We’re less than a week away from Thanksgiving and while we’re excited about gathering with friends and family, and eating good food, we’re positively stoked to see the ski season get into full swing. Storms across the country this week bolstered snowpack at ski resorts, including the East Coast. In addition to recapping where we saw snow this week, we’ve rounded up more resorts with early openings and will fill you in on where snow will be coming down this weekend as well.

Before diving into the East Coast accumulation there are two terms that will help you understand where the snow came from and how snow much of it happened at once.

What is lake effect snow?

Lake effect snow takes place when cold air moves across unfrozen bodies of water that are relatively warm. When this occurs, warmth and moisture are transferred into the lowest portion of the atmosphere producing clouds and narrow bands of snow which can fall at a rate of 2-3”+ of snow an hour. The duration of lake effect snow can be as little as one hour to multiple days, all dependent on how and when wind direction changes. Lake effect snow typically will have a lighter snow-to-liquid ratio, meaning there will be extra powder on the slopes creating ideal skiing conditions.

This Friday, some serious lake effect snow will be hitting parts of Michigan, Ontario and New York with more snow showers coming this weekend. Buffalo, New York is projected to see a historic amount of snowfall—the city averages 95” every year, and the incoming snowstorm has the potential to create 25-50% of that just within a few days. Ski resorts who will benefit from this lake effect snow out East include Crystal Mountain, Michigan and Kissing Bridge, New York.

What is a Nor’easter?

A Nor’easter is a storm occurring along the East Coast of North America with winds over the coast coming from the northeast. These kinds of storms almost always bring precipitation either in heavy snow or rain, strong winds, rough seas and occasional coastal flooding to the affected regions.

Over the past week, Killington saw 4-10” of snow along with Gore Mountain and Greek Peak.

With more attention out East, here is a list of resorts that opened early thanks to this week’s storm:

Sunday River, ME– 11/17

Killington, VT– 11/17

Sugarloaf, ME– 11/18

Stowe and Sugarbush, VT– 11/19

Other ski resorts who opened early include:

Snowbird, UT– 11/18

Palisades Tahoe, CA – 11/18 

Crystal Mountain, WA – 11/18

Another solid weekly recap on our Friday Freshies radar. Colorado is anticipating a dry spell in the coming week, but locals were happy to see 9” at Eldora and 8” at both Winter Park and Steamboat Springs. Tomorrow will also be opening day for Aspen Mountain and Snowmass, with Aspen Mountain notably opening from top to bottom.

As always, we’d love to see photos of you getting turns on opening days or on your local mountain. For a chance to be featured in our next Friday Freshies post, tag us on Instagram or Facebook with #ToTheMountains. Enjoy the snow!