SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – Snowmaking is allowing several local resorts to open with a sluggish start to wintry weather, and the lack of early season snowpack is not stopping folks from spending.
“Conditions were great for not having snow and coming early,” said Phillip McCauley, a skier from California at Brighton Resort Tuesday.
The weather pattern has produced a few light snow storms so far this year, but skiers and boarders tell ABC 4 News they are just happy resorts are open even if they are shredding on a bulk of manmade powder.
“There’s a few icy spots but you are able to go and make some great turns and get ready for the snow that’s going to come,” said McCauley.
Brighton Resort is just coming off of its opening weekend and says turn out for opening day was great. The resort opened with more terrain than years past thanks to snowmaking efforts. Three lifts are running with five runs open. You wouldn’t be able to make snow for an entire season, but it’s become a habit to make it if we are lacking to start the season.
Remaining closed over the holiday can easily impact spending, and the outdoor industry pulls in quite a bit of money for the state of Utah. The good news? Slow starts to ski season don’t seem to be impacting spending.
Last year, resorts postponed openings, but we still pulled in $1.32 billion in skiing and snowboarding spending. It was the second-best year on record, and locals seem to continue to spend too.
“A dusting even gets people thinking about it, we’ve been really busy,” said Mike Thorpe, the general manager of the Sports Den.
The Sports Den has seen steady ski shopping since September and can always count on an influx of customers throughout the holiday season. People are getting skis and snowboards waxed right now, and the excitement doesn’t seem to wane. Thorpe thinks Utahns get excited about the change of seasons and are pretty used to weather fluctuations.
“It doesn’t seem like its affecting sales or business or anything like that because skiers are still excited about the gear,” said Thorpe.
Thorpe grew up skiing in Utah and says he’s noticed the season change since he was a kid.
“It seems like the seasons are getting pushed back a little bit. Starting a little later and the good snow coming in March, even April,” said Thorpe.
Regardless, the numbers show the industry is strong and powder hounds are patient. The Sports Den also schedules additional staff when we see natural storms due to an increase of shopping.
Our next big storm will be Thanksgiving Day, followed by a stronger storm Black Friday into Saturday. Stay with the Pinpoint Weather Team for all storm updates.