Despite lack of snow, Utah ski season finishes strong
By brett prettyman
The Salt Lake TribuneFirst published Mar 29 2012 01:01AM
The 2011-12 Utah ski season wasn’t memorable, but it did have a few highlights.
Brighton Resort in Big Cottonwood Canyon marked its 75th anniversary, while Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort in Little Cottonwood turned 40.
The most epic dump of the season — 37 inches in 24 hours — happened in mid-March at Sundance Resort.
And a group of skiers became the first to ski all 14 Utah resorts — from Brian Head in the south to Beaver Mountain in the north — in a single day. The skiers, who set up the craziness as a fund-raiser, started March 15 with a 3 a.m. wake-up call and ended with a final run at 7:45 p.m. The tired group then donated $10,000 to the Huntsman Cancer Center and $6,000 to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
The 2011-12 winter also included controversy with a proposed SkiLink gondola between Canyons and Solitude resorts and a land lease dispute between Park City Mountain Resort and Talisker, the owner of Canyons Resort.
Snow business • Despite a less-than-normal snow year, many Utah ski resorts say business was still fair.
"Some of the resorts said they had a steady stream of visitors, particularly around the peak holiday periods," said Jessica Kunzer of Ski Utah. "Other resorts reported a general decrease in visitors."
The usual out-of-state customers came, but locals seemed unwilling to visit the slopes with less-than-average snowfall conditions.
Last year, Snowbird ended up with more than 700 inches of snow and stayed open through July 4. Resort officials say they won’t be able to make it that far in 2012. But they plan to remain open, at least on weekends, into May.
Most resorts are turning the lifts off April 15. Until then, there will be plenty of opportunities for cheap skiing and fun events.
Here are some of the end-of-the-season deals:
Alta’s April pass • Get access to all of Alta’s operating lifts from April 2 to closing weekend, April 29. Passes cost $199 for adults and teens and $99 for skiers 12 and younger. Purchase them beginning April 2 at alta.com or the Alta Ski Area Ticket Office.
Eagle Point • Utahns can ski free on Monday, April 9, at this resort in Beaver. Just show proof of residence.
Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort • Spring passes good from April 1 through the end of the season are available for $329. Events at Snowbird include the North Face Masters of Snowboarding competition April 15-17 and the Junior Freeskiing Tour April 5-7. Snowbird is also holding a Facebook friends drive and is giving away free tram rides to elementary students in Salt Lake County for every new friend.
Brighton Resort • The three-day Learn to Slide program includes three group lessons, three full-day rentals and three lift tickets, plus a Smith helmet, for $199.