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Utah 2018-19: travel planning, snow conditions, deals

Utah set a record in 2018-19 for the most skier visits ever.

Ski Utah, May 2019
" . . .
“One of the key factors that made this season so memorable was the consistency of snowfall,” said Evan Thayer, local forecaster for Open Snow. “Since the resorts opened, we went no more than seven days without snowfall. We also avoided long stretches of high pressure and warm temperatures, which meant that the snow quality remained high for the duration of the season.”
. . ."

Warning . . . musings of a numbers geek below. :smile:

Some people think the major multi-resort passes (MCP, Epic, Ikon) are responsible for more crowded slopes this season around SLC. But looking at the table of skier visits made me wonder about the snowfall for the same period. Since Alta has monthly and annual totals on their website, it was easy to rank the same decade. The snow total range is from 300" to just over 700", with around 400" being the standard expectation. The connection between snow depth and skier interest is pretty obvious. (Be better as a graph but that's too much trouble.)

Season: total snowfall at Alta - snowfall rank, skier visit rank - skier days rounded to 0.1 million
2009-10: 560" - 4, 7 - 4.1 M
2010-11: 723" - 1, 4 - 4.2 M
2011-12: 390" - 8, 10 - 3.8 M
2012-13: 449" - 5, 8 - 4.0 M
2013-14: 432" - 7, 5 - 4.1 M
2014-15: 308" - 10, 9 - 3.9 M
2015-16: 428" - 6, 3 - 4.5 M
2016-17: 596" - 3, 2 - 4.6 M
2017-18: 388" - 9, 6 - 4.1 M
2018-19: 626" - 2, 1 - 5.1 M

The comparison I find interesting is the low snow years. 2011-12 was just before the MCP started, 2014-15 was the third MCP season with both Alta & Snowbird included (2 combo days), and by 2017-18 Alta and Snowbird were separate (2 days each). Skier days increased a bit between those three seasons with comparable snow totals. By 2015-16 the MCP was well established but the jump in skier visits was probably due to good snow, not a lot of new MCP holders.

Another factor is that Utah is the fastest growing state at the moment. There are about 400,000 more people living in Utah compared to ten years ago. Presumably some of the people moving into Utah are going there partially because of the easy access to mountains for skiing and other outdoor activities. Would be interesting to know if the number of local season passes for Alta and the other SLC ski resorts has increased in the same period.

The Salt Lake Tribune, Dec 2018
Utah ranks No. 1 for population growth this decade — adds nearly 400K new residents

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Snowbird is still open on weekends for snowsports. Only the Tram, Little Cloud, and Mineral Basin lifts. $50 lift ticket if have a season pass from any other resort.

Some summer activities have started, including the new Woodward WreckTangle. But opening dates for Peruvian chair and the mountain coaster are TBD.

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