The Lake Tahoe region is known for its early snow. But there are other regions in North America where skiers and snowboarders are getting an early start to the season.
Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe, located in Nevada, close to the North Lake Tahoe border, has a history of opening the season in late October.
By the time Thanksgiving rolls around, many Tahoe ski resorts are typically open. The list usually includes Heavenly, Squaw Valley-Alpine Meadows, Sugar Bowl, Kirkwood, Northstar and Boreal.
If early-season skiing and riding somewhere different is the goal this year, check out these five ski resorts below.
Alta ski area averages 96% of its terrain open by late December, with only 5% of winters receiving less than half of its mountain open by Christmas Day.
For skiers and snowboarders seeking early-season action, with a good shot at big-time snow, the opportunities at Alta are nearly unmatched.
Steamboat ski resort averages 93% of its terrain available by December 25, with only 5% of winters receiving less than half of its slope open by Christmas Day.
Steamboat is further helped by the shape of its mountain, which is full of mellow slopes that hold snow rather than sloughing it off like the steeper terrain of Snowbird or Jackson Hole.
Brighton ski resort averages 90% of its terrain open by late December, with only 10% of winters receiving less than half of its mountain available for skiers and riders by Christmas Day.
Positioned at the end of Big Cottonwood Canyon, Brighton harvests snow at a clip that only other Utah resorts can match. Its terrain is mellower than at next-door neighbor Solitude, which helps it get terrain open quicker.
MT. BACHELOR, BEND, OREGON
Mt. Bachelor ski resort averages 90% of its terrain open by December 25, with only 10% of winters receiving less than half of its terrain open by Christmas Day.
This Oregon gem of a ski resort is located on the volcano where it draws its name. The resort attracts huge amounts of Pacific-borne snow, which it stows away on its glaciers and within its many tall Douglas fir trees.
WHISTLER BLACKCOMB, BRITISH COLUMBIA
Whistler Blackcomb ski resort averages 86% of its terrain open by Christmas Day, with only 10% of winters receiving less than half of its slopes available by late December.
The behemoth of the British Columbia coastal range is a terrific early-season location, drawing in storms from the Pacific and collecting enough snow that much of its terrain is open as January approaches. This makes Whistler a fantastic place for a Christmas-New Year’s ski trip – or perhaps something even earlier.