July 4, 2011 / 4:43 PM / in 7 years

Record snow season keeps Utah ski resort open for July 4

SNOWBIRD, Utah (Reuters) - Bikini-clad skiers and snowboarders wearing shorts filled the slopes at one resort in Utah as a record-breaking snow season left plenty of white powder for Independence Day revelers to celebrate on Monday.

“It’s a totally different feel. Hawaiian-designed shirts, costumes, tank tops, bikinis and shorts. Lots of fun,” said Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort spokeswoman Emily Moench.

Balmy summer temperatures in the 70s didn’t keep the Utah resort from serving up a bit of the winter snow it’s famous for during the Independence Day weekend.

“It’s pretty awesome. I’ve skied at Mt. Hood before but this is way steeper and way fun. It’s way cool actually just living out here and be able to ski this late,” said Chicago native Evan Wasko.

Moench told Reuters the record-breaking snowfall this season means by the time lifts close down Monday afternoon, the resort will have been open for skiing 202 days in the season, eclipsing the old record in the 2004-2005 season by a single day.

Snowbird averages 500 inches of snow each season but the 2010-2011 snow year was above and beyond. The northern Utah resort totaled 783 inches of snowfall, surpassing the old mark of 688 inches set in 1983-84.

The resort had a festive look and feel to it this weekend as spring flowers, live music, hiking and summer attire combined with skiers and snowboarders making mountain runs to close out the year.

“Beautiful blue skies and the snow were really good. This is my second July 4th up here. The other one was five, six years ago when they were open. This was much better. Much more snow. It’s excellent,” said Mitch Wilkinson of Orem, Utah.

Many of the late-season skiers posed for pictures with the mountain slopes behind them while others wore souvenir red, white and blue flag tee-shirts that read, “I skied the Bird July 4, 2011.”

“It’s a good way to end the season. It’s been a great year,” said Doug James, with Powder Shots photography.

The resort is 25 miles from Salt Lake City in the Wasatch-Cache National Forest in Little Cottonwood Canyon.

Writing and reporting by James Nelson; Editing by Mary Wisniewski and Peter Bohan

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