Brighton, Alta breach 600 inches of snow — and there’s another powder day coming

Utah still leads the nation in snow, but Lake Tahoe resorts closing the gap after a week of unusual storms.

Five hundred inches? That was so two weeks ago. Two Utah resorts have now surpassed 600 inches of snow on the season and they won’t be stopping there.

Brighton Resort sent an email blast Thursday teasing that it was just an inch away from the milestone. It got twice that amount overnight to put it at 601 on the season so far. Alta Ski Area received 3 inches early Friday to also sit at 601 inches as of mid-morning. Each crossed the 500-inch mark on Feb. 17.

That’s by their counts, at least. SnoCountry.com, which aggregates snow reports around the country, had Alta with 588 inches as of 6:23 a.m. Friday and Brighton with 572 as of a 6:27 a.m. update. Either way, the two resorts that sit atop Big and Little Cottonwood Canyon, have far more snow than any other resort in North America.

The gap, however, is closing.

Deep piles of snow have been stacking up across California and its resorts have gained serious ground on Utah’s leaders. According to SnoCountry.com, Snowbird is now tied with Boreal of the Lake Tahoe area for third-most in the country with 541 inches. Right behind them with 539 are North Lake Tahoe resorts Palisades and Sugar Bowl and then nearby Kirkwood with 534. That pushes Solitude, which just two weeks ago firmly held the No. 4 spot, to No. 8 with 529.

Alaska’s Alyeska resort, which was No. 5 on Feb. 17, barely makes the top 15 with 442 inches.

The Utah resorts will start building toward the elusive 700-inch mark — at which point they’ll have to consider taking down records — this weekend. OpenSnow.com forecasts most of the Wasatch Mountain resorts will get about a foot on Saturday. They’re then expected to pick up a few stray inches before potentially another big storm next Friday.

“From a ski/ride perspective,” wrote OpenSnow.com Utah forecaster Evan Thayer in his blog, “Sunday is absolutely the safest bet for powder. I’d expect a general 6-12″ of snow by Sunday morning on Wasatch resorts.”