No Cal to SLC & beyond
My first time here, but great info so far. I couldn't find my exact travel interests in any other thread, so wanted some specific suggestions.
1) Any hints about early March travel from Santa Rosa, CA to Salt Lake City in our Chevy truck, besides I-80 the whole way? Best place to quickly & inexpensively sleep/stopover (Reno/Winnemucca?)
2)Anyone know about the new yurts in East Canyon State Park in SLC and if they are open in winter (can't seem to connect online)? We have a reservation for a business conference at the Sheraton City Centre, but may cancel for a more interesting place to stay.
3)Looking to go to Park City and Sundance after conference...ideas for travel and places to stay? Are both extremely expensive to stay, or does anyone have other ideas? One of us is a moderate skiier & would like to "taste" Utah snow...Park City or Sundance?
4)Is the best way back home to Santa Rosa, CA just a reverse trip, or is there a more interesting journey?
We appreciate any and all ideas...happy trails!
Keep Smiling On 'Til Then
Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!
I-80 is certainly the fastest way to make the trip to Salt Lake City. Winnemucca would be about half way. Reno at the far west and Elko at the far east mark the area where you should be looking to spend your overnight. Either would mean a 500+ mile leg to cover either on the first or second day. Your only other option is to take US-50, the World's Loneliest Road, This would add about 90 miles to your trip, halfway would be somewhere around the small towns of Austin or Eureka, but you'd probably have more lodging options in Ely.
The Yurts at East Canyon are available year round and are reservable by calling (800) 322-3770. The web site is a .pdf file, so you may need to download Adobe Acrobat® (free), or just try to visit the site again.
I can't speak to Park City or Sundance in particular, but my experience with other high end resorts is that there will be a few low cost alternatives either in them or nearby. After all the local hired help has to live and eat somewhere. But start looking and booking early. And plan on skiing mid-week to keep the lift ticket prices down. Especially look for nearby state and local parks that may offer skiing.
As noted above, your choices for routes between Reno and Salt Lake are very limited, but both drives will be interesting (at least they would be to me).
In regards to Park City/Sundance, you may need to look into renting a condo or apartment for a few days. There aren't that many hotels in the area, and there are way less affordable ones. Many people rent out their condos/apartments for most of the year, so look on Craigslist or other vacation rental sites. There are a couple two-star motels for about $50-$80 per night just a few miles outside of Park City, right off of Interstate 80 at Kimball Junction. These motels are conveniently clustered in with several fast-food joints, a grocery store and a Wal-Mart, and gas stations.
For the skiiing, Park City is the best. The snow is better than anything I've seen in CA or WA, and there's so much to choose from. I recommend the Park City resort or The Canyons, which is even larger and very close nearby (5 min from town). Lift tickets will run $50 - $62, but both resorts have nice, fast lifts and endless amounts of terrain. Both also have mid-mountain lodges and restaurants on some ski runs, which is kind of cool.
Park City skiing
I have the great good fortune to spend a week in the Park City area every year. Here are some observations:
Noted above is skiing mid-week to reduce lift ticket prices. I have not experienced weekend/holiday lift ticket prices being higher than weekday prices. This year, prices are in the $78-82/day range at
While I have not skied Sundance, my Park City host has and contends Sundance is a much poorer experience for the good skier. He cites Sundance's lower elevation and greater amount of south and east facing slopes as the reasons for poorer snow conditions, on average.
I would describe the 3 Park City resorts as follows: Deer Valley does not allow snowboarders and is known for it's groomed cruisers at the beginner and intermediate levels. There are some excellent expert slopes, as well. The Snowcrest section has a 4-person gondola lift and offers spectacular view of Jordanelle Reservior. Park City Mountain can get crowded and if you don't enjoy skiing with snowboarders, you might be disappointed, as there are a ton of them at PCM. The upper sections of PCM feature some great expert slopes and the middle of the mountain offers groomed intermediates much like Deer Valley has. The Canyons is a nice enough place but is not my favorite due in part to having to park well away from the lifts and having to take a gondola ride from the parking area. Once you're on the mountain, it's a bit of a challenge to traverse from one end of the resort to the other, as The Canyons is really 3 separate mountains. The result is you must do a lot of "up and down" to get around. Nice place, though, with lots of groomed slope (and snowboarders).
Kimball Junction is a good place to look for a motel for the reasons cited. It lacks the ambiance of Park City, but also lacks the difficult parking and navigation challenges.
You mention needing to be in SLC for a convention and getting in some skiing on the side. Let me suggest you have a look at skiing in either Big Cottonwood or Little Cottonwood Canyons, the former being the home of Brighton and Solitude, while the latter features Snowbird and Alta. Brighton and Solitude are smaller but nice resorts and tend to be somewhat less expensive and less crowded than the Park City slopes. Alta is "skiers only" and is a treat since it's kind of "retro" and reminds old guys like me of what skiing was like "back in the day". Snowbird is big, brawny, and rather unforgiving to less-skilled skiers. I love her, but she's tough on you. You can ride the tram to 11,000' at Snowbird, or you can take a lift up to near the top, thence pass through a unique 800' tunnel on a moving sidewalk to the Mineral Basis section. I imagine accomodations are as pricey up in the Cottonwood Canyons as they are in Park City, but I was happy to find an Extended Stay America motel in Sandy, Utah, a SLC suburb right at the mouths of the two canyons. My family spent a trio of nights there one year when we arrived prior to our host's home being available, and we scored those rooms for something like $55/night. It's a short easy run into SLC or up the Cottonwood Canyons from Sandy.
Have a great trip.