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If you love UTAH skiing...it is going to change QUICKLY

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Ski Utah · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2019 · Points: 0

If you love Utah skiing, please get involved immediately with constructive solutions, positive possibilities, a group effort is drastically needed with the best of ALL in mind. Otherwise Utah skiing is going to QUICKLY change by the decisions of a few people. Feel free to share and cut and paste this… The buses that go to Solitude/Brighton/Alta/Snowbird are custom buses. They cost $600k each and take 28-months to receive AFTER ordering. Regular buses do NOT work, the gearing is wrong and they don’t work in even light snow on the steep slopes. They have ALREADY been tested in Little Cottonwood and Big Cottonwood and do NOT work, even when empty. There is controversy over who should pay for these additional custom buses, but they are YEARS away from arriving. Solitude/Brighton/Alta/Snowbird know this. Many sources say that the other resorts are HIGHLY likely to soon follow the paid parking example of Solitude. They will let them take the heat, spin it positive, and likely implement soon after. Especially Alta since studies have already been done on their parking lots. In Alta, some days over 25% of available spaces are taken up by snow-shoers, cross-country skiers, backcountry skiers, kids playing in snow, and sports car club meetups in the parking lots. All this is money losing for Alta and takes away parking spots from potential paying skiers. It has also been seen at Brighton and Solitude, but is worst at Alta. Speak up now to make a difference! The ski resorts are looking for ways to boost profits. Compared to California and other places, Utah resorts actually have quite a large uphill capacity (lifts) and short wait times. So getting more paying bodies on the mountain is a MAIN goal of each resort. The resorts see limitations currently as limited parking and congested canyon entry roads. They will implement changes to get the increased profit. Unfortunately, whatever parking “solution” and road restrictions Utah does is likely to be copied by resorts nationwide. Which is a great reason to get involved now. If you do the math of parking revenue at Solitude for paid daily parking and paid season parking passes, it is easily over a whopping $1-million a season. Do you really think other resorts won’t follow and do the same? Solitude/Brighton/Alta have specified number of max parking in their leases. It is not easy to get approval to add more spaces, especially with conservation groups so opposed. Solitude recently VOLUNTARILY built their entire village on one of their parking lots, knowingly removing over 400 parking spots that they cannot get back. Solitude VOLUNTARILY partnered with Ikon Pass for unlimited skiing, knowingly increasing the number of cars drastically. If you are done skiing Solitude and want to leave by bus, currently most buses are already full with people coming down from Brighton. So you HAVE to get on the bus going up to Brighton, remain on bus there, just to come back down again. Already long bus waits and a very long time on bus. Sound fun? One of the reasons Solitude implemented paid parking was they witnessed many people parking at Solitude and then take the bus from there to Brighton (when road to Brighton is backed up). Hence, Brighton people taking spots from Solitude customers. Supposedly this is why the Solbright trail was ungroomed over half the season last year to make it hard for them to get back to Solitude. The police and UDOT are very unhappy that so many people park on the street and walk to resorts, especially Brighton. It is dangerous and slows traffic even further. With paid Solitude parking, many more people are expected to park on street and walk in, increasing road congestion even more and quicker. Supposedly Solitude implemented paid parking completely on their own without consulting or warning government agencies, and not everyone is happy about it. Many feel it will not solve anything, but actually make bus wait times and road congestion worse before anything can be done to increase bus capacity. UDOT already has bus usage data from past seasons. Bus capacity to Solitude/Brighton/Alta/Snowbird is currently pretty full. Car parking at lots at canyon bottoms is very limited and often full. Solitude/Brighton/Alta/Snowbird know this. Some are already starting legislation to make it illegal to drive up to Solitude/Brighton/Alta/Snowbird during winter unless you have at least 3-passengers or can prove you live or work there. They hope to have it enforced by police at base of canyons. Speak up now if you disagree. UDOT has already done studies the last 2-ski-seasons. They have spent months in the cold counting cars going up the canyon, notating how many occupants. Supposedly 25% are solo drivers. These studies are complete. Studies have shown Solitude employees alone often have over 50+ vehicles taking up at least the entire first row from Moonbeam Lift to Eagle Lift, most solo drivers. It will be very easy to watch between 7:00am and 8:30am and see if they carpool as promised. I’ve spoken with several people who used to eat meals at Solitude, especially the yummy curry at roundhouse. But with surprise paid parking, they are going to bring food instead. If many do this, Solitude is not making the profits they counted on. Good news is supposedly money has already been allocated to buy part of the gravel pit at mouth of Big Cottonwood and build a big multi-level parking garage. But details of who will pay for buses and other details are unagreed upon so far. Construction will take years. Bus only lanes bypassing the busy Wasatch/Big Cottowood intersection are expected to be hampered by conservation groups also. Access to Snowbird and Alta on big powderdays often has Little Cottonwood canyon closures and avalanche controls. This makes Big Cottonwood more congested on those days. Studies have been completed on adding snow tunnels to Little Cottonwood in problem avalanche areas. But there is controversy over who will pay for them. Studies have ALREADY been completed on Little Cottonwood and Big Cottonwood traffic. There are ALREADY solutions and costs complete for redoing roads, bus lanes, gondolas, trams, and more. ALL these are expected to be thwarted by conservation groups. Even if large parking structures were miraculously approved at Solitude/Brighton/Alta, conservation groups are expected to stop them (plus current roads can’t handle the higher traffic anyways).  If true, more buses and bigger parking lots at canyon mounts might be the only solution. Unfortunately, all the government agencies and resorts are currently NOT working together on the parking and road congestion problems. It will take public pressure and accountability to make it so… Speak up now! Or decisions will be made by a few…

Glowering · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2011 · Points: 5

So hard to read. Not just because it’s one long paragraph but also because I don’t know what your trying to say. Gave up 1/3 of the way thru. 

Will s · · Salt Lake CIty, UT · Joined May 2017 · Points: 0

Wait, what?

Daniel Joder · · Barcelona, ES · Joined Nov 2015 · Points: 0

I thought this was going to be about climate change. I, too, gave up a few sentences in—way too hard to read. Paragraphs are a useful concept.

M Mobes · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2006 · Points: 910

Make everyone ride buses up there, problem solved.

Paid parking and lift discounts for riding the bus is good too.

Bares · · Salt Lake City, UT · Joined Apr 2008 · Points: 5

I also have no clue what the ask is here. OP, boil it down and list the key bullet points. 

Allen Sanderson · · On the road to perdition · Joined Jul 2007 · Points: 1,188

So many words ... so little said. And what is said is mix of correct and incorrect statements.

Parking in canyons is a mess, solutions are being tried and proposed. If one wants to avoid the mess, get up early.

Here are the cliff notes:

The four ski resorts, Alta and Snowbird in Little Cottonwood and Brighton and Solitude in Big Cottonwood have all increased the skier capacity. That and the advent of nation wide ski passes has significantly increased the number of skiers.

All utilize National Forest land which states there will be no increase in ski area terrain or parking on National Forest land - the resorts are free to do what they want on private land based on the county laws.

The problem is that there is not enough parking so people park anywhere, typically illegally. Many do so with the full knowledge that a parking ticket is the cost of going skiing. Further, what public transportation there is, is limited, both in terms of the buses and central parking area in the valley.

Utah passed a law that allows for tolls roads on public highways. A toll might be implemented base on the number of occupant in a vehicle (fewer people, greater the toll).

Solitude has stated they will charge for parking based on on the number of occupant in a vehicle (fewer people, greater the cost). Their main parking is on National Forest land.

IMHO the ski resorts have brought this on themselves and are now looking to for the public to fix the issue (aka socialize the costs, privatize the profits).

The other solution is to ski Colorado.

Mark Frumkin · · Bishop, CA · Joined Feb 2013 · Points: 56

It's real easy - do you want to pay for parking or not. And will paid parking mess things up or not.
First world problems.
Children in cages & we are worried about having to pay to park at a ski lodge.

Nicholas King 1 · · Grand Junction, Colorado · Joined Apr 2014 · Points: 20

Oh. I thought we were talking about skiing. Not riding on buses... 

Russ B · · Salt Lake City, UT · Joined Jun 2011 · Points: 56

OP what are you smoking, and where can I get some? 

ddriver · · SLC · Joined Jul 2007 · Points: 1,989

Thanks for nothing. Did not read. Allen can you cliff your cliffs?

Ned Plimpton · · Salt Lake City · Joined Jul 2008 · Points: 116
m Mobes wrote: Make everyone ride buses up there, problem solved.

Paid parking and lift discounts for riding the bus is good too.

There aren’t enough buses nor parking spaces down in the valley for that to work.  It’s a pretty obvious reality (as a slc local) and stated in the post...

mediocre · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2013 · Points: 0
Allen Sanderson wrote: 

IMHO the ski resorts have brought this on themselves and are now looking to for the public to fix the issue (aka socialize the costs, privatize the profits).

Just curious what you mean by this? By increasing skier capacity?

Brian in SLC · · Sandy, Utah · Joined Oct 2003 · Points: 16,560

I'm part of the problem.  And this coming season, I'll be an even bigger part of the problem.  At least I hope to be.

I probably average in the course of a ski season one or more solo trips in a vehicle every week of the ski season.  I live and work close (Sandy).  BCC and LCC are my main sources of outdoor recreation.  

In the last couple of years, I've never seen as many parked cars in the canyons.  White Pine TH in LCC?  Unreal.  Folks are parked not only filling the lot, but, 1/2 mile up and down the canyon in both directions.  All winter.  All spring.  All summer.  All fall.  Every weekend.

A few reasons for the uptick in traffic?  Sure, I'd hang some of it on the ski areas.  They've increased lift capacity, lodging and food options.  Last year set another record for number of skier days.  Was also one of the better seasons...ever.

https://www.skiutah.com/news/authors/pr/utah-sets-record-for-skier-days-in

What's also contributed...is the boom in outdoor winter recreation.  More folks snow shoeing, hiking, hunting, fishing.  And a big up tick in backcountry skiing.

Combined with a strong economy, and a steady population increase, voila, you got way more folks in the local canyons.

I'll give Solitude credit for moving the conversation forward.  I've been to a few of the UDOT meetings.  I try to follow the SOC and other groups.  No easy solutions.

The roads in the canyons and their infrastructure aren't in great shape.  Look how long the road and drainage has been hammered in LCC since the big flood event this summer.  And...the window is closing down for getting that mess figured out and managed.  There's still a fairly active stream running down the road downhill from Lisa's.  Those drains under the road got buried.  And, a gob of money and effort has been spent, and will continue to have to be spent, to get them back to near normal.

Fee booths?  We might see it in the short term.  I'm kinda hoping there'll be a carpool lane with no stop and pay for folks with more than one person in their car.  So, that will effect me.  And, that's ok.  Solo drivers are at least 25%, maybe higher when you consider folks that work in the canyon. and folks that stop at non-ski area destinations.

Ski Utah...state a couple of positions we should consider.  Your wall of words isn't much readable or understandable.  And try not to pin the problem on the conservation groups.  Most of us that live here support them.  All of my drinking water comes from LCC.

We'll have to change.  Hopefully not too painfully.

bus driver · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2009 · Points: 1,361
the skiing and the air is jacked in Utah. Go use your EpiKon pass elsewhere.  

Dear valley sets a limit on skiers on the mountain. The solution is that Early bird gets a parking spot.  Everyone else has to go home. 

Some ways to get those who are making money on the canyons to solve their own problem might be:

Make a special permit clause for limousine services. So their vans need to shuttle the general public during the day instead of taking one person up the canyon from the airport every few hours. 

Use those special UTA employee vans all day to run up and down the canyon with day skiers instead of sitting empty in the parking lot all day 

I think a certain few want to make parking harder so they can get approval for a few more lifts and  “Interconnect”  the parking lots err I mean ski resorts. BTW Park City just sold their main parking lot to a developer so there’s going to be fewer places to park there too. 

A train up little cottonwood canyon would deliver skiers from the valley and then go through a tunnel to Brighton and then another tunnel to park city. Which would keep cars at some parking lot TBD in the valley.   But,  then it would make visitors to Park City in a million condo rooms just one stop to Brighton and two or three stops from the tram and why would anyone ski at park city if they were only 5 minute train ride from Alta?

At the end of the day. I’d rather that they just put an order in for more of the special busses now and have them in a few years. 
Allen Sanderson · · On the road to perdition · Joined Jul 2007 · Points: 1,188
mediocre wrote:

Just curious what you mean by this? By increasing skier capacity?

Yes, the resort increased skier capacity without any forethought on how to get people to the slopes. Now they want public monies to fix their parking problem. Screw that. Tunnels and trains are pie in the sky as are arial trams (pun intended). That is they are cost prohibited and do not solve the real problem. Which is a transportation hub.

My solution. Knock out half the golf course at the mouth of the canyon and build a transportation hub (the gravel pit is not yet played out and will not be for decades). Skiers going to the resorts buy a lift ticket and ride the bus (lift tickets are taxed which pay for the buses). The busses are express going to specific resorts during peak hours. Want to drive? Tolls based on time of day, how many people, and how far up the canyon one is going - lets backcountry users have access.

mediocre · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2013 · Points: 0
Allen Sanderson wrote:

Yes, the resort increased skier capacity without any forethought on how to get people to the slopes. Now they want public monies to fix their parking problem. Screw that. Tunnels and trains are pie in the sky as are arial trams (pun intended). That is they are cost prohibited and do not solve the real problem. Which is a transportation hub.

My solution. Knock out half the golf course at the mouth of the canyon and build a transportation hub (the gravel pit is not yet played out and will not be for decades). Skiers going to the resorts buy a lift ticket and ride the bus (lift tickets are taxed which pay for the buses). The busses are express going to specific resorts during peak hours. Want to drive? Tolls based on time of day, how many people, and how far up the canyon one is going - lets backcountry users have access.


Gotchya.

Do you really think that increasing lift capacity is really the culprit? I'm sure it doesn't help but with a population explosion that the Salt Lake area has had in the past 10-20 years I'd be willing to bet even with non-primo lift networks these resorts would still be stupid crowded, but the crowds just at the base of the hill.
I'm not saying that there should have been some foresight here on the part of the resorts but it seems multi-factorial.
ddriver · · SLC · Joined Jul 2007 · Points: 1,989

I keep a Solitude card but mostly ski outside the resort. No issue with pay parking but it only works if they close off all the roadside parking, which can at times be a couple hundred cars. So, where will I park now for Willow or Silver?  Guess I will pay for these now.

Brian in SLC · · Sandy, Utah · Joined Oct 2003 · Points: 16,560

Yeah, roadside parking will become even more of a 'it show.  And, with the gob of dawn patrollers, plow drivers won't be able to clear lots or roadsides as easily especially if it snows just prior to the weekend.

Return of the red snake.  Snowing right now up high...(and nearly at my house in Sandy!).

Good times.

Brandon Fields · · Boulder · Joined Apr 2016 · Points: 500

Holy wall of text.

bus driver · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2009 · Points: 1,361

The state, resorts, and UTA should officially encourage hitchhiking.  This has been an unofficial solution to the problem of single occupant vehicles for years and works pretty well. 

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

Northern Utah & Idaho
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