OK, SO THERE MIGHT BE only one or two trails open, and Vermont in October is better known for its radiant foliage than for skiing, but Killington is pathological about opening before anyone else in the East, which it has for the last 41 years. Legendary snowmaking expertise and cold temps ensure an early-season ski fix; plus, an October snowstorm isnÕt out of the question. The action begins on Rime, which descends at a steady advanced-intermediate pitch. Even if Rime is the only trail open in October, subtle variations in the fall line still keep things interesting.
COOL DIGS: Indulge in a healthy dose of all things Irishdarts, Guinness Stout, corned beefat the Inn at Long Trail (doubles, $84-$114; 800-325-2540, www.innatlongtrail.com)
MOUNTAIN STATS: summit, 4,241 feet; vertical drop, 3,050 feet; skiable acres, 1,182; annual snowfall, 250 inches
LIFT TICKET: $25 (2002 early-season price) Contact: 800-621-6867, www.killington.com
Valle Nevado, Chile
AS SPRING SKIING WINDS DOWN in Chile, Valle Nevado offers the best chance in South America to find decent late-season snow. The reason? Twenty-two thousand acres of terrain. Add to that the neighboring resorts of La Parva and El Colorado, for a grand total of 42 lifts, and it's time to call your travel agent. From the top of Cerro Negro at over 12,000 feet, you can often find powder in October, and, lower down, Valle Nevado's wide-open intermediate bowls allow high-speed arcs. Bonus: After September 1, room rates at this cluster of hypermodern buildings perched on treeless slopes are slashed to less than half.
COOL DIGS: Hotel Tres Puntas (doubles in late season, $200, including breakfast, dinner, and lift ticket) is a sleek ski-in, ski-out high-rise.
MOUNTAIN STATS: summit, 12,040 feet (Valle Nevado); vertical drop, 2,600 feet; skiable acres, 22,000; annual snowfall, 320 inches
LIFT TICKET: $26 (2002 price) Contact: 800-228-0088, .vallenevado.comwww (recommended tour operator: Moguls Mountain Travel, 800-666-4857, www.moguls.com)