Utah may have the greatest snow on earth, but getting to the slopes isn’t always easy. You can drive and take your chances on steep, icy roads (while contributing to canyon congestion and winter inversion) or you can follow the lead of thousands of skiers and snowboards and ride a UTA ski bus to your favorite resort.
UTA has been offering ski bus service for more than 40 years, and the service has grown in the past decades. During the 2017-2018 season alone, UTA ski buses made 25,424 trips up and down the Wasatch Front and recorded more than 378,700 boardings. Getting thousands of snowboarders and resort employees arrive safely to their destinations can be challenging, and it takes the closely coordinated efforts of UTA supervisors, bus operators, dispatchers, resort employees and the Utah Department of Transportation to make it a reality. Read on for a glimpse of what happens behind the scenes of our ski bus service.
Before ski buses are deployed, they’re outfitted with special equipment to help them deal with snowy and icy conditions. Ski buses have special transmission and braking features that allow them to navigate steep hills. Every ski bus also has automatic tire chains that help them grip the slippery road.
Ski service supervisors keep a close eye on expected snowfall, holidays and other events that might bring large crowds to the slopes. On those days, up to nine extra buses are scheduled to help transport crowds. UTA supervisors are also stationed in the canyons, monitoring the Park-N-Ride lots, making sure that buses are running smoothly and communicating with dispatchers about traffic and road conditions.
“UTA has over 100 dedicated employees from all different departments to ensure that riders have a safe and reliable experience during the 120-day ski season. Two supervisors sit out in the storm every day from sun up to sun down to ensure skiers get up and down the mountains safely,” said UTA Bus Supervisor Bill Humphreys.
Despite our best efforts, service can be delayed, especially along the winding stretches of Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons. It only takes one vehicle collision or slide-off to force all canyon traffic – include ski buses – to grind to a halt. UTA is currently working with state and local organizations to find ways to expand Park-N-Ride space with the hopes of encouraging more people to ride the bus. We’re also working with partners to investigate other options for improving ski bus service and canyon travel. For the latest about ski bus service news and announcements, follow us here and on Facebook and Twitter.
Ski Service: What You Should Know
UTA ski bus fare is $4.50 for a one-way ticket. Download the UTA GoRide app to purchase ski bus fare right from your phone. Fare can be purchased for multiple riders using a single phone. Please note that many resorts offer free ski bus service to season passholders.
You can see our ski bus route maps and schedules here. Please note that we consolidated routes several years ago for more efficient service.
Please note that ski buses, like all other vehicles, are subject to canyon traffic conditions. Service may not run to schedule on busy or bad-weather days due to canyon delays. You can track your bus here or contact us on Twitter with questions.