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Top Ski Resorts for Snowmaking

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Fall in New England in ski country is like a snow gun shooting match as each ski resort rushes to blow snow and open even a thread of ski trail for skiers and riders.

Sunday River is the best in the biz when it comes to snowmaking, opening as early as October, and often first in the East - October 19 2015, tied with Killington's open to the public day - they also opened same day Nov 3, 2014. Sunday River blazes their 1,900 guns making quality snow across all eight interconnected peaks, typically starting on Locke Mountain for early fall skiing and riding, then moving on until Jordan Bowl and Oz open by Christmas week. Sunday River's opening days: Oct 26, 2013, Nov 6, 2012 and October 29, 2011 for Halloween skiing.

Killington for decades was the first to open in the East and last to close in May. Parent company Powdr Corp dialed down for a few years, then reclaimed the Beast of the East reputation. Killington had the 1st skiing in the East October 25, 2016! October 18 2015 and November 3, 2014 The Big K tied with Sunday River. Killington is huge, with six peaks, including the highest lift-served terrain in Vermont at the 4,241' Killington Peak summit reached by the K-1 Express Gondola. Killington was also last to ski in May 2016-13!

Okemo rivals Sunday River in the snow blowing department. The call their snowmaking effect the Okemo Blizzard, and they point their snow guns at achieving a high trail count by mid-December, often offering the most trails open in the east by the Christmas New Years week.

Loon Mountain in New Hampshire, owned by Boyne with Sugarloaf and Sunday River, has over 600 tower guns and blows serious snow on 97% of its terrain. Loon typically has the most ski acreage open in NH because of its serious commitment to making snow on all three peaks.

Sugarloaf in northern Maine has bumped up their snowmaking systems since Boyne Resorts bought the Kingfield resort in 2007. Boyne’s low energy guns have improved The Loaf’s early season trail openings and snow quality throughout the season. While Maine sister Sunday River opens first in the East, Sugarloaf is now reputed to be the last resort skiing into late April or May.

Bretton Woods, New Hampshire's largest ski resort has huge snowmaking power, and typically opens mid November and skis through until April when they host Bodefest and Easter on the slopes. 2014 Bretton Woods opened Nov 9, same day as Wildcat, with free skiing. In 2013 Bretton Woods was first to open for New Hampshire skiing, and last to close in April on Patriots Day with skiing for free.

See our picks for Best Early Season Ski Resorts Out West

New England Ski Resorts | Canada | Rockies | Europe l Family Ski Resort Guide

All Stories by Heather Burke
All Photography by Greg Burke

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