Friday, November 21, 2014

Skiing's Open Season: Where to Ski This Weekend

If there's one thing that makes cold weather and snow tolerable, it's skiing. You won't find me layered head to toe running on the Lakefront Path very often (I'm a mostly treadmill girl once it dips below 30), but I will bundle up--handwarmers, four shirts and all--to carve turns on the snow. The ski season may have started off slow with Keystone and Breckenridge having to postpone their opening dates, but it's certainly getting into full swing now.

Skiers were treated to epic conditions at Breckenridge, Winter Park and Wolf Creek (we heard Sunshine Village in Banff, Alberta, Canada, was pretty good too). You can thank the storm that blanketed ski country with much-needed snow in time for last weekend's resort openings. But lucky for you (and me since I think I'm hitting up one of Colorado's finest on Sunday), the colder weather that stuck around is making this weekend's openings equally as amazing.

Here's where you'll want to make some tracks before the family comes to town for Thanksgiving.

  • Alta. Brighton may have been the first Utah ski resort to start spinning its lifts, but Alta is the first resort in the powder heavy Little Cottonwood Canyon 
  • Brian Head. The Salt Lake City area isn't the only place to go skiing this weekend. Located roughly 240 miles south--and slightly west--of Salt Lake City, Brian Head has plenty of snow to get its season started. Thank you cold jet stream from Canada. 
  • Heavenly. Remember how sad Tahoe skiing looked for much of last season? There might be a drought throughout California, but it doesn't seem to be affecting the state's skiing mecca. Heavenly has had its snow guns turned on and blasting to make it look like full on winter.
  • Northstar. The north side of Lake Tahoe has already seen some snowfalls, but Northstar has also been heavy-handed (no complaints here) with their snow guns. They've been busy all week making snow so that Big Springs Gondola, Arrow Express, Vista Express and The Big Easy could open today.
  • Park City Mountain Resort. Utah skiers can delight in a sampling of their state's skiing because this resort doesn't officially open until Saturday, November 22. But who says you can't ski Big or Little Cottonwood Canyon today and then head over to Park City tomorrow? You know you're curious about what changes you might notice, beyond the Epic Pass privileges, now that PCMR is part of Vail Resorts.
  • Sun Peaks. It might be a bit of a trek if you're coming from the states, but this ski resort is the first to open in British Columbia's Interior (Silver Star is on track for a Nov. 27 opening). Resort officials might be saying its early season conditions, but do you really care when you get to ski instead of wonder how you're going to spend your weekend?
  • Snowbird. It only seems right that if Alta opens for the season so does Snowbird. After all, the two resorts share some common ground and with the right lift ticket you can ski between the two all day. Sugar Bowl lift to the Mineral Basin, anyone?
  • Solitude. Brighton may have been the first Utah ski resort to start spinning its lifts, but with Solitude's opening, you can ski  all Big Cottonwood Canyon has to offer.
  • Vail. Its sister Colorado resorts, Keystone and Breckenridge (plus Arapahoe Basin with its Epic Pass connection) have been providing plenty of turns and fresh powder, but now it's Vail's turn. With the amount of snow that's been falling in the Rockies lately, today's opening is bound to be a good one. Besides, Lindsey Vonn was there to kick things off this morning at first chair.
  • Whistler. Good news for skiers who love skiing this Canadian hotspot: you don't have to wait until Nov. 27 to ski part of the resort's terrain. Whistler and Backcomb initially had expected openings of next Thursday, but Whistler bumped up its opening day to Saturday, November 22. Hooray for that winter storm system in the Pacific Northwest!
Who said cold weather and snow were evil in November? Certainly not a skier. Where are you planning to take turns this weekend?

Photo courtesy of Vail Resorts.

7 comments:

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