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Early snow to open some ski resorts ahead of schedule

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SALT LAKE COUNTY - Skiers and snowboarders are gearing up to hit the slopes.

As snow blankets the Wasatch Front, ski resorts like Brighton have decided to open their lifts early this year.

"We like to brag and be the first ones to open for sure," said Jared Winkler, spokesman for Brighton Resorts.  "Come 9 a.m. Wednesday, we will be the first to operate ski lifts here in Utah."

Brighton Resorts typically beats the competition to the punch, hoping to grab media attention, and those looking to hit the slopes as soon as possible.

"It's a great day," said skier Kyle Gregory of opening day. "It's one of the best days of the season."

Winkler agreed.

"Opening day is kind of like Christmas morning for some people," Winkler said.

The lifts may not officially open until Wednesday, but that hasn't stopped the hardcore, backwoods skiers and boarders from hitting the slopes. Many hike the snow-packed backcountry to be the first on the mountain this year.

"Came up, hiked up, rode a couple rails in the trees," Gregory said, pointing off into the distance.

Ski Patrol warns backwoods skiers and boarders to be careful.

Malia Bowman with Ski Patrol said the mountain isn't fully staffed with emergency personnel until after the lifts open, and this time of year is particularly dangerous for avalanche.

"Earlier season is definitely a bit scarier," Bowman said. "We don't know what we're dealing with yet."

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