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Brighton Opens Utah Ski Season Despite Less-Than Ideal Conditions

Photo of a sign listing the distance to Brighton Resort.
Jon Reed
Brighton Resort is Utah's first ski resort to open this season. It opened on Tuesday.

Utah’s ski season officially began Tuesday as Brighton Resort opened with two lifts and about 12 inches of mostly man-made snow.

Brighton is the first of Utah’s 15 resorts to open for 2019-2020 season – and one of a handful in the country – after making a last minute announcement Monday afternoon. 

Despite the late notice, a few hundred people made it up.

“This is a mellow crowd that we can handle,” said Jared Winkler, Brighton’s director of marketing. “It's good because it's gonna get everybody kind of a slow start and by this weekend, I'm sure we'll have all the kinks figured out and be able to handle the bigger crowd.” 

Colton Cravens, who works as a parking lot attendant at Brighton, said he didn’t find out the resort was officially opening until he saw the announcement on social media.

“It was actually kind of mania yesterday,” he said. “Everybody was kind of crazy, like everything was all over the place. And then I got the Instagram announcement yesterday confirming it.”

Part of the confusion can be blamed on the weather. After a record cold in October, November has been unseasonably warm, making conditions — and an opening date — uncertain. Despite high hopes for another record season, so far forecasts suggest less snow is coming this year. 

Photo of skiers waiting in line for the lift at Brighton.
Credit Jon Reed / KUER
A few hundred people made it to Brighton for the season opener.

Neighboring resort Solitude decided to push its opening back a week to November 29 — because of the lack of snow.

“In a season like last season, we were golden,” said Sara Huey, communications manager for Solitude. “And when the time came [Monday] to make that decision, it was decided that for the guests’ experience, it was going to be best to delay by about one week.”

Nathan Rafferty, president and CEO of Ski Utah, said a lot goes into getting a ski resort up and running, a feat even harder to balance with changes in snowfall. 

“In a perfect world, we get it early and often,” he said. “But you [also] don't want it too early. You don't want to too late [because] your resorts are still working on projects.”

Park City Mountain and Brian Head Resort are expected to open next, on Nov. 22, followed by Snowbasin Resort on Nov. 27.

Jon reports on quality of life issues, education and the economy
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