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Jed Boal ReportingAs far as some people are concerned, the ski and snowboard season is ON! Enough snow hit the Cottonwood Canyons to lure eager riders to the slopes.
For people who play in the mountains, it often seems as though we go from hiking and biking to skiing, overnight.
We caught up with a crowd at Alta ready to hike for the first turns of the season.
That's the first run of the season for Scott Bittler. He had to take just one run to check out the snow on this October bluebird day. He says, "Didn't hit anything too nasty, so it was all worthwhile."
We hope his boss forgave him for showing up a little late.
There was a touch of snow fever in the air at Alta, too. Snowboarder Jodie Stackhouse says, "I wanted to come up and hit it. I was pretty stoked."
There's no base to speak of and no lift service, but no worries for experienced riders ready to dodge preseason obstacles. "The snow stake said 29 inches. Anything over two feet means I can ski in some places around here," says Ira Zuckerman.
Alta local Christa Schmid went up yesterday, too. She plans one hike up and a fun trip down. She says it's good exercise and that it beats the Stairmaster.
While the mid-October storm is no guarantee of a good winter, the people we talked to say it's not a bad start.
The snow guns are going, so Alta and resorts should be able to open as planned in mid-November.
"I gotta think we're looking at a 500- inch year again this year," says Alta General Manager Onno Wieringa.
With resorts closed, there's no avalanche control, so you should treat all areas as the back country. Carry a beacon, shovel and probe, and be prepared for self-rescue.
Craig Gordon with the Utah Avalanche Center says, "People don't realize there's enough snow to actually avalanche. If there's enough snow to ski or ride, there's enough snow to avalanche."
As beautiful as it is, snow means work for others. "I think most people are geared up. We're still doing some construction, so we could use some more sun," says Ryan Riggs.