Park City Mountain, UT 2/28/2017

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Park City Mountain, UT 2/28/2017

Postby Admin » Wed Mar 01, 2017 7:52 pm

Day 41: A foot of new fluff, what's not to like?

Friend rogerk was visiting Park City from Vermont this week, so I took a day to join him and his family.

We started at Canyons Village, and our morning was spent with Roger's brother Jeff from California, and friend Rob from SLC. We waited for the Red Pine Gondi to open and worked until 11 a.m. sniffing out whatever untracked we could find left over from the day before. Surprisingly there was quite a bit, especially on south-facing shots through aspen stands. Roger definitely has that Vermonter woodchuck in him, and I admittedly haven't skied trees that tight in years, although in his opinion they were wide open. With this week's cold there was zero sun affect, even on south-facing terrain. By 11 a.m. we were back at the base of Tombstone to lose Rob and pick up Amy and Sonya, Roger's wife and 9-year-old daughter.

We thereupon embarked on an odyssey, working our way all the way over to Pioneer and Jupiter. Sonya readily impressed by nailing Lower Pinecone Ridge, and I think that she impressed herself by skiing Scott's Bowl. In simple terms, the kid rips.

But that kind of travel would be enough to exhaust most adults, not to mention kids, so by 2:30 or so the others quit at the Park City base and bussed it back to Canyons Village, while I opted to ski back. Realizing that I could pull it off, instead of heading back to the base I loaded Saddleback to get to Super Condor and ski some of those south-facing lines that I've never gotten to ski because they never seem to have snow. Wind was on the increase and was in the process of buffing those lines smooth with wind sift.

I loaded Sun Peak Express at 3:55 p.m., and Shortcut at 4:02 p.m. for a long ski down Doc's Run back to the base. I didn't make it back to my truck until 4:20 p.m. Total 22 lift rides, 27,303 vertical feet -- and few of those runs were on groomers.

Some observations:
1. The newly combined resort has an absolutely amazing amount of terrain, and freshies weren't terribly difficult to find even the day after a storm. At 3:15 p.m. I found a completely untracked line within feet of the north stage of the Quicksilver Gondola.
2. I had an absolute ball. Why is it that every time I ski PCMR I ask myself why I don't ski there more often?
3. We never encountered a lift line exceeding 1 minute all day. Stopping at Miner's Camp for lunch, however, was a completely different story. That building is immense and only opened last season, but it's already strained to capacity. It was damned near impossible to find a seat...on a non-holiday Tuesday. And $5 for a 20-oz. fountain soda? Come on VR, this ain't Yankee Stadium!

Apologies for the crappy photos, I only realized last night that my camera lens had a big, greasy fingerprint on it all day. :roll:
Attachments
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Tons of snow, even at Canyons Village.
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Jeff is breathing hard as Roger watches Amy and Sonya skate up the road halfway down Pinecone Ridge.
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The north stage of the Quicksilver Gondola crosses Thaynes Canyon, as seen from lower Pinecone Ridge.
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It was hard to buy a lunch seat even in the massive Miner's Camp.
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Amy, Sonya and Roger at the bottom of Scott's Bowl.
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Thaynes Canyon
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The upper half of Lower Pinecone Ridge, from the south stage of the Quicksilver Gondola.
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From Saddleback Express, looking towards Ninety-Nine 90.
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Starting my last run of the day down Doc's at 4:07 p.m.
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Re: Park City Mountain, UT 2/28/2017

Postby Tony Crocker » Thu Mar 02, 2017 12:11 am

admin wrote:Why is it that every time I ski PCMR I ask myself why I don't ski there more often?

Probably because you don't go over there when the snow is much crappier than in LCC.
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Re: Park City Mountain, UT 2/28/2017

Postby tseeb » Thu Mar 02, 2017 6:47 am

Admin wrote
"It was hard to buy a lunch seat even in the massive Miner's Camp."

Lodge looks like a clone of Tamarack Lodge at top of Heavenly's gondola and Zephyr Lodge at Northstar. I have not seen the one at Northstar full, but I'm usually not in there at peak times/days. The one at Heavenly gets crowded and is almost painfully noisy, but they do have half-price on beers and some drinks at 3:30, with Heavenly Angels dancing on some days. I have not made it to Happy Hour yet this season as almost all of my Heavenly days have been storm days with gondola closed due to wind and lodge closed due to lack of access.

You would think that cloning lodge would save them some money so you could get a coffee for under $5 (or now $6?!) or not have to pay about $10 for a sausage sandwich or $12-15 for burger, but that is not Vail's business model (and why I usually bring my own food).

My Tahoe pass gives me 5 free days at Vail CO/UT resorts and I would appreciate an Admin (and maybe even Bobby D) tour of Park City sometime. Due to other commitments, it would probably have to be in Spring when disparity in conditions could be greater. But it should be a good year for corn.
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Re: Park City Mountain, UT 2/28/2017

Postby Admin » Thu Mar 02, 2017 8:30 am

Tony Crocker wrote:
admin wrote:Why is it that every time I ski PCMR I ask myself why I don't ski there more often?

Probably because you don't go over there when the snow is much crappier than in LCC.


More because I've admittedly become a true homey. Plus, most of the time I'd be skiing PCMR alone as all of my ski friends are in LCC. As I've told others, as far as I'm concerned skiing is a social sport.

But Tony's comment above requires some context. The disparity in snow quality has been more pronounced in our past few lean years, but in a normal to above-average season like this one there's no distinguishable difference in snow quality. Yesterday offered dry and fluffy snow even on south-facing lines, and there's more than ample coverage everywhere including at the Canyons Village base. The groomers were even soft, and the only time I felt man-made snow at all was for a few turns on Echo at 3:45 p.m. The annual snowfall at PCMR is akin to the annual snowfall at Snowbasin, but I don't seem to hear any whining about crappier snow at Snowbasin.

With respect to terrain, Jupiter is an absolute gem unmatched by any other lift-served terrain on the Wasatch Back. It's as good as anything you'll find at, say, Solitude. Upper Pinecone Ridge nearly guarantees untracked skiing due to its expanse and the 15-minute bootpack to get there, if you can hit that magic window between when it opens (it's low on ski patrol's priority list) and when it bakes (it faces south). It wasn't open yesterday, but we wouldn't have hit it anyway as Roger's daughter would not have been up for a 15-minute bootpack. Ninety-Nine 90 has some legitimate terrain as well, but my complaint about that terrain is that it has been heavily bumped up in its entirety every time I've been there -- including yesterday beneath the new snow. Advanced skiers are drawn to that lift like bees to honey, and in reality the in-bounds acreage available from that lift is actually quite small so it builds massive bumps. I've therefore found Ninety-Nine 90 to be highly overrated. Admittedly the slackcountry off the Park City ridgeline -- particularly from Ninety-Nine 90 -- is spectacular and expansive, but with a considerable avalanche rating yesterday I wasn't going through any of those gates, especially as my personal knowledge out there is actually rather limited. I'm still waiting for mbaydala to better acquaint me with that terrain.
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Re: Park City Mountain, UT 2/28/2017

Postby Tony Crocker » Thu Mar 02, 2017 9:27 am

:stir:
admin wrote:The annual snowfall at PCMR is akin to the annual snowfall at Snowbasin, but I don't seem to hear any whining about crappier snow at Snowbasin


Not really in terms of overall ski terrain. The in season number quoted by PCMR under both Powdr and Vail is from Jupiter, which is halfway to BCC from the other 95% of PCMR terrain. Summit House, still 3/4 of the way up PCMR, averages 287 inches vs. 313 at mid mountain Snowbasin. The town of Park City, much farther away from the Wasatch Crest than Snowbasin's base, averages only 150 inches.

Throw a bunch of sun exposed terrain into this equation, like Pinecone or those south side ridges on the Canyons side, and the window of good snow conditions or even adequate coverage on south facing at Canyons is a narrow one. It is a testimony to the current banner season that this terrain is skiing so well now.

I am all for seizing the opportunity to visit normally less reliable areas when I know they are at their best. That informed our second week in Austria when we skied a bunch of places I would never reserve far in advance due to their low altitude.

I also agree that Jupiter is Utah's best terrain pod outside LCC, though overall I prefer Snowbasin's terrain to PCMR's. The north facing side of 9990 is excellent but it has a very long and flat runout past Red Pine lodge and takes two lifts to get back there. Of course this degree of tedium to reward ratio doesn't faze admin when seeking the best snow at Alta.
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Re: Park City Mountain, UT 2/28/2017

Postby jamesdeluxe » Thu Mar 02, 2017 9:49 am

Tony Crocker wrote:Of course this degree of tedium to reward ratio doesn't faze admin when seeking the best snow at Alta.

:popcorn:
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Re: Park City Mountain, UT 2/28/2017

Postby Admin » Thu Mar 02, 2017 9:55 am

Tony Crocker wrote:The in season number quoted by PCMR under both Powdr and Vail is from Jupiter, which is halfway to BCC from the other 95% of PCMR terrain. Summit House, still 3/4 of the way up PCMR, averages 287 inches vs. 313 at mid mountain Snowbasin. The town of Park City, much farther away from the Wasatch Crest than Snowbasin's base, averages only 150 inches.


Citing the snowfall in town in Park City to illustrate your point is just plain silly, so stop delegitimizing your own argument with specious evidence. The fact is that you have at your disposal just those two data points, so anywhere else in the resort you're just winging it without any evidence. The fact is that the Park City Ridgeline backs up on BCC all the way from Jupiter to Ninety-Nine 90, so I'd similarly wing it and speculate that the snowfall is pretty consistent across that entire zone.

park city ridgeline.JPG
The Park City Ridgeline backs up on Big Cottonwood Canyon from Jupiter north through Ninety-Nine 90.


Once you get north of Ninety-Nine 90 the Ridgeline backs up on Millcreek Canyon, not BCC, so I'd agree that snowfall tapers off fairly quickly once you pass north of Ninety-Nine 90. Likewise, once you pass south of Jupiter Peak, PCMR's terrain backs up on Bonanza Flat on the east side of the Wasatch Crest, so it should be leaner there, too.

Tony Crocker wrote:Throw a bunch of sun exposed terrain into this equation, like Pinecone or those south side ridges on the Canyons side, and the window of good snow conditions or even adequate coverage on south facing at Canyons is a narrow one.


You're conveniently ignoring the fact that every single one of those ridges has a skiable north side, too.

Tony Crocker wrote:The north facing side of 9990 is excellent but it has a very long and flat runout past Red Pine lodge and takes two lifts to get back there. Of course this degree of tedium to reward ratio doesn't faze admin when seeking the best snow at Alta.


Of course, requiring some effort to get to terrain (or back from it) maintains good snow much longer than terrain with direct fall-line lift access...like at, say, Snowbird.
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Re: Park City Mountain, UT 2/28/2017

Postby Tony Crocker » Thu Mar 02, 2017 10:53 am

admin wrote:The fact is that you have at your disposal just those two data points

Three data points, Jupiter, Summit House (the most relevant one) and town. First hand observation too. You much more often see bare spots/thin cover on the lower reaches of PCMR and particularly Canyons than near the base of Snowbasin.

admin wrote:The fact is that the Park City Ridgeline backs up on BCC all the way from Jupiter to Ninety-Nine 90, so I'd similarly wing it and speculate that the snowfall is pretty consistent across that entire zone.

That is not what you said when I asked in person a few years ago if 9990 got as much snow as Jupiter and you said no.

admin wrote:Of course, requiring some effort to get to terrain (or back from it) maintains good snow much longer than terrain with direct fall-line lift access

I know this is admin's mantra, so I'm surprised he critiques 9990 for its frontside mogul field, while not mentioning that the backside of 9990 is precisely the type of terrain he craves because the tedium of its access cuts down traffic and preserves powder.
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Re: Park City Mountain, UT 2/28/2017

Postby Admin » Thu Mar 02, 2017 11:38 am

Tony Crocker wrote:
admin wrote:The fact is that you have at your disposal just those two data points

Three data points, Jupiter, Summit House (the most relevant one) and town.


Same diff. No data points outside of two sites very near one another on the PC side, and a useless town data point do nothing to tell you what's going on in the other ~7,200 acres.

Tony Crocker wrote:
admin wrote:The fact is that the Park City Ridgeline backs up on BCC all the way from Jupiter to Ninety-Nine 90, so I'd similarly wing it and speculate that the snowfall is pretty consistent across that entire zone.

That is not what you said when I asked in person a few years ago if 9990 got as much snow as Jupiter and you said no.


As much? Probably not. Darned close to it? Probably so (see above). Do either you or I know for sure? Absolutely not.

Tony Crocker wrote:
admin wrote:Of course, requiring some effort to get to terrain (or back from it) maintains good snow much longer than terrain with direct fall-line lift access

I know this is admin's mantra, so I'm surprised he critiques 9990 for its frontside mogul field, while not mentioning that the backside of 9990 is precisely the type of terrain he craves because the tedium of its access cuts down traffic and preserves powder.


Red Pine Gulch still gets bumped -- again, a high-speed lift serving very limited in-bounds acreage. You conveniently avoided my Snowbird reference, and actually clipped it from what you quoted. :lol: Am I surprised that you cherry-picked? Absolutely not.
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Re: Park City Mountain, UT 2/28/2017

Postby cbgarrett » Thu Mar 02, 2017 12:02 pm

The last 2 years PCs reported snow totals have really increased relative to the historical and the rest of Utah. Also, when you look at the snow stake, it doesn't match the reported numbers. What does that coincide with?

The main point is the reported numbers don't match the conditions on 'most' of the mountain. Yes, up on Jupiter you might find what they reported, but not even midway down.

They do the same thing jackson hole does; report a number that you won't find on 75% of the resort.

Alta on the other had, just about always underreports.
Last edited by cbgarrett on Thu Mar 02, 2017 3:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Park City Mountain, UT 2/28/2017

Postby socal » Thu Mar 02, 2017 2:43 pm

Interesting, I actually was there on 2/28 and 3/1. My experience on 2/28 was very different. This was my first time in Park City after many trips to Utah. On 2/28 we got to the Canyons base at 9am and waited 25 minutes to load the gondola. Not knowing my way around, poor visibility, and skiing wiht my intermediate wife made things just tough to find good snow. We poked around abut i kept finding bumps in the trees and under lifts. Finally around 11ish I headed over to 9990 without the wife. After the 2 lift tour to get there I skied the lookers left of the lift line. It was bumped up with VW size moguls. Mistake. I skied back to 9990 for another lap and this time traversed out to the lookers right through the highest gate. Pretty good knee deep powder for maybe 500 vert then a long run out and moguls.

We wanted to try and ski over to town, thinking that would be fun. 4 lifts and like 45 minutes of not skiing later we got to PC. It was pretty windy and cold so the wife wanted lunch. We poked around after lunch including a run off Mcconkey. We skied to town generally unimpressed. We had some drinks and took a shuttle back to the Canyons side.

Yesterday 3/1 we headed up the OBX and found great open skiing on Silvarado and all over the lower 1/2 of OBX. Really fun, lighltly tracked. Wish I'd have been over there on Tuesday. After probably 7 laps that area was pretty well tracked so we made our way over to Supercondor. I skied the North Trees which were pretty deep and then the South facing A Chute. Seems the snow had setup with just a little crust but at speed and big GS turns it was a fun run.

We cut out around 2 and headed to catch our flight.

My observations, much of Canyons/PC feels like a HUGE east coast resort. Lots of cut runs and trees that in many cases were just a tad tight for my liking. I really missed the big open faces and bowls that are found in the Cottonwoods/Ogden ski resorts. Snow quality was great, everything was soft. We came for the reason most do, a little vacation and therefore the desire to have a town with amenities to use.

With all that said, I can imagine possibly coming back while the kids are young (two under the age of 3 currently) but then again I think it would be easier and far more cost effective to rent a condo in Mammoth. My wife said she hoped once the kids were old enough we could come back and do our usual stay in downtown SLC and pick a resort based on the conditions every morning. Plus the food/entertainment scene in SLC had gotten much better over the years (2009-2013) we had come.

With the guys, a trip with a cheap rental in Cottonwood heights or downtown SLC is a no brainer.
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Re: Park City Mountain, UT 2/28/2017

Postby EMSC » Thu Mar 02, 2017 6:57 pm

I didn't even read much of the thread, just getting my popcorn ready like James.
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Re: Park City Mountain, UT 2/28/2017

Postby Tony Crocker » Thu Mar 02, 2017 11:44 pm

admin wrote:You conveniently avoided my Snowbird reference, and actually clipped it from what you quoted. :lol: Am I surprised that you cherry-picked? Absolutely not.

I thought it was off topic (the topic being snow at Park City vs. Snowbasin) plus it's a :dead horse: on this board. Snowbird has its fair share of grunt work traverse-to terrain also: High Baldy, Bookends, Tigertail etc. At least you have a choice there.

As far as the main topic of snow at Park City vs. Snowbasin is concerned, cbgarett nailed it. Snowbasin's reported snow number is mid-mountain, representative of overall ski terrain. A top Jupiter quote from Park City is seriously representing maybe the snowiest 5% of terrain. Even Summit House is about like Jackson, perhaps the snowiest 25%. So given that Snowbasin's reported number is greater than Summit House's, I don't think there's much question than in terms of overall ski terrain Snowbasin will get more snow than Park City most of the time. Whether 9990 gets Jupiter or Summit House level snowfall doesn't change the overall terrain comparison vs. Snowbasin.

admin wrote:a useless town data point

Any why is that less relevant than the quoted measurement at the very top of the ski area in a location halfway to BCC? You could make a good case for averaging the 150 in town and the 359 on Jupiter to get a representative number for PCMR. That's not an automatic assumption one should make, but in this case the snowfall declines fairly steadily both with elevation and as you move away from the Wasatch Crest.

I will remind Garrett that even though Jackson touts that upper number in press releases, at least it still publishes the mid-mountain number on its snow report page: http://www.jacksonhole.com/weather-snow-report.html Summit House data is not available online. I call or e-mail to get it at the end of the season.
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Re: Park City Mountain, UT 2/28/2017

Postby Admin » Fri Mar 03, 2017 10:00 am

Tony Crocker wrote:Snowbird has its fair share of grunt work traverse-to terrain also: High Baldy, Bookends, Tigertail etc.


Yeah, that groomed gravity cat-track that they blasted through the rock out to the Bookends is a real bitch. :roll: Tigertail is a 30-foot sidestep. So that leaves...High Baldy, which is less than 5% of Snowbird's terrain, leaving over 95% with direct lift access.

Tony Crocker wrote:So given that Snowbasin's reported number is greater than Summit House's


...by a colossal 8.3%, which is probably about the difference for Alta over Snowbird.
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Re: Park City Mountain, UT 2/28/2017

Postby Tony Crocker » Fri Mar 03, 2017 7:55 pm

Actually 11% is the difference between Alta and Snowbird, and it's an apples to apples comparison with both numbers measured at 9,600 feet (Alta Collins vs. Snowbird SNOTEL).

Summit House to Snowbasin is not the same because Snowbasin measures mid-mountain and Summit House is 3/4 of the way up Park City. The real difference is likely on the order of 20%.
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