Brian Head Opens Early Signaling Fortuitous Start to Utah Ski Season

Brian Head has opened early this season for skiing and snowboarding. The resort began spinning lifts on Friday, November 4, the earliest the mountain in Southwestern Utah has ever done so. They’re the first resort in the state to open for the 2022/23 winter season, which has gotten off to a magnificent start with consistent early season snowfall in late October and early November and significantly more in the forecast.

The race to open is an annual tradition in Utah, typically won when a resort comes out with snow guns blazing in the service of creating a viable white ribbon of death through which to funnel frothing early season skiers and snowboarders. This fall, resorts have not only taken advantage of cool temperatures to make snow but have also benefitted from some strong early season storms to help build that crucial early season base. Brian Head, which sits at a lower latitude than its counterparts and isn’t the beneficiary of the mythical Cottonwood Canyon powder factory, isn’t typically first out of the gate. But they’ve taken advantage of fortuitous weather patterns to begin the winter.

Other resorts throughout Utah are expected to open in the coming days. Solitude plans to open Friday, November 11, with Park City Mountain and Alta following suit a week later on November 18. Snowbasin will open November 25 and Snowbird opens on November 30, with several more like Deer Valley, Nordic Valley, Sundance and Eagle Point opting for more conservative start dates in December. Notably, some resorts like Woodward Park City, Brighton, and Powder Mountain are yet to announce opening dates, but now that Brian Head has cracked the seal it likely won’t be long until others fire up the chairs.

In a continuation of the early-season trend, a major storm is expected this week with 2.25-3.25 inches of water bringing an expected total of two-to-three feet of snow in the Cottonwood Canyons. That should help motivate and jump start any resorts that have been lagging behind in their preparations for the upcoming season. Many people have been out hiking in the backcountry for early season turns, and those who continue to do so should be aware that avalanche conditions will change rapidly as new snow falls. The Utah Avalanche Center has begun posting daily forecasts for the Salt Lake region already and will do so for other regions throughout the state in the coming weeks. Consult the daily forecast and be prepared whenever skiing in the backcountry, as early seasons can be particularly dangerous.

The 2022/23 ski season is officially underway! Check back for more updates as we follow what will hopefully be an epic return to powder-filled bliss after a couple lackluster seasons. Read more outdoor coverage here.

Tony Gill
Tony Gill
Tony Gill is the outdoor and Park City editor for Salt Lake Magazine and previously toiled as editor-in-chief of Telemark Skier Magazine. Most of his time ignoring emails is spent aboard an under-geared single-speed on the trails above his home.

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