With the first dusting of snow falling in Colorado and the full season right around the corner, we are starting to get antsy waiting for the season to finally start! Most of us are asking, “what resorts open first?”

To help bolster excitement and give the powder hounds something to look forward to, we rounded up five resorts around North America that will be opening their lifts early.

Related: Planned Opening Dates for 2023/2024 Season

Related: How to Plan the Best Ski Vacation 

Can you ski in October in Colorado?

Yes! While not every resort will be open and running, there are two that consistently open in October and see snowfall around this time. We’ve included a ‘TBD’ alongside all projected opening dates, since based on how much snowfall happens between now and then, each resort may open before or after the fact.


Projected Opening Day: Mid-October

This ski resort in the Colorado Rockies typically competes with Arapahoe Basin and Keystone is successfully consistent in its efforts to move up opening day each season thanks to better snowmaking and grooming. Keystone also benefits from playful terrain parks and a lively base village that typically hosts plenty of early-season entertainment.

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Keystone’s opening day can be a snowy affair. | Photo: Vail Resorts/Keystone

Where to stay: Located in the middle of Keystone’s base village and less than 250 yards from the lifts, River Run Condominiums place skiers and snowboarders in the middle of all the Keystone early season action.


Projected Opening Day: Mid-October

Arapahoe Basin has the highest summit elevation in the U.S. and is often the first ski resort in Colorado to open to the public. During normal snow years, Arapahoe Basin is a reliable bet for great early-season ski trips starting in October. If the storms fall just right, A-Bay can be the first place in the country to offer lift-served powder turns. When you’re visiting in the early season make sure to go with rentals or older rock skis just to be safe.

Ski season opening day in Colorado
The opening day ceremonies at Arapahoe Basin on opening day 2017 | Photo: Barclay Idsal

Where to stay: Stay in nearby Summit County at the 2028 Ryan Gulch rental, which is the perfect venue for a group of friends who want to make their first turns of the season and follow it up with a muscle-melting soak in the hot tub to kick off their nightly après.

Where is the best skiing in November?


Projected Opening Day: Mid-November

Killington Peak is one of seven mountains in the Killington ski area and the second-highest point in Vermont coming in at 4,241 feet. On top of the 250 inches of natural snowfall the resort gets annually, their snowmaking system also covers 60 acres of the resort and can produce 12 inches of fresh snow every 24 hours. The November snowfall average alone is 29 inches and paired with their nightly grooming which covers over 40 miles of terrain every evening, the turns and schussing are immaculate, particularly for early ski season on the east coast.

opening day killington ski resort
Known as the “Beast of the East,” you can rely on Killington for Thanksgiving shredding. | Photo: Killington

Where to stay: The Killington Grand Hotel provides ski-in, ski-out access for its guests to maximize their time on the mountains. When you aren’t skiing, the Grand Spa hosts a wide array of treatments and the free shuttle from the hotel can take you to and from the famous Killington Road for a variety of dining and après options to select from.  


Projected Opening Day: 11/17/23, TBD

When storms barrel down on Little Cottonwood Canyon, they settle over Alta and stay awhile, dumping their powdery payload on these mythical slopes.

In recent ski seasons, Alta has started off with a decently deep snow base and had many years where skiers can still find fresh tracks in late November. Alta is currently projected to open on 11/18/22.

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A classic skier’s lodge, Alta’s Peruvian is the perfect place to kick off the season and really get into the skiing mood.

Where to stay: Located at the base of the resort, the Peruvian Lodge provides a simple, comfortable, and inviting atmosphere with the best bar in the area for après. 


Projected Opening Day: 11/23/23, TBD

Boasting one of the longest ski seasons in North America, Whistler Blackcomb is also Canada’s largest ski resort and an annual contender for early-season snow. Planning to Do North for your first turns of the season will set you up for short lift lines and some of Canada’s renowned powder.

Each season Whistler Blackcomb averages 35.5 feet of snow, but just between mid-November to early December they typically average about 8 feet. Their website notes that because of their knack for snow early on, they tend to open often 1-2 weeks ahead of their projected opening date. This is a great resort to keep on your list when considering making that early-season ski trip.

Opening day in Whistler
Photo: Tourism Whistler/Guy Fattal

Where to stay: The 4-star Crystal Lodge is nestled in the Whistler Village and set guests just steps away from the lifts. The hotel’s heated outdoor pool, hot tub and ski valet make the transition from shredding Canadian pow to après time a breeze.

Related: Essential Exercises to Get Ready for Ski Season

Nobody understands why you crave time in the mountains more than we do and nobody knows how to guide you there better.