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Ski On @ Snowbird

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
For those that just haven't had enough skiing this season yet, Snowbird is in it's second year of allowing skier access on it's tram throughout the summer. All you have to do is sign a waiver and plunk down $10 to get up the tram, then you can ski Little Cloud, Baldy (into Alta) and Twin Peaks. No one is looking out for you and you have to get your own way back to the top of the tram or down to the parking lot. I personally would rather start at Alta (where there is still 100% coverage) and head up, but it sure is another good alternative. Here's the story:

Snowbird, UT (Tuesday, June 6, 2006) -
Salt Lake City, Ut. local skier Bob Sederquist surveys the terrain of Alta Ski Area from atop Mount Baldy on Saturday.
(photo: FTO/Marc Guido)
Does this look like a closed ski lift? Inside Snowbird's Tram on Saturday.
(photo: FTO/Marc Guido)

Avid skiers and snowboarders have long hiked closed resorts to ski and ride the scraps of snow remaining after the lifts shut down. At Snowbird Ski & Summer Resort, however, the summer tourist Trams this past weekend featured cabins that looked more like the middle of the ski season, filled with rabid die-hard skiers and riders.

Although the Utah resort ceased winter operations on Memorial Day, May 29, ski area officials are for the second summer in a row allowing ski and snowboard gear aboard its Aerial Tramway's tourist rides. After signing a liability waiver, sliders are free to descend the mountain "as long as the snow lasts," according to a ticket seller on Saturday.

Tram rides cost $10 per trip, although an unlimited summer pass is available for $45 that may be used for hiking and mountain biking once the snow's all gone later this summer.

Salt Lake City, Ut. local Bob Sederquist held his Summer 2006 Unlimited season pass on the resort's Tram Plaza on Saturday. "I've got a season pass to a closed ski area," Sederquist remarked, shaking his head in disbelief. "I'm having a hard time getting my brain around that one."

"It's good skiing," confirms Snowbird spokesperson Laura Schaffer. "I think it's great that we can offer the $10 tram rides so that people can continue to ski if they're not yet ready to hang them up yet."

Thanks to construction of Snowbird's new high-speed detachable quad chairlift, all terrain in Peruvian Gulch has once again been declared off-limits after skiers tracked up runs in Peruvian Cirque, including the famed Great Scott, on Saturday. Skiers must now head down Little Cloud or hike Mount Baldy, where 3,000 vertical-foot descents into the closed Alta Ski Area are possible. Some walking is already required on Snowbird's lower flanks below Rothman Way and Mid-Gad, while seamless top-to-bottom snow cover drapes Alta's runs.

"It had been something that we had been thinking about for a while," Schaffer explains, "and a few of our passholders brought up that some other resorts may do it. When we looked at it from a liability point of view, it turned out to be something that made sense to do. Why not let people have at it?"

Although ample snow remains on Snowbird's upper mountain runs, including Regulator Johnson and Mark Malou Fork, resort officials opted against spinning its Little Cloud chairlift beyond Memorial Day, unlike last season when the resort remained open for skiing and snowboarding until July 4th.

"The major difference between last year and this year is last May was wet, and this year was dry," Schaffer advises. "With the high temps it was melting very quickly. Rather than push it, we figured that Memorial Day was a great date to make it to. Now that we offer the spring/summer skiing, that enables people to still get up there. It made so much sense, as we're running the Tram anyway. If the snow's there, why not?"

Skiers and snowboarders who wish to ride Snowbird this summer should treat the experience the same way as they would a backcountry adventure. There is no avalanche control being conducted, and no ski patrol is available to provide assistance.
post #2 of 4
Glad to see it's going for a 2nd year and the lawyers seem to have hashed out the liability issues.

Great move
post #3 of 4
how late into the summer did snow hold up last year?
post #4 of 4

is good place to look for snow conditions through out the year. I bet if you go to snowbird you will find Ron there ripping it up on his Big Daddys.
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