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So far, the early 2022-23 ski season is a tale of inches and feet: Feet of snow and earlier than planned openings in the West; mere inches of snow in the East and delayed openings. Stowe opening dayStowe Mountain Opening Day

As colder temps settle in later this month, the East hopes to catch up. And everybody is looking forward to a good holiday period, especially with Christmas falling on a weekend, which usually helps extend the vacation crowds through two solid weeks and weekends.


The first ski area in the East to open was North Carolina’s Sugar Mountain, which kicked-off its season Nov. 14 with five trails served by two lifts. After Hurricane Nicole blew through the North Carolina mountains, temps plummeted and allowed Sugar to make snow for about two days ahead of opening—a testament to the snowmaking power Southeast ski areas.

Also in North Carolina, Beech Mountain opened Nov. 25. This season, the resort will debut a new chairlift, terrain redesign, increased snowmaking, a new beginner trail, and extended tubing season.

Further north, after a stretch of record-breaking 70-degree weather early in November, temperatures dropped and several inches of snow fell, enabling Killington, Vt., to pull off a successful women’s World Cup race Thanksgiving weekend. The event also gave Killington a chance to preview its new K1 base lodge. The grand opening of the beautiful, new, ultra-modern lodge is scheduled for January. 

Also in Vermont, Stowe Mountain Resort, with its new six-pack chair that replaces two triples; Mount Snow, which also replaced two triples with a six-pack and a fixed-grip quad with a high-speed, detachable quad; and Okemo and Sugarbush also were open for Turkey Day weekend. Jay Peak opened for its “Day for the Devoted”—passholders, staff, and select few others—Nov. 25, and to all for the weekend before suspending operations Monday-Thursday and reopening for daily operations Dec. 2. Crowds and enthusiasm were high over the holiday weekend, according to Ski Vermont. 

Bolton Valley, Smugglers’ Notch, Bromley, Stratton, and Burke all opened the following week.

A heavy wind and rain event at the end of November severely cut back trail counts. Short windows of snowmaking weather have been mixed in with some wet days so far in December, but colder weather is forecast. “Everybody is excited about the season,” said Bryan Rivard, communications manager at Ski Vermont. “Christmas bookings are on pace with last year.”

Holiday bookings are also strong in Maine where only Sunday River and Sugarloaf were able to open for Thanksgiving – later than usual openings for both.

“Everybody’s ready to flip the switch,” said Dirk Gouwens, executive director at Ski Maine. “Everybody’s fully booked for Christmas. Assuming Mother Nature cooperates, the holidays should be really solid.”

Four New Hampshire resorts were able to open for Thanksgiving, including Bretton Woods, Wildcat, Sunapee, and Loon. Loon opened at the Governor Adams Lodge base area for the first time in its history. With 87 acres of terrain and 2,100 vertical feet, it was the resort’s largest opening day ever, and showcased the massive technological upgrades taking place in the West Basin. These include Kancamagus 8—the East’s first eight-passenger chairlift, new last year—and fully automated snowmaking. 

Elsewhere, Pat’s Peak opened its 60th season Friday, Dec. 2, for passholders, and Saturday and Sunday to everyone else. It planned to close midweek and re-open the following weekend, weather permitting. Waterville postponed its opening to Dec. 10 because of warm and wet weather.


Since mid-November, the Midwest has enjoyed good snowmaking temperatures, as well as some natural snow. “We’re off to a good start in the Midwest,” said Amy Reents, president of the Midwest Ski Areas Association. 

Perfect North Slopes, Ind., opened Tuesday, Nov. 22, which is earlier than usual. More than 40 Midwest ski areas were open for Thanksgiving weekend, including Trollhaugen and Alpine Valley, Wis., which were 100 percent open before the holiday. Seven Oaks, Iowa, is currently 100 percent open, too.

Several ski areas are open for weekend operations only as of now, including Snowriver Mountain Resort, Mich., which is reporting more than 60 inches of snow so far this season. 

“We’ve got more terrain open than usual and people are feeling good about Christmas,” Reents said.


The third, back-to-back-to-back La Nina has set up the West for an early and enviable winter ski season. 

A-Basin kicked off the season Oct. 23, the first Colorado resort to open for the 10th time in the last 12 years. Other October openings included Keystone (October 28), and Winter Park (Halloween). Steamboat opened its 60th season on Nov. 23, with the most terrain available on opening day in nearly a decade.

Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Wyo., which had already received 117 inches of snow by the beginning of December, opened Nov. 25 with five lifts and sprawling skiable terrain on the north side. The Aerial Tram, Bridger Gondola, Sublette, and Marmot lifts opened Dec. 3.

“We’re excited to open up for skiers and riders on Nov. 25 after a tremendous past few weeks of snowfall and cold temperatures,” said JHMR President Mary Kate Buckley. “This is some of the best early-season snow we’ve seen in the last decade. It’s been the perfect combination of snow and snow-making since late October, which leads to great coverage on our world-class terrain.” 

Nearby Snow King opened Nov. 26. Some days there are already sold out for ski school lessons over the Christmas holiday week.

In Utah, it started snowing in October and has not let up. Brian Head opened Nov. 4, the first in the state and its earliest opening ever. Sundance opened Dec. 3, its earliest opening in more than a decade. 

Almost every resort opened earlier than planned, said Alison Palmintere, communications director at Ski Utah. Although not fully booked yet for Christmas, resorts are eager to show off their new capital improvements, including new tram cars at Snowbird, and new lifts at Deer Valley and Alta. Utah is also expanding its passport program this season to include all fourth, fifth and sixth graders, who can ski for three days at each of the state’s 15 resorts for just $49.

Sun Valley, Idaho, kicked off its 87th season Thanksgiving Day after receiving several big dumps of snow. Brundage opened Dec. 2—its second earliest opening in the last 16 years—after getting more than two feet of the fluffy stuff.

In Montana, Big Sky had a “historic” opening day Nov. 23, kicking off the season with 2,000 acres of skiable terrain—the most the resort has ever opened with. Bridger Bowl plans to open Dec. 9. 

Willamette Pass, Ore., now operated by Mountain Capital Partners, opened early on Dec. 2 after more than two feet of snow fell on the resort. Improvements include direct-to-lift access for ticket holders and demand-based pricing on daily lift tickets with prices as low as $9 on select days.

In California, Mammoth opened first on Nov. 5., followed by Boreal, Snow Summit, Heavenly, and Northstar, Nov. 18. After more than three feet of snow on the upper mountain in early November, Palisades Tahoe also opened early on the 18th, its second winter under its new name. The resort’s highly-anticipated new Base to Base Gondola will debut Dec. 17. Sugar Bowl will open its new Sugar Rush tubing hill Dec. 17, for weekend and holiday operations.

In Canada, Banff Sunshine in Alberta was the first to open on Nov. 3, about a week earlier than planned. Nearby Lake Louise opened Nov. 4. Sun Peaks, B.C., got hit with early snowfall and had a strong opening, as did the rest of the “Powder Highway” region. Fernie Alpine Resort opened Dec. 3 with strong advance ticket sales and above normal lodging bookings. It featured some of the best early season snow conditions in a long time. 

Kimberley Alpine Resort’s Northstar Quad, the primary lift out of its base area that hasn’t operated since a fire destroyed the lift control building at the upper terminal on Dec. 18, 2021, is still being repaired. The resort said it has had tremendous support from Leitner Poma to get the lift ready to go for this winter and it will open with some of the best snow conditions in decades after receiving several feet of snow already.

This report was compiled by Linda Goodspeed