This Utah favorite is a go-to for early-season skiers—keyword is skiers. It is one of the few resorts left for ski purists. The resort still does not allow snowboarders. Conditions permitting, it will open on November 17th. Only 45 minutes away from Salt Lake City, Alta is notoriously one of the most challenging mountains in North America much like neighboring Snowbird (which does allow boarders). This mountain is not for the faint of heart—expect a good challenge. Even if snow is sparse, there is still plenty to do: Take a spa day at Rustler Lodge, rated the number-one resort in Alta.
If you are a ski (snowboard) fiend like me, waiting until peak season to hit the slopes is just not an option. Some of America’s top resorts, including Keystone and Killington, have already opened for early-season skiing. It’s a great way to get outside during the late fall, while leaf peeping is on its last legs and get warmed up for more extensive ski trips later in the winter.
Trail options are limited in the beginning, so it’s not the full experience you may get in a few months. But there are several world-class resorts you can get out to for a quick day trip or a fun weekend away before the holidays get into full gear. Here are some of the best options for early-season skiing in the U.S., from the West Coast to the East Coast.