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Ski Officials Predict A Great Ski Season

Ski Utah
Director Nathan Rafferty

Ski season is on its way and the director of Ski Utah said things are looking good for the upcoming season. Melissa Allison has more:

Seeing snow being made in Park City is enough to put Ski Utah Director Nathan Rafferty in a good mood. While Mother Nature is at the wheel, he said things are looking good.

“The resorts continue to improve the quality of the experience,” Rafferty said. “You know, across the board statewide we saw a bunch of snowmaking improvements and all sorts of infrastructure improvements. but, we are poised to do really, really well. You know there’s a little bit of it out of our control with Mother Nature but if we get an early and good start, we’re going to have a great, great ski season.”

He said last year, in spite of the lack of snowfall, the season was a hit statewide.

“We had our second-best spending numbers ever statewide at $1.322 billion,” Rafferty said. “And kind of surprising considering a little bit of a lackluster snow season.”

As for the snowfall this year, Rafferty said he doesn’t pay a lot of attention to long-term forecasts.

“I personally don’t put a whole lot of stock into the long-term forecasts,” Rafferty said. “You know, we’re really lucky in the state of Utah. You couldn’t pick a destination that has more consistent snowfall than we do.”

Rafferty said both Snowbird and Brianhead already have snow that’s sticking, and some resorts are announcing a start date as early as November 16.

“Brianhead had almost three feet of snow,” Rafferty said. “They’ve got the earliest tentative start date of anybody at November 16. And you know we see those dates bounce around a little bit. Some resorts have a date to shoot for and others just say, ‘TBD’ and we often see those numbers shuffle when snowfall comes. So, you know, just keep your eye on the local weather forecast and when it starts to snow I think, you know, on our website we’ll list the most current dates.”

In terms of passes – Rafferty said it’s great to have options.

“Wow, you know, Deer Valley, unlimited at Solitude,” Rafferty said. “Brighton - Snowbird and Alta, so you know, that’s a great pass. Add that to the already awesome, Epic pass here in Utah and its nice to have both those. And for us as a state, that just adds another great marketing punch for, you know, options for people to come out here.”

He expects skier days will go up as a result of the draw the passes will have for people outside of Utah.

He said its not too late to take advantage of the deals for passes.

“The two big pass deals for us – and these are big ones – our gold pass,” Rafferty said. “That’s essentially a season pass to the state, a transferrable season pass to the state. We only sell a limited number of those. We sell 200 and we have just under 20 of those left. But also, big news for us is our 5th and 6th grade passports that have been so popular, and this is the deal that’s almost free, its $45 for a 5th grader and that gets them three lift tickets at every resort in the state.”

I’m Melissa Allison, KPCW News.