East and West have reaped abundant snowfall so this spring is a great time to enjoy the best of snow and ski culture.
Valentine’s Day sweethearts across New England can celebrate the holiday of love with unique events at New Hampshire ski areas. Romantic celebrations will include chairlift speed dating, festive on-slope games, moonlit skiing, a couples ski race, and more.
The parent company of Vermont’s Killington and California’s Boreal, POWDR, has partnered with Danny Davis, X Games Gold Medalist, Grand Prix Winner, Dew Tour Champion and U.S. Snowboard Olympian, to launch Woodward Peace Park.
There was no problem creating ice for the Red Bull Crashed Ice Athlete Search at Loon Mountain Jan. 12, where temperatures were cold but competition was hot for a wildcard spot in the Ice Cross Downhill World Championship at Fenway Feb. 8 - 9.
The 11th annual Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month, going on now, has a new twist. Resorts across the U.S. are gearing up for a special celebration Friday, Jan. 11 – the first National Learn to Ski or Snowboard Day.
Pensylvania's Jack Frost/Big Boulder takes center stage this week at the first SnoCountry/Pepsi Resort of the Week. Founded in 1942 with the building of the Split Rock Club on the shores of Lake Harmony, Big Boulder was the first commercial ski resort in Pennsylvania.
While we’re waiting anxiously for the snow to fly, resorts across the Northeast are celebrating fall foliage season with fun, food, music and stunning views of the mountains. Here are SnoCountry.com’s top picks for Oktoberfests this year.
Gathering for final run down High Rustler. (Alta/Facebook)
The coming of spring is a bittersweet time for skiers and riders. But it’s also time to party hearty at a plethora of spring festivals and fun dots the calendar during the final weeks of the year.
Just in time for Presidents' Week, Killington Resort received 16" of snow Monday, Feb. 5. (Ski Vermont)
Pair extensive snowmaking coverage at Vermont resorts with several significant storms from Mother Nature this week, and the slopes will be in top condition for one of the most popular vacation periods of the season. Off-slope activities will be equally exciting during Presidents week with plenty of free live music, great food, parades, games and family activities.
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.
Virtual Reality is fast-becoming an important player in the world of creative filmmaking. (Sundance Film Festival/Facebook)
It’s begun. The Sundance storm nearly rivals the actual Snowmaggedon that this ski hamlet has felt for the past month and continues to experience. Park City is bracing themselves- $100 parking lots and all- for the flood of People in Black. We are a mere day away from the extravagant parties and film premieres, the branding and “activations”.
Sleigh rides are a must-do for a Bretton Woods holiday. (Bretton Woods)
A cold and snowy start to the holiday season means New Hampshire ski areas have plenty of trails to ski and ride and plenty of fun activities both on and off the slopes. Across the state, ski areas are busy making snow, with many offering top-to-bottom skiing and riding by Christmas.
Egyptian Theatre Marquee. (Sundance Institute/Jill Oreschel)
My parents called tonight. They're coming to Sundance. I choked a bit. I've lived in Park City since 1990 and this is a first. "Are you sure?" I queried. "Sundance is a zoo. There's no parking, all of the restaurants are booked, it's even more expensive around here than normal, the tickets are probably sold out…" Was there a Beginners Guide To Sundance out there anywhere?
"Your father and I want to see snow and Europe's too far," said Mom. "Plus, I've always wanted to stay at the St. Regis." My folks are in their 80s. Back in the day, our vacations revolved around skiing but they retired the sticks decades ago. Still, you can't help but miss the mountains in winter when you've spent almost your whole life playing in them.
I considered this new information. Parents who don't ski but love film, snow and mountains. Sundance might just be the perfect vacation. When they've visited Park City in the past they've been bored. This is a town for adventure junkies. Once you've done the outlet mall, gotten a massage and fed on the "fine dining" there's not much else for retired skiers around here.
I started my research. How then do I advise my parents, your average tourists, to make the most out of their time at Sundance? Looks like I was going to have to devise my own Beginners Guide To Sundance.
The Beginners Guide To Sundance Starts With Lodging
You won't have a place to stay if you don't have a place to stay. In other words, book your lodging early and don't be picky. Everything in Park City gets gobbled up the closer you get to those last 10 days in January. My parents aren't into crashing in a three-bedroom place with four other people so they got a room at the St Regis with timeshare points that could have bought them a month in Hawaii. You can get a place in Salt Lake City for much less but the highway commute in January can be a nightmare if it dumps. You don't want to be stuck in a whiteout on I-80 while your movie plays. BTW, the major benefit of having a condo over a hotel room is the ability to cook, so you don’t have to eat out for every meal, saving some money.
The Beginners Guide To Sundance Transportation
No, Mom, you do not need a car. Split a cab, call Uber, book a shuttle. You DO NOT want a rental car in Park City during Sundance. The city shuts down Main Street to traffic, there's zero parking available unless you want to pay $50 for lots that are normally free, and the congestion is ridiculous.
I hitched a ride from Park Avenue to the top of Main (two miles tops) last year and it took over an hour. The bright side was I got to spend that time chatting with a fascinating, charmingly abrasive, post production supervisor from New York who worked on several of my favorite films.
Park City brings in extra buses to handle the transportation. The free system runs like clockwork and rivals any you would find in a large metropolis. They run late into the night so you don't need to worry about being stranded and the cast of characters on those buses- from local ski bums to Netflix execs- are priceless.
The Beginners Guide To Sundance Ticketing
Get a Sundance ticket package if you can afford one. My parents will see as many movies as they can but if you don't plan ahead individual tickets (which go on sale Jan. 17 for non-locals) sell out fast and you wind up standing in a cold waitlist line hoping someone doesn't show.
There is a new ewaitlist system that eliminates standing in line TWICE to MAYBE get in but you'll still have to be at the theater at least 30 minutes prior to showtime. You'll also need to be somewhere with a strong signal. The waitlist opens one hour prior to the screening and if you get a number higher than 50 your chances of actually getting in are slim to none. You can often buy tickets off scalpers standing in front of the theater. Patrons wind up with extra tickets because friends or clients couldn't make it in time or they decided to go to a party instead. I've gotten many a free ticket this way.
The Festival packages are pricey for non-locals ($650) but in addition to 10 tickets ($250 value), they include Festival credentials for two peeps.
You can only plant your butt in a dark theater for so long. The pass gets you into the rocking ASCAP music café, the Cinema Café, the Filmmakers Lodge, and several other "credential-only" venues that host VIP events like cocktail receptions and filmmaker panel discussions. You also get a ticket to the opening night party, but it's only a bonus if you like blaring dance music and drunk 20-somethings.
The Beginners Guide To Sundance Dining
"We want to go to the restaurants and experience the scene," my mom added. So does everyone else, Mom. If you get to Park City without reservations you will be ordering Domino's and Davanza's. Start booking the minute you know you're coming. Three nights in town equals three reservations.
Private parties book out most of the restaurants. Still, the best spots to celeb spot if you can get in are the Riverhorse Café, Chimayo, Zoom, Yuki Yama and Prime Steakhouse. I recommended St Regis' J&G Grill to my folks for the first Saturday night of the Fest to avoid the mayhem of Main. You can also eat someplace off Main that doesn't take reservations – like Sammy's Bistro, El Chubasco, The Blind Dog and our newest yummy Ganesh Indian Cuisine. If you just want something to eat and you want out of town anyway, locals head to Kimball Junction where you have a ton of options from Five Guys to Ghidotti's.
That's it for this first leg of our journey. Stay tuned for my mom's next phone call.
New gondola starts up this season at Jackson Hole. (Jackson Hole Mountain Resort/Facebook)
Jackson Hole Mountain Resort turns 50 years old this season and, as a present to its loyal customers, debuts a new gondola out of the base area.
Santa enjoys a run down the Shanty's Schuss Mountain slopes. (Shanty Creek)
With a forecast for cold weather and lake effect snow returning to northwest Lower Michigan later this week ski resorts are getting ready to celebrate the holiday season. Let’s hope Santa brings the snow.
Shanty Creek has several holiday events scheduled including the Sardine Special on Friday, Dec. 16, when you pack the car with as many people as possible and you all ski for the price of one, and breakfast and story time with Santa on Saturday, Dec. 17 and 23. On Christmas Day ski and ride free with Santa on the Schuss Mountain slopes. Just bring a non-perishable food item or clothing to donate. Holiday Ski Packages start from $184 per person, per night and includes lodging, lift ticket, breakfast and a group ski lesson.
Boyne Mountain and Boyne Highlands will be celebrating the sights and sounds of the holidays with lots of planned activities, dinners, holiday rail jams, and New Year’s Eve dinners, live bands and celebrations capped with fireworks over the ski slopes. For a complete event schedule you can click on either the Mountainor Highlands. Boyne’s 6-for-1 Day, six people can ski or ride at either resort for the price of one. It takes place Friday, Dec. 16, and celebrates North America’s first six-seat, high speed lift installed at Boyne Mountain in 1991.
Crystal Mountain will be celebrating holiday week Dec. 16 through Jan. 7, 2017. In honor of the resort’s 60th anniversary on Friday, Dec. 16 its 6-for $60 when six people can ski or ride for $60. Planned activities will be taking place every day—fat bike tours, snowshoe tours, horse drawn surrey rides—with dinners, live entertainment and New Year’s Eve celebrations. On Christmas Eve, Dec. 24, ski with Santa that afternoon.
Treetops Resort has family activities slated all day for Dec. 30, and three different New Year’s Eve dinners and celebrations; a family party, dance party and kid’s party. Overnight rates, including lodging, lift and breakfast voucher, start from $64 midweek and $80 on weekends in limited quantity.
It's party time on the shores of Lake Tahoe at Heavenly Valley on New Year's Eve. (TahoeSouth/Facebook)
The annual celebration of the new year at a ski and snowboard resort signals that the season is in full swing – and looking forward to tons of snow in the coming months.
Mountain resorts traditionally feature torchlight parades, fireworks, festive food and hearty drink on the evening of Dec. 31. Many add twists to the holiday activities – for kids, VIPs and just regular folk.
Here’s a preview of some of what will be happening in the across the country as 2016 turns into 2017 up in the hills:
South Lake Tahoe shuts down Main Street for Heavenly Valley visitors to party with music, food and drink before famed Gondola Ball Drop (ala Times Square) to signal in new year.
Crystal Mountain lays out buffet and prix fixe dinners, separate parties for teens and adults, and torchlight ski and ride down the Cheers trail for 16 years or older.
Grand Targhee gets going early with glowstick parade for 5-14 year olds with basic turning and stopping skills. Adults parade at 5:45 p.m. with roadside flares (wear an old parka), and then fireworks.
Breckenridge starts out with a glowworm parade on the slopes for the kids, then an adult version later. Many hike up Boreas Pass for best view of nighttime fireworks.
Sunday River features evening ride up Chondola for fancy meal at mid-mountain Peak Lodge. Back at base, the music is nonstop until midnight.
Stowe goes all day on Dec. 31 with face-painting, handbell concert, champagne tasting and free s’more before torchlight parade and fireworks cap off the year.
Sugarbush honors a human’s best friend with annual Dog Parade in the afternoon at base of Lincoln Peak, followed by the usual evening festivities.