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.
Alta Ski Area has cleared a critical hurdle in its effort to enlarge parking and restaurants, and to upgrade lifts to improve flow around the mountain – including a tram to the top of Mount Baldy.
Gathering for final run down High Rustler. (Alta/Facebook)
The coming of spring is a bittersweet time for skiers and riders. But it’s also time to party hearty at a plethora of spring festivals and fun dots the calendar during the final weeks of the year.
Big Sky adds more "big" to Mountain Collective. (Big Sky/Facebook)
Skier slides down Loon in NH where all eyes are on a coastal storm. (Loon/Twitter)
Snow alert! A huge storm slams the West this week with locally up to five feet of snow. The East could be nice and snowy just in time for the weekend.
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.
Tramway a seven-minute flight to summit. (Snowbird/Facebook)
This is a serious skiing and riding mountain. Powder and steeps are what The 'Bird's all about. Little Cottonwood Canyon catches as much snow as anyone, and the precipitous terrain will make even the most daring pause.
All New Mexico resorts have discounted lessons. (Ski New Mexico/Facebook)
Ski and snowboard resorts all want more people on the slopes, and one way is to introduce newcomers to the sport.
Snowbird's revamped base lodge feeds the pow' soul. (Snowbird/Facebook)
A couple of high-speed chairlifts, upgrades to base lodges and the end of night skiing in Park City make the list of top improvements at ski and snowboard resorts in Utah.
Join in the fun at Sugarbush's Women’s Discovery Camps. (Sugarbush)
The dynamic of skiing or riding for a few days with other like-minded women can be very different from skiing with the family or a mixed group of friends. Unlike skiing with the guys, we cheer each other on rather than talk trash. A women's clinic is a great opportunity to gain confidence and see what's possible in a supportive environment.
Flying down the corduroy after flying in on a deal. (Snowbasin/Facebook)
Looking to make a cost-effective choice in flying to your favorite resort? SnoCountry.com has some deals for you.
Sunrise on Mt. Mansfield from Sterling Pond. (Sunrise Mountain Guides)
Backcountry and sidecountry ski touring are all the rage now, but heading out of bounds without some experience can be at best a frustrating undertaking and at worst a dangerous one. SnoCountry.com has found the prefect combo of ski hotels that not only offer the comforts of a destination resort, but guide service to bring your adventure goals to reality.
A keystone holiday getaway is a good bet. (Keystone)
The B-rolls of early snowfall photos have started, and the usual suspects have already dropped their ropes on a new season. So the next question is: Where to ski and snowboard during the holiday season?
Sun Valley set to go with early discounts. (Sun Valley/Facebook)
Once the snow begins to fly, skiers and riders make plans to get up into the hills as soon as possible – and stay there as long as possible. As a result, many Rocky Mountain resorts lay out early season ticket and lodging deals.
Snowbird is one of four Wasatch resorts that fill their parking lots to the brim. (Snowbird/Facebook)
The bus system of the Utah Transit Authority will narrow its focus this winter in order to get more skiers and snowboarders on the slopes more efficiently.
That means more bus trips up Little Cottonwood Canyon to Alta and Snowbird, and more runs up Big Cottonwood Canyon to Solitude and Brighton. It also means no direct service for visitors staying in downtown hotels or local city dwellers.
That quartet of ski resorts has always been within easy reach of Salt Lake City and environs, but they have been hampered by heavy congested traffic and a lack of consistent bus service up the narrow canyon roads.
To that end, the UTA has decided to eliminate direct ski resort service from downtown hotels. Instead, it will increase service by 35 percent from three light rail stations in south Salt Lake City as the jumping-off point for buses into the mountains. Connections at Murray Central and Historic Sandy stations head up to Snowbird and Alta, while buses loading at Bingham Junction Station go to Solitude and Brighton.
UTA officials contend that connections from the light rail stations will entice more people to park there, as opposed to the smaller, more cramped lots at the canyons’ base.
During peak hours of 7 to 10 a.m., buses will run every 15 minutes from the parking lots at the base of the two canyons. In the afternoon between 3 and 6 p.m., they will run from the four resorts to the parking lots at the mouth of the canyons.
UTA also will ramp up weekend service during peak hours to diminish both vehicle traffic on access routes and crowded buses.
During off-peak hours, UTA has upped the frequency to every 30 minutes – again, an effort to spread out the number of riders on these busy routes.
A one-way adult fare is $4.50, or $2.25 for seniors. For a map and schedule, click here.
Just three skiers-only resorts still remain, after a federal appeals court confirmed that Alta Ski Area could prohibit snowboarding on land it leases from the U.S. Forest Service.
If you hate skiing alone, you can't be shy. I had the ultimate dilemma today. None of my friends could come out to play. It was a Tuesday; a work day for most and forecasters had called Wednesday the day to catch the Powder Flu. Not today.
Despite some serious dumps in March, all good things must come to an end. In Utah, that means a pretty good season will mostly wind up by mid-April.