Skiing Season One for Record Books

It’s official, this year is one for the record books. With Snowbird still open, Utah resorts have chalked up a near-record number of approximately 4.2 million skier day visits during the 2010-11 winter season. The number represents four-percent growth over the prior year, making this winter the second best in Utah.

Ironically, heavy snow may have prevented Utah resorts from reaching record visits. For Snowbird locals, however, too much of a good thing is just enough, as the mountain is expected to remain open until July 4. And Snowbird isn’t alone.

Near-record snowfall totals this winter, along with two feet of new snow over the past two week,s has sparked California’s Sugar Bowl to reopen for the July 4 holiday for season passholders. Officials as Sugar Bowl say that skiing will be available on the Disney lift only, for 2010-11 and 2011-12 season passholders.

The Sugar Bowl news makes it one of several options for California skiers who want to hit the slopes this July. Kirkwood and Alpine Meadows will both be open for the Independence holiday, while nearby Boreal expects to open July 11-12. Also running the lifts in California is Mammoth Mountain, which has a projected closing date of July 4.

In Colorado, as previously reported by SAM, Arapahoe Basin has extended that mountain’s closing date until mid-June, with rumors swirling that the ski area might go for a July 4 closing weekend should conditions permit. Other June closing dates include Crystal Mountain, Wash., which expect to operate on weekends into June and perhaps July. The ski area has a good shot at a July closing, with new snow last week pushing the ski area’s snowfall total to 600 inches on the season, a new record.

Timberline, Ore., also is keeping the season alive, although it must be admitted that this resort is no stranger to extended seasons, as summer operations on Mt. Hood’s Palmer Glacier are part and parcel of the Timberline experience. This year the resort’s summer season kicked off on May 31, with lifts operating daily from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Adult tickets are $59. Also kicking off the summer season is Blackcomb, which commenced summer operations on the Blackcomb glacier on May 30.