The Canyons vs. Park City
January 24, 2005
I will probably be heading out to Utah in Feb. Will be staying in Park City. I was wondering which mountain the wise people of dcski prefer.
While it wasn't on your list, I prefer Deer Valley. The staff was beyond nice, the resort is quaint, and the mountains were incredible. Plus, its skiers only and they limit the number or tickets they sell in a day.
Comparing Park City v. the Canyons, I would go with Park City. I don't have the best reason for that choice, except the only time I went to the Canyons was my last day of a long ski trip 2 years ago and my legs were exhausted. It just wasn't a good day of skiing for me. My cousin lives in Utah though and always gets a season pass to the Canyons. You're not going to go wrong though at any SLC resort coming from the east coast.
I think they are both great hills. As far as lifts go, Park city is awesome. It seems like everywhere you go there is a high speed six pack. However, as far as terrain goes, i think Canyon's gets the nod. Canyons in my mind has far superior glade skiing, especially off of Saddleback and Peak 5, and for steeps the 9990 lift has better lift serviced steeps than anything at Park City. If you are willing to hike a little bit from the lifts at PC there is some good stuff too. If you are looking for cruisers, both mountains are great but i give the canyons a small nod here, try the double blue run called cloud 9. I think the Canyons is just much bigger and has a little more to offer for everyone. The one thing Park city definitely has which is better is its terrain parks. Hope this helps with your decision.
Have fun out there
When I was last in Park City for a week we split the difference - 3 days at PC, 3 days at the Canyons. I second the recommendation of 9990 at the canyons, although be sure to give Jupiter Bowl a look if you spend some time at PC.
I'm surprised no one has mentioned Alta; probably the best local resort around. Its an old time resort, no Vail bunnies, no fancy lodges, no high speed 6-packs, totally awesome views and just about anything you could wish for as far as skiing. Plus lift tickets are $47 rather than the $70+ rates of PCR, DV and Canyons. AND ... it's a skiers only mountain. AND .. you can get a combination pass for both Alta and Snowbird (right over the other side of the mountain) for $66. What's not to like!
In any case, stay in/near Park City (cheapest lodging of the big 3) and take the free shuttle to Deer Valley and Canyons. I'm not sure of the public transportation to Alta, Snowbird, Snow Basin and the like, as we usually Hertz-it from SLC airport.
How long you will be out there? What level skier are you?
Park City, Deer Valley and the Canyons are fine resorts in their own right. I enjoy each for their own merits. If you are an advanced skier, look for the expert map at Deer Valley and try some of the glade runs. If someone else is paying the bill, try having lunch at Steins at Deer Valley.
Getting over to the other side is about a 45 minute drive. There is shuttle service too. Driving up the canyons can be tricky in bad weather. If you have limited time, do the Alta-Snowbird combined ticket and ski both in one day. Brighton and Solitude are also special but they are definitely in the next tier down experience wise.
You could spend 4 days each at all 4 of the big resorts and barely begin to learn their secrets.
Before you hit either resort... consider trying to make your way by bus or vehicle to Solitude, Brighton, or Snowbird.
If you cannot, then The Canyons is the preferred choice, espeically with powder. The terrain is amazing (especially Dreamscape), you will not soon forget it.
No no shhhhhh... say nothing more about those resorts... GO TO PARK, GO TO DEER...
OK ok you all know I am biased ... jeez my mail address is 2025 Canyons Resort Dr., ya know! I agree with the above ... in fact I had the pleasure of skiing with Beth and Phil from DC ski last Thurs and JohnL on Tues it was great fun. But do like Caananman sez .. DO THEM ALL!!!! You won't regret it!
I've only been to Alta, 'bird, brighton and solitude and I'd go back in heart beat. I have heard some people cast negative comments about Deer and Park but I am sure they are fine too (depends on your stripe...) I prefer a more isolated, natural sort of resort, without *any* pampering and local folks milling about -- but that's just me.
LOL KR - you know what I was skiing at Deer Valley (formerly known as "Dear Valley" for the "sex workers" of the mining times) on Stein's run and this group of a**hole rich people in glittering Bogner one-pieces were saying "oh The Canyons well if you have a piercing (I have 4 counting torso) then ski at The Canyons ok like if you have to be on "this side" of the Wasatch it is the place to be but I do love Brighton/Solitude/Snowbird/Alta to wail-n-bail !! LOL wen-U-cumin-OUT !
I guess you could say I'm advanced/intermediate to expert skier. I really love steeps and the occasional bump run (but not too many of those) and could care less if it is ice or packed powder. Not sure how long I'll be there either 3 or 5 days. If it is five I'll ski both.
first week of march, snowbasin/powder mtn area. that's zee plan.
Just my two cents as well, but if you're there 3 days you could still do both. I'd try two days at The Canyons because it's so much bigger with a variety of terrain, but spend a day at PCMR as well and check out Jupiter and McConkey bowls. Both places are minutes apart and you could easily reach them from anywhere in Park City. With a car the Cottonwood areas are not far if the roads are open (they usually are) and I have to go with Alta as the best of the bunch. Solitude also can have tremendous tree runs in Honeycomb Canyon and I try not to miss it when I'm out there. Wherever you go it's probably going to be good and fun; I like variety so I wouldn't just go to one place when you can so easily see the others. I just wish I was going back sooner....
LOL CRUSH- "wail-n-bail" that's me. Arrive SLC 3/7 depart 3/13 ski 5 days. Don't know the itinerary yet i'm the new guy. Maybe you can tear yourself away from work and tour us around one day.
DEFINITELY the Canyons, nothing compares to their diversity and amount of terrain.
Park City is just a much bigger version of Seven Springs, IMO.
Are you going to have your own transportation? If so, I would highly recommend checking out Snowbasin. It's about 45 minutes away from Park City. The place has lot of super-long, semi-steep blues and the lift service is awesome. Also, take some of the early advice and at least try Alta, Bird, Solitude and Brighton... well at least try one of them. The Alta/Snowbird combo pass is not worth the $66. Just ski Alta one day and Snowbird another; there's way too much terrain at both to even come close to exploring in one day so why spend the extra clams? If you're in to old school, check out Powder Mountain as well.
I remember once sitting on a lift a PCMR and this women was telling us how great Deer Valley was. I asked her why she liked it so much and she replied, "Oh, they have marble bathrooms"
Yeah, that's the first thing I look for in a ski resort
Uh...Yeah, me too..
Jimmy and KevR - dudes this season I have had the pleasure of skiing with three people from DCSKI .... yes do drop me a line I will ski anythinng anyplace anytime you all !!! I love it just keep me posted on your plans ... write it to:email@example.com
and just put something about DC SKI in the subject ... Rock On!
Careful with Snowbasin. It does have awesome terrain (home of the Grizzly Run, the men's downhill in the SLC Winter Olympics, which is open for you to ski, and Wildflower, the women's downhill) including vast open runs off Strawberry Express, some tight steep chutes, and long, long tree runs off John Paul. It isn't as high up as the Cottonwood and Park City areas though, and I found out the hard way last week that its conditions aren't always as good as the other places. While Crush showed us near perfect conditions at The Canyons (the day before the slide, thanks Crush) and we found great snow at Solitude, the next day we went up to Snowbasin and struggled on crusted-over crud. A local said it had rained a few days earlier and ruined the conditions. The next day we hit Alta and found the driest and lightest snow of the trip. I've done Snowbasin twice; once it was one of my best days ever and the other it was a mistake to go up there. It has a lot of potential, just be sure you get some local info before you go.
Crush I'm going to pass your place to get to my condo at the Canyons next week (Jan 29th-Feb 4th). I'll email you and maybe we can get some turns in.
Yeah, careful with Snowbasin. I've been to Snowbasin two different years, and both years I was greeted by heavy, wet powder, and while both days started perfectly sunny, eventually the clouds got so horrible that you couldn't see your hand in front of your face.
It would seem to me that Snowbasin is extremely inconsistant.
I went to Snowbasin one day of my trip there last season and we bailed after a couple of runs. When we got off of the gondola, we could barely see but a few feet in front of us. We kind of felt our way down using the fog sticks at the side of the trail (very scary when you can't see
). We got to the bottom, had some lunch and since the fog got even worse while we ate, we left. We've nick-named it fog-basin
hey WGO here is another funny Deer VAlley story .... I was in the ticket line there and it was lightly snowing and about 3" of fresh just perfect. This woman in front of me in the line was demanding her money back. The ticket person asked "why" and she replied that "it's snowing I don't like to ski when it snows" LOL LMAO !!!!!
Ok, ok, i have to chime in. Different resort, different state - standing in a short lift line. An obviously well healed older women in front of me as we approached the lift asked the attendent, "Is the snow any good up there? Because of it isn't, I don't want to waste my time.." I could barely contain my desire to knock her out of the way and actually ski...
One more thing about Snowbasin. It has marble bathrooms!
Yeah, you're right. I knew there was a reason I thought that Snowbasin was so awesome
I'll give a solid review of the Crush Wail 'n Bail guided tour of Da Canyons. If you're wailing, you'd better have a smile on your face! The woods cut through to the trails under the 9990 lift was sweeeeeeeeeeeeeeet!
Crush: ended up buying a pair of the Pocket Rockets that night. Also, the ski shop tech replaced the pole basket in 20 seconds. Guess there's a reason why we're software engineers, not hardware engineers.
As to where to ski in Utah, all the SLC/Ogden areas are great in their own right. Though, I'll admit that Park City Mountain Resort ranks at the very bottom of my own preferences. I just got back from a week in Utah: skied Alta 2x, Solitude, The Canyons, Snowbasin, and Powder Mountain. I would've skied Brighton in the AM of my return day, but my gas tank was empty. Believe it or not, by far the worst conditions I encountered was at Alta (Friday, 1/21). So, I'd advise to not judge a resort by the conditions on a single day. (I've skied Alta numerous times on pow-pow dazes.)
I had a great time and skied some great terrain at each of the areas. Variety of terrain and variety of vibe. Chacque'un a son gous. (sp?)
Check out Canyon Sports
for discounts on lift tix.
I was a shutterbug during the trip and took numerous pix of Alta, Snowbasin and Powder Mountain. Some good views of specific trails, chutes, etc. I'll post them somewhere on the Net in the next week.
As to Snowbasin, never ski it on low visibility days since much of the terrain is tree-less. It's annual snowfall falls in between that of the Cottonwoods and the Park City canyon resorts. However, because of it's lower elevation and orientation, it gets affected a lot by the sun and the lower sections lose base quickly. You often have to ski the mountain following spring skiing strategy, i.e. follow the sun. That said, it has the best lift system and views in Utah and it is uncrowded. Ski it before they start the real estate development at the base.
One more thing about Snowbasin. It has marble bathrooms!
LOL! That always cracked me up. It felt wrong to use the facilities. Never saw chrome-plated urinals before. Not to mention the 'loo.
JohnL -- sounds like a great trip! How was Powder Mtn?
I'll submit a resort review on Powder sometime soon. The lowdown: uncrowded slopes, inexpensive area, very slooow lifts, some fun terrain, many sections require 3 lifts so the lift/traverse/runout to vertical ratio can be poor, best place in Utah to find untracked pow days after a storm. They have some pseudo backcountry which is serviced by a bus - that was pretty wild! They also have snowcat and heli skiing single run options. The snowcat was not open the day I was there.
I assume there's additional cost for the cat and heli, but the bus?
The bus is free. It picks up sliders every 15 minutes or so. You pass by the pickup spots (and the serviced terrain) on your way up to the mountain.