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Cottonwood Heights Journal

Plan to ski? Big changes in getting up Big and Little Cottonwood canyons

Dec 06, 2019 08:24AM ● By Harriet Wallis

Traffic nightmare in the canyons last winter / photo: Utah Adventure Journal

Last year, canyon roads were jammed with bumper-to-bumper traffic. This year's changes are aimed at solving the problem.


UTA added more ski buses in both canyons. It removed the inside ski/board bins to provide more standing room. And it eliminated some bus stops to speed up transit times. NOTE: The ski bus does NOT stop at the park-and-ride at the mouth of Little Cottonwood. That lot is now for carpoolers only.

Skiers with a resort-specific season pass or an Ikon season pass can ride the UTA ski bus free.

Or, the bus costs $4.50 to ride one way and you must have the correct amount. The driver does not give change. Click to download the UTA ski bus schedule.


Alta, Brighton and Solitude are using the ride share app that Snowbird introduced last season. The app is a high tech ride share version of sticking out your thumb.

At Snowbird, skiers who carpool or take the UTA ski bus earn R.I.D.E. points toward sweet rewards. And carpools with 3+ people get VIP parking.

(R.I.D.E. is the acronym for Reducing Individual Driving for the Environment. Download the iOS Snowbird R.I.D.E. app or the Android Snowbird R.I.D.E. app.)

At Alta, carpools with 3 or more get VIP parking in the Wildcat lot.


Solitude takes a bold step and chargea for parking. Daily fees range from $5 for cars with 4 passengers to $20 for just 1 or 2 passengers. Those with a Solitude or Ikon season pass can buy a season parking permit for $150. The permit will cost $225 for non-season pass skiers.


"Approved tires can be identified by an M+S (mud and snow) or a Snowflake symbol on the sidewall of the tire. At a minimum, snow tires must be mounted on the two primary drive wheels of the vehicle. Tires must have sufficient tread depth to be effective. No bald tires!

"Absent [of] approved snow tires (sometimes called winter tires) properly sized tire chains must be in your possession." Click for the details and fine print. There are lots of details and fine print. See the tire icons below.