The skiing is great -- if you can get to it.
Anxious skiers from all over the country clogged the mouths of Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons Friday morning waiting for deputies from the Salt Lake County Sheriff's Department to tell them the roads were open."We'll just stand around until it opens. We've got nothing better to do" said Bob Huelskamp, an electrical engineer from Baltimore. Huelskamp is one of thousands of ski enthusiasts who flocked to Utah to spend Christmas on the slopes.
The skiers were disappointed about the closed roads, but not discouraged.
"With this much snow, it's worth the wait," said Dan Roper.
The 7-Eleven at the mouth of Big Cottonwood Canyon had no complaints either. "Business is great," clerk Dave Haygood said. Skiers nibbled on Twinkies and sipped hot chocolate while they gathered outside the store and waited for word from the deputy whose car blocked the road through Big Cottonwood.
Their eagerness made them ripe for rumor. When the deputy moved his car, skiers assumed the canyon had been open and dashed for their vehicles.
"Go get on the bus. We're leaving in a minute," one teenager shouted to his friend who was waiting in line inside the store.
Hopes were repeatedly dashed. "The road up to Big Cottonwood is closed. Please turn around," the deputy said repeatedly over a loud speaker to the cars queuing up for a dash into the canyon.
Mike Beverly was on a UTA bus on his way to his job at Snowbird earlier in the morning when the bus driver pulled over and announced that the bus just ahead had been trapped by an avalanche.
"I didn't see anything up ahead but I sure felt my heart pound when the driver said we were almost caught in an avalanche and we were turning around," he said.
When he got back down the canyon, Beverly called his boss and asked what he should do. The reply: "Take a long lunch."
Hundreds of other skiers arrived at the same conclusion and 7-Eleven was happy to sell the feast.