Great early season conditions at SV! 8 lifts and 55 trails open on Baldy on the 18th; today I see that it's 11 lifts and 95 trails. Seattle Ridge and the bowls opened the 19th. It snowed lightly the entire time; we picked up a couple inches each day, then 8 inches overnight Saturday; the lucky folks that are there today got another 14" since yesterday. Sunday morning was the busiest I've seen it--a powder day and the Sunday before Xmas. But it still wasn't crowded compared to a lot ski resorts. We go since the pre-holiday packages are so good ($79/pp for room and lift ticket, so basically you either ski or stay for free depending on how you look at it), so even if early season conditions are not great, like last year, it's worth it. Then we leave on Sunday before Xmas, when prices rise and crowds (such as they are there) move in. We stayed at the Sun Valley Inn for the first time since the Lodge is under renovation until June; it is fine and has some of the charm of the Lodge, but it's still not the Lodge. It does have a hot pool identical to the Lodge, and these are the best hot pools I've ever been in. The resort does the tree lighting/Santa/etc on Saturday night, and they do such a nice job with the holidays--the decorations, kids skating to Peanuts music at the ice rink in front of the lodge, horses pulling sleighs to Trail Creek Cabin for dinner. Doing their pre holiday package, I feel like I get the good parts of a ski trip at Xmas, without the crowds and expense of being there over the actual holiday.
I didn't take many photos because it was snowing and viz was low. Here's just one snowy one from the River Run base.