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Can anyone recommend a western ski resort in Colorado, Utah or California that usually has plenty of early season snow. We are interested in going out west during either Thanksgiving or the first week of December.
Since Thanksgiving is a week later this year (tail end of November) all the CO ski resorts should be functional by then. The first couple usually open with a few intermediate runs by end of October. By Thanksgiving usually the rest have followed, with even more runs and opening the beginner areas also. I know that Loveland Ski Resort (closest to Denver) has a clock ticking down on their website - 27 days until they start snowmaking. In CO, the race is usually between Loveland Ski Resort and Arapahoe Basin Ski Resort for the honors of "first to open".
The only thing I would add to the original thread is that A-Basin now has snow-making capability which allows them to compete for first open honors. Keystone seems to have stepped out of the fray and left the battle to A-Basin and Loveland. However, if I was to hedge my bets for Thanksgiving, I would still recommend Keystone as the most likely to have more than just a token couple of runs open.
Keystone and Breckenridge are typically good options. Breckenridge is a little higher but Keystone usually has a bunch open. 3 seasons ago I went up there for Thanksgiving and almost the entire backside (bowls) were open. (althought that is atypical)
But, If you stay at keystone you will be able to get to Arapahoe Basin, Loveland, and Breckenridge within about 20 minutes or so. Choose Keystone and pray for snow.
We love Summit County in general, but Keystone also gets our votes for some the better early season snow. We are going over Thanksgiving to Keystone for just this reason! We also like Breck, but IMO Keystone has a slight edge for early season snow. They do a great job covering any "bare" patches of snow. Also, with the brand new Gondola at Keystone there will be downloading available from mid mountain to the base of River Run. This helps in case it happens to get a little warm one day and you would prefer to not ski down to River Run base. They have also moved the Gondola across the Snake River, so it ends even closer to the base - not much walking required! But, overall much of Summit County should be decent early sking.
He tracks all ski resorts snowfall for the past several years and if you search around his site you will find which resorts are best early season. That being said I think higher elevations would result in colder temps early and thus more snow. This would point to the Summit County, CO resorts. I believe Steamboat in CO also has a good track record for early snow but you might want to confirm that.
Inside Tracks is a great resource and we have found it to be accurate in estimates for snowfall and conditions. We think Keystone is the better choice in Colorado for early skiing and with Thanksgiving being a week later this year it will help.
If the original poster wants to go this season, he may be out of luck for timeshare. I have admit a bias, we recently purchased a condo in River Run at Keystone this summer. We have booked our condo since the property managers are already running at higher then normal rate for reservations for Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is a great time to go as the rack rates are fairly low but the skiing should be decent.
So, if he wants to go to Summit County for turkey day this year - I hope he has an ongoing search on and has lots of cash for plane tickets. That is off subject, but I found Thanksgiving to be very expensive. We used frequent flyer miles, which we do not normally do for Denver.