Early-season snow conditions can be an iffy affair, dependent as they are on a stretch of below-freezing temperatures for snowmaking and a couple of late autumn snowstorms to lay down a solid base.
So, SnoCountry.com took a swing around the country to find out what’s likely out there on Nov. 27 for those who can sneak out a few runs before sitting down to the annual feast, often offered at sumptuous buffets at the resorts themselves.. Most of these resorts rely upon their snowmaking systems to get things started – and rejoice when the white stuff starts to fall while the leaves are still turning.
Starting in the North Country of New England, Sunday River typically gets 25-30 trails open on Barker, North Peak and South Ridge by Turkey Day, with conditions that resemble spring snow.
Killington fired up its lifts Nov. 3 and expects to expand upon the opening menu three trails and two chairs.
Out in the Midwest, Lutsen Mountains plans to open Nov. 15, and management anticipates 5-6 lifts and 15-20 runs for its Thanksgiving run Wednesday, Nov. 26, to Sunday, Nov. 30. At Boyne Mountain Resort, officials expect a record amount of terrain open, thanks to a beefed-up snowmaking system. Trollhagen expects to out-do 2013 when nearly 70 percent was open with a 36-inch base.
In the Rockies, recent warm weather hampered snowmaking and kept the skies clear, pushing back some opening dates. But by Turkey Day, expect Colorado’s traditional early openers Arapahoe Basin and Loveland to be nicely skied in, and neighbor Copper Mountain to put down enough to top-to-bottom runs off American Eagle and Excelerator chair lifts. Farther south, if a major dump comes before Thanksgiving, head to powder haven Wolf Creek to get the first steep-and-deep runs of the season.
In the Sierra, a couple of early storms put smiles on faces at Boreal and Mt. Rose Tahoe, both of which opened with man-made snow in early November. Others in northern California, Oregon, Idaho, Washington and Utah typically wait for more snow from the skies before turning their lifts before Thanksgiving.
Photo: Arapahoe Basin is ready for Turkey Day (Arapahoe Basin)