HUNTSVILLE — Forget about pumpkin patches, apple picking and trees turning colors.
The snow has fallen and ski season in Northern Utah has arrived. Snowbasin in the Huntsville area opened for the season on Friday, a day earlier than expected, after getting some four feet of snow. Powder Mountain in the Eden area is to follow suit on Saturday.
“Perfect. It’s great. Fun day,” said Brody Bohn of Las Vegas, Nevada, one of many who crowded into Snowbasin on Friday to kick off the skiing and snowboarding season.
Trevor Thompson of Farr West visited Snowbasin with his two young kids, Cameron and Boston. “We ski everyday we can if the resort’s open and I got the day off,” Trevor Thompson said.
Snowbasin had been scheduled to open on Saturday, but after getting some four feet of snow through Thursday, including 37 inches alone in the two days through Thanksgiving, officials at the resort moved things up. The Snowbasin, Powder Mountain and Nordic Valley ski resorts are big draws and key elements of Weber County’s tourist economy.
“Mother Nature helped us,” said Megan Collins, communication and events specialist for Snowbasin. About 10 people camped in tents overnight outside the main lift at Snowbasin to be first up and down the mountain.
Fourteen of Snowbasin’s 106 runs were in operation Friday, five more than anticipated thanks to the heavy snowfall, though more will open as additional snow accumulates and the season progresses. Also Friday, the resort held the grand opening for its revamped and redesigned food area, Earl’s Lodge Servery, which will feature new food items like Korean fried chicken and old-fashioned turkey pot pie.
At Powder Mountain, the Timberline and Sundown lifts will open starting Saturday, with more terrain to be opened as more and more snow falls. In a statement, General Manager Mark Schroetel also noted limits on ticket sales, 1,500 per day, to prevent overcrowding.
“With more people discovering Pow Mow every year, we had to do something radically different to preserve the Pow Mow experience,” Schroetel said. “Restricting day tickets to 1,500 per day on 8,400 acres is a totally different model than the volume model we see becoming so common in today’s ski industry and demonstrates our absolute commitment to preserving the Pow!”
Officials at Nordic Valley, also in the Eden area, didn’t immediately respond to queries Friday about when the ski resort plans to open.
‘MY SECOND HOME’
Being the first day of the season, some skiers at Snowbasin found they’ll need a bit of conditioning to get up to full speed.
“It feels great,” said Tyler Friesen, a college student from Oregon in the area to visit his parents in North Ogden for the long Thanksgiving weekend. “My legs are sore. I have to get back into it.”
Risa Bell of Layton, taking a rest in Earl’s Lodge, lauded the scenery. “It’s beautiful out there. Everybody’s just out there having fun.”
Many are eager for more runs to open at Snowbasin to spread the skiers out, preventing crowding. Mainly, though, those on hand were just excited to be on the slopes again.
“I love it, my second home,” said Cooper Williams of Layton.