Always powder in the early days. (International Ski History Association)

National Ski Areas Association recently published a list of when ski areas opened. Nonetheless, the debate over which hill gets to claim the title continues.

Must It have a lift? Or can it be when lots of people climbed up to ski down? Do private hills count? How about a ski jump? Or a long toboggan slide?

NSAA’s Dave Byrd readily acknowledges that the dating of ski area “openings” is an imperfect science, but says it’s usually associated with some kind of mechanized uphill transportation.

Maybe the first trail map, for Easton Ski Area. (New England Ski History)

If it wasn’t, Howelson Hill opened a ski jump in downtown Steamboat Springs in 1915. If it was, then Easton Ski Area at Eaglebrook School in Deerfield, Mass., is the winner: Rope tow went up in 1922, and the place is still open – but always private.

 Crowd for Howelson Hill ski jumping meet. (Colorado Ski History.com)

First for public use was the rope tow at Gilbert’s Hill in Woodstock, Vt., in 1933. But it’s uncertain whether Clint Gilbert formally charged for its use. (Today’s Suicide Six is over the ridge.)

Regardless, the NSAA list is intriguing and entertaining. Here are some of the early-year highlights that SnoCountry.com found:

To check out the full list, click here.