ALTA, Wyo. - It was a big day as the Grand Targhee Resort in Alta, Wyoming, opened their 45th ski season. All of the resort's five lifts were in service today, which is unusual this early in the season.
"This is very rare and when it happens, you can see everyone's pretty excited," said skier Marvin Howard.
Large crowds were a common sight this morning as skiers waited patiently in line at the lifts.
"People were lining up at 6 a.m.," said Jennie White, a spokeswoman for Grand Targhee Resort. "We had people cooking breakfast in line."
The lifts carried skiers more than 2,000 feet just so they could make the journey back down on skies.
"I'm excited just to get up, get some blood flowing, and check out the new snow," Howard said.
The start of the ski season is good news for everyone.
Across the border in Driggs, Idaho, business is booming.
"Anytime there's a stream of cars that are going up to the ski area, it really helps," said Rich Rinaldi, who manages the Yöstmark Mountain Equipment store.
There's no shortage of customers at Dena Bjork's drive-through coffee shop.
"I've had the business probably about a week and a half and (in) just a couple days it's increased tremendously," Bjork said.
In fact, there's so much demand for Bjork's coffee, she's thinking of expanding.
"I'm even thinking about opening in the evening to be here for the skiers when they come down," she said.
For their part, resort officials say they're happy to help.
"We love to help the local community," White said. "We push lodging down there once our lodging is full, so we really, you know, we depend a lot on the valley here."
Grand Targhee is offering special early-season rates through Dec. 20. You can also get a discount with a donation to the Teton Valley Food Bank.
For more information visit www.grandtarghee.com.