After a month of debate, on Jan. 16 the Morgan County Council approved the county’s first ski bus stop. Beginning today and continuing through April 2, a UTA bus will stop at Mountain Green’s Kent Smith Park each day at 8:23 a.m. and 10:23 a.m. on its from Davis County to Snowbasin. The bus will depart Snowbasin each day at 2:10 p.m. and 4:10 p.m. on its way to Mountain Green.
UTA will be holding a ribbon cutting ceremony tomorrow, Feb. 3, at 10 a.m. to commemorate the commencement of the seasonal bus service in the county.
Morgan County recently paid Davis County $6,536 to participate in the ski bus program. UTA is expected to print signage to be used at the Kent Smith Park ski bus stop.
Councilwoman Tina Cannon praised the agreement, saying the county should support recreational opportunities.
The Mountain Green bus stop at Kent Smith Park is only temporary this year. The county council plans to hammer out arrangements with UDOT for a more permanent bus stop next ski season. To facilitate the bus stop at the park this year, county crews removed fencing around the park on Jan. 29 to allow ample space for the bus to maneuver.
Council Chairman Ned Mecham said at a price of $4,500, the Mountain Green Sewer District originally paid to install the fence around the parking lot due to county council concerns about “the safety of those using the park and sharing the road, and the liability to the county because of the openness of the parking areas along the roadway used by the townhomes, storage sheds and the sewer district as well as the park.”
Mecham said his previous December votes against the ski bus stop were “based on the costs to the county for both removal and replacement of the fencing for a one-year bus stop.”
Morgan County will also now be responsible for removing snow from the parking lot. Councilman Robert Kilmer is worried about the added snow plowing responsibility.
“For this to be effective, the public works department would have to put county roads second, and make this a top priority,” Kilmer said. “I don’t want to see roads become a second priority just so a few kids can go skiing. The rest of the county should not suffer with their roads for a few kids to make it up the slopes. I am against it.”
Kilmer, Mecham and Councilman Roland Haslam voted against the bus stop Jan. 16, but four others voted in favor. Kilmer mentioned that in the past, residents have opposed a UTA presence in Morgan County. “Now, you are inviting them in against their wishes, to accommodate a few instead of a majority,” he said.
Councilman Austin Turner reconsidered his previous votes against approval of the ski bus after Snowbasin began selling ski tickets in Morgan County. As of Dec. 10, the Browning outlet on Morgan City’s Commercial Street began selling ski passes.
The decision was made too late for Morgan County to be included on annual Bus 677 route maps. The ski bus route began running Dec. 16, 2017, without a Morgan stop. Another ski bus, Bus 675, runs between Snowbasin and Ogden through Ogden Canyon. The busses help alleviate crowded parking conditions at Snowbasin for 74 days from Dec. 16 through April 2. Of those 74 days, Snowbasin considers 33 of them “peak” days.
Riders will have to pay $4.50 per trip, or season ski pass owners can add a season bus pass for $10.