In a perfect world, for the opening day of the ski season, there would be deep powder snow, moderate temperatures and blue skies.
As it happened, Friday was such a day for three Utah ski areas.
Skiers at Snowbird, Park City Mountain Resort and Solitude enjoyed what many resort personnel are calling the "best opening in 20 years."
"People in the valley, as they look at the ground down there and see no snow, just won't believe how good skiing is up here," said Dave Fields, public relations director for Snowbird.
Snowbird has received more than six feet of snow the past two weeks. The forecast is for more storms to hit next week.
There are now four resorts open in Utah. Brighton opened a week ago.
More resorts are expected to open by next weekend.
Krista Rowles, public relations manager for Park City, said 13 inches of new powder fell overnight.
"Starting at 8:30 (a.m.) people began lining up to get on the first chairs and make first tracks in the powder," she added.
"I talked with one couple from Texas who had heard about all the snow Utah was receiving and decided to come here and try it out."
Snowbird opened two lifts and the tram; Park City opened two lifts and 12 runs; and Solitude opened three lifts.
"If we could map out our opening to start the season, this would be it," said Fields. "As soon as it started to snow, the phones started ringing. An opening like this impacts our entire season. For some reason, people remember how the snow was at the beginning more than at any other time during the season.
"Some of the people who have worked here for 30 years tell me they'd have to go back into the 1980s to remember an opening where the snow was this good."
The next scheduled opening will be Alta on Nov. 20. Brian Head is slated to open Nov. 22. Snowbasin has set a date of Nov. 23. Deer Valley always plans to open the first weekend in December. Powder Mountain announced a mid-November opening, and Beaver Mountain and Sundance have set mid-December openings but would likely open earlier if conditions allowed.
Elsewhere in the western United States, Jackson Hole in Wyoming has received 45 inches in the past month and plans a Dec. 6 opening.
There are five areas open in Colorado Arapahoe Basin, Loveland, Keystone, Winter Park and Copper Mountain.Winter Park is reporting a 25-inch, mid-mountain base with four lifts open and Copper Mountain is reporting a 20-inch, mid-mountain with three lifts open.
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