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Utah Skiing Opens With a Pow!

by andy baillargeon

Itís snowtime again in Utah and the fabled Utah quality and quantity snow is beginning to get back on track from the previous three years. Last year, Utah, and most of the country witnessed one of the worst ski years on record. Now itís time for Mother Nature to offer some redemption to us snow sport fanatics.

With all this early season bliss from above, spirits are high, and the annual ski area race for opening was won this past Thursday in Big Cottonwood Canyon by Brighton Ski Resort.

Some of the staff members of Wild Utah kept their mid-summer promise to attend Utahís ski opener no matter where it was. The turnout was good, and there was a sizable line at the ticket office early in the morning. Tickets sold for $32 and were well worth the dough. The mountain had four of seven lifts open, accessing mostly intermediate terrain; but fresh stashes of powder and steeps could be found amidst the wooded havens.

Despite about a foot of fresh snow and around a 50-inch average base, there were still core shots to be had, but only deep in the trees. We found pockets of waist deep powder and plenty of chances for carcass huckiní.

Mt. Millicent and the Great Western Express lifts, servicing mostly expert terrain, were closed. One Big Cottonwood local said it takes about 100 inches to get good coverage; if the weather trends continue, it wonít be much longer. The new Snake Creek Express and the Crest Express provided ample terrain for the opener. The trees near Doyles Dive, off Snake Creek, were no place for a timid skier. The big trees were tight and the obstacles were plentiful. But if thatís your bag dive right inójust remember your rock skis.

On the other side of the mountain, Wren Hallow offered more open tree skiing and more coverage with some nice hits for those who prefer their feet off the ground.

Brighton is a little different from your normal resort. If you want a break from the glitz of big resort life, find your way up Big Cottonwood Canyon, but donít forget cash because the Alpine Rose cafeteria wont take checks, Visa, Mastercard, or American Express. (Boyne USA better fix that soon...)