8 Resorts to Ski Thanksgiving Weekend
Written by Alexa Owen • Oct 26, 2016
Thanksgiving weekend is upon us, skiers. And that means so are opening days, holiday deals, and festive weekends.
This year Thanksgiving falls on Thursday, November 24th, and most recent weather forecasts from both the Farmers Almanac and trusted meteorologists at Open Snow predict cold temperatures and average to above-average precipitation in the coming months. And Thanksgiving weekend is notorious for delivering surprise snowfall – not to mention discounts and festivities to kick off the ski season. Here are the top 8 resorts to ski Thanksgiving weekend.
Breckenridge is set to open November 11th, which gives the resort ample time to get up and running and well covered by Thanksgiving. We recommend this early season getaway to Breckenridge because good snow is guaranteed. As any powder-happy meteorologist will tell you, Breck’s specific location in the Rockies – amongst several surrounding 14,000 ft plus peaks – means snow density is extra light, and early season storms are the norm. Hotels and restaurants also boast excellent deals for Turkey Day dinners and multiple night stays. (You can check them out here).
Jackson Hole Mountain Resort loves making its big debut for season opening Thanksgiving Weekend, and this year is no exception. The resort is scheduled for a projected Wednesday, November 26th opening day, and you can bet that there’ll be plenty of local stoke in the air. Since Jackson Hole is a relatively isolated destination resort, there tend to be far fewer crowds than big mountain contemporaries like Vail and Park City. Expect a local buzz without the tourist crowds. The weekend holds more festivities that mark the town’s official opening of the winter season, like the lighting of the antler arches in town square, complete with caroling, local business raffles, and a visit from Santa Claus.
New Englanders can head to Sunday River for early season turns and great package deals. The resort traditionally caters to families, lining up activities and events at both the Jordan Hotel and Grand Summit Hotel throughout the weekend. Kids can attend supervised arts and crafts sessions, games, and movie nights. Ski and stay packages start at $75 per person!
Opening in early November, Squaw Valley is a good bet for solid early season conditions due to one of the best snowmaking systems in Tahoe. Besides various lodging deals, a few Squaw restaurants also offer unforgettable Thanksgiving dinners for those who want to spend the night out and about. Thanksgiving dinner at the Terrace at High Camp not only offers a gourmet Thanksgiving dinner, but panoramic views of the Sierra Nevada at 8,200 feet. If you’re planning dinner in, we at least recommend afternoon cocktails.
Mammoth is the first stop for the family Thanksgiving ski weekend. The resort kicks off the holiday weekend Thursday morning with helmet decorating for kids, then options for Thanksgiving dinner at three restaurants (the Mountainside Bar & Grill is the best option for kids). Friday, Saturday and Sunday feature back-to-back activities both on and off the slopes – it’s basically a full-on family friendly festival. Holiday tree lighting, live music, and ski laps with Woolly the Mammoth abound.
If you are anywhere near Vermont this Thanksgiving, please note: Killington is hosting a World Cup slalom event Thanksgiving weekend. Spectator access is free, the event is the first of its kind in years, and superstar skiers like Julia Mancuso, Mikaela Shiffrin and Lindsey Vonn are set to compete against the top women ski racers in the world. Traditional early season lodging deals may not be available this weekend, but hey – there’s a FIS World Cup on the calendar. Don’t miss it!
Opening weekend at Beaver Creek coincides with Thanksgiving this year, and includes five days of festivities, which kick off Thanksgiving Eve. Activities are largely family and kid oriented, with events like the World’s Best Chocolate Chip Cookie contest and Santa’s Workshop sessions. But we recommend Beaver Creek for the actual skiing this time of year as well. The resort has some of the best grooming infrastructure in the country, and because they host the famous Birds of Prey World Cup downhill in early December, they put a substantial amount of work into early season snow.
For a luxury ski vacation at off-season rates, head to Park City for Thanksgiving. The lodging rates – especially those for luxury digs – are still hovering around 30% off peak season prices. Fine dining mainstays also offer special prices and prix fixe menus throughout November, and you can even count on open tables on weekend nights. While there’s plenty of space and activities for families, we also recommend PC for a romantic getaway: icicle lights draping Main Street and quiet, cozy nooks in downtown bars make for the perfect getaway from holiday fuss.