So the big question … when can we start ski-ing?

October 31, 2008

We put out a teaser yesterday – a great snowboarding vid. for all you extreme sport enthusiasts out there. All other news is so depressing right now so let’s ignore it and concentrate on bringing some fun back into our lives … and what better way than to think about getting away from it all, heading to the mountains, and losing oneself in the ultimate thrill of a downhill chase…

Fresh Tracks on powder day

Skiing in America is varied with most of the best known resorts being in the west along the Rocky Mountains — Vail, Aspen Snowmass, Heavenly and Squaw Valley are all over 4,000 acres and Aspen Snowmass, Big Sky and Jackson Hole offer over 4,000 vertical feet. However, the East Coast also has some great places such as Stowe in Vermont. Average snowfall for most resorts is more than 25 feet per season.

COLORADO has already received their first dustings of snow. In fact Loveland and Arapahoe Basin (both close to Denver) are making snow and both resorts are already open. In fact, Arapahoe Basin ski and snowboard season began on Wednesday, October 15th. For the past two years this ski area has been the first to open in the nation and this year A-Basin was determined to continue that trend.

There is something for everyone in the wide choice of Colorado ski resorts: black runs, bowls, off-piste, beginner to advanced, close to the city or remote, rowdy to peaceful.

The majority of Colorado resorts are planning a November opening with Breckenridge and Wolf Creek at the top of the list on the 7th November. Some others open as follows:

Breckenridge, Copper Mountain, Keystone, Wolf Creek – November 07
Winter Park – November 19
Eldora, Vail – November 21
Beaver Creek, Crested Butte, Monarch – November 26
Purgatory at Durango, Steamboat, Telluride – November 26
Aspen Mountain, Ski Cooper, Snowmass – November 27
Echo Mountain, Kendall Mountain – November 28
Silverton Mountain – November 29
Sunlight – December 05
Powderhorn – December 11
Aspen Highlands – December 13
Buttermilk – December 13
Sol Vista Basin – December 19

Over in CALIFORNIA, Boreal is already open, and in quite a startling way – they let 150 brightly dyed sheep loose on the slopes so that snowboarders could have a moving park to negotiate. “I never imagined snowboarding with sheep could be so fun. They really are as soft as they look. And the landings, wow, the landings were like hitting large puffs of the best cashmere sweaters you can imagine” was one comment. I’m not sure the sheep would have been quite so excited about it though – what do ewe think?


Mammoth Mountain – November 13
Heavenly,  Alpine Meadows – November 17
Northstar and Sierra-at-Tahoe – November 18
Squaw Valley – November 22 – depending on conditions and weather

Located high in the mountains of Central IDAHO, Brundage Mountain is best known for its powder-packed glades and luxuriously wide groomed runs. With over 320 inches of snowfall annually, Brundage has an undisputed reputation for the Best Snow in Idaho – however, at present there is no snow, current conditions are rock, dirt and grass!, and there is no projected opening date.

I have received an update here: Brundage has just had 1″ of snow, but what is interesting is that they never make snow – they rely entirely on Mother Nature which is great as man-made snow is always rather a disappointment isn’t it? my personal opinion anyway – but I suppose better than nothing… The average opening day is November 31st, but in recent years they’ve opened for weekend lift service as early as November 12… you can keep checking directly at http://www.brundage.com

Whereas others in IDAHO have the following plans:

Sun Valley – November 27, they traditionally open on Thanksgiving Day, and received some nice snow last weekend.
Tamarack – December 12
Kelly Canyon – December 19

In MONTANA, scheduled opening dates are as follows:

Great Divide – November 26
Big Sky, Discovery – November 27
Red lodge – November 28
Montana Snowbowl – November 29
Maverick, Whitefish – December 06
Bridger Bowl, Moonlight Basin, Showdown – December 12

In WYOMING, the resorts that have opening dates are:

Grand Targhee – November 22
Snow King – November 27
Hogadon – November 28
Jackson Hole, White Pine – November 29

and in UTAH the schedule is:

Alta – November 21
Brian Head, Park City, Powder Mountain, Snowbird – November 22
Snowbasin, The Canyons – November 27
Sundance – December 05
Deer Valley – December 06

It would never have occurred to me that you could ski in NEW MEXICO – when you say the word ‘New Mexico’ it conjures up images of cactus, deserts and dust, but snow? Taos Ski Valley is certainly the most well-known area in this state and is a must-ski experience for experts seeking challenge in the southern Rockies. From the intimidating face of Al’s Run just above the base to “The Ridge” which you have to hike to,  Taos offers up plenty of challenge, but no snowboarding allowed! Apologies to all you down there for my ignorance… In fact conditions must be pretty good as all but one resort has an opening date:

Sipapu – November 15
Red River – November 26
Ski Apache, Taos – November 27
Pajarito, Sandia Peak – December 19
Angel Fire – December 20

Sunday River in Newry, MAINE opened for skiing and riding yesterday ahead of their projected Halloween opening as the first resort in the northeast U.S. to offer lift servied skiing and riding for the 2008-2009 winter season. The resort is still planning to offer skiing and riding for the second consecutive year on Halloween, offering free lift tickets to anyone who arrives in costume. Sounds like fun. Lift access will open at 10.00 a.m. Friday morning and the resort will remain open on Saturday and Sunday, before temporarily closing for the following midweek period.

Meanwhile, over in NEW HAMPSHIRE, these resorts plan to open on the following dates:

Attitash – November 22… if not sooner
Waterville Valley, Loon Mountain – November 22
Ragged Mountain – November 28
Wildcat – November 29
King Pine – December 12
Granite Gorge – December 13

The only ones with opening dates so far in NEW YORK STATE are:

Mt. Peter – November 19
Whiteface – November 23
Windham Mountain– November 26 … and due to recent snowfall maybe even earlier.
Bristol Mountain – November 27
Belleayre, Gore Mountain, Holiday Valley, Snow Ridge, Swain – November 28
Greek Peak – December 01
Plattekill – December 06
McCauley, Tuxedo Ridge – December 13

I have by no means covered all the ski regions of North America, but hopefully enough to give you something to think about this weekend, and of course, all dates will be subject to weather conditions.  If you need more incentive  … take a look at this video, thanks to benahum21 for posting it! Ye gods!



  1. Please revise Windham Mountain’s opening date to November 26. Due to the recent snowfall, this date could even be moved up.

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  4. Thanks for letting me know Joan – I’ve changed it and if it changes again please feel free to let me know.

  5. Please revise Attitash mountain’s opening date to November 22. If mother nature helps it may be sooner. Thanks

  6. Done. Thanks for letting me know Matt.

  7. Hi! Just wanted to let you know that Sun Valley, Idaho’s opening date is November 27th-Thanksgiving Day. That has been the traditional opening day for years now. We got some nice snow over the weekend and its beginning to look like winter over here! Thanks!

  8. Hi everyone –
    Just checking in from Brundage Mountain where we got our first inch of snowfall today. Just to be clear, Brundage Mountain hasn’t announced an opening day yet because we have 100% natural snow so our opening day will, once again, be set by Mother Nature. Our average opening day is November 31st, but in recent years we’ve opened for weekend lift service as early as November 12.

  9. Hi Bronwyn and April.
    thanks for your information. I’ve update the article accordingly. Really appreciate your input.

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