This is a big weekend for skiing in New England.

Not an epic snowfall that opened up most trails at ski resorts, but a World Cup competition at Killington in Vermont.

Apart from showcasing the world’s best - and fastest - female skiers, it also demonstrates that New England resorts don’t have to wait for lots of natural snow to offer some good early season ski conditions.

Thanks to early November’s cold temperatures, eastern ski resorts were able to fire up their snowmaking arsenals to open up trails and begin their seasons.

That was especially important for Killington so it could cover its steep Superstar trail with lots of snow for the Xfinity Killington Cup, the first stop of the Audi FIS Ski World Cup tour in the U.S.

Killington actually benefited from - believe it or not - some “unfrozen precipitation,” a.k.a. rain that will help improve conditions on the course. “The snow surface that World Cup ski racers prefer is probably a little different from the surface that you or I prefer,” explained Jeff Temple, director of Mountain Ops. “They like the trail surface hard — very hard. To get it that way, water is often added to, and sometimes injected into, the snow.

“To facilitate the watering of the race venue, we had ‘opened up’ the snow surfaces — basically tracked the surface with grooming tractors and left them as rough and porous as possible so the rain would penetrate the snow rather than running off. The more saturated the snow, the harder the surface gets once all that water freezes.”

If you can’t make it to Killington, you can catch some of the action on on NBC TV at 3 p.m. on Saturday, and at 1 p.m. on Sunday.

All of the details on the World Cup at Killington are HERE.

What’s open?

Nine Vermont areas are open this weekend including Mount Snow, Stratton, Bromley, Okemo, Killington, Sugarbush, Stowe, Smuggler’s Notch and Jay Peak; the trail counts run from two to 24. A half-dozen areas in New Hampshire are also open, along with Sugarloaf and Sunday River in Maine.

Unless you have a season pass and a cheap place to stay farther north, it would be wise to wait. Besides the forecast for many northern areas call for above freezing temperatures during the day. Trails that are open are mainly for intermediate or advanced skiers and snowboarders. Easier terrain should be opening in the week or two.

Because of limited terrain, I’d hold off driving hundreds of miles to ski or snowboard on the few trails that are open.

A closer option if you’re itching to get out is Jiminy Peak in northwestern Massachusetts that’s shooting for 15 trails this weekend.

Lower New England areas in Massachusetts and Connecticut generally open in the first two weeks of December.

See a ski movie, get free Sugarbush lift ticket

Warren Miller Entertainment's 68th full-length feature film, Line of Descent, will be shown in Connecticut in early December.

For many, it’s a fun way to start the season by watching skiers and snowboarders on the screen doing the kind of things that would likely kill us. We can sit comfortably in our seats as they jump off cliffs and amazingly survive with great skill and style.

After 68 years of making these films, you know what to expect. “In this year’s film, WME travels the globe, by land, air, and sea, exploring the ties that bind ski culture.”

Also, what you can expect is some free swag with the purchase of a movie ticket. In this case, a free midweek non-holiday lift ticket to Sugarbush in Vermont.

The film’ will be shown at the Ridgefield Playhouse at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 5. Tickets are available at Ridgefield Ski & Sport in Ridgefield, Ski Haus in Brewster, N.Y., from Ridgefield Ski Team members or by emailing ghagele3@gmail.com.

The cost? Ten bucks, 15 if you don’t have a Sugarbush RFID card. It’s an incredible deal considering a one-day midweek pass to Sugarbush costs more than 80 bucks!

The fine print: “Everyone attending this screening will receive a voucher good for One (1) FREE lift ticket to Sugarbush, valid Monday through Friday from Opening Day 2017 through Closing Day 2018, EXCEPT FOR 12.23.17 through 1.01.18, 1.13.18 through 1.15.18, AND 2.17.18 through 2.25.18. Not valid with any other offers. No refunds. Non-transferable. Ticket must be loaded onto a reloadable Sugarbush RFID card. If you do not already have a Sugarbush RFID card, one may be purchased for $5.”

There’s also another showing of the film at East Lyme High School in East Lyme on Thursday, Dec. 7 with the same free Sugarbush ticket. Tickets, available HERE, cost $15.

Getting ready

Early season is the time to start talking with family/friends to set a date for a ski trip. Start looking for places to go and stay. Schedule time off from work.

It’s also time to get your boards tuned, bindings checked, locate and prepare winter clothing and stuff.

That way, you’ll be ready for the snow - and expanded conditions - when the time arrives.