Snow arrived a little late, but in time to allow Utah's ski area to kick off the 1988-89 season on schedule. Two weeks ago no one would have guessed that most resorts would be open by Thanksgiving. Golf courses were packed and lawn mowers were still out and running.
But, open they did and with enough snow to delight even the most finicky Utah skier would find delightful.After two years of late openings (last year only two resorts were open for Thanksgiving, and the year before that some areas didn't get open until January), several Utah areas were up and going before the weekend.
Last Monday's storm, with a little outside help from man-made snow, let Brighton open the 1988-89 ski season early Wednesday. Powder Mountain followed up with night skiing that evening.
This promises to be a big ski year for Utah skiing. Alta will be celebrating its 50th year, the younger Park City its 25th, and the Mahre brothers, Steve and Phil, their pro ski racing careers. The two are scheduled to start their pro ski debut during Park City's 3rd annual American's Opening that starts Thanksgiving Day.
The turn in weather also allowed Utah areas to make what nature is sometimes slow in supplying - snow. Temperatures dropped enough to allow Park City to test its latest $1 million investment in snowmaking equipment, Brighton its new system, and Alta and Snowbird their portable systems.
Following is a brief look at the areas, target openings and adult day pass prices at the different areas.
Alta - The area was scheduled to open Friday. This will be Alta's 50th anniversary. Special celebrations are scheduled. Improvements made over the summer were in hill grooming and run improvements. Alta has 8 double lifts, has capacity of 8,500 skiers an hour, 39 runs and 1,750 skiable acres. An day pass is $18 and a half-day is $13.
Beaver Mountain - After the big fire last year in its generator house, owners went about connecting in with regular power lines to eliminate any re- occurrence of the problem. Beaver Mountain has 3 double lifts, capacity of 2,600 skiers an hour, 16 runs and 364 skiable acres. An adult day pass is $14, a child's pass is $10 and a half-day is $10.
Brian Head - This area, too, was scheduled to open over the weekend. Improvements include clearing and widening runs, a coin-operated ski race course and the introduction of NASTAR racing. Brian Head has 2 double and 5 triple chair lifts, capacity of 11,000 skiers an hour, 40 runs, and 350 skiable acres. An adult day pass is $22, a child's pass $17 and a half-day $14.
Blue Mountain - Plans are to open before Christmas. Future plans call for the building of a chair lift in the next couple of years. Blue Mountain, near Monticello in Southern Utah, has 1 Poma-lift, can handle 250 skiers an hour, has 4 runs and 200 skiable acres. An adult day pass is $10, a child's $7 and a half-day $7.
Brighton - This area was the first to open last Wednesday with two lifts - Majestic and Mary's. Part of the credit went to a completely new snowmaking system put in over the summer. Brighton has 4 double and 1 triple lifts, capacity of 5,800 skiers an hour, 45 runs, and 425 skiable acres. An adult day pass is $11 weekdays and $17 weekends and holiday.
Deer Valley - Here, too, work centered around grooming and caring for the slopes. Deer Valley has 7 triple and 1 double chairs, capacity of 13,800 skiers an hour, 45 runs and 725 skiable acres. A day pass is $35, a child's $21 and a half-day $25. The holiday day pass will be $39.
Elk Meadows/Mount Holly - The scheduled opening date is Nov. 23, but could open earlier with more snow. Added this summer was a new expert run. Also, the ski rentals and day-lodge were expanded. Elk Meadows/Mount Holly has 2 double and 1 triple chairs, a T-bar and 1 Poma-lift, capacity of 5,000 skiers an hour, 30 runs and 345 skiable acres. A day pass is $19, a child's pass $10 and a half-day $14.
Nordic Valley - This is one of two areas under new ownership this year. The scheduled opening was Friday. Besides painting lift towers, crews also cut two new runs and added new lights to night skiing runs. The resort will operate nights only Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. Nordic Valley has 2 double chairs, capacity of 1,800 skiers an hour, 12 runs and 85 skiable acres. A day pass is $12.50, child's $7 and a half-day $8.
Powder Mountain - This was the second area to open in Utah. It opened for night skiing on Wednesday. Besides cutting in three new runs in the Hidden Lake area, the resort put in a "half-pipe" for snowboarders near the Timberline Lift. Powder Mountain has 2 double and 1 triple chairs, 3 rope tows, capacity of 4,800 skiers an hour, 30 runs, and 1,600 skiable acres. An adult day pass is $17, a child's $12, a half-day $14.50.
Park City - New here was the $1.5 million addition to its snowmaking. The area is getting ready to hold America's Opening, this year the opening of the men's and women's pro ski circuit. It will begin on Thanksgiving Day and go through Sunday. It will feature, for their pro ski debut, the Mahre brothers. Park City has 8 double, 5 triple and a gondola, capacity of 18,700 skiers an hour, 82 runs and 2,200 skiable acres. An adult day pass is $32, a child's $14 and a half-day $21.
ParkWest - This is the second area under new ownership. Work here consisted of extensive remodeling of buildings, and introduction of new programs. ParkWest will also be involved with snowboard programs this winter. Scheduled opening is Dec. 8. ParkWest has 7 double chairs, capacity of 6,700 skiers an hour, 50 runs and 840 skiable acres. An adult day pass is $24, a child's $8 and a half-day $12.
Snowbasin - Plans to open on Wednesday. Over the summer crews removed rocks, filled in holes and removed tree stumps so the area could open with a lighter covering. In January, Snowbasin will host, as part of the Utah Winter Games, the first sanctioned downhill event in Utah. Snowbasin has 1 double and 4 triple chairs, capacity of 7,400 skiers an hour, 39 runs and 1,300 skiable acres. A day pass is $19, a child's $14 and a half-day $15.
Snowbird - Target opening day is Tuesday or Wednesday. Summer work centered around village projects, revegetation of ski slopes, replacing chair cables and trail grooming. Snowbird had 7 double chairs and 1 tram, capacity of 8,810 skiers an hour, 40 runs and 1,900 skiable acres. An all-area chair lift pass is $25, a tram pass $32, a child's chair $13 and tram $16, and a half-day $19 for chairs and $25 for tram.
Solitude - This is the only area to add a chair lift. The lift connects the lower and upper areas, will also serve a beginner's ski area and a teaching area. Plans were to open over the weekend. Solitude has 4 double and 2 triple chairs, capacity of 7,000 skiers an hour, 45 runs and 1,000 skiable acres. A day pass is $13 weekdays and $17 weekends, a child's $13, and a half-day $10 weekdays and $13 weekends.
Sundance - Target opening day is Dec. 15th. Over the summer restrooms were added to the summit restaurant, and cats smoothed, groomed and widened runs. Sundance has 2 double and 2 triple chairs, capacity of 5,250 skiers an hour, 34 runs and 400 skiable acres. An adult day pass is $22, a child's $13 and a half-day $16.