Skyline UT. Where to stay?

Winter snowkiting topics and locations.
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ledhead1191
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Skyline UT. Where to stay?

Post by ledhead1191 » Mon Feb 27, 2017 9:10 am

Hey bak,
I'm looking to head to Skyline mid-March but I'm having trouble finding a place to stay. Fairview is the closest town but there does not seem to be much there. I rode there years ago and remember staying in a kiter-run cabin outside of Salt Lake. That was pretty sweet, I think it was a Wind Over Water run thing.
Anyways, I'm struggling to find something close and reasonably priced. Any suggestions would be great.
Cheers

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Kyle
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Re: Skyline UT. Where to stay?

Post by Kyle » Mon Feb 27, 2017 7:22 pm

The problem with Skyline is you're stuck with a drive no matter where you stay. It is possible to stay in Park City, but it's like 2 hours each way. A better spot would be Provo, which takes close to an hour off the drive... if I remember correctly. The only town closer, which is really really small, is Fairview. I'm pretty sure there is only a gas station there, but it's been a long time for me! There's a lot of good info here: http://sanpete.com/pages/snowkiting

Or come to the Bighorns with Thermal Foundation in a few weeks!

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Re: Skyline UT. Where to stay?

Post by windstoked » Fri Mar 03, 2017 8:53 am

The closest motel is the Skyline in Fairview, about 20 mins from the snowkite site at Skyline. The next is the Horseshoe in Mt. Pleasant 5 miles south of Fairview, and because it's nicer and has rooms with two beds it's where we stay if the forecast looks best for Skyline compared to Strawberry for the next day.
If the forecast is better for Strawberry we'll stay in Heber City, which is 30 mins from Strawbs and 1.5 hrs from Skyline.
If the forecast is equal we sometimes stay in Spanish Fork, which is 1 hr from each, then recheck the forecast in the AM to decide where to go.
When Strawbs has a good snowpack like this year, it is a better place to kite if the wind is good, as it isn't as cold, is lower elevation (7600 vs 10,000) so you're not as out of breath, and has more terrain options and usually better powder. However, the wind is more fickle and less reliably reaches the forecasted level there than at Skyline. If the forecast is borderline, go with Skyline.
Strawberry has many different parking sites and areas within a 10 mile radius, and there can be big differences in wind speed depending on wind direction. The main ones, in order from driving in are Strawberry River (best for NW and N); Co-op Creek; Chicken Creek; Ladders; View Area (best for W and SW; also our favorite with an excellent glide hill a mile southeast of the parking area we call Lonetree because of the solitary juniper half way down the slope that is visible from the parking lot; and last is Cabins. Connecting with local kiters is key to finding the best site on any given day.
We just got back from Utah yesterday and had 5 days of kiting out of 5, which is the most we've had. We had 3 days at Strawbs and 2 at Skyline.

ledhead1191
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Re: Skyline UT. Where to stay?

Post by ledhead1191 » Fri Mar 03, 2017 11:06 am

Thanks so much @windstoked!
Sounds like you had an epic trip!

I kited strawberry years ago and vaguely remember the setup so thanks for the additional info. I didn't realize it get better than Skyline. We will definitely take the forecast more into account day-to-day.

If you don't mind, how do you make the call between Skyline and Strawbs? How much is too much for Skyline? Do you use windfinder?

cheers

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Re: Skyline UT. Where to stay?

Post by windstoked » Sun Mar 05, 2017 1:54 am

ledhead:
I use Windalert which is available with ikitesurf membership, but the windmeters are the same as windfinder and the forecasts generally similar.
The windmeter closest to Strawberry Reservoir is at Daniel's Summit which you pass before getting to Strawberry, and on windfinder is listed as Strawberry Reservoir/North. However, it is blocked by mountains and trees for some directions and unreliable for knowing what it's blowing at the kite sites. We were hanging out with a number of locals at the View Area one afternoon when the wind didn't come in at 1 PM as forecast, and they wouldn't be discussing what the windmeter showed, but would pass along texts that ravens were spotted soaring above the glide hill at Strawberry River or that chimney smoke at Cabins had turned sideways.
The Skyline windmeter is accurate, but generally 3-5 mph below what it's blowing on Bosco's Ridge.
In general, you can almost always get kiting at Skyline on the ridge, but getting the 200 yards from the parking lot to the base of the ridge can be a challenge when it's light, and sometimes requires a hike. One experienced local said if the forecast for Skyline is above 7, you'll probably get kiting.
I would generally choose Skyline unless Strawberry has a good solid forecast at least in the mid-to-upper teens because of it's lower predictability.
I've never had too much wind at Skyline, and have never used anything smaller than a 14 there. The wind is usually pretty smooth there because there's no obstacles upwind. However, I avoid the ridge tops when it starts blowing hard.

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