Ski resorts open early due to snowfall

Utah skiers are enjoying a start to the season due to the best snowpack in 18 years. According to a Ski Utah post, the last time Utah saw this much snow at the start of a season was in 2004. (Image by Aubree B Jennings via Canva)

Ski resorts are pushing back their opening dates due to the best snowpack Utah has received in 18 years.

According to a Ski Utah publication, the last time Utah saw this much snow at the start of a season was in 2004.

The snowpack is currently 247% of the average snowfall for this time of year and the same as it was on Dec. 17 of last year, according to the U.S. Department of Natural Resources Conservation Services. of Agriculture.

Snowbird is scheduled to open two weeks earlier on Nov. 18, with several more stations to follow. Alta will also open on November 18 and Brian Head, Brighton and Solitude have already started their seasons. Sundance, however, is still set to open Dec. 9.

Sundance Chief Marketing Officer Alysha Jeppson spoke about the decision and said: “We are fortunate to have had good snowmaking temperatures around the clock and are assessing conditions daily. We plan to open as soon as conditions allow it to be safe.

This graph represents the water equivalent of snowfall in Utah over the past few decades. The black line is this year’s data and the orange line is last year’s data. The max is shown in purple, with the November max taken in part from 2004. (Natural Resource Conservation Services, US Department of Agriculture)

Ski Utah representative Alison Palmintere referenced the snow and cold weather saying “it has allowed several resorts to push back their opening days to accommodate skiers and snowboarders in their favorite activities.”

BYU freshman Drew Zarbock looks forward to the opening of Snowbird due to its more challenging terrain and a childhood connection to skiing every Saturday growing up.

“The terrain is better at Snowbird, so that’s usually where I go,” he said.

Local skiers reacted to this impressive snowpack with enthusiasm for the coming season.

Andy Gosch, a BYU Junior studying genetics and genomics and a Board of Provo employee, said the snowpack will allow him to ski off-piste and off-piste safely.

“Last year the snowpack was really bad and there was a lot of avalanche danger throughout the year because of that bad snowpack at the start,” Gosch said. “Now we have a pretty solid snowpack and it looks really stable from what I’ve seen. It should be a lot more fun.

BYU student Tucker Lawrence has already noticed the differences this year and attributes that to the good base the recent snow has provided.

“I think having a base already gives them the confidence to open things up quicker,” Lawrence said.

Tucker Lawrence skis in Solitude on Nov. 17, 2022. Lawrence, a New York native, said the snow in Utah is more reliable and softer than on the East Coast. (Courtesy of Tucker Lawrence)

Lawrence, a New York native, said Utah’s snow is more reliable and softer than on the East Coast. He plans to ski Brighton, Solitude and Snowbird this season.

“I’m sure they’ll definitely open the whole mountain before Christmas, maybe even before Thanksgiving, so it’s really exciting and pretty unheard of,” Lawrence said of Solitude.

More information on ski resort conditions can be found on the Ski Utah website.

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