Here's when Utah's ski resorts open and what's new this winter

Scott Enos, snowmaking manager at Deer Valley, left, and Chris Greger, a snowmaking foreman, right, unload a trailer of snow guns to be placed on a ski run at the resort in Park City on Oct. 19.

Scott Enos, snowmaking manager at Deer Valley, left, and Chris Greger, a snowmaking foreman, right, unload a trailer of snow guns to be placed on a ski run at the resort in Park City on Oct. 19. (Spenser Heaps, Deseret News)



Estimated read time: 7-8 minutes

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah's ski resorts are poised to open soon as excitement builds over an early start to Utah's snow season.

National Weather Service stations at Alta and Brighton, for instance, have already received 58.7 and 53 inches of snow, respectively, between the beginning of the new snowpack season, Oct. 1, and Friday.

The first of Utah's resorts are slated to open on Nov. 19, although some resorts that were originally scheduled to open then have since postponed their opening date. The rest are either scheduled to open within the weeks after that or haven't been announced yet.

Earlier this year Ski Utah, the nonprofit with the goal of promoting the state's ski and snowboard industry, compiled a list of changes ahead of the 2021-2022 snow season. Here's what's new at resorts this winter:

Alta Ski Area

Opening date: Nov. 24 (postponed from Nov. 20)

What's new: Crews widened the Corkscrew trail on the Collins side over the offseason to "enhance the skiing experience on this popular trail," according to Ski Utah. They said Alta also enhanced snowmaking in the Wildcat base area.

Ski Utah wrote that Alta added four Wyssen avalanche control towers in the East Castle area and installed a new snow fence on the Devil's Castle Road.

"These remote explosive devices (RACs) and snow fences will allow for safer and more efficient openings of the Supreme lift and the groomed terrain of Rock and Roll and Big Dipper," Ski Utah wrote.

Alta also announced it will start a $25 parking fee on weekends and holidays to account for high demand beginning in mid-December.

Beaver Mountain Ski Area

Opening date: TBA

What's new: Beaver Mountain installed a new yurt in the Beaver Mountain base area that will serve as a "first stop" for new skiers and riders, where they can start the rental process and look at options for lessons with instructors, according to Ski Utah.

"Geared to expedite our 'Learn to Turn' program, it will be a huge addition to the guest experience at Beaver Mountain Ski Area," they wrote.

Brian Head Ski Resort

Opening date: TBA (Postponed from Nov. 19)

What's new: Ski Utah says Brian Head also purchased new equipment to enhance snowmaking, as well as "new evacuation equipment" that will help make the resort safer for skiers and snowboarders.

Brighton Resort

Opening date: TBA

What's new: Ski Utah says Brighton Resort added new snowmaking in the Snake Creek area of the resort, as well as new lights near the area's lift and run to "improve and expand night skiing offerings."

Cherry Peak Resort

Opening date: TBA

What's new: Like many of the other resorts, Ski Utah said Cherry Peak has "updated snowmaking equipment to accommodate an earlier opening date for the 2021-2022 season."

Deer Valley Resort

Opening date: Dec. 4

What's new: Ski Utah said they've added equipment to improve snowmaking systems and also transportation fleets.

Outside of the outdoors, Ski Utah says Deer Valley has "reimagined" the Snow Park Restaurant this season, "offering a new lunch and après experience in the base lodge for skiers."

"The new menu will feature build-your-own salads and bowls, soups and chilis, burgers and an après ski menu with small bites and creative cocktails," they added.

Eagle Point

Opening date: Dec. 17

What's new: Crews "laid down infrastructure to expand snowmaking capacity to extend to the Skyline Lift area" that is a popular area for beginners and for ski lessons, according to Ski Utah. They've also increased lodging, adding new condominiums for the first time in over two decades.

Nordic Valley

Opening date: Dec. 3

What's new: Four new trails were added for the upcoming season along with improved snowmaking and new bathrooms, according to Ski Utah. Nordic Valley added a high-speed, 6-person chair lift midway through the 2020-2021 ski season, as well.

Park City Mountain

Opening date: TBA (Postponed from Nov. 19)

What's new: Park City Mountain, with the help of more snowmaking improvements, expects to have "world-class skiing conditions all season long" regardless if Utah continues to receive snow this winter like it has the past few weeks, Ski Utah wrote. They added that the cost of Epic Passes, which includes access to the mountain, was also reduced this year. The resort was expected to open Nov. 19 but has delayed as warmer temperatures have interfered with snowmaking, according to reports.

Powder Mountain

Opening date: TBA

What's new: The biggest change for Powder Mountain this year, its 50th, might be that it is now in the Indy Pass lineup, joining Beaver Mountain and Eagle Point.

"Joining the Indy Pass has been on our radar and now that we share the same technology partner — Entabeni Systems — it became a very simple integration with our unique philosophy of limiting skier visits to 1,500 per day on our slopes," Mark Schroetel, Powder Mountain's general manager, said in a statement.

Snowbasin Resort

Opening date: Nov. 24

What's new: Prior to this season beginning, Snowbasin Resort announced a massive expansion to take place over the next few years. While hotels and a community are years away, Ski Utah said the resort plans to open a new lift at Middle Bowl that's expected to cut the ride time in half, to six minutes.

About 435 new parking stalls were also added over the offseason to the Maples and Canyon Rim parking areas. It was completed for the new snow season, according to Ski Utah.

Snowbird

Opening date: Dec. 1

What's new: Snowbird, also celebrating 50 seasons, installed new remote-triggered avalanche mitigation towers at Mineral Basin.

Its biggest change, however, might be its new energy system, installed over the summer. The 5.3-megawatt cogeneration system is believed to be about 60% more efficient than its old system set up in the 1980s and uses less natural gas. Snowbird officials said carbon emissions reductions are expected to be equal to removing 789 vehicles off the roads annually.

Solitude Mountain Resort

Opening date: Nov. 23 (Postponed from Nov. 19)

What's new: Solitude staff said they've extended Moonbeam Express, Apex Express and Link chairlift operations an extra hour on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. They will now run at 8 a.m. and then back to 9 a.m. after Daylight Saving Time returns in mid-March.

The resort increased the minimum wage of non-tipped hourly employees to $15 per hour, according to Ski Utah.

Sundance Mountain Resort

Opening date: Dec. 10

What's new: Sundance changed hands midway through last ski season. Hollywood legend and resort founder Robert Redford sold the resort just before the end of 2020. Its new owners vowed changes coming for this season all the way back in March.

Indeed, the resort made plenty of changes, according to Ski Utah. It added a new high-speed lift to the mid-mountain summit, creating "additional lift-accessed terrain, which was previously unavailable," according to Ski Utah. A fixed-grip lift was also installed from Red's Lift to The Outlaw Express.

Ski Utah wrote that Sundance also enhanced its snowmaking abilities ahead of the new season, which includes a "snowmaking reservoir and new snowmaking equipment."

One hundred and sixty new parking stalls were added for those coming to the resort. In non-outdoors additions, the resort rebranded the Creekside Cafe to The Lookout, which will open along with the rest of the resort on Dec. 10, according to Ski Utah.

"Sweeping mountain views will accompany this modern barbecue menu where guests will enjoy drinks, burgers, grilled meats, salads and bowls during both the summer and winter seasons," Ski Utah wrote.

Woodward Park City

Opening date: Nov. 19

What's new: Woodward is debuting a "Ride With Woodward" lesson program that offers both group and private lessons for first-time ski and snowboarders all the way through advanced park riders, according to Ski Utah. If snow isn't your thing, Ski Utah reports that Woodward made improvements to its indoor concrete park, which is used for skateboarding, parkour and live events.

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