Utah ski resorts made plenty of ‘great upgrades’ in the offseason. Here’s what’s new

People ride the lift at Brighton Resort in Big Cottonwood Canyon on Nov. 14. Utah’s ski resorts made plenty of upgrades over the offseason. (Ben B. Braun, Deseret News)

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SALT LAKE CITY — Utah’s ski season is off to a blazing start, as more than half of the state’s 15 resorts are already open — and the rest should be open in the coming weeks.

“We have plenty of snow,” Nathan Rafferty, president and CEO at Ski Utah, said during the organization’s annual season-opening press conference Monday.

The new season brings “a lot of great upgrades,” Rafferty added. Many resorts spent the offseason improving snowmaking operations or increasing terrain options for skiers and snowboarders.

There have also been improvements to mitigate avalanches. For instance, Solitude Mountain Resort added a new Wyssen Avalanche Tower, which allows for remote detonation to make the slopes safer.

“I think you’re going to see our state and our industry moving away from traditional avalanche mitigation with big howitzer … war-era artillery guns and moving toward this slick Swiss remote technology,” Rafferty said.

But that’s just the beginning. With the new season close to full swing, below are some changes Utah skiers and snowboarders can expect this year.

Alta Ski Area

Beaver Mountain Ski Area

  • Status: Opening Date TBA
  • What’s new: No updates provided.

Brian Head Resort

  • Status: Open
  • What’s new: The resort introduced a new four-day Power Pass this year, which offers four days of skiing, not just at Brian Head but Snowbowl (Arizona), Purgatory (Colorado) and Spider Mountain (Texas) resorts. Ski Utah reports that the resort also cleared out some brush and trees in parts of the resort to improve ski run experiences.

Brighton Resort

  • Status: Open
  • What’s new: The resort added more lights to make its Ziggy and Pine Martin runs available for night skiing. The resort now offers 24 different night runs, which are expected to be available in mid-December.

Cherry Peak Resort

  • Status: Opening Date TBA
  • What’s new: No updates provided.

Deer Valley Resort

  • Status: Opens Nov. 29
  • What’s new: The resort added a new lift to offer beginner skiers new terrain after graduating from its Wide West learning area, as a part of a $6 million investment toward expanding beginner options, resort officials said. The lift also improves access to Little Baldy Mountain. Ski Utah notes that the resort also updated its ski rental fleet and added a new steak and seafood restaurant at the Snow Park Lodge, called Cast and Cut.

Eagle Point Resort

  • Status: Opens Dec. 16
  • What’s new: The resort is opening 10 new studio cabins to expand lodging services for the upcoming season, according to Ski Utah.

Nordic Valley Ski Resort

  • Status: Opens Dec. 9
  • What’s new: The resort added five new black-diamond trails in the offseason, increasing its total to 19. Ski Utah reports that the resort also added a new yurt lounge at the top of the Nordic Valley Express lift, by the new trails, in addition to parking expansions.

Park City Mountain

  • Status: Open
  • What’s new: The resort announced some parking changes for this year, moving to a parking reservation system that contains “elements of paid parking, free parking and carpool and transit incentives.” The fees are as high as $25 and $40, based on lot locations, dates and other conditions. It also launched a new “lift line forecast” app that allows customers to track busy times at the resort, delays and even conditions. The resort also added new dining options, as well as a new ski beach from the Red Pine Gondola to the Orange Bubble Express at Canyons Village.

Powder Mountain

  • Status: Opens Dec. 8, but may open sooner, depending on forecasts.
  • What’s new: The resort is launching a new guided snowmobile tour that offers customers unique views of the Wasatch Mountains, the Ogden Valley and the Great Salt Lake along with a history lesson of the White Pine area in one- to two-hour sessions. The tour starts at $130 per snowmobile, and $30 per additional guest. The resort also has new dining experiences at Bower Lodge, including live music from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. every Wednesday through Sunday.

Snowbasin Resort

Snowbird Resort

Solitude Mountain Resort

  • Status: Open
  • What’s new: The resort is opening two new terrain parks this season, which offer small and medium features like boxes, rails and jumps for various skill levels. Other changes include a new food truck and improvements at the resort’s yurt.

Sundance Mountain Resort

  • Status: Opens Dec. 9
  • What’s new: The resort added a new lift, allowing for 10 new runs and 40 acres of new skiable terrain.

Woodward Park City

  • Status: Open
  • What’s new: The resort “reimagined” its layout to increase features by 20%, according to Ski Utah. This includes more small and medium features for extreme sports enthusiasts.

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Carter Williams is an award-winning reporter who covers general news, outdoors, history and sports for KSL.com. He previously worked for the Deseret News. He is a Utah transplant by the way of Rochester, New York.

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