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.
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.
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.