New Quad Lift!

That’s right – Solitude Mountain Resort has begun installation on Powderhorn II, a $1.5 million improvement to the lift system. This new fixed grip quad replaces the original Powderhorn double, a holdover from its mid-70s installation – albeit with an improved lift line .  Coming on the heels of last winter’s $7 million investment in two detachable express quads the resort should ski much more efficiently. That’s three new quads in just the past two years!

Powderhorn II will start from the bottom of Sunshine Bowl, travel above the Concord ski run, and end in the same location as the original Powderhorn Lift. The move to a mid-mountain starting point allows expert snowriders to make continuous laps on the upper mountain – from Diamond Lane to Sunshine Bowl – without the need to return to the base area via beginner runs. A speedy 7 minute lift ride on the new lift, as opposed to 12 on the old double, saves 5 minutes per run on some of the state’s steepest groomed terrain. Plus, the off-piste terrain in Honeycomb Canyon will still be conveniently accessed from the top of this lift.

Last winter’s new Apex and Moonbeam Express lifts introduced high speed lift access from both base areas to mid-mountain, allowing Powderhorn II to begin higher on the mountain. Accessible from all three detachable lifts, including Eagle Express, a greater on-mountain flow is achieved throughout the resort. Solitude’s goal with terrain and lift improvements, now and into the future, is to efficiently utilize pockets of terrain which are naturally separated by the layout and slope of the mountain.

Beginner and intermediate visitors will appreciate the new lift, as well, even though they may not ride it until their skills improve, as advanced and expert visitors will remain higher on the mountain, easing traffic in prime learning areas lower on the mountain. Crafting this natural segregation put visitors of like abilities in terrain conducive to their ability, creating an improved experience for all.

Note the mid-mountain starting point for the new lift - still ending at the same top terminal.

Whoa…It’s Spring, I mean Summer!

Mud season quickly turned into rain season…or is that just another way of saying mud season was extra long this year? Either way, Summer is officially here, as of June 21. And as if on cue, the sun is shining, the mountains are green, flowers are beginning to bloom, so tada! Summer is here.

As far as the nuts and bolts go, the lift is running Fri – Sun, from 1 – 6 on Fridays and 11 – 6 on the weekends and holidays.  The trails could NOT be in better shape.  they are smooth and tacky and plush and soft and just generally awesome. See, rain and precip does have its advantages! Solitude also offers an 18 hole disc golf course, bike rentals, scooter rentals and much more.

The Stone Haus is open for pizzas, coffee, sandwiches, energy drink and beer (is that redundant?) from Wednesdays – Sundays from 11 – 7. Don’t miss kimi’s mountainside bistro  – a new Village dining institution with an unbelievable patio and great food in a relaxed setting. They are open for dinner Wed- Sun from 5 – 9 and open for weekend brunch (that’s right, Sundays aaaand Saturdays!) from 10 – 3. The Yurt is also available for a gourmet adventure dining experience – so if you need to wow a group, that’s the place!

See ya on the trail!

Guest Post: Caroline Gleich

Utah’s poster girl weighs in after a day on the hill at Solitude:

“During the springtime at Solitude, the snow piles up extra deep in the woods.  We found bottomless powder off of Powderhorn on the Milkrun and from Summit chair in the Evergreen forest.  It’s a great time to take advantage of spring specials and find your own patches of deep, untracked Utah powder.”

Caroline kicks up a trail of Utah brand smoke.

Caroline kicks up a trail of Utah brand cold smoke.

I think she's somewhere under that cloud of smoke.

I think she's somewhere under that cloud of smoke.

$39 Lift Tickets at Solitude!!

Solitude’s Spring Stimulus allows you to enjoy the best snow conditions of the year for just $39 a day (juniors ski for only $29/day). With a 114″ base and over 70″ of snow in the past seven days there is no reason not to take full advantage of the few remaining weeks of winter!

Solitude closes April 12 (Easter Sunday), so come on up to the mountains and get your powder grin on a few more times!

There are no blackout dates, just come on up to any ticket window here at the resort and $39 gets you out on the hill! Not valid with any other coupons or discounts.

Solitude. If You Only Knew…

Aerial Mountain Tour of Solitude

Can’t afford to hire a private heli for the day? Well, grab a seat in ours and feast your eyes on a scenic ride from frontside groomers to the depths of Honeycomb Canyon.  Soar and float like a bird above skiers and boarders making their way down the hill – with no risk of motion sickness. Enjoy!

Solitude’s Nordic Center Offers Great Instruction

One on One instruction @ the Solitude Nordic Center
One on One instruction @ the Solitude Nordic Center

One of the benefits of working at a mountain resort is occasionally we do an employee specific event, like we did last night at the Nordic Center.

The idea was simple, expose our employees to something here at Solitude they would never otherwise do on their own.  The center provided rentals and a lesson and we had about 15 people show up to give Nordic a try.

The majority of those attending had never Nordic skied prior and the overwhelming consensus was – – if you have a little Alpine skiing in your background, you can easily pick up and have a fun day Nordic skiing.  Everyone chose to try Skate skiing, which if you are unaware is the latest and greatest thing in Nordic skiing.  It’s certainly not new, but arguably it is gaining great traction here in the U.S.  Anyway, by the end of the evening, everyone was actually holding their own – – we even held a little relay race for some departmental bragging rights.

So, what does all this have to do with you?  As I was listening to one of the instructors last night, WHO JUST HAPPENS TO BE A 2002 WINTER OLYMPIAN, I thought to myself how cool it is to be listening and learning from a guy that competed in the Olympics!  And then I thought to myself, it cost nothing extra for our customers to come up and learn from this Olympian.  And, most weekdays, if you can come on weekdays – you’d probably be one of maybe only 2 or 3 in the lesson (if you are really lucky it would only be you – which certainly happens).

Get out and try something new this year, it is a phenomenal workout and a wonderful way to enjoy the Wasatch Mountains.  If you are lucky enough to ski with our Olympian or not, you will for sure receive unparalleled instruction and attention from the Solitude Nordic Center.

Getting Off The Beaten Path

Last weeks fury of powder days left most of us exhausted: all the non-stop top to bottom runs, screaming “THAT was the best run of the year”, and repeating the cycle.  Now that the skies have cleared and warm air and sun are plentiful the draw to being outside is great – far greater than 10 degree winds lashing at your face. But, my feet are KILLING me from a week of bashing in new liners chasing one pow run after the next. Not wanting my muscles to get too long a rest I figured an hour or two of Nordic skiing would fit the bill.

Getting on skinny skis is quite the change of pace, and provides as much of a workout as you can handle. To top it off are stunning views found at the Solitude Nordic Center, as well as the pine-scented fresh air and perfect blue sky.  With 20km of trail, there are many options: the short loop around Silver Lake, the Cornucopia Trail that connects the Solitude Village with the Nordic Center or one of the Redman Loops.

Whenever you need a change of pace, give the Nordic Center a try – you’ll find yet another way to enjoy the outdoors in winter.

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.

Opening Day is Here!

We will open for the 2008/09 winter season tomorrow, Friday November 14 at 9 AM.  Be one of the first to ride our two new high speed quads – Apex Express and Moonbeam Express! The shiny new lifts will whisk you up the hill in just under 4 minutes, which means more turns for you!

Due to some early season snowfall, as well as our snowmaking crew working around the clock, we’re proud to report a 27″ mid-mountain base. To date, we have had almost 3 feet of snowfall on the hill, and with this being Utah, I am sure more is not far off in the forecast.

As far as opening day goes, unfortunately, our ticketing partner encountered unexpected problems with our new gates, delaying delivery. We will be visually inspecting all passes over the next few weeks. In order to do this we will need ALL VISITORS to check in at the ticket office.
We know this is a huge inconvenience for you, and we sincerely apologize. On a positive note, the new gates are very nice and feature 360 degrees of “scanability.” In the future you won’t have to do the “which pocket is my pass in” dance against the turnstile! Once the new gates are in, you’ll thank us…trust me!

Now is the time to let Mother Nature know how much you love her coolest season by dancing, partying and running down to the 2008 Fat Flake Festival Saturday, November 15 from 4:30 – 10:00 p.m. at the Gallivan Center. This year’s festival features music by The Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash, Cavedoll and Junior Giant. Be a part of the action by participating in the NEW First-ever ski boot race, vintage ski outfit contest, ice skating and much more. All your favorite athletes will be there to sign autographs including Julian Carr, Rachael Burks, Sage Cattabriga-Alosa and more. Don’t miss out on the chance to win great prizes including an outfit from Eider, Rossignol skis and boots, a Burton snowboard, lift tickets and other Utah resort swag. Join Ski Utah as we call out to the snow gods and welcome winter back to the Wasatch!