A large snow storm hitting Western North America has allowed skiers to make the first powder turns of the 21-22 season in Colorado and Utah.
Up to 14" (35cm) of snowfall has been reported so far, with the snow still falling.
It's unusual, but not unheard of to see such a big early snowfall, although its extent – bringing snow to the Sierras and Cascades on the West Coast is quite rare for early October.
Normally the battle to be the first area to open is fought between resort snowmaking systems, waiting for cold enough temperatures to turn them on. Last winter it was won by Wild Mountain, a Midwestern ski area in Minnesota but usually high-altitude Colorado ski areas Arapahoe Basin, Loveland or Keystone are the front runners. All three report snowmaking systems underway as well as the natural snowfall so it appears one or more will open any day now.
In the meantime skiers have been reported hiking up to make their turns, though some resorts have warned this could be dangerous with season preparation work underway on the mountain.
At Silverton Mountain in Colorado (Pictured yesterday) lucky ski patrol team members got to make first turns in the fresh powder.
"This whopper of a storm knocked out the electrical power to the region which is quite rare for Silverton, so you know it's a big one!" said a resort spokesperson, "The ski patrol of course fired up the chairlift and upon reaching the high alpine were greeted with some sweet powder turns to kick off the 2020-2021 ski season. Fresh powder feels extra special in October! The Silverton Ski Patrol was out "inspecting" this winter storm that dropped plenty of deep powder on the slopes. Fresh powder turns and smiles were in abundance as the ski patrol made the first ski turns of the 2021-22."
International leisure travel to USA is expected to be permitted again from next month after a 20 month closure due to the pandemic.