Utah resorts revamped, ready for winter season

SALT LAKE CITY -- Utah has already received nearly a foot of snow at upper elevations.

Anticipating a boom in visitor numbers, spurred by a cooperative Mother Nature, Utah's 13 mountain resorts are gearing up to unveil a host of renovations and expansions for the upcoming season.

They include:

• The ski area at Park City Mountain Resort, which will mark its 40th anniversary during the 2003-04 season, added a 5,000-square-foot deck to the Summit House Restaurant, purchased additional grooming machines and installed more Fast Tracks access gates for express passholders.

Visitors also will be able to follow in the tracks of Olympic athletes on the resort's Eagle Superpipe, where the U.S. won the 2002 Olympic men's halfpipe competition.

Packages at Alta ski area include instruction in skiing powder snow. • New packages at Alta ski area will include Powder Tracks -- Alta Lodge Powder Days, which combines four days of instruction in skiing powder snow with five nights' accommodations at the Alta Lodge, daily dinners and breakfasts, taxes and gratuities. The program will run Jan. 10 to 14 and April 3 to 7.

Ski passes are for Alta's ski area and Alta Snowbird; participants also can try snow-cat skiing in Alta's Grizzly Gulch and sample the latest equipment.

January prices are $2,645 per person, single; $2,000, double; in April, $2,338, single, and $1,776, double.

Alta also remodeled the Cub's Den in the lower level of the Albion Ticket Building, offering families one location in which to register their children for ski school and to purchase lift tickets. Also new is an elevator that links the parking lot level to the slopes and to the Cub's Den.

• At the Canyons, a new, 16-acre terrain park, accessible by Snow Canyon Express, will offer more than 30 snow features, and Lookout Cabin, situated at the top of Lookout Peak, added a full-service bar within the restaurant.

An Early Bird Ski Free Package offers free skiing for guests who stay at either the Sundial Lodge or Grand Summit Resort Hotel between Nov. 21 and Dec. 25.

The way it works is that two lift tickets are included in the lodging rates per night, which start at $159 for the Sundial Lodge and $189 for the Grand Summit.

• A $6 million improvement project at Deer Valley Resort will include a major expansion of the Snow Park Lodge's rental shop, Children's Center and Signatures store.

At Empire Canyon mountain area, the resort expanded the glade-skiing terrain and snowmaking capacity.

• Snowbasin Resort will be operating a new terrain park this season, with separate areas provided for different levels of ski proficiency.

• Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort expanded its snow-making capacity to include the Regulator Johnson run on the upper mountain.

The resort's Baby Thunder Terrain Park will add more features, and the intermediate terrain park on Big Emma will include more rails and jumps.

Also new is a Kids' Freeride camp -- part of the resort's Mountain School camps -- designed to help children ages 10 to 17 improve their skills in mountain-riding.

In addition to instruction, the camp offers a pizza dinner, a movie and discussions about the latest winter sports gear.

The program, which also includes daily lunch, is priced at $450 and will run Feb. 18 to 20.

• The Village at Solitude Mountain Resort, a pedestrian-only village, has been completed in time for the coming season.

The resort features a variety of dining options -- everything from fine dining to kid-pleasing fare -- and Club Solitude for meals apres-ski.

Also new this year is a family-friendly terrain park, suitable even for young, novice skiers and snowboarders.

Packed with snow features, the terrain park is situated in gentle terrain, features a sitting area for spectators and is accessible from four of the resort's eight ski lifts.

• Famous for its Sundance Film Festival, Sundance has developed a series of three-day skiing labs this season. The first one, called the Art of Skiing, will be held during the film festival on Jan. 10 to 22.

Other Ski Performance Labs include the Leadership/Coaching Skiing Lab, Feb. 11 to 13, geared toward corporate groups, and the K2 Technology Performance Skiing Lab, March 5 to 7, for advanced/intermediate to expert-level skiers.

Participants receive two nights' lodging, with meals, taxes and gratuities included, for $1,533.

For additional information about packages or improvements at any of Utah's 13

mountain resorts, call Ski Utah at (800) 754-8824 or visit the Web site at www.skiutah.com.

To contact reporter Felicity Long, send e-mail to [email protected].

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