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The ski season is off to a strong start, with the deepest bases in British Columbia and Alberta in Canada and the Pacific Northwest in the U.S.

In B.C., Fernie has already has a 66-inch mid-mountain base. Lake Louise leads the Alberta pack with a 35-inch base. Whistler Blackcomb has 55 inches and about half of its 8,000-plus acres are open.

In the U.S., numerous resorts in the Pacific Northwest already claim a base above 40 inches, including Crystal Mountain in Washington and Mt. Hood Meadows in Oregon. Further south, Wolf Creek in Colorado sports a 38-inch base and already has all of its 1,600 acres open. Most other resorts in Colorado and Utah, as well as California and New Mexico, could use a good wallop of snow before Santa arrives on his snowboard.

Ski Deals in the Northeast

You can ski free Christmas Day at Maine's Sunday River Resort with a holiday package that runs $140 per person for lodging on Christmas night and a two-day lift ticket; breakfast and lessons are included. Packages start at $119 per person per night between Dec. 21-31.

In Vermont, Okemo Mountain Resort is offering two-night early winter weekend packages from $81.50 per person per night through Dec. 18.

Ski Deals: Rocky Mountains

Rentskis.com (www.rentskis.com) is offering a discount plus a free $10 lunch voucher at all Vail Resorts (Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone in Colorado and Heavenly and Northstar in California).

In Colorado, Crested Butte Mountain Resort is offering a $89 per night ski-and-stay package through December 15.

Eldora Mountain Resort is a smaller resort that offers some of the state's best values, including "Boulder Ski Escapes" from $67.50 per person per night for lift tickets and lodging in Boulder, 21 miles east.

Also in Colorado and off to the state's best start in terms of snowpack, Wolf Creek Ski Area is partnering with Visit Pagosa Springs for a number of ski-and-stay packages from $85 per person per night.

Canyons Resort in Park City, Utah, has a "Season Starter Special" through Dec. 13 where guests get their fourth night free. Guests who arrive between Dec. 14-17 receive their fifth night free.

Ski Deals in the Pacific Northwest

The beneficiary of some nice early season snowfall, Washington state's Crystal Mountain Resort has condo units with two lift tickets starting at $250 per night, or $330 per night for four people. Nearby, Alta Crystal Resort has suites and two lift tickets starting at $260 per night.

Also off to a nice snowy start is Oregon's Mt Bachelor, with ski-and-stay deals from $99 per person per night and family vacation packages from $671 for three days and nights for a family of four.

California Ski Deals

The deal to beat in Tahoe might just be from Kirkwood. The resort is offering early season ski-and-stay deals from $79 per person per night through December 18.

Canada Ski Deals

Whistler Blackcomb has opened an industry-best 4,300 acres of skiable terrain shrouded in deep early-season snowpack. Early December ski-and-stay deals (stay four, get the fifth night free) start at C$520 per person through Dec. 1 and C$575 in January and into February for five days/nights. Lessons are also 30% off until Dec. 18.

Also in British Columbia and opening Dec. 1, Big White is offering early-season deals through Dec. 15, with free lift tickets with the purchase of lodging, or seven for the price of five. January lift-and-lodging packages start at $C77 per night.

With a 60-plus-inch base at mid-mountain, Fernie Alpine Resort has a stay two nights, get the third night free deal; packages start at C$409 per person.