Craig Altschul is Editorial Director of SnoCountry.com. He is a veteran snow journalist, having covered the sport for more than 40 years. His syndicated snow sports humor column, Ski Tips, ran in newspapers across the country for 20 years. He was Global Editor-in-Chief for OnTheSnow for 12 years and has written for a variety of magazines and...
Craig Altschul is Editorial Director of SnoCountry.com. He is a veteran snow journalist, having covered the sport for more than 40 years. His syndicated snow sports humor column, Ski Tips, ran in newspapers across the country for 20 years. He was Global Editor-in-Chief for OnTheSnow for 12 years and has written for a variety of magazines and newspapers. Altschul is past president of both the Eastern Ski Writers Association and the North American Snow Journalists Association. He lives in the mountains of New Mexico.
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British Ski Instructor On Trial In France: ‘They Don’t Want Us Here’

Megeve FranceA brouhaha of some proportion is riling up the Brits and the French. It’s all about a trial starting this week of 51-year-old British ski instructor Simon Butler, who has been teaching on French ski slopes for more than three decades. Expatica France news agency reports the action is sparking outrage in the UK.

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Crystal Globes Won By Mikaela Shiffrin, Ted Ligety At World Cup Finale

Mikaela Shiffrin with Crystal GlobeThe coveted crystal globe – the traditional award for winning a World Cup discipline -- remains in familiar, competent hands. Olympic Gold Medalist Mikaela Shiffrin won her second straight globe in the slalom, while Olympic Gold Medalist Ted Ligety claimed his fifth giant slalom globe Saturday. The World Cup finals wrap up Sunday in Lenzerheide, Switzerland.

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Mountain Lodging Revenue Tops Last Year’s Mark

Lodge at Mountain Village, PCLodges throughout the country have posted a 10.4 percent increase in revenue this winter, according to the just released monthly data report released by DestiMetrics. Western resorts have already eclipsed last year’s total overall revenues.

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Women’s Speed Coach Chip White Steps Down; Ligety Second In Downhill Finale

Chip White on Swedish TVChip White, who has successfully coached the U.S. women’s speed racers for the past 18 years announced he plans to step aside following this week’s World Cup Finals in Lenzerheide, Switzerland.

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Avalanche Destroys High Elevation Lift At Crystal Mt., Wash.; No Injuries

Avalanche at Crystal Mt., WashAn after-hours avalanche was likely triggered by a 40-pound blast set by the Ski Patrol in an area of Crystal Mountain, Wash., known as The Throne, late Monday afternoon.

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Shiffrin Wraps Up Slalom Title; Ligety Wins 6th Straight GS At Kranjska Gora

Miaekla Shiffrin Wheaties

IIt was a nice way to head into next week’s World Cup Finals. Mikaela Shiffrin (Eagle-Vail, Colo.) wrapped up her second consecutive slalom title at Are, Sweden before it even begins. Ted Ligety (Park City, Utah) won an historic sixth straight Giant Slalom at the same Kranjska Gora, Solvenia venue.

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New Intrawest Passport Family-Friendly; Intro Deal Through March 14

Intrawest Passport logoLast year’s rollout of a number of multi-resort passports seems to be continuing this spring with the announcement of the Intrawest Passport. The resort group based in Denver, Colo. says its new pass is the “first-ever” that redefines “family pass” and offers free skiing to kids 12 and under.

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County Commissioner Says Otten Plan Calls For Quadrupling Balsams Skiing

Balsams Base Lodge (2/14)

The other piece of the Grand Balsams Resort resurrection that leaked out last month (see SnoCountry.com story) may have fallen generally into place this week. The developers appear to be planning to quadruple the size of the Balsams Wilderness Ski Area, perhaps to the scope of Vermont’s Killington, the perennial “beast of the east.”

 

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Powdery Japanese Resort Added To Vail Resorts Epic Pass For 2014-15

Niseko United, JapanOne of the most powdery ski resorts in the world – Niseko United, Japan – has been added to Vail Resorts Epic Pass for the 2014-2015 season. The deal includes five consecutive days of skiing at the island of Hokkaido resort.

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Travis Ganong Grabs First Podium In Norway World Cup Downhill

Travis Ganong at Beaver CreekUPDATE (March 1): Travis Ganong, who 24 hours earlier stamped the first Audi FIS Alpine World Cup top three of his career, finished fourth Saturday, a mere .05 from a second downhill podium in Kvitfjell.

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Season Moves Into Second Half; Eastern Resorts Show 6.5 Percent January Lodging Gain

Jordan Hotel Sunday RiverA “halftime report” from DestiMetrics is showing an overall 4.7 percent increase in occupancy compared to last year and 10 percent increase in revenue moving into the second half of the season. Company officials credit the jump to divergent weather patterns in the east and west and continued good economic news.

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Snowshoe Piles It Up; Extends Season With April Bonus Weekend

Snowshoe piles it upA pile-up of more than 30 inches of fresh snow in a week has led Snowshoe Mountain Resort in West Virginia to extend its season. The resort will close as planned March 30, but only temporarily. The slopes will re-open for a weekend bonus April 5-6.

“For the second winter in a row we’re watching fantastic snow conditions building into March,” says Snowshoe’s Dave Dekema. “It has literally snowed every day for a week, with 14 inches in one day alone.

Single day lift tickets during the extended weekend are $40 in appreciation of the resort’s 40th season. There will also be a “buy one, get one free” special offer available. Value season lodging prices will be in effect.

The announcement comes on the heels of the return of the “Ridiculous Pass” now available for purchase at $199. The pass gives users unlimited skiing and riding all of March 2014, and the entire 2014-2015 winter season with no blackout dates. Note that the pass price goes up $5 per day until Feb. 28.

Full retail price of the pass is $449.

“The Ridiculous Pass is the best deal out there,” says Snowshoe’s Dave Dekema. “It was so incredibly popular last year that we had to bring it back this year… It’s ridiculous.”

The pass offer is good through Feb. 28, 2014 and valid for all ability levels and age groups – adults, students, seniors, military, children and teens. Children ages six and under and seniors 75 and over will ski free next season.

Click for more details.

Photo: Snowshoe Mountain Resort piles on the February snows (Snowshoe Mountain Resort/Facebook)

 

 

 

 

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Les Otten Returns; Plans New Life For Historic Balsams Resort In N.H.

BalsamsLes Otten, founder and former president of the now defunct American Skiing Company (ASC), has teamed with Dan Dagesse and Dan Hebert, principals of Balsams View LLC to “establish a viable path forward for the redevelopment” of the historic Balsams Grand Hotel and the Balsams Wilderness Ski Area in Dixville Notch, N.H. The resort has been closed since 2011.

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Presidents’ Week Shapes Up In East; Events, Deals

SnowshoeIt all begins Valentine’s Day, but consider spending your entire Presidents’ Week at ski resorts throughout the East. Better act right away as its one the busiest times of the year. Here’s a sampling of offers:

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Stowe’s Spruce Peak To Expand Family Amenities; New Ice Rink, More

Spruce Peak renderingStowe, Vermont’s 10-year development effort at it’s Spruce Peak area will get a decidedly family-flavored makeover starting later this spring. This next phase comes after extensive conversations with homeowners, club member, and guests.

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Last Cups Before Olympics: Ligety Wins GS in ‘Hackfest’, Shiffrin Hits Rut

Bernadette and Marlies SchildThe curtain came down on the World Cup Sunday as the alpine circuit breaks for the Winter Olympics in Sochi Russia starting later this week.

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It’s Super Sunday On Ski Slopes, Too: Plenty Of Lift Ticket Deals

Super Bowl NJLook, you can skip the four-hour pre-game show and head to just about any ski resort in America where deals aim to take you away from the guacamole dip.

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20 Named To U.S. Alpine Team For Sochi Olympics

Sochi Winter OlympicsThe U.S. Ski Team was named Sunday for the upcoming Winter Olympiad at Sochi, Russia. Included were Olympic gold medalists Bode Miller, Ted Ligety, Julia Mancuso and World Champion Mikaela Shiffrin. Missing, of course, is veteran gold medalist Lindsey Vonn, recovering from knee injuries.

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Long World Cup Weekend Ends; Ligety Second In Super Combined

Ted LigetyThe weekend that never seemed to end finally did Sunday. American gold medalist Ted Ligety parlayed two slalom runs and a downhill into second place in a Super Combined at Kitzbuehel, Austria. Meanwhile, Stacey Cook finished 13th in a windblown, flat light super G at Cortina, Italy.

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Miller, Cook, Mancuso: Speeding To Sochi Again Saturday

Bode Miller at Beaver CreekThe alpine speed race to Sochi continued Saturday with more drama building for Americans. Bode Miller finished third in the fabled Hahnenkamm World Cup downhill in Kitzbuehel, Austria, while U.S. ladies Stacey Cook and Julia Mancuso packed in their third Top Ten finishes in a row in another downhill at Cortina, Italy.

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