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The Best Early Season Ski Runs

Skiing during the early season is great to help get you out on the slopes and to get your ski legs ready for the inevitable powder days to come. Finding the best runs this early in the season can be a daunting task, as most resorts only have a few runs open and they typically get skied off within minutes of opening. While we all wait for Old Man Winter to provide enough snow to open the rest of the terrain at the ski resorts, here are Summit Mountain Rentals' suggestions for getting some early season turns!

Get There Early

Just like on a powder day, the early bird gets the best turns! While nothing beats getting the first turns on a powder day, during the early ski season the best turns are had early in the morning while last night’s groom is still fresh on the run. If you can get to the lifts before the rest of the crowd, you can get first laps on the fresh groom track, which can be just as satisfying as getting first tracks on a powder day. Going early also allows you to get a good ski day in before afternoon when the runs typically get icy and scraped off.

Where to ski

While you won’t have a great selection of runs that will be open during the early season, every resort is open in Summit County thanks to a couple of early snow storms and the snowmaking crews at each resort. The hard decision will be which resort to ski at and not so much which run to ski.


If you choose to ski Breckenridge, you can choose between three or four full runs currently. Check all of the runs that are currently open by clicking here. One of my favorite runs to ski early season at Breckenridge is Northstar. This run swings you to the north of the Rocky Mountain Superchair. The reason this run is a favorite is because it is a wide open blue run that allows you to make big sweeping turns to test out your ski legs. Another reason this run is a favorite is the view from the top of the run. You can look out over Breckenridge to get the view of one of Colorado’s most historic towns while checking out some of the massive peaks that surround the town.


Keystone is a great place to ski early season as it offers a few great options for beginners and experienced skiers alike. While you won’t find many black runs open this time of year, you will find a few blue runs open at Keystone as well as a number of green runs. If you are just learning how to ski, early season at Keystone is one of the best options in Summit County. For the beginner I recommend Schoolmarm. The upper and lower sections of this famous run are mild and long, providing ample time on skis for beginners to learn and practice their turns. For the more experienced skier, Spring Dipper is a great early season blue run that is steep enough to gain a little speed and check out the edges of your skis. Stay up to date on everything that is open and groomed at Keystone by clicking here.

Arapahoe Basin

Arapahoe Basin is typically the first ski resort to open in the state, which allows them to open more terrain sooner than many of the surrounding ski resorts. While the bottom half of the mountain is short and sweet, the top and the bottom combined offer a long and open run perfect for practicing some early season turns. The earliest run to open from top to bottom is Lenawee Face to Dercum’s Gulch. These two runs allow you to get the high-alpine skiing experience that A-Basin is famous for while staying on groomed blue trails. A-Basin is planning to open new expert terrain this year called The Beavers and Steep Gullies. Check out the map of the resort to see where this new terrain will open! Find the status of all of the terrain currently open by following this link.

Copper Mountain

Copper Mountain is the last resort in Summit County with early season skiing options. Just past the Frisco exits, this resort is a locals’ favorite. If you’re looking to get some turns at Copper, I recommend checking out Main Vein. This blue is a great run to cut your teeth on if you are looking to get off the greens and on to some more difficult runs. Check the status of all of the open lifts and terrain at Copper Mountain by clicking here.

While the options you have for ski runs are limited this early in the season, it is never too early to get out there and start building your ski legs. The Colorado ski season will be in full swing soon enough and you will want to be ready for when the resorts start dropping ropes and opening up more terrain. Make sure to do your snow dances in hopes of bringing some great early season storms before the holidays.

Do you have a favorite early season ski run? Leave a comment below telling us where you ski this early during the season and why it’s your favorite run!