Early Season Ski Trips

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When winter break rolls around, the world’s popular ski destinations are packed. But, now you know a secret: Late winter isn’t always the best time for a ski trip. Late fall and early winter can prove equally fantastic when conditions are just right. The following destinations historically receive great snow coverage and even some powder for early birds to enjoy. Before booking a private jet trip to a ski destination, get in touch with the ski resort of interest to learn if they’re open.

Ski Destinations to Fly to for Early-Season Skiing

Keystone, Colorado

A flagship North American ski resort, Keystone is more laidback than luxury-driven Vail, giving you an old-school Colorado feel. At 9,173 feet, its high elevation makes it vulnerable to early-season snow storms that powder the manmade snow the resort dusts onto the playful terrain. Keystone has some of the longest runs of U.S. ski resorts, as well as workhorse lifts that go up 2,000 feet. Less-skied areas include Dercum and North Peak.

Projected 2017 opening day: November 10

Alta Ski Area, Utah

With a snow score of 100 at the time of publication in late October, Alta has some of the best snow in North America. Snuggled within Utah’s Little Cottonwood Canyon, Alta has its own microclimate that turns minor weather disturbances into major snowfalls that leave power on the slopes. While the runs tend to be shorter than its neighbors’ are, Alta’s terrain still ranks high among ski elite. As you make your way up the mountain, Alta slowly reveals its secrets, adding to its alluring appeal. It’s one of those places that you can ski for decades and still find something new every time you visit.

Projected 2017 opening day: November 22

Lake Louise Ski Resort, Banff, Alberta

One of the most scenic ski resorts in the world, Lake Louise in the Canadian Rockies is a magnet for early-season skiers. When you’re out on the slopes, the view of the towering peaks will remind you of the Alps. The snowfall at Lake Louise is consistent, and the open terrain is generous. The steepest terrains face north, making them your best bet for accumulated powder.

Projected 2017 opening day: November 10

Steamboat Ski Resort, Steamboat Springs, CO

While the other peaks in the Colorado Rockies look ho-hum in late fall and early winter, Steamboat stands out. Not only is it a couple hours from Colorado’s popular destination ski resorts, its high plateau catches early-season snow storms. The shape of its slopes also holds snow better than resorts with steeper terrain. As a bonus, Steamboat has slopes to accommodate every ski level. While the area’s elevation is modest by Colorado standards, it still stands out as a major snow destination.

Projected 2017 opening day: November 22

Sunday River Ski Resort, Maine

Known for reliable snow, Sunday River on Locke Mountain has some of the most diverse terrains on the East Coast with 131 trails. White Cap peak boasts difficult terrain for those who like it steep. Beginners enjoy the green runs from the summits of Spruce Peak, Barker Mountain, Aurora Peak, and the Jordan and Oz Bowls. Even though the area has modest snowfall, the resort has an extensive snowmaking system.

Projected 2017 opening day: Late October or early November, depending on the weather

Photo by Simon Pattern via Flickr

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