Winter has been called the happiest time of the year and it’s not just because of the holidays. There’s a lot to love about the chilly season—hot chocolate, snowmobiling and who doesn’t enjoy building snowmen? But for avid skiers and boarders, there’s one thing about winter that’s far more important than all the others and that’s enjoying some quality time on the mountain.
Whether you’re trying to improve or just looking to have some fun, getting out early in the season is a treat. Taking some turns in October and November sets you up for a great season. Not only will early tracks serve as a warm-up, but the sooner you shred, the longer your season will be.
In honor of enjoying some of the first tracks of the season, we rounded up 11 mountains across the country that will be among the first to open. Arapahoe Basin was the very first to open in the U.S. on Oct. 17 and it’s the only mountain currently open. But from Colorado to Vermont, other mountains around the country aren’t far behind. Most of the opening dates are tentative, dependent on weather, but if you don’t mind making the trip, you could be skiing much sooner than you think.
Arapahoe Basin—Keystone, Colo.
Opening day: October 17, 2014
The Black Mountain Express lift began turning at 9 a.m. on Oct. 17, bringing skiers and boarders up to the intermediate High Noon Run. They are still operating with early season conditions and this is the only skiable terrain a week after opening. The ski patrol warns of natural obstacles on the trail and is not allowing beginners to ride just yet.
Copper Mountain Resort—Frisco, Colo.
Projected opening day: November 7, 2014
Unusually warm temperatures have pushed the opening date from Oct. 31 to Nov. 7. When Copper does open, top-to-bottom terrain will be available on Ptarmigan via Excelerator lift as well as on Rhapsody and Main Vein via American Eagle lift. Easy Rider will also be open for beginner terrain. “Mother Nature is starting to release her hold on winter and we will have a great start to the 2014/15 season,” said Gary Rodgers, President and General Manager of Copper Mountain. “Delaying Opening Day was a hard decision to make, but the quality of our snow surface and the experiences of our guests are most important.”