Utah ski resorts experiencing 'good fortune' as more precipitation hits state

Utah ski resorts experiencing 'good fortune' as more precipitation hits state

(Nick Wagner, KSL, File)

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SALT LAKE CITY — Following a round of storms that blanketed Utah last week, many resorts across the state are boasting strong snow-depth numbers.

Another pair of storms coming through the state this week may help continue to boost those numbers before temperatures are expected to rise.

Alta Ski Area in Salt Lake County led all Utah resorts with a base level at 97 inches (8 feet, 1 inch) of snow Tuesday; Snowbird reported 95 inches (7 feet, 11 inches). According to Ski Utah, the base totals at other resorts across the state, as of Tuesday, are:

  • Beaver Mountain: 72 inches (6 feet)
  • Brian Head Ski Resort: 44 inches (3 feet, 8 inches)
  • Brighton: 78 inches (6 feet, 6 inches)
  • Cherry Peak: 45 inches (3 feet, 9 inches)
  • Deer Valley Resort: 64 inches (5 feet, 4 inches)
  • Eagle Point: 35 inches (2 feet, 11 inches)
  • Nordic Valley: 16 inches (1 foot, 4 inches)
  • Park City Mountain: 66 inches (5 feet, 6 inches)
  • Powder Mountain: 49 inches (4 feet, 1 inch)
  • Snowbasin Resort: 77 inches (6 feet, 5 inches)
  • Solitude Mountain Resort: 73 inches (6 feet, 1 inch)
  • Sundance Mountain Resort: 39 inches (3 feet, 3 inches)
  • Woodward, Park City: 30 inches (2 feet, 6 inches)

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service’s National Water and Climate Center, which records snow depth and snowpack totals, didn’t have snow-depth averages available for the state; however, there are a few signs that this ski and snowboard season is doing well.

Snowpack levels, which take into account how much water is in the snow, were at or above average across the state as of noon Tuesday. That typically means snow-depth totals are at or above average across Utah, too, KSL meteorologist Grant Weyman said. Secondly, some resorts are touting the level of snow they’ve received since opening last fall.

Snowbird, for example, reports having received 321 inches, or more than 26 feet of snow since it opened on Nov. 29, which puts it on track for another above-average season. On average, the resort receives about 500 inches of snow during the ski season, but it received 711 inches last year, according to Snowbird communications manager Brian Brown. The resort reached the 300-inch mark last week, which Brown called “incredibly substantial” because of how quickly it happened.

“We were at 60% of our average total snowfall for the year — on an average year — within the first 45 days of being open,” he said.

The amount of snow Snowbird has received is something many other resorts across the state have benefitted from this ski and snowboard season, said Ski Utah director of communications Anelise Bergin.

"We're seeing excellent snowfall. Just when we thought we couldn't beat last year — just the other week, Little Cottonwood Canyon was at almost double the snow-depth base they were at the same time last year," she said. "We're already on track to have another amazing winter, which is really great."

With the good snowfall on top of last year's snow numbers, Bergin said it has led to a good number of people heading to Utah's resorts.

The amount of snow is something Brown and officials at other resorts are enjoying. "We’re all experiencing a lot of good fortune right now," he said.

More mountain snow; warmer temps headed to Utah this week

Some of Utah’s mountains are expected to get another boost over the next 24 hours thanks to a pair of weather systems passing through Tuesday and Wednesday.

The first system, which came from the southwest and moved northeast, brought rain throughout the Wasatch Front Tuesday morning into the early afternoon. The second system, which is moving in from the west is expected to drop some snow in the northern mountain areas and more rain, or a dusting of snow, in the valleys early Wednesday, Weyman said.

Adding these two storms, the mountains will do well. They’ll get a half-foot if they’re lucky. Everyone else will get minimal amounts.

–Grant Weyman, KSL TV meteorologist

“High elevations — like above 8,000 feet — could see between 4-6 inches by (Wednesday) afternoon,” he said. “Adding these two storms, the mountains will do well. They’ll get a half-foot if they’re lucky. Everyone else will get minimal amounts.”

Weyman urged motorists to use caution during Wednesday’s morning work commute, especially when using high elevation routes like the top of Parleys Canyon in Salt Lake and Summit counties, as well as the tops of Sardine and Weber canyons in northern Utah.

“It’ll slow traffic down, and it can be slick enough to cause some problems, but not earth-shattering stuff to shut down the canyons,” he said.

For those tired of the snow waves from the past couple of weeks, there is good news at least for the remainder of the week and into the weekend. The two storm systems passing through Tuesday and Wednesday will be followed by a warm front that is expected to raise temperatures across the Wasatch Front and the rest of the state.

Salt Lake City’s high may reach 50 degrees Fahrenheit on Saturday and Sunday; temperatures are expected to reach the upper 50s and low 60s in St. George this weekend, according to current weather forecasts.


Forecasts for the rest of the state can be found on the KSL Weather page.

For those hoping for more powder on the mountains, there is also good news if traditional patterns hold up. Bergin pointed out that February and March are typically Utah's snowier months. There were a few storms in April last year too. The hope is that history will continue.

“We’re really excited to see what’s going to happen when we have the two snowiest months ahead of us and we’re already at 60% of our average just barely after New Year’s,” Brown added. “If we’ve had this much snow early in the year, I think everybody has their fingers crossed that skiing and snowboarding conditions are only going to get better.”

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Carter Williams is an award-winning reporter who covers general news, outdoors, history and sports for KSL.com.


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