Surprise! Solitude throws open doors to ski season a week early

Resort might reclaim bragging rights as first in Utah to open for season with last-minute announcement.

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Lined up for first chair, Alec Eyckeler, Alex Gilbreath, Charley Bradley and Henry Poppe, from left, are handed the opening banner at Solitude Mountain Resort as their winter season finally gets underway on Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2021.

Ski season is just hours away.

Solitude Mountain Resort has announced that it plans to open the 2023-24 ski and snowboard season Friday at 10 a.m. The opening comes a week earlier than the resort had projected and, according to resort spokesperson Travis Holland, the Solitude’s earliest opener in a decade.

The resort will fire up its Link lift with access to the Easy Street run Friday with more lifts and runs to open when possible. Solitude will be open to the general public, for $25 per lift ticket, as well as passholders through Sunday and then reopen Nov. 17. Military members can ski or ride free on Saturday, which is Veterans Day. All parking will be free over the weekend.

“We are committed to offering the longest season possible and we know local skiers and snowboarders can’t wait to get back on the snow,” Amber L. Broadaway, Solitude’s president and chief operating officer, said in a news release. “It’s been the hard work of our mountain operations team that has made this weekend possible. They have been working around the clock to maximize snow-making efforts when conditions allow and have set us up for another amazing season.”

This year Solitude may have won the friendly cat-and-mouse game it plays with neighbor Brighton over which will be the first to open, just as it last did in 2021. The timing of its announcement Thursday gives Brighton little time to swoop in and open first as it did last year. In that case, Brighton announced it would open Nov. 11. Then Solitude announced it would open Nov. 10. On the afternoon of Nov. 9, though, Brighton announced its lifts had started running making it the first resort to open in the Wasatch Mountains and stirring up the rivalry a little more.

Brighton wasn’t the first resort to open in Utah last year, though. Bragging rights were claimed by Brian Head Resort, which opened Nov. 4. Brian Head had expected to be able to be the first to open again this season, originally setting its opener for Friday. It announced Tuesday, however, that warm evening temperatures had forced it to push back its date to Nov. 17.

Alta and Park City Mountain are also slated to open Nov. 17, with Woodward hoping to join the fun Nov. 18.

Correction: 2:15 p.m., Nov. 9, 2023This story has been updated to clarify that walk-up lift tickets will be available Friday for Solitude’s ski season opener.