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Blizzard Kicks Off 2010-11 Ski Season in Colorado

The 2010-11 ski season officially started last Sunday, October 24, when the first chair ascended Loveland Ski Area (tel. 800/736-3754; www.skiloveland.com) in Colorado after an impressive storm that left the entire area shrouded in well over two feet of the white stuff. Just over the Continental Divide, Arapahoe Basin Ski & Snowboard Area (tel. 888/272-7246; www.arapahoebasin.com) followed suit on Monday, making it a dozen years running that the two resorts have finished one-two for the earliest opening in the U.S.; A-Basin last won outright in 2007.

Beyond its superlatively early opening, Loveland also represents one of the best values in Colorado, with $47 adult full-day lift tickets ($22 kids 6 to 14) until December 17, and it's a short drive from lodging in Georgetown (13 miles east) or Denver (59 miles east). Likewise, A-Basin also has great early-season lift-ticket deals, with $54 full-day passes for adults, $49 for kids 15 to 19, and $29 for kids 6 to 14.

Next up, Wolf Creek and Copper Mountain are due to open next on November 5, followed by Solitude and Brighton in Utah on November 12, and Winter Park on November 14.

Other top early-season deals at Colorado resorts include:

  • Breckenridge Ski Resort (tel. 800/536-1890; www.breckenridge.com) is offering ski-and-stay packages for as little as $70 per person per night; the offer runs from November 29 to December 19. A similar Thanksgiving package kicks off its season with ski-and-stay rates starting at $91.50 per person per night. Book through Breckenridge Central Reservations (tel. 877/593-5260; www.gobreck.com).
  • At Telluride Ski Resort (tel. 800/778-8581; www.tellurideskiresort.com), an early-bird ski-and-stay package with three nights starts at $95 per person per night if booked before November 1. The Inn at Lost Creek (tel. 888/601-5678; www.innatlostcreek.com) in Mountain Village above historic Telluride is offering a buy one, get one free lodging deal from November 24 to December 22, halving the starting nightly rate from $295 to under $150, breakfast included.
  • Aspen/Snowmass (tel. 800/525-6200; www.aspensnowmass.com) has "First Tracks MVP," affording three lift tickets, lessons, and rentals from opening day on November 25 until December 16, but it must be booked by November 12.
  • Steamboat (tel. 877/783-2628; www.steamboat.com) has a pair of early deals: "Early Rewards" -- book by November 24 for 20% off lodging and lifts (under $400 for 4 nights, 3 days) -- and "Ski Free" -- with lodging and lift tickets as low as $119 per person per night.
Elsewhere in the West

In Utah, Snowbird (tel. 800/232-9542; www.snowbird.com) is offering a three-day ski-and-stay package starting at $99 per person per night from November 18 through December 22. Ski Utah spotlights other deals on its website.

Wyoming's Jackson Hole Mountain Resort (tel. 800/443-8613; www.jacksonhole.com) is offering a "4th Flies Free" deal: Visitors buying three airline tickets to Jackson Hole get the fourth free if booked by January 31, 2011, with late December and early January travel excluded. To commemorate its new Stash Park, made out of indigenous materials by Burton Snowboards, the resort is also offering a "Stash & Cache Package" for $575 per person that includes four nights lodging, three lift tickets, lunches, and a half-day lesson. Ski-and-stay packages are available from Jackson Hole Resort Lodging (www.jhrl.com) for as little as $78 per person per night.

In the Lake Tahoe Area, Heavenly (tel. 800/432-8365; www.skiheavenly.com) sells two lift tickets for the price of one and three nights lodging for the price of two from November 18 until December 20. Nearby, Sierra-at-Tahoe (tel. 530/659-7453; www.sierraattahoe.com) has a terrific early-bird deal: A ski-and-stay package starts at $69 per person per night if booked online by November 8.