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Most reliable early season snow?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
OK, it's Easter and the season is over for most of us. Now it's time to make plans for our first ski trip of next year. What ski area in the lower 48 has the most reliable early season (Thanksgiving) conditions?
post #2 of 17
Wow, this thread started earlier than usual this year. Last year this question came up too early in August. I think if you follow the meet on the hill forum, trip reports, and others, you'd find most of the West is still skiing. At least for the next few weeks. Even when areas start to shut down, it won't be for lack of snow. There is still time to schedule a trip and ski the deepest snowpack in years. A large storm moving in tonight is expected to dump 2-feet of fresh over the weekend.

Thanksgiving turns are a crapshoot. Probably the Colorado Summit County resorts, Wasatch and Tahoe areas are the best bet. The nature of Thanksgiving skiing is that you are better off waiting until the last minute to see where the snow will be. Most western ski areas don't get into full swing until January when the off-piste lines fill.
post #3 of 17
Great thread! I want to do several trips out west next year I've wondered the same myself. Looking forward to the responses!
post #4 of 17
Mammoth is getting their 20 foot base dumped on again right now. Closing day is Fourth of July. Last season's closing date was July 4th as well, and the upper mountain skiing was really good in the late season.
post #5 of 17
In terms of natural snow:

#1) Grand Targhee
#2) Alta

In terms of manmade:

#1) Loveland
#2) Copper

*NONE* will be anywhere near fully operational that time of year.

Powdr
post #6 of 17
How about for mid-December for a few days just before the X-mas week prices set in ?
post #7 of 17
Wolf Creek CO.

Always a contender for best early season natural snow. Some years, they have a base of 100 inches or more, while other's are struggling at 20 - 30 inches.
post #8 of 17
Killington is open early if and only if you want to compete with the crowds. Normally 1 run from the top. It's like the 405 in LA at rush hour. Had a snowboarder break one of my poles when I was there early once. Ran right up that sucker and left it in 3 pieces. My nice graphite pencil poles.
post #9 of 17
In 2004 Utah worked for me in late November....and it was amazing.
Last year Colorado was pretty darn good in late Nov too.

Next year????? Don't know but I'll be watching.
post #10 of 17
Last year, Thanksgiving was excellent in Winter Park. They opened many more parts of the mountain than in previous seasons at the same time. This is a trip to plan at the last minute, usually airfare deals end the tuesday before and begin the tuesday after.
post #11 of 17
Alta/Snowbird. In my opinion LCC is the best location for predictable snowfall - bar none.
post #12 of 17
Thats an oxymoron..
post #13 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by mooseknuckle
Alta/Snowbird. In my opinion LCC is the best location for predictable snowfall - bar none.
True!

But, they're nowhere near the champs for early season dumpage!
post #14 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain_Strato
True!

But, they're nowhere near the champs for early season dumpage!

Don't have access to the stats for WC, but looks to me like Alta had pretty good early season this year (which I consider to be mid-Dec. to mid Jan.)- - - http://www.alta.com/pages/snowhistory.php.

I don't begin travelling out west until mid-January anyway, so I'm admittedly not the best to comment on pre 1/1 conditions.

Any suggestions other than Wolf, Captain? Have friends that ride Wolf and bitch about the layout and flat runouts.
post #15 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by mooseknuckle
Any suggestions other than Wolf, Captain? Have friends that ride Wolf and bitch about the layout and flat runouts.
Yes, BCC and LCC did well this year, for early snow. Also true that Wolf Creek is rustic, hard-to-get-to, and quirky in its layout. But, it's pretty steady for early, ample snow.

Nearby Purgatory is also likely a good bet.

Mount Baker, where I live, also often gets hammered early, but it's not a destination resort (only a few day lodges).

If you're not travelling until mid January, I suspect Utah is a great choice. Once they get going, the snow is unbeatable (although the Colorado-ites will beg to differ).

The best strategy is to become an early-season storm watcher, and follow the flow. Good luck!
post #16 of 17
In Colorado, started skiing Loveland Oct 16 (one run, but that was a few days after opening day).

Lots of years, Wolf Creek has dependable snow around Halloween (just not this year).
post #17 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the input. I knew Thanksgiving ski trips were problematical at the major resorts. I was surprised to read about the California season running so long past the typical Colorado-Utah season and hoped there was a similar early season "surprise". We'll wait 'till we see the conditions and then make our plans.
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