Get Up Early: Laying Down The First Tracks On The Mountain
At many U.S. resorts, you can have the mountain to yourself before the first chair.
Known as “first tracks,” the chance to put your signature carvings on the hill before others is a tantalizing option. There may be a charge, and all have limited space and require mid-level skills. Here’s some of what SnoCountry found:
On weekends and holidays, Sunday River gets skiers and riders on the hill earlier than most -- 7:15 a.m. – because lifts open at 8. Advanced sign-up and lift pass required, but you get first cinnamon buns out of oven at Peak Lodge.
Sugarbush charges $75 for early ‘cat ride up Lincoln Peak. Daily limit is 12 skiers and ‘boarders.
At Breckenridge -- the nation’s busiest resort – getting first dibs is a prime opportunity. All you have to do is stay at resort lodging and show up at 7:30 a.m. on selected dates.
There’s no guide at Steamboat so what’s open to all is open to early birds. Cost is about $40, but they sell out quickly. First turns on Sundown Express, Sunshine and South Peak await.
At New Mexico’s Angel Fire Resort, first tracks program runs every Saturday and Sunday and select days during holidays. Cost is $49. Go up at 7:30 a.m. with a ski school instructor for at least two early-bird runs.
You don’t need a lift ticket to join the patrol and instructors at Grand Targhee for their Early Tracks. Fee is $89 or free if you stay at resort lodging. Lifts turn at 8 a.m. and early-trackers get to stay on mountain until 9:30 a.m. The Idaho resort also offers a 10-trip early tracks punch ticket.