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Richard Piatt ReportingThe word is out about the bird----Snowbird is open. Snowbird's premiere for the 2004-2005 ski season is starting with 60 inches of base, five of its 11 lifts are open.
Opening this early is important for Snowbird and the ski industry in Utah. The conditions were good, and there was nothing bad you could say about the weather today: clear, sunny, and just cool enough.
It is a place where you can look down on the hustle and bustle and smog of the city from one of the highest mountain tops on the Wasatch front. And at opening day at Snowbird, there are hundreds of people who are loving it.
Josh Robert, Snowboarder: “Ya’ know, beginning of November, look at it out here. Beautiful, beautiful, it does not get much better than this.”
Earlier than ever, they're buying season passes; they're already covered in snow; they're ready for the quest for powder and moguls, and for a sheer vertical drop.
Suzanne Fulco, Los Angeles Skier: “It’s amazing. I can’t believe the conditions. It’s like the beginning of winter. The only thing that makes it not the middle of winter are my legs.”
Even the folks at Snowbird are amazed that just a few weeks ago they were celebrating Octoberfest under balmy blue skies. Now, the blue skies are the same, but they've got between six and eight feet on the top of Mount Baldy before Thanksgiving.
Dave Fields, Snowbird Spokesman: “This is a record on all fronts. We’ve never opened this early. We’ve never had this much terrain open. We’ve never had this much snow on opening day.”
The Snowbird tram was jammed nearly every trip up. And by the end of the day, some people took their time getting back down. But in general, there were thousands thanking the weather man today.
Of course, Brighton Ski Resort opened last week, and other ski resorts will open soon. As far as Snowbird goes, they will be open Saturday and Sunday, but closed Monday thru Thursday of next week, to reopen on the weekend.