More Early Openings!

A huge number of mountain resorts across North America—from small ski areas to the biggest operations on the continent—have either already opened or plan to spin lifts by this weekend, marking an early start for most. However, a few operators are still waiting for sustained cold temps and natural snow, forcing them to push back previously announced opening dates.

Resorts in Alberta are still boasting the most open terrain in the nation, with Banff Sunshine, Lake Louise, and Marmot Basin all skiing and riding on 40-plus trails. Whistler Mountain opened Friday November 17th, an early start for the resort, with 600 acres of terrain served by five lifts. Blackcomb plans to open Nov. 23. Saint Sauveur remains the only ski area open in Quebec. Expect early openings at other resorts in the region!

In the US Rockies, only about eight resorts are open for daily operations as of today, most with limited terrain. However, Grand Targhee, Wyo., opened today with a base depth of 56 inches after five inches of fresh overnight brought its snow total to 110 inches already on the year, but it’s unclear how much terrain was available—its website says zero trails are open, and says it’s 100 percent open. Either way, it seems to have quite a bit of snow.

Some California resorts have been getting a good dose of snow as of late, especially Mammoth Mountain, which is reporting a total of 80 inches at its summit and nearly two feet at the base over the last two days.

Speaking of snow, the Pacific Northwest has been enjoying a stormy pattern this week, allowing several areas in the region to open earlier than anticipated, and some that were already open have been able to add terrain, according to Pacific Northwest Ski Areas Association president John Gifford. Mt. Baker and Timberline Lodge, Ore., are reporting nearly two feet of new snow in the last 48 to 72 hours.