Calendar for ski fanatics

Snow at Arapahoe BasinIt’s looking great here in the Central and Southern Rockies, with Loveland and A-Basin open for business already and the perennial blizzard kingdom at Wolf Creek celebrating its earliest opening last Friday. Mammoth Mountain in California is scheduled to open Nov. 9; Alta, in Utah, is expected to follow Nov. 16. In the East, Killington in Vermont and Bretton Woods in New Hampshire both hope to have enough snow to open in early November. Most other major resorts try to open for Thanksgiving.
The AP provides this handy Calendar for the entire ski season. Read on to find out how to plan for hitting the slopes this winter:

NOVEMBER: Who cares about turkey? At most resorts, Thanksgiving weekend is your first chance to ski since spring.

Look for airfare-lift ticket deals early in the month, like packages for families in which kids fly, stay and ski for free if accompanied by two paying adults. Holiday blackout dates are typical.

It’s a rite of late autumn for skiers to catch the newest Warren Miller movie, an annual feature-length film showing entertaining snow sports moments from the previous year. Miller began making the movies more than 50 years ago. This year’s movie, “Off the Grid,” includes footage of a skier going over a 245-foot cliff, and the World Snowball Fighting Championships in Hokkaido, Japan. For a screening schedule, go to

DECEMBER: All you want for Christmas is a chance to ski.

Unfortunately everyone else has the same idea. Get ready for lift lines, lodge lines, crowded slopes, lost reservations, overbooked flights … or spend Christmas in Mexico, and come back to the slopes Jan. 2.

JANUARY: Worst month for ski injuries, according to physical therapist Carl Petersen, author of “Fit to Ski” and director of high performance training at City Sports & Physiotherapy Clinics in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada; Collisions on crowded slopes at Christmastime, icy conditions, falls and lack of conditioning all contribute. Knee injuries are the most common. “Keeping your knees healthy and a pre-ski workout can help,” says Petersen. “Warm up to ski, don’t ski to warm-up.”

Take part in National Safety Awareness Week activities, Jan. 13-19, at your favorite ski resort.

FEBRUARY: This month, look for clearance sales in sporting goods stores;
Valentine’s Day specials on the slopes; and women-only ski clinics. Beware of crowded conditions Presidents Week.

MARCH: Clearance sales in specialty ski shops start.

Many skiers consider the first half of March the best time to ski – good snow and good weather. And with peak snowpack, backcountry skiing beckons.

Plan spring break in the Alps, where food and wine is as important to the ski experience as the snow.