Go Skiing Now: Resorts That Open Early

Go Skiing Now: Resorts That Open Early


You don’t have to wait for the official start of winter, which is December 21, because you can start skiing months earlier. Make your favorite time of the year last as long as possible. There are plenty of early-bird areas that turn on the lifts as far forward as the end of October and early November, due to their advanced snowmaking machines or high elevation.

Go Skiing Now: Resorts That Open Early


You don’t have to wait for the official start of winter, which is December 21, because you can start skiing months earlier. Make your favorite time of the year last as long as possible. There are plenty of early-bird areas that turn on the lifts as far forward as the end of October and early November, due to their advanced snowmaking machines or high elevation.

Mammoth Mountain Ski Area, California


Season starts November 9

Skiers and snowboarders appreciate the lift system which easily connects the different peaks on the mountain. Mammoth Mountain is very high – 11,060 feet – which makes the snow season longer than many other places, until June. The resort gets more than 400 inches of snow and 300+ days of sunshine a year. This well-developed location is a bit out of the way but that makes it ideal for people who want to escape huge masses of people.

Arapahoe Basin Ski Area, Colorado

Season started October 13

Situated 68 miles west of Denver, Arapahoe is one of Colorado’s most historic ski resorts. With a timeline that goes all the way back to 1946, calling A-Basin “legendary”, as many powder hounds do, is no exaggeration at all. Arapahoe offers skiers and boarders one of the longest ski periods in all of the U.S. – the season that typically lasts from October until June or sometimes even July.

Sunday River, Maine

Season starts November 11

Sunday River has the second largest vertical drop in Maine, after Sugarloaf, and is one of the state’s most popular ski resorts. Skiers can choose from 133 trails that run across eight interconnected peaks. Sunday River boasts an advanced snowmaking operation that’s capable of covering 95 percent of its terrain. Spanning three miles, the resort is spread across 870 accessible acres that spreads across eight interconnected peaks.

Timberline Lodge, Oregon


Season stared October 7

How about swimming at 6,000 feet in a heated pool surrounded by snow-capped summits? Try the mountain hot tub and sauna afterwards. Stay in the Silcox Hut above the main lodge. It is ideal for families who want a private overnight hideout. Timberline is known for its blue terrains. About half of the resort’s trails are designed for skiers advancing to intermediate level. The resort boasts about 3,690 vertical feet.

Keystone, Colorado

Arina P Habich/Shutterstock.com

Season starts November 10

Summit County’s largest ski resort leaves out nothing when it comes to the all-inclusive destination ski vacation. The park’s three mountains—Decrum, North Peak, and the Outback—offer terrain for every level of skier, and together the trio makes up the largest night-skiing operation in Colorado. From shredding the A51 Terrain Park to cat-riding the Bergman, Erikson and Independence Bowls, there is no shortage of adventurous terrain. Keystone is also one of the best resorts for snowboarding.

Copper Mountain Resort, Colorado

Colorado_Kathy F./Yelp

Season starts November 10

Just 80 miles west of Denver sits the snowy trails and bowls of Copper Mountain and though the skiing is among the best in Colorado, there are plenty of opportunities for adventure off the slopes as well. With a history as the host of the 1976 World Cup alpine ski races and all the amenities of a modern ski resort, Copper Mountain is truly a one-of-kind Colorado snow sanctuary. Top-to-bottom terrain will be available on Ptarmigan via Excelerator lift as well as on Rhapsody and Main Vein via American Eagle lift.

Breckenridge, Colorado


Season starts November 10

Those of you who want to learn how to ski should head to Breckenridge. Home to the Dew Tour and plenty of expert terrain, the resort may not appear beginner-friendly at first, but it’s one of the best beginner mountains in the country. The mountain town offers up a great après scene, while the mountain is home to lots of beginner-friendly terrain and a ski school for riders of all levels. Four terrain parks, two halfpipes and 187 trails lie within Breck’s 2,908 acres of skiable terrain.

Wolf Creek Ski Area, Colorado

Martin S./Yelp

Season starts November 11

Located above 10,000 feet in southwest Colorado’s San Juan Mountains, it’s no wonder Wolf Creek gets so much snow—more than anywhere else in the state. Family-owned and operated since the 1930s, this mom-and-pop mountain is known for its kid-friendly vibe and nonexistent lift lines. It took a minor hit last year, failing to hit 400 inches, but this year’s looking much better.

Loveland, Colorado


Season stared October 20

The summit’s altitude of 13,010 feet allows skiers to go down the slopes on plenty of snow until the end of May. The area has more than 80 trails, leaving plenty of territory for anyone who wants it. The resort sits on the east side of the Eisenhower Tunnel and crosses the Continental Divide. With two base areas, visitors have access to 1,800 acres with an additional 100 acres of hike-to terrain. The area averages about 400 inches of snowfall a year. Lift service is offered to 12,700 feet, and the Ridge Cat now offers snowcat tours.

Trollhaugen, Wisconsin

Zeke D./Yelp

Season stared November 3

 Trollhaugen, located 50 minutes North of Minneapolis - St. Paul in Dresser, offers skiing and snowboarding on 22 runs, 4 terrain parks, a 2.5km XC trail, 10 lanes of snow tubing, and an all-season zip line park, according to On The Snow. Open until 3 a.m. every Friday in season with live music in the lounge, Trollhaugen offers guests 100 percent snowmaking and night skiing/snowboarding all season.

Grand Targhee, Wyoming


Season starts November 16

Among other things, people like the pricing – $80 for an adult and access to plenty of skiable acres. Visitors have ranked Grand Targhee high for its off-piste runs, snow, challenging trails and (no) crowds. Most skiers go there to enjoy some of the best intermediate trails and deep snow. The resort is also known for its stunning scenery, backcountry access and cat skiing. Bonus: Grand Targhee is just about 10 miles away from Grand Teton.

Mount Snow, Vermont

Season starts November 11

Mount Snow is top rated for its terrain park in the picturesque Green Mountains of southern Vermont. The resort has 80 trails, and most of them are blue. Beginners are happy there, too, because they get to ski on easy terrains starting from the 3,600-foot summit and finishing down at the base. The resort’s most famous attraction is the Carinthia, a huge area only for terrain parks. They have all kinds of jumps, rails, and a superpipe.

Stowe Mountain Resort, Vermont

Season starts November 17

This classic yet modern resort is located on Mount Mansfield, Vermont’s highest peak, and on adjacent Spruce Peak. Although it now has a tony New England vibe, the resort has New Deal origins, dating back to a Civilian Conservation Corps project in the 1930s. Unspoiled location, history and classic winter splendor – this is what you get when staying at this beautiful lodge.

Sugarbush, Vermont

Season starts November 18

Experienced skiers are drawn to Sugarbush for its expert-level slopes. The park includes two mountain areas and six distinct peaks, the largest of which is Mt. Ellen. Mt. Ellen’s top elevation reaches over 4,000 feet and it boasts one of the largest continuous vertical drops in the Northeast, 2,600 feet. Sugarbush is also home to Castlerock Peak which features Rumble Woods, a steep, wooded route infamous for its cliff drop-offs and rocky terrain. With over 100 trails and plenty of vacation packages to choose from, there’s something for everyone there.

Killington, Vermont

James W./Yelp

Season starts November 8

Killington, the nickname of which is “the Beast of the East,” is the largest ski resort in the East Coast. You can find everything there, whether you’ve never skied before or have been doing it for 30 years. The resort is home to the largest vertical drop in New England – 3,050 feet. Killington includes six mountains with a total of 155 downhill trees. The longest one, Juggernaut, is 6.2 miles. It’s a green run so you can enjoy it with anyone.

Lookout Pass Ski Area, Montana


Season started November 4, weekends only

Located on the Idaho/Montana border, the ski area is home of some of the best snow, easiest access and most affordable prices in the region, according to On The Snow. Lookout Pass was even voted the most family-friendly mountain resort in the Pacific Northwest. The resort is also home to the Lookout Pass Famous Free Ski School for kids. You'll find four lifts serving 34 named runs and acres of great tree skiing. Skiers enjoy an average of more than 400 inches of light, dry powder snow a year.

Mount Rose Ski Tahoe, Nevada

Jessica C./Yelp

Season started October 27

At 8,260 feet in elevation, Mt. Rose is highest base area in the region. With a grand-total 1,200 acres and 1,800-foot vertical drop, Rose rivals popular nearby mountains for a fraction of the cost and foot traffic. Lake Tahoe skiing is world famous for its snow-packed slopes and incredible views; Mt. Rose is Nevada’s best kept secret. The location makes travel easy for out-of-towners and the trails are divine.

Wild Mountain Ski & Snowboard Area, Minnesota


Season started October 29

Wild Mountain in Taylors Falls is usually one of the first to open for skiing and snowboarding and last to close in the Midwest, according to On The Snow. The operators have long been known for cranking the snowguns up even before Halloween. You can generally count on them to be 100 percent covered by Thanksgiving. The mountain has 26 trails spread out over 100 acres of skiable terrain and is home to a top notch ski and snowboard school.