Utah 2020-2021 Utah Resorts, Weather, Conditions and Stoke

justaute

Graceful Bowling Ball
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I get it, but drivers everywhere in the U.S. are a problem. Drivers in this country are under-trained (it's far too easy to get an license in the States and laws are poorly and/or haphazardly enforced). Many often drive beyond their abilities and drive distracted, and the over-sized SUVs with poor sight lines don't help the situation (seriously: a hood/grill that's almost 5 feet above ground level isn't safe for anybody).

And yes, Shawn Bradley's injury is totally inexcusable. The driver who crashed into him had zero excuses. At least he's still alive. Road violence kills and injures too many people in the U.S. Drivers often get off easy, such is the car-centric culture we have right now.

But I grew up riding bicycles with Utah drivers on the roads. I ride on roads in the greater DC area (spoiler: our drivers are far, far, far worse than anything Utah produces) every day. Sure, it's not ideal but I'm also not going to let fear dictate whether I do an activity I enjoy.

When I was in SLC from September to December of 2020, I brought my road bike and was on it a lot. I rode all over the Salt Lake valley, in southern David County, and in the various canyons out of SLC. Plenty of fellow riders out there as well. Drivers in the greater SLC area were like all drivers in the U.S. Most were more predictable than those in the greater DC area. Also: the roads in Utah are wider than most here in the east (newer roads built to a more forgiving standard), so there was always enough space for folks to coexist.

Anywho... let's just say that riding a bicycle on the road is statistically very safe. Is it perfect? No, but mountain biking has its own risks, as does skiing. We all choose which risks to take in life. As I often say: your mileage may vary.



Huh. Where have you been on these rides? There are plenty of non-boring road rides in northern Utah. Some of the best roads to ride in the U.S. happen to be out there. And if you add gravel roads to the mix, there's a full-on buffet of great rides in Utah. And no, you don't need a gravel bike to ride them (tho it's easier on the hands and wrists to ride on wider, more pliable tires).

I get the attraction of the trails in northern Utah, though. They're still my favorites to ride MTB. But after my total hip replacement my MTB days are mostly done. In terms of acceptable risk, I'd rather not go through a revision and riding in fear is an easy path to injury.

OK - back to skiing stoke. Hope the snow lasts at The Bird for a bit longer, as I may have a chance to get a day up there when I'm out in early May.
I prefer riding in Pittsburgh, especially gravel riding there. The trails are for cyclists and pedestrian only and go on for hundreds of miles. Not having to fight with utv/atv/trucks is nice. Even the little road riding I did was enjoyable...of course I did it in the outskirts of the city. Although the city has narrow streets, it does promote cycling and mark bike lanes.

Having lived in Pittsburgh, DFW, socal, Boise, and Utah, I find Utah has, relatively speaking, the worst and most inconsiderate drivers. Of course, many cyclists are also inconsiderate. If one is inconsiderate, then one is likely to make an inconsiderate driver and an inconsiderate cyclist, and an inconsiderate skier, I suppose. YMMV

If I do road cycling in utah, and I do so infrequently, I try to do it early Sunday mornings and/or on paved trails in Ogden. This one goes by Enve and about a 25 mile round-trip -- a bit short, but a pretty decent ride.
 
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AmyPJ

No longer on the single track.
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@Rudi Riet, I ride in Morgan County, arguably one of the better places for road riding. Riding it on a MTB makes it just a slog. And in spring, the wind blows both ways! :roflmao:
 

Jim Kenney

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Skied Alta today with @P-Ute and @Daniel . It was a highly variable day, quite cool in the AM with periodic snow showers. Groomers were very firm at first, but softened later. Things finally got back to spring-like around 1pm and the afternoon was very beautiful with fun conditions off the Collins lift.
Unusual BCC/LCC character on snow blades wearing a coolie's hat. He whipped out his umbrella for the snow showers:
23 apr alta character.jpg
Paul led us to some great, soft snow on the Collins Face in the afternoon.
23 apr paul collins face.jpg
Daniel scoping out The Ballroom.
23 apr daniel ballroom.jpg
 

dovski

Waxing my skis and praying for snow
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So I realize this may be a silly question, but why is it that Snowbird can stay open until the end of May but Alta closes at the end of April?
I am skiing Snowbird May 13-16, and would love to hit Alta while I am there, alas it looks like that is not going to be an option.
 

Jim Kenney

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So I realize this may be a silly question, but why is it that Snowbird can stay open until the end of May but Alta closes at the end of April?
I am skiing Snowbird May 13-16, and would love to hit Alta while I am there, alas it looks like that is not going to be an option.
Snowbird is on private land. The others are on forest service land and must close due to regulations. I told you a couple weeks ago that it had not been particularly snowy and was a warm spring in Utah. Well, that changed. It's been cold and snowy in Utah ever since. More snow coming next Mon-Wed.
 

dovski

Waxing my skis and praying for snow
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Snowbird is on private land. The others are on forest service land and must close due to regulations. I told you a couple weeks ago that it had not been particularly snowy and was a warm spring in Utah. Well, that changed. It's been cold and snowy in Utah ever since. More snow coming next Mon-Wed.
Maybe I will bring my powder skis after all :)
 

Rudi Riet

AKA songfta AKA randomduck - a USSS coach, as well
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May 13-15 is the timeframe for my possibly getting in a day at Snowbird.
 

Rudi Riet

AKA songfta AKA randomduck - a USSS coach, as well
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Snowbird is on private land. The others are on forest service land and must close due to regulations. I told you a couple weeks ago that it had not been particularly snowy and was a warm spring in Utah. Well, that changed. It's been cold and snowy in Utah ever since. More snow coming next Mon-Wed.
Actually, Snowbird is primarily on USFS land. Alta, on the other hand, is over 50 percent private holdings of the town. So it's the other way around.

The biggest stumbling blocks for Alta: loss of interest once golf and bike season arrives, as well as losing their J-1 visiting foreign workers (not an issue this year given J-1s were a non-entity this past season). Once you lose a big chunk of your workforce and you aren't turning a profit (and a big tax base driver for the town), you shut 'er down.

The other resorts on USFS land (e.g. Solitude, Brighton, Snowbasin) technically could operate later into the season but the law of diminishing returns and the J-1 situation tends to seal their fate. Their USFS operations permits tend to be generous in what they allow for a season (and all have year-round permits to operate as resorts). Snowbird's staffing (as well as their snow and favorable exposure) is more suited to later operations. They plan for these things.
 

dovski

Waxing my skis and praying for snow
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May 13-15 is the timeframe for my possibly getting in a day at Snowbird.
Let me know if your plans solidify, we are definitely skiing there on the 14, 15 and 16 of May. There was a a crazy good deal at the Cliff Lodge, so taking advantage of that and my MC pass plus the fact that I will be fully vaccinated and have air miles to burn
 

mdf

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So I realize this may be a silly question, but why is it that Snowbird can stay open until the end of May but Alta closes at the end of April?
I think a lot of it comes down to "not enough customers to go around." Spring skiing works better (for the businesses) if all the customers are concentrated in one place. Many markets have evolved a traditional late player ... sometimes there is an altitude or exposure direction reason, sometimes it is just tradition. The customer's know they stay open so they plan for it, and it's a reinforcing cycle.

In Utah it's Snowbird. In Tahoe it's Squaw. In Vermont it's Killington. In Colorado it's A-Basin (though it looks like some other contenders may have decided to challenge them).
 

dovski

Waxing my skis and praying for snow
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I think a lot of it comes down to "not enough customers to go around." Spring skiing works better (for the businesses) if all the customers are concentrated in one place. Many markets have evolved a traditional late player ... sometimes there is an altitude or exposure direction reason, sometimes it is just tradition. The customer's know they stay open so they plan for it, and it's a reinforcing cycle.

In Utah it's Snowbird. In Tahoe it's Squaw. In Vermont it's Killington. In Colorado it's A-Basin (though it looks like some other contenders may have decided to challenge them).
No I get it. Growing up in Alberta we used to ski Sunshine (in Banff) as late as mid July some years, Now Sunshine closes late May due to lack of demand. The economics of running a ski resort combined with the many summer activities that now compete with them kinda seals the deal
 

mdf

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No I get it. Growing up in Alberta we used to ski Sunshine (in Banff) as late as mid July some years, Now Sunshine closes late May due to lack of demand. The economics of running a ski resort combined with the many summer activities that now compete with them kinda seals the deal
I do wonder how the late player shakes out historically. I suppose somewhere along the way there was a general manager who refused to give up in the spring, and that place got established.

I think if there is a nearby urban area to draw from, one resort can do ok in the spring. But not a remote area.
 

dovski

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I do wonder how the late player shakes out historically. I suppose somewhere along the way there was a general manager who refused to give up in the spring, and that place got established.

I think if there is a nearby urban area to draw from, one resort can do ok in the spring. But not a remote area.
I am sure the other factor is what the fixed cost of operating the resort is combined with the staffing availability. For example if you are a resort with older infrastructure that requires daily maintenance ... etc. to operate it may be significantly more expensive/complicated to maintain operations. I am sure these resorts have modeled out various scenarios based on skier interest, daily visits and season passes vs. daily pass sales throughout the season and that likely plays a big factor in when they close. Unfortunately the economics of skiing in general has shifted both for the skiers and the resorts.
 

Jim Kenney

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Actually, Snowbird is primarily on USFS land. Alta, on the other hand, is over 50 percent private holdings of the town. So it's the other way around.

The biggest stumbling blocks for Alta: loss of interest once golf and bike season arrives, as well as losing their J-1 visiting foreign workers (not an issue this year given J-1s were a non-entity this past season). Once you lose a big chunk of your workforce and you aren't turning a profit (and a big tax base driver for the town), you shut 'er down.

The other resorts on USFS land (e.g. Solitude, Brighton, Snowbasin) technically could operate later into the season but the law of diminishing returns and the J-1 situation tends to seal their fate. Their USFS operations permits tend to be generous in what they allow for a season (and all have year-round permits to operate as resorts). Snowbird's staffing (as well as their snow and favorable exposure) is more suited to later operations. They plan for these things.
Ooops, I stand corrected. Got the private land explanation from a mountain host. Here's an old article about why they stay open and there is no mention of private land factor. It's mainly because they have the snow and the appropriate lift infrastructure, and the business decision/will power. https://universe.byu.edu/2019/05/24/snowbird-enjoying-another-longest-season-in-utah-1/
 

Jim Kenney

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Went up to Snowbird today and it wasn't bad for a cloudy day, place was empty. The temps were above freezing so the groomers in Peruvian side were soft and pretty friendly, not as windy as they previously predicted, even much of the offpiste was soft spring snow. We skied from 11-3pm. Flat light in Mineral and Little Cloud, one and done for both of those.
 
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