Where’s the snow?
Most Parkites are used to Utah’s weather being a little iffy.
"Last year, we started out with a big storm in early November about two feet of snow but as I’m sure you’ve heard, it was an inconsistent snow year, so although our conditions were great, it wasn’t what locals expected," said Paula Fabel, spokesperson for Park City Mountain Resort.
And this year, it looks like it’s going to be another "inconsistent snow year" for Park City resorts. The last snow occurred in early October, and only stuck for a few days.
The Canyons is scheduled to open Nov. 17 and PCMR is supposed to open Nov. 16, but it appears that might not be the case anymore.
"Hopefully, we’ll have positive weather this weekend," said Todd Burnette, spokesperson for the Canyons. "We’re still planning on [to open on Nov. 17], but I can’t give a 100-percent guarantee."
The lack of natural snow isn’t the only problem for resorts in Park City. Unless temperatures reach 28 degrees or lower on the mountain, snow machines cannot produce snow. This means The Canyons and PCMR might have to wait for cooler temperatures or a few large snowstorms.
Deer Valley Resort is not scheduled to open until Dec. 8, which spokesperson Erin Grady said has always been the plan.
"We just think we can provide a better experience for our guests [if we open that day]," Grady said of Deer Valley. "[The snow] is not an issue yet and it’s so hard to tell. We just hope we get enough snow."
Todd Burnette said the snow conditions this year are actually not too different from last year.
"The timing is no different than it’s been in the last year," Burnette said. "It’s supposed to actually start snowing tomorrow evening The plan right now is that we’re going to open. [We’ll] reassess it through the weekend and we’ll have a very good indication by Monday or Tuesday [of whether or not we can open]."
According to Weather.com, the 10-forecast for Park City calls for a 40 percent chance of snow or rain on Sunday, with partly cloudy skies and sunny days the rest of the week. Not the best news for resort management. Still, they say, they’re hoping for the best.
"We’ve had incredible snow storms when we weren’t expecting it. It’s happened in the past, so never say ‘never,’" Fabel said.
Burnette said The Canyons is focusing on making snow in the Saddleback area. Luckily for the resort, he said, temperatures have dropped low enough the past few weeks to make snow.
"We’ve gotten some colder temperatures for at least a couple hours each night," Burnette said. "With two to three more days of snowmaking [and a couple snow storms], we should be able to open."
However, unfortunately for PCMR, temperatures have not dropped low enough to make snow.
"Because we have an inversion right now, it is colder in town than it is on the mountains," Fabel said. "So folks feel the cold temperatures and may be wondering, ‘Why aren’t they making snow?’ It’s because the warm air is rising and it’s technically too warm on our mountain to make snow."
Fabel also said the resort prefers to have 70-acre feet of snow with ideal temperatures of 20 degrees for at least three continuous days before opening.
"That’s why we really are hoping for significantly colder temperatures this weekend," she said. "We wouldn’t just open, we want to [give our guests] the best experience possible."
Fabel said if PCMR is unable to open Nov. 16, the goal will be to open the day before Thanksgiving.
According to SkiUtah.com, The Canyons and PCMR receive 355 inches of snowfall per year. Deer Valley Resort receives, on average, 300 inches annually.
At least by Thanksgiving, Fabel said, folks will be able to enjoy tubing at Gorgoza Park, which she said is at a low enough altitude to make snow. The tubing park is scheduled to open on Thanksgiving Day, she said.
"It’s just so strange because people can see [Gorgoza Park] making snow, but that’s totally due to the inversion," Fabel said. "We really have to wait for Mother Nature to come through for us."
For the latest updates on all the resorts in Utah, visit thecanyons.com, pcmr.com, deervalleyresort.com or skiutah.com. For the latest weather forecast, visit weather.com.
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