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Thanksgiving skiing

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 

Just moved to the US this from Europe. 

Any suggestions on where would be good to hit for early season/Thanksgiving weekend skiing? 

post #2 of 23
post #3 of 23
We have a hard enough time deciding where to send people for Christmas skiing. The normal answer is wait and see where the snow is.

Beyond that,

http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/predictions/long_range/two_class.php

And bestsnow.net
post #4 of 23

Wild Mountain Minnesota? 

post #5 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by 266mac View Post
 

Just moved to the US this from Europe. 

Any suggestions on where would be good to hit for early season/Thanksgiving weekend skiing? 

Welcome to EpicSki. 

I love your enthusiasm, but as others have said, its not always easy to know who will have great snow that early. 

 

The US is a pretty big region so it may also help to know where you are so we can help narrow down some weekend ski trip options. 

post #6 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by sibhusky View Post

We have a hard enough time deciding where to send people for Christmas skiing. The normal answer is wait and see where the snow is.

Beyond that,

http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/predictions/long_range/two_class.php

And bestsnow.net

 

That's depressing.

post #7 of 23

I wouldn't plan or make advanced reservations anywhere in the US. If you live within driving distance then if you are lucky you will get some snow, although in the best of years the conditions will be marginal. The only places that might be better, and I have no experience or actual knowledge, would be places where there is skiing on a glacier--anyone know if either Blackcomb (Canada) or Mt Hood are typically open at Thanksgiving? US resorts typically are warmer, drier, or lower than resorts in the Alps, or any or all of the above, and what glaciers are left in the lower 48 states are what the glaciers in the Alps will look like in about 50 years, if not sooner.

post #8 of 23

 

Boy, I hope they get this one wrong.

post #9 of 23

Whistler is always open for US Thanksgiving weekend - and often opens as earlier but usually the amount of open terrain isn't worth breaking the bank for. Sometimes the full vertical and both hills can be fully operational by end of November but I guesstimate the odds of that happening are less than 1 in 4. 

post #10 of 23
Thread Starter 

Thanks everyone - should have said probably that I am based in Chicago.

Think the best bet is to hang tight and watch out for snow about a week ahead. Looking forward to trying US skiing having grown up skiing in the Tirol.

post #11 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by 266mac View Post
 

Thanks everyone - should have said probably that I am based in Chicago.

Think the best bet is to hang tight and watch out for snow about a week ahead. Looking forward to trying US skiing having grown up skiing in the Tirol.

 

The next obvious thing to say is that Thanksgiving is a really bad time to spend $$$ on a ski vacation anywhere. Pick your local hill with the best snow conditions and go get it while gearing up for your late February trip.

post #12 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by 266mac View Post
 

Thanks everyone - should have said probably that I am based in Chicago.

Think the best bet is to hang tight and watch out for snow about a week ahead. Looking forward to trying US skiing having grown up skiing in the Tirol.

I grew up 5-6 hours north of you, in Northern Michigan.  Even though our small hills opened for Thanksgiving on several occasions, the amount of terrain open was marginal.  it was fun for us locals to go out for a few runs but I'm not sure I'd drive 5+ hours for a couple runs on 400ft vert hills. 

 

There is a possibility that Arapahoe Basin or Loveland will have good terrain opened for Thanksgiving if you want to take the 13 hour drive to Colorado.  If I were you, I'd wait until later in the year for a solid ski trip.  See where the snow is falling. 

post #13 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trekchick View Post
 

There is a possibility that Arapahoe Basin or Loveland will have good terrain opened for Thanksgiving if you want to take the 13 hour drive to Colorado.  If I were you, I'd wait until later in the year for a solid ski trip.  See where the snow is falling. 

 

Both are about as safe a bet as one can have on Thanksgiving, but a normal year means three lifts and a dozen trails at Loveland and less at Arapahoe Basin.

 

Wolf Creek manages to get 100% open by Thanksgiving every other year and is one of the best bets for early season powder, but I still don't think I'd recommend a cross-country trip. Wolf also has a grand total of 2 snowmaking guns and the equivalent of a kiddie pool for a reservoir, so if the snow doesn't come your vacation plans are screwed.

post #14 of 23

Mt. Baker is often open 100% by Thanksgiving, but not always.  Particularly, this year could be a problem due to El Nino.   Not a destination resort, but you could make it work if you really wanted.

post #15 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Posaune View Post
 

Mt. Baker is often open 100% by Thanksgiving, but not always.  Particularly, this year could be a problem due to El Nino.   Not a destination resort, but you could make it work if you really wanted.


Well, you could head up to ski there Thanksgiving weekend and come home with a very nice Christmas Tree tied next to your ski box :D

post #16 of 23

It's always good somewhere at Thanksgiving!

The problem is,  getting to that place.  It's the busiest travel period and last minute seats will be scares and really expensive.

 

Your best solution is to book now,  using points on Southwest.  Then if it's not worth skiing, cancel and your points go back into your account without any penalty.

Southwest just had their best fare sale of the year so far and I booked Thanksgiving to Salt Lake for 25,000 points round trip and the next two weekends to Denver for 12,000 rt/ea.

 

Southwest is currently offering 50,000 bonus points for new card members.

http://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/credit-cards/southwest-airlines-rapid-rewards-credit-card-review/

 

If you do sign up, Southwest also has the best Companion pass available and it's something to think about.

http://dealswelike.boardingarea.com/2013/07/30/what-is-a-southwest-airlines-companion-pass/

post #17 of 23

We go to Whistler every year and are happy with the terrain open, though it varies--sometimes you can ski to the bottom, sometimes you can't. Last year was the worst we've had but there were still quite a few trails and lifts open--it's never a WROD situation, but it's also not something I'd tell someone from Chicago to plan on. We can drive up, and if the skiing is ever truly abysmal we would just hike and do other things, so it works for us. One nice thing about T-day in Whistler, I've found, is that the hotels have more lenient cancellation policies. I think ours let us cancel up to just a few days in advance without penalty.

post #18 of 23

It really depends on what you are looking for in terms of skiing.  Loveland, A Basin, Copper and Breck are usually open at Thanksgiving. Conditions may vary.  It may be worth booking a flight to Denver on Southwest that you can cancel at the last minute if you decide not to go.   Lots of man made snow is the norm at Thanksgiving but it is fun to get some runs in before football and dinner.

post #19 of 23

You

Quote:
Originally Posted by skier31 View Post
 

It really depends on what you are looking for in terms of skiing.  Loveland, A Basin, Copper and Breck are usually open at Thanksgiving. Conditions may vary.  It may be worth booking a flight to Denver on Southwest that you can cancel at the last minute if you decide not to go.   Lots of man made snow is the norm at Thanksgiving but it is fun to get some runs in before football and dinner.

good thought about Southwest. Keep in mind tickets aren't refundable for cash, but for a credit towards another flight within 1 year I believe. Also free baggage. How are they for flying skis? 

post #20 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by skier31 View Post
 

It really depends on what you are looking for in terms of skiing.  Loveland, A Basin, Copper and Breck are usually open at Thanksgiving. Conditions may vary.  It may be worth booking a flight to Denver on Southwest that you can cancel at the last minute if you decide not to go.   Lots of man made snow is the norm at Thanksgiving but it is fun to get some runs in before football and dinner.

This, or around here, play football, watch football, eat, eat, eat.  Then head up to the mountains Thanksgiving Friday or Saturday with turkey sandwiches:D  Nobody's picky about conditions before late December around here.  Any skiing is good skiing on the WROD!

post #21 of 23
It's unusual for any of the major Colorado resorts to not be open at Thanksgiving.  The question is how much terrain they will have open, and that depends on mother nature and/or snowmaking. Google "RESORT-NAME snow making acres" to see the snowmaking coverage at each area.   
 
The higher elevation resorts (A-basin, Loveland, Keystone, Breck, Copper) have a huge advantage of colder temps allowing them to start making snow usually around the first week of Oct.  The lower resorts will be at least several weeks behind.  The combo of high elevation and lots of acres of snowmaking is your best insurance for Thanksgiving if you absolutely need to book in advance.  All those areas are near each other, so you could make a last minute day-to-day decision where to ski depending on terrain availability, and have a lot more variety to choose from in a bad year.
post #22 of 23
Quote:
The next obvious thing to say is that Thanksgiving is a really bad time to spend $$$ on a ski vacation anywhere. Pick your local hill with the best snow conditions and go get it while gearing up for your late February trip.

+1 Especially since airfares are high.  EACH week later until Christmas your snow odds improve and you can book short notice (meaning choose the place with snow) and get lodging/ticket deals since that's the dead zone of the vacation travel business.  For Thanksgiving the Southwest strategy is the only one that makes a shred of sense.  And you should expect to be rescheduling that trip to a later date in the season 75+% of the time.

Quote:
The higher elevation resorts (A-basin, Loveland, Keystone, Breck, Copper) have a huge advantage of colder temps allowing them to start making snow usually around the first week of Oct.  The lower resorts will be at least several weeks behind.  The combo of high elevation and lots of acres of snowmaking is your best insurance for Thanksgiving if you absolutely need to book in advance.

It's still the WROD at Thanksgiving nearly all of the time.  What I want to know is why someone would fly in to ski Loveland/A-Basin at 20% open in good years and less than 10% in bad years.  Would this same person fly in to ski A-Basin this spring when it had wall to wall cover and 54 inches of new snow in April and 47 in May?  It is safer to commit advance $$ to ski in May than it is in November. That goes for Snowbird, Mammoth, Mt. Bachelor, Whistler and Sunshine as well as A-Basin.  So if you're a junkie and you are taking ski trips in every month, December through May, and still want more, then think about November.

 

The OP is new and moved here from Europe, so I'll cut some slack.  How often did he ski that early over there? If so, wasn't it at the glacier resorts, and maybe he was able to drive there rather than commit to an air ticket in advance.

post #23 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by oldgoat View Post
 

 How are they for flying skis? 

 

SWA is great with skis. Most of the time they don't even weigh my bag.  Yes, flight credit is good one year from original booking date and if you mix flight credit, it reverts to the shortest date.

Still good, but that's why I recommend using miles.  Miles go back into your account with no expiration.

 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tony Crocker View Post

 

  So if you're a junkie and you are taking ski trips in every month, December through May, and still want more, then think about November.

 

 

 

Guilty.   FWIW I use the same SOP late season as well.   I book every weekend in April and a couple in May.  Even though coverage may be better in the spring, surface conditions tend to be more variable. 

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