The Thanksgiving break not only is Turkey Time, but it's also when many resorts all across the West to crank up the lifts, drop the ropes and welcome a new ski and snowboard season.
In Colorado, that means Aspen Mountain, Snowmass, Beaver Creek, Telluride, and Crested Butte – among others – are lined up to open. For locals, Coloradoans and visitors from afar, it's time to check out what these resorts have been up to over the summer and start planning a trip into the Rockies.
The big news at Crested Butte is for novice skiers and riders. The old two-seater Teocali chair has been replaced by a four-person fixed-grip chair that delivers twice as many people up in the Bushwhacker-Meander areas – and off the bottom of Paradise. Since Crested Butte was purchased by Vail Resorts, it's now under the Epic Pass and the beneficiary of Vail's commitment to upgrading facilities and adding snowmaking capability at its resorts.
Over the Maroon Bells to the north, the Aspen-Snowmass complex spent most of the summer giving skiers and riders better places to stay and eat. Venerable Little Nell inn, a ski-in ski-out at the base of Aspen Mountain, underwent a full-on remodel. At Snowmass, a new Italian restaurant opens at the top of Sam's Knob (10,620 ft elevation), including a slipper room to relax your feet outside your boots.
Also at Aspen-Snowmass, adult clinics for intermediate to expert skiers and riders debut to work on skills like carving turns, conquering moguls or heading down steep terrain.
Up the interstate, Beaver Creek reaped the benefit of Vail Resort's dedication to snowmaking with more pipes and snow guns at Red Buffalo Park – the beginner area on the upper mountain. Snowmaking also has assured that the World Cup speed races will be held in early December, as planned.
At Telluride – also within the Epic Pass network – skiers and riders who like to dive into the trees get 40 more acres of glades in the Plunge Chair (Lift 9) area on the town side of the mountain. Expect steep chutes and rock drops.