While many are still under the shade of a summer beach umbrella, tis’ the season for winter ski planning as we survey what destinations will likely open first and what resorts will prosper for the 2014/15-winter ski season. If we had to bet on early openings, our money would be on Whistler Blackcomb with its predictably early snow base and full mountain opening on November 27th that’s often moved up based on snow conditions. In the US, Jackson Hole would be the best bet for early December skiing while Aspen is coming off last year’s record snowfall with new restaurants like David Burke Kitchen and restart of Snowmass developments like the forthcoming 102-room Limelight Hotel and groundbreaking on the second tower at Viceroy Snowmass.
In Europe, a sure bet for November skiing is Austria’s Lech that connects to Warth-Schröcken and Zürs for what many consider the most consistent early snow base in the Alps. Its holistic properties like Burg Vital combine a health-minded sports getaway with minimalist Austrian luxury. Engadin usually get an early start in late-October with St. Moritz debuting the first installment of Grace Hotels on the European mainland located inside the 1906 landmark La Magna ski hotel. The Chedi is celebrating its first full season in Andermatt with mountain opening on November 24th that’s a full two weeks before its posh competitor Les 3 Vallées opens in the second week of December. And for those that would like to book at the hottest new ski hotel of the season, Alder Mountain Lodge brings La Dolce Vita glamour to Alpe di Siusi in the Dolomites that alas gives Cortina and its Cristallo some much-needed competition.