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Utah’s ski season winds down as snow piles up

First Published      Last Updated Mar 29 2017 08:42 am

Ski Utah's daily report Tuesday morning was filled with impressive new snow numbers for late March.

Thirteen inches at Solitude, Snowbird and Alta; 10 at Brighton; and seven at the Park City resort. Down south, Brian Head got 11 inches. Up north, Beaver Mountain added 8, leaving its base at just under 100 inches.

Yet Beaver Mountain is one of three Utah resorts closing at day's end Sunday, joined by Sundance and Eagle Point, above Beaver.

And even though each of Salt Lake County's four resorts were boasting bases of at least 125 inches Tuesday, all but Snowbird are now scheduled to cease daily operations the evening of Easter Sunday, April 16 — as will Deer Valley, Park City and Brian Head.




"All of these places would stay open if people would keep skiing," said Ski Utah President Nathan Rafferty. "But the lure of the desert and the golf course and the mountain bike trail is strong."

"Our cup runneth over in Utah with things to do, so it's quickly off to the next season," he added. "I bet nine years out of 10, Alta closes the door with 100 inches of snow on the ground."

Rafferty's observation was true for Sundance, which added 5 inches of snow Tuesday to give it an 84-inch base with five days left in the season.

"Closing the season with an 80 inch-plus base is difficult," acknowledged resort spokesman Joshua Wartena, "but we've been incredibly fortunate this year with the overall snow quality and frequency throughout the season."

Sundance had a "significant stretch" in which its base exceeded the century mark, he added, noting "it's been more than a decade since we had 100 inches, so it's been exciting. Thankfully, our closure is just a short break before summer events and daily mountain activities kick off."

Brighton Resort had the deepest base for much of the season until Alta and Snowbird passed it in the past couple of weeks. But with 129 inches still on the ground Tuesday, resort officials are considering staying open a week longer.

"With the snow being so good," said Brighton spokesman Jared Winkler, "and customers still showing up, we are considering staying open until April 23. We're not set on one or the other, but watching the weather and skier counts day by day. We'll make a decision within the next week."

Alta's practice in recent years has been to close for the season and then reopen on Friday, Saturday and Sunday of the next two weekends.

But resort spokeswoman Connie Marshall said Tuesday there will not be any additional weekends this spring after the April 16 shutdown.

Snowbird is always the last to close, its final ski day dependent on how long the snow persists through May's typically warming temperatures.

But the snowpack has hung around long enough for Snowbird to stay open until the Fourth of July on three occasions. The last time was 2011.

mikeg@sltrib.com

 

AT A GLANCE

Season’s last ski dates

Sunday » Sundance, Beaver Mountain, Eagle Point

April 9 » Powder Mountain

April 16 (Easter) » Alta, Brian Head, Brighton, Deer Valley, Park City Mountain, Snowbasin, Solitude

TBD » Snowbird

Already closed » Nordic Valley, Cherry Peak


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