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Best early season snow?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Long time lurker, first time poster. Seems to be a wealth of knowledge here - I was wondering, what U.S. resort do you think has the best early season snow? Thinking of planning an early (12/21-25) trip, and wondering where I might have the best luck with good snow at that time? I've done Vermont at that time (with mixed results); thinking of trying Jackson Hole or Crested Butte, but if the snow is not likely to be there by then, not sure I want to go to the expense...Thanks for any replies!
post #2 of 10
I guess I would have to say Summit County. Between Keystone, Breck, Loveland, A-Basin, Copper, Cooper, Vail, Winter Park, and my little employer Eldora, someone will have plenty of terrain open. If you had said November that might be a concern.

Get a condo in a central location and ski a different mountain each day.

Loveland is opening tomorrow!
post #3 of 10
Pacific North West,

...that is all.
post #4 of 10
vail + whistler get the most early, utah does pretty well too. actually, i've never had a problem with enough snow after mid-december.
your only problem might be, is everything open yet. sometimes not everything is opened with enough staff until peak season starts.
post #5 of 10

Historically, neither Jackson nor CB are particularly well known for reliable early-season (Christmas really is considered fairly early season) snow. I'm not that familiar with CB's snowmaking, but I do know that Jackson now has the ability to make snow on a number of their main intermediate/advanced runs, so coverage on those should be adequate, but the remainder of the mountain usually needs at least about a 60" reported base at mid-mountain to make everything pretty skiable.

For that time of the year, Summit County (as already mentioned) in Colorado is a good bet, and Alta/Snowbird usually have a lot of good skiing available. As has also been said, the PNW and Whistler are usually reliable.

I would bet that you'd have an excellent ski trip at Summit County, the Wasatch in Utah, or PNW/Whistler. The *worst* you should run into would be artificial snow on long runs on big mountains, and even that ain't all bad.

post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the great replies! I've been to Summit County and Utah (loved both); don't mind going back again if that is where the snow is likely to be 12/21-25, but, what about crowds? (guess I want everything - lots of snow at an uncrowded mountain!) - which resorts might be least crowded during that time? (That was kind of why I came up with JH and CB before, thinking destination resort areas might be less crowded than those close to major cities like Denver or SLC). So - of the two, would Summit Co. or Utah be less crowded at that time? Particular resorts with less crowds? Thanks again for your input!
post #7 of 10
I would think crowds would be fairly small everywhere before Christmas. Things will really ramp up starting the 26th. I know accomodations at Whistler are horribly expensive the week btwn Xmas and New Year's, and probably elsewhere as well.
post #8 of 10
Early season is relative to several factors. In the central rockies(Utah and Colorado) this period will probably be anytime up until the first couple of weeks of January when mid-winter sets in. Farther north this takes place earlier. In the upper Candian rockies mid- winter is definitely in place during the time period you have specified. For that reason, I would reccomend the Banff area that time of year. I have been up there the week before your time frame several times and found the conditions to be good each time. Of course it is very much dependent on snowfall amounts, but just like Colorado and Utah, the ski areas that are not blessed with a lot of natural snow will be making snow for about 2 or 3 months by then.

One thing I should mention. It is REAL winter up there that time of year. You know, ....short days, cold weather, plenty of snowy weather, and people who know how to deal with it. --Be prepared!!

Hope you have a great vacation!!! [img]smile.gif[/img]
post #9 of 10
Mother Nature is a fickle one sometimes, but it never hurts to check the "predictions" (this is the Nov,Dec,Jan map):

Maybe CB isn't such a bad idea, but Jackson...

Even out West, early season snow is a bit of a gamble sometimes so good luck!
post #10 of 10
You might consider Big Mountain, Montana for reliable early season snow. Their web site archives past years snow reports if you dig into their snow report web pages. The resort is only 30 min. from the airport in Kalispell, MT.

Go to: Big Mountain for more info.

I also think that Crested Butte would be a bad choice. JH/Targhee would probably be OK, maybe great...who really knows!

Enjoy the early flakes where ever you end up going!

[ October 17, 2002, 07:55 PM: Message edited by: Gladeator ]
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