Utah Resorts Spruce Up For Season; New Quad At Snowbird
While lawsuits and lobbying have dominated summer headlines, many of Utah’s resorts have spend time and money on the mountain and behind the scenes to upgrade their facilities and programs.
The only new lift going in for the 2012-2014 will a new, high-speed quad at Snowbird Ski & Summer Resort that replaces the fixed-grip Gad 2, as resort financiers appear cautious about large investments in the current economic climate.
“I see us in ‘average mode,” Nathan Rafferty, executive director of Ski Utah, told SnoCountry.com. “The glamorous upgrades like lifts and terrain aren’t as common, and the recession has had an effect. But the less glamorous investments like snowmaking are going on. What I see are a bunch of projects that are in the works, and should come out in the following year (2014-2015.”
Here’s a recap of what’s new on the mountains of the Wasatch and beyond:
· Deer Valley Resort has cut a new beginner’s run, called Gnat’s Eye, off Little Baldy Mountain. The resort also reports $4.5 million went into more snowmaking.
· Solitude Mountain Resort crews widened the SolBright trail as Solitude and Brighton Resort www.brightonresort.com solidify their relationship after announcing the Big Cottonwood season pass for both areas. Brighton put in a hands-free ticket system that coincides with Solitude’s system.
· Snowbasin dug a new well to increase snowmaking to 615 acres.
At the ticket window – actual and virtual -- skiers and snowboarders will find a flurry of multi-resort lift ticket offerings as Utah’s 14 mountains continue to partner up for mutual benefits – like the aforementioned Big Cottonwood Pass.
“I’m excited about all the joint pass programs that are going on,” said Rafferty. “That is what's new in the industry. The deals are so good that we should see a bump in skier-days from them.”
Alta and Snowbird cut half off a day ticket purchased within 24 hours of arrival at either resort, and the two Little Cottonwood Canyon mountains have teamed with their neighbors over the ridge, Deer Valley and Park City Mountain Resort, to give season passholders three free days on the other three mountains.
Snowbasin is one of 12 mountains in the newly formed Powder Alliance that offers three free days at resorts in Utah, Colorado, California, Washington, Idaho, Arizona, Montana and New Mexico for season passholders at any of the dozen mountains.
Photo: New lift installed at Snowbird (Snowbird/Facebook)