Dates, Drinks, and Dancefloors: Where, When, and How to Celebrate Opening Day This Month

By Matt McDonald



After burning half a dozen way-too-fun hot laps off the brand new Chet’s Dream chair at Colorado’s Loveland Ski Area, I head to the parking lot with a posse of friends and colleagues. It’s opening day, and that infamous “white ribbon of death” is skiing great for October.


We crack cans of Coors Banquet at the tailgate and make friends with the people our dogs are making friends with. I’m wearing a maroon puffy that’s two sizes too small, and another guy in our party’s rockin the jean jacket. Neon colors abound.


“You guys look fun,” says a mullet-wigged snowboarder at a neighboring tailgate. “You chillin’ for a while?”


“We’ve got all the time in the world,” says a buddy of mine. “God, I missed this.”


There’s no day like Opening Day. Along with Loveland, Colorado’s Arapahoe Basin, Wolf Creek, Breckenridge, and Keystone have all cut the proverbial ribbon on the 2018-19 season. Here’s your guide to who’s next—and how you should celebrate at your favorite Ski-Butlers- serviced resorts.


*Opening dates are tentative. We recommend following your favorite mountains on social media so you don’t miss a last-minute early opening.  


Vail Mountain, Colorado | November 14


Why we’re stoked: Vail Resorts reported strong season pass sales ahead of last season only to see brown ground at the flagship resort into December. Repeat performance? No way. Vail had already received 50 inches of natural snow with a week to go to opening day.


Where to toast: Catch live music at the Shakedown Bar, a rock ‘n roll loving joint with an iconic dancefloor.


How to ski it: Epic Pass




Copper, Colorado | November 16


Why we’re stoked: Copper feels removed from its nearby Summit County neighbors, and not just geographically. It’s a skier’s mountain. Still, this year Copper upgrades American Flyer to become Colorado’s first six-seat bubble chair.


Where to toast: Just try to resist the whiskey selection at High Rockies Whiskey and Wine Bar.


How to ski it: Ikon Pass


Grand Targhee, Wyoming | November 16


Why we’re stoked: On any given year, Grand Targhee is a sleeper pick to receive the most snow in the Rockies. Heck, it averages more annual snowfall than Jackson Hole. And the Driggs and Teton Village locales keep the atmosphere dressed-down.    


Where to toast: Fittingly, the Trap Bar offers a low-key vibe where you can relax after a day of powder hunting. Don’t miss the Wydaho Nachos, piled high with waffle fries, cheese, and guac.


How to ski it: Day ticket, four-pack, or GTR season pass




Squaw/Alpine Meadows, California | November 16


Why we’re stoked: Squaw appeals to anyone, anytime. Rip slush bumps in the spring, explore gnarly chutes off the KT-22 chair during midwinter, or turn up for one of the most festive opening days in the business.


Where to toast: The Chammy (Le Chamois & Loft Bar). Pizza, pizza, pizza.


How to ski it: Ikon Pass, Mountain Collective


Heavenly, California | November 16


Why we’re stoked: Picture this—a sun-soaked Thanksgiving as you arc turns high above the crisp blue expanse of Lake Tahoe. Go get it.


Where to toast: Fire pits, Adirondack chairs, and a stage backed up to an Airstream. And yes, South Lake Tahoe’s Basecamp Beer Garden serves excellent finger food, too.


How to ski it: Epic Pass



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