The Utah Transit Authority made changes to its ski bus routes and service that will affect the way skiers and other outdoor recreation enthusiasts access Big and Little Cottonwood canyons.
The improved Cottonwood Canyon ski service began in December, coinciding with the seasonal openings of the local ski resorts.
Earlier in the fall, UTA opened a public comment period to gather feedback on proposed changes to Cottonwood canyons ski service. These changes will increase the number of canyon ski service trips by 35 percent, give ski bus riders access to more parking and improve connections with TRAX, FrontRunner and route 220 (Highland Drive) for improved service from downtown, the University of Utah and other areas of the valley.
The new routes will also provide bus service all day, with 15-minute service during peak times. With these new changes, the total number of bus trips going up and down the canyons every day has gone from 99 to 134.
In response to public concerns, UTA agreed to start the new service on weekends, depending on the opening dates of the Cottonwood Canyon resorts. Weekend ski service to Alta, Snowbird, Solitude and Brighton started Friday, Dec. 2. Weekday service in the Cottonwood Canyons and service to other ski resorts started Dec. 17-18.
UTA worked with riders and Cottonwood Canyon ski resorts to identify ways to improve ski bus service, and found that past years’ service – with limited ski bus rider parking, overcrowded buses, a lack of midday service and inconsistent frequency – sometimes discouraged skiers and snowboarders from riding the bus. The result was more drivers on the roads, traffic congestion to and from resorts, and an increased environmental toll on our canyon roads and air.
2016-2017 Ski Service
Ski bus routes will be streamlined to three routes, routes 953, 972 and 994. Routes 951, 952, 954, 960, 962, 990 and 992 have been eliminated. Other bus and rail schedule changes happened in December, and those changes are posted at www.rideuta.com.