Utah mountain resorts and Salt Lake City officials have worked hard to confront the congestion of vehicles heading to the hills -- and this ski and snowboard season will be no different.
For those driving up to the mountains, resorts are making carpooling worth your while, requiring parking reservations and charging parking fees. Here's what to expect for the following Wasatch resorts:
Above Provo, Sundance has new ownership that dramatically upgraded the mountain. This season, Sundance lets vehicles with four or more passengers go free. Otherwise, close-in parking costs $25 weekdays, $45 on weekends and holidays. Next in line lots cost $22 on weekends and holidays, free during the week. The most remote lots charge $5 on weekends and holidays.
Up Little Cottonwood Canyon, Snowbird has a bunch of first-come first-served free lots that require a hike to the lifts. Three close-in lots require pre-arrival reservations and $25 fee. A season pass for preferred parking costs $799, and limited valet parking can be had in advance or upon arrival. Carpooling with 4-plus per vehicle means not parking charge.
Alta continues to work to make space for skiers and riders in its tight canyon setting. This season, online parking reservations are a must Fridays through Sundays; no reservation, no parking. Cost is $25, cut to $10 for day ticket purchasers. Alta and Alta-Bird season passholders get free parking with a code when making reservations.
Over at Brighton, first-come first-served spaces fill up quickly, so an alternative is a $30 per-day reservation for one of 120 spots that's good until noon.
Next door at Solitude, all parking lots charge a fee according to vehicle occupancy: four or more, $5 on weekends/holidays; three in vehicle, $5 weekdays, $15 weekends/holidays; two occupants, $10 and $20; and single driver, $20 and $35. You pay at payment stations at the resort.
And at Park City Mountain, it costs to park at any of the main three surface lots and the parking garage near the base area. Online reservations a must, and good until 1 p.m. At the surface lots, cost is $25 for three or fewer occupants, free for 4-plus in car. In garage, it's a flat $40 fee. Parking areas near Park City have park 'n' ride services, and several remote lots can be had for no fee.
The other way to avoid traffic and parking fees is to take the UTA Ski Bus from various locations around the Salt Lake basin for $5. Most season pass holders ride for free.
After a replacement of the upper basin Supreme chair last season, the backside Albion Basin side of Alta continues to be revamped. This season, a new high-speed six-pack is expected to replace the fixed-grip Sunnyside chair at the Ikon Pass partner resort, although supply-chain slowdown may delay its opening.
The new chair will both deliver skiers and riders more quickly into the basin's network of novice green-rated trails, and provide back-door access to the chutes and bowls off Supreme and Sugarloaf lifts. Concurrently, the old Albion chair has come down.
The Corkscrew trail on Collins side has been widened, more avalanche control towers put in on the East Castle high ground, and more snowmaking has gone at Wildcat base.
In a continuing effort to reduce traffic in Little Cottonwood Canyon, Alta will require an online parking reservation for Friday-Sunday for $25.
In neighboring Big Cottonwood Canyon, Solitude turned its attention to the first terrain park on the mountain. Summer crews installed two groups of boxes, rails and other features. A beginner-level park will sit on upper Main Street, accessed off either Apex Express or Moonbeam chairs. And, a more advanced park can be had on the steeper North Star trail, served by the Sunrise chair. An Ikon Pass gives unlimited skiing and riding at Solitude.
Over at Deer Valley, a new short-line Burns Express chair has gone in to join the main base Snow Park teaching area with the greens and blues of lower Little Baldy Mountain. Linking to the Deer Hollow green trail, the new lift will also make it easier to move from the Jordanelle Gondola base to the main mountain. Deer Valley is a seven-day Ikon Pass partner.
Next door at Park City Mountain, owner Vail Resorts (Epic Pass) has paused on major projects for this summer. Instead, the Canyons base Red Tail Grill has gotten a new deck. To reduce crowding, the resort will limit day ticket sales and continue paid parking.
With opening dates on the horizon, crews at many resorts in the West have been testing snow guns -- and looking longingly to the skies -- in hopes of putting down a base of snow in October.
Most ski and snowboard resorts have announced their anticipated opening days, although persistent warm weather in some regions may have something to say about that. A frequent check of resort websites is recommended.
However, hints of winter whiff the air and the high-country leaves are turning, so it's time to haul skis and snowboards out of storage and get them ready for the season.
The informal race to be the first to open in the nation falls upon the highest-elevation mountains along the spine of the Colorado Rockies. Traditionally, it's been Arapahoe Basin, Keystone and Loveland that vie for the title, but Wolf Creek surreptitiously snuck in last season by firing up its chairlifts on Oct. 16.
This year -- if official dates are to be believed -- Keystone will lead the pack by opening on Oct. 21, followed by Arapahoe Basin on Oct. 22, and Loveland and Wolf Creek on Oct. 29.
In California, 7,700-foot-high Boreal on Donner Pass is optimistic to begin on Oct. 28, while Mammoth Mountain plans to be in second place with an Nov. 11 opening. Tahoe's Heavenly has penciled in Nov. 18 for its first chairs.
Despite having middle-of-the-pack summit elevation, Lookout Pass (5,650 feet) on the border of Idaho and Montana has pushed its first day all the way up to Nov. 6 -- a full two weeks ahead of its previous earliest opening. Schweitzer, Sun Valley and Tamarack all plan to follow later in the month.
Skiers and riders in Washington will have to wait until December for Stevens Pass (Dec. 2) and 49 Degrees North (Dec. 3), while Oregonians will have to bide their time until Mt. Hood Meadows and Timberline (Dec. 11). Mt. Bachelor expects to follow close behind on Dec. 12.
In New Mexico, Sipapu has had a lock on first-to-open in recent seasons. For 2022-2023, the family resort tucked into the Sangre de Cristos has tabbed Nov. 18 to begin spinning its lifts.
The seasonal gears have shifted, and Utah's 14 winter resorts are in full-on summer mode with everything from disc golf to mountain biking to riding atop a tramway car in the offing.
Resorts' emphasis on summertime activities continues to grow in the Beehive State, as locals and visitors more and more look to the mountains for exercise and enjoyment. Most mountains keep restaurants open during the offseason. In addition, concerts, workshops, themed festivals and competitions can be found on all around the mountains. And wildflower viewing is always worth the ride into the hills.
A few resorts are open seven days a week, but most open up only for several days around the weekend during the warm offseason. Four Utah resorts won't run chairlifts this summer; instead, Brighton, Cherry Peak and Beaver Mountain highlight hiking and biking trails as mountain getaways, and Alta again focuses on environmental projects.
Snowbird caught the headlines with its rooftop tram ride this summer. One of the two cars on Utah's only tramway will have limited space on top, and floor-to-ceiling windows inside. The base area will be busy, with slides and coaster and all manner of climbing challenges.
Powder Mountain opens a new downhill MTB park served by the Hidden Express chair. To limit crowds, day tickets will cap at 250, and only 500 summer season passes will be sold.
Park City Mountain debuts a new golf course at Canyons Village. Many of the fairways run on winter ski trails, and the course elevation rises and falls throughout. Three lifts bring MTBers to mountain tracks.
A new beginner MTB track is in the works at Solitude, which now is open Thursday-Sunday. Also debuting are climbing wall, bungee trampoline and mini-disc golf.
On the southern terminus of the Wasatch, Sundance brings beginner-flow and intermediate level MTB tracks online. And, of course, the resort's renowned high and long ziplines are due to attract the adventurous crowd.
At Snowbasin, there are 26 miles of hiking and biking trails off the Needles Gondola -- dogs always welcome. And, the northern Utah resort welcomes the return of the live Brews, Blues & Barbecue summer music series.
And, classical music aficionados will once again get to listen to the Utah Symphony's concert series under the evening skies at Deer Valley.
In southern Utah, the focus is on the hardiest athletes, with Eagle Point's Crusher in the Tushars and Tushar Mountain Runs in July, and Brian Head's Women's Epic Race and Brian Shredder downhill MTB race in June.
It's going to be a busy construction season this summer at the Wasatch Range ski and snowboard resorts, as five new-replacement chairlifts go in, and the only tramway in Utah gets new cabins.
Resort officials have dropped the ropes on some of Park City Mountain's best Alpine terrain, which has been closed for more than three years.
Getting kids on skis;as early as possible can be rewarding for a lifetime of skiing. But planning a ski trip — especially with kids in tow — isn’t as easy as just picking up and going. Instead of just “following the snow,” you’ll want to pick a ski mountain that truly caters to kids — one that offers top-notch ski lessons, kid-friendly trails and many off-the-snow activities as well.
New and renovated restaurants, more snowmaking, and parking, and remodeled base areas top the list of work done over the summer at Utah resorts, as early-season snow means opening as expected for Utahans and visitors.
For the second season at Park City Mountain, options for expert skiers and riders heading up into Jupiter Bowl to catch some steep-and-deep will be fewer.
Making plans for a trip to Utah this summer? Be sure to set aside time to check out all the warm-weather offerings from the state's ski and snowboard resorts.
The largest ski and snowboard resort owner in the world enters its second decade of its expansion with a modest slate of on-mountain upgrades and a couple of portfolio-wide improvements.
Record-setting snowfall in February blanketed the West, gave powderhounds all that they could ask for in a ski and snowboard season, and kept resort owners smiling from ear to ear.
The days are getting longer, it's daylight savings time and the snow is softening: Spring is on the way, and that means it's festival time at ski resorts all across SnoCountry.
Industry statistics say that one quarter of parents who head to the hills in the winter do so with snowboards – and they want their children to learn to ride so they can enjoy the slopes in similar fashion.
Everyone knows what a rush it is to have a full day of skiing and riding, but often you still have the rhythm in your bones even after the lifts close. Enter the apres-ski music scene at mountain resorts.
SnoCountry scanned the West and came up with a sampling of apres-ski spots where the rockin’ goes on long past the final run of the day.
The days have lengthened, the sun is higher in the sky and the wildflowers are out, as Utah’s winter resorts put on their summer best and welcome the offseason.
Biking and hiking, zip lines and coasters, climbing walls and disc golf, concerts and festivals and the old-fav, a ride up the lift: ski and snowboard resorts in the West are changing gears as warm weather arrives.
High Meadow teaching area to get new lift. (Park City Mountain/Facebook)
At Park City Mountain, the ropes will go up shortly and the lifts will fall silent. But the summer promises to be bustling as Vail Resorts commits to major upgrades at the massive Utah resoort..
Choose a mini-bowl to ski at Sun Valley. (Sun Valley/Facebook)
Few experiences on a mountain rival pushing off down a massive alpine bowl, with nothing in your way and infinite lines to follow. And the Rocky Mountain resorts have many to choose from.
In the Woodward park at Copper. (Woodward Copper/Facebook)
In a bit of an ironic twist, the former owner of Park City Mountain will build a Woodward action sports facility north of the city – a project originally planned for the base of the Utah ski and snowboard mountain.