By Ryan Cornell
A frosty combo of cold temperatures and falling snow has helped Bryce Resort open up its slopes earlier than usual.
The Basye resort opened its skiing and snowboarding terrain over Thanksgiving weekend, just 33 days after it closed its bike park and zip line course.
Last year, the resort didn't begin opening parts of its slopes until Dec. 22. The year before that, the first day came on Dec. 16.
Doug Grayson, director of marketing at Bryce, credits an early cold snap for kick-starting the skiing season.
"Usually we aim for the first or second week in December, but getting that jump over Thanksgiving weekend, it just feels like mid-season around here," he said.
Nearly three-quarters of the mountain is now open for skiing, which he noted is a rare occurrence.
"It's only the second time that's happened in the 47 or 48 years we've been operating," he said.
Grayson said the recent snowfall has been especially helpful because last week's temperatures weren't low enough to use the snow machines. Not only have the flakes translated to better skiing, but also they've served as a useful marketing tool for the resort.
"This helps in more ways than just covering the slopes with snow and making it look pretty," he said. "It gives people the mindset of winter sports, that winter is here and that they can go skiing and snowboarding."
By Tuesday afternoon, the resort reported that it had measured 8 inches of snow within the past 72 hours. The former ski instructor described the timing as perfect.
"It can't get any better than midweek; you get a chance to lay it down and it will help the weekend out," Grayson said. "We like sunny weekends and snowy weekdays."
He estimated that there were about 200 skiers on the slopes on Saturday and said he expects the mountain to be 100 percent open by Christmas.
"We couldn't be happier with the way this winter is starting," he said. "We hope it continues."
Contact staff writer Ryan Cornell at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or email@example.com