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.
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.
When she wasn't skiing, Connie Lawn covered the White House as a reporter since 1968.