The seasonal gears have shifted, and Utah's 14 winter resorts are in full-on summer mode with everything from disc golf to mountain biking to riding atop a tramway car in the offing.
Resorts' emphasis on summertime activities continues to grow in the Beehive State, as locals and visitors more and more look to the mountains for exercise and enjoyment. Most mountains keep restaurants open during the offseason. In addition, concerts, workshops, themed festivals and competitions can be found on all around the mountains. And wildflower viewing is always worth the ride into the hills.
A few resorts are open seven days a week, but most open up only for several days around the weekend during the warm offseason. Four Utah resorts won't run chairlifts this summer; instead, Brighton, Cherry Peak and Beaver Mountain highlight hiking and biking trails as mountain getaways, and Alta again focuses on environmental projects.
Snowbird caught the headlines with its rooftop tram ride this summer. One of the two cars on Utah's only tramway will have limited space on top, and floor-to-ceiling windows inside. The base area will be busy, with slides and coaster and all manner of climbing challenges.
Powder Mountain opens a new downhill MTB park served by the Hidden Express chair. To limit crowds, day tickets will cap at 250, and only 500 summer season passes will be sold.
Park City Mountain debuts a new golf course at Canyons Village. Many of the fairways run on winter ski trails, and the course elevation rises and falls throughout. Three lifts bring MTBers to mountain tracks.
A new beginner MTB track is in the works at Solitude, which now is open Thursday-Sunday. Also debuting are climbing wall, bungee trampoline and mini-disc golf.
On the southern terminus of the Wasatch, Sundance brings beginner-flow and intermediate level MTB tracks online. And, of course, the resort's renowned high and long ziplines are due to attract the adventurous crowd.
At Snowbasin, there are 26 miles of hiking and biking trails off the Needles Gondola -- dogs always welcome. And, the northern Utah resort welcomes the return of the live Brews, Blues & Barbecue summer music series.
And, classical music aficionados will once again get to listen to the Utah Symphony's concert series under the evening skies at Deer Valley.
In southern Utah, the focus is on the hardiest athletes, with Eagle Point's Crusher in the Tushars and Tushar Mountain Runs in July, and Brian Head's Women's Epic Race and Brian Shredder downhill MTB race in June.
Dawn patrol could come a little later if permanent daylight savings time is enacted. Credit: pixabay.com
With the recent passing of HB-1297, Colorado has joined the list of states waiting to make daylight savings time (DST) year-round.
- Related: Daylight Savings Could Be Permanent in Utah by 2023—What Does that Mean for the Ski Industry?
Two things would need to happen before permanent daylight savings time would be enacted.
- The federal government would have to pass the Sunshine Protection Act of 2021, which would allow states to make the change.
- Four other states in the Mountain Time Zone would also need to make daylight savings time permanent.
Brent Thomas | | Snow Brains
Summer has arrived in Colorado's high country, and a quartet of high-altitude resorts in Summit County are cranking up for a bustling summer at four of the Rocky Mountain's busiest mountains.
Typically opening mid-June, standard warm-weather attractions include scenic chairlift or gondola rides, coasters and slides, hiking and mountain biking, disc golf, climbing walls, and music, food and drink. Expect that some labor-intensive activities like ziplining may have hours curtailed or, in the case of Breckenridge and Vail, be shut down.
At Arapahoe Basin, Summit County's only via ferreta has half- and full-day guided tours on the "iron way" -- a series of iron rungs fixed in the rock face -- that begin at 12,000 feet of elevation, and top out at the 13,000-foot summit on West Ridge. Near the base, the Aerial Adventure Park runs ziplines, swings, and balancing acts through old-growth forest.
Down the road at Keystone, tubing lives on into the summer, as crews pile up leftover snow atop Dercum Mountain (11,640). Lanes typically stay open into July, 10 a.m to 2 p.m. You must buy a ride up the gondola to the summit, and pre-pay by the run for tubing. Plenty of other activities at mountain-top Adventure Point.
On the other side of Dillon Reservoir, the force of gravity prevails at Breckenridge in the summertime. The Gold Runner Alpine Coaster pitches down 2,500 feet on elevated tracks, with two 360-degree loops and a top speed of 27 mph. The resort also has three alpine slides that run 2,600 feet down concave tracks -- with manual braking.
And to the west, Copper Mountain's summer starts in the base area. Check out bumper boats on West Lake, and a challenging go-kart track. The Woodward Wrecktangle presents a dozen obstacles to overcome in the Woodward Copper extreme sport complex. All-day summer pass includes Wrecktangle, unlimited rides up the chairlift, and limited shots at other activities.
The cheapest activities at any of the resorts are hiking and mountain biking. Check Forest Service regulations for e-bikes. Most have designated trails.
THE STATE OF THE SKI INDUSTRY:
NSAA Reports Record Visitation in the 2021-22 Season
LAKEWOOD, Colo. – The National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) reported record visitation at U.S. ski areas for the 2021-22 season, a total of 61 million skier visits.
Michigan's Kent County is considering purchasing the 272-acre Cannonsburg Ski Area, located just north of Grand Rapids, for a county outdoor recreation area, according to a recent report by MLIVE News.
The Indy Pass announced today that its primary pass will be rebranded as the Indy Base Pass, and will provide two days at each resort subject to a reduced number of blackout days at 27 resorts. The Indy+ Pass will remain unrestricted at all resorts.
Eighty of 81 resorts from last season return to join three new unrestricted downhill resorts: Ski Bluewood-WA, Kelly Canyon-ID, Ski Sawmill-PA, and two cross country resorts: Rikert Nordic Center-VT and Enchanted Forest XC-NM. Ski Marmot Basin, AB is not renewing.
"We are thrilled to welcome five new resorts from some of our strongest regions, said founder Doug Fish. By adding density in the Pacific Northwest, Pennsylvania, and Vermont, Indy pass holders have even more uncrowded and affordable skiing and riding options. We're also thrilled to welcome our first resort in New Mexico."
Kelly Canyon Resort - Ririe, ID
Located in the Targhee National Forest, Kelly Canyon features 1200 vertical feet and four chair lifts to go with 200 inches of fluffy Rocky Mountain powder. The resort is family-focused and adds incredible value for locals and travelers who can sample five other Indy resorts within a three-hour drive.
Ski Bluewood - Dayton, WA
Explore nearly 400 acres and 1100 vertical feet of lift-served terrain at the second-highest base elevation in Washington. Enjoy 24 trails, three terrain parks, best-in-class tree skiing, and snow-cat-accessible powder runs. You'll also find multiple dining options including a grill, coffee bar, pub, and a yurt at the summit.
Ski Sawmill - Morris, PA
Ski Sawmill is a family-run resort in north-central PA with five lifts, tubing, a terrain park, and night skiing, plus onsite lodging with jacuzzi rooms. The area features 550 acres and nearly 100% snowmaking across its 13 trails. Ski Sawmill is less than three hours from five other Indy resorts in Pennsylvania and Western New York.
Rikert Nordic Center - Ripton, VT
Explore more than 55 km of terrain perfect for skate and classic skiing, snowshoeing, and fat-biking at Rikert Nordic Center. Located in the heart of the Green Mountains, just 20 minutes from Middlebury, Rikert has picturesque trails featuring forest, farm fields, stone walls, and even Robert Frost’s summer cabin. Enjoy trails that have trained national champions and generations of family skiers.
Enchanted Forest XC - Red River, NM
Enchanted Forest is New Mexico’s premier destination for cross-country skiing. With 33 km of trails, 15 km of snowshoe trails, and 5 km of “dog-friendly” trails, this charming area also has great access to miles of backcountry terrain. Enchanted Forest has a rich history of bringing skiing to New Mexico dating back to 1970 and continues to offer great conditions and varied trails for all cross country skiers.
Fewer Blackouts Simplified into Four Periods
Total blackout days on the Indy Base Pass have actually been reduced by 7% compared to last season. All blackouts have also been consolidated into four intuitive periods.
- December 24 - January 2 (21 Resorts)
- January 14-16 and February 18-20 (23 Resorts)
- Saturdays: December 24 - March 11 (11 Resorts)
- Sundays: December 25 - March 12 (5 Resorts)
For a complete list of resorts and their corresponding blackout days please visit:
"We decided to rebrand the Indy Base Pass to help distinguish it from our unrestricted, premium Indy+ Pass, said founder, Doug Fish. All of our regions enjoy 100+ days per season and with our growing list of 92 resorts, Indy Base Pass holders have numerous opportunities to enjoy uncrowded slopes using the lowest-priced pass on the planet."
21/22 vs. 22/23 Blackout Comparisons
Dropped All Blackouts (16 days each)
- Saddleback Mountain, Blacktail Mountain, Sundown Mountain
- Added Blackouts (# of blackout days added)
- Berkshire East (6), Catamount (6), Eaglecrest Ski Area (10), Pats Peak (16) Suicide Six (6)
Still NO Blackouts
- Jay Peak, Bolton Valley, Tamarack Resort, Spirit Mountain, plus 59 more.
ALERT: Next Indy price increase could hit $50
In order to maintain our uncrowded slopes and lodges and provide a minimum per-visit payout for our partner resorts, Indy Pass prices will increase by $20 to $50 depending on the volume of total early-bird sales through May 17th. New pricing will be announced on May 18th.
Indy Pass 22-23 Early Bird Prices END May 17th
- Indy Base Pass - Adult $279, Kids (12-and-under) $119
- Indy+ Pass - Adult $379, Kids $169 (no blackouts)
- Indy Base AddOn Pass - Adult $189, Kids $89 (partner resort season passholders)
- Indy+ AddOn Pass - Adult $289, Kids $139
- Indy Base Switch Pass - Adult $259, Kids $109 (Mega Passholders only)
- Indy+ Switch Pass - Adult+ $359, Kids+ $159
- Indy Cross Country (XC) Pass - Adult $69, Kids $29 (no blackouts)
- Interest-Free, No-Credit Payment Plan
Indy Pass offers an innovative, interest-free payment plan that allows purchasers to make equal monthly payments through December 15th. If purchased by May 1, payments are less than $31/month for an adult pass and $88/month for a family of four with two kids under 13. No credit check or credit app is needed and no lenders/banks are involved.
DOWNHILL RESORTS - 83
PACIFIC REGION - 14
- ALASKA -- Eaglecrest Ski Area
- BRITISH COLUMBIA -- Apex Mountain Resort, Manning Park, Sasquatch Mountain
- CALIFORNIA -- China Peak, Mt. Shasta Ski Park, Snow Valley
- OREGON – Hoodoo, Mt. Ashland
- WASHINGTON -- 49 Degrees North, Ski Bluewood, Hurricane Ridge, Mission Ridge, White Pass
ROCKY MOUNTAIN REGION - 18
- ALBERTA -- Castle Mountain Resort
- ARIZONA -- Sunrise Park Ski Area
- COLORADO -- Sunlight Mountain Resort
- IDAHO -- Brundage Mountain, Kelly Canyon, Silver Mountain, Tamarack Resort, Pomerelle, Soldier Mountain
- MONTANA -- Blacktail Mountain, Lost Trail Powder Mountain, Red Lodge Mountain
- UTAH -- Beaver Mountain, Eagle Point, Powder Mountain
- WYOMING -- Snow King Mountain, White Pine Ski Area, Antelope Butte
MIDWEST REGION - 20
- IOWA -- Seven Oaks, Sundown Mountain
- MICHIGAN -- Big Powderhorn Resort, Caberfae Peaks, Crystal Mountain, Pine Mountain Resort, Shanty Creek, Swiss Valley Ski Area
- MINNESOTA -- Lutsen Mountains, Spirit Mountain, Powder Ridge Winter Recreation, Detroit Mountain, Buck Hill
- SOUTH DAKOTA -- Terry Peak Ski Area
- WISCONSIN -- Granite Peak, Little Switzerland, Nordic Mountain, Trollhaugen, Tyrol Basin, The Rock Snowpark
EASTERN REGION - 17
- CONNECTICUT -- Mohawk Mountain Ski Area
- MASSACHUSETTS -- Berkshire East Mountain Resort, Catamount Mountain Resort*
- MAINE -- Saddleback Mountain
- NEW HAMPSHIRE -- Cannon Mountain, Pats Peak, Black Mountain, Waterville Valley
- NEW YORK -- Catamount Mountain Resort*, Greek Peak Mountain Resort, Swain Resort, Snow Ridge Ski Resort, Titus Mountain, West Mountain
- VERMONT -- Bolton Valley Resort, Magic Mountain, Suicide Six, Jay Peak Resort
*Catamount straddles NY/MA border
MID-ATLANTIC REGION - 10
- NORTH CAROLINA -- Cataloochee Ski Area
- PENNSYLVANIA -- Blue Knob Resort, Montage Mountain, Ski Sawmill, Shawnee Mountain
- TENNESSEE -- Ober Gatlinburg Ski Area
- VIRGINIA -- Bryce Resort, Massanutten Resort
- WEST VIRGINIA -- Canaan Valley Ski Resort, Winterplace Ski Resort
JAPAN TOHOKU REGION - 4
- Okunakayama Kogen - Ninohe District, Iwate
- Geto Kogen - Kitakami, Iwate
- Shimokura/Pandora - Hachimantai, Iwate
- Tazawako - Semboku, Akita
CROSS COUNTRY RESORTS - 9
- BRITISH COLUMBIA - Sovereign Lakes Nordic Club
- MINNESOTA -- Mapelap Resort
- NEW HAMPSHIRE (2) -- Waterville Valley Resort, JacksonXC
- NEW JERSEY -- High Point Cross Country Ski Center
- NEW MEXICO -- Enchanted Forest XC
- VERMONT -- Woodstock Nordic Center, Rikert Nordic Center
- WEST VIRGINIA -- White Grass Touring Center
How would you like to ski, and ride over 20 of the Midwest's top ski areas this winter, every day of the season for just $525?
In the shadow of battling behemoths, smaller, independent ski areas are thriving. Arapahoe Basin, Echo Mountain, Loveland, Monarch, Powderhorn, Ski Granby, Silverton Mountain and Wolf Creek all report record visits, and revenues in the last two seasons.
It was a contentious winter in the effort to return lift-served skiing to a southern Colorado mountain. But proponents are moving forward with their plans to put passengers on a chairlift at the base of what was decades ago Panadero Ski Area, now publicly owned Cuchara Mountain Park.
The usual suspects will extend the 2021-2022 ski and snowboard season through May and beyond, as a flurry of late-season storms has reinforced the snowpack throughout the West.
It's going to be a busy construction season this summer at the Wasatch Range ski and snowboard resorts, as five new-replacement chairlifts go in, and the only tramway in Utah gets new cabins.
Montana's Red Lodge Mountain, popular with snowsports enthusiasts on the western side of the Heartland, has announced they are beginning an improvement plan to upgrade the ski area's lift service to the lower mountain and improve the learning area terrain.
Summer visitors to Colorado ski and snowboard mountains will see plenty of construction going on, as seven resorts across the state string new lifts for the upcoming season.
The 2021-22 ski season is winding down. In our final SnoCast of the season, we’re checking out the season sum-up, and where the snow is still falling for the remaining ski areas still turning chairs.
The Indy Pass is adding cross country skiing to its resort lineup for the 2022-23 ski, snowboard, and cross country ski season.
It's that time of year when the 2022/23 season passes are going on sale, and at the lowest price point before they start going up in a month or two. If you are a season pass holder now is the time to think about renewing, and if not maybe you want to consider your best option for next winter.
Three ski resorts—Lutsen Mountains, Ski Brule and Boyne Mountain—plan on being open over Easter Weekend and weekends through the month. Mount Bohemia, which SnoCountry just posted last week, is also staying open weekends through April.
Early April is always a toss up for weather and the number of open ski areas slowly continues to dwindle. But, that doesn’t mean we’re done! Here’s what to expect in the forecast for those of you still hitting the slopes this week.
Season passes for 2022-2023 are beginning to come onto the early-season market for California's 38 independently owned ski and snowboard mountains.