Alta, Brighton celebrate 700 inches of snowfall

Mar 23, 2023, 8:55 AM

SALT LAKE CITY — Two Utah ski resorts are celebrating a huge milestone they haven’t seen in years: hitting 700 inches of snowfall and counting.

A new banner unveiled downtown Wednesday stretches 58 feet from the ground. On the Hyatt Regency Salt Lake City hotel connected to the Salt Palace Convention Center on West Temple, the banner reaches the hotel’s fourth story and gives a good idea of what 700 inches means.

Ski Utah, Visit Salt Lake and the Utah Office of Tourism hung the banner as a celebration.

Later Wednesday, skiers crowded both Brighton and Alta — the two resorts with the 700-inch claim to fame. Their current bases sit at 162 and 199 inches, respectively.

Night skiing filled up fast as fresh flakes kept falling, putting Brighton’s year-to-date total at 718 inches after breaking 700 on Monday. The ski resort usually sees around 500 inches in a season.

Alta came in at a close second surpassing 700 inches Tuesday, and finishing with 718 inches by the end of Wednesday.

“These are some of the best conditions I’ve ever experienced,” said Dave Sherman, longtime Alta skier.

He can say that pretty confidently, considering he’s been skiing at Alta since 1975 and carving turns since the early 60s.

“I’ve skied for the last 60 years since I was 3 years old. And this is one of the highlights of all those years,” he said, as he finished up an incredible day that included hitting waist-deep pow at Snowbird next door.

Sherman isn’t exaggerating about this being one of the best years he can remember.

Andria Huskinson, Alta Ski Area communication manager, explained that 700 inches put Alta at its third highest amount of snowfall in decades — tying for third with the entire 2010 season.

They’re now inching toward a record since the resort began recording snowfall in the 1980 to 1981 season.

“The year that we’re really competing with is 81/82 and so, I think they had 748 (inches) — somewhere around there — and we’re at 713 just today,” Huskinson said. The total was later updated to 718 inches.

That’s still with a full month left to go in the season.

It’s kept crews busy this year, and Huskinson explained they’ve worked hard to keep the nearly 200-inch base groomed, even with the nearly two dozen closures of Little Cottonwood Canyon for avalanche mitigation work.

“It just means early mornings, lots of snow shoveling, lots of snow removal, lots of avalanche mitigation,” she said. “So, long hours, long days, long commutes.

Huskinson said they won’t be lengthening their season even with all the snow and will close on April 23. According to Ski Utah, Brighton will celebrate its last day of the season on April 30.

Snowbird plans to stay open daily through May 14 and weekends through Memorial Day.

Sherman, who is visiting for the week, may extend his trip to take advantage of the unforgettable, banner year.

“The powder that Utah is famous for is going on right now,” he said.

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Alta, Brighton celebrate 700 inches of snowfall