Park City Mountain Resort sticks to opening date amid warm, dry spell
Park City Mountain Resort early in the week said it plans to open for the ski season as scheduled despite the area experiencing a spell of dry weather and warm daytime temperatures, an affirmation of the opening date that will be welcomed by a business community that is closely tied to the resort industry.
The resort indicated opening day will be Nov. 22, as was previously announced. The opening of the mountain resorts, though, is dependent on the weather annually. PCMR and Deer Valley Resort prefer cold, snowy conditions in the weeks leading up to their respective opening days. The recent weather, though, has been relatively dry and warm for the first half of November.
PCMR’s opening day each year is generally at greater risk of the weather than the opening of Deer Valley, which sets its first day in December. That gives Deer Valley another several weeks for natural snow to accumulate as well as more time for the snowmaking crews to operate.
PCMR on Monday said there has been “no change in plan” for the opening day. The resort also said it intends to announce next week what terrain will open on the first day. The resort has been making snow when conditions permit, and the snowmaking system was seen in operation on Tuesday morning on the slopes above the Resort Center. There was little snow, natural or from the snowmaking system, visible on Tuesday, though, on the lower slopes on the Resort Center side of PCMR.
The weather is expected to remain dry through the end of the week, according to the National Weather Service forecast early on Tuesday. The daytime temperature on Wednesday is forecast to reach 54 degrees, with the daytime temperatures expected to climb later in the week, to 59 degrees on Thursday and 57 degrees on Friday. Nighttime low temperatures are forecast to dip to 26 degrees on Wednesday night, 32 degrees on Thursday night and 32 degrees on Friday night.
Sunny conditions are forecast to stretch through Thursday while the first chance of snow is forecast on Saturday, when the National Weather Service says there is a slight chance. The slight chance of snow on Saturday is the only snow in the forecast through Monday.
A National Weather Service hydrologist who lives in the Snyderville Basin and closely tracks the area snowpack said a high-pressure weather system has pushed cold, wintry weather to the north. Brian McInerney said the high-pressure system is “parked over the West and it hasn’t really moved.”
“More of the same,” he said as he predicted the weather for the next week, adding, “What we need is a pattern shift.”
He pointed to the possibility of a weak storm on Nov. 20. At that point, McInerney said, the weather pattern could shift to one with more precipitation or the high-pressure system could reassert itself, blocking additional storms.
He said the temperatures in the higher elevations of the northern Utah mountains were well above what is typical for the first week-plus of November. McInerney said the temperatures climbed, on average, between 7 degrees and 10 degrees above what is normal for the period between Nov. 1 and Nov. 10.
“It’s difficult to make snow when it’s warm like this,” he said.
The opening of PCMR followed by Deer Valley’s opening several weeks later heralds the start of the most lucrative months of the year in the community. Businesses that closed temporarily for the shoulder season reopen, many businesses extend their days and hours of operation and lodging bookings typically climb. Employment numbers also rise as the mountain resorts, lodging industry, restaurants and other businesses with ties of some sort to the ski season staff up.
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The vote was split 3-1, with Rodney Robbins the lone dissenting vote. Adrianne Anson, Arlin Judd and Cody Blonquist voted for it; Tyler Rowser was absent because of a medical procedure.