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What’s new, and what’s back to normal, at Utah’s ski and snowboard resorts

More night skiing, new lifts, paid parking among the most impactful changes in the 2021-22 season

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Snowboarders on a lift as night sets in at Brighton on Monday, Feb. 24, 2020. Brighton has added snowmaking and lights to its Snake Creek run and will be opening it up for night skiing this season.

The annual tradition has begun. As the start of the season draws closer, skiers and snowboarders across Utah, and the country, have begun to post in chat rooms and Facebook groups or ask around at the local gear shop.

They want to know what’s new and what’s different at the resorts this season. They’re wondering if they’ll need to pack an extra $20 for parking or if they can spend that on pizza at the lodge — and will the lodge even be open one season after COVID-19 turned them mostly into to-go establishments?

While drawing from the hive mind can be illuminating, sometimes the information isn’t the most accurate. That’s why we called every single Utah ski and ride area and asked them what’s up on a number of issues. While their policies may change, especially in regards to indoor dining, we promise this breakdown is more reliable than what your friend Ted’s brother John overheard while shopping the latest ski swap.

[Take our Best of Utah ski survey: Vote for the best bumps, tailgating, bang for your buck & more]

So whether you’re looking for the best early season snow coverage (Alta, Brighton, Cherry Peak and Eagle Point expanded their snowmaking ), tips for night skiing (Brighton is opening up Snake Creek at night) or new terrain to explore (Snowbasin and Sundance installed new lifts), it’s all here.

And if, by chance, you still have ski questions, send them to jjag@sltrib.com. We’ll try to find the answers, sans conspiracy theories.

Guide to Utah’s ski and snowboarding resorts

ALTA

Opening date: Nov. 20

Acres/vertical drop: 2,614/ 2,538 feet

Lifts: 6 (2 D, 1 HST, 3 HSQ)

Day-of weekend ticket price: $125

Walk-up tickets available: Yes

Parking: Reservations ($25) required on weekends and holidays, sales begin in October

Rentals: Yes, at Albion

Lessons: Group and private available for ages 4+, reservations required

Child care: Daily, with reservations

Masks required: Indoors unless eating or drinking

Other COVID-19 precautions: Cap on skier numbers determined by available parking spaces; grab & go food options, including at Goldminer and possibly in parking lots; reduced capacity and ordering via QR code in restaurants and added space at Alf’s; skiers who bring their own food are asked to eat in their cars. Sunnyside at 3 access available only with the Sunnyside at 3 Card.

Notable: Alta widened its Corkscrew run, combined Nina’s Curve and Schuss Gully and added snowmaking around the base area; adding four Wyssen towers in the East Castle area for remote avalanche control; will be charging for parking for the first time, but UTA bus pass included with season ticket.

Operation details: alta.com/covid

BEAVER MOUNTAIN

Opening date: mid-December

Acres/vertical drop: 828/1,700 feet

Lifts: 6 (1 D, 3 T, 2 surface)

Day-of weekend ticket price: $60

Walk-up tickets available: Yes

Parking: Free

Rentals: Yes

Lessons: Group for ages 7+, ages 3-6 TBD; private for all ages

Child care: No

Masks required: Optional unless CDC, state or local recommendations change

Other COVID-19 precautions: RFID technology in tickets for contact-less access to lifts; tents and yurts for extra dining space and filling out rental paperwork; limited menu in dining, but will have food trucks and grab & go options and expanded outdoor seating; additional portable restrooms.

Notable: Upgraded wifi in the base area, additional parking plus webcams to check capacity; new yurt in base area will be first stop for beginners; IndyPass blackout dates on weekends and holidays.

Operation details: skithebeav.com/c/mountain/lessons/covid19-lesson-restrictions

BRIAN HEAD RESORT

(Photo courtesy of Mike Saemisch | Brian Head Resort) The terrain below Chair 3 at Brian Head Resort is illuminated for night skiing.

Opening date: Nov. 19

Acres/vertical drop: 650/1,320 feet

Lifts: 12 (1 D, 6 T, 2 HSQ, 3 surface)

Day-of weekend ticket price: $89

Walk-up tickets available: Yes

Parking: Free

Rentals: Yes

Lessons: Group and private lessons, ages 3+

Child care: No

Masks required: Optional unless CDC, state or local recommendations change

Other COVID-19 precautions: Will cap visitor numbers by limiting daily ticket sales; reduced capacity in indoor spaces; grab-and-go food and outdoor dining space available

Notable: Resort has acquired the Best Western Premier Brian Head Resort & Spa, located less than half a mile from the ski area’s Navajo Lodge, and expects to offer ski-and-stay packages.

Operation details: brianhead.com/covid-safety/

BRIGHTON

Opening date: ASAP

Acres/vertical drop: 1,050/1,875 feet

Lifts: 7 (1 T, 5 HSQ, 1 surface)

Day-of weekend ticket price: $99 (in 2020-21)

Walk-up tickets available: Yes

Parking: Free but optional reservations may be added

Rentals: With reservations; new equipment

Lessons: group and private, ages 4+; camps will return

Child care: No

Masks required: Indoors unless eating or drinking

Other COVID-19 precautions: Will use the parking lot capacity to limit crowds; food can be ordered through an app or online; walk-up coffee window added; additional outdoor seating; restaurants and day lodges will be at normal capacity.

Notable: Increased snowmaking on Snake Creek by a third and added lights to double the amount of terrain open for night skiing and riding; added the first of what it hopes to be many diesel-electric snowcats to its fleet.

Operation details: brightonresort.com/covid-19

CHERRY PEAK

Opening date: Thanksgiving weekend

Acres/vertical drop: 200/ 1,265 feet

Lifts: 4 (3 T, 1 surface)

Day-of weekend ticket price: $45

Walk-up tickets available: Yes

Parking: Free

Rentals: Yes

Lessons: Group and private, no age minimum

Child care: No

Masks required: At all times

Other COVID-19 precautions: Purchase of lift tickets and food and ski map downloads are available online; indoor capacities will be limited; upper floor of the Grand Lodge will be open for overflow seating and has wifi; possible parking shuttle on busy days.

Notable: Upgraded snowmaking will cover 95% of runs and should allow resort to open earlier.

Operation details: skicpr.com/covid19-guidelines

DEER VALLEY

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) People hit the slopes at Deer Valley on Friday, Dec. 12, 2019.

Opening date: Dec. 4

Acres/vertical drop: 2,026/3,000 feet

Lifts: 21 (2 D, 5 T, 13 HSQ, 1 G)

Day-of weekend ticket price: $199-$249

Walk-up tickets available: Yes

Parking: Free except at Silver Lake Lodge

Rentals: Yes, new equipment

Lessons: Group for ages 3+, private for all ages, with reservations

Child care: Yes

Masks required: Indoors unless eating or drinking

Other COVID-19 precautions: Reservations required in day lodges for groups of 8+; heat lamps and fire tables available with outdoor seating; food and reservations via an app; kiosks with QR code scanners for contactless redemption of passes bought online; skier cap, as always, will be in effect.

Notable: Revamping of Fresh Tracks Kitchen in the Snow Park Lodge, including reworked menu and extended hours for apres ski; app expanded to include mountain webcam and a live map with ski tracking feature; new snowcats and upgraded snowmaking.

Operation details: deervalley.com/about-us/covid-operations

EAGLE POINT

Opening date: Dec. 17

Acres/vertical drop: 650/1,500 feet

Lifts: 5 (2 D, 1 T, 1 Q, 1 surface)

Day-of weekend ticket price: $75

Walk-up tickets available: Yes

Parking: Free

Rentals: With reservations

Lessons: Group ages 5+, private all-ages, with reservations

Child care: No

Masks required: Optional unless CDC, state or local recommendations change

Other COVID-19 precautions: Restaurants will have grab-and-go food and outdoor seating; seating within restaurants will be limited.

Notable: Expanded snowmaking in the Skyline Lift area; new Canyonside Collection condos available to rent; open daily from Dec. 17 to Jan. 2, then Friday-Monday through February. Open Friday-Sunday from March 4 until April 3, 2022. Starting in January, the entire resort can be rented out on weekdays for a base price of $15,000 for up to 200 people.

Operation details: eaglepointresort.com/covid-19-policies

NORDIC VALLEY

Opening date: Early December

Acres/vertical drop: 170/1,000 feet

Lifts: 5 (2 D, 1 T, 1 HS6, 1 surface)

Day-of weekend ticket price: $50 (from 2020-21)

Walk-up tickets available: Yes

Parking: Free

Rentals: Yes

Lessons: Group for ages 7+, private for all ages

Child care: No

Masks required: Optional unless CDC, state or local recommendations change

Other COVID-19 precautions: Online ticketing and food/drink sales; cashless transactions; limited indoor seating; guests are encouraged to eat at fire pits, in the Hagaar building or in their cars.

Notable: Adding four trails (2 blacks, 2 blues) and bathrooms to the 50 acres it made accessible when it installed a six-person, high-speed detachable lift last January; snowmaking has been upgraded at the base of that lift; rentals have been moved to a yurt to allow for more spacing and better flow.

Operation details: nordicvalley.ski/2020-2021-winter-experience/

PARK CITY MOUNTAIN RESORT

Opening date: Nov. 19

Acres/vertical drop: 7,300/3,200 feet

Lifts: 37 (4 D, 7 T, 4 Q, 10 HSQ, 6 HS6, 4 G, 6 surface)

Day-of weekend ticket price: $189

Walk-up tickets available: Yes

Parking: Free; follow @PCMtnAlert on Twitter or check parkcitymountain.com/status for real-time updates on parking lot capacity as well as other mountain operations updates

Rentals: Yes

Lessons: Yes, for ages 5-older. Proof of vaccination required for full-day lessons for ages 12-older.

Child care: No

Masks required: Indoors unless eating or drinking

Other COVID-19 precautions: All employees are required to be vaccinated; guests 12-older required to show proof of vaccination for dining at quick service/cafeteria-style restaurants (a list will be available on the resort website); reservations required for on-mountain restaurants; bars will be open; guests can bring food from home; cashless transactions only.

Notable: This year will break ground on its Elektron Solar Project, an 80 megawatt solar project that is expected to provide renewable energy for 100% of Park City Mountain’s electric usage by 2023. Additional lifts are planned for 2022-23.

Operation details:

parkcitymountain.com/explore-the-resort/about-the-resort/winter-experience.aspx

POWDER MOUNTAIN

Opening date: TBD

Acres/vertical drop: 3,200/2,519 feet

Lifts: 9 (1 T, 4 Q, 1 HSQ, 3 surface)

Day-of weekend ticket price: $105

Walk-up tickets available: No

Parking: Free

Rentals: Indoor and outdoor facilities

Lessons: Yes, group and private for ages 5+

Child care: No

Masks required: Indoors unless eating or drinking

Other COVID-19 precautions: Skier numbers capped as always at 1,500; three tiers of restrictions (green/yellow/red), starting in yellow — only restrooms and grab-and-go food will be open in red tier; otherwise metered flow into buildings, food orders via app; Powder Keg bar will be closed except for to-go food orders; no terrain park; no standing room on shuttles; rooftop deck and trailer added to snowcats.

Notable: Celebrating its 50th year on Feb. 19; will be included on the Indy Pass for the first time, with weekend and holiday blackouts

Operation details: powdermountain.com/resort/winter-2022-info

SNOWBASIN

Opening date: Nov. 24

Acres/vertical drop: 3,000/3,000 feet

Lifts: 11 (2 T, 2 HSQ, 2 HS6, 2 G, 1 tram, 3 surface)

Day-of weekend ticket price: $169

Walk-up tickets available: Yes

Parking: Free; Lot A in Earl’s reserved for carpools of 3+ plus prize incentives for carpooling

Rentals: Yes

Lessons: Group for ages 7+, 4-6 TBD; private for all ages; with reservations

Child care: Yes, off-site

Masks required: Indoors unless eating or drinking

COVID-19 precautions: Ski-up, outdoor restaurants; Wildcat parking lot open daily.

Notable: Snowbasin is replacing its Middle Bowl Chairlift with a high-speed six-person lift that shortens ride time from 12 minutes to less than six. Also, approximately 350 parking spaces will be added in Maples and Canyon Rim parking areas.

Operation details: www.snowbasin.com/2021-22-winter-season

SNOWBIRD

Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune Snowbird resort, Nov. 12, 2018.

Opening date: Dec. 1

Acres/vertical drop: 2,500/3,240 feet

Lifts: 13 (4 D, 6 HSQ, 1 tram, 2 surface)

Day-of weekend ticket price: $155

Walk-up tickets available: Yes

Parking: Free, but reservations are available for up to $25/day; discounts for carpools of 4+

Rentals: Yes

Lessons: Yes, group and private for ages 5+; private for ages 3-4

Child care: Yes, in The Cliff Lodge

Masks required: Optional unless CDC, state or local recommendations change

Other COVID-19 precautions: Tram capacity TBA, masks recommended; grab & go dining and QR codes for placing orders; additional dining space will be created as needed.

Notable: New Fast Tracks pass/ticket add-on allows access to express lanes on six lifts (tram is excluded); installed Wyssen Towers in Mineral Basin for remote avalanche control; will begin producing 90-100% of its energy on-site via Snowbird Power Systems, which uses natural gas to produce electricity while recycling naturally occurring heat waste to warm the resort.

Operation details: snowbird.com/health-safety/

SOLITUDE

Opening date: Nov. 19

Acres/vertical drop: 1,200/2,494 feet

Lifts: 9 (1 D, 1 T, 2 Q, 4 HSQ, 1 surface)

Day-of weekend ticket price: $139

Walk-up tickets available: Yes

Parking: Pay parking daily ($25 for 1 person per car, $15 for 2 people, $10 for 3 and $5 for 4 or more)

Rentals: Yes

Lessons: Yes, group and private lessons for ages 4+

Child care: No

Masks required: Indoors unless eating or drinking

Other COVID-19 precautions: Grab & go food and outdoor seating options; full table service at St. Bernard’s bar, Argenta Pub and Moonbeam Lodge

Notable: Extending weekend and holiday hours, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. starting by Dec. 18 and switching to 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. after “springing forward” in March; changing its parking pricing to reflect a two-person carpool; paying all non-tipped employees a $15 minimum wage; adding Gerry Nooney, known for his emphasis on local food and sourcing, as director of food & beverage.

Operation details: solitudemountain.com/footer/about-us/community-well-being

SUNDANCE

Opening date: Dec. 10

Acres/vertical drop: 450/2,150 feet

Lifts: 8 (2 HST, 2 Q, 1 HSQ, 3 surface)

Day-of weekend ticket price: $129

Walk-up tickets available: Yes

Parking: Free on weekdays; on weekends, pay in lots A, B and C unless carpooling with 4+ occupants

Rentals: Yes

Lessons: Group for ages 5+, private for ages 3+, with reservations,

Child care: No

Masks required: Optional unless CDC, state or local recommendations change

Other COVID-19 precautions: New RFID chips in tickets to reduce contact in lift lines; grab-and-go food with expanded options in the deli; tickets for most activities can be purchased online.

Notable: Two lifts, one of which is a high-speed detachable quad that restores access at mid-mountain summit and expands night skiing terrain. The other expands terrain for visitors coming from the back mountain. Also, re-graded beginner terrain with three magic carpets and a new BBQ restaurant, the Lookout.

Operation details: sundanceresort.com/sundance-health-statement-on-covid-19/

WOODWARD PARK CITY

Opening date: TBD

Acres/vertical drop: 60/349 feet

Lifts: 4 (1 Q, 3 surface)

Day-of weekend ticket price: $49 (for 2020-21)

Walk-up tickets available: Yes

Parking: Free

Rentals: Yes

Lessons: With reservations

Child care: No

Masks required: Indoors unless eating or drinking

Other COVID-19 precautions: Touchless kiosk for accessing advance-purchase tubing tickets; contactless ordering at The Hive and The Grind.

Notable: New Ride With Woodward lesson package helps skiers and boarders of all abilities learn park skills; a new stage within the parkour zone will host events including film premieres, athlete speakers and live music performances.

Operation details: woodwardparkcity.com/covid19-update

Update: Oct. 27, 2021, 12 p.m. >> Snowbasin has updated its policy since the summer and will require guests to wear masks indoors except when eating and drinking.


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