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Children line up to receive instruction on skiing at Grizzly Ridge, January 27, 1966. Courtesy of the Uintah County (UT) Library via Mountain West Digital Library.

Perfect Conditions

The Mountain West region has become a destination for skiing and snowboarding enthusiasts. Ski resorts offer what many term “perfect powder,” which in Salt Lake City, Utah, is produced by the lake effect. Cold air moves over the warmer water of the Great Salt Lake, water evaporates into the clouds, and more snow falls on the mountains. Beyond Salt Lake, the other mountains in the region also provide ample skiing opportunities. The Rocky Mountains are home to many famous ski locations, like Aspen and Vail in Colorado.

Skiing and snowboarding are the most popular forms of recreation during the winter months. Skiing can be divided into the categories of Nordic, including cross-country skiing and ski jumping, and Alpine or downhill skiing. Nordic skis attach at the toe but not the heel of the binding while Alpine skis attach at both the toe and heel.

Many professionals use the Mountain West regions’ numerous resorts to practice and participate in contests such as the X Games and Olympics. Salt Lake City’s 2002 Olympic facilities are still used for training, recreation, and lessons for children. Many of the sites and facilities, in Salt Lake and nearby Park City, Utah, that are not private resorts are now run by nonprofit organizations that apply for grant funding in order to maintain these facilities.