Top Ski Resorts for Early Season Skiing out West...
Arapahoe Basin, Colorado 1st to open in 2014 and 2013
For we anxious skiers and snowboarders that just can’t wait until the official start of winter, here
are the best western ski resorts that
share our eagerness to open as early as mid October or
early November. The Rocky Mountains' high elevation, and serious snowmaking, make these top ski destinations
among the first ski resorts out west to open for skiing and riding as early as
October, with good skiing conditions by Thanksgiving and early December.
Best Early Season Ski Resorts in the West
A-Basin in Colorado is high elevation, like nearby Loveland, and often races to open the
same time as its Colorado competitor. Arapahoe opened first in the US
for skiing, October 21, 2016, October 17, 2014 and Oct 13, 2013 - 1st in the
nation. A Basin also goes late in the spring, with
parking lot beach parties out numbering the bumps on mountains.
Arapahoe Basin has
quite a following, with loyal fans making turns on Palavachini from
October to May.
Loveland in Colorado is also feverish about being the first in the country to open
for skiing, usually in October - November 1, 2014 and October 17, 2013, just days after ABasin. Sometimes there is still grass at the 10,600’
base but snow showing at Loveland’s 13,010’ summit when Loveland cranks up the
lifts and crazy skiers come out to make first tracks. Loveland is anything but
luxurious (with Highway 6 Loveland Pass running right through the resort), but
it does post one of the longest ski seasons in Colorado.
Copper Mountain With high elevation, the base is 9,712' and the summit is 12,313',
Copper Mountain opens early
- often by mi-November. Copper serves as the US Ski Team Official Training
Center, and also hosts Woodward Camp for freestyle skiers and riders, so an
early opening for skiing is a goal at Copper.
Breckenridge is referred to as Colorado’s early season secret with
serious snowmaking and high elevation, making it for a good early season trip, often opening as
early as the first week in November. Breckenridge has the highest summit
chairlift in Colorado, The Imperial Express, reaching 12,840’.
Alta Alta is a
lofty, locals paradise, high elevation skiing and a hard core following. Little
Cottonwood Canyon Utah is known for its big and frequent
natural snow. The combination is elation to Utah skiers, who are always at the
ready, when Alta opens mid-November.
Snowbird Snowbird has snowmaking, like an insurance policy. This Little Cottonwood Canon
resort gets early season dumps of dry light Utah powder, and often opens with
tons of terrain by late November. We have skied the entire mountain certain
Thanksgiving weeks – much to be thankful for.
Wolf Creek Wolf Creek Ski Resort in Southwest
Colorado has trademarked "The Most Snow In Colorado" typically getting 470' of
snow. Wolf Creek opens in October most seasons, and even hosts the US Ski Team
for early season training. This ski area is a powder gem, as most people have
never seen or skied The Wolf.
Brighton is at the top of Big Cottonwood Canyon - beyond Solitude, same elevation as
Alta, Utah, and the
same frequent snowfall as Utah’s big name resorts as well – typically allowing
for good early season conditions. Brighton isn’t fancy, but the skiing here is
Solitude in Utah actually guarantees early season snow. If you book by
mid-November an early season ski and stay at their slopeside
Inn at Solitude,
and they don’t have four or more lifts open during your vacation (prior to
mid-December) - you get a refund. Solitude is now owned by Deer Valley.
Keystone in Summit County typically opens first weekend in November.
the snowmaking king with one of the most extensive snowmaking systems in
Colorado. With downloading available (if necessary) from mid-mountain on the
River Run Gondolas, Keystone is a great place for an early season ski and stay
Squaw Valley in California is often blessed with
deep Lake Tahoe snow, Squaw opened early in 2012, October 25.
Mammoth also gets walloped with early snow and
goes into June even July for late season skiing in California.
In Canada, Lake Louise
in Banff loves to open their lifts and start the ski season in November. The
beautiful ski resort that overlooks Lake Louise hosts an early World Cup
Downhill ski race in late November or early December, so that's motivation to
get the mountain covered with snowmaking and Mother Nature's early season snow.