North American Ski Season Opens with a Roar 1
Author thumbnail By M. Scott Smith, DCSki Editor

There’s no other way to put it: the North American ski season is off to a roaring start.

Thanks to a steady stream of generous snow storms, western resorts are tripping over each other to move up opening dates. Instead of opening with skiing and boarding on a few artificially-covered trails, some Colorado resorts are starting the season with the majority of their terrain open.

The photos on this page are not file photos; they were all taken within the past few days.

Colorado’s Vail resort will open Saturday, Nov. 16, with more pre-Thanksgiving snow than locals can remember. Photo provided by

One of North American’s largest resorts, Vail, will open this Saturday with over 2,300 acres of terrain ready for skiing, including its famed original Back Bowls. The Colorado resort has received over 7 feet of snow in recent weeks, and more continues to fall. On November 27, Vail plans to have nearly 100% of its terrain open, including China Bowl and Blue Sky Basin.

“We are thrilled to offer our guests such a high-quality ski and snowboard experience in mid-November, well before the Thanksgiving holiday weekend,” said Bill Jensen, chief operating officer of Vail Mountain.

Winter Park has received plenty of natural snow. Photo provided by

Other Colorado resorts have received several feet of snow in recent days as well. The lifts are already running at Winter Park, which is open with 10 trails and a 33-inch base. This weekend, Winter Park plans to open an additional 24 trails, allowing 75% of the main Winter Park mountain to open.

Breckenridge opens on Friday, Nov. 15. Photo provided by
With over three feet of recent snow, Steamboat has moved up its opening day five days. The new opening date is Friday, Nov. 22. Photo provided by
Postcard pictures go hand-in-hand with Telluride, with has received 6.5 feet of snow so far this season. Opening date is set for Tuesday, Nov. 26. Photo provided by

The snow hasn’t been limited to Colorado. Resorts in New Mexico and Utah are also looking good.

New Mexico’s Taos Ski Valley will open Nov. 23. Photo provided by

Cold temperatures have also allowed many east coast resorts to open. Vermont’s Killington Resort is offering over 5 miles of skiing on 18 trails. New York’s Hunter Mountain also offered a preview of the ski season with a limited opening Nov. 9-10. Thanks to aggressive snowmaking, Hunter was able to open four trails for top-to-bottom skiing.

The guns are firing at Snowshoe, which plans to open in a week. Photo provided by

Locally, West Virginia’s Snowshoe Mountain Resort cranked up the snowguns once again, blanketing slopes at both the main Snowshoe area and Silver Creek area in preparation fora Nov. 22 opening. With a cold front arriving this weekend, temperatures will continue to dip in that delicious snowmaking range.

Indeed, from West to East, things look on track for a great 2002-2003 winter season. What was that about El Niño?

About M. Scott Smith

M. Scott Smith is the founder and Editor of DCSki. Scott loves outdoor activities such as camping, hiking, kayaking, skiing, and mountain biking. He is an avid photographer and writer.

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Reader Comments

November 15, 2002

Ski and Tell

Snowcat got your tongue?

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