Here are a few secrets about skiing and riding during the Thanksgiving holiday: Turkey day tends to be light on crowds at many ski resorts. November and the first half of December are considered very early season, certainly not peak season, so resorts often offer reduced lodging rates. You can avoid kitchen stress by dining out on traditional holiday meals, but certain you have reservations. Sure, the fledgling snowpack may rely on heavy snowmaking for groomed skiing, but most of our legs could use the warmup. Mother Nature often brings Thanksgiving surprises.
See the below list of North American ski resorts and find some good bets for skiing and riding over the Thanksgiving holiday and into early December.
1&2. Lake Louise & Sunshine Village
Head north to Banff for early holiday snow this season. Lake Louise is open and waiting for you; Sunshine Village is temporarily closed. Lake Louise gives skiers and riders access to 4,200 skiable acres and 3,251 vertical feet of drop. Canada celebrates their Thanksgiving in October, so this weekend is business as usual.
Sunshine Village, Canada’s highest elevated resort, is a great choice and encompasses more than 3,300 skiable acres. Off the snow, soak in hot springs, twirl on ice skates, sightsee on the Banff Gondola and Christmas shop downtown. If you’re looking to fly into Banff, you’ll find many direct flights into Calgary International Airport; from there, Banff is within a 90-minute drive.
The Audi FIS Ski World Cup returns to Lake Louise after the pandemic kept races in Europe last year. Men’s downhills are slated for Nov. 26-27, with a super-G on Nov. 28. The fastest women racers in the world will run downhillsDec. 3-4 and a super-G Dec. 5. Come early for the training races.
Sun Valley will be open for skiing and riding over the Thanksgiving weekend. Likely, you can expect to find at least two open lifts on Dollar Mountain and four to five on Bald Mountain. Good bets (get reservations) for your feast are at The Ram, Galena Lodge, Grill at Nob Hill and the Limelight Lounge.
Sun Valley is known for its western flair and European styling. The resort offers 2,054 skiable acres and 3,400 feet of vertical drop. Off the slopes, stroll through galleries rich in artistic ambiance, catch a movie or play virtual golf at the Nordic center.
Beaver Creek in the Vail Valley is looking to open the day before Thanksgiving. Dining Thanksgiving Day (again, make reservations) will be awesome at Mirabelle, Splendido, Golden Eagle Inn, Grouse Mountain Grill and the Northside Kitchen.
Steamboat opens early this year with a Nov. 20 start date. So Thanksgiving skiing and riding is on the agenda at the Routt County resort this year. Remember that Steamboat considers itself a town first, so not all restaurants will be open. Check and make reservations.
Park City Mountain Resort is a great option for early-season skiers and riders as the skiing and riding kicks in Nov. 19 this year. Park City, located just 35-minutes from Salt Lake City International Airport, offers 7,300 skiable acres serviced by 41 lifts when all open. Good choices for Thanksgiving dinner include 350 Main, Butcher’s Chop House, the Eating Establishment and Flanagans on Main.
Palisades-Tahoe (formerly called Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows) started up their lifts Oct. 29, but then closed as warm weather rolled in. But, no worries about Thanksgiving. The Lake Tahoe resort plans to re-open Nov. 24. Palisades-Tahoe invested lots of dollars in the past few years in snowmaking, so regardless of early season snow totals, there should be plenty of open terrains come turkey day. Best bet for your family feast is the Olympic Inn’s Grand Buffet. But, make your reservations no later than Nov. 18.
Mammoth Mountain opened on October 29 this year so you can plan on some good sliding Thanksgiving weekend. Some good eating too at the Mountainside Bar & Grill, Morrison’s, Lakefront Restaurant in the Tamarack Lodge, or Whitebark at the Westin. Take home your feast from Kitchen and Cocktails.