Utah Ski Resorts Celebrate First Snow of 2023 Season

by Simon Naylor | Published: September 5th, 2023 |  Ski News

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — Ski resorts across Utah celebrated the first snowfalls of the 2023 ski season this week, with light snow dusting the peaks of the Wasatch mountains on Labor Day. While the traces of snow are not yet enough to open for winter operations, resorts hope the early snowfall portends excellent conditions this winter.

Snowbird Ski Resort in Little Cottonwood Canyon reported receiving light snow overnight Sunday into Monday at Hidden Peak. Snowbird shared photos on social media Monday morning showing a thin coating of snow on the ground at 11,000 feet elevation. Their Summit webcam showed snow continuing to accumulate throughout the morning.

Powder Mountain, Utah

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Nearby Solitude Mountain Resort in Big Cottonwood Canyon also posted a video from their webcam Monday morning displaying light snow falling at 10,000 feet. Though Solitude still plans to open for the season on November 17, resort officials say early snow could allow them to open earlier if conditions permit.

The National Weather Service office in Salt Lake City tweeted photos from transportation cameras on Labor Day morning revealing snow blanketing Bald Mountain Pass in the Uintah Mountains. The snow appeared to accumulate a few inches throughout the day.

Early Season Snow Welcome Sight for Ski Resorts

While the early September snow likely won't stick around long, Utah ski resorts relished the first signs of winter. Any natural snow now lessens the burden on resort snowmaking operations to open terrain later this fall.

For resort staff dreaming of winter, the snowfall builds excitement and optimism for the upcoming ski season after last year's disappointing snow totals. Most Utah ski resorts opened later than average last winter due to meager early-season snowfall. Resorts hope this week's snow foreshadows bountiful snow this winter.

At Alta Ski Resort in Little Cottonwood Canyon, the first snow last winter didn't fall until late October according to the resort's database. Other ski areas across Utah also reported below-average snowfall in October and November last year. The early season snow this year suggests winter weather may arrive sooner for Utah ski country.

La Niña Winter Could Bring Snowy Conditions

Long-range forecasts point to increased chances of above-average snowfall for Utah this winter due to La Niña conditions in the Pacific Ocean. La Niña typically enhances Utah's already excellent snow climate, bringing frequent snowstorms.

If La Niña patterns hold, skiers and snowboarders could see plentiful powder days this season. Resorts are optimistic the predictions will be verified after two consecutive winters of drier-than-normal conditions.

Ski Enthusiasts Eagerly Await Winter

Blue Skier Pants

News of the early snow had ski resort social media feeds buzzing with excitement Monday morning as skiers celebrated the unofficial start of winter.

"Let the countdown begin!" commented one eager skier on Snowbird's Facebook page. "So ready for another epic winter," wrote another.

Diehard local skiers retweeted the National Weather Service snow reports and began speculating on which ski resort might be the first to open this winter. Ski Utah, the industry trade group, reminded everyone that ski season is less than 90 days away.

Plenty of Summer Left in Utah

For hikers, bikers, and other warm-weather fans, no need to stow your summer gear just yet. This early snow likely won't last long with temperatures warming back up later this week.

Utah still has several weeks left of summer and fall hiking and biking conditions before winter takes hold in the high country. The autumn color change has not yet peaked in northern Utah's mountains.

Snow this early in September is uncommon but not unheard of in the Beehive State. The weather pattern this week remains atypical and summer conditions should return shortly.

While ski resorts celebrate the first flakes of the year, most Utahns can enjoy the last few weeks of summer before consistent snow and cold arrives in northern Utah's mountains.

Race to Open Utah Ski Resorts Underway

Among Utah's 14 ski resorts, an unofficial off-season competition emerges to see who can open first each winter. Resorts closely guard their opening dates and jockey for the coveted title of first to spin lifts each season.

Last year, Deer Valley Resort claimed the prize when they opened a limited run on October 29. The year before, Park City Mountain was first to open on November 19.

With natural snow in the mountains this week, the race is on to see if any resort can beat mid-October opening dates this year. While the early snow helped, resorts need much more snowpack to open significant terrain.

For now, skiers and snowboarders anxiously track the weather forecasts and ski resort's social media pages for signs of more snow. Utah's passionate ski bums cheer on winter's early arrival as dreams of deep powder days get closer to reality.

The snow may disappear shortly, but ski fever has officially infected Utah. Let the countdown to ski season begin!

skiing man with goggle

Key Takeaways

  • Utah ski resorts received the first snowfall of the season in early September
  • Snow excites skiers and resorts, but too early to open terrain
  • Forecasts suggest a snowy winter in Utah due to La Niña
  • Ski resorts compete to open first each winter
  • Summer weather will return shortly to Utah
  • Ski season starts in less than 3 months!
  • Early snowfall builds optimism after two below-average snow seasons
  • Natural snow now reduces the need for snowmaking later
  • Most resorts still plan to open in November barring additional snow
  • Long-range forecasts predict frequent snowstorms this winter
  • Plenty of summer hiking and biking left in Utah