Top 5 Ski Resorts In North America For 2020 Thanksgiving

Banff Sunshine Village Taken from Strawberry Face looking down over the lodge area. Goat's Eye Mountain is on the right and the runs off of Wawa-chair on the left - Image taken by: David G. Steadman

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We’ve been watching the weather reports like a hawk, and the storm track this early season has trended further north. In fact, places like the Pacific Northwest, British Columbia, and the Northern Rockies have already been PUMMELED with snow. So, based on what we’ve seen, here’s the best places to ski in November for Thanksgiving.

Top 5 Ski Resorts In North America For 2020 Thanksgiving

Banff Sunshine Village – Image taken by: Richard Rothery

Mt. Baker Ski Area

62″ base – nearly 100 percent open

Opening day at Mt Baker Ski Area for 2020 - 2021 ski season
Opening day at Mt. Baker on Friday November 20th – Image appears courtesy: Mt. Baker Ski Area

The snowiest resort in North America just opened its doors on Friday, November 20th for the season. The meteorologists are predicting a moderate to strong La Nińa winter. If the last La Nińa was any inkling… receiving 844″ of snowfall with 31% of their days open getting more than 5″ of fresh, this winter might blow this door right off its hinges! Compared to other resorts, they don’t open unless nearly the entire resort is rockin’. And the best part? You can access some of the best backcountry terrain in the world. The storm track seems to always be pointed at Baker. All we have to do is hope that the snow levels stay low enough.

Wolf Creek Ski Area

83″ snowfall – 98 percent open

Wolf Creek Ski Area
Leaping for joy on an insanely good start – Image appears courtesy: Wolf Creek Ski Area

Wolf Creek has been having an EPIC 2020. For starters, they were the first ski area to open in Colorado on NATURAL snowfall. Secondly, the storm train has been aimed at this mountain for early season with another decent sized storm predicted the week before Thanksgiving. If there’s a ski resort to visit for turkey day, it would be Wolf Creek. Nearly five hours away from Denver and throw in some severe mountain passes, you’ll keep most people away. You can then finish off your day in the world-class Pagosa Hot Springs to soak those sore muscles. 

Grand Targhee

92″ snowfall – 41″ base – 60 percent open

skier enjoying deep powder at Grand Targhee Resort in Alta Wyoming
Image appears courtesy: Grand Targhee Resort – Photo taken by: Fred Marmsater

Grand Targhee is a shining example of consistency. In the past 20+ years, the WORST pre-January 1st snowfall was 76″ & typically it’s way over triple digits by then. With nearly 100″ of snow already fallen and more expected, this might be your best bet this early season. Compared to its western sibling, the moderately pitched slopes allow this area to open more terrain earlier. And, since it’s further away from metropolitan areas with most vacationers staying in Jackson across a TOUGH mountain pass, it means you’ll most likely have the place to yourself.

Banff Sunshine Village

100″ Snowfall – 42″ base with 10 / 12 lifts

Best ski resorts for Thanksgiving 2020
Best early season conditions in Canada – Image appears courtesy: Banff Sunshine Village

Sunshine Village typically has the longest non-glacial ski season in Canada, but this early season is extra special. If there was one winter that we so urgently wished the border was open, it’s this year. Sunshine has already gotten 101 inches of snow to date. On top of that, in the last 7 days they’ve gotten nearly three FEET of high quality dry blower, and since it’s located in the great white Canadian north, the snow also stays nice and dry. From amazing cuisine fifteen minutes down the road in Banff to awesome après activities like hot springs & epic terrain, this is a great option for any time of year including early season. Even without the entire mountain open, there’s enough trails across Banff Sunshine and its sister resorts of Lake Louise & Mt. Norquay to keep you entertained for your entire trip.

Lookout Pass

79″ snowfall – 28″ base & 60 percent open

Image courtesy: Lookout Pass

The snowiest resort in Idaho has already been open since early November, and with the storm track still pointed at them, it shouldn’t be long before they’re fully open. With affordable lift tickets and historic Wallace as your home base, you can go for cheap AND enjoy a unique experience to go along with your skiing and snowboarding. Last, but not least they have snow in the forecast EVERY day through Thanksgiving. 

This is a great reminder that the ski season is here and soon all ski resorts are going to be running at full capacity. If you want the scoop on the best places to visit by month, learn what gear to bring, and read about unheard of resorts that you can find powder days or weeks after a storm, check out our in-depth guide: Ski Trip Planning – Plan The Best Ski Holiday Ever!

Early season is about keeping your eyes focused on the forecast. Places like Mammoth or Lake Tahoe, where storms drop FEET of the white stuff, can open the entire mountain on a whim. Happy forecast watching & early season pow hunting!

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