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The latest news, deals, and events from ski resorts throughout North America.

Resorts Work To Keep Ski Bums Around

Vail-Liftee

The liftee needs a place to live, too. (Vail Careers/Facebook)

So you want to be a ski bum? Get a job at a resort, find a place to live, and get a pass for free. All sounds cool -- except for the “cost of living” thing.

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Airlines To Fill Skies Over Colorado Resorts

Aspen-Deplaning

Ready to go after landing in Aspen. (Aspen-Pitkin County Airport/Facebook)

This season, it will be easier than ever to hop on a plane and head for where the powder is freshest in Colorado.

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Pay Less To Stay At Slopes In Rockies Early

Sun-Valley-Early

Sun Valley set to go with early discounts. (Sun Valley/Facebook)

Once the snow begins to fly, skiers and riders make plans to get up into the hills as soon as possible – and stay there as long as possible. As a result, many Rocky Mountain resorts lay out early season ticket and lodging deals.

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Aspen-KSL Partnership To Buy Intrawest Resorts

Aspen-KSL Partnership To Buy Intrawest Resorts

Tremblant has new owner. (Tremblant/Facebook)

Consolidation in the winter resort industry continues as a partnership between a newly formed entity in Aspen and a private equity firm announced the pending purchase of Intrawest and its six ski and snowboard resorts.


Included in the deal, which is expected to be closed by next fall, are Steamboat, Winter Park, Snowshoe, Stratton, Mont Tremblant and Blue Mountain. They will join with Squaw Valley-Alpine Meadows, a property of partner KSL Capital Partnership, under the new corporate entity. Aspen SkiCo's Aspen Mountain, Snowmass, Buttermilk and Aspen Highlands are not in the deal and will continue to operate independently.

Steamboat part of latest consolidation

Season tickets purchased for 2017-2018 at each resort will be honored, and the benefits of multi-resort passes Rocky Mountain Super Pass, the M.A.X. Pass and Mountain Collective will also continue through next season, according to a press release. No information has been given yet about consolidation of ticketing.

Skiers and snowboarders shouldn’t expect to see any major changes at any of the resorts this next season, as the deal won’t be signed and sealed until the third quarter of 2017. However, statements from Aspen Skiing Corp. and KSL Capital Partners indicate that the new corporation is ready to “help realize the collective potential of Intrawest’s portfolio of resorts.”

The deal comes as the latest in a trend toward consolidation in the ski and snowboard business. Vail Resorts expanded into the Eastern market with the recent purchase of Stowe, giving it a across-the-nation portfolio of resorts. Others owning multiple resorts include Boyne USA, Peak Resorts and Powdr Corp.

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It's Lovely Weather For A Sleigh Ride

It's Lovely Weather For A Sleigh Ride

The Vermont hills are alive with stunning views from a Trapp Family Lodge sleigh ride. (Trapp Family Lodge)

With all the snow piling up across the country, we may just have to use sleighs to get to the mountains. The classic winter experience is a must-do for a chance to enjoy another side of your favorite resort, many with perks like hot chocolate or dinner as part of the adventure.

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Backcountry Rescue May Cost At Steamboat

Backcountry Rescue May Cost At Steamboat

Often teams have to go deep into the wilderness for backcountry rescues. (Mountain Rescue Aspen/Facebook)

Steamboat is believed to be the first resort to officially say it may impose a fine on skiers or snowboarders who venture beyond the ropes and subsequently need to be rescued by Steamboat ski patrollers.


The proposed fine, which is now delineated on trail maps and on-mountain signs, is aimed at keeping inexperienced skiers and riders out of the backcountry. The fine could be as high as $500, although Steamboat officials say it may not apply to every case – and none has been assessed so far.

“If you don’t know, don’t go” is the mantra issued by the Steamboat Ski Patrol that has already had to pull people out of dangerous situations in the backcountry this season.

“(The situations) vary from ski area by ski area because some have much greater backcountry access than others, but where this is an issue it’s becoming a bigger and bigger one by the year,” Colorado Ski Country USA’s Chris Linsmayer told SnoCountry.com. “It’s an ongoing discussion within the industry and the rescues do really put strain on a ski areas who have to divert important resources and ski patrol staff to conduct them.”

It takes many man-hours to go out of bounds to find a skier in danger.

Across the West, the vast majority of ski resorts primarily sit on federal land. Public access can be limited to an access gate or as to mode of travel (i.e., ATVs). But it cannot be denied under normal conditions.

Backcountry numbers have exploded in the West. Steamboat officials say as many as 500 people might go through access gates in a day. Anyone who’s gone to resorts in the Wasatch Mountains outside of Salt Lake City knows this, too.

Rescuers train at Winter Park.

A few resorts have tried to bill rescues, but resort officials have found that the threat of having to pay sometimes makes people reticent to call in an emergency or even to refuse help when it arrives. Colorado state law forbids formal search-and-rescue teams from charging.

 Vail Mountain Rescue Group

 

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Keep Costs In Check With Early-Season Deals

Keep Costs In Check With Early-Season Deals

If big snow falls early, pay less to ski more powder at Crystal Mountain. (Crystal Mountain/Facebook)

This is what we do in anticipation of another ski and snowboard day: Think snow, check web cams, pray for cold – and lock in a couple of early-season discount tickets.


Most resorts drop ticket prices before the holidays to entice us into the high country as soon as possible. Savings also can be had by ordering online, buying in groups, and going midweek.

Here’s SnoCountry’s sampling of early ticket deals around the country:

Crystal Mountain. Limited number of five-pack of adult tickets available on first-come, first-served basis at Washington mountain. Cost is $335 for 10 percent savings.
Sundance

Sundance. Utah resort sells limited number of day tickets 40-60 percent off on a revolving basis. For example, Dec. 9 ticket costs $30.99 – more than half off.
Mammoth

Mammoth Mountain. Ski opening day at Cali resort for $50, online only. Includes free coffee and cocoa to stay warm till lift opens at 8:30 a.m.
Snow Summit

Snow Summit. Opening day at SoCal mountain is $41; stay another day and get two days for $69. Must buy online at least 72 hours in advance.
Steamboat

Steamboat. Through Dec. 18, three days of skiing and riding costs $169 with Boat Launch Pass, plus 20 percent off mountain lodging.
Aspen Snowmass

Aspen/Snowmass. Book at least two nights before Dec. 18 and get 40 percent off lift tickets at any SkiCo mountain. Book three nights at Little Nell Hotel before Dec. 18 and get two lift tickets free.
Bromley

Bromley. Purchase a Sun Mountain Card by Dec. 16 for $69, and get $30 off full day ticket price all season. Price goes up to $79 after that.
Stratton

Stratton. Top out at $69 midweek, $89 weekend with bonus day after Jan. 2 for $89 with X2 Card.

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Farm To Table Restaurants: Good, Clean Food At The Mountain

Farm To Table Restaurants: Good, Clean Food At The Mountain

Waiter at The Farm in Park City serves up plates from fresh, local produce (The Farm/Facebook)

The idea that local restaurants can hook up with nearby farms, ranches and food producers to create truly sustainable, “local” cuisine has caught fire not only in towns around the country, but also at ski and snowboard resorts.


 

Nowadays, it’s a common sight to see a chef checking out the veggies or baked bread at a local farmers market -- or on the organic produce aisle at the neighborhood grocery store – to stock up for the day’s menu.

More and more, they come from the fine dining rooms at mountain resorts. Here’s SnoCountry’s sampling of where to eat fresh at ski and snowboard resorts this season:

Canyons. Located right on the Ski Beach at the base of the Park City, Utah, resort, The Farm Restaurant lives up to its name by sourcing ingredients from local farms, cattle ranches and vineyards. A regularly revolving menu coincides with seasonally available foods. Taste treat: Utah corn soup.

Harrimans Mount snow

Mount Snow. Harriman’s sits just up from the main base of the southern Vermont area. It combines classicly trained chefs with fresh food grown, raised and produced at 20 farms in the Green Mountain state. Taste treat: Aged cheddar from Jasper Hill Farms.



Solstice at Stowe

Stowe. In the heart of the base area, Solstice serves artisan-inspired plates inside Stowe Mountain Lodge, relying upon a partnership with farmers, cheesemakers and producers from the northern Vermont region for the freshest ingredients. Taste treat: Angus braised short ribs with Cabot Creamery grits.


Truffle Pig Steamboat

Steamboat. Unbuckle your boots and stride into the Truffle Pig for apres-ski snacks, dinners and to-die-for desserts. Ingredients from pastures and gardens of northern Colorado valley inspire truly local menu. Taste treat: Truffle pig fries.


 

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Labor Day In The Mountains Goes To Higher Level

Labor Day In The Mountains Goes To Higher Level

Fly through the sky at Seven Springs for Labor Day fun (Seven Springs/Facebook)

The end of the summer is unofficially marked by the Labor Day weekend (Sept. 2-5), and then the long, long wait for ski and snowboard season to begin.

So before the waiting begins, get a whiff of the high-mountain air and winds in the pines by checking out the holiday festivities at resorts all around the country.

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Take To The Trails: Resorts By Horseback

Take To The Trails: Resorts By Horseback

Spend a day horseback riding through some of the most beautiful landscapes Wyoming has to offer.(Jackson Hole Central Reservations)

Our wheels often take us on adrenaline-fueled trips through the forests, but sometimes it’s worth it to explore new terrain on a different mode of transportation, one that allows us to slow down and appreciate mountain wildflowers and stunning vistas. Let an experienced guide at a mountain resort share with you the opportunity to see a favorite mountain resort by horseback.

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