In The Spotlight
The nation’s best alpine ski racers will descend upon New Hampshire’s Waterville Valley Resort in 2019 and 2021 for U.S. Alpine Championship - the biggest race the resort has hosted since the White Circus visited in 1991 when Julie Parisien won the World Cup giant slalom.
Waterville Valley Resort will play host to the slalom, giant slalom, and parallel slalom events March 23-26, 2019. The parallel slalom event will be a new addition to the U.S. Alpine Championships calendar.
“The introduction of the parallel event into the U.S. Alpine Championships tech week is an effort the alpine department has been advocating for and is excited about,” noted U.S. Ski & Snowboard Alpine Director, Jesse Hunt. “It’s a format that spectators understand and enjoy. With the introduction of more parallel events in the World Cup, as well as the team event in the Olympic Games’ calendar, it’s important we begin to place more focus on the event. The inclusion of parallel into U.S. Alpine Championships is proof of our commitment to developing our young talent to reach the podium for this discipline at all levels in the future.”
The International Ski Federation (FIS) is currently considering modifications to their format, which will be determined at the fall FIS meetings. Based on these conversations, format and qualification details will be modified accordingly for U.S. Alpine Championships.
“We are looking forward to bringing elite ski racing back to Waterville Valley Resort,” said U.S. Ski & Snowboard Chief of Systems and Operations Calum Clark. “The membership and fan base in the east is vast and extremely engaged with the sport, and our athletes love competing in front of them. Julie Parisien had a commanding and inspiring World Cup victory there in 1991, and U.S. Ski & Snowboard is excited to bring some of the best ski racers in the world, like two-time Olympic gold medalists Mikaela Shiffrin and Ted Ligety and Olympic champion Lindsey Vonn, back to the resort in hopes that they too will inspire the next generation.”
Waterville Valley Resort shares the enthusiasm for hosting the event. “This will be the biggest race that Waterville Valley Resort has hosted since our last World Cup in 1991. The whole team is excited to be bringing elite racing back to Waterville Valley,” says Waterville Valley Resort’s President and General Manager, Tim Smith. “I know our guests and pass holders won’t want to miss the opportunity to see these athletes in action.”
The downhill, super-G and alpine combined events will take place prior to the Waterville Valley events, and the venue will be announced shortly. Much like the 2015-2018 Sugarloaf, Maine/Sun Valley, Idaho venue arrangement, U.S. Ski & Snowboard looks to continue the successful long-term calendar plan to move the annual celebration of American ski racing to top resorts around the United States. That said, U.S. Ski & Snowboard will be looking to the west for 2020 and 2022 and the announcement will be forthcoming.
Summer vacationers often seek out lakefront property to cool off, and a number of ski and snowboard resorts across the West are blessed with a lake within spittin’ distance.
SnoCountry scanned the West and found an intriguing collection “surf and turf” offerings.
Two resorts -- Heavenly and Homewood -- sit right on the shore of Lake Tahoe for boating, fishing, excursions and swimming beaches. (Surface water temps top out at 65-70 F. so be ready for an exhilarating plunge.)
Homewood has linked up with Homewood High & Dry Marina at its base with rentals of jet skis, kayaks, paddleboards and more – plus a water ski school for instruction.
Over in Colorado, Keystone and Breckenridge are a short ride from Lake Dillon – a reservoir at 9,000 feet elevation. Marinas in Frisco and Dillon rent out fishing boats, party barges and sailboats, and quiet picnicking can be had along some 29 miles of shoreline.
One of SoCal’s favorite places to cool off is Big Bear Lake – some two hours’ drive from the L.A. Basin. Both Snow Summit and Bear Mountain look down onto the lake that has renowned fishing and all manner of watercraft for rent and instruction..
In North Idaho, super-deep Lake Pend Oreille spreads out below Schweitzer Mountain. National forest and state lands have a myriad of trails, beaches, marinas and picnic sites. Fishing best for cold-water trout, and Kokanee and Mackinaw salmon, and shops in Sandpoint rent most anything that floats.
To the west, you’ll find the Payette Lake and Brundage Mountain. The 5,000-acre lake boasts watersports galore, and evening lake cruises. Farther downriver, Tamarack Resort sits on the western shore of Cascade Lake – 47 square miles of high-mountain water. Nearby towns are full of rental and retail shops for any water-bound need.
Canoing near Brundage Mountain (McCall Chamber/Facebook)
Lake Tahoe speads out below Heavenly (Heavenly/Facebook)
Boats galore at shoreline below Homewood (Homewood/Facebook)
All manner of watercraft in Summit County (Town of Dillon/Facebook)
Hook a big on on Big Bear Lake (Big Bear Lake/Facebook)
Ridin' high above Lake Pend Oreille (Schweitzer/Facebook)
Enjoy an evening cruise near Tamarack (Lake Cascade State Park/Facebook)
The world’s longest gondola and an expansion of terrain in the order of 2,000 percent highlight a multi-year proposal for what has been the smallest ski and snowboard mountain in Utah.
Formerly known as Wolf Mountain, the Nordic Valley resort was recently purchased by Colorado resort owner James Coleman, who specializes in buying smallish mountains and plowing money into them right away. The mountain currently has three lifts on 140 acres and is a half-drive outside Ogden, situated between Snowbasin to the south and Powder Mountain to the north.
However, it will likely take a couple of years to secure U.S. Forest Service permits for the expansion – and contend with amending a roadless designation for the area by the Unitah-Wasatch-Cache National Forest, the owners say.
The headliner for the Nordic Valley project will be a 4.3-mile gondola – longer than 3.8-mile Grindelwald–Männlichen gondola in the Swiss Alps. The lift would bring skiers and riders up from the city of Ogden up and over an 8,100-foot ridge to the mountain base rom a terminal at a city park on the eastern edge of North Ogden – in 12 minutes.
“In addition to shortening travel times and alleviating canyon traffic, the new gondola will also help reduce vehicle emissions by providing a convenient and sustainable mass-transit solution,” according to the proposal.
In addition to the gondola, Coleman’s Mountain Capital Partners proposes to add 10 chairlifts and cut dozens of new trails to expand to 2,800 acres of skiable terrain – mostly intermediate level.
Three years ago, Mountain Capital Partners began its spending spree by purchasing Purgatory Resort outside Durango. Quickly thereafter, they added town hill Hesperus Ski Area near Durango; Arizona Snowbowl outside Flagstaff; and day-mountains Sipapu and Pajarito in New Mexico.
Long view of present layout of Nordic Valley (LiftBlog)
Nordic Valley would get 10 more lifts (Nordic Valley/Facebook)
Expansion proposed by new owners (LiftBlog)
The sale of the lease and operating agreement of New Hampshire’s Mount Sunapee to Vail Resorts was discussed at a public information session Wednesday night at the resort's Sunapee Lodge. Many attendees of the meeting came for reassurances that the new owners of the lease would continue stewardship of the state park’s natural resources and protection of affordable outdoor recreation.
Vail Resorts announced in June they will acquire Triple Peaks, LLC, the parent company of Okemo in Vermont, Mount Sunapee in New Hampshire, and Crested Butte in Colorado. Triple Peaks is owned by the Mueller family of New Hampshire.
In 1998, the State entered into a lease and operating agreement with the Mueller’s company. The current term of the lease runs through June 30, 2028, with two 10-year extension options, through June 2038 and June 2048. The lease provides that it may be delegated or subcontracted with approval from the state, and that approval “shall not be unreasonably withheld.”
The legacy of the Mueller family’s improvements at the resort was pointed to by many of the public comments at the information session. “I want to thank Tim and Diane for a great 20 years for your vision and commitment to the Lake Sunapee region. You made a big and positive contribution here,” said Sunapee resident Frank McConnell.
Tim and Diane Mueller thanked the many people they have worked with and reassured those in attendance that they had faith Vail’s future stewardship of the resort. “We have been blessed working with the best group of people out there and we would not have gotten that call from Vail if it was not for the efforts of the people in this room who have made Mount Sunapee what it is today,” Diane said. She added that she understood the concern some have with Vail, but that “not only do they have the resources… but also understand it’s important for the resort to maintain its character and culture.”
Vail Resorts President of Mountain Division Pat Campbell said Vail’s philosophy includes geographic diversity in a time of weather volatility. “By adding Mount Sunapee and Okemo, we now have a great network of distinct, differentiated resort experiences in the northeast that will provide incredible value and variety for those who want it.” She also pointed to Vail’s Epic Promise program, which includes environmental stewardship, a charity foundation and community support.
Campbell said Vail must wait until the sale goes through to announce specific season pass options, but realizes that early pricing deadlines occur around Labor Day. Attorney General Gordon MacDonald said he also had those dates in mind as he hoped a decision would be made by Labor Day, or at least Columbus Day.
Many comments from the public also voiced concern over the preservation and protection of the Mount Sunapee State Park, including the New Hampshire Sierra Club and the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests. Will Abbott of the Forest Society called on Vail to offer robust education on the state park and for the state to reassess allowing development on what is known as the "West Bowl” expansion.
Campbell stated that the West Bowl expansion is not why Vail is buying and that the $35 million in resort investments over the next two years will go to current infrastructure. “In the future if we think West Bowl is a good idea, we will go through a transparent and robust dialogue with the stakeholders.”