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Top 5 reasons to ski this weekend

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The Christmas tree is decorated. The holiday shopping is finished. The gifts are all wrapped and sitting under the tree. By some Christmas miracle, you're ahead of the game and have everything all set and ready to go before Santa slides down the chimney Tuesday night. That means you don't have to deal with crowded shopping malls, long lines at the stores or paper cuts from all the gift wrapping this weekend. You can go skiing.

And what a weekend it is for hitting the slopes. Here are five reasons we're itching to get out there before the holiday rush.

Park City
Big Sky isn't the only ski resort celebrating an anniversary this year. Park City Mountain Resort celebrates its golden 5-0 on Saturday, December 21, 50 years to the day that its lifts started spinning in 1963. The day will include an Opening Ceremony, birthday cupcakes, commemorative giveaways, a free concert by Robert Randolph and the Family Band, and a special 50th anniversary fireworks display. But even if you can't make it on Saturday, the celebrating will be happening throughout the season with more parties, giveaways and special events. For more details about Saturday's festivities, check out the event schedule.

Big Sky
What's not happening at Big Sky in December? The Montana resort has had something every weekend this month. First it was heavily discounted lift tickets. Then it was its 40th birthday party. And now Tony Horton, the trainer who became a household name thanks to creating the P90X workout, will be at the resort all weekend. The Master Fitness Trainer is an avid skier, and he'll be at Big Sky Resort's Wellness Studio for the second annual Tony Horton Weekend. The weekend is packed full with three days of workouts from Dec. 20-22, each lasting two hours, and a chance to meet Tony. Read more about it on Big Sky's event calendar.

Lake Louise
Searching for pow? You'll find it at Lake Louise Ski Resort in Alberta, Canada. It's been snowing at the resort for most of the week meaning there's more than a meter of snow base on most of the groomed runs. Hit up the back bowls and you'll find some deep pockets of windblown snow. And just in case you need a break from skiing, Lake Louise will be hosting its first FIS World Cup Boarder Cross race on Dec. 21.

Keystone
For the last few winters, Keystone has erected a snow fort at the top of Dercum Mountain that provides climbing areas and tunnels for big and little kids to explore. Back for its fifth year, the Kidtopia Snowfort will open Dec. 21. Its unveiling kicks off the season's Kidtopia activities, which include fireworks, a cookie hour and the Ripperoo Village Parade.

Copper
Copper Mountain is starting Christmas a few days early by kicking off its 12 Days of Copper on Dec. 20. From December 20 to 31, you'll find plenty of holiday spirit around the resort from Santa Claus stopping in the village to deals and specials that'll make ladies dance and lords leap. Plus the snow continues to pile up, creating some of the best December conditions the mountain has seen in a few years.

Besides all of these events happening at resorts in North America, a week's worth of cold weather and a storm cycle have left plenty of fresh powder begging to be skied--and on terrain that is opening for the first time this season. Whistler-Blackcomb announced new terrain openings earlier this week. You know the ski season is off to a good start when Vail opens its back bowls before Christmas. But the conditions must be really good this season because it announced on Thursday that Blue Sky Basin would be opening for the weekend ahead. Time to get skiing!

Where are you taking tracks in the days ahead?

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