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More Than an Early Season Dusting

Forget aiming for 100 ski days a year. With snowfall this early in the season, Utah, Wyoming, and Colorado’s most dedicated can get 200-plus days.
posted: 10/01/2009
Early Season 2009
by Molly Baker

I remember September, October, and November days driving up Utah’s Little Cottonwood Canyon after a day of mountain biking and 80-degree weather to find skiable amounts of snow. There is always a plethora of familiar vehicles filling a parking lot and people throwing on skins and rock skis.

Today will be that day. Receiving up to six inches already and another 20 inches forecasted, Big and Little Cottonwood will see skier traffic. Snowbird does not start tracking snow totals until November 1, but the resort has already seen dustings in August and September, in addition to this storm. “This snow may not stick around,” says Snowbird President Bob Bonar, “but it gets our customers excited and hopefully it’s the start to another great year in the Wasatch.” 

Last season Snowbird received 621 inches, providing 194 days of skiing and riding. So long to goals of skiing 100 days a year. Apparently if you live in Utah, you should aim for 200-plus days. If you prefer to let a base build, Snowbird plans on opening November 21 but could open earlier if conditions allow.             

And it's not just Utah that's getting an early taste of winter. Colorado’s Aspen and Snowmass already received a dusting of snow overnight, with temperatures dipping into the 20s. The early season craze started with The Meeting, Aspen’s collaboration of ski films, photographers, and athletes. Still on the way are TGR and Warren Miller premiers, followed by a November 26 opening date.

Wyoming got hit too. Jackson Hole residents are starting to believe the Farmer’s Almanac predictions for a snowy winter, with six inches of snow reported today. The past two seasons have been above average at the resort. The 2010 season starts November 28 and will hopefully continue the trend. At nearby Grand Targhee, they're reporting 14-plus inches at mid-mountain, with a second, strong winter storm moving through the area on Saturday.

 More snow is forecasted for Colorado, Wyoming, and Utah.


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