Are you skiing in Utah this winter? I am, to take advantage of its famous “Greatest Snow on Earth”” and explore all the new lifts, hotels and restaurants at resorts around the state.
Here’s what’s new at Utah ski and snowboard resorts for the 2019/2020 season, in alphabetical order, since that’s the only fair way.
But let’s start with Woodward, a completely new ski and snowboard resort in Park City.
It’s just 27 miles from Salt Lake City International Airport, which means you can be on the chairlift or tubing in less than one hour after getting your baggage.
Woodward Park City
Woodward Park City, the nation’s first all-in-one action sports and ski resort, with a fully integrated and state of the art campus, complete with indoor and outdoor action sports venues for year-round adventure, beginning this season.
Woodward Park City has been designed from the ground up – literally – to encourage you to enjoy and improve in the ten different different sports and activities offered.
That includes lift-accessed snowboarding, skiing, and tubing in the winter and biking and skating in the summer.
The new resort is offering a combination of all-access tickets, day sessions, lift tickets, drop-in sessions, day camps, lessons, monthly memberships, and special events, so this will appeal to both residents and visitors. Monthly Memberships start at $100 a month and include unlimited access to our indoor and outdoor facilities.
Woodward Park City also has sustainability program called Play Forever, which includes a rooftop solar array, living roof, and electric car charging stations.
What’s New at Utah Ski & Snowboard Resorts
Alta Ski Area
Alta is expanding its ski shop to the family-friendly Albion Base Area, and again setting aside up to 25% of the main Wildcat Base Area parking lot for carpoolers with 3+ per vehicle, to encourage ride-sharing and cut pollution and traffic on the narrow, winding and often treacherous Little Cottonwood Canyon road.
The Alf Engen Ski School also is partnering with the new Snowpine Lodge – which opened last season – and the iconic Alta Peruvian Lodge, offering new performance ski camps.
Also new this season, Alta Lodge is adding a new women’s specific program to their Ski Adventures line up.
The Women’s Skills Camp is an early season offering for intermediate and advanced skiers looking for a fun and dynamic group setting to develop and hone their technical skills and build a foundation to enjoy varied terrain and snow conditions for the entire season.
Participants will enjoy outstanding camaraderie with fellow female skiers along with four-nights lodging and meals at the iconic Alta Lodge, three days of coaching from Alta’s Alf Engen Ski School, demo skis, and lift tickets (offered December 12–16, 2019).
Alta Ski Area, along with the Alta Environmental Center, joins the R.I.D.E. app for this upcoming winter. The ride-sharing app allows skiers a carbon-reducing travel option into Little Cottonwood Canyon by finding and pairing those who are looking to carpool to Alta or Snowbird.
Alta also has added a second electric vehicle charger in the Wildcat parking lot
Alta lodging news:
The Snowpine Lodge is fully open for its first full winter season, following its re-opening in the middle of last season after a $50-million overhaul. The new Snowpine is at the site of the original 1941 Snowpine Lodge and the oldest building in Little Cottonwood Canyon, with 54 rooms and suites and 19 traditional dorm-style bunk rooms. It’s ski-in-out, with its own Snowpine ski lift between the base area and the hotel.
Brian Head Resort
There’s nearly $6 Million in improvements for the new season, including a new high-speed lift, new grooming equipment, snowmaking improvements, and updrades to the ski shop and the rentals it offers.
The new high-speed detachable quad chair lift, Navajo Express, replaces the existing fixed-grip triple chair lift that has served Navajo Mountain for more than 30 years. That means both base areas (Navajo and Giant Steps) are now served by high-speed chairlifts, reducing lift lines to the top of both mountains.
Also, an additional on-mountain surface conveyor has been added at the top of Navajo Mountain to improve lift-to-lift access.
The popular Navajo Snow Tubing Park has been relocated and expanded with more lanes and longer runs, and a new “Sun Kid” magic carpet replaces the cable tow to transport tubers to the top of the hill more efficiently.
Taking advantage of already existing RFID technology, the resort has completely overhauled online ticket sales, to simplify and improve the process. There’s also a new Brighton Resort app.
Brighton also has added additional snowmaking on the Canyon run near the Milly Base area, enabling access to the Milly lift sooner than before.
Deer Valley Resort
Deer Valley invested nearly $8 Million in improvements for the 2019–20 season, including new RFID technology, digital signage, snowmaking and grooming, and upgrades the transportation fleet.
RFID technology with new gantry gates and scanning for electronic ticketing, with built-in chip technology, is designed to speed up and improve the lift loading experience. The new digital signs at the resort’s base lodges will offer real-time information on ticketing availability and pricing, lift operations, grooming conditions, and other mountain and lodge related information.
Enhancements to the snowmaking systems include the purchase of additional low-energy guns, and the purchase of four new Prinoth snowcats will also enhance and expand grooming. After all, Deer Valley is famous for its grooming.
Also, Deer Valley is upgrading its transportation fleet with more energy-efficient vehicles.
Deer Valley lodging news:
Montage Deer Valley celebrates its 10th anniversary this season, with special guest programs and promotions.
The Chateaux Deer Valley is celebrating its 20th season this winter with special events and promotions
Goldener Hirsch, the European lodge, located mid-mountain in Deer Valley’s Silver Lake Village, has broken ground on a residential expansion known as The Goldener Hirsch Residences with 40 new, contemporary residences joined to the original lodge by a sky bridge. The Residences are set to open early 2020.
Park City Mountain
Park City Mountain is installing a new fixed-grip quad chairlift, named “Over and Out,” to transport skiers and snowboarders from near the bottom of the Tombstone Express Lift to near the top of Sunrise Lift, on the busy front side of the mountain. As the name suggests, this lift will provide a faster and more direct route to access Canyons Village from the center of the resort.
Tombstone BBQ has long been a long-time favorite dining spot on the mountain, serving house-smoked meats, homemade sauces and ice cold beer. New for this season is a permanent restaurant on the site of the old food truck and BBQ shed. There’s heated indoor seating for up to 50 guests, ample indoor restrooms, a draft beer bar, a wood-fired BBQ pit and a full kitchen serving up all the Tombstone classics, along with outdoor picnic tables with knock-out views of the surrounding mountains
Vail Resorts has a well-known commitment to zero waste, so this year disposable plates and cups will also be replaced with environmentally-friendly reusable service ware.
Park City has one of North America’s most ambitious climate goals: to be net-zero carbon and run on 100% renewable electricity for city operations by 2022, and for the whole community by 2032. These goals passed unanimously by City Council along with strong community support.
In 2017, Vail Resorts made a pledge to achieve a zero net operating footprint by 2030 by reaching zero net emissions, zero waste to landfill, and zero net operating impact on forests and habitat. Park City Mountain has focused on this Commitment to Zero locally with the implementation of many resort initiatives including a new waste diversion program.
All food waste and other organic material is now collected and sent to the new anaerobic digester in Salt Lake City, to be converted to renewable natural gas and bio-based fertilizer.
Park City lodging news:
Black Rock Mountain Resort is a brand-new destination with more than 250 condo style rooms. The resort includes restaurants, a bar, a gym, and three ice rinks for hockey and leisure ice skating. Black Rock Mountain is located about 10 minutes from the Deer Valley gondola entrance and 15 minutes from Park City’s Main Street.
Waldorf Astoria Park City has gotten a facelift, with new furnishings, carpet, an entirely updated room concept, and an enhanced sustainability program to decrease its carbon footprint. Hilton, Waldorf Astoria’s parent company, has a program called “Travel with a Purpose” that carries a hefty goal — by 2030, Hilton is committed to double its investment in social impact and cut their environment footprint in half through responsible hospitality across its brands.
Snowbasin Resort has made major upgrades to Earl’s Lodge, significant improvements on the intermediate experience off the John Paul lift, and improved accessibility at the base of the Wildcat lift.
The changes in Earl’s Lodge are designed to simplify and speed up guest flow and service with additional grab-and-go options and new food and beverage stations. Snowbasin favorite menu items, such as the cheese fries, will remain on the menu.
On the snow, the resort has added snowmaking to the area that was improved and widened last summer around Mt. Ogden Bowl road in order to accelerate early season opening of the John Paul lift and is also removing the medical clinic building from the Powder Puff area by the base of Wildcat lift. This will provide easier access to the Wildcat chair for all guests and expand the beginner terrain in the base area.
A new medical clinic is being built as part of Snowbasin’s the long-standing partnership with Intermountain Health Care.
NASTAR returns to the resort this season. It’s the largest public grassroots ski racing program in the world, where anybody can do gates like the pros. Okay, maybe not like the pros. NASTAR brings greater awareness to the sport motivating participants of all ages to get involved in ski racing. The NASTAR course will be on Showboat, operating Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, starting December 13, weather dependent. NASTAR season passes are on sale now and prices start at $99. Single-day options are available day of.
There’s still no base area lodging, but a Snowbasin official tells me that’s in the works, perhaps as soon as next season.
Ogden Valley lodging news:
Compass Rose Lodge opened in January 2019 and is Ogden Valley’s newest hotel. This 15-room boutique is one of two hotels in the country built around a high-tech telescope where guests can explore Ogden Valley’s International Dark-Sky Park in great detail. Views of the rings of Saturn or Jupiter’s Galilean Moons and spectacular deep-sky objects including galaxies, nebulae and globular clusters await those seeking to peer farther into space.
Weber County North Fork Park is another Dark Sky Park, nearby. It was designated as an International Dark Sky Park in 2015 and is the world’s first designated bronze-tier IDA park. With the mountains of the Wasatch Range helping to screen out the light pollution, the park is an amazing place to visit the night sky while enjoying easy access to urban amenities. The park is situated on 1,000 hectares (2,470 acres) of mountain valley land.
Snowbird’s newest dining experience, SeventyOne at the Cliff Lodge, is a throwback to the mountain’s early roots. The new restaurant features American grill favorites, an open kitchen, and a retro vibe.
Solitude Mountain Resort
Solitude Mountain Resort hs opened a walk-up waffle window at the Moonbeam Center, with fresh-made Belgian-style waffles with a variety of toppings, plus other take-away snacks and beverages.
There’s also a new Prinoth Leitwolf snowcat for improved grooming, and the resort had a major brush clearing initiative during summer 2019, for a smoother downhill experience in the winter.
Salt Lake City Airport news:
The first phase of the all-new the Salt Lake City International Airport is due to open in 2020, with state-of-the-art functionality and for ease of use.
After the first phase of The New SLC opens, the current airport will be demolished and replaced by the second phase of construction. The full project is expected to be finished in 2023/24. T
For updates go to www.slcairport.com/thenewslc.
Utah Transit Authority will continue working with local resorts to provide the ski bus service feeding Alta Ski Area, Brighton Resort, Snowbird, Solitude Mountain Resort, Powder Mountain and Snowbasin Resort.
The most up to date route information will be available at rideuta.com.
Simply, there’s a mind-boggling array of passes available. Take a deep breath, figure out when and where and how often you want to ski, and buy the pass to match:
Ski Utah Gold Pass ($5,300): The Gold Pass is Utah’s only fully transferable multi-resort lift pass. It provides unlimited days of skiing/riding at all 15 Utah resorts. The pass is also valid for summer lift access, including mountain bike hauling, to resorts open during the summer months.
- Visit https://www.skiutah.com/goldpass to learn more.
Ski Utah Passport ($45): This pass offers fifth graders three days of skiing and sixth graders one day of skiing at each of Utah’s resorts. Passport sign up and on-mountain redemption are now digital!
- Visit skiutah.com/passes/passport to learn more.
Ski Utah Yeti Pass ($649): The Yeti Pass is good for one lift ticket at every Utah resort and is a great option for parents with children who participate in the Ski Utah Passport program. Registration sign up and on-mountain redemption are now digital!
- Visit https://www.skiutah.com/passes/yeti-pass to learn more.
Ski City Super Pass (Starting at $300): The Ski City Super Pass allows unrestricted access to Alta Ski Area, Snowbird, Brighton Resort and/or Solitude Mountain Resort and can be purchased for a range of three to 10 days of skiing. The UTA ski bus is free to and from the resort with the purchase of this pass.
- Price varies depending on the number of days purchased.
Epic Pass (Starting at $109): New for the 2019–20 season, Vail Resorts launched the Epic Day Pass allowing guests to ski world-class resorts for up to 50 percent off of lift ticket window prices. For guests looking to ski more days in a season, the Epic Pass and Epic Local Pass continue to offer the best value and variety for unlimited skiing and riding. The Epic Pass provides unlimited, unrestricted access to all of Vail Resorts’ owned and operated resorts, including Park City Mountain, and additional access to partner resorts around the world including Snowbasin, Sun Valley, Telluride, Verbier, Courchevel and more.
Ikon Pass ($749): The Ikon Pass offers access to 41 resorts around the world, including Utah’s Deer Valley Resort, Solitude Mountain Resort, Brighton Resort, Alta Ski Area, and Snowbird with no blackout dates. The Ikon Base Pass is a lower priced option with fewer days at partner destinations and is subject to restrictions.
Mountain Collective ($489): The Mountain Collective offers two days of skiing or riding at 18 iconic destinations, including Alta Ski Area and Snowbird in Utah. There are no blackout dates and passholders receive 50 percent off all additional days at Collective destinations.
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