AARGH!!!! What follows, unfortunately, is the tale of what NOT to do when renting in Salt Lake City through Airbnb or VRBO.

My wife and I decided to take a place for January through March. We know SLC from having lived there. 

The city is a terrific base with easy access to nine fantastic ski areas and more hotel, restaurant, and entertainment options than found in any individual ski resort.

Many have found decent accommodations through the aforementioned Internet-based services. Even if the places weren’t so clean or well appointed, they were there for only a few days.

What a disappointment! Cluttered closets and drawers; grimy bathroom; hooks pulling out of walls; electrical extension cords plugged into extension cords, plugged into more extension cords. And my wife, whose sniffer is more sensitive than mine, swore the master bedroom had the odor of men.

Fortunately, the landlord, a lovely and reasonable man was committed to salvaging the situation. We moved into the much smaller and more comfortable adjacent apartment at a lower rent.

But, the place feels like I’m back in college.

Seeking an alternative to this housing crisis, we found on VRBO a fantastic looking condo at Snowbird for $100 a night, minimum, 30 nights. We grabbed it. Within minutes a fee of $4,380. was posted to our credit card. Seemed like someone had a problem with arithmetic.

After HOURS trying to reach VRBO customer service, someone picked up the phone. He investigated and learned that the condo owner had added a $1000 cleaning fee. VRBO’s fee accounted for the balance. An hour later my wife’s phone rang; the condo’s owner profusely apologizing for our inconvenience and explaining that his HOA wouldn’t allow him to rent the unit.

It took several days to get a full refund.

Speaking with several senior skiers at Alta, I learned than many take three or four month apartment and condo rentals in Sandy, a suburb of Salt Lake City where rentals are about $1000 – $1500 a month, three month minimum. The places  are newer than many of Salt Lake’s options and the location is closer to the Wasatch Front ski areas (Alta, Snowbird, Brighton and Solitude). 

Remember how my wife thought she smelled men in the bedroom?  She was right. The landlord told us his previous tenants – there for several months – were a group of male oil refinery workers. He agreed its time to replace the housekeeper.

Where The Snow IS

Not this deep…yet!

Last Tuesday, Ski Utah, the marketing arm of Utah’s ski industry, announced that Alta and Snowbird got 6’ in the preceding 7 days. North America’s top ten snow magnet to date: Snowbird: 299”, Alta: 290”; Brighton (UT): 271”, Revelstoke (BC): 259.4”;  Jackson Hole (WY): 254”; Whitewater (BC): 242”; Alyeska (AK): 237”; Castle Mountain (AB): 227”; Solitude (UT): 222”, and Monarch Mountain (CO): 189”.

Snow Guns Fight Aussie Fires

Thredbo and Perisher Ski Resorts are deploying snow guns to prevent wildfires from destroying their buildings and lifts.

Sugarbush Deal Closes

Alterra closed on the purchase of Sugarbush Resort (VT).

Crystal Mountain Ends Walk-Up Ticket Sales

Crystal Mountain (WA) will no longer sell walk-up lift tickets on weekends and holidays. The area will release a limited amount of online sales and continue to honor Ikon Pass holders.

Your Own Ski Area: $1.25MM

Spout Springs, in Northeastern Oregon, is available for $1.25-million. The area has 250 skiable acres (800’ vertical), 14 runs, two double chairs, illuminated slopes, and two X-C trail systems. It is accessible from Walla Walla, La Grande and Pendleton.

Big Dump on The Big Island

Source: Honolulu Star-Advertiser 1/14/20

Hawaii’s Mauna Kea received 1-2 feet with snowdrifting to 4 feet. The snow fell above 12,000 feet.

Hand Warmer Advice

This, I never knew: When using hand warmers, place them on top of the hand where they warm the blood vessels and keep your fingers comfortable. This advice is from a helpful salesperson at the Alta Ski Shop at Albion Lodge. And all these years, I’ve positioned them against my palms! P.S. Many skiers extend hand warmer use by wrapping them tightly in food wrap for the night.

Documentary Offer Hope while Warning “Humans  Have Overrun World”   

This trailer for  the new feature-length documentary,“David Attenborough: A Life On Our Planet,” features Sir David, 93, warning “human beings have overrun the world.” In the doc, he reflects upon both the defining moments of his lifetime as a naturalist and the devastating changes he has seen. Honest, revealing and urgent, he bears witness for the current state of  the natural world.  The film will be available on Netflix this Spring.




  1. Good information! I have had very good luck with Red Pine condo owners in Park City through both VRBO and Airbnb.

  2. Curios which realtor you use to find those reasonable apartments in sandy? Thx.

  3. I was startled by your write-up on footbeds last week, in which you opened by saying you’d lost your trusty 15-year-old footbeds. My immediate thought was, “Why would you keep custom footbeds so long?” Over such a long time one’s body changes substantially, and that includes one’s feet. During the past week I discussed this with many other instructors and trainers. Most folks buy new footbeds when they buy new boots, about every three years (and I note that, while pros get discounts on boots, we don’t get discounts on custom orthotics). The issue is not that footbeds wear out; they don’t, per se. The issue is that our feet change. Especially in seniors. Our arches fall, our metatarsals splay out, our styloid processes become more prominent, etc. In general, it is far more successful to address those changes by altering footbeds than by altering boots. So, my advice is to not be penny-wise and pound-foolish. Treat yourself to new custom orthotics whenever you buy new ski boots. You will ski better, and your feet will thank you.

  4. ROGER skugrud says:

    About putting the hand warmers in your glove on the back of the hand. Some gloves have a pouch on the back the hand just for the hand warmers. But I really don’t think that is the most defective, contrary to what the ski shop guy said. The vessels in the back of your hand are Veins that carry blood away from the hand. Won’t help your fingers any. Also the back of the hand has bone cartilage and connective tissue which really doesn’t need to be warmed up.
    Instead keeping them in your Palm is much better. That warms the muscles that arteries delivering blood to your fingers flow Through. Plus you can pull your fingers back from your gloved fingers and make a fist around the hand warmer. Doing That on the lift ride up really helps to keep fingers warm. This is advice from Someone who skis the frigid Minnesota country

    • Jon Weisberg says:

      Roger, Many thanks for the clarification. Yes, after your comment and checking the hand’s anatomy — something I should have done prior to publishing that misguided advice — I now understand that the superficial veins at the top of the hand are taking the blood back to the heart. The ski shop clerk didn’t have it right. I’ll correct it next week. Jon

  5. Not sure it’s ok to post this here. Many of my fellow owners in the Grand Summit at Park City Mountain, Canyons Village, Park City UT (now owned by Vail) price quite a bit under the resort’s standard rates with a guaranteed view and layout. More guests at lower rates.

  6. herb stevens says:

    Great info! Thanks!

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