Friday, January 31, 2014

Utah


Utah Pow by Scott Markewitz/Ski Utah
I'm en route to Salt Lake City as you read this. So exciting! Will I bump into Robert Redford in Sundance this weekend? Or be invited back to Mitt Romney's ski chalet at Deer Valley, perhaps? Or share a chairlift with Donny or Marie? Probably not - but what is sure about this long-awaited trip is that I will ski the snowy slopes of Utah's mountains at last, something I've been wanting to do since the 80s. Out of curiosity, I just googled "mountains in Utah" and found a list of 70 on Wikipedia - and it said the list may be incomplete! 

Sundance - Chad Linebaugh
With a bit more research I discovered that Sundance, first resort on my itinerary, used to be called Timphaven and is on the slopes below 12,000 ft high Mount Timpanogos. It was Redford who renamed it Sundance back in 1969 when he started his artistic and environmental enterprise there. Although with only 450 skiable acres and 42 runs it's Utah's smallest resort, I have a feeling this boutique resort is going to be really memorable. Bonus: snow in the forecast this week and then it clears up for the weekend so I should be able to see the amazing views over the Vinta Mountains whenever I pause for breath at Bearclaw Cabin.
Afternoon tea at the Grand America

Next we're heading back to Salt Lake City, the gateway to ten great ski resorts all within an hour's drive, so I'm told. Here, Rossignol skis are going to be delivered directly to us by Ski Butlers - a ritzy rental service that I've always been intrigued by - they deliver right to your hotel room. We're staying at the Grand America in SLC (I particularly like the sound of the afternoon tea - in ski gear though) and we'll be checking out Settebello Pizzeria that night.

Next stop Alta - an advanced-oriented, skier-only resort. Although I understand the great value of snowboarding for the perpetuation, general appeal and longevity of wintersports (and I certainly don't want to offend any of my snowboarding friends who are reading this), I am looking forward to a stress-free ski day!

Alta Lodge, Alta, Utah
Usually, my ski-dar is on red alert for the slightest sound of approaching snowboarders who seem to come from behind, from the side and even uphill sometimes! And then there's that sudden stopping and sitting they sometimes do, typically just out of sight over a ridge in the middle of the slopes. As a non-snowboarder, I never know quite where they will turn (or stop) unlike fellow skiers whose moves I can usually anticipate by their body language. So, it will be interesting to ski in what should be a more relaxed mode. Note: I'm sure that snowboarders, too, would enjoy a skier-free zone (for whatever reasons we skiers irritate or confuse them). After skiing, we'll be able to ski right into our overnight accommodation at Alta Lodge, the resort's first ski lodge. 

Canyons Resort, Utah
Feb 5 we ski Utah's largest area, Canyons. Don't think I'll manage to ski all eight mountains in the one day we have there, but I'll get as much mileage in as I can. 
Canyons Resort, Utah











Later, we're staying in luxury at the wonderful Waldorf Astoria at the base of Canyon Resort Village and having dinner at the Farm, voted best new restaurant when it opened in 2012. 


Snowbasin, Utah




Our penultimate ski day is at Snowbasin, which has nine lifts and 104 trails over 3000 skiable acres, so pretty big. As well as endless diversity, it's known for short lift lines even after a storm. Looks gorgeous and it should be as powdery as these pics if it gets all that forecast snow! 

Snowbasin, Uta

The Needles at Snowbasin by Chris Pearson/Ski Utah











To get an idea of the whole spectrum of family fun in the area, a tour of the Salomon Center in Ogden and a taste of the iFly experience is next on the itinerary. The latter is a zipline facility with an indoor wind tunnel - slightly worrying as I know wine is not a big part of Utah's culture but I can't imagine trying something like this without some element of inebriation. Maybe hubby, Simon can be my official "taster"? Later that night we're recovering with dinner in Ogden, a city at the heart of Northern Utah, dating back to 1846. We're lodging at the Summit Hotel & Conference Center which has a great indoor pool and hot tub area - vital after all that skiing!

Heidi Voelker, Deer Valley's Olympic Ambassador



Good news is that instead of spending our last day killing time for a 5pm flight, I just heard we're going to Deer Valley to ski! This resort is ranked #1 for Guest Service, Family Programs, Dining, On-Mountain Food, Lodging and Grooming by readers of SKI Magazine this year. I'll let you know what I think! It must be pretty good since three-time Olympian Heidi Voelker hangs out there. 




Ski Butlers deliver rentals right to rooms in Utah, Colorado, Tahoe,
Wyoming and British Columbia
By the way, this Sunday (Feb 2) slopes all over North America will be empty due to Super Bowl Fever which glues around 164 million people to their TVs. As a consequence, there are great deals to be had on Liftopia:

Colorado
  • Save 51% at Loveland with 1-day lift tickets starting at $29.99
  • Enjoy 42% savings on 1-day lift tickets at Arapahoe Basin with prices starting at $48
  • Discover Crested Butte with a 41% savings on 1-day lift tickets starting at $58
  • At Copper Mountain save 39% on 1-day lift tickets starting at $72
  • Experience Winter Park with 1-day lift tickets tickets starting at $70 (36% savings)
New England
  • Discover Stratton, Vt. with 53% savings on 1-day lift tickets staring at $48
  • Enjoy Attitash, N.H. with 1-day lift tickets staring at $39 (44% savings)
  • Save 44% on 1-day lift tickets at Wildcat, N.H. with prices starting at $39
  • At Okemo, Vt. save 27% on 1-day lift tickets starting at $65 
New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania
  • Save 35% on 1-day lift tickets at Plattekill, N.Y. with prices starting at $37
  • Experience Mountain Creek, N.J. with 1-day lift tickets starting at $47 (27% savings)
  • Ski or board Windham, N.Y. with 1-day lift tickets starting at $54 (27% savings)
Tahoe
  • Save 41% at Diamond Peak, Nev. with 1-day lift tickets starting at $35
  • At Sierra-at-Tahoe, Calif. save 28% with 1-day lift tickets starting at $62
  • Enjoy 24% savings at Mt. Rose, Nev. with 1-day lift tickets starting at $55
Mid-Atlantic
  • Save 43% at Snowshoe, W. Va. with 1-day lift tickets starting at $48
  • Discover Canaan Valley, W. Va. with 42% savings in 1-day lift tickets starting at $30
  • Spend the day at Bryce Mountain, Va. with lift tickets starting at $45 (26% savings)
Midwest
  • Discover Caberfae Peaks, Mich. with 1-day lift tickets starting at $19.99 (56% savings)
  • Save 45% on 1-day lift tickets at Grand Geneva, Wis. with prices starting at $25
  • Enjoy Christmas Mountain, Wis. with 1-day lift tickets starting at $27.99 (32% savings)
  • At Crystal Mountain, Mich. save 26% on 1-day lift tickets with prices starting at $48
Pacific Northwest
  • Enjoy 33% savings at Mt. Hood, Ore. with 1-day lift tickets starting at $48
  • Experience Anthony Lakes, Ore. with 1-day lift tickets starting at $23 (32% savings)
  • Ski or board 49 Degrees North, Wash. with 1-day lift tickets starting at $42 (25% savings)
  • Save 21% at Mt. Spokane, Wash. with 1-day lift tickets starting at $40
Other Regions
  • Save 50% at Arizona Snowbowl with 1-day lift tickets starting at $29.75
  • Discover Owl’s Head, Quebec with 1-day lift tickets starting at $89.25 (32% savings)
  • At Wolf Ridge, N.C. save 26% with 1-day lift tickets starting at $39
  • Enjoy Solitude, Utah with 1-day lift tickets 25% off (starting at $54.99)
  • Spend the day at Alyeska, Alaska with lift tickets starting at $46 (22% savings)
  • At Ski Snow Valley, Ontario 1-day lift tickets start at $34.40 (20% savings)
Canyons Resort, Utah
Sundance by Chad Linebaugh



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