The 2017-18 ski season is off to a phenomenal start. In total, at least 100 ski areas are now open in both the US and Canada.
In early/mid-November, the number of ski resorts open was fairly unprecedented (many opened earlier than expected). This went largely unnoticed due to the fact that a sizable number of these ski areas are not big name resorts. Instead, they were smaller ski areas with passionate staff, dedicated to getting their local communities on snow as early in the season as possible.
Openings in early/mid-November were spread across the continent. In the US, it was fairly evenly divided with a third in the Rockies and further west, a third in the Midwest, and the rest along the East Coast. Some opened due to big, early November snowfalls, and others because temperatures were already cold enough for snowmaking systems to operate consistently. Some resorts opened due to a bit of both. By Thanksgiving weekend, more of the larger, destination resorts started spinning their lifts too.
Earliest Openings for 10, 20, 30 or 68 Years?
Many resorts opened earlier than they had planned to, and for some, it was their earliest opening ever! (Several claimed it was the earliest in 20 or 30 years.) The Great Divide ski area in Montana made the biggest claim, stating it was their earliest opening day in 68 years (so, since 1949).
Great Start For Alberta, Canada
Before Thanksgiving weekend, there were already nine open ski areas in Alberta. Those included big name resorts like Sunshine, Marmot Basin, and Lake Louise, as well as smaller ski areas such as Edmonton’s Snow Valley Ski Club, Sunridge Ski Area, and Rabbit Hill Ski Club slopes.
Midwest Enjoyed A Cold November
After three or four seasons of warmer temperatures, ski areas in the Midwest rejoiced at being able to run snowmaking systems through early November.
In Michigan, Boyne Mt. and Boyne Highlands had their earliest opening date in over 20 years. Wild Mountain, Buck Hill, and Afton Alps in Minnesota saw the earliest openings in almost 30 years.
Ski Areas In The East
In the Northeast, Killington was the first in the region to open on November 8. Mount Snow, Jay Peak, Okemo and other fellow Vermont resorts quickly followed.
Sunday River and Sugarloaf in Maine and Wildcat, Bretton Woods, and Cannon Mountain in New Hampshire are also open. A handful of ski areas in New York, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts are open as well.
Ski Areas In The West
Ski areas have opened in Washington State (Lookout Pass, 49 Degrees North, and Mt. Baker); California (Squaw Valley – Alpine Meadows, Mammoth, Heavenly, and Boreal); and Nevada (Mt Rose).