The destination resorts in the Northern Rockies are singing the same song this year: "It's the best conditions ever." Oodles of snow gave many resorts the best openings they'd had in decades. Complete coverage with an early deep snow pack set the resorts up well for holiday skiers and snowboarders, and the snow keeps coming down.
Jackson Hole Mountain Resort had what it termed as "the biggest opening in history." The resort opened "wall-to-wall and top-to-bottom," something that had never been done before. "People that have skied here for 30 years are all saying these are the best conditions ever," spokesperson Zahan Billimoria told OnTheSnow. "Right down to the base area, it's full on midwinter."
Never before in Jackson Hole's recorded history has so much snow fallen so early. Holiday skiers and snowboarders can count on skiing their favorite routes, including runs off the Aerial Tram.
Neighboring Grand Targhee Resort opened 100 percent of its terrain Dec. 4, including its Nordic trails. The resort's snowcat ski trips are up and running, too. "These are some of the best cat conditions we've had this time of year," said spokesperson Shannon Brooks Hamby. Early holiday skiers and snowboarders can still get early season rates on three- or four-night snowcat skiing and lodging packages through Dec. 23. Christmas and New Year's visitors can bank on one of the best years to book a Targhee cat trip.
Big Sky Resort and Moonlight Basin, which team up with the joint Biggest Skiing in America lift ticket, have been seeing new snow daily with record snowfall coming down a month earlier than usual. "We've had similar acreage open before at this time, but it's skiing like mid-January," said Chad Jones. "Tree runs even opened Dec. 1." Crews are working to farm snow to get Big Sky's Tram running by Christmas.
Whitefish Mountain Resort busted out huge opening in early December, after skiers for several weeks had been skinning the slopes to hit chutes that usually aren't skied until January. Even Hellroaring Basin is expected to open by mid-month. "People working here for 25 years are saying it's the best opening conditions ever," said spokesperson Donnie Clapp. "It's reasonable to say we'll be 100 percent open by Christmas. We're happy with how the holidays look." Clapp also noted that plenty openings are available for holiday vacationers, especially one-bedroom condos and value hotel rooms.
Lodging is available for all of the resorts over the Christmas and New Year's holidays. Most resorts offer bookings online or by phone.