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SALT LAKE CITY — The focus for several Utah ski resorts during the summer was on making terrain more skier/snowboarder friendly with wider runs, smoother ground, easier access. There was also the addition of one new lift, a terrain park for females only, a big birthday party, quicker access to lifts and more snow with less energy.
The only new lift for the 2013 ski season was added into Snowbird. The lift replaced the original Gad 2 lift installed in 1971. The lift is a Gad 2 detachable high-speed quad, and the ride time will now take half as long as it used to.
Park City Mountain Resort
The big news at the Park City Mountain Resort is it’s now 50 years old. 50 years ago when Park City Mountain Resort opened there were only eight ski resorts in Utah. Treasure Mountain being one offered 27 lifts from double and single chairs to T-bars. There are currently 14 Utah resorts offering 136 lifts. Smaller resorts such as Blue Mountain (Monticello), Gooseberry (Salina), Little Mountain (Emigration Canyon) and Snow Park (Park City) have since closed.
Plans are in motion for a season-long birthday party, according to PCMR communications manager Andy Miller. Their focus over the summer was on the historic celebration.
“We have a lot of activities planned," Miller said. "Like a weekly birthday party with giveaways and resort specials in order to give people the opportunity to help us celebrate."
The big day will be Dec. 21, which 50 years ago was the official opening day of Treasure Mountain which later became Park City and then Park City Mountain Resort. The Dec. 21 festivities will include speakers reflecting back on old times, along with music and fireworks.
Brighton and Solitude
In the canyon just over the mountain, Brighton and Solitude got a little closer together. The SolBright Trail between the two resorts was widened and groomed to make getting between the two much easier and faster this winter, according to Brighton public relations director Jared Winkler.
In the past, the trail was often rutted and bumpy and not always easy to traverse which didn’t always make it easy for those buying the Big Cottonwood Pass, which allows skiing and snowboarding at both resorts on the same day.
Brighton has also put in a new ticket system to match Solitude’s that allows for direct-lift access. Skiers and snowboarders buying a lift ticket off-site will now be able to go directly from their vehicle to the lift without making a stop at the ticket window. The system also makes it possible to get a card that allows an individual to activate it on a home computer prior to heading for the resort.
Brighton also became the first resort in Utah to have a female-only terrain park.
“We had a number of girls tell us they felt intimidated when they tried new tricks with boys around,’’ Winkler said. “We’ll try it and see how it works out.’’
Snowbasin will introduce young skiers and snowboarders to dinosaurs this winter in its Riglet Terrain Park. Kids between the ages of 3 and 6 will be greeted by "Dino the brontosaurus" and "Terry the triceratops".
- Nov. 8: Brighton and Solitude
- Nov. 15: Brian Head
- Nov. 24: Alta, Park City Mountain Resort, Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort
- Nov. 26: Canyons and Snowbasin
- Dec. 5: Wolf Mountain
- Dec. 6: Sundance
- Dec. 7: Deer Valley
- Eagle Point: Dec. 19
- Beaver Mountain and Powder Mountain will announces openings when conditions warrant
“Our park will be one of only 13 theme parks in the country," said Snowbasin's marketing manager, Jason Dyer. "We chose the dinosaur because Utah has a history of dinosaurs."
Snowbasin also invested in energy efficient snowguns known as the Snow Logic. The new snowguns produce more snow with less energy. The Snow Logic system produces the lowest cost per acre foot of man-made snow in the marketplace.
Snowbasin also added a new water well — it’s fourth — which will greatly increase its snowmaking capabilities to 620 acres.
Deer Valley will have a new ski run off Little Baldy Mountain for beginning-level skiers. It also invested $4.5 million to upgrade its snowmaking system, which included a purchase of ultra-low, energy-efficient Snow Logic tower guns. It also added three new snowcats to keep its reputation as one of best groomed ski areas in the country.
Along with celebrating Park City’s 50th, Ski Utah will be celebrating the 30th birthday for its Interconnect Tour. The tour takes skiers on the most unique skiing experience available — the opportunity to ski four or six ski areas in a single day.
Ski Utah represents all 14 Utah ski areas and it stepped up and introduced a newly designed Web site for the 2013 season — skiutah.com. It now offers everything from daily and extended weather conditions, dining suggestions, secret powder stashes and family tips, as well as individual resort information.
Brian Head spent $3.5 million over the summer to add night-skiing lights to its Blackfoot Lift and terrain park, new night lights for BagJump surface lift, a new tubing park at Giant Step and a new surface lift for its ski school program.