Here are a few secrets about skiing and riding during the Thanksgiving holiday: Thanksgiving Day itself tends to be light on crowds at many ski resorts, as most people don’t want to miss out on the home-cooked spreads that Thanksgiving brings. November and the first half of December are still considered early season, so among the upsides are lodging deals and discounted lift tickets around this time. Bonus: You can avoid kitchen stress in your vacation rental by dining out for traditional holiday meals; just make sure you have reservations. Sure, the fledgling snowpack may rely on heavy snowmaking for groomed skiing, but most of our legs could use the warm-up. Besides, Mother Nature can sometimes bring Thanksgiving surprises to the mountains.
Note: Meteorologist Chris Tomer will be back in mid-November for twice-weekly snow forecasts. Check the Thanksgiving forecast ahead of your ski trip here.
Here are some good choices for skiing Thanksgiving weekend.
Where to ski Thanksgiving Weekend
Head north to Banff for early holiday snow, where it’s business as usual, since Canada celebrates their Thanksgiving in October. Lake Louise and Sunshine should be open and waiting for you with projected opening dates in early November. Lake Louise gives skiers and riders access to 4,200 skiable acres and 3,251 vertical feet of drop, while Sunshine Village is Canada’s highest elevated resort, and boasts 3,300 skiable acres and 3,510 feet of vertical.
Off the snow, soak in hot springs, twirl on ice skates, take in the views on the Banff Gondola, and go holiday shopping in downtown Banff. Bonus: You’ll find a lot of great restaurants in Banff to satisfy your cravings for a hearty holiday meal.
Sun Valley plans to open for skiing and riding over Thanksgiving weekend, making it a great choice for ringing in the ski season. America’s first destination ski resort, Sun Valley is known for its Western flair and European styling, while offering 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. Good bets (get reservations) for your feast are at The Ram, Galena Lodge, Grill at Nob Hill and the Limelight Lounge, many of which have special Thanksgiving menus.
Check out Lodging options in Sun Valley.
There’s so much room, 5,800 acres, at Big Sky that even with modest terrain for Thanksgiving weekend, there will be plenty of snow-covered slopes for skiers and snowboarders to enjoy. A great choice for Thanksgiving Day dinner is the Horn & Cattle on Lone Mountain Ranch. Other fine dining choices are WOM (Word of Mouth), Olive B’s Big Sky Bistro, and Everett’s 8,500. Remember those reservations.
Check out Lodging options at Big Sky.
The Pacific Northwest is often a good bet for early-season turns, and few resorts are a better choice than Crystal Mountain, Washington State’s largest ski area. While the entire 2,200 acres of Crystal Mountain won’t be accessible, there’s plenty of terrain to warm up your legs for the ski season. For a great meal, with equally great views of Mt. Rainier, take the Mount Rainier Gondola up 6,872 feet to the Summit House Restaurant.
Killington, the aptly named Beast of the East, likes to muse that “winter is here when we say so.” By mid-October, the nights are dipping down to the 30s while some parts of the country are still seeing summer-like weather. This year Killington is planning on a mid-November start to welcome skiers and riders. The best news for ski racing fans is the return of Women’s Alpine World Cup racing on Thanksgiving Weekend Nov. 24-26. The Killington Cup races include a Giant Slalom and slalom. The races draw between 30,000-40,000 fans to Vermont.
Thanksgiving has already come and gone in Canada when Americans get around to it, but Whistler Blackcomb in British Columbia has you covered. Enjoy traditional Thanksgiving dining, all-weather activities, family-friendly entertainment, and shopping on the Village Stroll. The resort plans to be open for skiing and riding over Thanksgiving weekend. Look for a fine dining Thanksgiving dinner at Araxi’s Restaurant and Oyster Bar, while the Braidwood Tavern serves up brunch, lunch, dinner, and turkey to go.
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