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SALT LAKE CITY -- The holiday season is a great time of year for Utah's ski resorts. In fact, it's the first peak time of the season.
Jessica Kunzer, the director of communications for Ski Utah, says many out-of-towners plan Utah skiing and snowboarding trips for around Christmas time and into New Year's. She says the holiday season sets the tone for what ski resorts can expect for other holidays in January and February.
"It's a really great way for us to gauge the rest of the season. We're absolutely thrilled because the conditions are fabulous," she said
Bookings this season are predicted to be slightly higher than last year.
She offered two suggestions for those who worry about crowds. First, try a resort you haven't been to recently or ever.
"We have some resorts that are more popular than others. But we have some great hidden gems maybe within an hour's drive of Salt Lake City. So I recommend exploring some of those resorts that tend to be a little less popular," she said.
She also recommended afternoon half-days.
"I find that a lot of people go to lunch at 12:30, 1:00 and get a little tired after that. So it seems the afternoon traffic can be a little less than the morning. Either way, we're pretty lucky in Utah; there's plenty of space on the mountain for everyone," she said.
For those who don't know how to ski, January is "Learn to Ski & Snowboard" month. Every Utah resort is offering some kind of a deal. Here is a sampling:
January Learn to Ski & Snowboard Deals
- Alta: Four lessons, lift tickets and equipment rental for $179
- Brighton, Canyons, Deer Valley: One lesson, rental and lift pass for $39
- Park City: Five lessons, lift tickets and rental for $25
*Some blackout dates may apply
Ski Utah also offers a program for 5th and 6th graders interested in skiing and snowboarding.
Ski Utah 5th and 6th Grade Passport Program
- $25 processing fee
- 5th graders ski free three times at each resort
- 6th graders ski free once at each resort
- SkiUtah.com has applications