It's shaping up to be a La Niña year for the second winter in a row.
In Colorado, Wolf Creek Ski Area was the primary beneficiary of what is projected to be an above-average year for snowfall in the West, opening Oct. 8 after a 36-inch blizzard. Las Vegas Ski & Snowboard Resort opened earlier on the same day, and of course Timberline in Oregon doesn't shut down aside from a couple of weeks in the fall.
While both Las Vegas and Wolf Creek ski resorts opened early, they have a limited schedule. Over at Colorado's Arapahoe Basin Ski & Snowboard Area and Loveland Ski Area, both resorts opened for the year in mid-October. Both resorts plan to stay open every day until it's all over in spring. (A-Basin was closed for only 100 days this year.)
With the early days of ski season giving strong indications of good snow to come, it's not too early to plan your ski trip -- deals abound.
Bolton Valley Resort has ski-and-stay packages starting at $79 per person per night from Dec. 10-23.
Smuggler's Notch has some great deals all season long, including a January beginner's package that includes lodging, rentals, lessons, and lift tickets for $109 per night for adults and $79 for kids.
Sunday River's ski-and-stay packages start at $69 per person through mid-December.
Likewise, Breckenridge Ski Resort is celebrating its 50th with a half-off lodging deal from opening day on Nov. 11 to Dec. 15.
Winter Park Resort is offering a season-long ski-and-stay deal that includes two free lift tickets when you book two nights of lodging (from $84 per person per night).
Book by Nov. 23 at Aspen/Snowmass and get the First Tracks MVP package from Nov. 24 to Dec. 15, with a Buy Two, Get One Free for lodging, lift tickets, and rentals.
Beaver Creek is offering ski-and-stay packages starting at $120 per person per night with a three-night minimum.
- Always double-check the Ski Utah website (www.skiutah.com) for the latest deals at the state's 14 resorts. New this year, Ski Utah's Yeti Pass enables holders to ski one day at each of the 14 resorts -- under $40 per day.
Park City's QuickSTART program gives free lift tickets at Park City Mountain Resort, Deer Valley, or the Canyons Resort to passengers who show their boarding pass on the day of arrival.
The Canyons Resort has a Season Starter Special includes a free night of lodging if you buy three nights from Nov. 24 to Dec. 13.
Snowbird is offering an early-season ski-and-stay package starting at $99 per adult per night with a three-night minimum.
Sierra-at-Tahoe's 3-Paks start at $51 per day pass, and guests who show a boarding pass from Reno-Tahoe International Airport can get a discount.
Mt. Rose-Ski Tahoe has a great family pack deal: $138 for lift tickets for two adults and two children.
Save 25% when you book a ski-and-stay deal at Squaw Valley USA by Oct. 31, with rates starting at $75 per person per night. Your boarding pass into Reno is also good as a lift ticket the day of your arrival.
Book by Oct. 31 at Kirkwood Mountain Resort and get 15% off a ski-and-stay package.
Whistler Blackcomb has an early-season deal where guests can save over 30% by booking before Nov. 15.