Who else is reveling in the recent cold mornings and snow-capped peaks?
Mother nature was quick to flip the switch this year. Over the course of one week, I went from wearing sandals and shorts to rummaging through my closet for a sweatshirt. But you won’t hear any complaints from me; in fact, I’m giddy over Salt Lake’s recent and rather abrupt seasonal change. I’m sure most skiers and snowboarders are excited to see the wildflowers wither away, the aspens turn red and night-time temperatures drop below freezing. Ok, maybe seeing the wildflowers wither away is a bummer. But change is in the air!
All this begs the question: are you ready for ski season? There are a number of things you can do to get ready for winter, but you better do them fast. Gear sells out, season passes get more expensive and snow safety classes fill up. If you want to get the most out of winter, keep reading.
Anyone looking to restock on gear should turn to one of the Salt Lake region’s ski swaps. Skiing is expensive; I’m sure this isn’t news to anyone. Luckily, ski swaps help take the edge off. With a keen eye, you can walk away with more gear than a Park City dad, and at a fraction of the price.
Ski swaps offer their fair share of junk and can draw huge crowds, sometimes resulting in a Black Friday-esque scene. The key is to get there early and know what you’re looking for. If you’re lucky, you just might find those pricey backcountry bindings you’ve been dreaming of. Keep reading for a list of ski swaps in the Salt Lake area.
Black Diamond Ski Swap
Black Diamond – 2092 East 3900 South, Salt Lake City, UT
October 26, 2019
Snowbasin Ski Swap
Legacy Events Center – 151 South 1100 W, Farmington, UT 84025
October 25-27, 2019
Friday, October 25: 5 p.m.-9 p.m., $5 Admission (18 and under free)
Saturday, October 26: 9 a.m.-5 p.m., $5 Admission (18 and under free)
Sunday, October 27: 9 a.m.-1 p.m., $2 Admission (18 and under free)
Park City Ski and Snowboard Swap
Basin Recreation Field House – 1388 New Main St. Park City, UT
November 1-3, 2019
Friday, November 1: 8 p.m.-1 a.m., $10 admission fee, (12 & under free)
Saturday, November 2: 10 a.m.-6 p.m., $5 admission fee, (12 & under free)
Sunday, November 3: 10 a.m.-2 p.m., $2 admission fee, (12 & under free)
St Lawrence Thrift Store
Zermatt Resort – 784 Resort Dr, Midway, UT 84049
November 22-23, 2019
Friday, November 22: 9 a.m.-6 p.m.
Saturday, November 23: 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
Alta Community Enrichment (ACE) Ski Swap
Our Lady of the Snows Center – 10185 East Highway 210, Alta, UT 84092
Saturday, December 2nd 8:15 a.m.- 5 p.m.
Now that you’ve raided a few ski swaps, what are you going to do with all that new gear? It won’t bring you any joy sitting in the closet.
If you don’t have one yet, it might be time to buy a pass. Here in Utah, the mega-pass reigns supreme; over the past year, the Ikon and Epic passes have become incredibly popular (and for some, incredibly unpopular). The Ikon offers the most resort access here in Utah, with unlimited skiing at Solitude and seven days at Brighton, Deer Valley and Snowbird/Alta. The Epic pass, while giving you access to dozens of resorts around the country and world, isn’t as Utah friendly as the Ikon. But with unlimited days at Park City Mountain Resort and seven days at Snowbasin, it’s still a safe bet.
With all the hype around the mega-pass, it’s easy to forget that you can still buy a season pass to a single mountain. These passes are typically cheaper, and if you’re not planning on traveling to other resorts this winter, the Epic or Ikon might not be worth it.
Regardless of where you want to ski, buy your pass ASAP. Prices will only increase, and some resorts cap the number of passes per season. And make sure you look for student deals. Both the Ikon and Epic, as well as all of the Salt Lake area ski resorts offer a college/young adult pass. These deals usually shave a few hundred dollars off the standard rate, and if you’re a broke college student like me, a few hundred dollars will go a long way.
Not interested in battling hordes of tourists and jaded locals? Get in the backcountry! The Wasatch Mountains offer some of the most accessible backcountry terrains in the country, and you’re crazy not to give it a try. But keep in mind, backcountry skiing is dangerous. Despite state of the art advances in backcountry gear and technology, Utah averages four avalanche fatalities every winter. Education is the best way to stay on top of the snow, and there are several great resources right here in Salt Lake to learn about snow safety. If you missed signing up for the University of Utah’s Avalanche I class, check out the Utah Avalanche Center (https://utahavalanchecenter.org/), Utah Mountain Adventures (https://www.utahmountainadventures.com/) or the American Avalanche Center (https://www.americanavalancheinstitute.com/) for some essential backcountry education.
So get on it! Winter is right around the corner and you don’t want to miss out on these great opportunities. With a little preparation, you can be sure to get the most out of this season.