Skiing: Best Places To Catch Early Snow

Skiing: Best Places to Catch Early Snow

First snow has already started settling on the high-mountain resorts. Don't wait for the official start of winter, which is December 21, because you can start skiing months earlier. Make your favorite time of the year last as long as possible. There are plenty of early-bird areas that turn on the lifts as far forward as the end of October and early November, due to their advanced snowmaking machines or high elevation.

Arapahoe Basin Ski Area, Colorado

Just in the past two days, this resort has gotten 2" of snow. Two terrains, 20 acres, and one of eight lifts are now open. Situated 68 miles west of Denver, Arapahoe is one of Colorado's most historic ski resorts. With a timeline that goes all the way back to 1946, calling A-Basin "legendary", as many powder hounds do, is no exaggeration at all. Arapahoe offers skiers and boarders one of the longest ski periods in all of the U.S. – the season that typically lasts from October until June or sometimes even July.

Mölltaler Gletscher, Austria

This is the only glacier ski area in Carinthia. The ski area is known to be snow reliable because of its altitude – up to 10,000 feet. There are also challenging free ride areas available. Eight inches of snow have accrued just over the last 10 days; 20" more are expected in the next five days. The upper snow depth is 55" already.

Cervinia, Italy

The resort is located on the southern side of the Matterhorn on the other side of Zermatt. Together they share the highest marked ski area in Europe. Cervinia opened at the end of October. The snow base depth is 37". More snow is expected in the next 3-4 days. Three of the 15 lifts are currently open. The resort and the car-free village nearby offer many non-ski related activities as well.

Killington Resort, Vermont

Killington, the nickname of which is "the Beast of the East," is the largest ski resort in the East Coast. It got more than 12" of snow in the last week alone. The resort is home to the largest vertical drop in New England – 3,050 feet. Killington includes six mountains with a total of 155 downhill trees. The longest one, which is also the longest in the eastern part of the country, Juggernaut, is 6.2 miles. Skiing at Killington lets you see majestic views of five neighboring states, mountains and Canada.

Sunshine Village, Alberta, Canada

The base depth of snow at the moment is 29". Six inches accumulated just over the last two days. Sunshine Village is one of three resorts actually inside Canada's most famous national park. (The other two are Lake Louise and Mt. Norquay.) Take a guided snowshoe tour of Sunshine Meadows or venture outside of the resort to explore Banff's hot springs, pristine alpine lakes and stunning Rocky Mountain views.

Loveland, Colorado

Loveland opens its ski season early – November 5. More than 4" of snow are expected to amass, according to weather reports; just in time for the first day of skiing. The summit's altitude of 13,010 feet allows skiers to go down the slopes on plenty of snow until the end of May. The area has more than 80 trails, leaving plenty of territory for anyone who wants it.

Les 2 Alps, France

The ski season started on October 22. The high and varied slopes are largely north-facing, so hold the snow well, according to OnTheSnow. Snow depth is 20" and more than 15" are expected to accumulate in the next few days. Novice skiers like the wide slopes beside the village. The more advanced prefer the powder-filled off-piste.

Saas Fee, Switzerland

The ski resort Saas-Fee, which also has a glacier ski area, is set among the highest mountains in the Swiss Alps. Snow is not a concern because the skiing area reaches up to almost 12,000 feet. Beginners practice in the village, freestylers have fun in the snow park at the Mittelallalin, and carvers make the most of the sweeping glacier slopes. Six out of 22 lifts are currently open. The upper snow depth is 53". More snow is expected over the weekend.

Mount Rose Ski Tahoe, Nevada

The resort is scheduled to open on November 5. At 8,260 feet in elevation, Mt. Rose is highest base area in the region. Storms two weeks ago delivered enough powder for skiers who were willing to hike above 9,000 feet for a fix. With a grand-total 1,200 acres and 1,800-foot vertical drop, Rose rivals popular nearby mountains for a fraction of the cost and foot traffic.

Hintertux, Austria

More than 35 miles of slopes and 8 miles of ski routes are available for skiing and snowboarding at this resort in the Zillertaler Alps, Austria's only year round ski resort. The snow depth at the moment is 30". Favorite attractions for deep snow fans are the fantastic free-ride runs at the Lärmstange. Snowboarder and free-skiers love the freestyle-opportunities at the Betterpark Hintertux at 10,000 feet.