The First Ski Area to Open for the 2023-’24 Season is Not Where You’d Expect

This article originally appeared on Ski Mag

Powder hounds rejoice--it is officially ski season once again in North America. While most of the resorts on this side of the world are still planning their opening dates (all based on weather), one resort has already taken the crown for this year, and you’ve probably never even heard of it.

Ski Ward in Shrewsbury, Mass. opened on Oct. 22, winner the race to open for the winter, a first for the small but mighty ski area, which credits the success to its snowmaking team.

Despite beating out all other resorts, opening first was never the intended plan for Ski Ward. At the start of the month, the resort posted to Instagram that they were beginning to make snow, also writing that they aimed for a Nov. 1 opening. As time went on, the resort kept skiers updated by posting snowmaking and pile-pushing photos to Instagram, and finally announced the exciting news in conjunction with a fall festival.

Tickets for the monumental ski day were just $5, with one thinly covered slope operated via magic carpet, but hey, it’s skiing before Halloween! The ski area, located just about an hour west of Boston, is closed during the week but will reopen next weekend for a rail jam, with tickets starting at $15, and all competitors welcome. They plan to open officially on Nov.1, as conditions permit. During the winter Ski Ward offers a 220-foot vertical drop, nine trails serviced by four lifts, and a fully staffed ski school.

In previous years, many of the big-name Colorado resorts were the first to open, often around the late October to early November timeline. Arapahoe Basin (which took the title in 2022), Keystone, Breckenridge, and Wolf Creek (the 2021 winner), are often in a dogfight to claim the coveted title.

The first resort to open lift-served terrain has yet to be decided for this winter.

For exclusive access to all of our fitness, gear, adventure, and travel stories, plus discounts on trips, events, and gear, sign up for Outside+ today.