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Low on snow, Alta and Solitude join other Utah resorts in delaying ski season’s opening

Warm overnight temperatures endangering Thanksgiving-weekend traditions

(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) A skier makes turns on Alta's slopes in Albion Basin, Nov. 10, 2021.

The start of Utah’s ski and snowboard season has officially been put on pause.

A third of the state’s 15 resorts hoped to have their lifts rolling by this weekend. As of Wednesday afternoon, none anticipated being open before Nov. 23, two days before Thanksgiving.

Alta Ski Area was the last to fall. It announced Wednesday afternoon that it would not meet its goal of opening Saturday. Instead it is aiming for a Nov. 24 opener.

Though many backcountry skiers have enjoyed the snow on Alta’s upper slopes over the past month and more was falling Wednesday, grass can still be seen poking through in the base area.

Park City Mountain Resort broke the seal Friday when it announced it was postponing its opener, planned for this Friday. Brian Head Resort and Solitude, both also initially hoping to be open Friday, announced this week that they would refocus on a later date. Brighton, usually one of the first to open, also will not have its lifts turning this weekend.

Brian Head has not set a new opening date, while Solitude issued a news release Wednesday noting its new target is Nov. 23 — just before the Thanksgiving holiday. Of the new anticipated opening dates, that is the earliest, but its management has promised to open even earlier if possible.

“With colder temps on the way, we will be making snow at every available window,” Amber Broadaway, Solitude’s president and COO said in the release. “If conditions justify opening earlier than November 23, we will be ready to go.”

But even those that were initially eyeing a holiday-weekend opening are also reevaluating their coverage. Snowbasin is pushing back its Nov. 24 opener to an undetermined date. Cherry Peak, which was hoping to capture the Turkey Day crowd, reset the start of its season to sometime between Dec. 10-15. Snowbird, meanwhile, is holding fast to its Dec. 1 opener but will continue to evaluate conditions, a spokesperson said.

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(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) Pre-season skiers head for Alta's slopes from the parking lot of Goldminer's Daughter, Nov. 10, 2021.

The beginning of November has been about 5 degrees warmer than average in Utah, according to the National Weather Service. That balmy stretch has melted October’s generous snowfall and overnight temperatures have been too toasty for resorts to make snow.

That began to change Tuesday, however. The National Weather Service predicts temperatures will drop back below average this week, with highs in the 40s and 50s and lows in the 20s and 30s. Solitude spokesperson Sara Huey said snow was falling at that resort Wednesday morning.

Here’s the latest on when each of Utah’s 15 resorts expects to start the 2021-22 season. This list will be updated as the openers come into focus:

Alta

Wednesday, Nov. 24

Beaver Mountain

Mid-December

Brian Head

TBD

Brighton

TBD

Cherry Peak

Friday, Dec. 10

Deer Valley

Saturday, Dec. 4

Eagle Point

Friday, Dec. 17

Nordic Valley

Early December

Park City Mountain Resort

TBD

Powder

TBD

Snowbasin

TBD

Snowbird

Wednesday, Dec. 1

Solitude

Tuesday, Nov. 23

Sundance

Friday, Dec. 10

Woodward Park City

TBD


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