New bus takes students straight to slopes

N-Ski-Bus Colby Patterson
UTA buses like these take students to and from local ski resorts. Photo by Brent Uberty.

UTA buses like these take students to and from local ski resorts. Photo by Brent Uberty.

U students can now hit the slopes on the weekend without getting behind the wheel.

Utah Transit Authority provides a direct bus route from Fort Douglas to both Brighton and Solitude ski resorts for $4.50 one way. The route began operating in December 2013 and continues through the season until April 12, 2014. The U’s marketing staff hopes the program will continue for years to come.

Andrew Thompson, new media specialist in the U’s Marketing and Communication department, said the U has tried something like this before, but there were more stops involved, which slowed down the commute. The line was then discontinued.

The new route has fewer stops, which lie mostly near the bases of Big Cottonwood Canyon. The bus takes approximately 45 minutes to get to the two ski resorts. The bus operates Friday through Sunday. Thompson said it used to run every day but was not used as often during the weekdays.

“This way students are more apt to take the bus when they don’t have classes on the weekends,” said Thompson.

The UTA bus leaves campus at 8:48 a.m. in hopes students will enjoy a full day on the mountain. Meetings with UTA began last spring to organize the new express route.

UTA spokesman Remi Barron said “We’ve had some requests for this, and we know that a lot of students actually attend the U for the ski resorts.”

The department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism hold some courses off campus at Brighton, which initially prompted the new route.

“They thought it would be a good way for those students to get up to the resort,” said Thompson. “It’s more sustainable and just provides another option for all students, especially out-of-state students and international students.”

Eric Swider, a freshman in environmental engineering, lives in the dorms on campus and is excited about the simplicity the bus will provide for his weekend ski habits.

“I could just grab a crew of like four people from the dorms who ski and snowboard and be like, ‘Hey, meet me at the stop in 10 minutes. We’re heading out!’ ” he said. “I would absolutely use it!”

The bus will load students at the UTA stop on Hempstead Road by the Peterson Heritage Center and Ft. Douglas and return to the U at 5:30 p.m.

m.mckenna@chronicle.utah.edu