Snowbird will be the first Utah resort to open Friday, Nov. 7, the second earliest in the resort's history. A major storm system moved through the Salt Lake Valley Tuesday and Wednesday, tapering off late Wednesday, but not before dumping three feet of that light Utah powder on Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons.

Cold air moving over the warm Great Salt Lake produced a mini-storm (i.e., Lake Effect) centered over Brighton, Alta, Snowbird, and Solitude. While other areas received six inches, Cottonwood resorts saw 36 inches.

"This storm and the subsequent lake effect have provided a timely blanket of snow in Little Cottonwood Canyon," said Snowbird President Bob Bonar. "Skiing early season powder is a great way to kick off the season."

The Aerial Tram, and Gadzoom and Mid-Gad chairlifts will begin running at 9 a.m. Expected to open (and most-likely groomed) terrain includes Regulator Johnson from the top of Hidden Peak, as well as Big Emma and Bassackwards. Additional lifts and terrain will open as conditions permit.

The Snowbird Center and Creekside Lodge will open for food, merchandise, and equipment rentals. nearby Alta, which does not plan to open until Nov. 21.

Forecasts call for a warming trend through Sunday (Nov. 9) when another storm system is expected to hit.

Skiing this weekend (Nov. 8-9) will cost $62 and chair-only passes will be honored to access the Tram until additional terrain opens. Early season lodging packages are currently available starting at $99 per night through much of December. Check OnTheSnow.com regularly for news and updates on resort openings.