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I did an interesting 75 minute ski session at Alta lastSaturday that was one of my shortest "ski days" in recent memory. Alta (God bless them) has a neat offeringwhere they allow you to purchase a $10 lift ticket to ski their Sunnysidebeginner triple chairlift any day from 3-4:30 PM. In fact, for something like $30-35 you canget a season pass to ski this lift every day at that time (some years back itwas totally free). This a fantastic wayto introduce new recruits to the sport. Ifonly more ski areas could do this!?! Inmy case, I had been snowshoeing near Alta earlier in the day with my wife(non-skier) and then I did this $10 ticket deal while she went inside theAlbion Lodge to surf the web on a laptop. I actually missed out on 15 minutes of my 90minute ticket, but I still got in four lift rides for my $10. This program is pretty popular, esp. onSaturdays and I rode the lift with many never-evers and families.
I say interesting, because the Sunnyside lift at Alta hasan 810 foot vertical and a length of 4730'. It is a detachable triple making it easy to get on and off the chair. It generally serves scenic beginner/noviceterrain with green circle runs longer than a mile, but if you ski straightunder the lift there are some short black diamond runs and glades, includingsmall cliff drops! At an honest 810 vertical it is bigger than manyof the areas I ski in the mid-Atlantic, which on a Saturday would charge youabout $80 to ski. Tip, if you areplanning on teaching a child or friend to ski for the first time, start for anhour or two on Alta's very low angle rope tows at the base area. They are free all day long, and then moveover to the Sunnyside Lift for $10 at 3 PM. This strategy would be especially pleasant on quiet weekdays. Only one problem, anybody who got introduced to our sport thisway would be spoiled for life compared to all other ski areas:-)
Sunnyside lift, photo by Jim Kenney