UTA Ski Bus 101

Graphic by Carly Lansche

Working together with member jurisdictions, ski resorts, Save Our Canyons, Wasatch Backcountry Alliance, the Central Wasatch Commission and the Utah Transit Authority

(UTA) increased ski bus service for the 2019/2020 ski season. The goal was to more efficiently serve Utahans and visitors as they travel to Cottonwood Canyon ski resorts and the backcountry of the Central Wasatch.

This ski season, the UTA Cottonwood Canyon ski buses sped up service and added more trips in Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons. The following improvements were made:

  • A 26% increase in trips on Route 953 (to Snowbird and Alta Ski Area) thanks to funding provided by the Central Wasatch Commission.
  • A 28% increase in trips on Route 972 (to Solitude Mountain Resort and Brighton Resort) to 79 trips per day.
  • Route 972 (to Solitude Mountain Resort and Brighton Resort) no longer serves the Bingham Junction Station on the TRAX Red Line, due to high traffic congestion and delays to ski bus riders. Riders use the Midvale Fort Union Station as an alternative on the TRAX Blue Line
  • Route 953 and 994 (to Snowbird and Alta Ski Area) no longer serve the park and ride lot at the base of Little Cottonwood Canyon, due to traffic congestion and significant delays. Riders can use the park and ride lot located at 9400 South 2000 East. The Little Cottonwood Canyon park and ride is not reserved for people carpooling.
  • To increase efficiency and capacity for more riders, the ski racks have been removed from buses traveling on Routes 953, 972, & 994. Riders are advised to hold their ski gear while riding the bus.

Why ride the ski bus?

The ski bus is a wonderful alternative to driving a car to ski or board. If you have a ski pass to any of the Cottonwood Canyon resorts, the ski bus is free to ride. All you have to do is tap your ski pass at the bus door, and you can ride any of the ski buses. When riding the ski bus, you save money on gas as well as wear and tear on your car. Using your car less means you are personally helping to protect the land, air, and water that we all cherish so much.


How do I ride the ski bus?

If you have never been on the ski bus, it may feel confusing, but we have you covered. There are many ways riding the ski bus can be safer, easier, and more enjoyable than driving a car up and down the canyons.

How to pay

If you have a ski pass to any of the four Cottonwood Canyon resorts, riding the ski bus is free. This includes Ikon Pass and Ikon Base Pass holders.


Graphic by Carly Lansche

If you don’t have a ski pass, a one-way fare on the ski bus is $4.50. This fare can be paid by using exact change in cash on the bus.  Another way to pay is through using a prepaid, re-loadable FAREPAY Card from UTA. You can purchase FAREPAY cards beforehand, and you can tap on and tap off the bus with this card.

Finally, you can use UTA’s new GoRide App. This way you can pay by downloading the app to your smartphone. A debit or credit card can be input into the app and can be used to pay for one or many fares at once. You can purchase tickets on the go, or ahead of time for future use. When loading the bus, show the QR code in the app to your bus driver.

Any fare purchased for the FrontRunner, TRAX, and other bus routes can count towards your $4.50 ski bus fare.


Where to park

Ski bus etiquette

  • Lily Wetterlin riding the ski bus to backcountry ski in Big Cottonwood Canyon. Photo taken by Dani Porier.

    Make sure to arrive at your designated park and ride with time to spare, so you aren’t rushing to the bus right as it’s arriving.

  • When getting on the bus, make sure to have your ski pass, FAREPAY card, GoRide App or cash ready and accessible to make boarding the bus more efficient. Make sure to bring exact change  ($4.50 each way) if using cash to ride the bus.
  • When using a pass or card, make sure to tap off the bus when exiting!
  • Make sure to check the route number above the bus windshield to make sure you’re boarding the correct bus.
  • While riding the bus up or down canyon, make sure you are holding onto your skis and poles, or snowboard. The last thing you want is for your skis to fall on someone.
  • If you are transferring to another bus or TRAX line, get a transfer slip from the driver. If you are using a FAREPAY card your transfer card will be displayed in the app.

Ski bus schedules

  • Route 953 – Midvale Ft. Union Station to Snowbird/Alta
  • Route 972 – Midvale Ft. Union Station to Solitude/Brighton
  • Route 994 – Historic Sandy Station to Snowbird/Alta


Much of this information was referenced from the UTA Ski Bus Guide from Ski Utah. Read the article for more in-depth coverage about other UTA winter bus routes and carpooling information. And, visit the source directly by checking out UTA’s website for maps, routes, and more tips for riding the bus.


Written by Quinn Graves

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *