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Utah ski resorts line up for early openings

Published November 15, 2010 9:34 am

Winter sports • Snowfall, cold temperatures enable Brighton to crank up lifts Thursday.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2010, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

All that snow the past few days is paying off — Brighton Resort has pushed its opening day up a day to Thursday.

Snowbird is also moving its first day up to Saturday, a week earlier than previously scheduled.

And with Solitude opening Friday, Utah's resorts are off to one of their earlier starts in the past decade.

"We definitely go for it as soon as we can," said Brighton spokesman Jared Winkler. "Because we've gotten the snow, it takes only a day or two to prepare the lifts. And our customers are ready. Nobody is upset we're pushing forward."

With an 18-inch base and a solid snowpack at higher elevations, Brighton is opening the Majestic and Snake Creek Express chairlifts Thursday. An adult all-day lift ticket costs $62.

Because Thursday is Veterans Day, Brighton officials also wanted to use the opener to pay tribute to the country's military forces.

So free skiing or boarding will be available to all veterans and active military personnel, Winkler said.

By no means is this the earliest opening date for Utah resorts.

In 2004, when Brighton opened Oct. 29, customers overflowed its parking lot atop Big Cottonwood Canyon.

Snowbird's Nov. 5 opening that year was its earliest ever, aided by an impressive 61-inch midmountain base.

There isn't that much snow in the Wasatch Mountains this time around, but there's certainly enough to open limited terrain at most resorts.

Accordingly, Alta is scheduled to begin operations Nov. 19, followed the next day by Park City Mountain Resort and Wolf Creek Utah in Ogden Valley.

By the important Thanksgiving weekend, the ranks of open resorts will expand to include Ogden's Snowbasin and Powder Mountain resorts, and The Canyons resort outside Park City.

Solitude's opening-day lineup includes the Moonbeam, Apex and Link lifts. Adult passes cost $49, said spokesman Nick Como.

At Snowbird, resort President Bob Bonar said "the wait is over for what is sure to be a fantastic 40th season. The combination of recent snowfall, cold temperatures and a promising forecast should help us work toward opening additional terrain leading up to Thanksgiving week."

Starting at 9 a.m. Saturday, Snowbird will operate the Tram, Gadzoom and Chickadee chairlifts. All-day lift tickets will be reduced to $64 on Saturday and Sunday ($20 for the beginner Chickadee lift).

The price will drop Monday through next Thursday to $56.

mikeg@sltrib.com

Opening dates

Brighton • Thursday

Solitude • Friday

Snowbird • Saturday

Alta • Nov. 19

Park City • Nov. 20

Wolf Creek • Nov. 20

Brian Head • Nov. 20

Snowbasin • Nov. 25

The Canyons • Nov. 26

Powder Mountain • Nov. 26

Deer Valley • Dec. 4

Sundance • Dec. 10

Eagle Point • Dec. 15

Beaver Mountain • Not set