Snowbird prepares for 3 to 6 feet of snowfall on the slopes

Dec 29, 2022, 10:05 PM | Updated: 10:20 pm

LITTLE COTTONWOOD CANYON, Utah — After squeezing in their last runs of the day, families gathered on the plaza to get ready for the children’s torchlight parade Thursday evening at Snowbird ski resort.

Sung Lee and Chae Yeom sat at a table with their five-year-old son, Caleb Lee-Yeom, eating s’mores and savoring the awesome day on the slopes.

“I think it was one of the best days, right?” Yeom said, turning to Lee. “Yeah, one of the best ski days for us,” Lee said. “Because we’ve never really had real powder skis in our lives.”

They were on a 10-day trip in Utah, skiing at both Park City and Snowbird. While Thursday was nice and clear, the conditions were getting ready to change.

While the Lee-Yeom family was relaxing with their treats, administrators at Snowbird were meeting to talk about what’s expected to be a massive storm coming in over the holiday weekend.

They could get a massive dumping of snow– potentially more than six feet.

“We could see anywhere from 42 inches up to 76 inches of snow. A lot of snow in the next few days,” said Kelsey James, Snowbird’s creative marketing manager.

She explained how they’re keeping critical staff members stationed on the mountain so they don’t end up stuck trying to get up or down the canyon.

“From hotel staff, and food and beverage staff, to our on-mountain patrollers and operators,” she said. “People stay up here just to make sure we have everything and everyone we need to sort of get things open and keep the resort running.”

Starting at 6 a.m. Friday, James said ski patrol will head out, and crews will begin assessing what needs to be done for avalanche control.

“We have avalaunchers, we have Wyssen Towers that are remote-operated detonators on slopes, we have our ski patrol gets out there with hand charges,” James said. “We really just make sure the slopes are safe before we open to guests.”

Some terrain may not open at all if it’s too unsafe.

James said one of the most beneficial things for crews is packing the slopes with skiers. The more people on the hill, the more they will compress the snow. She said the compact snow will make the terrain safer for the weeks to come, well after the storms have moved on.

For Lee, Yeom, and Caleb, the storm will start as their ski trip ends.

While they may miss out on the powder days, they’re glad they had sun on their last day skiing– and no injuries.

“Nobody’s hurt, and he’s having a lot of fun skiing,” Yeom said with a laugh. “So yeah, everything’s great.”

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Snowbird prepares for 3 to 6 feet of snowfall on the slopes