The Wasatch saw its snowiest October in years with Alta Ski Resort reporting 67 inches, the most snow to fall during that month since 2004.
Skiers and snowboarders took notice, and backcountry enthusiasts flocked to the top of Little Cottonwood Canyon, flooding Alta’s parking lot with cars — for those passing by, it sure looked like the resort was open. At times there was literally a line of skiers skinning up into higher elevations under Alta’s Collins Lift, hoping to get their first taste of winter.
Resorts around the West saw similar snow totals, prompting several — including Palisades Tahoe and Mammoth in California, and Wolf Creek, Keystone and A-Basin in Colorado — to start spinning lifts in October, a rare treat for American skiers and snowboarders.
Some Utah resorts, including Solitude and Park City Mountain Resort, jumped to the front of the line and announced a Nov. 19 opening date, which would have meant skiers and snowboarders could have been hitting the slopes this Friday. But the October trends did not continue, the November weather got warm, and several resorts announced they would be pushing back their opening dates.
Here’s the latest on when Utah ski resorts will open:
- Alta: Nov. 24
- Beaver Mountain: TBA
- Brian Head: On Monday, the resort announced it, too, will push back its Nov. 19 opening because of recent warm temperatures. It has not announced an updated opening day.
- Brighton: A spokesperson says the resort hopes to open before Thanksgiving, but there is no firm date yet.
- Deer Valley: Dec. 4
- Eagle Point: Dec. 17
- Park City Mountain Resort: A resort spokesperson said the resort will have to push back the anticipated Nov. 19 date, “due to recent warm temperatures and anticipated warm weather this weekend.” The resort’s updated opening date hinges on what the weather does in the coming days.
- Powder Mountain: TBA
- Snowbasin: After announcing a Nov. 24 opening day, the resort said Tuesday the lifts won’t be open until later this winter. “Please know we will open as soon as possible,” the resort posted on Twitter.
- Snowbird: Dec. 1
- Solitude: Conditions permitting, Nov. 23. But “with colder temps on the way, we will be making snow at every available window. If conditions justify opening earlier than Nov. 23, we will be ready to go,” Amber Broadaway, the resort’s president, said in a news release.
- Sundance: Dec. 10
It’s worth noting that even on the snowiest years, most Utah resorts hold off on opening until mid- to late November anyway. Even with the October snow, the slopes in the Beehive State were still rocky, and a sudden change with the opening date would put a strain on resort employees.