Settle in for a Slick Ski Season


Photo by Carolyn Webber

Powder is on its way.

At Ski Utah’s kickoff to the ski season yesterday, that was the resounding message. Representatives from ski resorts and Utah’s Office of Tourism gathered with media members to hear Nathan Rafferty, president and CEO of Ski Utah, discuss the prospects of the upcoming season.

Many ski resorts, such as Sundance, Cherry Peak, and Powder Mountain, are increasing access with new ski lifts. Snowbird and Brian Head have expanded buildings for ski school and restaurants. But, all the resorts have a resounding theme —

“Snow guns are at the ready,” Rafferty said.

Since last year broke records from the 2007-08 season for number of visitors, Rafferty and others are hopeful that this year the momentum will keep going. Of course, everyone is doing it in different ways.

For resorts like Powder Mountain, they want to keep the number of visitors high, but not so high that they lose their iconic seclusion. They have decided to limit the amount of season pass holders to 1,000 and day passes to 2,000.

“We don’t want to change. We want to keep our little resort feel,” said JP Goulet, marketing manager for Powder Mountain. “We want you to look around and have no one around you.”

Since they are adding two new chair lifts and adding another 600 acres to their resort, that goal is feasible. The lifts are expected to be running by Dec. 15. While Powder Mountain doesn’t have a set opening day (since they don’t make their own snow), Goulet is confident they will be running by the first week of December.

Other resorts are hoping to open starting next week.

Brighton is celebrating its 80th year of operation, Solitude is re-modeling their mountain lodge, and Snowbird is starting a program to support carpooling and public transportation use. While many are worried about the lack of snow, the resorts know sooner or later, it will come.

Rafferty wants everyone to remember, “Utah always delivers when it comes to snow.”

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Photo by Carolyn Webber