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Vail Resorts Announces Which Ski Area Will Open First This Season

The first resort hopes to start spinning its lifts in October, with more ski areas than ever scheduled to open in November.

Big Sky recorded measurable snow on Lone Peak’s summit last week (four inches!), a dusting of the white stuff could be seen on Colorado’s high peaks, and ski films are dropping like flies. It all means one thing: Ski season is coming.

Also Read: Ski Season is Coming in Hot—This Trailer Proves It

More proof: Vail Resorts just announced opening dates at its 34 North American resorts, with one scheduled to start spinning its lifts in October.

Dates are subject to change at the whims of Mother Nature and Covid-19, but Keystone hopes to open limited terrain as soon as conditions permit in October, citing recent investment in an energy-efficient snowmaking system. VR also cites earlier-than-usual planned openings at Breckenridge, Vail, Whistler Blackcomb, and Okemo, which are all scheduled for November openings.

"None"
Conditions permitting, Colo.’s Keystone Resort will open in October. Photo: Courtesy of Vail Resorts

In the East, the earliest openings are planned for November 19 at Afton Alps, Minn., Hunter Mountain, N.Y., Wildcat, N.H., and Vt.’s Stowe and Mount Snow. If you haven’t already pulled the trigger on your Epic Pass, the price will go up after Sept. 6

As of now, Vail Resort is still not planning to require reservations for the 2021-’22 season, but the company says it will continue to monitor health conditions throughout the fall and will announce any changes with as much notice as possible. 

Here’s are the opening dates for Vail Resort’s 34 North American Resorts (subject to change):

October

  • As early as conditions allow: Keystone, Colo.

November

  • 12: Breckenridge, Colo, Vail, Colo.
  • 19: Heavenly, Calif., Northstar, Calif., Park City, Utah, Afton Alps, Minn., Hunter, N.Y., Mt. Snow, Vt., Stowe, Vt., Wildcat, N.H.
  • 20: Okemo, Vt.
  • 24: Beaver Creek, Colo., Crested Butte, Colo., Mt. Sunapee, N.H.
  • 25: Whistler Blackcomb, B.C.

December

  • 3: Kirkwood, Calif., Stevens Pass, Wash. Attitash. N.H., Crotched, N.H., Jack Frost, Pa., Mt. Brighton, Mich., Wilmot, Wisc.
  • 17: Big Boulder, Pa., Liberty, Pa., Roundtop, Pa., Whitetail, Pa.
  • 18: Alpine Valley, Ohio, Boston Mills and Brandywine, Ohio, Hidden Valley, Mo., Mad River, Ohio, Paoli Peaks, Ind., Snow Creek, Mo.

Elsewhere in the ski universe, Eldora in Colorado just announced an opening date of November 19, as well as a new Boulder County-imposed parking tax of $10 per single-occupancy vehicle, so start planning those carpools. Eldora also says that it does not plan to require parking reservations this season.

Big Sky First Snow
Big Sky’s first measurable snow fell on Aug. 20, 2021. Photo: Courtesy of Big Sky Resort

And Big Sky, where the snow is already flying, is planning for a Nov. 25 opening date, as well the debut of its new Swift Current 6 this season, the fastest six-pack express lift in North America. It will replace the Swift Current quad chair.

It may still be sweltering in many parts of the U.S. right now, but for anyone looking for a little bit of winter juju, we hope this helps get you through the next few weeks until autumn makes its arrival.