Early snow brings skiers to northern Utah slopes
The lifts aren't running and the snow that fell in northern Utah mountains could soon melt.
But that didn't stop some excited skiers from making turns Wednesday in up to 30 inches of snow that fell on Powder Mountain Resort east of Ogden.
"One of our bloggers went up there skiing and it looks like a full overhead, midwinter powder day," said Ski Utah's Susie English of the dump at Powder Mountain. "We will be busy this afternoon getting the word out nationwide. After last year, there is quite a bit of pent up demand for skiing and powder skiing specifically."
More snow could be on the way, especially early Thursday in Davis and Salt Lake counties, which did not receive as much as expected out of Wednesday's storm.
"Last night and into this morning for many areas, there was less precipitation and snowfall than we expected," said Glen Merrill, of the National Weather Service's Salt Lake City office. "We got about half of what we were expecting across many areas. It was too shallow and not as intense of a [snow] band as we were anticipating would occur."
That said, some of the early snow totals were impressive for October. Randolph, for example, reported 17 inches of snow. But Snowbird received only three inches during the second of what is expected to be three rounds of storms hitting the Wasatch Front through Thursday.
Salt Lake City typically gets its first measurable snow at the airport station on Nov. 7 or 8, according to the National Weather Service.
"It snowed most of [Wednesday] morning," said Dan Butcher, who works at the Brighton Store near the top of Big Cottonwood Canyon and enjoyed a beautiful scene from the establishment's window. "We've had a lot of high clouds coming through. We've got about four inches so far."
English said Solitude has the earliest scheduled opening on Nov. 15 but that Brighton will open as soon as conditions permit. Many resorts hope to be open by Nov. 17, the weekend before Thanksgiving.
"We had a board meeting this morning and you could feel the excitement from all the resorts," she said. "This is a good start, more emotionally. People know that at this point in the season, the snow will probably melt. But it just gets people excited."
Merrill said the coldest and perhaps wettest wave was expected to hit late Wednesday night and linger through midday Thursday. The mountains north of Interstate 80 were predicted to get the most snow early, but the lake effect could bring snow to Salt Lake and Davis counties Thursday.
And it will get colder, with Thursday's high at the airport expected to hit only 40 degrees, with a low of 30. A slight warming trend will begin Friday in northern Utah, with a predicted high of around 60 by Sunday.
University of Utah football fans should plan to dress warm for Saturday night's home game against California. After the day's expected high of 53 degrees, temperatures will be in the 40s and falling through most of the "blackout" game.
In St. George, Thursday's predicted high is 66, with a low of 39. By Saturday, those numbers are expected to rise to 72 and 48, respectively.
Ski resortopening dates
Nov. 15 • Solitude
Nov. 16 • Alta
Nov. 16 • Brian Head
Nov. 17 • Park City
Nov. 17 • Snowbird
Nov. 21 • Powder Mountain
Nov. 22 • Snowbasin
Nov. 23 • Canyons
Nov. 23 • Wolf Mountain
Dec. 7 • Sundance
Dec. 21 • Eagle Point
TBA • Beaver Mountain, Brighton
Source: Ski Utah