Utah resort moves up opening day, set to be 1st resort to open this season
Solitude Mountain Resort will open its Link lift and Easy Street run to Solitude and Ikon Pass holders beginning Friday, marking its earliest opening day in a decade
A Big Cottonwood Canyon resort is opening this weekend, partially opening its terrain, making it the first resort in the state to open this year.
Solitude Mountain Resort announced Thursday it will open its Link lift and Easy Street run to Solitude and Ikon Pass holders beginning Friday, which also marks its earliest opening day in a decade. The resort will be available for pass holders again on Saturday and Sunday before Solitude reopens Nov. 17, its original opening date.
There are no parking reservations required, as the resort’s new parking policy won't begin until next month.
Solitude's announcement comes after the resort received 11 inches of snow between Monday night and Tuesday. Travis Holland, resort spokesman, said the storm, along with cold enough temperatures to make snow, made it possible to open at least one section of the resort.
"We started looking around and realized that this section of the mountain is going to be skiable, why make our locals wait? We know, especially here in Utah, (people) are stoked to get back out into the snow," he told KSL.com. "We understand that having just the one lift and the one run is not as exciting as some people might look for, but we're going to continue to open terrain as we can."
Brian Head Resort was the first of Utah's resorts to open last year, on Nov. 4, 2022. Holland said claiming this year's award is mostly a "big feather in the cap" for the mountain operations team that helped manufacture additional snow.
Nearly 2½ feet of snow has fallen at Solitude since the start of September, but it's been scattered over relatively long periods of time. Utah's mild October also meant temperatures haven't stayed cold enough for crews to pad onto the snow count. However, there were enough periods of cold air to get enough snow to open a lift and a run this weekend.
"(The operations team) has been working around the clock and really taking advantage of the windows that allowed them to make snow," Holland said. "We haven't seen really long stretches of cold temperatures yet this winter, but we've seen enough windows and the team has absolutely killed it."
The mild conditions are also why only one run is open, though. The resort reported having a 7-inch snow base on Thursday. These same conditions also forced Brian Head to move its opening day back from this Friday to Nov. 17, conditions permitting.
Many other resorts set to open next week also acknowledge that opening dates will depend on the weather. While Holland said he's confident there will be enough snow to open on Nov. 17, he says the weather will likely determine when other runs will be available.
The only certainty is that Utahns are ready to hit the slopes.
Alta Ski Area officials told KSL.com Wednesday about half its parking lot was full with people hiking and backcountry skiing. After last year’s record-breaking season, Holland said the anticipation for this winter is off the charts.
"People are out here ready to ski, so we're going to let them," he said.