EDEN — Jason Hardy was one of the last people to ride a ski lift in the Top of Utah this season, having spent Sunday afternoon on the slopes of Powder Mountain.
“We got the late storm, so it was actually one of the best days I had all season,” said Hardy, who showed up to get some final turns in at the last Ogden-area resort to close this year. “It wasn’t the best year overall, but there were some pretty good days.”
That seems to be the general consensus among local skiers and snowboarders after a season that brought well below-average snow totals to Utah resorts, including Snowbasin, Powder Mountain and Wolf Mountain.
“I guess you have to take the down years with the good ones,” said Amanda Hansen, who also turned out Sunday at Powder Mountain to get one last day in. “We’ve been spoiled the last few years, so I guess we were due. We still had some pretty good days, though.”
Locally, the season started strong, with some good snowstorms in late November, and ended on a high note with a substantial storm heading into last weekend. But in between were significant droughts in December and January, and Utah’s slopes just never quite received their usual bounty of powder.
Snowbasin, which traditionally closes on April 15 and last year re-opened in June thanks to heavy late-spring storms in the mountains, decided to close on April 8 this year due to unseasonably warm temperatures and scant snow coverage. Wolf Mountain, which is smaller and sits at a lower elevation, wrapped things up on St. Patrick’s Day.
Powder Mountain was the longest holdout among the three Ogden Valley resorts this year, and was able to finish on a high note last weekend after a storm on Thursday and Friday that dropped more than a foot of fresh snow on its runs.
Utah resorts certainly weren’t the only ones that left locals wanting more this season. Resorts in Colorado and all over the west also had below-average snow totals. In fact, some Utah resorts were among the bright spots in the region, boasting relatively good conditions compared with their neighbors in other states, said Jessica Kunzer, marketing director for the promotional group Ski Utah.
“A down year in Utah would still be considered a good year in a lot of other places,” Kunzer said. “The locals maybe didn’t turn out as strong as they normally would, but visitors still showed up in strong numbers.”
For those who still haven’t satisfied their skiing or snowboarding cravings for the season, the higher-elevation resorts of Brighton and Snowbird remain open on a daily basis, while Alta is still open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Alta plans to stay open over the next two weekends, while Brighton will close for the season this Sunday. Snowbird, which often stays open until July 4, has not yet set a closing date.