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Grander Canyons

Grander Canyons

As Utah’s Biggest resort comes of age, it’s still hard to characterize. But who cares? Because when it comes to ski terrain, multiple personality disorder isn’t a bad thing.
By Carrie Sheinberg, Contributor, SKI Magazine
posted: 11/04/2009
Hiking in The Canyons

Two canyons to the right of Saddleback is the Super Condor Express. It’s a high-speed quad, but in its first incarnation, in 1968, it was a long, slow double known as Ironhorse. I still shudder when I hear that name, which recalls one of the most uncomfortable moments of my life. The lift stalled for 20 minutes, and the other person on the chair with me was the boyfriend I’d just broken up with at Tower 3. Can you say, “Want to get away?”

Luckily, Murdock Peak—home to the Super Condor lift and, just below it, the last original lift left on the mountain, Golden Eagle—is big enough to do just that. With its broad expanse of expert and intermediate terrain, this canyon, along with the Sun Peak lift and terrain, constituted the entire Park City West ski area 40 years ago.

The unpolished, wide-open, mature, even lived-in feel of Murdock is one of the reasons locals still flock here—to be able to head into huge, open terrain at what still feels like its own, retro ski area. Todd Coleman, the former patroller, learned to ski here in his elementary school’s Learn-To-Ski program. Now a school teacher, he brings his own students. “We take 100 kids every Friday and Saturday, and you would have no idea we were there. The place is that big.”

But the reason for Condor’s early-morning draw on a powder day is more prosaic: Its lower elevation means it’s often the first truly expert terrain that patrol can open first after a storm, so you can get plenty of turns while they’re still shooting down loose snow over on Ninety-Nine 90 and Peak 5. Of course, Condor is not just about powder. It also has world-class groomers and acres of bumps and steeps.

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