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White stuff delivers cheer to ski resorts

Visitors from Los Angeles gather for a photograph Friday outside Stein Eriksen Lodge at Park City.
Visitors from Los Angeles gather for a photograph Friday outside Stein Eriksen Lodge at Park City.
Tom Smart, Deseret Morning News

Ski resorts received only a few inches of snow Friday, but it was a welcome sign of approaching winter weather.

Katie Eldridge, spokeswoman for the Canyons Resort in Park City, said "big, fluffy flakes" were falling all day Friday and temperatures had remained cold — in the mid-30s, according to the National Weather Service.

"It's finally cold out, and we love it," Eldridge said. "I don't know if anyone expected it to snow for so long. Winter's here, and we're all anxious to get the ski season started."

Mary Rowland, spokeswoman for Snowbasin, laughed as she described the weather up north. "We were so thrilled when we drove up this morning," she said. "It was all white, and I didn't have on the right shoes."

Rowland continued: "This is just a really nice start to winter."

While temperatures are expected to rise over the weekend, Monday night will bring another cold front with the possibility of snow along the benches on Tuesday, said Chris Brenchley, forecaster with the National Weather Service.

Temperatures today and Sunday could be as high as 60 degrees. Monday and Tuesday will bring temperatures in the 40s.

"So far it's fairly typical," said Brenchley. "It's a coin toss as far as the long-range forecast. It doesn't look like we'll have anything major on the horizon unless Tuesday turns out to dump a lot of snow."

Over the next seven to 10 days, temperatures are predicted to be about 50 degrees — slightly cooler than normal, according to Brenchley.

While snow has yet to hit the valley floors, the Utah Department of Transportation and other agencies and organizations are encouraging motorists to prepare for winter weather. Today is the last day of winter weather preparedness week, as proclaimed by Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr.

"It just seems like when the first storms hit, people forget how to drive in winter weather conditions," said UDOT spokesman Brent Wilhite. "There are always a lot of crashes, people driving too fast for the conditions and following too close."

UDOT is encouraging motorists to remember three things when driving during bad weather: slow down, increase following distances and be aware of surroundings.

"Pay attention to how others are driving because maybe they're not as aware as you are," said Wilhite.

Friday, UDOT had snowplows up Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons. Guardsman Pass was also closed to traffic on Friday.

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