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Spring skiing: Storm gives skiers more time on slopes

Published: Thursday, April 20 2006 12:00 a.m. MDT

Snowboarders and skiers should still be able to enjoy some late-season outdoor activities at some of the area ski resorts.

Ravell Call, Deseret Morning News

Here it is, right on the very tail end of the Utah ski season and it snows. More than a foot of fresh powder fell at higher elevations Monday, the day after six resorts closed.

Three resorts remain open and a fourth will open for three days over the weekend.

The latest snowstorm left 18 inches of new snow at Alta, 15 at Snowbird, 11 at Brighton and 8 at Snowbasin.

This leaves Alta with an existing base of 174 inches or 14 1/2 feet on the ground. Alta will open on Friday and then close for the 2005-06 season on Sunday.

Snowbird holds a base of 159 inches. It will stay open daily until May 14, then switch to weekend operations through May 29. Last year, Snowbird was able to open on July 4.

Brighton has a base of 142 inches. It will close on Sunday.

And Snowbasin has a base of 140 inches. It, too, will close on Sunday.

Snowbird and Snowbasin are offering reduced rates to late-season skiers. Snowbird, for example, will be selling all-day pass for $44 between May 1 and 7, then drop the price to $35 from May 8 until closing. Snowbasin is offering a pass for its final weekend for $35.

The latest storm pushed Alta's total snowfall for the 2005-06 season to 638 inches. Even though this is well over the season average, it does not eclipse last year's total of 697 inches. The seasonal average at Alta is 500 inches.

Brighton had a total of 623 inches. Snowbasin, which has a long-term season average of 350 inches, has had 432 inches so far this season.

This is the second season in a row that Alta has recorded snowfall well over 600 inches.

The final count on the number of skier days recorded in Utah for the 2005-06 season won't be tallied for at least another month.

But, said Nathan Rafferty, president of Ski Utah, "We expect to be close and could very easily exceed last year's record."

During the 2004-05 season, Utah boasted 3.8 million skier days, which was a 12 percent jump over the previous season.


E-mail: grass@desnews.com