In The Spotlight
Biking and hiking, zip lines and coasters, climbing walls and disc golf, concerts and festivals and the old-fav, a ride up the lift: ski and snowboard resorts in the West are changing gears as warm weather arrives.
To keep the people coming up to the mountain after the lifts close, most major resorts host summer events, like music concerts and beer festivals, mountain biking competitions, and summer camps of all varieties. Many have on-hill “adventure parks” packed with rides, games and activities.
Restaurants put out the deck chairs and umbrellas, shops hawk their wares with sidewalk sales, and generally everyone heads outside for the warm sun and fun.
SnoCountry.com took a look around the West and came up with some highlights for the 2018 summer in the mountains.
At Purgatory the resort, for the first time, will crank up the high-speed Village Express to get mountain bike enthusiasts onto the mountain much quicker – or give sightseers more time to wander at altitude.
After 80 years, Alta will finally run a chairlift during the summer. Sunnyside Lift will get folks into Albion Basin, and a $6 vehicle fee will be charged for access to a Forest road to Catherine’s Pass. Shuttle service has been shut down.
Up in the Northwest, the famed wild flowers at Crystal Mountain are a heavy draw, particularly with a gondola ride to get into the alpine meadows. And speaking of high rides, the Whistler-Blackcomb peak-to-peak tram is a summertime must-do.
Utah’s Park City Mountain maintains a kids-only park that has zipline, ropes course and tubing hill for ages 2-11. Over the hill at Snowbird, it’s all about the adrenaline rush with vertical drop, alpine slide and mountain coaster hitting top speeds. Farther south, Eagle Point boasts top ATV trails and a network of 275 miles.
Kirkwood may sit by big Lake Tahoe, but the summer attraction is a trio of small lakes within 10 miles of the California mountain. Swim, paddle a canoe, or toss in a fishing line to get a true outdoor experience.
In northern New Mexico, Angel Fire has built a reputation for top-notch downhill biking. The trail system is extensive and, each summer, the resort hosts a number of top regional and national races that attract some of the top mountain bikers in North America.
Fifty years ago, a bunch of ski areas in New England had the idea to provide a consistent platform to serve up snow conditions information so that you, the skier and snowboarder, would know exactly what the conditions were at the mountain.
What started in 1968 as the New England Ski Areas Council, soon became SnoCountry, and began by collecting and distributing snow conditions information all over the radio. Over the past 50 years, SnoCountry expanded its media landscape, and now reaches more than 550 radio stations, 37 television markets, and millions of skiers and snowboarders through its digital channels as they plan their next on-mountain adventure.
SnoCountry continues to expand its digital and broadcast reach as the leading source of current, credible and unbiased ski and mountain resort information to promote the on-mountain experience for ski resorts throughout North America.
Here is a quick look back at how it all started 50 years ago in Woodstock, Vermont, and a peek at what the future holds for SnoCountry.
Bragging rights to long ski and ride seasons belong to a handful of resorts across the country and the fun-loving die-hards who enjoy some of the best turns of the year with goggle tans and fun parties to end the year.
Arapahoe Basin will close the first weekend of June (depending on conditions) and will celebrate the longer days, sunnier skies and great snow conditions with free live music from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. in the Mountain Goat Plaza. Close out another amazing season of skiing and riding at Loveland May 6 with BBQ, drinks and live music on the Basin Patio. Snowfall in Winter Park is up 86 percent from the April average - they’ll also keep on skiing through May 6.
In New England, Killington’s Superstar Quad will run daily through May 6, then Friday through Sunday until the snow is gone. The Stateside Jet Triple and Bonaventure Quad will run for Jay Peak fans daily through May 6, an update from initial plans to close midweek. Sugarbush and Sugarloaf will reopen for one more weekend, May 5-6, and Whiteface and Wildcat may join in the fun for one last weekend too.
It's prime time for early morning corduroy turns and afternoon soft spring snow laps under the California sunshine. Squaw Valley will turn the lifts through Memorial Day Weekend and Mammoth plans to enjoy the snow until at least Memorial Day.
The Midwest is experiencing one of their snowiest springs in recent memory. Michigan’s Boyne Mountain and Mount Bohemia both plan to reopen for the weekend of May 5-6. Wisconsin’s Granite Peak and Minnesota’s Lutsen will also open for one more weekend, May 5-6. Throw in some afternoon golf and you’ve got a perfect Midwest weekend.
Mt. Bachelor will operate 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. through Memorial Day Weekend. The Palmer lift is now open at four-season Timberline Lodge with glacier skiing to be had into September. Mt. Hood Meadows sends out the season with a bang May 12 with the Season’s End Festival.
The longest season in Utah belongs to Snowbird, where they’ll be open daily through May 13.
Zipline tours are popular pursuits at ski resorts throughout the nation. You don’t need a mountain to offer some excitement. Ski resorts in Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Illinois offer you the rush of zipping through treetops, over gorges and some fantastic views along the ride of Great Lakes and great rivers. It's great summer fun.
The Mountain’s zipline tour encompasses 4,300 feet with 10 stations and takes up to three hours to complete. The Highlands zipline tour features 8 stations and travels 3,350 feet. The cost is $64 per person for the complete guided tour at either resort. Both offer a Twin Zip that friends can compete on for fastest ride. The cost is $20 for a single ride.
Mt. Holiday, located near Traverse City, offers a 10 station zipline tour that covers 4,800 feet and offers breathtaking views of Lake Michigan’s Grand Traverse East Bay. It takes about two hours to complete, and the cost is $48 per person.
Cannonsburg’s new zip line is one of the longest in the Heartland. The 10-station canopy tour travels through the treetops for 6,500 feet. Most Midwest multiple station tours are under a mile. The cost of a tour, which takes about three hours, is $45 per person.
Minnesota has the Timber Flyer at Spirit Mountain. It’s a fast 90-second trip reaching speeds up to 30mph as it plunges down the mountain offering great views of Duluth’s Lake Superior harbor on the much slower trip back up. The cost is $12 for one rider per time, or $17 for two people.
Wisconsin’s Trollhaugen in the northwestern corner of the Badger State near Minnesota, offers six lines from four stations and a two-hour guided tour. The cost runs between $39 and $45.
In Illinois Chestnut Mountain’s new Soaring Eagle Zip Line allows guests to take flight from the 500-foot ridge that sits above the Mississippi River. You get an eagle eye perspective of the majestic Mississippi River Valley as you fly down the zip line in a comfortable seat rather than a harness. The cost is $15 per rider for a single trip or $25 for two per ride.