Ski season is here

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Walk around campus and you can stomp, crunch and kick the leaves, which are gradually making their way to the ground as autumn progresses and winter approaches. Soon these nippy mornings and brisk evenings will give way to inversion temperatures and icy roads.

But the decrease in temperature doesn’t mean the end of happiness for some students. For them, the happiness is just about to begin.

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Canyons Resort is one of many on the Wasatch Front taking full advantage of the recent cold.

From Deer Valley to Sundance, students have options to select from when deciding where to go to have fun on the mountain. There are seven resorts close to BYU campus, just a short drive up to Sundance Canyon, the Cottonwood Canyons and Park City. They provide world-famous champagne powder for all who want to take time to enjoy the mountains.

Sundance Resort is only 15 miles from BYU campus, making it the closest ski resort for students. It is also the smallest resort in the Salt Lake-Provo area, but Sundance doesn’t try to awe skiers with huge terrain.

Lift tickets for a full day are $49, with night tickets costing $30. Sundance offers a combo-pack deal, with five tickets for $199 or ten tickets for $399. If you feel that you’ll be up there more frequently than that, a midweek pass costs $359, while an unlimited pass costs $499.

Alta or Snowbird? The resorts are going to have the same amount of snow, because they are neighbors in Little Cottonwood. Alta, however, restricts access to skiers, meaning boarders will have to go to Snowbird.

What is there to like about Snowbird? Besides ranking No. 20 in the 2011 Ski Magazine reader poll, the resort has more than 2,500 acres of terrain, 85 runs and 3,240 feet of vertical descent. Ski Magazine also ranked it No. 4 for best snow.

Lift tickets at Alta cost  $72, with the option to add access to Snowbird for $17 extra. Snowbird tickets for all-day access are $58. An Alta season pass costs college students $599, a Snowbird season pass is $699 and a pass that’s for both resorts costs $1799.

Solitude and Brighton are based in Big Cottonwood Canyon resorts. With 65 runs and 1,200 acres, Solitude offers small resort appeal with short lines and a family-friendly atmosphere. Brighton has 1,050 acres and 1,875 acres of terrain, putting it middle of the pack with the other resorts. Brighton has something else to offer – a terrain park open day and night.

Brighton offers daily passes at $62, with night passes at $34. Season passes are available for students at $599. Access to Solitude costs $68, with the season passes available for $999. Go to skisolitude.com to see other discounts available specifically for Solitude resort.

Park City offers three resorts: Deer Valley, Canyons and Park City Resort. Ski Magazine ranked all three resorts in the top 20 – Deer Valley No. 1, Park City No. 6, and Canyons No. 16. Deer Valley has been ranked No. 1 for the last five years by voters in Ski Magazine.

Canyons is home of more than 4,000 acres of terrain, 18o runs, six half-pipes, and a 1.1 mile terrain park. Canyons is the largest resort in Utah, and has all the attractions of a major ski resort. A season pass for Canyons costs $699 and a day pass costs $89.

Park City was the host for the Olympics in 2002 and has the amenities a world-class facility needs. A 22-foot half-pipe, along with one of the premier terrain parks in all of North America, means skiers and boarders can jib and spin to their heart’s delight.

Season passes start at $515 for students, with a day pass available online for purchase at $96. By purchasing passes on the Internet, students can get discounts that aren’t available at the ticket office on mountain.

Deer Valley is the third Park City resort and offers six mountains to ski on, letting guests mix bowls, moguls, slalom runs, groomed tracks and graded terrain to keep all who come happy no matter their skill level.

Tickets for Deer Valley can be purchased at the resort or online, with day passes available to students for $96. A season pass for Deer Valley is the most expensive of the resorts close by, coming in at $1,795.

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