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Ski Season Wrap Up……oh wait…Snowbird is Soaking Utah Skiers

The past two weeks have made the official start of summer time feel like a January day here in Utah and the Wasatch Mountains. Not only did we ski in 9 inches of fresh powder that feel on memorial day, but Snowbird is staying open until the 4th of July. And, if you have a couple spare million dollars, you can even buy your own resort on the Utah/Colorado boarder. All of that money you would have spent on lift tickets would eventually even out what you paid to buy the resort.

On the subject of Snowbird, a ridiculous amount of snow has fallen in the Wasatch Mountains this May, and to make good use of nature’s late gift, Snowbird has decided to keep the 2011 ski season going a little longer. Lifts will be shuttling riders up the hill on the weekends through July 4, making Snowbird’s ski season the longest ever. The skiing has been epic. Skiing on Memorial Day is one thing, but skiing on Memorial Day here in Utah with 9 inches of fresh powder was legendary. There was one downside to the amazing ski day, the tab of 62 dollars to ski for 6 hours if the lifts open up at 8 AM like advertised. Dear Snowbird thank you for soaking the patrons that keep your bills paid. Tell you what, why don’t you get off the mound of money you are sitting on and give the locals a gift for still skiing at your resort built for rich east coast pizza wedge skiers and lower the cost.

Each year the resort figures their annual budget to cover their bottom line to be the ski days from Thanksgiving to the beginning of April. Days before that and after their original target close date are all bonus numbers. They still charge outrageous prices to let us ski 1/8 of the mountain. Only 2 lifts run and 3/4 of the staff is home for the summer. What are your bills that you are paying for? Is it that country club membership with outrageous bar tab for you to shank a ball to the left and miss the first three puts on the green? After a little research it was discovered that the resort is pushing to be annexed into neighboring Sandy City. This would reduce other operating costs not directly resort related. Good plan Snowbird, reduce those costs and pass them along the the patrons. However, both Sandy City and Snowbird are using this to inflate their budgets. So what is Snowbird actually paying for during the spring season? They will not say. We know that power and operating the lifts is part of it, but it is only 2 lifts and barely any staff. The restaurants are not open and their are no parking attendants. Are they paying ski patrol? No, Utah ski patrol is a volunteer position. So again, what are they paying for that justifies their lift ticket price? Who knows, but i can only imagine its not ski related.

We are the public that pays your bills. We can just as easily take our business elsewhere at any moment, and you resort owners know the power social media holds. Do yourself a favor and lower the prices.

Now for those of you that have liquid income just burning a whole in your pocket, representatives for Colorado’s Powderhorn ski area announced Wednesday the resort will be sold at a live auction Aug. 4, with no minimum bid. “It’s not a distress sale,” marketing and communications director Sarah Allen said. “It really comes down to our owners are in their early 70s and they’re looking to make a transition into retirement.”

Powderhorn is located outside Grand Junction on the Grand Mesa, a massive flattop mountain near the Utah-Colorado border that connects the desert with the rowdier peaks in the center of the state. It features 1,600 skiable acres and four lifts, with a vertical drop of 1,650 feet and a summit elevation of 9,850 feet. Whoever wins the auction will get a base lodge and an inn, as well as a number of maintenance and operations buildings.

According to Allen, the resort averages 75,000 skier visits annually (with between 2,500 and 3,000 season passholders) and operates from December to April. It averages 250 inches of snow each winter; this year it reported 220 inches.

So if one of you readers ends up buying this little piece of fun land, let me know. I will help you ski the snow and keep the people happy. And, if need be I will toss out the first drunk at your sweet new ski bar.

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