On the Christmas wish list of every ski resort in Utah was snow.

They got it — in feet, not inches.

In the past 48 hours, Brighton and The Canyons received more than 3 feet of new snow. In the past 24 hours, only one of Utah's 13 ski areas received less than a foot of new snow.

And the National Weather Service is reporting that before Sunday Utah resorts could receive as much as 2 to 5 more feet of snow.

What this means is that some resorts may receive nearly as much snow heading into the new year as they did for all of last season.

Jay Burke, director of marketing at Solitude, said that by Monday the resort had received 246 inches, and since then it has received at least another foot. Another 5 feet would push the total to more than 300 inches.

"Our snow total for November last year was 30 inches, and for December it was 60 inches. Our total for all of 2002-2003 was only 377 inches," he said.

"A lot of skiers are taking advantage of the snow. I don't think we've ever had the number of people in the village as we had over the weekend."

The heavy snow at Solitude and Brighton, favorite stops for Utah skiers, means the local skiers are hitting the slopes, something many didn't do last year because of low snow levels.

"As much as it's helped to bring out the locals, it's started the phones ringing," said Kip Pitou, president of Ski Utah. "Overall, we're about even for the holidays, but from the volume of calls we've received, we expect to see higher numbers in January and February. The important thing is people know Utah has snow — and lots of it."

The same can't be said for Utah's No. 1 competitor — Colorado. The storm track, said Chris Gibson, meteorologist with the National Weather Service, has favored Utah resorts at the expense of some of Colorado's larger ski areas — Aspen and Vail.

"The way the jet stream has set up, it has created a very active storm pattern across Utah. Actually, we've only had a few breaks since Halloween. And it doesn't appear much will change through the week," he said.

The storm Monday seemed to swing up Big Cottonwood Canyon and push north. Alta, for example, received only 13 inches in a 24-hour period, where Solitude and Brighton reported 22 and 30, respectively. Park City received nearly 2 feet of new snow from the storm.

"All this snow has greatly helped our occupancy," said Dave Fields, public relations director at Snowbird. "The call volume, skier days and Web site visits are up tremendously. We had so many visits to our Web site — www.snowbird.com — our server crashed.

"The only downside is the day after Christmas we weren't able to open because of snow conditions in the canyon. Long term, however, getting this much snow will help our bookings through April."

Krista Rowles, public relations manager at Park City, said all the new snow has resulted in higher skier counts.

"People are excited. They love to see all this snow. What we've found is that people like to go where the snow is, and Utah has the snow," she said.

Utah has the snow and is expected to get more. That has brought out the skiers, which is something else that was on the wish list.


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