Utah’s ski resorts celebrate series of winter storms and early openings
LITTLE COTTONWOOD CANYON, Utah — Utah’s 15 ski resorts are very pleased with Mother Nature as the winter storms keep rolling in and dropping the right kind of snow.
“Nothing gets skiers and snowboarders more excited than white stuff falling from the sky, especially at the right time of year,” said Nathan Rafferty, president and CEO of Ski Utah. “So, I think we kind of nailed it. Not too early. Not too late.”
Rafferty said resorts are watching the skies and conditions on the ground and evaluating their opening dates.
“Brian Head’s open now. Solitude bumped theirs up to November 11th, and it wouldn’t surprise me if you saw some shifts in those opening dates from our resorts,” he said.
On Friday, Utah’s southernmost resort, Brian Head, made history as it celebrated its earliest opening ever.
“Our dedicated teams and Mother Nature have come together to allow us to experience the mountain in an unprecedented early season opening,” said Marilyn Butler, general manager of Brian Head, in a prepared statement.
As skiers hit the slopes at Brian Head, it also marked the start of the fourth-earliest ski season in Beehive State history.
“In our industry, nothing drives visitation like snowfall,” Rafferty said. “Skiing is big business in this state. It brings over 2.3 billion dollars worth of spending.”
And there is more snow expected this weekend and next week when the next storm approaches Utah on Monday with strong wind gusts and rain, according to KSL meteorologist Kristen Van Dyke.
By mid-week, much colder temperatures will arrive statewide to deliver snow to the mountains and lower elevations.
Officials at Snowbird in Little Cottonwood Canyon said you can feel the anticipating and energy in the air as the snow continues to fall.
“That last storm cycle and the upcoming few are really, really helping us out,” said Kelsey Johnson at Snowbird. “Everyone is so excited to kick the season off. We haven’t seen an early season start like this in quite a few years, so it’s really lovely to see.”
Snowmaking efforts only add to the white stuff arriving in the winter storm series.
“This wet, heavier snow falling in November is exactly what we need to really build that solid base,” Johnson said.
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