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Autumn is upon us. The smell of winter is in the air. It’s only a matter of weeks before you’ll be able to make those first turns. The only question is, where to go? Here are our choices for the best early-season snow.
Whistler/Blackcomb, British Columbia
The men’s World Cup downhill in early December has been cancelled three years in a row due to too much powder. Boo hoo.
Even if the rest of California comes up dry, Heavenly’s got the largest snowmaking system around Lake Tahoe.
The ski area with Lake Tahoe’s highest elevation, Kirkwood stockpiles snow while its neighbors are getting rain.
With boot-deep freshies on opening day for the past three seasons, Telluride’s a great place to eat turkey.
Wolf Creek, Colorado
When the jet stream dips low, it picks up moisture from Baja California and promptly runs into an 11,775-foot wall — Wolf Creek.
Sunday River, Maine
An armory of snow guns — 1,500 of them — covers 92 percent of the mountain with signature Sunday River squirt.
Taos, New Mexico
The same weather system that dumps copious amounts of snow on Wolf Creek keeps Taos securely blanketed, too.
In the East, he who blows the most snow wins, and Killington has got more guns than Texas, enough to cover 722 acres of skiing.
Mt. Baker, Washington
Last year, 95 feet of snow fell at Mt. Baker. It dumped all the time, all season long. This is as close to a sure thing as you’re gonna get.
Grand Targhee, Wyoming
Big snowstorms routinely get stuck on the Targhee side of the Tetons, allowing for cat skiing as early as December 1.