Where to Ski in November

Newsroom Most Popular Where to Ski in November

The time has finally come for ski season kick-offs and early first turns. Skiing in November can sometimes mean solid snow conditions and an opportunity to dial in equipment and get those ski muscles ready for the season ahead. Early mornings provide the best opportunity to take advantage of crisply groomed trails, while warmer afternoons set the stage for sun-soaked après sessions. Much like spring skiing, the early-season slopes tend to be less crowded, and you should find plenty of lodging choices and easy access to restaurants and nightlife.

This prelude is arguably the most anticipated of all, as skiers and riders yearn to get to the mountains after hanging up the boards at some point last spring.

Download the OnTheSnow app on Google Play or on the App Store to stay up to date on ski resort conditions, lift and trail stats, and more.

Long-Range Winter Forecast

OnTheSnow.com’s chief meteorologist, Chris Tomer, suggests the start of winter looks like this:

“After three consecutive winter seasons with La Niña influence, the South Pacific made a fast transition to El Niño. Sea surface temperatures (SSTs) are now running warmer than normal, and they’re expected to continue warming. A strong El Niño is likely by December 2023, and it’ll potentially be one of the strongest El Niño patterns on record. A strong El Niño is likely to continue with a screaming subtropical jet across the southern tier by January, February, March, April, and May 2024.”

Keep in mind early openings don’t mean the whole mountain is open with all lifts purring and waiting for you. There should be solid ribbons of snow and a base that just keeps on expanding as the temperatures allow for consistent snowmaking and some lucky early snows. And, while no one likes to talk about it, you may not want to test your brand new skis and boards quite yet. No matter how meticulously slopes are prepared for winter, experienced skiers and boarders know that rocks can and often will find your ski and board bases.

There are several areas that will do their best to get you on skis or boards as early as Halloween, which usually means (barring warm spells) you can count on them in November. Still, take these opening dates as educated guesses and remember the old adage about the “best-laid plans.” Always check the OnTheSnow.com website or app to be sure before you head for the hills. Decisions this time of year can be a spur of the moment, either way.

Where to ski in November

November ski resort openings tend to slide in from about mid-month to just as Thanksgiving dinner is being prepared, although given colder temperatures at elevation early this season, a few were able to sneak in opening days around Halloween. Out east, Ski Ward in Massachusetts became the first North American resort to open for the season on October 23. Andes Tower Hills in Minnesota became the first for the Midwest on October 28, followed by Wild Mountain in Taylor Falls, Minnesota on October 30. Arapahoe Basin kicked things off in Colorado, opening on October 29. After receiving a foot of snow, Keystone Resort was able to open promptly on November 1.

» View Arapahoe Lodging Options & Keystone Lodging Options

Keystone Resort, view of the lake and skiers.
©Katie Young / Keystone Resort

Breckenridge and Vail are set to open mid-month on November 10, followed by Copper Mountain on November 13. In the neighboring state of Utah, Brian Head and Brighton are slated to be the first to open on November 10, soon to be followed by a handful of resorts – Park City Mountain, Solitude, Alta, and Woodward Park City, on November 17. In Wyoming, Grand Targhee will be the first resort to open on November 17. Discovery Ski Area is also preparing to open on the same date in Montana.

» View Breckenridge Lodging OptionsVail Lodging Options & Park City Lodging Options

Further west, Mammoth Mountain in California, is slated to be one of the first California ski resorts to open its doors on November 10. Oregon’s Timberline Lodge is projected to open then, also. Other ski resorts in the California, Oregon, and Washington stretch with opening dates prior to Thanksgiving include Heavenly, Northstar, Palisades Tahoe, Mount Shasta Ski Park, Mount Baker, and Crystal Mountain.

» View Mammoth Lodging Options, Heavenly Lodging Options & Palisades Tahoe Lodging Options

In New England, Killington Resort is expected to be the first to fully open on November 15 (just one week before it hosts the women’s Alpine World Cup Tour), and it will be closely followed by Stowe Mountain Resort on November 18. In Maine and New York, Sugarloaf, Hunter Mountain, and Gore Mountain are expected to open around November 18 as well.

» View Killington Lodging Options, Stowe Lodging Options & Sugarloaf Lodging Options

Thanksgiving – or at least the day after – you can probably count on a whole slew of resorts running their lifts, including Nakiska in Alberta (which is having a preview weekend on November 4 and 5); Big Bear, Mt. Baldy, and Sugar Bowl in California; Aspen, Beaver Creek, Crested Butte, Silverton, Steamboat, and Telluride in Colorado; Big Sky in Montana; Jackson Hole in Wyoming; Sun Valley in Idaho; Taos in New Mexico; and more.

» View Aspen Lodging Options, Steamboat Lodging Options & Jackson Hole Lodging Options

Note that weather and conditions can change quickly, especially early in the season, so check out resorts’ social media feeds and newsletters for their latest updates. You can see a full list of North America projected opening dates here.

Whistler-Blackcomb spring skiing.
Whistler-Blackcomb @Shutterstock

Do you have early-season/opening-day pics to share, or updates to resort opening dates? Email them to snowproducers@mountainnews.com.

Header image: ©Beaver Creek / Vail Resorts

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