Saturday will be graduation day for hundreds of Deseret News Ski School students as they ski off the slopes for the fourth and final session at Alta.
Beginning skiers in the newspaper-sponsored ski school, in its 43rd year of introducing skiing to skiers, will get, as a graduation present, a ride up one of Alta's chair lifts.The two-hour class will begin at 9:30 a.m. in the upper complex of the Little Cottonwood resort. Along with an introduction to the chair, skiers will have a chance to polish up on the slipping wedge and traverse, and then learn the basic techniques of the wedge turns.
This year's ski school opened with a dry-land session Nov. 10 at Sugarhouse Park to give the students a chance to get acquainted with their skis, according to director Alf Engen.
The second session put students on groomed slopes at Alta and on snow for the first time. The third class was also treated to groomed ski slopes.
Recent snowstorms added to the packed snow and "skiing should be great Saturday," Engen said.
Students will meet with instructors at the base of the upper ticket building, and from there they will be taken to one of the nearby lifts. Students will then be loaded into a chair and taken up the slopes.
According to Engen, the goal of the four-week session is to get students to a point where they can get on and off a chair lift and be able to ski down the more gentle slopes comfortably.
"And, in most cases," he said, "we do that."
Instructors for the Deseret News program come from the pool of ski teachers at the University of Utah.
TWO MORE RESORTS OPEN - Two more ski areas join the list of the up-and-running.
ParkWest will open on Friday and Deer Valley on Saturday.
Already up and running are Alta, Park City, Brighton, Solitude, Snowbird, Brian Head and Powder Mountain. Waiting for that "one more storm," are Snowbasin, Nordic Valley, Sundance and Beaver Mountain. Elk Meadows is scheduled to open Dec. 15.
The Saturday opening will be a big event for Deer Valley. Over the summer the resort completed a $6 million program that will take skiing to its third mountain top.
Three new lifts were built to open the new area. Also, a fourth lift was replaced with a high-speed quad.
According to Doug Harmon, general manger at ParkWest, skiers will find slopes in good shape. Extensive grooming programs over the summer will mean better skiing on runs with slower snow depths. Also, additional snowmaking equipment was added. Harmon said the resort has been making snow nightly.
Alta still holds honors for the deepest snow depth. Wednesday it was reporting a base of 42 inches. Snowbird is reporting 30, Solitude 36, Brighton 36 and Park City 18.
FIRST SKI RACE - The first of the Junior Intermountain ski races of the 1990-91 season will be held at Grand Targhee on the Idaho/Wyoming border this weekend.
About 100 racers from Utah, Idaho, Wyoming and Montana will compete in three days of downhill racing. Top Utah contenders include Rachael Solomon and Ehlias Louise of Park City and Cheryl Sarazine of Power Mountain.
PRIZE MONEY FOR SKIERS - For the first time in the history of amateur ski racing, prize money will be offered to top finishers.
Subaru of American will provide $77,500 in cash prizes to be spread over five U.S. Championship events. The rights to offer cash came after a two-year lobbying effort by U.S. officials.