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How to get $50 for carpooling up Little Cottonwood Canyon this winter

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The Little Cottonwood Canyon road is pictured on Nov. 9, 2022. Alta Ski Area, Snowbird Resort and Visit Salt Lake teamed up for a carpooling incentive this winter, providing $50 gas cards to some who carpool on the canyon’s busiest days.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

Planning to carpool on your way up to Alta Ski Area or Snowbird Resort? You may end up getting a $50 gas card.

The two resorts and Visit Salt Lake — the private nonprofit that promotes Salt Lake County tourism — announced a new incentive to get skiers and snowboarders to carpool in the canyon, as yet another way to reduce traffic congestion during its busiest days of the year.

Alta and Snowbird staff members will keep track of anyone who arrives at their resorts with four or more occupants in their vehicle during the busiest times, such as weekends, holidays and fresh powder days. Those who qualify are eligible to win one of $10,000 worth of gas cards this season, which breaks down to 200 cards altogether throughout the winter.

"We're thrilled to be partnering with Alta and Snowbird on this creative incentive," Kaitlin Eskelson, president and CEO at Visit Salt Lake, said in a statement Thursday. "Any time you can reduce congestion and emissions in the canyons means more time enjoying our world-class ski areas for locals and visitors alike."

The program is the latest effort to reduce traffic congestion this season, especially as the canyon remains as popular as ever, and Utah Transit Authority’s ski bus service to the canyon was cut in half by employee shortages.

Earlier this month, the Central Wasatch Commission and other groups announced the return of a ski bus "bypass" program that funds police escorts from the UTA Park and Ride lot in Sandy (2000 East and 9400 South) to the Park and Ride lot at the mouth of Little Cottonwood Canyon during days when the canyon is closed because of traffic congestion.

The program debuted as a pilot program last year, resulting in a 50-minute reduction in travel time, according to the commission.