An October storm, the rushing roar of snowmaking, and preseason job fairs all mark the beginning of another year on the slopes in the mountains of the Southwest. The announcements on the opening dates come fast and furious this time of year, and the race is on to be first in line for another season.

Utah's Solitude and Brighton resorts led the charge into the 2010-11 winter season when both Wasatch Mountain areas announced they plan to open Nov. 12.

The next weekend is expected to bring a slew of resorts in Utah and New Mexico online, with skiers and snowboarders carvin' it up at Alta  Nov. 19, and Snowbird, Park City Mountain Resort, Brian Head, and Wolf Creek Utah, and Sipapu in northern New Mexico Nov. 20.

Next, New Mexico resorts begin in earnest with Red River opening for five days on Nov. 24, then running its lifts the three-day weekends of Dec. 3-5 and Dec. 10-12, before opening for good on Dec. 17.

Skiers and riders can get first turns in at Taos Ski Valley, Snowbasin, and Ski Santa Fe Thanksgiving, Nov. 25, before heading home for the traditional turkey feast.

Powder Mountain and Canyons crank up the lifts a day later, Nov. 26, for those who chose to ski or ride rather than shop on Black Friday.

Deer Valley is expected to be the next resort to open in Utah Dec. 4, followed by Sundance  Dec. 10 and Utah's newest mountain, Eagle Point, getting going Dec. 15.

Northern New Mexico's Angel Fire Resort begins turning the bull wheels Dec. 16, and Sandia Peak expects to open its slopes and trails above Albuquerque Dec. 18. Arizona Snowbowl plans to open for business on the next day, Dec. 19. Its Grand Canyon State counterpart Sunrise Park Resort is slated to start Dec. 23.

A number of resorts have chosen not to announce opening dates, pending sufficient snowfall. Among those are New Mexico's Pajarito Mountain and Ski Apache, although the latter typically opens on Thanksgiving if there's snow on the ground. Beaver Mountain in southern Utah also will wait on Mother Nature before officially opening, as will Arizona's Mount Lemmon near Tucson and Elk Ridge in Williams.