Early Bird Ski Season Deals on North America's Most Epic Mountains
LAKE PLACID, NY
The two-time host of the Olympic Winter Games -- and the hallowed site of the "Miracle on Ice" hockey arena, where Team USA improbably beat the Soviets en route to Olympic gold -- Lake Placid has evolved into a winter sports pilgrimage site. Solidifying that status is an annual snowfall of 100+ inches on the peaks of Whiteface Mountain, where you'll find the nation's greatest vertical drop east of the Rockies: 3,430 feet. Among the 86 resident runs are several that have seen Olympic competition and training, but they're not the only place to follow in Olympian footsteps here: Try the crazy bobsled rides at the Olympic Sports Complex before you leave.
Save on your stay: During the first months of ski season, Hampton Inn & Suites Lake Placid shaves up to 25% off peak-season rates.
LAKE TAHOE, CA
Opening: November 17
Combine 300+ days of sunshine, 400 inches of annual snowfall and a backdrop described by Mark Twain as “the fairest picture the whole earth affords,” and you pretty much get the appeal. In fact, as home to the continent's largest concentration of ski resorts, Tahoe is the ultimate crowd pleaser, where you can ski the Olympic trails of Squaw Valley (scene of the 1960 winter games), snowboard the terrain parks of Northstar (some just for kids) and hit the casinos of the border-straddling Heavenly Mountain -- for starters. And getting there is ever easier, with new nonstop flights from NYC, Atlanta, Dallas and LA.
Save on your stay: You can save 40% for the first month of ski season when booking fireplace rooms at the newly opened Lodge at Edgewood. Discounts of 40% are also available for those looking to hit the slopes here in January or February.
Opening: November 17
Almost a century ago, a couple of avid skiers carved the first trails into Mount Mansfield, Vermont's highest peak and -- fun fact -- home to 200 acres of legit tundra. Today, some of those trails remain part of Stowe Mountain Resort, albeit with updates. The most famous old trail to try: the aptly named Nose Dive, a plunging, weaving wonder. And at the other end of the spectrum is a new feature for skiers-in-training: the $80 million Adventure Center, with lessons (and other activities) for the three-and-up set.
Save on your stay: The Stowhof, a chalet-inspired resort in the Green Mountains, is $101 per night (with free shuttle to the slopes) through December 15, after which nightly rates reach $379.
Opening: November 23
Perched in a box canyon among North America’s highest concentration of 14ers, this former mining town has been historically hard to reach (though some would argue that road-tripping through the mountains is half the fun). But the 2017-2018 ski season will be a banner one for the time-pressed, with increased commercial service to two regional airports, one of which is a few minutes from town -- and 127 ski trails. Together, the runs represent arguably the most balanced blend of ski terrains (from super beginner to serious expert) in the nation. But you'll want to check out the urban landscape, too: Downtown Telluride is a National Historic Landmark District where the Victorian homes, clapboard storefronts and mining shacks make for a sweet little walking tour.
Save on your stay: The ski-in/ski-out Mountain Lodge Telluride offers rates of $179 per night for the first two weeks of the season, after which the price more than doubles.
MONT TREMBLANT, CANADA
Opening: November 23
Set against fairytale-perfect Laurentian peaks, the pedestrian-only village of Tremblant nods to neighboring Montreal's Old City with cobblestone streets, gabled roofs and an imposing clock tower. For all its old-timey touches, though, Tremblant is a 20th century creation. It opened its doors in 1939 -- the second resort to do so on the continent -- and has since grown to include 100 trails across four peaks. With long runs and one of North America's best ski schools, this is an excellent choice for beginners, though skiers of all levels love that Tremblant is the closest thing to a European ski vacation this side of the Atlantic.
Save on your stay: The 200-acre Cap Tremblant is perched atop the Laurentian Mountains, 10 minutes from the village and ski park. Through February, condos with kitchens, fireplaces and room for four guests start at just $85 per night before climbing to more than $200 later in the season.
JACKSON HOLE, WY
Opening: November 25
When you're at the scene of the nation's largest vertical rise -- where more than half of the 116 trails are expert (think steeps, chutes and trees galore) -- you may want a little refresher course before you hit the black diamonds, and the Olympic skiers and pro snowboarders on staff here will be happy to oblige. Celebrate your inevitable triumphs at the Mangy Moose, where skiers have nursed sore muscles with hot toddies and cold brews for more than 50 years. And speaking of moose, we'd be remiss if we didn't suggest you go check them out -- as well as elk, bison and bighorn sheep -- at the nearby Grand Teton National Park and National Elk Refuge.
Save on your stay: Rates for the first month of ski season at Jackson Hole Lodge start at $99 as opposed to $149 later.