First the good news: Winter has been making inroads throughout much of North America recently, with multiple snow storms pummeling the Rockies of the United States and Canada in October and the mountains of New England in early November and another round of storms expected to hit the Western U.S. through Thanksgiving weekend.
Now the better news: Winter’s early arrival has allowed more than 50 ski resorts to open already, and more are expected to get their lift son line by the end of the Turkey Day holiday.
Granted much of this skiing and snowboarding is being done under somewhat to very limited snow and terrain conditions; we’re counting base depths in inches rather than feet in most places. But, hey, it’s better than staying home and gnawing on a day-old turkey drumstick and watching football.
So, if you’re ready to work up an appetite for Thursday’s feast — or work off all those giblets-and-gravy and pumpkin pie calories — here’s a rundown of who is expected to be spinning their lifts this holiday weekend.
- Colorado, which has received more than four feet of snow in some places this fall, will have the most resorts to choose from with a baker’s dozen open, including Aspen, Copper Mountain, Eldora, Loveland, Monarch, Purgatory, Winter Park, Wolf Creek and five Vail Resorts properties.
- California/Nevada has been using cold nighttime temps and snow-making machinery to make up for the lack of natural stuff at eight resorts, including Squaw Valley, Alpine Meadows, Mammoth Mountain, Mt. Rose, Snow Summit, Boreal and two Vail properties.
- Utah has four resorts open (Brian Head, Brighton, Park City and Snowbasin), with Alta expected to join the ranks by Friday.
- Elsewhere, Brundage and Schweitzer in Idaho, Grand Targhee in Wyoming, Sipapu in New Mexico and Arizona Snowbowl have already opened, with Jackson Hole in Wyoming, Mt. Bachelor in Oregon and Crystal Mountain in Washington expecting to open by the weekend.
- Vermont has five resorts going — Killington, Mount Snow, Okemo, Stowe and Sugarbush — with Jay Peak expecting to join the fun on Friday.
- New Hampshire has Breton Woods, Loon Mountain and Wildcat Mountain on line.
- Elsewhere, Maine has Sugarloaf and Sunday River in operation and Massachusetts has Wachusett Mountain going, while Whiteface in New York is set for Friday.
- Wisconsin has five ski hills open, with Alpine Valley and Granite Peak among them.
- Minnesota has four resorts on line, including Afton Alps, Hyland Hills and Lutsen Mountains.
- Michigan has two going, Alpine Valley and Mt. Holly.
- West: Alberta has six resorts up and running –among them are the SkiBig3 resorts of Lake Louise, Mt. Norquay and Sunshine Village, Marmot Basin, and Nakiska — while British Columbia has one (Sun Peaks) with Whistler expecting to open Thursday.
- East: Quebec’s already-open Mont Saint-Sauveur will be joined by Mont Tremblant and Mont-Sainte-Anne by the weekend.