Ski area operators learned a long time ago that bragging rights weren't all that important. They'll wait until they have enough of a base and natural snow, or after Thanksgiving (whichever comes first), to open to skiers for the 2009-10 ski season rather than be in a race to see who will open first.

Still, some 20 inches of snow have hit the peaks of Little and Big Cottonwood canyons and enthusiastic skiers are already hiking for turns. Facebook, Twitter and TGR are buzzing with trip reports. Be careful if you plan to join these mountain cores. Just because other people are doing it doesn't mean it's safe. Get the inside scoop at The 2009 Utah Snow & Avalanche Workshop (USAW), Sat., Nov. 7, 2009.

USAW is the venue where Utah's snow and avalanche community can brainstorm on local knowledge and history. This seminar taps into the huge load of avalanche knowledge in the state. You'll hear about historic avalanche events and new innovations from avalanche forecasters, ski patrollers, snow scientists, UDOT avalanche professionals, search and rescue personnel, mountain guides, ski industry manufacturers, backcountry skiers and snowboarders, snowmobilers, avalanche scholars, and more.

The event takes place at 1 p.m. at The Depot, located at the Gateway in Salt Lake City, Utah. The afternoon is inspired by the International Snow Science Workshop. The format will be 15-minute presentations with a 5- minute Q and A.

You have only days to digest the infoormation as the early snow piles up. These opening dates just released by Ski Utah aren't set in stone and should the weather gods unleash a massive can of whoopass on the mountains, we could be skiing earlier rather than later.

Alta: Nov. 20, 2009

Beaver: TBA

Brian Head: Nov. 21, 2009

Brighton: Nov. 16, 2009

The Canyons: Nov. 27, 2009

Deer Valley: Dec. 5, 2009

Park City Mountain Resort: Nov. 21, 2009

Powder Mountain: Nov. 28, 2009

Snowbasin: Nov. 26, 2009

Snowbird: Nov. 21, 2009

Solitude: Nov. 13, 2009

Sundance: Dec. 11, 2009

Wolf Creek Utah: TBA

More information: Resort Openings The Utah Snow and Avalanche Workshop