With so many ski resorts opening shop well into December, the SkiBig3 mountains are always a bit ahead of the curve with their November start dates – and there are definite advantages to hitting the slopes early. Here are the top 6 benefits of heading to the slopes during the month of November:
1) Get your ski legs back before the throngs arrive
The first few days back on skis or strapped into a board are always a bit rough: your timing may be off, you may catch an edge or just cruise along looking awkward, uncomfortable and anything but smooth. Usually this results in a slow-mo bail on embarrassingly simple terrain with a chairlift full of hecklers present to witness your embarrassment – all while you shake your fist, swearing audibly that you are not a novice or first-timer. Why not get this embarrassment out of the way, before the slopes get more traffic and your chances of running into someone you know increase? If you hit the slopes in November, it will just be you and Season Pass holders. Get those awkward first runs out of the way this month to ensure you look like a pro when you shred over the holidays.
2) Book what you want, when you want it!
The holiday season does get a little busier and, while the slopes remain relatively uncrowded, booking accommodation can become challenging. That condo with a loft and fireplace you’ve been dreaming of is more likely to be available in November. Visiting early, before the holiday rush, will give you access to the widest selection of accommodation at various price points – you call the shots and don’t have to settle for just what is available. Discounted vacation packages are also available if booked before November 30th, so there are definite advantages to both booking and visiting during the month of November.
3) Scope out this season’s ski fashion before getting kitted out
Coveting the latest gear is a common problem for most skiers and snowboarders – there is always a new shade of blue in that Arc’teryx shell jacket that you have been eyeing forever, or a board with a graphic so sweet you are instantly filled with envy. So hit the slopes early to scope out who’s wearing what, then invest in the cream of the crop.
4) Skate on nature’s natural rinks!
There is a short window during late November/early December when the lakes freeze over but snow hasn’t accumulated quite enough to cover the glassy surfaces – it’s when outdoor skating in Banff National Park is at its best! So if you need to take a day off the slopes, skate directly on the famous Lake Louise with a backdrop of glaciers, or, in Banff, hit up Vermillion Lakes for epic views of Rundle Mountain or Lake Minnewanka for the longest track of ice around.
5) Avoid crowds!
Mid-week skiing in November will make you feel like you own the mountain! Rock star parking right by the base will be wide open and you will always get straight onto the chair with zero wait! You’ll find fresh cord well after the first few runs and often into the afternoon.
6) Come off as the Early Season Savant
For the REST of the season, when someone talks about conditions you can come across as a true sage by opening with, “When I was there early season…” It will give you automatic cred.