Early Openings for Western Resorts

The mountains of British Columbia and Alberta have gotten a blast of early-season snow. Big White is scheduled to open Nov. 13, its earliest opening since the 2001-02 season, with three lifts and five trails after 87cm (34 in.) of snow has fallen to date. Lift tickets will be 50 percent off the retail rate.

Big white glades

Nakiska opened Nov. 11 with intermediate and advanced terrain on five upper mountain trails accessed by two lifts. Sunshine Village will get things going on Nov. 14, operating one chairlift and two surface lifts. Marmot Basin is planning to start the season on Saturday as well.

With storm totals in California being measured in feet, the ski and snowboard season is getting off to its best start in years on the West Coast. Nationwide, a number of resorts are already open and more are kicking things off, starting yesterday.

Lake Tahoe has received more than two feet of snow in the past week, and snowmaking has been operating around the clock at several resorts. Alpine Meadows cranked up the lifts today, followed by Squaw Valley on Nov. 14.

Northstar and Heavenly plan to open six days earlier than expected, with first chair going up on Nov. 14, the earliest opening for each Lake Tahoe resort since 2012. Heavenly plans to open three lifts and two trails, while Northstar will be open top-to-bottom with five lifts and six trails, including a surface lift for children’s ski and snowboard lessons.

The Rockies have also seen an abundance of flakes and consistent snowmaking conditions, growing the roster of resorts opening for the season. Copper Mountain opened Nov. 11, with seven inches of fresh snow and nearly 41 acres of open terrain. Breckenridge will join the list of open resorts on Nov. 13.

Sipapu plans to be the first resort to open in New Mexico thanks to a stretch of favorable snowmaking temps, with first chair going up at 9 a.m. on Nov. 14. Lift tickets will be $25 for adults, $19 for teens and $15 for kids and seniors.

Both Aspen Mountain, Colo., and Tamarack, Idaho, will offer preview days this weekend. Aspen will operate both days, with three lifts and more than 100 acres of terrain off the top of Ajax. Skiers and riders will upload and download on the Silver Queen Gondola to access the terrain. Lift tickets are $59 adult, $329 kids. Tamarack will open for Saturday only, on beginner terrain but with some terrain park elements set up. Tickets are just $10.

After an early start in the East, operations at Killington and Sunday River have been suspended until snowmaking conditions return or natural snow blankets the trails. Resorts in the Midwest and Southeast are similarly on hold.