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

SnoCountry SnoCast: Midwest Blizzard And The Winter Outlook

Loveland-Dustin-Schefer-Facebook

Loveland could see a few more inches this week. (Loveland/Dustin Schefer/Facebook)

Welcome into the week of Halloween! I don't want to spook you, but blizzard conditions are possible in parts of the country. Let's talk about what we can expect.

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Bavaria Comes To Oktoberfests In The West

Breck-Oktoberfest

Celebrations at Breck. (Breckenridge/Facebook)

As if to say auf wiedersehene to summer and willkommen to winter, Oktoberfest in the Western mountains is celebrated just as the seasons pivot away from fun-in-the-sun and toward the upcoming ski and snowboard season.

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Purgatory Debuts Lift, Extends With Taos, Pajarito, Sierra-at-Tahoe

Purgatory Debuts Lift, Extends With Taos, Pajarito, Sierra-at-Tahoe

Spring jumpin' at Sierra-at-Tahoe (Sierra-at-Tahoe/Facebook)

With plenty of snow still on the ground, a growing number of resorts across the West are going to keep the lifts turning longer than scheduled.


In New Mexico, Taos Ski Valley announced it will extend its season an extra week to Sunday, April 9 – although it will closed April 3 for it annual employee day. Three lifts will be running that extra week, but the beginner lifts will be turned off.

In Los Alamos, Pajarito Mountain officials decided to keep things going a week longer to March 26 – and then on weekends if conditions permit.
A few more turns at Purgatory.

To the north, Purgatory will cease daily operations as scheduled on April 2, but will reopen on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through the end of the month.

Also at the southwest Colorado resort, there’s a new surface, “transfer” lift open now to eliminate a long, flat traverse for skiers and snowboarders to the Legends Express on the mountain’s backside. Lift 11 can be picked up at the bottom of Dirty Secret, Siegele Street and Bottom’s Chute and shuttled back to the high-speed quad.

“The new lift provides easier access from advanced and expert trails to the newest high-speed quad,” said Purgatory’s Ed Youmans.
More pow at Sierra-at-Tahoe.

There’ll be another week of skiing and riding at Sierra-at-Tahoe, which announced it will stay open until April 24 – also Customer Appreciation Day. The Tahoe-area mountain has seen more than 500 inches fall from the sky this season, a “season for the books,” is how GM John Rice characterized the season.

Same at Keystone and Schweitzer, where mountain managers have decided to add another week to April 16.

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Taos Ski Valley Recognized For Ethics

Taos Ski Valley Recognized For Ethics

Hike the bowls at 'green' Taos (Taos Ski Valley/Facebook)

Environmentally conscious skiers and snowboarders who want to “walk the talk” can do so by taking to the slopes at Taos Ski Valley.


The New Mexico resort just became the first winter resort in the world – and the fifth company in its home state – to qualify as a “B Corp” for adhering to rigorous standards of “social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency,” according to the nonprofit B Lab that issues the designations worldwide.

New Blake Hotel geothermally heated.


“The people who live and work at Taos Ski Valley have long known about our commitment to the community and our investments in the ongoing health of our mountain ecosystem,” said CEO Dave Norden. “Visitors that choose Taos Ski Valley for their next vacation will be doing so with the knowledge that they’re supporting the ethics and commitment of a Certified B Corporation.”
Less snowmaking at Taos. (Taos Ski Valley/Facebook)

Among Taos Ski Valley’s efforts that led to the certification were:
· Discontinuing sale of disposable plastic bottles, replacing with reusable containers.
· Moving freshly fallen snow to highly trafficked and shadier locations – and placement of snow fences to hold snow -- to save on snowmaking costs.
· Serving locally sourced food at the resort’s five restaurants.
· Retrofitting facilities with low-flow fixtures, waterless urinals, and dual-flush toilets to reduce water consumption.
· Heating the new Blake Hotel through a geothermal system.
· Paying a minimum of $10 an hour for all employees.
Taos' 'green' efforts

Other B Corp certified companies related to the ski and snowboard industry include apparel maker Patagonia, craft beer brewer New Belgium Brewing and Vermont’s Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream. More than 1,600 companies in 42 countries have received the honor.
While resort owner and conservation advocate Louis Bacon’s money have paid for much of these efforts, the Blake family that owned the mountain since its inception had begun reducing the resort’s carbon footprint in the years prior to the sale in 2013.


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Affordable, Fun Mountain Resort Hotels

Affordable, Fun Mountain Resort Hotels

Glenwood Hot Springs Resort includes the largest mineral hot springs pool in the world. (Glenwood Hot Springs)

Looking for a little personality to your ski lodgings, but still don't want to break the bank? Chain hotels are great for a standard room, but these accommodations will put you up in style with a personal touch. Innkeepers will have local intel, and you'll have a few bucks left to explore restaurants and shops in town, too.

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Sweet Mountain Surrender

Sweet Mountain Surrender

Pats Peak cookies are an obligatory part of a trip to the mountain. (Pats Peak)

With all the powder and corduroy you’ll be hitting on your next ski trip, refueling with some fine confections are in order. SnoCountry.com has tirelessly researched across the country to find these not-to-miss mountain treats.

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The Blake Hotel Rises Into Taos Midst

The Blake Hotel Rises Into Taos Midst

Taos Ski Valley's first resort hotel. (The Blake/Facebook)

The first resort-owned hotel at Taos Ski Valley opens for business in February, replete with contemporary luxury and a strong sense of its history.

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Insider’s Guide To Taos Ski Valley

Insider’s Guide To Taos Ski Valley

So many lines through the trees at Taos Ski Valley. (Taos Ski Valley/Facebook)

The name is old school. So are the fixed-grip lifts, the 60-year old ski school, the “cattle car” parking lot shuttles, the local lifties. Even with a brand-new hotel going up in its midst – and snowboarders now on the hill -- Taos Ski Valley retains much of what founder Ernie Blake envisioned.


Travel. Drive from town takes 30 minutes. Free buses run from hotels in town to ski area. Airport shuttles come up from Albuquerque and Santa Fe; Taos airport serves general aviation.

Plenty of hiking up the ridge in Alpine wonderland at Taos.

Deals. Rack rate is $98, with the usual age and multi-day discounts. Mountain Collective works here, and $40 Taos Card drops daily to $79. Some hotels package in tickets, and Taos one of few with a morning half-day ticket. “The mountain forces you into ski school,” said Ernie Blake, and his instructors always aim to get you comfortable on the mountain as soon as you can. Ski Weeks attract many.

Al's Run Taos

Trails. Local bumper sticker says, “TAOS – A four-letter word for steep.” First, an expanded beginner area around the base serves newbies well, and plenty of greens and blues serve up groomers on both sides. But steeps and extremes are the main dishes here: Alpine chutes, expansive bowls, narrow gullies, plus lots and lots of trees. Must-ski trails include leg-burning Al’s Run, Longhorn and Spencer’s. The trail map only suggests routes down a mountain full of secret lines and stashes. Kachina Lift at 12,400-summit gives easy access to 150-acre Kachina Bowl and popular Hunziker Bowl. Hikers still have West Basin and Highline to themselves, each with a short but steep hump off Lift 2.

Bavarian Taos

Eat and Drink. Front and back base areas dish out hearty skiers’ fare, with more nearby in the village. Front-side Whistlestop Café serves to refuel at midday. Can’t-miss Bavarian Restaurant goes full-on German with wiener schnitzel and goulash during the day, and classic fondues and European for après-ski cuisine. And, of course, 18-ounce steins of Bavarian beer. Hit Taos proper for famed red and green chile dishes that are more flavor than heat.

Stay. The Bavarian has a few rooms, and a bevy of condos cluster around the base. Classic nights can be had at the St. Bernard Hotel, known for fondue and fireplaces. The Blake Hotel is set to open Feb. 1. With 65 rooms, 15 suites and valet parking, it’s upped the overnight ante while fitting into the Alpine style. Down in town, the choice of where to stay is considerable.

Taos views

Insider Tip: Powder days bring hordes of locals up, so the key to your own freshies is to get to the lift before opening and map out routes ahead of time. Or, cozy up to a ski bum but get ready to rock the steeps and trees.



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Checking In On El Niño As Western Season Winds Down

Grand Targhee powThe Pacific Ocean warming phenomenon known as El Niño came roaring into the West this winter with great promise of above-average snowfall for all. For some resorts, that was true -- but not for all.

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Spring Highlights Top Bump Runs In Rocky Mountains

Bump skier TellurideAs spring skiing season arrives, you usually find more VW-size moguls than snorkel-deep powder at Rocky Mountain resorts. Combine with warm bluebird days, and you’ve got prime time for bump-a-holics.

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