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Ski resorts open early thanks to November snowfall

Nov. 13, 2022
8 min read
lake tahoe snow
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Thanksgiving is more than a week away, and yet parts of the western U.S. are getting a hefty dose of winter. It's proving to be good news for skiing and snowboarding enthusiasts.

Recent snow — particularly major winter storms this week — have helped the snow base quickly pile up at some popular mountain resorts, bumping up the season-opening dates to the delight of those itching to get in a few early-season runs.

Autumn snowfall has hit several states of late from California to Utah, Idaho, Colorado and Montana. TPG managing editor of news Clint Henderson shared some images of the November winter scene in Montana this week.

While the first major U.S. ski resort opened a few weeks ago, the recent storms have allowed far more resorts to follow suit.

Ski resort operator Ikon Pass has opened — or is planning to open — 13 resorts ahead of schedule, "offering skiers and riders bonus days on the slopes," company officials said Friday. A number of lifts began running to kick off the season this weekend.

As is often the case with early or late-season skiing, the trails may not be perfect — some resorts, like Homestake Lodge in Montana, cautioned would-be visitors that they may find some "early season conditions."

Still, just the sheer opportunity to get out on the mountain in the month of November will thrill many skiers and snowboarders.

With that in mind, here are just a few of the early openings that caught our eye. If you've got a favorite resort in mind, it's definitely worth checking its website and social media pages to see if recent snowfall has helped to accelerate opening timelines.

Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe is among the regions that have gotten a heavy dose of snow in recent days.

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Heavenly, which overlooks South Lake Tahoe, had been expected to open later this month. That changed thanks to help from Mother Nature. Heavenly decided to kick off the season this weekend.

Meanwhile, north of the lake and across the state line in Nevada, Mt. Rose, which has Lake Tahoe's highest base elevation of more than 8,000 feet, opened Friday after reporting a base depth of 10 to 15 inches of snow.

Snowfall blankets a Lake Tahoe road near the California-Nevada state line. ANADOLU AGENCY/GETTY IMAGES

Utah ski resorts

Utah has seen some fresh, early-season powder as well.

Brighton Resort outside Salt Lake City moved its opening date up to Friday after receiving 31 inches of snow in 72 hours, with 60 inches since Oct. 22.

Nearby Snowbird got similarly pelted with snow in recent days, and will now open two weeks ahead of schedule, on Nov. 18.

"You asked and Mother Nature delivered," the resort said.

Related: How to ski and stay in Park City with points and miles

Colorado

Opening day at Arapahoe Basin Ski Area in October. HELEN H. RICHARDSON/MEDIANEWS GROUP/THE DENVER POST/GETTY IMAGES

Aspen Mountain and Snowmass got three feet of snow in recent days, helping make conditions ripe for an early opening. Lifts will begin running ahead of schedule on Nov. 19, meaning visitors will now be able to get in some runs the weekend before Thanksgiving.

Recent storm cycles have dumped more than three feet of snow on our slopes and brought along ideal temperatures for snowmaking—so we’ll officially start loading lifts on Aspen Mountain and Snowmass next Saturday, November 19 ❄️🎉 pic.twitter.com/CUkiLls6zG

Related: 9 of the best places to stay in Aspen

Eldora, outside Boulder, kicked off its 60th anniversary season Friday. Despite having only one run open at the outset, it's certainly good news for those ready to kick off the ski season: The opening comes a full week ahead of schedule, thanks to the recent snowfall.

Montana and Idaho

Recent snowfall in Montana. CLINT HENDERSON/THE POINTS GUY

Thanks to this week's snowfall, Lookout Pass, right on the Montana/Idaho border was able to start running its lifts this weekend. The resort welcomed its first guests of the season Saturday.

Great Divide Ski Area, northeast of Helena, had begun teasing an announcement about an opening date once the snow began to fall in Montana. Late in the week, the resort alerted its guests it would open this weekend.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Great Divide Montana (@skigd)

Bottom line

Early-season snow has proven to be great news for ski resorts and their customers alike, allowing for some runs before the leaves have completely fallen off the trees in other parts of the country.

With temperatures likely to drop even further over the coming weeks, expect to see many more resorts operating their lifts before too long.

Read more:

Featured image by ANADOLU AGENCY/GETTY IMAGES
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

    60,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $250
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees