- Overall Rating 5
- Family Friendly 4
- All Mtn. Terrain 5
- Terrain Park 3
- Nightlife 2
Pros: uncrowded, wonderful views on fast gondolas, great food, no onsite rooming,parking lot shuttle
Cons: no onsite rooming, lifts sometimes close on short notice, poor visibility in often bad weather
Recommended For: Single/Newlyweds, Family Friendly, Empty Nesters
Date Visited: Feb 1, 2009
If you enjoy the good food and slightly pampered atmosphere of deer valley, but hate the crowds, the non-stop commercialism and crave peace and quiet on an normally UNCROWDED mountain, (even on weekends, most I've to wait is 5 minutes, if that. Except as mentioned, the first ride up in the morning, but so what?) If you are a colege kid or working family coming from a "Red Roof Inn", you will not believe the opulence and no expense spared buildings and food service on top of the fast lift from the parking lot. It's not cheap, but if this is your one trip to Utah to SKI!!!!! for the year, this is a place you can go up & down, up & down all day.
To break for lunch on a 34 degree afternoon at the mt. top lunch terrace is to think, "Ah! THIS! is what it's all about"* The views are amazing, there is terrain for every level, especially blues and blacks. You can een take your try at the 2000 Olympic Downhill run which will get you up to 50-60 mph in about 5 secnds if you can overcome the feeling that you really ought to make a little turn of braking.
Otherwise there are nice, wide slopes, with many less "dangerous intersections/bottlenecks" than you'll find at places like...deer valley. I really do not have the vocabulary to describe what a different experience it is from skiing in the Canyons or Park City. You still sweat your buns off fighting the mountain, but due to "really being out there on the mountain", of solitude, with no city in sight, and possibly no human in sight on the weekdays, (on certain parts of the mountain), you get an "at peace" feeling you don't get anywhere else,...not even at Solitude.
For those who stay in Salt Lake to go to a different Mt. each day, this is one you ought to start and end your trip with because it rapidly became our favorite. Most of the smart locals come here because it is out of the way, with no hotels, condos or nightlife very near. (But you're only 40 minutes from Salt Lake if you have the energy of a college kid, and can find a nice B&B or a room near the mountain if you do a little search or book early.) its an entirely different feeling than Cottonwood Canyon. Wide open, you drive through open mountain roads, a great way to start and end a great day of skiing.
If you are there with the family, they do have a school, etc. for beginners, but this is really a place more for skiers rather than newbies to the sport. Not that they don't have greens, they certainly do, its just that other places cater to kids and newbies on a deeper level.
I LIKE Gondolas, esp. in bad weather. These are nice clean gondolas, the views are heartstopping and I meet many nice people from all over the world, and even some locals who are usually happy to guide you to an interesting trail or area you have not yet sought out. You get to take off your skis and stretch, but not for long enough to lose your will to get back out there when the ride up is over. And it can get windy on bad days, so at these times you're even more thankful.
The only bad experience I had is that if there is cloudy weather, it invariably winds up sitting on top of the mountain, right where the main gondola drops you off and you ski blind, unable to see ten feet in front of you. Almost like skiing in a dream of sudden gray quiet, It was scary as all get out the first time, but I wound up challenging myself with a tougher trail than I thought I could handle by accident,...and I did just fine. I then saw what I'd done after it cleared up after lunch and was ever so proud that, "I skied that one!".
Someone else mentioned they ran into people who seemed not to care. The worst situation I saw is simply that some days not enough employees showed up to run every single lift, and some were complaining at first, but the place is so big, there were still few lines except on the green lift.Most of the people who work there, and are meant to deal with the public, were exceedingly "Mid-Western Nice", were proud of their Mt. and glad to share stories with me. If you approach someone with a scowl, they probably will not be too warm to you. But if you understand they are dealing with the extremes of mountain weather to try and keep all these machines running, and cut them a break, they will be very helpful.
This is NOT a hooby where you rent time on a court. These people work hard to give us a place to ski for what is only 6-7 month of the year if they're lucky, and they ARE loathe to give up your money once it is in their coiffers. Can you blame them? But if you behave with class, they will probably issue you a pass if you have a rel incident on your side. They have lockers downstairs in a beautiful lodge with marble tiled, private and clean johns. Everything is carpeted with overstuffed chairs to change on. It looks like a high end hotel spa, just with no hotel and no spa. (Although they do have a higher end restaurant if you don't want to eat with the upper middle class rabble at the food service areas.) The thing is, on the weekends, they run out of lockers. But after 2 days of using a locker, we found most folks just leave there stuff out, (use your head as to what you leave obviously!!), we did the same for an entire week and had nothing touched. Basically, if you can afford to ski, you're not in the market for someone elses smelly shoes or sweat soakes hat they use as an extra. If you are a "must have a locker type", try to remember to bring some quarters with you to save time in the morning.Then go out and have one of the best days of your trip!
*one thing thats a must. As I mention above, eating lunch on the upper terrace is a treat in itself. But not only are you facing the glorious sun, but you are facing the highest part of the moutain where "The CRazies/Extreme skiers" get to take a small chair all the way up to the top of this one peak. A peak like Warren Miller uses in his movies. So you get one of three experiences that cannot be beat;
1)You get to watch some truly amazing skiers tame the toughest parts of the ski area.
2) You get to watch overzealous intermediates go way above their level to "give it a shot" and hike over to the high crevices and create a fresh trail as they roll or flip their way down the fresh snow.
3) You get encouraged by watching the crazies/extreme skiers and go give it shot yourself, wind up rolling and flipping down the mountain in your own personal experience. (Or if you're really lucky you get to do all three as did I.)
Go here, you will not be sorry. I loathe hats and decals, especially the feeling of paying to advertise someone else's business. I left here with a ski-boot coffee-mug AND a window decal for my truck. Can I say any more?