Lake Tahoe, CaliforniaIf you're not just looking for a ski resort but a ski area with all the lifestyle perks to go with it, Lake Tahoe is your ideal destination. A bustling nightlife scene compliments some of the best resorts for fresh powder in North America. Heavenly Mountain receives over 360” of snow each year and with a projected November open date makes for a suitable early season resort choice. Squaw Valley boasts an even higher amount of snowfall — including 42 lifts and 270 trails. Aside from the plentiful snowfall, most visitors are drawn to the area's magnetising European-inspired village, complete with boutiques, restaurants, and bars. To top it off, the Lake Tahoe area includes the Kirkwood Mountain Resort, providing for a blend of long groomed trails and expert backcountry chutes. With an estimated annual 600” of snowfall, it should definitely be on your radar early in the season. The downside to Skiing in this area is that you're sure to pay a pretty penny for accommodations, so definitely book in advance.
Park City, UtahAnywhere that's hosted the Winter Olympics is guaranteed to meet your needs as a quality ski area. Park City Mountain is the area's highlight ski resort, offering nearly 350 trails and 14 bowls — spread across an area so huge you could spend a whole week exploring this resort alone. Three distinct base areas with charming amenities qualify Park City as a world-class ski destination. In addition to Park City Mountain, the area Is home to the iconic Deer Valley Resort located just outside the city. With a December open date, it might not be the most ideal early season resort, but it certainly stands its own in terms of great powder, moguls, and steep runs. While Park City, Utah is known for its powder snow like most of the state, this area may receive a little less than its neighbours over in the Cottonwood Canyons, and experts may have to search a little harder for truly challenging terrain.
Image: Keith Kendrick, Flickr