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Mon, Aug
2 minutes reading time (309 words)

Get Up Early: Laying Down The First Tracks On The Mountain

Sugarbush-First-Tracks Get lucky with first-track freshies at Vermont's Sugarbush. (Sugarbush/Facebook)

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:

Fresh corduroy awaits for early birds at Sunday River. (Sunday River/Facebook)

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.

Hop gondola before the crowds for carving heaven at Aspen. (Aspen-Snowmass/Facebook)

Freshies with a guide at Aspen Mountain or Snowmass doesn’t cost anything. At Aspen, the gondola ride goes at 8 a.m. daily, while Snowmass’ first tracks runs on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Complete first figure-eights on the mountain. (Breckenridge/Facebook)

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.

The whole mountain is yours to track up new powder at Steamboat. (Larry Pierce, Steamboat/Facebook)

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.

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