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Westminster students react to Snowbird’s new Fast Tracks system

The Snowbird Skii resort logo in blue and greet sits in front of the snowy mountain range with trees in the distance.
The Snowbird logo sits on the Tram Deck at Snowbird Nov. 11. The Tram Deck sells food and tickets, features a retail store and is the location for tram loading, according to John Brindle, a hill maintenance and snow removal employee at Snowbird and senior environmental studies major. Photo courtesy of Erin MacInnis.

Snowbird implemented a new system called Fast Tracks Nov. 1, which allows guests to pay an extra fee to skip the lift line, according to the Snowbird website. Westminster College students said they have mixed opinions on the recent upgrade.

Snowbird is known for its steep big mountain terrain, according to Nyima Ming, a senior environmental filmmaking custom major and Snowbird season passholder.

“Based off personal opinion and no research, I think that the Fast Tracks is a corporate cash grab that is a big ‘[screw] you’ to the people that buy passes and really enjoy skiing Snowbird,” Ming said. “I think that yes, Snowbird gets busy, but I think that the pay-to-win attitude doesn’t encourage a healthy and inclusive environment. Their solution to overcrowding is to charge people for it.” 

Fast Tracks is a daily add-on option – starting at $69 per day – giving users exclusive access to dedicated express lift lanes at six of Snowbird’s quad chairs, according to the Snowbird website. 

Ming said he does not support Fast Tracks, but will continue to ski at Snowbird because of his love for the mountain.

“I ski Snowbird because I personally really, really love the terrain and the way it skis,” Ming said. “Its a lot of really cool natural ski features. They get a ton of snow every year and a ton of powder days.” 

Fast Tracks goes beyond just skipping lift lines and shifts to a compromise of accessibility, according to Alinnea Christiansen, a senior justice studies major. 

“The Fast Tracks system seems both redundant and counterintuitive,” Christiansen said. “Snow sports are already elitist and inaccessible to many people. Adding another portion of superiority takes away the equal opportunity that used to exist on the mountain.”

John Brindle sits in a red shirt in an empty room with windows overlooking the snowy hills operating the ski lift with a control panel in front of him.
John Brindle, a hill maintenance and snow removal employee at Snowbird and senior environmental studies major, runs the Gadzoom lift at Snowbird for snowmakers to get up and down the mountain Nov. 11. “Supposedly, the Fast Tracks system and its expected revenue are part of a recent resort-wide pay increase for employees,” Brindle said. Photo courtesy of Erin MacInnis. 

Riley Hayes, host at Snowbird restaurant SeventyOne and senior communication and outdoor education and leadership major, said she thinks Fast Tracks is geared towards tourists.

“Fast Tracks seems like its catered towards people who are [in town for one or two days] where they can choose to spend those extra bucks and have it be an easier experience,” Hayes said. “[It seems unrealistic for] season passholders to purchase Fast Tracks every time they go. It definitely seems like it’s prioritizing visitors and people who are coming in for small periods of time, rather than people who are there often.” 

Although Fast Tracks has received a negative response from locals, employees have already benefited from the resort’s expected increased income, according to John Brindle, a hill maintenance and snow removal employee at Snowbird and senior environmental studies major at Westminster. 

“Supposedly, the Fast Tracks system and its expected revenue are part of a recent resort-wide pay increase for employees,” Brindle said. 

A change.org petition calling for Snowbird to revoke the Fast Tracks Program collected over 200 signatures since its creation Oct. 17.

The petition states: “By signing this petition, I am asking that Snowbird remove the option to purchase a Fast Tracks Pass to its resort through any channel. […]”

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Erin MacInnis is a senior communication major. She is originally from New Hampshire, where her zeal for skiing and snowboarding began. When she isn’t on campus, you can find her in the mountains, at the skatepark, or at a thrift store.

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