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With so much snow, why did Solitude close?

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Solitude decided months ago that April 14 would be the last day. Their seasonal workforce prefers a definitive end date. (Photo: KUTV)

With more snow on the way this week to the Wasatch Mountains, why are many of the ski resorts closing?

Solitude Mountain Resort shut down the lift on Sunday.

"I have to say it's a little bit of a heartbreak that it's coming to an end," said Sara Huey, the communications manager for Solitude.

Why so heartbreaking? There is still much snow.

"511 inches of year-to-date snowfall and it's come in such regular intervals, storm after storm," she said.

In other words, Utah's winter this year lived up to its reputation. The resorts don't have a snow issue, they have a labor issue. Solitude decided months ago that April 14 would be the last day. Their seasonal workforce prefers a definitive end date.

"We like to tell our many, many seasonal staffers their end date so that they can plan their next move," Huey said.

Ski instructors and lift operators in the Wasatch area often work different outdoor recreation jobs throughout the year.

They guide river rafting trips, supervise rock climbing and serve as counselors for summer camps. Some snowboarders work in the surfing industry on the West Coast during the warmer months.

Long-term forecasts are used to help resorts plan ideal end dates, but they're not perfect.

Still, having leftover snow is a small price to pay for a resort in a bountiful year.

"It is a good problem to have. We'd rather have it this way than have to close down parts of the mountain because the coverage is not so good," Huey said.

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