Untangling Driving, Parking When Heading Into Utah's Wasatch Mountains

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Mid-winter breaks are approaching, and plenty of skiers and riders will head out to Utah to catch some of the state's famous powder days.

If you are driving a car with the intention of heading up to ski and ride at a Wasatch resort, some pre-trip tips might help streamline your trip.

Greater Salt Lake City is home for nearly three million folks, many of whom ski or ride in the winter. Plus, nearly six million others visit the city every year, many of whom ski or ride too.

The Wasatch Front alpine go-tos -- Solitude, Brighton, Alta and Snowbird -- are less than an hour's drive from city environs, as are Park City Mountain and Deer Valley. Sundance, Snowbasin and Powder Mountain aren't much farther.

Routes into the Wasatch Front are two-laners, leading to notable traffic jams. What this means is lots skiers are on the road, notably on weekends, holidays and powder days. Strategies include getting up very early, consolidating into fewer vehicles, or just chill out on the ride up and down. Or, take public transport.

If you drive, you'll have to park. Putting four in one vehicle gets priorities at most mountains. But there's not enough space for everyone. So, expect to make parking reservations and pay a fee on busy days. Capacity limits so, at worst, someone has to drop off and pick up.

Starting with the most congenial, Powder Mountain and Sundance have no restrictions. Snowbasin's free too, save for vehicles with three or more who get close-in parking. Same at Deer Valley.

Expect sellouts at the Cottonwood Canyon resorts on busy days. At Snowbird, a string of cramped parking lots offer options. Get there early for free, pay to get close to the tram, or buy a season pass to priority spots.

Neighbor Alta focuses on weekends and holiday, with reservations a $25 charge before 1 p.m. Over the hill, Solitude requires reservations prior to 11 a.m. on weekends and holidays, and it costs for parking until 1 p.m. on all days. Brighton goes simple: $20 reservations Friday through Sunday.

Park City Mountain has a combination of paid reservations, first-come first-served paid lots, high-capacity and carpooling incentives, and park-n-ride locations.

Salt Lake City has a robust, inexpensive public transportation system that works to make it convenient to let someone else drive up to the mountains. Commuter rail hooks up with shuttles on Wasatch Front, from Ogden (Snowbasin and Powder Mountain) to Provo (Sundance). There's a $20 service, Cottonwood Connect, that runs daily. High Valley Transit serves the Park City-Deer Valley area.

 

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A Couple Of New Chairlifts Highlight New Season In Utah's Cottonwood Canyons

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Few places in the West have more deep powder cachet than the four resorts in the Cottonwood canyons above Salt Lake City, where double-digits dumps are the norm at Alta, Snowbird, Solitude and Brighton.

So what's new this season? Solitude and Brighton in Little Cottonwood Canyon each debut brand-new chairlifts. Solitude (1,200 a, 2,494 vert.) has added two seats to the Eagle Express high-speed. Running out of the busy Moonbeam base -- where the bulk of public parking resides -- the new six-pack is anticipated to reduce morning and midday congestion.

The Eagle Express serves the south side's blues and blacks, and a few pitches into lower Honeycomb Canyon -- as well as being the first of three rides to the serious steeps off the summit from the Moonbeam base. It's the first new lift at Solitude since 2015.

Up the road at Brighton (1,050 a., 1,745 vert.), the new six-pack detachable chair named Crest6 replaces 32-year-old Crest Express four-seater to ease congestion out of the base. Park dudes can get onto the upper mountain's jibs, kickers and booters more often, while backcountry lovers get a headstart to hike Preston Peak and Pioneer Ridge.

Over in Little Cottonwood, Alta (2,624 a., 2,538 vert.) can now brag that novices have a place among the mountain's renowned steeps.

The old Albion is gone, and the Sunnyside high-speed six-pack hustles folks into the bottom of the backside in the Patsy Marley area. It also provides a shortcut to the Devil's Castle-Supreme tough stuff on the back side. Five remote avalanche control towers went in this summer along Castle Peak ridgeline.

And over the ridge at Snowbird, more remote avalanche control towers are in. Visitors might notice construction underway on the replacement of the oldest lift on the hill, the Wilbere double, with a new fixed-grip quad due to open in the spring.

All four resorts encourage riding buses up and, to discourage driving, they impose parking restrictions. At Alta, pay reservations needed Friday-Sunday mornings. Snowbird has an "optional advanced" reservations system, with some free first-come first-served spaces. At Solitude, all parking costs on holidays and weekends except vehicles with four occupants. And at Brighton, reservations required Friday-Sunday, and parking fees charged for vehicles carrying three or fewer.

 

 

 

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Hop The Lift To Reach Downhill Mountain Biking In Utah

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Riding a chairlift to get to mountain biking trails is becoming more common in Utah, as winter resorts convert their vertical drop from the snow to the dirt.

Most trail systems include easy to difficult runs, terrain park features, single-track side routes and access to no-lift backcountry. And most resorts rent equipment, and some offer lessons. Check websites for e-bike access.

Brian Head in southern Utah has gone full-in on MTB with more than 100 miles trails. The Giant Steps Express drops riders at the 10,920-foot summit. From there, catch one of nine intermediate trails, eight advanced routes, the fall-line Wildflower expert line, or lolly-gag on the loopy Color Flow down 1,100 vertical feet.

The views can make you brake and gaze. The lift runs Friday through Sunday. A shuttle takes riders to pedaling off the beaten track. Brian Head is a member of the Mountain Bike Power Pass family, too.

At Deer Valley, you can cop up to 3,000 of vertical feet via three high-speed chairs that run daily until September, with Twilight Tuesdays until 8 pm.

Some 70 miles criss-cross four mountains around the trail map, topping out at 9,400-foot Bald Mountain summit. The trail system leans toward blue and black routes, full of features. A single novice that winds from top to mid-mountain.

This summer, Sundance fires up the Outlaw Express daily for mountain bikers who already have experience. There's one green flow but you must get off at midway -- and resort says there are no true beginner trails. Otherwise, most trails dip sharply off the lower mountain's short but steep pitches for expert, advanced and intermediate runs with 1,300 feet of vertical drop.

If the MTB doesn't satisfy your thrill jones, then take a plunge on the Sky Zipline -- the longest vertical drop in the nation.

A good place to start youngsters on mountain bikes is Solitude. Two chair lifts run Thursday to Sundays. The trail system is modest, about 20 miles of routes, but it tilts toward the green and blue tracks. The short loop off of Link chair will help get up the speed, and a few more novice tracks come off Sunrise.

And, for something different, head to Snowbasin and ride the Needles gondola on weekends. Mostly intermediate routes run off the south side.

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Winter's Largesse Means More Choices For Late-Spring Skiing, Riding In The West

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With record snowfalls in the West this winter, we are now going to see just how late into the year the Jones for skiing and riding can last.

Skiers and riders should expect limited terrain, fewer lifts and variable conditions if they head into the hills this spring. "Playing the mountain" is a well-established spring tradition, meaning following the sun as it runs across the trails to find the soft -- but not too soft -- snow.

Springtime brings out the quirky in managers of skiing and riding mountains. For instance, Brighton plans to go until May 29 but because it will only spin the Milly chair, crews will move the rails and boxes over there for a top-to-bottom terrain park. Willamette Pass will be open for weekends until May 14 and has a $19 ticket for sale.

But some things don't change. Timberline Lodge will once again have no closing date for its alpine slopes on the shoulder of Mt. Hood, as snow typically stays year-round on the highest Palmer Snowfield terrain. The mountain usually closes late summer or early fall to take a breath before reopening for the next winter.

Another old favorite resurfaces this summer. Beartooth Basin, America’s only summer-only ski area (on account of its location on the Beartooth Highway connecting Wyoming and Montana, which closes in winter), will open this summer after sitting out 2022 for lack of snow. The season is expected to go from Memorial Day into July.

The king of summer skiing is once again Mammoth Mountain. Some 800 inches of snow fell this winter, and the California resort plans to stay open to July 31 -- with a teaser for days beyond that. Compadre Palisades Tahoe says Memorial Day is the earliest they'll close.

Colorado's perennial champion, Arapahoe Basin, has targets June 4 as a temporary closing date. But up there on the Continental Divide, nothing is certain. Keep track via Al's Blog. http://arapahoebasin.blogspot.com/

Breckenridge has declined to be specific, saying "TBA May." Winter Park plans to stay open until May 14, or until "ALAP" -- a new acronym created by the resort's PR staff.

Elsewhere, tentative closings dates have been set for Mt. Bachelor (May 28) and Crystal Mountain (May 21) in the Northwest. In Utah Snowbird will run daily to May 14 and on weekends until Memorial Day ("at least"), and Solitude says it will stay open until May 21.

Bringing up the rear are Copper (May 7), Loveland (May 7), and Bogus Basin (May 6).

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Chairlift Projects In Utah Heat Up For Summer Construction Season

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This summer, the two ski and snowboard resorts atop Big Cottonwood Canyon will replace aging high-speed chairlifts with more modern versions, while Utah's only private resort will continue to add to its uphill fleet.

Most recent projects up both Cottonwood canyons center on better handling of crowds that swarm up from the Salt Lake basin, especially on weekends and powder days. Up Little Cottonwood, Alta has upgraded access to backside learning terrain, while Snowbird expanded its tram and added more chair seats to ease stress on Gad Basin.

Now it's Big Cottonwood's turn. Solitude Mountain will add a third more to the capacity of the high-speed Eagle Express this summer. The mountain's four-seater workhorse has been delivering skiers and 'boarders from the main base up into the rest of Solitude's lift network since 1989. Now, a new detachable six-pack will take over, increasing capacity by 30% onto Eagle Ridge.

Up at Brighton, the Crest Express becomes the Crest 6 with two additional seats. Spinning over the terrain park-heavy mid-section of the busy 1,050-acre mountain, the new Crest 6 and its additional capacity will undoubtedly please freestyling skiers and riders who flock to Brighton's renowned six terrain parks -- all located on 200 acres in that area of the hill.

Resort owners had originally planned a four-seater to replace Crest Express, but opted for a six-pack to further increase uphill capacity. In the summer, bike-friendly Brighton will put three bike clips on each chair.

Privately owned and member-only accessible, Wasatch Peaks Ranch will increase its uphill reach next season with its fourth chairlift. Secretive and aimed at what Ski Area Management magazine called "one percent of the richest one percent," Wasatch Peaks will put in an 8,000-foot long high-speed quad. The first three are bubbles with heat. Original plans called for nine lifts on the mountain that is 40 miles northeast of Salt Lake City on the east flank of the Wasatch Range.

And, as previously published by SnoCountry, Snowbasin is adding the Demoisy Express to better serve the Strawberry area and make it easier to return to the base area.

 

 

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SnoCast: Top Season Snow Total Round-Up

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How is it already time for the final SnoCast of the season?! What a wild winter it’s been. From record snow out West, to the slow onset and sweet finish out East. From capturing those final buttery, spring turns, to pushing back closing dates. This winter will be one to remember. 

In this week's SnoCast, we’ll look back on the winter season recapping some of the highest ski area snow totals and best storms of the season. Here’s the final SnoCast of the 2022-23 winter season!

 

 

Winter Summary

This winter was third consecutive season to be influenced by La Niña, which often brings a colder and stormier pattern across the northern tier of the U.S. and parts of Canada. But this season, the typical pattern was shifted a hair, with the storm track shifted slightly farther west and south from what we would expect.

Thus, we saw a cold and snowy pattern across most of the Southwest U.S., cold but near average precipitation in the Northwest, a mild Midwest with localized lake-effect booms, a warm and wetter than average Northeast and Southeast. In the ultimate "how it started>how it's going" comparison, the images below summarize how the winter was forecast to be by NOAA, versus how it actually panned out. You can read the full NOAA winter forecast verification blog with more details. 

Top Snow Amounts

Since this winter pattern favored a super-charged storm pattern and cold across the southwest U.S., this is where we saw some of the highest totals.  California and Utah won’t soon forget this season, with numerous all-time season snow records set at ski areas. 

While not a comprehensive (nor final) list with ski season and new snow still ongoing, here's a summary of some top snow reports from this season as of April 5, 2023.   

Mammoth Mountain, CA: 704” mid lodge, peak 882” (a new record, picture (right). For perspective, the mountain averages ~400" each season)

Brighton, UT: 848” (new record)

Alta, UT: 874” (new record)

Snowbird, UT: 808”(new record)

Solitude, UT: 779” (new record)

Sugar Bowl, CA: 768” (not a record, but still a lot. Even more impressive, the base depth in early April is over 20 feet on parts of the mountain)

Many of these ski areas have had too much snow at times, causing a halt in operations to dig out or conduct avalanche mitigation. Such is the case in Utah right now, but thankfully, you can still take advantage of the snow soon. Check out our story about extended closing date for many Utah mountains, thanks to abundant snow.   

Stormy West

Beyond the record setters, we saw a colder than average winter for much of the West, helping boost snow totals. While not a comprehensive list, here are some runner-ups on impressive amounts. You can take a look at your nearest ski area or region on the SnoCountry conditions tab from the homepage.

Timberline, OR: 608” (top in Oregon)

Jackson Hole, WY: 591" (top in WY)

Summit at Snoqualmie Alpental, WA: 520”

Wolf Creek, CO: 490” (top in Colorado)

Powder King, BC: 477” (top in British Columbia)

Lookout Pass, ID: 448”

Mt Bachelor, OR: 438”

Arizona Snowbowl, AZ: 398" (still with a 10-foot base depth in April!)

Purgatory, CO: 374”

These totals really helped out the water basins with impressive snow-water equivalent tallies. Parts of Nevada, Arizona, Utah, and California are running more than 150% of normal...GREAT news to put a dent in the ongoing drought.   

 

East

Okay, okay. We get it. The West had a banner year. The West is a lot higher in elevation and has a drier climate, so naturally there's more snow than the lower and more humid East, but that doesn't mean there wasn't some great skiing this season. You just had to know where to look!

Pockets of the Great Lakes region and New England had some incredible days. While the majority of winter was warmer than average, we saw one-off snow storms and lake effect influence to boost totals and bring huge powder days. In all, the East did have a below average snow season up until January, but turned around late in the season boosting snow cover in February and March. 

Here were some top totals of remaining open ski areas by state across the Northeast:

Jay Peak, VT: 349" (top tally in the East. Photo on the right from the March 14 powder day)

Mt. Bohemia, MI: 232"

Sugarloaf, ME: 171"

Bretton Woods, NH: 148"

See who's still open in the Northeast, Midwest (yes, there are a few!), and Quebec.

And while we don't want to leave out the Southeast, we've definitely had stronger seasons. Warm and wet weather dominated this year, causing much below average snow amounts. But like the rest of the East, we found some sweet times.

The season lasted a total of 138 days (38% of the year!) from start to finish: Sugar Mountain Resort and Cataloochee Ski Area (both in North Carolina) opened on November 14, 2022 and Snowshoe Mountain Resort closed it all up on Sunday, April 2.  The top ski area total went to Canaan Valley, WV with a total of 62.4", which fell short of the annual average of roughly 150". 

The Real Apres-Ski

With that, it's "apres-ski time" for me and SnoCast. I hope you have loved reading my weekly forecast updates and took advantage of new snow and amazing conditions on the slopes. 'Til next season, enjoy what's left out there, and have an amazing off season. Hope to see you again next fall when the flakes start flying again. 

-Meteorologist Kerrin Jeromin

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With Record Snowfall, Utah Winters Resorts Extend Deep Into Spring

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The snow kept piling nonstop in the Utah mountains this winter, and then March came along with another record-breaking snowfall -- prompting more than half of Utah's 14 mountains to stay open longer.

At Snowbasin, the season has been lengthened to April 23. Coupled with its earliest opening on Nov. 18, the northern Wasatch mountain will have had its longest ski and snowboard season since it opened in 1940.

An astounding 800 inches fell on Brighton at the top of Big Cottonwood Canyon. As a result, all lifts will run through April 30, and then the Milly Express will reopen May 5 and run 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily to the end of May. Crews plan to construct a top-to-bottom terrain park on the Milly side to go along with groomers.

Its neighbor Solitude had its snowiest winter (700-plus inches) ever. As a bonus, lifts will run daily through May 7, then Friday-Sunday until the official end of the season on May 21.

Deer Valley broke snowfall records, too, so the Park City-area mountain will spin chairs on Bald Eagle lower slopes and Bald Mt. upper terrain until April 23. Next door, Park City Mountain will keep all lift operating until at least April 23 after a month of March that saw 450 inches fall -- and the best season in 49 years.

Snowbird skiers and riders have been carving atop nearly 200 inches of base this spring -- the result of nearly 800 inches snowfall. The Little Cottonwood Canyon mountain typically stays open to Memorial Day. This season, daily ops go through May 14. Then, on May 19, Snowbird shifts to a Friday-Sunday (plus Memorial Day) schedule -- with more possible.

Sundance will close daily operations in April 2, but tack on an extra two days the next Friday (April 7) and Saturday (April 8). Among the rest of Utah's 14 resorts, Nordic Valley says it's thinking about a couple of bonus weekends after April 9.

 

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Beat The Crowds By Heading Uphill At Utah Mountains

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Eight of Utah's 14 ski and snowboard mountains permit folks to head up uphill within their boundaries and ski down on designated trails and within certain hours, and if deemed safe.

Most resorts use a daily green-red, go-no go system for uphill access; a couple have yellow days, and websites must be checked for further regulations. Resorts may require lift tickets, or free uphill passes and waivers. All have strict uphill rules to keep uphill-ers out of danger, including designated up and down routes, a helmet light during dark hours, and a watchful eye for grooming snowcats. Here's a look at all nine resorts.

Brighton, Nordic Valleyand Beaver Mountain are the three Utah mountains that permits uphill-ers both day and night. At Nordic Valley, you must sign a waiver at the base. Cat tracks designate up routes; terrain signage shows the way down.

At Brighton, uphill skiers must park near Brighton Store, regardless of time of day. Daytime access routes when night falls, with specific boundaries to stay within. On green days, access can be had all 24 hours of that day. At Beaver, all in-bounds terrain is fair game outside of operating hours; designed route set up during daytime.

Next is Snowbasin, where uphill access runs from 4:00-8:30 a.m. on "morning route," 9 a.m-3 p.m. on "daytime route." Free uphill pass and arm band required on both green and yellow days. Uphill and downhill routes are the same, and either skis, snowboards or snowshoes are OK.

Uphill schedule at both Powder Mountain and mirrors daytime operating hours, and can be done same terrain as downhillers. Powder requires a lift ticket, while Beaver does not.

The remaining resorts open up before or after the lifts spin. Solitude lets skiers, split-boarders, snowshoers and hikers climb up from 4:00 to 10:30 a.m. on a designated route in two areas of the hill. A season uphill pass is required.

At Park City Mountainuphilling runs from 6 to 8:30 a.m. No pass required. To avoid parking fee or fine, they must get off the hill and out of the parking lot before 8:30 a.m.

Cherry Peakallows skis, 'boards and snowshoes on at 4 a.m. until 8:30 a.m. The designated up route is also the down route. No pass required.

 

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Utah's Interconnect Tour Serves Up A Wasatch Sampler

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Not sure which Utah resort near Salt Lake City you want to try? Why not sample them all in a single day -- getting some backcountry turns as a bonus -- and then decide.

SkiUtah has run the Interconnect Adventure Tour since 1984, offering skiers only (because of Alta's snowboard ban) a chance to criss-cross the Wasatch Range to cop a few runs at all or some of the half-dozen top resorts: Deer Valley, Park City Mountain, Solitude, Brighton, Alta and Snowbird.

Two distinct tours for 2-8 people run seven days a week. One starts in Deer Valley, hits up all six mountains, and ends at Snowbird. The other begins and ends at Snowbird, and covers the four mountains in both Cottonwood canyons. Private, custom-route tours also available daily.

Online reservations are essential. Cost depends upon group number, and includes use of a Ski Utah Gold Pass for access to lifts along the way.

Each full-day tour includes a couple of lift-served runs at each trail map it crosses. Importantly, each requires sufficient backcountry-skiing skill and fitness at altitude to handle moderate sidestep/shuffle/traverse uphill travel and off-piste downhills. Avalanche beacons are provided.

The Deer Valley tour begins at mid-mountain Silver Lake Lodge. Tour participants pick up a Gold Pass at the base and ride up to meet with your guide. From there, the tour covers a few runs at Deer Valley and Park City before heading over into the backcountry of Big Cottonwood Canyon.

In-bounds skiing at Solitude and Brighton end with a traverse from Solitude summit over into Little Cottonwood Canyon backcountry. A long descent ends at Alta's upper mountain. A couple of runs end at the Mineral Basin gate, and Snowbird. Participants have time for a long run off the summit into the base of Snowbird, where a van drives them back to Deer Valley.

The Snowbird tour stays in the Cottonwood canyons. It begins with an early-bird ride up the Snowbird tram and a couple of warmups laps in Mineral Basin. From there it's uphill traverse over a pass to Brighton, where a backcountry run ends at the base area. The resort links with Solitude, where participants have lunch and then head up to finish the tour at Alta and Snowbird.

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Occupancy, Fees, Reservations All In Utah Resort Parking Mix

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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.

 

 

 

 

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SnoCast: First Widespread Cold Snap of the Season

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Hallelujah! After a wild weather week, Mother Nature is about to chill out...literally. Following hurricane remnants in the East and a blizzard in the Plains, the first cold snap of the season will deliver a much needed jolt to kickstart ski season.

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Four Utah Resorts Approach Openings With New Lifts, Mountain Upgrades

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The fruits of this summer's labor will be on display at Alta, Solitude, Deer Valley and Park City Mountain as the four Utah mountains aim to get the season going on Nov. 18.

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. 

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Choices Expand For Summer In The Utah Mountains

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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.

 

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All Public Transit To Wasatch Resorts Free In February

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In an effort to cut air pollution, all bus rides will be free across Utah's Wasatch Front until the end of February -- making it free to ride up to the slopes from Sundance to Snowbasin and five in between.

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Alta Institutes Pay-To-Park Reservation System

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In the latest move among Utah resorts to confront overcrowding, Alta Ski Area will charge $25 to make a reservation to park during busy times in its lots at the head of Little Cottonwood Canyon.

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  1980 Hits

SnoCast: Gobbling Up This Thanksgiving Weekend Forecast

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Happy Thanksgiving! We're eating up the forecast with plentiful helpings of snow and chill for the East, and warm, buttery turns in the West. Here's what to expect in the forecast in this week's SnoCast.

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Utah Resorts Are Ikon Pass Ready For New Season

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Locals and visitors to Utah who have an Ikon Pass hanging around their necks will get to check out some improvements and upgrades at five Utah resorts that honor the multi-mountain season pass.

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Embrace The Variety During The Dog Days At Utah Resorts

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For Utahns and summer visitors, all that's going on during August in the mountains demands that itineraries include a trip into the Wasatch.

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E-bike, Stargaze, Rock Climb, Hike At Ski Resorts This Summer

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Chelsea Clapham and her family began snowboarding at Mammoth Mountain four years ago. They enjoyed it so much that they return to the resort year-round. “We like summer and fall up there almost as much as winter,” said Clapham, who lives in Santa Clarita with her husband, Shaun, and two kids. “We have family friends who let us use their condo, so we’re hooked.”

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A Five-Pack Of Utah Resorts Beckon For Late Spring Carving

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A late-season, last-minute excursion to the Utah mountains -- either by Utahns or still-eager skiers and riders from afar -- is out there for those with an unrelenting skiing jones.

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