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The Canyons Ski Review

Written by Andrew Mitchell   
Thursday, 12 February 2009
  

Introduction

The largest ski area in Utah, The Canyons has enough varied terrain to entertain beginners and advanced skiers alike. An easy half hour drive from Salt Lake International Airport, The Canyons lies at the North East extremity of the Wasatch Mountains.

Terrain Characteristics

The Canyons has similar (although more) terrain as its neighbouring ski resorts, Deer Valley and Park City Mountain Resort. This side of the Wasatch Mountains tends to consist of multiple peaks that step down to the plateau containing Park City. Because of the stepped nature of these mountains, the resorts here, including The Canyons, have a few levels of lifts that take you onto their higher peaks and back bowls. Some skiing on roads is generally required to ski down from the higher to lower areas. For this reason, we generally found it better to ski each area one at a time rather than continuously skiing between them.

Areas of Note

The Ninety Nine 90 Express leads to a large area of fabulous terrain. Conveniently, many of the trails take you back to the bottom of the Ninety Nine 90 Express, which is a high speed quad. The trails here are rated for advanced and expert skiers.

Many of the trails off the top of the Tombstone Express will entertain intermediate and advanced skiers for a considerable part of the day. Sidewinder is a fairly wide and steep trail, but make sure you exit onto the Encore and then Chicane trails to avoid the large flat area near the Red Pine Lodge area.

The Dream Peak area is far to the South, but is worth the considerable transit for intermediate skiers looking for trails down the fall line. Coming back from this area, you will ski on roads through The Colony which contains private ski in ski out lodging which is interesting if you like looking at extravagant ski lodges.

We skied a gladed trail called The Aspens which starts near the top of the Saddleback Express. This was somewhat challenging as the trees were quite close together and the sun on the south facing slope had made the snow a little heavy. The gladed trails on the other side of the ridge face north and so the snow is generally in better condition.

Groups mixed of intermediate and advanced skiers will probably enjoy the trails off the Super Condor Express. We preferred skiing mostly down the ridge line to avoid skiing too far on dull roads leading back to the bottom of the lift.

If you have some extra energy, you can hike up Murdoch Peak and ski various chutes where you would be unlucky not to get fresh tracks. The downside of this is that you would end up on a long and rather dull road taking you back to either the bottom of the Super Condor Express or the base via a short rope tow and walk.

Facilities

The Canyons has several restaurants on the mountain servicing all the ski areas. The back of the trail map contains a menu for each. Sundial Café at the main base area is not conveniently located for skiers, but is a good alternative if you’re looking for a lighter lunch. The breakfast burrito and coffee here is excellent. We looked for espresso on the mountain, but were unable to find it - Java Jane near Red Pine Lodge was closed when we were there.

The main base area at The Canyons has a good array of facilities, including ATMs, ski rentals and retail such as Surefoot. There is also a ski valet service for the folk in the nearby time share.

Lodging

There are numerous lodging options both at The Canyons and 3 miles away at Park City. There are even more options 35 minutes down the road at Salt Lake City.

The Canyons has a number of slopeside accommodation options ranging from the casual Sundial Lodge to the four star Canyons Grand Summit Hotel. In all there are three world-class hotels plus private condominiums.

The Colony is an area further up the mountain that offers true ski in ski out lodging, however, this is all private.

Getting to The Canyons

The Canyons is a fairly easy 40 minute drive from Salt Lake City and Salt Lake International Airport. Look for Highway 80 East and then 189 South. The snow ploughs regularly clear and salt these roads.

Many skiers and boarders will be staying in the Park City area where there are free busses servicing The Canyons and the other local ski resorts (Deer Valley and Park City Mountain Resort). The bus will offload you at the bottom of a short cabriolet lift which takes you to their main base where you can buy ski passes. The Flight of The Canyons lift is the best way to get up onto the mountain.

Last Updated ( Thursday, 12 February 2009 )
 

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