An Early Season Mountain Report

I rolled out onto the hill Monday (12/1/08) for a little exploring and probing. If you’re a fan of Solitude and don’t know we installed a couple of lifts over the summer you’re living in a bubble. We’ve also upgraded our gate system at the lift bases, and pushed a ton of dirt around to enhance the riding experience on the front side of the hill.

I’ll start with talking about Apex and Moonbeam Express and my first comment is wow! Fast, extremely smooth and ohhh so easy to load, the whole theory on why we upgraded these two shorter lifts to detachable chairs in the first place. And when I say fast, I mean like a 4 minute lift ride – you think the lift lines were short before!

The terrain modifications we made at the top of the new Moonbeam lift will be most noticeable by our regular visitors. We smoothed out some of the terrain so there is more area for visitors to spread, opening the area greatly to all skier types. With the opening up of the terrain in this area, we decided to move the terrain park over to the skiers-right side of upper Main Street – skiers right of where it was located last year. Speaking of the terrain park, we’ve set up a couple features for people to play around on while we wait for more snow; they are temporarily located just down from the top of Moonbeam Express on Same Street. When we do start setting up the Park in its final location everyone will be happy to know we purchased a couple of new rails this year, should be a little more to challenge our riders.

When is it going to snow??? How much terrain is open??? It can’t be that good! These are just a few of the things we get hit with on a pretty regular basis this time of the year. Well, here are a few answers and points that should help hold you over. First of all, the mountain actually is in really good shape, 20” of base depth in most places, so once we get into a good pattern we’ll be skiing powder in no time. If you look in this picture I took Monday, there isn’t a whole lot of brush sticking through. Also, we stepped up our snowmaking again this year and are really focusing still on providing some of the very best groomed terrain in the state.

This photo was taken on Sunshine Bowl, perfect corduroy in an area that was traditionally hard to get open early season due to its aspect. Let me tell you, the groomers were fast on Monday, and fast = fun. So, is it good? My answer would be yes, for this time of the year it is great – we have more terrain open now than we did last year at this time. The snow will come, as it always does to the Cottonwood Canyons, be patient and until then come ski some groomers and get your legs in tune.

The last thing I want to write about are the new entry gates at the lifts.

As many of you are aware, the gates were delayed in delivery and therefore we had to have our guests all grab a lift ticket and go back to the old fashion visual ticket checking. Well, everyone will be happy to know they have arrived and most are installed or being installed. They work fabulously, no more ticket in the left pocket only while engaging in the Solitude Panel Dance! Put it in your wallet in a back pocket and you will still get a read on your card. As well, the new gates are double bars and open directly out in from of you for easier entry. We hope everyone enjoys this upgrade.

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