Colorado Has Many Of The Best Ski Resorts For Early Season Ski Trips • K2 Limo / Shuttles for Denver Ski Resorts Vail,Aspen,Colorado
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Fitting in an early season ski trip can be incredibly gratifying. Getting a quick start on the winter, and hitting the snow with a purpose in December sets skiers up for a big winter, the kind of season that sees lots of time on the snow and big skill improvements. Skiing early, in November or [&hellip

The post Colorado Has Many Of The Best Ski Resorts For Early Season Ski Trips appeared first on Colorado Ski Country USA Blog.

Mary Jane's Opening day at Winter Park. Photo by Carl Frey.

Mary Jane’s Opening day at Winter Park. Photo by Carl Frey.

Fitting in an early season ski trip can be incredibly gratifying. Getting a quick start on the winter, and hitting the snow with a purpose in December sets skiers up for a big winter, the kind of season that sees lots of time on the snow and big skill improvements.

Skiing early, in November or December, does come with a couple of caveats, however. Not every resort has full coverage this time of the year—but there are ski resorts that have exemplary track records in this realm, and there is a throng of them in Colorado. These are the ski resorts whose historical snowfall rates and December open terrain rates that make them very strong candidates for an early season ski trip.

Colorado, as a destination overall, has some characteristics that make it a very strong play for finding snow on early season and holiday ski trips in December. Among those things:

  • High elevations, relative to most of the rest of North America, which helps keep snow on the slopes cold and preserved.
  • Lower average snowfall standard deviations, which means Colorado’s snow tends to be dependable and not as prone to gaps or droughts (like that of California).
  • Strong snowmaking resources, compared with the rest of the West, thanks to a decades-long long commitment to getting terrain open early in the season.
  • Good amounts of blue and mellow terrain that faces north. Steeper expert terrain, of which Colorado possesses plenty, requires more snow to get open. Gentler blue runs, however, especially ones that face north, are usually the first runs of the season to open and the last runs of the season to close. It’s why Colorado has so many ski resorts that are great for beginners.
  • Great air service. Booking a last-minute ski trip can be tricky – but it’s far easier when there are great regional ski airports—Aspen has an especially good one—available with directs that are great for Texas skiers, Midwestern skiers, and even those coming all the way from the East Coast.

Some of the Colorado ski resorts that are the best bests for early season ski trips, according to stats compiled by ZRankings, a ski trip booking site:

Steamboat

Steamboat collects snow in copious quantities during the early season. It has almost no rivals in North America, in fact, when it comes to dependable early season skiing. Steamboat has an average of 93% of its terrain open by Dec. 25, and only 5% of its winters are so dry that the ski resort is less than 50% open at the end of the December. Steamboat is simply outstanding in this way, and it should be toward the top of every skier’s list when it comes to planning holiday ski trips to Steamboat.

Aspen Mountain

Aspen is a classic holiday destination for skiers. Town comes alive with festivities and fanfare. To go along with its top-rated accommodations, Aspen at Christmas is an excellent destination for skiers seeking snow and open terrain. Aspen Mountain, the legacy resort that funnels right into the middle of town, averages having 80% of its terrain open by Dec. 25, a great ratio that traces to Aspen’s high elevations and its strategically-placed snowmaking.

Winter Park

Winter Park piles up more snow than any other ski resort in Summit County. It also benefits from a large portion of north-facing terrain that preserves snow and keeps it cold. Winter Park average having 77% of its terrain open by Dec. 25, a stellar mark. It’s one of the best bets for early season skiing—and it also tends to have smaller crowds than some other major resorts during the holiday season.  The resort has a knack for catering to families, making it one of the top ski resorts for families in all of North America.

Early season at Wolf Creek.

Early season at Wolf Creek.

Wolf Creek

As many skiers from the southwest (Texas, Arizona, New Mexico) know, Wolf Creek is a brilliant play during the early season. Data for Wolf Creek’s open rate during December isn’t readily available, but here’s what we know for sure: In the realm of traditional ski resorts, Wolf Creek receives more snow, on average, than any other mountain in Colorado. On top of that, 65% of Wolf Creek’s terrain faces north, which means the slopes here preserve snow at a highly efficient rate, especially during the early season, when the angle of the sun is at its most oblique point. Take all of these things together, and Wolf Creek is likely the best bet for good snow depths in Colorado during the last month of the year.

Copper Mountain

Copper is great spot for skiers seeking terrain open during the early season. Its location just off of I-70, one of the closer mainline resorts to Denver, makes it a strong play for skiers looking to get fresh tracks right off of the airplane. Copper has advantageous geographical and terrain characteristics that help it preserve most of the snow that hits its slopes after Nov. 1: it has a base elevation that, even for Colorado, is quite high—9,700 feet—and a full 55% of the mountain’s terrain faces north, which means the sun barely gets to it during November and December. This is the reason that Copper skis so well for spring break, and even beyond. It’s also why the mountain ranks No. 20 in North America for overall snow quality.

Loveland

We’d be remiss not to mention the ski resort that’s often the first open in all of North America every fall. Loveland is not known as a destination skier’s mountain, but it has great fall lines and wide swaths of high quality terrain among its 1,800 acres that, thanks to the mountain’s high elevation—the base is way up at 10,800—that get snow early and keep it on late. Loveland is a fantastic ski resort to remember when it comes to early season trips, and its location on top of I-70 makes it a convenient dovetail with trips to other ski resorts as well.

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