Tuesday, March 25, 2014

ticket to ride: park city mountain resort

The days are getting longer and warmer, meaning that the end of the 2013/2014 ski season is just around the corner.  With that in mind, we realized that if we were going to use any more of those reciprocal ski tickets to Park City/Deer Valley/Snowbird, we'd better get to it.  We decided to hold off on Snowbird since it will probably be open through the end of May and we'd already given Deer Valley a try on a bluebird day with no new snow.  That left Park City Mountain Resort.  Off we went!

We got a great parking spot, just steps from the Eagle lift.  After flashing our Alta season passes at the ticket window to get our day ticket, we quickly consulted the trail map.  Although neither of us had skied at PCMR before, we've spent some time there hiking and MTBing and we figured that we'd want to get to some east-facing slopes for maximum snow softness.  We got stuck in a terrain park at the top of the Eaglet lift before a friendly young PCMR staffer told us how to get out of there.

I have no idea where on the mountain this is

The day was absolutely spectacular and pretty warm, although the snow did not soften very quickly, having frozen up hard overnight.  We spent the day travelling from lift to lift, trying to find the softest snow.  By noon, some of the long runs in the "Crescent Mountainzone" were nice and soft; H even tried a run through the glade adjacent to Silver King, finding a thin crust on top but breaking through to skiable snow.  Because of the frozen conditions, we had to stick to groomed runs, looking wistfully over at what looked like fun terrain in McConkey's Bowl and Molly's.

We had lunch at the Mid-Mountain Lodge, then tried some runs off the Motherlode and Thaynes lifts.  Despite the sun shining strongly overhead, the snow over there refused to soften which was a little disappointing.  We didn't even get to the Jupiter lift, although we did note the mine ruins above the Thaynes lift with an eye to hiking into them this summer.

Good trees to ski in

It was unfortunate that the snow didn't soften into true spring skiing conditions (except for the beginner area by the Crescent lift which was just one step removed from pond skimming by the end of the day) because we really didn't get to try out PCMR's terrain.  If we go back sometime with better snow, I'd really like to give the Jupiter area a shot, as well as stuff off McConkey's and the Motherlode Meadows.  What we ended up skiing was fairly bland but I'm sure there's better terrain to be had.  Even with the less than ideal snow, it was a beautiful day and we had fun exploring a new ski resort - and you can't ever complain about that.

Lifts ridden: Eagle, Eaglet, King Con, Silverlode, Motherlode, Thaynes, Bonanza, McConkey's, Pioneer, Crescent, Payday.

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