The weather outside is more fantastic than frightful for Utah skiers and snowboarders. And yes, on the slopes it should be perfectly delightful.
Too early for holiday song puns? Nah. Especially not when Mother Nature is in a giving mood, and it seems that she is.
Resorts in the Cottonwood Canyons reported receiving up to 17 inches of snow between Monday and Tuesday morning, including some lake effect enhancement. Plus, according to the snow forecasting site OpenSnow.com, there will be more where that came from.
Within the next five days, Alta, Snowbird, Solitude and Powder Mountain are all forecast to have 2 feet of fresh powder. Brighton could see as much as 22 fresh inches during that time, while Deer Valley, Park City Mountain, Beaver Mountain and Snowbasin will be closer to a foot and a half.
“I don’t want to jinx it and I’m keeping my expectations in check,” Evan Thayer, the OpenSnow forecaster for Utah wrote in his daily blog, “but this does have the characteristics of one of those storms where it seems like it just keeps snowing in [Lower Cottonwood Canyon].”
In Little Cottonwood Canyon, Alta reported receiving 16 fresh inches between Monday and 7 a.m. Tuesday and Snowbird reported 15 inches with snow still falling. The Utah Department of Transportation noted on its Twitter account that state route 210 is slippery and that traction laws are in effect.
In Big Cottonwood Canyon, Brighton boasted 17 inches of new snow and Solitude said it had 15 inches at mid-mountain as of 7 a.m. Tuesday. In Park City, Deer Valley reported 10 inches overnight and Park City Mountain Resort said it had 15 in the past 24 hours.
Another storm is expected to hit Sunday and next Monday. This one will be bringing what Thayer called “sloppy seconds” after it hits the Sierra Nevada range in California. Still, it could pile anywhere from 8 to 24 inches atop base depths that are already close to 200% of average for this time of year at most Utah ski areas.
Not all presents will be distributed equally.
Beaver Mountain and Cherry Peak, two of the state’s smallest resorts, have taken a wait-and-see approach to setting an opening date. Next week’s storm might push Beaver, which could get 16 inches, closer to opening. Cherry Peak won’t benefit as much from the coming storms, but the Logan-area ski hill hinted in a recent email that it planned to open soon.
Eagle Point could get about nine inches on Dec. 5, but it is not expected to waver from its announced Dec. 16 opening date. Nordic Valley, which opened Nov. 23, should get about 14 inches from that storm.
For Deer Valley and Sundance, though, the timing couldn’t be better. Earlier this month, Deer Valley said it would open ahead of schedule for just the second time in the resort’s 40-year history thanks to the bounty of early season storms. Yet those waiting in line for first chair Tuesday will also be waiting to be the first to dive into a thick, natural blanket of fresh powder. Then, after a small midweek break in the weather, a storm should settle in Friday, one day before Provo’s Sundance resort starts its lifts spinning — also nearly a week earlier than expected.
Mother Nature may have goodies for those anxious to get out at Powder Mountain, too. The resort, which does not use any snowmaking, is scheduled to open Dec. 8. However, general manager Kevin Mitchell said that’s negotiable.
“If some of the snow that’s peeking out around the corner shows up a little early,” he said, “then stay tuned for an earlier date.”
So go ahead and break out the carols along with that board or skis, because it looks like Christmas might actually be coming early in Utah.
Correction: Dec. 1, 2022, 2:25 p.m. >> Nordic Valley opened on Nov. 23. The original version of this article had an incorrect opening date.