Utah ski resorts welcome snow; ready for crowds

Skiers and snowboarders hit the slopes at Snowbird on Thursday. (Mark Wetzel, KSL-TV)

Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

LITTLE COTTONWOOD CANYON — Skiers, snowboarders and Utah's ski resorts were rejoicing Thursday to finally have a powerful winter storm arrive.

Park City resident Anna Grossniklaus arrived mid-day at Alta Ski Area.

"We were getting more excited as we drove up," Grossniklaus said.

After a promising October, followed by a disappointing November, those hitting the slopes were hopeful that this storm will turn the season around and that December will deliver plenty of the white stuff.

"It is incredible," Maddi McKinnon, who took a few runs before her shift as a massage therapist at Snowbird. "It is so much fun to finally have snow. I've been watching this storm all week so I am stoked."

"I'm just excited to get covered in snow," said Ian Pawlak from Salt Lake City.

With snow and excitement in the air, it's only a matter of time before ski resort parking lots and canyon roads are packed with cars.

"It was empty the past couple of weeks and now we're going to have to go through the nice canyon lines that everyone loves so much," Pawlak said.

Ski resorts said they are ready for the crowds.

"We couldn't be more excited," Andria Huskinson, communications manager for Alta Ski Resort, said. "We finally have snow after we got hardly any snow in November."

Even though Utah is experiencing a shortage of workers, especially in the leisure and hospitality sector, Alta and Snowbird say that they have enough employees to run mountain operations.

"We're all staffed up," Huskinson said. "I think we are still hiring in our food and beverage, but that's kind of normal for this time in the season."

"We're really lucky right now to have the staff needed to get the mountain open and running," Sharah Sherman, communications manager at Snowbird, said.

While they wait to hire more restaurant staff, Snowbird is requiring dining reservations during busy times. To attract more employees, Snowbird has a hiring open house planned for Dec. 16.

"We're looking for a lot food and beverage, restaurant employees," Sherman said.

Ninety minutes to the north, Snowbasin resort reports that it's nearly fully staffed and ready for the season and just announced its opening day will be Saturday.

It's a change from this summer when Snowbasin had to cancel several concert events because of severe staffing shortages in its food and beverage operations.

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