UPDATE 11/23/11 Storms, halfpipes, and holiday deals—it’s all happening at ski resorts around North America. Mammoth Mountain in California opened its 22-foot halfpipe today, the first super pipe ready for skiing and riding in North America. Need motivation to get off the couch after all the holiday feasting? Vermont’s Killington Resort got 11 inches of snow in the last 24 hours. That’s equal to 30 centimeters across the border, which how much fresh snow fell at Lake Louise, Ski Banff, and Sunshine Village in Alberta. Anyone out in Utah for the holiday will have plenty of options for skiing, too, with Powder Mountain, Snowbasin, and Wolf Mountain all spinning the lifts this week. More than turkey will be served in Taos, New Mexico, Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and at Tahoe’s Squaw Valley, where resorts are all opening over the holiday. Check in at our Facebook and Twitter for more updates on openings and conditions.
If opening day at the local ski area took you by surprise, you’re not alone. Even a pro skier from Salt Lake City like Julian Carr can be caught off guard. “The weather’s been nice in Utah, and people were still mountain biking,” says Carr. “It wasn’t totally on the radar, but as soon as I heard Brighton was opening I was real excited to get up there and get my skis on.”
The season officially kicked off last month, when Wolf Creek, Colorado and Las Vegas Ski & Snowboard Resort opened on October 8. Since then, lifts have fired up around North America, from Sunday River in Maine and Killington in Vermont to Mammoth Mountain in California and Lake Louise in Alberta. Early season conditions vary: Wolf Creek (100 inches and counting) and Loveland Ski Area in Colorado both recorded October powder days, but one lift serving a single groomed run is more common at this time of year.
That was the case at Copper Mountain, Colorado, which opened on November 4. Jasmine Lisou, who owns Sugar Lips Mini Donuts in the Copper village at Colorado’s Copper Mountain, waited in a crowded lift line to ski a few runs before opening the donut shop. “The snow was surprisingly good,” she says. “Everyone was so excited for the season to be here again, especially after such a great season last year.” In Tahoe, a single stretch of man-made snow roughly 350 yards long back on October 30 was enough to earn Boreal Mountain Resort the distinction of being the first ski area to open in California.
It’s not mid-winter skiing, but it is skiing. And that’s enough for Carr. “It’s just appreciating the little things—skiing the funniest little groomers and loving it,” he says.
Check out Brighton’s opening day in the video above. Click on the image below to see photos from other resorts open for business. Is your gear ready for winter? Check out our quick tips for advice on preparing for early season conditions.