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Best Resort for Early Season Skiing?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Any ideas on what resorts have the best chance of early season skiing. I'm hoping to ski a 4 day weekend before Christmas and would of course pray for early snow and as much open terrain as possible.
post #2 of 13
uh ... Les 2 Alpes ?
post #3 of 13
From Charlotte, NC? If you're thinking New England by car, defer your lodging until the last minute. Nobody sells out pre-Christmas. Avoid Thanksgiving. In lean snow years, Killington midweek is always the best bet. Avoid it on weekends unless it's the weekend immediately before Christmas when it's a ghost town. The other big snowmaking hills are Sunday River and Okemo.

If you're flying, I think Whistler is your safest bet. I've done mid-December trips there the last three years and had great skiing 2 out of 3 and OK skiing last year.
post #4 of 13
Wolf Creek, CO. Always good by then, unless there is a drought- and you'll be looking towards the artificial snow-making resorts then.
post #5 of 13
Keystone opens at the end of October (Copper soon after) and can blow snow reliably through the early season. If you're looking for a few more amenities than Wolf Creek and more groomed terrain, they might do the trick.
post #6 of 13
Grand Targhee or Mt. Bachelor have the most consistent early season natural snow base.
But kind of mellow terrain.
For early season trips I usually wait until the season starts and then make a decision based on who has the best conditions.
post #7 of 13
Grand Targee & Mt. Bachelor are great places to start the season, especially Bachelor. Both have limited challenging terrain but they have lots of cruiser runs which are great for working out the kinks.
post #8 of 13
You really ought to just play it by ear. You can always find a place to stay before Christmas, and that way, you can follow the good weather. The only exception is if you are going to fly. If so, I'd suggest flying into Denver then playing it by ear. But Summit county will be your best bet because of the elevation and snowmaking. Keystone usually has some good cruisers open, but expect you'll be staying on-piste.

I go up to Mt Snow for the 2nd week of December every year (9 years running), and we get some really good and really bad weather. This past December we got 6-8" one day, rain one day, and generally good conditions. The two years prior were horrible (to the Nth power). But the teo years before that were amazing, with 80-some trails open and 18" of freshies (single 18" dumps) both of those years. Actually, it was so abysmal three years ago, that 8 of us cancelled (with penalties) and flew to Crested Butte. Boy are we glad we did!

So don't make any non-refundable plans, or better yet, just plan on going SOMEwhere, but don't make lodging plans.
post #9 of 13
Mark had a conference in Keystone last November. As New Englanders, we thought that the conditions were great, but people from Colorado were not too happy. I guess its all relative.

Be Braver in your body, or your luck will leave you. DH Lawrence
post #10 of 13
You need to look at the locations that get a lot of snowfall during the season and are relatively high in altitude or lattitude. The list would probably include Grand Targhee, Sunshine Village, Snowbird, Mt. Bachelor, etc. etc.. All of these ski areas open up in stages as they get the runs and lifts in condition so I wouldn't expect terrrific ski conditions unless there had been a lot snow for a considerable length of time. I like Sunshine Village around the 10th of December --No crowds and you ski from daylight till dark!!
post #11 of 13
For the last three years - this year will be the fourth - I've taken a trip on the weekend before Christmas and have always had good snow. 2 trips to Tahoe and 1 to Utah. Tahoe is good for last minute trips because you can get cheap last minute flights into Reno. Stay in South Lake Tahoe on the Nevada side and you can stay in a casino on the cheap if you are so inclined. Either Kirkwood or Sugar Bowl usually will have good snow by then.

post #12 of 13
What about Timberline and Mt Hood Meadows. They are almost always open in that time period.
post #13 of 13
Read a pretty good article on this topic recently at Inside Tracks. http://members.aol.com/crockeraf/insdtrak.htm Good luck!

Talk less, ski more.
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