Falling Into Winter


Wrightwood, CA, Nov. 9, 2000 (SAM Magazine)--Low temperatures fromCalifornia to Utah and copious snow in the Rocky Mountains have led anumber of ski and snowboard resorts to step up snowmaking and open slopesto guests earlier than expected. For many other resorts, the recent weathermeans, at the very least, the ability to open as scheduled.

In California, Mountain High Resort opened for skiing on three trails onFriday, November 3. Cool Santa Ana winds have allowed Mountain Highsnowmaking to get a jump on the season. Those same winds have also led toincreases in snowmaking at Bear Mountain, which opened today with one chairand two trails. To the north, snowfall has led managers at Sierra-at-Tahoeto open with two lifts and 11 trails. Soda Springs is also planning to openon Friday. It will remain open on weekends only until November 18. Borealand Alpine Meadows opened earlier.

A handful of Colorado resorts have opened or are about to in the wake of stormsthat have left three to four feet of snow in the mountains since thebeginning of the month. They include Copper Mountain, which opened November4; Ajax, which is scheduled to be open on Saturday and Sunday; Winter Park,with nine lifts and 20 trails beginning Saturday, including three at MaryJane (that's the earliest opening ever for Mary Jane). Coming off whatcould be the best early snowfall in the last 10 years, Vail Mountain isscheduled to open November 15, two days earlier than originally planned.Loveland Ski Area, Keystone and Breckenridge Ski Resort all opened inOctober.

Utah's mountains have been seeing a lot of snow over the past couple ofweeks as well, prompting some resorts to open earlier than planned.Brighton opened today; Brian Head, Snowbird and Alta were scheduled to opentomorrow; Park City Mountain Resort and Solitude planned on openingNovember 11; The Canyons on November 17; Snowbasin and Sundance onThanksgiving Day and Deer Valley on December 2.

Northwest of the Twin Cities metro area, Wild Mountain. Minn., has beenmaking snow, attempting to become the first ski and snowboard area in theMidwest to open for the season. Cold weather was expected to continuetonight, leading managers to speculate they might open the slopes tomorrow.