or even multiple places.  Last year when we went we stayed in an Air BnB in a neighborhhod called Sugar House, which was equidistant to the Cottonwoods and Park City - took about 35 minutes to get to both.  So we did Brighton, Alta and Deer Valley.  But we could have just as easily gone to Snowbird, Solitude or Park City/Canyons.  The point is if you don’t need to stay right at a resort you can just pick and choose as you like.  One more caveat: if you have boarders with you, Alta and Deer Valley only allow skiing.

I’ve stayed in VRBO rentals in Sugar House and elsewhere in SLC too.  Very convenient for a group who are willing to drive for a full day of skiing in the SLC area, including up to Snowbasin.  While there is less expensive condo/house lodging near Snowbasin, there aren’t any slopeside options.  However, for a mixed ability group that includes beginners, usually staying close to the slopes is a lot more convenient.  Especially if the group includes kids.

Good point about the fact that Alta and DV are for skiers only.  That’s a plus or a show stopper depending on the group.

7 months ago

marzNC wrote:

I’ve stayed in VRBO rentals in Sugar House and elsewhere in SLC too.  ..

OMG yeah if you can hook up with a place in Sugar House that is wicked ! When I lived in PC I really liked visiting there so funky and many retro consignment stores and food and ha ha they have a most excellent Sundance outlet.

7 months ago

For beginners, Snowbasin would not be tye best choice. Powder or Solitude would be better. Powder, however, has no snowmaking, so I would not commit early to that resort.

7 months ago

I favor UT over CO, but that’s mainly for accessibility reasons.  You can’t beat Utah for ease of getting to the resorts.

For beginners, Brighton is pretty good.  The Magestic lift is about as high as Whitetail and has some nice gentle runs.  They also have a good beginners area in the Explorer area.  Head up at night and you can get a ticket for as low as $25 on Liftopia.  They also have some deals where you can get a night ticket and either a lesson or a rental for $55.  You may want to look into that farther. Brighton was also pretty good on the grooming (though no one comes close to DV in that department).

I think Solitude’s greens are on the challenging side and would fall more in line with a blue at the ST resorts.  I was just there on Sunday and thinking how my son who’s new to boarding would do there.  I think he would have had a harder time.

Sundance, up Provo Canyon, was also a good place to learn.  I took some skiing PE classes there in college (best PE class EVER!). The front/lower half of the mountain was pretty beginner friendly, with the upper half leaving a lot to do for more advanced folks. Problem is that they’re the lowest base area and don’t get as much snow being on the leeward side of Timp.  I think they had some decent deals as well.

marzNC - DCSki Supporter
7 months ago

wojo wrote:

Ok, for a post Christmas trip, which area traditionally starts strong late Dec/early Jan??  Specific resorts and/or areas, if you can comment on how good the place is for beginners that would be nice too.

 

Thanks.

Had a chance to spend a day at Solitude last week (thanks to Ikon pass).  Skied there before but it’s been a few years.

Walked into the “village” to see the food/bar options.  I can understand why families with younger kids who stay at Solitude have a pretty good time.  Especially if they have a car for excursions into the city or a day trip to ski elsewhere.  The village is relatively small and a very short walk to the access lift.  Or can catch a free shuttle bus to the main base that is about a 2-min drive away.  The ski school offerings for kids and adults are quite reasonable.

The greens near the main base are relatively short and wide, and served by a high speed quad.  There is also a slow double chair for a first chair lift experience.  The Link chair is also the way to get over to the village from the main base.

Now that Solitude has three detachable lifts, it’s that much more fun for intermediates sticking to blues while advanced/experts head over into the trees or Honeycomb Canyon.

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