For those who can wait to get back on the slopes, November offers some great skiing and often at reduced prices. Find out where to go for the best early snow in Europe and North America.
Keystone, Colorado opens Nov. 4, which is one of the earliest winter openings in the Northern Hemisphere. Its snowsure conditions are in large part due to its tree-lined slopes offering protection from the wind. It has some of the US's most extensive expert skiing, as well as groomed cruising slopes. The River Run base gives Keystone an Alpine village feel, with shops, bars and restaurants around a square. Ski passes cost $63 per day for early skiers (Nov. 4-17).
At Big White, Canada, "It's the Snow" is the motto, with over 750cm of powder falling annually. The resort opens mid-November and is famous for its 'snow ghosts' - snow-caked trees that resemble haunting shapes. Ski passes cost $75 (CAD) per day throughout the season.
Obergurgl-Hochgurgl, Austria (1930-3082m), Europe's highest traditional village, opens Nov. 19. Not only is it one of the first to open each year, but it also offers a snow guarentee and is one of your best bets for a white Christmas. Ski passes cost €42.50 a day (Nov. 19 to Dec. 19).
Val Thorens, France (2300-3200m) opens Nov. 19. As Europe's highest major resort, it is naturally one of the continent's most snowsure, right from the start to the end of winter. It kicks off the season with the Ski Force Winter Tour Nov. 20 and 21, giving skiers and boarders the chance to test the new models of more than 15 top ski manufacturers for free and benefit from professional advice. Reduced ski passes cost €22 (Nov. 19 to Dec. 4) or €29 (Dec. 5-18).
Saas-Fee, Switzerland (1800-3600m) opens Nov. 1. Its high altitude and ski area on the glacier, offers guaranteed snow. The resort is car-free, which means vehicles are parked at a large car-park on arrival at the edge of the village and only small electric taxis, mostly owned by the hotels. Strict planning regulations have maintained traditional Swiss chalet style properties. Ski passes cost CHF68 throughout the winter season.
Other resort openings in November include Killington and Mammoth Mountain in the US; Ischgl and St. Anton in Austria; St. Moritz and Klosters in Switzerland; Pal-Arinsal and Soldeu in Andorra; Val d'Isere in France; and Livigno and Cervinia in Italy.