Our family is hooked on first tracks; it is like having your private ski
mountain. We have experienced first tracks in perfect cord, on squeaky
talcum powder snow fresh from teh snowmaking guns, and up to a foot of dry
light fluffy snow. The conditions for first tracks vary, but they are
usually the best of the day, and the camaraderie is high quality too. You
are in company with others who prioritize skiing, are willing to get up and
out of bed, even pay a little extra for the private privilege. We have
enjoyed first tracks at boarding the Silver Queen Gondola at 7am
Aspen in Colorado, or first
chair at Grand Targhee, Sugarloaf, Saddleback, and
Sunday River to name a few.
One of our favorites is Sunday River, when you get to ski with Sunday River management – perhaps even the General Manager, Dana Bullen, one of the nicest guys you will ever meet, and a great skier to boot.
Sunday River charges $25 per person for First Tracks on weekend and holidays, you must have a lift ticket or season pass as well. Once you have signed up at least 24 hours in advance, you get to load the Chondola to North Peak at 7:15am for 45 minutes of privileged skiing, typically on Spruce Peak, prior to the lifts opening to the public at 8am. First Tracks skiers and riders also get a cool sticker for bragging rights, and a coupon for hot cocoa in the lodge. When you take a break at 10am, after ten laps, you see the sea of skiers arrive. You can just imagine they are wondering who tracked up the trails already, while you reflect on your early exclusive runs.
Saddleback has “Ski with Management” at 7:30am on Sundays, no charge, no sign up, just show up with a valid lift ticket or pass, enjoy freshly groomed or freshly fallen snow, followed by coffee and pastries with your new friends.
Sugarbush has first track cat skiing at Lincoln Peak for $75, up to 12 skiers and snowboarders board the Lincoln Limo snow cat at 7am for private skiing prior to the lifts opening. Don't be surprised if Sugarbush' owner Win Smith shows up for a winning morning with you!
Grand Targhee in Wyoming offers Early Tracks as does Aspen and Aspen Snowmass in Colorado. These are just a few we have experienced.
First Tracks is like the backstage pass of skiing, you should be an expert or advanced skier or rider to keep up with the enthusiastic group. You will be on the mountain with patrol and usually some major players from ski area management. Of course, you have to drive to the ski resort at dawn, but when you board that first chair and the early sunlight is sparkling off the fresh snow awaiting your ski signature, it’s worth every second stolen from your pillow.
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