Alberta ski resorts in the Canadian Rockies get hit the first with natural snow. Their peak tops even saw fresh snow in September, and the mountain chain sees cold enough weather for snowmaking before other ranges south of the Canadian boundary. Alberta resorts plan to follow suit by being the first ski resorts to open for this winter ski season in North America.

Nakiska - the closest ski mountain to Calgary - is usually the first to run two lifts for skiers, with a projected opening Nov. 1 for preseason race training. However, the resort is open only for ski teams in training through November and targets early December for opening to the public.

Sunshine Village, also near Banff, has projected an early November opening, too. The resort plans to crank up its gondola Nov. 7 to whisk skiers and snowboarders up to its village where lifts crown the Continental Divide.

Lake Louise Mountain Resort, located north of Banff, traditionally receives dependable early season snowfall. The resort has scheduled their lifts to run for their winter season on Saturday, Nov. 8. Racers launch out of the starting gate for the annual Winterstart World Cup on Nov. 29 for men and Dec. 6 for women.

Marmot Basin sits further north in Jasper National Park, where Arctic blasts can hit first to bring snow. The resort has set its opening for Nov. 14.

All four resorts rely on snowmaking to assist their early opening efforts, but natural snow descends early in these northern mountains.