If it snows, they will come . . . and apparently they have. Through-Christmas reports, although somewhat unofficial, show Utah ski areas might just be on a collision course with a new record.

Most resorts are reporting numbers on par or above last year's figures. And, consensus is, advanced bookings for January, February and March look very promising. Last year, Utah resorts recorded 2.8 million skier days, which was off the record year of 1992-93 by about 25,000.Most of the credit goes to one thing - snow. Or - in this case - good, early snow. More than half of Utah's ski areas were open for Thanksgiving, and a few more could have opened by then if they'd chosen to do so.

November was, in fact, the snowiest month on record. Last month, 206 inches fell at Alta, which surpassed the old record of 172. All of which elevated Utah skiing to a national high . . . especially among areas in the eastern two-thirds of the nation.

Resorts west of the Rocky Mountains have received snow, while those east of the range have not. In fact, eastern states are going through a heat spell that has melted anything frosty not locked in a freezer.

Mammoth and Alpine Meadows in California, for example, are reporting depths between 84 and 125 inches.

Over the mountains in Colorado, in contrast, Aspen and Steamboat are reporting about 30 inches, and Vail is reporting a base between 24 and 30 inches.

In New York and New Hampshire, most depths range between 6 and 24 inches. Stowe, in Vermont, is reporting depths between 2 and 34 inches.

Here in Utah, after nearly two weeks of snowless weather, Alta is reporting 67 inches, Snowbird 61, Park City 55 and Brighton and Solitude 64.

Conditions this week in Utah have been, on a scale of 1-10, bouncing between 7 and 8. Very early, the snow is a little crusty, but not icy. By mid-morning, there's a nice covering, while by noon the snow is groomed enough by skiers to hold a good edge on the strongest turns.

According to Mark Menlove, president of Ski Utah, skier counts have been good, "In fact, we're up substantially in some areas compared to last year and even the prior year, which was a record for us.

"California has had good snow, but I think the California skiers will help us mid- to late-season. I think they'll be looking for a place to go, and right now Utah looks awfully good."

He said lodging reports show some places are doing better, some worse than last year. Part of this is because of the holidays falling on a weekend.

"Instead of Christmas and New Year's spread over a two-week period, this year it's weekend to weekend, or one week. But, depending how the school breaks are, I think we'll have strong numbers next week," he added.

Charlie Lansche, communications director at Park City, said skier numbers are up. "We attribute that to great early snow and the fact that we actively promoted early season skiing," he adds. "And, right now, it looks like we'll be pretty strong in January, February and March."

Lodging in the Park City area is about the same as last year. That is, there are a few rooms open, but not very many. Advanced bookings are the same for January, February and March.

"By the end of the season I see no reason why we all won't be walking around with big smiles on our faces," says Joan Calder, executive director of the Park City Chamber of Commerce.

John Bower, ski jump complex director, reports that the good snow and good skiing have spilled over and are sparking greater interest in the Utah Winter Sports Park's public ski jumping programs on weekends. "We're much busier now than we were last year at this time," he adds.

Connie Marshall, marketing director at Alta, says that with all resorts having good snow this year pressure has been spread out more this year. Wednesday was the first day the area has had to restrict the sell of ski passes this year. Typically, Alta gets the most snow and therefore gets the bulk of the early season business.

Brad Wilson, communications director at Brian Head, located east of Cedar City, says skier numbers are up significantly over last year, "mainly because of the early opening and good, natural snow. Since we opened early, people are more confident that they can book and be assured of good skiing."

Chris Allaire, communications director at Solitude, skier counts are up "dramatically" over last year.

Numbers are also up at its nordic center, "and we see it continuing through the holidays and into next week."

Overall, skiing has been good. Slopes are covered, weather has been comfortable and the surface very skiable.