There’s something special about opening day for any sport. No matter what happened last year, it’s a clean slate. There is hope. It’s a time for friends to reconnect and catch up on what they’ve been doing during the off season. A reason to celebrate a new beginning. So, where can you go NOW (or really soon) to get some turns in? Well, here are the first ski resorts to open in the US or will be open in the very near future.
Snowiest Resort In Colorado
Being the first ski resort to open in the US is an award that typically is chased by perennial snowmaking giants. Well, the annual fight has been won… and it wasn’t one of the normal winners. Instead, it is Wolf Creek Ski Resort in southwest Colorado on NATURAL snow. Yup! After a storm dropped over 30 inches of snow, they were able to run three lifts on October 13th. Per the ski area, it was the second earliest opening on record for them. That’s why we listed this resort as the perfect place to start your endless winter road trip this season.
(Normally) The first to open & the last to close
Known as “The Legend”, their investment in snow making and high elevation has really helped them be a competitive force in holding the torch as the first to open in Colorado and many times the first to open in the US. The earliest ever opening being October 9th in 2009, this year they’re opening on Friday, October 19th. With nearly two feet of natural snow combined with the low temperatures for snowmaking, they’ll be the first resort to be open 7 days/week. The Black Mountain Express lift will start turning at 9 a.m., giving skiers & snowboarders access to their intermediate “High Noon” trail from A-Basin’s front side. Go get ’em!
Loveland Ski Resort
Closest major resort to Denver
Loveland is located only 53 miles from Denver with over 1,800 acres of terrain. Nearly every winter, A-Basin & Loveland duke it out to see who will open first. Loveland is kicking off their winter on Saturday, October 20th debuting their newest lift, “Chet’s Dream”. This new high speed lift will carry skiers & snowboarders to one top-to-bottom run covered from tree-to-tree with an 18-inch base. To do this, the trails “Catwalk,” “Mambo” and “Home Run” comprise the Opening Day run, which is over a mile in length and contains nearly 1,000 vertical feet. A great way to start the season!
Where The Snow Is
Just like their motto says, it’s “Where the snow is!” due to the highest base location in the Lake Tahoe basin. They can fire up the snow guns before any resort and keep ‘em running longer than anyone else in Tahoe. Their target date is October 19th.
The Beast Of The East
Not to be outdone by the West Coast, Killington is attempting to have a VERY early opening this year. Always known to be in the running as one of the earliest if not THE earliest resort to open and the latest to close (do you see a pattern here that many resorts want to claim this tag line?), they are targeting to open “when they say so.” **BREAKING NEWS** opening day is Saturday October 20th.
Timberline Ski Resort
Open 12 months a year
Known for their summer skiing and being open twelve months a year, Timberline usually shuts down for a few weeks of maintenance and the first snowfall to refresh the base but that’s about it. The ski resort got walloped with over 13 inches of snow last week, and there are reports stating they’re open. Based on their website and Facebook posts, it doesn’t look like it’s lift accessed terrain but we will continue to watch and see if this changes. Until then, it might be an earn your turns kind of day.
Midwest’s Snowmaking Giant
The Midwest is where snowmaking was perfected on the slopes of Boyne Mountain. Shockingly, it isn’t there that normally wins the fight to be the first ski resort to open in the region. Instead, it’s a place called Ski Brule in Upper Peninsula Michigan. Due to their geographic location, they can begin to shoot snow a bit earlier than their neighbors and have been able to open as as early as October 24th. For the 2018-19 season, their tentative target date is November 9th.