As snow keeps falling, resorts staying open
Skiing on Easter? How about Memorial Day? Oh, what the heck, why not on the Fourth of July?
Several Utah ski and snowboard resorts recently passed the 500-inch milestone for snowfall during the 2010-11 season, and a continued wet pattern could push the level past 600 (that's 50 feet of snow).
A series of storms hitting the state during the next three days could add another couple of feet at favorable locations like Alta Ski Area in Little Cottonwood Canyon. Alta boasts a state-leading 527 inches so far this season and will easily pass its annual average of 540.
The deep snow has already persuaded Canyons resort to extend its planned closing date by a week to April 17.
Alta, Brighton and Brian Head resorts all plan to be open through Easter Sunday. Alta will close during the week after Easter and reopen for the April 29-May 1 weekend.
Snowbird, just down from Alta, is scheduled to remain open through Memorial Day.
"Like in years past, if the snowpack is good and there is interest we will keep going beyond Memorial Day," said Snowbird spokesman Jared Ishkanian.
Snowbird has eclipsed the 600-inch mark for snow the past three years, and if last April is any indication, the Little Cottonwood Canyon resort may do it again.
"April turned out to be our snowiest month last season," Ishkanian said. "We had 144 inches alone in April of 2010."
Brian McInerney, a hydrologist with National Weather Service office in Salt Lake, said the La NiÃ±a weather pattern that usually produces better than average snowpack for the Utah mountains led to an active winter.
The storms will continue with three events occurring between Thursday and Sunday. While the valleys of Utah will see mostly rain over those days with just a smattering of snow sticking to the grass on the upper benches the high mountains will see snow piling up.
McInerney expects 4 to 8 inches during the day Thursday, with the biggest dump happening Friday morning with 8-14 inches of snow in the higher elevations. The last storm will hit sometime Saturday night with a yet unknown intensity. Projected closing dates for Utah resorts
Many Utah resorts already have surpassed 500 inches of snowfall this winter and, if the snow continues to fly, there is a chance 600 inches could be reached. Here is a list of projected closing dates, but some resorts may stay open longer if snow conditions allow.
Alta Ski Area • April 24
Beaver Mountain • March 28
Brighton Resort • April 24
Brian Head • April 24
Canyons • April 17
Deer Valley Resort • April 10
Eagle Point • April 10
Park City Mountain Resort • April 10
Powder Mountain • April 10
Snowbasin • April 10-17
Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort • Memorial Day Weekend
Solitude Mountain Resort • April 17
Sundance • April 3
Wolf Mountain • March 26
Source: Ski Utah/Salt Lake Tribune