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With Winter Storm Avery already powdering parts of the country with snow and more than a foot expected to accumulate in sections of the Northeast, winter has officially reached the US. And though a few die-hard skiers were able to get in early season turns at a select few ski mountains earlier in October, it’s time for the rest of us to hit the slopes.
On the East Coast, skiers should keep their eyes on Smuggler’s Notch, Jay Peak and Magic Mountain, all of which are scheduled to open on Black Friday. Meanwhile, Colorado skiers can already take their pick from almost any resort in the state, thanks to impressive snowfall this month. And though many West Coast resorts have not yet announced definitive opening dates, welcoming skiers and boarders for the holiday weekend is a common goal. (Just keep your fingers crossed and think: snow!)
Of course, a mountain’s opening date and percentage of available terrain is dependent on weather, so it’s important to check the conditions of your favorite ski resort as travel date approaches. So for travelers looking to carve more than turkey this Thanksgiving, consider heading to one of our favorite mountains resorts that will be open in time for the long holiday weekend.
Mount Snow, Vermont
On Oct. 27, Mount Snow opened with 44-acres of top-to-bottom skiing, marking the earliest open date in their 64-year history. Thanksgiving weekend will be a busy one, with fun events such as the Turkey Hangover Hill Climb and the first ever Torchlight Parade, as well as the debut of their new $22-million Carinthia Base Lodge. Vermont’s Okemo and Sugarbush resorts are also good options, both of which will be open on Thanksgiving.
Taos Ski Valley, New Mexico
Opening on Thanksgiving Day, this alpine ski resort upgraded Lift 1 this past summer, and installed a new high speed quad. Skiers will also find a new Donut Shack at the top of the Gondolita, if you have any room leftover after the Thanksgiving feast.
Arapahoe Basin, Colorado
Following the opening of Wolf Creek in south central Colorado — the first US ski resort to open this season — lifts started spinning all across the Centennial State. With a strong start to the season and a reported 27-inches of snow within the first five days of November, things are looking pretty good for A-Basin. This season, A-Basin will be opening 34 new runs (468 acres), much of which will be accessed by a brand new four-person chairlift.
Park City, Utah
With Utah’s largest snowmaking system, Park City already has their snow guns firing, putting the mountain on track for a Nov. 21 opening date. The mountain has a full itinerary of events scheduled for Thanksgiving Day, with a photo booth, DJ and a buffet stocked with apple cider and cookies for guests who work up an appetite after a day of skiing and riding.
Loveland Ski Area, Colorado
With the lifts already spinning and early-season pricing still in effect during Thanksgiving weekend, Loveland is sure to provide a great bargain for the amount of skiable terrain that will be available. Beginners should know that group and private lessons will be available as well.
Stowe Mountain, Vermont
Stowe is anticipating top-to-bottom skiing on both the main peak and Spruce peak for their projected opening on Nov. 16. A variety of events will be taking place on Thanksgiving day and throughout the weekend, including the fourth annual Turkey Skate at Stowe Arena and Thanksgiving Dinner at the Green Mountain Inn.
California skiers and riders will be happy to know that Mammoth has opened for the season, and has a fun weekend planned for Thanksgiving. In addition to a rail jam and slalom scheduled for Sunday, Nov. 25, the resort will be hosting Thanksgiving dinners, a “turkey trot,” a holiday tree lighting and other family-friendly events.
Cranmore, New Hampshire
A local favorite, Cranmore Mountain is scheduled to open on Saturday, Nov. 17 — the earliest opening in the resort’s history. While it’s a smaller mountain, their location right in downtown North Conway makes it a great option for families looking to escape to a classic New England mountain town for the weekend.
Wildcat, New Hampshire
Located in one of the most reliable areas for snow in New Hampshire, Wildcat is usually a surefire bet for some Thanksgiving turns, and this year is no exception. While this skier’s hill doesn’t have a ton of events lined up for the weekend, there is an early-season rail jam happening on Saturday, Nov. 24 that only requires a donation of three dollars or three canned food items to enter.
Often claiming the longest ski season in the east, and one of the longest in the country, it’s no surprise that Killington has been open seven days per week since Oct. 19. In addition to top-to-bottom skiing on Thanksgiving and throughout the weekend, Killington will also be hosting the Audi FIS World Cup Race from Nov. 23 to 25, which is a free event with live music.
With a reported 80 inches of snowfall since the beginning of the month, Breck decided to open the mountain on Nov. 7 for skiing and riding. Even with only 22% of their terrain currently available, there is still be a total of 628 skiable acres. The outlook for Thanksgiving weekend is promising.
Mount Baker, Washington
Baker is often one of the first ski mountains to open in the Pacific Northwest each year. Northwesterners are still patiently awaiting the necessary snowfall the mountain needs before turning on their lifts. Although this resort is usually open by Thanksgiving, it may be wise to keep your eyes on the weather forecast.
Sunday River, Maine
Thanks to their upgraded snowmaking system, Sunday River was able to open on Oct. 19. With one storm after the next battering the Northeast, the forecasts looks promising for Thanksgiving weekend at Sunday River. The resort will be hosting a Thanksgiving dinner at Camp at the Grand Summit Hotel, and those who plan on sticking around for the weekend will also be invited to enjoy fireworks on Saturday evening. Sugarloaf Mountain, in the Carrabassett Valley, will also be open by Thanksgiving.
Mount Bachelor, Oregon
While opening day is tentatively scheduled for Thanksgiving weekend, the exact date is still to be determined. Bachelor can be a great option depending on the weather, but we definitely recommend keeping your eyes on their conditions report before booking any travel plans.
Northstar is planning to open for the season on Nov. 16, adding another West Coast option to the list. This year, the addition of 24 new low-energy snow guns along twin trails should give skiers and riders more confidence that there will be early season snow under their feet.
Stratton Mountain, Vermont
Stratton has a variety of events for skiers and non-skiers alike during their opening weekend, which is on-track to start Thanksgiving day. In addition to Black Friday sales at retailers throughout Stratton Village, the mountain will have a used gear sale, yoga meet-ups, a tree-lighting ceremony and a ski film screening, among other activities.
Aspen Snowmass, Colorado
Thanks to more than 20 inches of snow during recent winter storm cycles and temperatures that support snowmaking, Aspen Mountain will open ahead of schedule on Nov. 17 with family-friendly Aspen Snowmass just a few days behind on Thanksgiving Day. During the first few days of operation at Aspen Mountain, partial day tickets are just $68 for adults and $41 for children.
While there are no Thanksgiving festivities scheduled at Brighton, Nov. 15 marks their season opening. With a current season total of 46-inches of natural snowfall, Brighton is another great option for Utah skiers looking to get some holiday turns in this Thanksgiving.
Featured image of Breckenridge, CO by Christophe Laurenceau via Unsplash.
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