Massanutten in McGaheysville, Va., aims for an opening near Thanksgiving.  The winter of 2010-11 Massanutten opened Nov. 29.

Many of you have asked about your favorite area, or areas, and when they might open. Massanutten is one of the resorts you asked about. The answer is similar in most cases, although resorts generally break down into two groups: In the larger group of resorts, most aim to be open just before or just after Thanksgiving; a smaller group of North American ski areas will open in late October or early November, taking advantage of their location in high mountains where snow falls early, and it is cold enough for snow to last.

This timing is primarily due to weather: It must be cold enough on a consistent basis for 1) natural snow to fall and last, and/or 2) snowmaking operations to begin and coat terrain with machine made snow. No snow, no skiing or riding.

Economics also play a role, as skiers and riders must be ready to turn out in sufficient numbers to make operations cost effective. It costs as much to run a ski resort for one customer as for several thousand, but revenues are somewhat higher for the larger number. People are not in snow sports mode until well into fall, summer has receded into memory, vacation homes are shuttered, school routine is under way, and golf courses have seen their last rounds.

Question: When does Massanutten typically open?