There’s nothing better than a great, early start to the ski season. Luckily for us, Thanksgiving weekend is when many US ski resorts open their slopes.
There have been some spectacular early snowfalls in the Northwest, and cold weather has allowed a dozen or so smaller ski areas to open in the Midwest. Other regions aren’t as fortunate, however, and are still waiting for really big snowfall. Some Southern areas like New Mexico and even a few areas in Colorado and Utah have set back their opening dates.
Here are 10 best bets for Thanksgiving Weekend.
1. Banff, Alberta
Banff’s three ski areas—Norquay, Sunshine and Lake Louise—have had a phenomenal start to the season so far! All three resorts opened by the November 9th. Norquay was actually first in the country a week earlier.
The region has had some great, early powder snowfalls. In fact, there are few parts of the continent that currently offer more skiing and better conditions than Banff right now.
2. Mt Bachelor, Oregon
It’s lining up to be an awesome Thanksgiving weekend at Mt Bachelor.
The resort opened for the season on Saturday, November 18th, the earliest opening in over a decade. Kids in Oregon get the full Thanksgiving week off of school so can they enjoy it to the max.
The mountain’s snowpack is WAY UP on the average for this time of year, with more than 7 feet of snow arriving already this fall. Base depth is 24 to 36 inches – one of the deepest in the country at present.
Forecasters are expecting another 2-3 feet of snowfall over the first half of this week, so it should be Thanksgiving powder heaven.
3. Whistler, BC, Canada
It may feel a little odd to head north of the border for Thanksgiving but plenty of US Americans do. This season, Whistler has already had a great snowfall record right from the start.
Whistler opened on Friday 17th October, and as soon as the announcement was made, it started dumping down (on top of an already good base) with three feet of snow quickly falling and more on the way.
4. Killington, Vermont
In New England, snowmaking guns fired up earlier this month as temperatures dropped. More than half a dozen areas have opened in the past week or so—Killington being the first on November 8th.
Snow depths are at around the 1-foot mark with seven runs open, but there’s more snow in the forecast in addition to the snow guns firing. The International Ski Federation have confidence for good snow cover at the Audi FIS Ski World Cup races on Thanksgiving Weekend (November 24th – 26th). Spectators are invited to watch this exciting event during their trip.
5. Wild Mountain, Minnesota
Ski areas in the Midwest have reported that this season has been the best start in a decade or more, largely thanks to low temperatures for snowmaking. Wild Mountain has actually been open since back at Halloween and has built a base of 40 inches over the past month.
For an added bit of excitement, the ski area is currently running late night movie nights and there’s one coming up on Friday 24th.
6. Squaw Valley, California
In California, there has been some snow and most of the state’s leading ski areas, including Heavenly, Mammoth and Squaw Valley are due to be open this weekend (if they haven’t opened already). Several smaller ski areas are open already too.
On Thanksgiving Day, Squaw is organizing a traditional Thanksgiving Dinner at High Camp at 3PM. It’ll be a great way to finish your day on the slopes and meet up for a meal with non-skiing family or friends.
7. Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Although it’s one of the ski areas that has reported the most snow so far this fall (115 inches so far), Jackson Hole in Wyoming isn’t opening until Saturday, November 25th, a few days after Thanksgiving.