Utah arguably has some of the greatest snow on Earth; it says so on the license plate. BYU students from outside Utah take advantage of the opportune time in Provo to ski some of the greatest snow on Earth.
Utah has 15 ski resorts and seven are less than two hours away from Provo.
Students who want to take advantage of the entire ski and snowboarding season for a season can buy a season pass, which ranges from $399 to $1,295 for college students.
The Epic Pass is the least expensive pass and includes a season pass to Park City resort. During the summer the former Park City Mountain Resort and Canyons, both owned by Vail Resorts, merged into one 7,300-acre resort, now one of the largest resorts in the US.
Colby Todd grew up in Utah snowboarding. This year will be his 14th year snowboarding. “This year I bought the Epic Pass,” Todd said. “I love riding Park City, and with the Canyons and Park City combined, it will be a huge resort with great terrain to ride.”
Some students might want to consider a closer resort than Park City, which takes about an hour to reach. For them there’s Sundance Mountain Resort, only 13 miles northeast of Provo up Provo Canyon. A Sundance season pass for college students costs $439.
Freeride Academy is BYU’s ski and snowboarding club. Students can join this club to find fellow BYU students that ski and snowboard. Students can post on the Facebook page when and where they plan on going skiing to see if other students may be going to the same resort.
Nate King, a BYU student from Pittsburgh, went skiing in Utah for the first time last year. “Last year I went to Sundance a couple of times,” King said. “I like skiing here. Back in Pennsylvania the mountains are more like hills compared to the mountains here in Utah. The snow is great.”
This year, King decided to buy the Epic Pass to Park City because he said he’s heard good things about Park City. “My friends that are from Utah got a season pass there, and I convinced some of my friends from Pennsylvania to get a season pass there too.”
For students who don’t want to buy a season pass and just want to ski or snowboard for a day, all resorts offer day passes and most offer half-day pass or night passes. Students can compare resorts and prices at skiutah.com.
Brighton Ski Resort is about an hour from Provo toward the top of Big Cottonwood Canyon. Day passes cost $72.
Jesse Johnson, a ski liftee at Park City, has snowboarded her whole life. During the summer she travels to New Zealand for their winter season so she can snowboard year round. Johnson enjoys snowboarding at Park City, but she also enjoys riding Brighton.
“I ride Park City because I get a free pass there,” Johnson said. “I love riding Brighton because locals ride Brighton.” She said she meets a lot of people from out of town visiting Park City to ski or snowboard during vacation.
Brighton Ski Resort offers super day passes, which offers ski time from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. for $79.
If first-time snow newbies want to learn, ski resorts offer ski and snowboard lessons. Many resorts offer lessons based on the individual’s experience. For instance, Sundance Mountain Ski Resort offers ski and snowboarding school. The lessons consist of four different riding movements that will improve skills, whether an individual is just learning or has been skiing for years.
Park City offers beginner, intermediate, expert and private lessons.
“Most college students that come and are learning for the first time don’t want to pay for lessons and just try to do the best they can,” Johnson said. “When I first started snowboarding, I took lessons. They were well worth my time and money because I learned twice as quick as my friends. A day pass is not cheap, so why would you want to spend it falling the whole day trying to get down the mountain?”
BYU students who aren’t from Utah may not have all the equipment needed to ski or snowboard. All of the ski resorts offer rentals. Outdoors Unlimited also offers rentals for BYU students and faculty members.
“The ski resorts will charge you about $30, but here you get it about half the price,” said Chris Macias, an Outdoors Unlimited employee.
Macias said it costs $12 to rent the ski package for 24 hours and $24 to rent the snowboard package for 24 hours. The ski package includes skis, ski boots and poles. The snowboarding package includes a snowboard and snowboarding boots.
Outdoors Unlimited not only offers ski and snowboarding rentals but also offers many other services. Macias said they offer ski and snowboard waxes, basic tunes and binding adjustments.
People can also buy day passes to Snowbird, Sundance, Brighton and Park City from Outdoors Unlimited. “It’s not a huge discount, but it will still save you $5 to $15 dollars on a day pass,” Macias said.
Macias said if students take an epic picture of themselves on the mountain, upload it to Instagram and tag Outdoors Unlimited in the picture, the company will offer them a percentage off on their next rental.
There are many options for BYU students to experience Utah’s snow. Some resorts open in less than a month as the weather outside gets more frightful. But it’s not so frightful for those who know how to enjoy it.