SALT LAKE CITY — Both Brighton and Alta ski resorts are open, and Solitude and Snowbird are set to open in the next week. Skiers and snowboarders can once again ride the Utah Transit Authority ski buses to avoid traffic and parking at the resorts up Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons.
"Ski season is underway!" UTA spokesman Carl Arky said excitedly.
With the effects of the pandemic, riders can expect a bit of a twist to their ski bus ride this year.
"UTA has decided that in addition to requiring face masks, we're also going to limit the passenger load on each of our buses," Arky said.
The social distancing requirements mean fewer people on the bus and a slight increase in wait times at the bus stop.
"There could be delays of 15, maybe 20 minutes," Arky added.
With the possible delays and new health guidelines, Arky is asking riders to plan ahead and practice patience.
"We are asking our passengers and our riders to please, please be patient with us," he said. "We're going to get this system dialed in."
Nathan Rafferty, the president and CEO of Ski Utah, is sharing the same message with skiers and powder hounds alike.
"We are preaching patience and gratitude this ski season," Rafferty said. "Like everything else we do today, you need to really look ahead and do a little research before you go."
One thing people can do to avoid lines and wait times is planning out their ski week around the typical busy times at resorts.
"People just need to think a little bit differently about their ski day," Rafferty added. "Do what I did the other day. I skied in the afternoon instead of the morning just to miss some of the opening day crowds and it worked out great. I loved it."
Arky recommends heading to resorts midweek and avoiding weekend skiing if possible.
"[Come] on a Wednesday or a Thursday instead of a beautiful Sunday when everybody wants to go," he said.
In addition to requiring masks and social distancing, UTA has added extra cleanings to their buses and has installed plexiglass barriers for drivers to ensure the safety of all on board.
Arky said that although there might be delays, the measures are in place for a good reason.
"People will be able to maintain their distance, and by wearing masks and social distancing, it'll be a safer experience for everybody," he said.
Arky recommended that passengers download UTA's transit app to help plan out trips before heading to the bus stop.