The snow's good. Plenty of it, too. No lift lines, either. About the only thing missing from skiing right now is interest. Within two weeks it will be ski areas.
Half of Utah's 14 ski areas have closed. Within the next two weeks all but one resort will be closed. Snowbird, traditionally Utah's last holdout, isn't planning to close until May 12.Those who do chose to go while the lifts are still running will find conditions favorable to good spring skiing. Snow depths are more than adequate. Alta, for example, is sporting a 124-inch coating (171/2 new), Brighton 98, Snowbird 110, Solitude 102 and Park City 76.
Numbers, however, will be down in the days to follow. Good weather lures skiers into other things, sports, like golfing and lawn care. It also softens snow to where skiing becomes difficult for some skiers.
Despite what might seem like a short season, indications are that when all the counts are in and figures tallied, this will be Utah's best year ever. With only a few exceptions, resorts are reporting record ticket sales.
Related ski businesses have also done well this year. Lodging in the Park City area, for example, is up 10 percent over a year ago. Retail stores, especially in areas visited by destination skiers, are also reporting brisk sales, especially during February and March.
One reason for all of this obvious success is that Utah was one of the only states receiving adequate snow in the beginning and during most of the season. It was March, for example, before resorts like Sun Valley and Mammoth Mountain in California, were able to fully open all lifts and runs.
Eastern areas, as well as some mid-western areas, also had trouble getting and holding snow this year.
Consensus among several area resorts is that this brought in many more destination skiers.
Resorts like Solitude, Brighton, Snowbasin and ParkWest all report a noticeable increase in out-of-state skiers.
Mike Goar, vice president of operations at Solitude, said he attributes the area's increased skier days "all to destination skiers."
Mike Doyle, area manager at Brighton, also reported a "real large increase in out-of-state skiers this season."
Areas that have closed for the season are ParkWest, Deer Valley, Snowbasin, Nordic Valley, Beaver Mountain, Sundance and Elk Meadows.
Park City will close on Sunday. Brighton, Solitude and Powder Mountain will be open this weekend and are taking a wait-and-see-what-comes through the 21st. Alta and Brian Head will close on April 21. Snowbird is shooting for May 12.
No matter what the final counts tell, however, it's certain that all of this out-of-state traffic Utah got this season will likely carry over into next season.
As Randy Montgomery, new director of the Utah Ski Association/Ski Utah, noted, "A lot of people discovered Utah skiing this year."