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Nordic Valley, Snowbasin, Powder Mountain prep for ski season

By Tim Vandenack - | Nov 25, 2021

Photo supplied, Snowbasin

This undated image shows the Snowbasin ski resort in the Huntsville area. Snowmaking efforts are underway but the opening day for the 2021-2022 season had yet to be determined as of Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021.

With Turkey Day typically comes skiing, or at least the looming possibility of Weber County’s three ski resorts opening up for the year.

Skiers this season, though, will have to be patient.

Nordic Valley officials have announced plans to open on Dec. 3 for the 2021-2022 season, weather permitting. Snowbasin and Powder Mountain reps are holding off on setting opening days.

The Dec. 3 date is “tentative, but we’re shooting hard,” said Brandon Fessler, Nordic Valley’s general manager. The resort’s snow machines have made “an OK amount, but nothing near what we need yet.”

Snowbasin had planned to open on Wednesday “but warm temperatures prevented that this season. We will announce a firm date once we have a little more clarity on weather,” said Michael Rueckert, a resort spokesperson.

Photo supplied, Snowbasin

Snowmaking machines are shown in operation at the Snowbasin ski resort in the Huntsville area in this undated photo. The opening day for the 2021-2022 season had yet to be determined as of Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021.

Snowbasin, which opened Nov. 27 last year, relies on a mix of natural snow and snowmaking, which typically requires temperatures under 28 degrees, Rueckert said. The resort needs a certain level of snow to open, he went on, and snowmaking started later this year than the norm.

Powder Mountain relies solely on natural snow and J.P. Goulet, the resort spokesperson, said the opening date, as is the norm this time of year, remains up in the air, subject to weather conditions. Last year, the resort opened on Dec. 18 and the average opening day is Dec. 10.

When they do open, expect a few changes at the resorts.

Snowbasin, which announced major expansion plans last September, has improved snowmaking in certain areas and will open 341 parking spots in the Maples and Canyon Rim parking areas. It’s also upgrading its Middle Bowl chairlift, shortening the ride time from 12 minutes to less than six minutes.

Snowbasin’s longer-range plans call for the opening of a 300-room Club Med hotel by 2024 and even more upgrades longer term.

Nordic Valley will be opening two runs this season, complementing several new trails and a new chairlift that started operating during the 2020-2021 season in an expansion zone south of the resort’s original ski area. Vegetation has been cleared on two trails in the original ski area, effectively opening two other trails to skiers as well, Fessler said.

Developers associated with Nordic Valley are proposing development of a ski village adjacent to the resort, including condominiums, townhomes and more. Preliminary plans, subject to further review, were submitted to Weber County planning officials last month.

Powder Mountain will be marking 50 years in operation on Feb. 19 next year, and Goulet said celebrations are in the works to mark the occasion.

COVID-19 MASK GUIDELINES

The COVID-19 virus still looms as a potential threat, and here’s where the resorts stand on masking:

Nordic Valley: The resort “strongly encourages” employees and skiers to be vaccinated and wear masks in indoors areas of the resort complex. But there’s no hard-and-fast requirement.

“We won’t police it like we did last year,” Fessler said.

Powder Mountain: Face coverings will be required indoors “and encouraged outdoors when social distancing is not possible,” the resort’s website reads. Rules are subject to change.

Snowbasin: The resort will require face coverings inside its lodges and restaurants, though patrons won’t have to wear them while seated at a table and eating and drinking.

“We ask that you respect this policy knowing we will be evaluating this as the winter season proceeds and making adjustments as necessary,” its website reads.

The resort is “strongly encouraging” everyone to wear masks inside gondolas, whether vaccinated or not.

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