Killington, in Vermont, makes every effort to be the *first* resort open (in the east, if not the whole country), and makes snow quite aggressively. Other resorts in Vermont do pretty well, too. If that's not too far to drive, that would be your best bet.
My guess is that resorts in New York do only marginally better than some of the resorts around here in terms of early season conditions.
One final comment is that a lot of resorts around here have continually improved their snowmaking each winter, and this winter is no exception. No phenomenal improvements, but each little improvement allows them to make more snow a little faster and better.
Last year I went to Snowshoe in mid-December and ended up having to mountain bike. It was fun, but I want to be skiing this December--hell, preferably November.
Is there anywhere within a 7/8-hour drive of DC to find some reliable snow?
By the way, I love how all the local ski resorts list their opening day as Thanksgiving... and I thought false advertising was against the law.
They recently received a write-up in SKI Magazine. Who knows whether or not the forecasts are accurate, but it is fun to see that it might be snowing where and when your your planning a trip.
Go to Hunter Mountain, New York. It is about 400 miles north of D.C., by Albany. It is a decent size moutnain, with 1,600' of vert. They plan on opening Nov. 11. They're really good about making snow, and they have a long season (i rode there late april and there were top to bottom runs open). It's about a 7 hr drive, maybe a little less. I definitely recommend it for early and late season skiing.
Or you could just come move to Salt Lake City like I did!
Nowhere closer to us here in "ski dc's-ville" can match what Hunter does early season, including Snowshoe.
Unless you live in Western virginia, Hunter is actually closer with almost all expressway/tollway driving to boot...therefore without those 2 lane crazy winding WVA roads to deal with...
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