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 resort openings in the US & Canada or ones that will be open in the very near future for the 2023-24 ski season.
Perfect Time To Plan That Big Trip
Even if you aren’t heading to one of these ski resort openings, it’s a perfect reminder to start planning your ski trips this winter! Check out our trip planning guide to get the low-down on time of year to visit and where to find the best snow. Learn what items to bring. Read about unheard of ski resorts that you can find fresh powder days, even weeks after a storm. No matter if you’re a beginner or an expert, you’ll find some juicy tidbit to make this the best winter ever:
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 still pushed to open as early as possible by getting the lifts turning on October 29th. Now that they are open, they’ll most likely be the first resort to turn lifts 7 days/week. As usual, the Black Mountain Express lift was running giving skiers & snowboarders access to their intermediate “High Noon” trail from A-Basin’s front side.
First To Open In The Colorado Front Range
As of Wednesday November 1st, the second ski resort to open on the I-70 corridor by Denver was Keystone. Keystone offered up two miles of schussing across 40 acres to start the season off right. The opening day trails were Schoolmarm and Silver Spoon. These trails are accessed by the River Run Gondola and Montezuma Express chairlift. While this winter they didn’t provide top-to-bottom skiing on opening day, we’re just glad winter is back baby!
First To Open In Canada
Breaking news! One of Alberta’s “Big 3” was hit with a snowstorm over the past week dropping over seven inches on the slopes. This snowstorm together with cold temps have allowed them to kick off their snowmaking at a roaring pace. This has allowed them to earn the coveted Canadian first chair by opening this Friday November 3rd. The plan is to run the Cascade Quad chairlift and the Sundance magic carpet giving access to limited set of terrain.
Loveland Ski Resort
Closest major resort to Denver
Loveland is located only 53 miles from Denver with over 1,800 acres of terrain. They’ve signaled they’ll provide an announcement on when they’ll be open later this week. Most likely it’ll be the “Chet’s Dream” chairlift to 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!
Snowiest Resort In Colorado
Being the first ski resort to open in Colorado is an award that typically is chased by perennial snowmaking giants. Last year the annual fight was won by Wolf Creek Ski Resort in southwest Colorado on NATURAL snow. Yup! After a storm dropped over 14 inches of snow, they were able to run three lifts on October 16th. This wasn’t the first time they’ve turned their lifts in October either. That’s why we listed this resort as the perfect place to start your endless winter road trip. For this season, the storms have started a little slow so opening day is a little bit later than other years. With ten inches of snow having fallen on October 28th & 29th with more on the way, they’ve announced they’ll open on November 11th.
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 for the first snowfall to refresh the base, but that’s about it. As of yet, it doesn’t look like they’re turning the lifts, but we will continue to watch and see if this changes.
First To Open
A tiny ski area in Massachusetts took the crown this season to be the first open in NORTH AMERICA. Ski Ward, located in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts started turning their magic carpet on October 22nd, 2023. Anyone living out East knows the weather hasn’t really been conducive for snowmaking. So how was this possible? The small ski area did this by utilizing its new Latitude 90 all-weather snowmaking technology that can make snow when outdoor temps are as high as 76 degrees Fahrenheit.
The Beast Of The East
Not to be outdone by the West Coast, Killington normally strives every fall to have a VERY early opening each and every 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. Unfortunately, this year they’re not pushing to get the single chair open. Instead, it’s about opening when they have top-to-bottom skiing which they’re stating is typically November 6th based on meteorological averages.
Wild Mountain Or Andes Tower Hills
First In The Midwest?
There are a few ski areas that push to be the first open in their respective states. Although the Midwest is where snowmaking was perfected on the slopes of Boyne Mountain. Shockingly, it isn’t Boyne Mountain that normally wins the race on the first ski resort openings list in the region. Last year the outright winner was Wild Mountain keeping its 40 year+ tradition alive of being the first in the state to open on October 18th. It wasn’t even the mountain’s earliest opening ever (that was on Oct. 7, 2012), but it does tie for Wild Mountain’s second earliest opening (the other being in 1994).
For 2023, it’s a bit convoluted on who really won to be the 1st to open in the Midwest. It depends on what you consider first to open. If it’s any lift regardless of length then Andes Tower Hills won by opening on October 28th. But if you look at the fine print, they’re only open with a magic carpet. Wild Mountain, on the other hand, also in Minnesota just opened top to bottom on October 30th with a chair accessing the full vertical of their ski area. So, who do you think won?