Month number two in Heber City, Utah…
Why we came…
To play in the snow in the spectacular Wasatch and Uinta Mountains.
Mountain Valley RV Resort is great and we are comfortable!
Four inches of fresh snow on Christmas morning!
Morning glow on the Wasatch Mountains
The club house at Mountain Valley RV Resort / Relaxing in the hot tub after a day on the slopes
Weather summary for December…
Average high temp: 37F Average low temp: 12F Average snow: 14.6 inches
Record high temp: 68F Record low temp: -34F Record snowfall: 66 inches
Observed high temperature: 56F on 8 and 10 Dec
Observed low temperature: -13F on 31 Dec **The temperature under the trailer was 23F!**
Measured snow: 8 inches
NOTES: The skirt added up to 36F of warmth on the coldest mornings! The weather was dry and warm until roughly 21 December and then a storm dropped 15-30 inches of snow on the mountains!
48 hour snowfall forecast valid 20-22 December. 25.31 inch bulls eye over Utah’s Uinta Mountains. (Web link for this product.)
Utah Snow Water Equivalent % of Normal maps valid on 19 December and then on 26 December. (We are in the “Provo, Utah, Jordan” basin. Web link for this product.)
Posing on top of PC Hill with Park City Mountain Resort and Canyons Resort in the background on 2 December
The weather was decent and we wanted to do some geocaching, so we headed to Park City. First we we made the 500 foot climb up “PC Hill”. We found the cache hidden inside the “P”, but the highlight was the incredible 360 degree view! We had a lot of fun posing for pictures. The trail was a little icy in spots, but otherwise was in decent shape and we got a good workout.
Next we drove to the Park City Mountain Resort and walked another four miles to grab three more geocaches. Towards the end we decided to walk right past the truck to the Atticus Teahouse to sample various teas. Our timing was perfect…it was $2 Tuesday! Any flavor and any size cup of tea is $2. We hung out for an hour or two and enjoyed a few rounds of soothing and tasteful tea.
Arleen grabbing a geocache in the “P” on PC Hill (Park City, Utah)
Jumping on top of PC Hill in front of Park City on the left and Canyons on the right
Posing near a geocache at the base of Park City Resort. (Note PC Hill in upper left.) / That’s a big bear!
Near another geocache at this old mining building. PC Hill and the Uinta Mountains in the distance.
Arleen fly-fishing the Provo River on 5 December. Mount Timpanogos in the background.
The temperature was in the mid-50s and the trout were supposedly biting in the Provo River…we had to check it out! The fishing was slow, but we caught a few. That’s always a nice treat in the winter!
It’s nice to catch fish so late in the season!
Hike route to a low peak southwest of Heber City on 7 December
We wanted to do a hike with a view and found a route up a low peak just southwest of Heber City. Initially we headed up a low bowl that was threaded with numerous ATV type trails. The trails ended towards the top of the bowl as the terrain got much steeper. We carefully scrambled to the ridgeline, popped up on the peak’s shoulder, and were blown away by the incredible view. Mount Timpanogos and the Wasatch Mountains seemed to be right in our faces. Deer Creek Reservoir, Heber City, and our little home were far below.
We were only half way to our goal, but thankfully it was less steep. The incredible views continued as we hiked up the spine of the ridge. We reached the top after 1,600 feet of climbing in less than two miles and were whipped. The view was worth the effort!
We found a much better route back. We followed deer trails down a less steep spine, and returned to the truck in one piece!
Mount Timpanogos and valley fog over Deer Creek Reservoir
Looking east toward the Uinta Mountains. Picture taken at 7,100 feet and our home is at 5,600 feet.
Deer Creek Reservoir and the Wasatch Mountains
Hike route near Soldier Hollow on 10 December / The Heber Valley and the tubing hill at Soldier Hollow
It was 10 December and still warm with little snow so we went hiking by Soldier Hollow. Soldier Hollow was the 2002 Olympic venue for cross-country skiing and biathlon events. It has an extensive trail system, great facilities, and still hosts major events. It also has a popular tubing hill that we will check out when the snow flies. On this unseasonably warm winter day, we enjoyed a pleasant 4.25 mile hike and found a geocache.
Arleen at Canyons Resort on 4 December / Me at Canyons Resort on 15 December
Natural snow at Park City Mountain Resort and Canyons Resort was thin, but colder temperatures allowed them to make snow and open a few more trails. We just went for a couple of hours each time, and enjoyed carving some turns. We left eager for more snow and looked forward to checking out more trails.
Snowshoe adventure near Daniels Summit on 22 December
Finally, the mountains got a bunch of snow on 22 December! Unfortunately the snow was preceded briefly by rain up to 8,500 feet and came with very strong winds.
The ski areas reported 5-15 inches of dense new snow on the upper half of the mountain, but most of the lifts were closed due to high winds. The previous thin snowpack was already unstable. Now there was also a rain crust with a heavy layer of wind-blown snow on top…avalanche danger was very high. We wanted to snowshoe, but we had to go above 8,000 feet to an area safe from avalanches. We decided to head south to Daniel’s Summit…it was a good call.
As we drove south on highway 40 and climbed up the canyon, it turned into a winter wonderland. We parked at the lodge at 8,000 feet elevation where there was about two feet of new snow. There was also very little wind…it was peaceful.
We donned our snowshoeing gear and hit the trail. But there was no trail…we were the first to play in the new snow! Thankfully, there are small blue triangles attached to trees at roughly eye level every 100 feet or so which helped us follow the four mile route. Breaking trail was TOUGH so we took turns. We went much slower than we planned and had fun posing for pictures. We got back to the truck thoroughly exhausted and a bit dehydrated, but really enjoyed the adventure. It was hard to believe that 15 miles north and 2,500 feet lower, there was no snow in Heber City. Plus the winds were 40-60mph on the nearby ski slopes. However, conditions were great at Daniels Summit…we had a wonderful day of snowshoeing!
It’s a winter wonderland!
New snow on the trees indicates light winds…it was very peaceful
Park City Mountain Resort on 23 December 2014…lots of folks on the slopes
It was a beautiful sunny day after the storm, so we headed to the ski slopes at Park City. We weren’t the only ones with that idea…it was a zoo! Due to the warm nature of the storm, the snow was only good towards the top. There were still only a few runs open so the hoards of people were herded onto the same slopes and lift lines were long. We did three or four runs and called it a day.
We wanted to treat ourselves so we headed to the luxurious Montage at Deer Valley for a special meal…it was outstanding!
Town of Park City far below and Uinta Mountains in the distance
Powder on Christmas! Gary, Barbara, and Arleen at Canyons Resort / Gary shredding a nearly untouched run
As forecast, we woke up to a White Christmas! We got 3-4 inches of new snow in Heber City and the ski resorts got 6 inches. We got up early and arrived at Canyons Resort in time to be in the middle of a long line. Our RV park friends, Gary and Barbara, met us in line…that was a treat! We rode the gondola up and skied together for about two hours. We made some sweet turns in fresh snow and things got better when we caught a lift that had just opened. Gary and I took a short “black” run (for experts) that only had a couple of other tracks in the knee deep powder. I surfed the snow on my snowboard, occasionally enveloping myself in a cloud of powder…it was the best run of the season! We whooped and hollered the whole way down. We did four or five fun laps on the newly opened lift and called it quits as more people showed up. Our Christmas adventure was outstanding!
Nate and I were stationed at Ft Carson, Colorado in the mid-90s. In addition to working together, we were also roommates and great friends. We hadn’t seen each other in roughly 20 years. Coincidentally, Nate recently spent a few days in Park City and we got to hook up. It was great catching up with him and meeting Colleen, a good chunk of her family, and Nate’s two sons. As always, a few hours wasn’t enough time. Hopefully they can come back later this winter and we can share a few adventures together!
Me, Chris, and Nate in 1994 or 1995 / Me and Nate on 28 December 2014
Me, Arleen, Colleen, and Nate
We will spend another month in Heber City playing in the snow!
Hot air balloon flying over the Heber Valley
Going to the gym on a snowy winter day