LCC Overcrowding

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LCC Overcrowding

Postby baldyskier » Tue Mar 26, 2019 11:42 am

I guess it wasn't just my imagination. This article talks about the large increase in traffic in little Cottonwood Canyon this year. UDOT's solution is basically carpooling. That won't help with the increasingly crowded slopes, nor with the result of those crowds: the ever-shortening half-life of powder days.
https://www.ksl.com/article/46517067/ud ... affic-woes" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
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Re: LCC Overcrowding

Postby jojo_obrien » Tue Mar 26, 2019 9:04 pm

lots of great comments on the article, and good article, thanks for sharing

honestly, I've only come up with one conclusion for myself (my budget, my patience level with traffic, my apres needs, and my unquenchable quest for powder). my conclusion is Powder Mountain. no place like Alta/Bird but......all I can say is PowMow. If you like Baldy, you'll love PowMow.
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Re: LCC Overcrowding

Postby Tony Crocker » Tue Mar 26, 2019 9:40 pm

Powder Mt. is a solution for some powder days, but the reality is that those days are relatively infrequent.
1) Powder Mt. is not all that interesting without fresh snow. Conditions may not be that great because altitude is on the low side by Utah standards and exposures are all over the map.
2) Powder Mt. averages about 70% of LCC's snowfall. Each storm can vary, but every year there are some storms that bring real powder to the Cottonwoods and only a little to Powder Mt.
3) The simple way to look at the above is that Powder Mt. gets 6 inches or more new snow about 15% of days Dec. - Mar. The other 85% of the time you probably want to ski somewhere else. Sure the second day after a storm is often good, but some of those 6 inch snow days are early season with an inadequate base or late season with a crusty refrozen subsurface.

All of my 4 days at Powder Mt. have been excellent with lots of powder, but that's 4 days since 1991, carefully curated on very short notice for expected snow conditions.
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Re: LCC Overcrowding

Postby Marc_C » Wed Mar 27, 2019 1:37 pm

Tony Crocker wrote:All of my 4 days at Powder Mt. have been excellent with lots of powder, but that's 4 days since 1991, carefully curated on very short notice for expected snow conditions.

I've skied Powder Mtn 6 times in my 20 years here. For the reasons Tony mentioned, those ski days there were "meh" at best. No, unlike Tony, they weren't carefully curated - more like friends said "Hey, let's go to Powder Mtn tomorrow" as a change of pace rather than "OMG! Did you see all the powder that PM got?"
One of the days I skied there, *all* the employees and locals were staying on the groomers. Quote of the day from a liftie: "Anything not groomed sucks."
I also find the terrain less than inspiring - I'd rather spend the day at Snowbasin.
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Re: LCC Overcrowding

Postby Tony Crocker » Wed Mar 27, 2019 9:50 pm

Yes Snowbasin has much better terrain quality. But it's not that hard to figure out when to go to Powder Mt. if you analyze the Utah weather reports.

The terrain is always there unless conditions are unusually bad. Powder is more of a rarity. So I'm in James' camp and give powder expectation the priority if I judge that there will be enough of it.
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Re: LCC Overcrowding

Postby jojo_obrien » Thu Mar 28, 2019 7:50 am

Look......Snowbasin is incredible terrain. However, half of Ogden shows up on a good day. If I'm looking for groomers - Snowbasin is awesome as is Park City. If there's 6+ inches or more, PowMow always delivers the goods. As you know, SW flows deliver the goods at PowMow.

Tony/Marc C have you even skied there since they opened the new terrain a few years ago? The acreage is beyond belief. It's massive -- 8000+ acres? It doesn't offer the steep and deep of Snowbird off the Cirque but it does make 6+" feel a lot deeper because it's lower angles IMO. Powder country is off the hook -- it's like the out of bounds past South Bowl at Baldy if you've ventured that far. Untracked, great vert.

I guess I've just had my lifetime fill of bad drivers in the snow and the red snake. You really don't get that at PowMow. W/ Ikon and MC back on sale, next year should offer much of the same in the Cottonwood canyons. Social media has only made people drool even more.....
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Re: LCC Overcrowding

Postby Tony Crocker » Thu Mar 28, 2019 9:30 am

Here's the TR from last March at Powder Mt.: viewtopic.php?t=12631

Yes we got 5 runs in the two pay-by-the-ride snowcat areas, which are part of that 8,000 acres. And yes that was also a good example of utilizing Powder Mt. for a "low angle powder day."

The Powder Country runs to the bus shuttle were closed. They have good pitch but unfortunately face south so never got adequately covered during the lean 2017-18 season and are surely the least reliable part of the ski area.

If I lived in Utah, I suspect there would be a few days each season when the when the weather/snow parameters would line up and I would choose to ski Powder Mt. Coming from SoCal on a mostly fixed schedule, I think my Powder Mt. visits are likely to remain in the range of once every 5 years or so.
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Season length: 21 months, Nov. 29, 2010 - July 2, 2012
Days in one year: 80 from Nov. 29, 2010 - Nov. 17, 2011
Season vertical: 1,610K in 2016-17
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Re: LCC Overcrowding

Postby Marc_C » Thu Mar 28, 2019 1:00 pm

jojo_obrien wrote:Tony/Marc C have you even skied there since they opened the new terrain a few years ago?

Nope. I haven't been back to Powder Mtn since my last mediocre, so-so experience. That was over a decade ago.
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Re: LCC Overcrowding

Postby baldyskier » Thu Mar 28, 2019 1:05 pm

Marc_C and Tony. Haven't you both found that powder days in LCC are a lot harder to get to and get skied off a lot faster than they did even 2 years ago? Kind of disheartening to spend hours getting up there, only to find the powder skied off within an hour. Then there is the crawl back home. I'm talking midweek, non-holiday here.
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Re: LCC Overcrowding

Postby Marc_C » Thu Mar 28, 2019 2:56 pm

baldyskier wrote:Marc_C and Tony. Haven't you both found that powder days in LCC are a lot harder to get to...

Yes.
baldyskier wrote:...and get skied off a lot faster than they did even 2 years ago? Kind of disheartening to spend hours getting up there, only to find the powder skied off within an hour.

Not particularly, especially the obvious stuff. I don't think I've seen Ballroom/Shoulder last more than 30 minutes on a powder day after the rope drop in my 20 years here. Same if the T was closed. The first 1/4 of Devil's Castle goes even faster. But often you can still find untracked at 2p at xxxxxxxxxxx, xxxxxxxxxxx, and xxxxxxxxxxxx.
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Re: LCC Overcrowding

Postby Tony Crocker » Thu Mar 28, 2019 9:42 pm

Most of my LCC days are when I'm staying at Iron Blosam. That's obviously an advantage on powder days. Readers also have to remember that my incidence of powder days during that week is low, 60% or expected snowfall even including this excellent year. I've been there the whole week since 2009, and in 2012, 2015 and 2017 there was zero new snow the entire week. I was there half the week for 12 seasons before that and 8 of them had 3 inches or less new snow.

So my experience is not necessarily indicative. This year and in 2011 one of the big powder days was enhanced by delayed opening of the road. But overall my personal experience with LCC powder is so erratic that it's hard for me to personally observe a time trend, particularly since I saw so little powder during the earlier visits. I have no doubt the trend is there, because Snowbird visitation is clearly up significantly since 2007, matched by an increase in lift capacity. More visits + more lift capacity = faster tracking out of new snow at any area.

The more avid LCC locals like admin have the timing down for terrain openings. I've been skiing there long enough that sometimes I get those right too, notably on Thursday (Alta) and Friday (Snowbird) of Iron Blosam Week in 2018. There are times I don't get it right, as on the final openings Friday this year, but I was so beat from Wednesday and Thursday it didn't matter that much to me.
http://bestsnow.net
Ski Records
Season length: 21 months, Nov. 29, 2010 - July 2, 2012
Days in one year: 80 from Nov. 29, 2010 - Nov. 17, 2011
Season vertical: 1,610K in 2016-17
Season powder: 291K in 2011-12
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Re: LCC Overcrowding

Postby baldyskier » Fri Mar 29, 2019 8:12 am

Marc_C wrote:Not particularly, especially the obvious stuff. I don't think I've seen Ballroom/Shoulder last more than 30 minutes on a powder day after the rope drop in my 20 years here. Same if the T was closed. The first 1/4 of Devil's Castle goes even faster. But often you can still find untracked at 2p at xxxxxxxxxxx, xxxxxxxxxxx, and xxxxxxxxxxxx.


Well, that's mighty big of ya; thanks a lot!
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Re: LCC Overcrowding

Postby baldyskier » Fri Mar 29, 2019 5:48 pm

Marc_C wrote:
baldyskier wrote:Marc_C and Tony. Haven't you both found that powder days in LCC are a lot harder to get to...

Yes.
baldyskier wrote:...and get skied off a lot faster than they did even 2 years ago? Kind of disheartening to spend hours getting up there, only to find the powder skied off within an hour.

Not particularly, especially the obvious stuff. I don't think I've seen Ballroom/Shoulder last more than 30 minutes on a powder day after the rope drop in my 20 years here. Same if the T was closed. The first 1/4 of Devil's Castle goes even faster. But often you can still find untracked at 2p at xxxxxxxxxxx, xxxxxxxxxxx, and xxxxxxxxxxxx.


Given UDOT's stats, the fact that most of that increased traffic was heading for the slopes of Snowbird and/or Alta, and given the prevalence of high speed lifts at both areas, it's hard to find a reason to believe that the powder is not getting skied off faster. Of course, you still may find your secret stashes, but my guess is that even some of them are disappearing earlier on powder days than they did a couple of years back.

I've been skiing Catherine's for a few years, for instance, and I noticed this year there was a marked increase in the number of people braving the uphill to get there, like 2x's the number than I"ve seen at any given time in the past. Unfortunately, the masses are catching on; SLC has some of the best snow, terrain and airport accessibility of any ski areas in North America. Add to that lots of "free" (or at least already paid for) days on an Ikon or Mountain Collective Pass, and the "secret" is really out there now.

Another anecdote: I was going up the lift on a bluebird powder day back in January. Some locals were talking in the liftline, and one mentioned that a couple of ski patrollers were off snowmobiling. I asked them why they weren't skiing on their off day, and the guy motioned to the crowds and said, "can you blame them?"
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