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City or Mountain?

Kauai, Hawaii
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City or Mountain?

My niece will be competing at the Olympic Oval in the longtrack speedskating Olympic trials Dec 27th to 31st. DH and I plan to combine a ski trip with the skating competition. He's the skier while I'm more interested in the skating (although I love staying at ski resorts over Christmas just for the atmosphere). We can either stay at a nice hotel in Salt Lake City which would be close to the skating or in a ski condo which is close to the skiing. I'm looking for opinions as to which might be a better choice as either way we'll be doing some driving back and forth.

DH is an intermediate skier and has previously skied the Canyons and we've stayed at the Canyons. He is interested in Solitude this year for a change of pace. We plan to rent a 4-wheel drive vehicle. I think we prefer staying at Solitude and drive into the city for the skating events, but are concerned that the mountain roads might be impassible and we would miss her big moment. I know it's impossible to predice the weather this far out, but is that likely to occur the last week of December?

Salt Lake City, Utah
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for Utah
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1. Re: City or Mountain?

Hi TexKauai. Congrats on your niece's competition. That is quite the accomplishment to be competitively skating at that venue. How fun. As for your questions.

Big Cottonwood Canyon isn't closed very often, but it can be restricted to chains or 4WD vehicles when it snows. Getting a 4WD vehicle it will increase the odds of being able to get up and down the canyon. Of course it is impossible to predict with any certainty, but it would take an above average, major storm to become inaccessible. If you haven't driven in snow before that is another story as well. Just go much slower than you think necessary. They will have snow plows, but sometimes can't keep up with how fast the snow falls. Once you are out of Big Cottonwood Canyon, the drive to the rink will be about 20 minutes. Plan on about 40-60 minutes total, depending on conditions.

Solitude built a small mountain village about a decade ago that has a couple of restaurants, ice skating rink, bar, etc. I haven't stayed up there so can't speak as to the quality of the rooms or activities and festivities during Christmas. It will be a much smaller scene and scale than what you experienced at The Canyons. They call it Solitude for a reason. Having said that, it's a great mountain to ski intermediate terrain and you won't find huge crowds on most of the lifts. Amazing skiing on powder days. Would be a good option. I wouldn't want to stay anywhere near the Olympic Oval for a vacation and downtown SLC would be driving to both locations.

Park City, Utah
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for Utah, Winter Sports
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2. Re: City or Mountain?

Good advice so far. It's definitely a long haul from Solitude out to the rink in Kearns. As noted, definitely no where you would want to stay out there. If you're concerned about the drive in/out of the canyon, you could look for something on the east side of Salt Lake City or something in the Fort Union area along I-215 that would give you equidistant to the rink and Solitude.

No way to predict weather, but there's always a chance of canyon closures. You would likely have enough sense of what's happening weatherwise to get yourself out in time.

Have fun.

Salt Lake City, Utah
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3. Re: City or Mountain?

This little area is kind of a new retail and industrial park that would be about a minute away from the mouth of the canyon and a quick jump to get on the freeway to the Oval. Time wise, almost right in the middle of the two places you're wanting to go. There are a few nearby restaurants, coffee shops, bars, rental shops, etc. Not the charm or seclusion of being at the actual resort or having the amenities of downtown, but would probably be my next option if I were on a ski trip to Salt Lake and especially so, given the fact that will be visiting the Oval frequently.

cottonwood.place.hyatt.com/en/hotel/home.html

marriott.com/hotels/…

Edited: 14 August 2013, 03:48
Salt Lake City, Utah
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4. Re: City or Mountain?

I'll be a third to recommend the cottonwood area right at the mouth of the canyon. Easy to get up the canyon for the skier and right on the belt route to take you out to the oval. Very nice area. That way you wouldn't need to worry about getting stuck in the canyon with a snow storm.

There are some less expensive places just a bit further west in Midvale in the Ft Union area.

Kauai, Hawaii
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5. Re: City or Mountain?

Thanks everyone, for your advice and suggestions. This has been tough for us as usually we just stay at a resort and don't even drive into town. But during one week, we'll spend 3 days at the oval and 3 skiing. The cottonwood area looks like a good compromise.

We were also looking at the new Embassy Suites a little further northwest:

…hilton.com/en/…index.html

It's closer to the oval and also looks like shopping and restaurants are nearby. Thoughts?

Salt Lake City, Utah
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6. Re: City or Mountain?

You will be close to the Oval and are correct that there will be more in terms of shopping and restaurants, etc but most of them will be chain stores and the nearby Valley Fair Mall is really considered the least of all of malls in the SL Valley. This hotel is in the 5th poorest zip code in the entire Salt Lake Valley according to a local newspaper article last year.

deseretnews.com/top/821/35/West-Valley-City-…

Kauai, Hawaii
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7. Re: City or Mountain?

Thanks to all for your help. We've rented a condo in Eagle Springs West in Solitude with a great mountain view. A hotel in the city just didn't seem like a Christmas vacation. We'll rent a good 4WD vehicle and hope the weather cooperates by only snowing on days we are skiing. We understand it's quiet at Solitude and that suits us just fine as we enjoy the daytime activities then dinner and a glass of wine in the condo.

Salt Lake City, Utah
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8. Re: City or Mountain?

Sounds like a fun trip. Best luck on the competition and weather. And just know, sometimes if it's snowing high in the canyon, as soon as you drive a couple of miles further down the canyon, it might not be snowing at all.

Edited: 20 August 2013, 07:38
9. Re: City or Mountain?

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