Colorado Mountain Resorts Gear Up For Summer

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Colorado ski and snowboard resorts took a short break after winter, but they quickly turned their attention to the burgeoning summer season – full of hikes and bikes and thrills of all kinds.

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SnoCountry SnoCast: Season Wanes While Snow Showers Continue

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Snowy and still cold through April 20-21? Absolutely! This colder-than-average weather pattern for much of the East will stay through the weekend (21-22) with a gradual warm-up for the final week of April (24-27). That said, with cold air in place we’ll have a better chance at keeping and getting more snow. 

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SnoCountry SnoCast: Favorable Pattern in the East

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Fresh powder can be found across much of the Northeast. (Stowe Mountain Resort)

The Northeast and Great Lakes regions are settled in a weather pattern that allows for more snowfall and cold temperatures. The West sees some snowfall return and possibly a pattern change.

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Olympic Qualifying Hypes Dew Tour At Breckenridge

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Snowboarder gets the height he needs to win Dew Tour. (Dew Tour/Facebook)

For more than a decade, the Dew Tour has attracted the top freestyle skiers and riders from around the world. This year, it will also be an Olympic qualifying event.

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Unique Ski Hotels Offer More Than Your Standard Night’s Stay

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Looking down the slope at Ponderosa Chalet with Glacier National Park in the background. (Snow Bear Chalets/Facebook)

Part of the fun of planning a winter getaway is finding the perfect spot to rest and relax after a day on the slopes. SnoCountry.com has picked some of our favorite hotels that offer more than your standard night’s stay. 

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Bavaria Comes To Oktoberfests In The West

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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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Wildfire Requires Evacuations Near Breckenridge

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Smoke rises from Peak 2 fire. (9News/Twitter)

An intense but compact wildfire between the Colorado towns of Breckenridge and Frisco has forced fire officials to clear people out of the Peak 7 resort area.

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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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Keystone, Breckenridge, Vail Chairlifts To Upgrade

Keystone, Breckenridge, Vail Chairlifts To Upgrade

More seats on chairs at Breckenridge, Keystone and Vail next season. (Breckenridge/Facebook)

Skiers and snowboarders will get their final rides up a trio of venerable chairlifts this season before upgrades commence at Keystone, Breckenridge and Vail.


Vail Resorts, which owns all three Colorado resorts, has plans to replace Keystone’s Montezuma Express, Breckenridge’s Falcon SuperChair on Peak 10 and Vail’s Northwoods Chair to increase capacity and streamline flow in key areas of the mountains.

Each project will be subject to U.S. Forest Service review, but resort officials are confident the new lifts will be up and running by the 2017-2018 season.

At Keystone, the Montezuma Express – installed in 1990 – serves the prime novice and intermediate terrain on the upper front side. The new lift will add two seats to become a six-pack to increase uphill capacity by 25 percent, the resort said.

Keystone skiers

Also at Keystone, Labonte’s Smokehouse BBQ at the base of North Peak will get a facelift over the summer, including more indoor seating to go with the fav “ski beach” outside.

Breckenridge’s Peak 10 has a large portion of the expert terrain on the mountain, and debuted in 1985-86 with the fixed-grip F Lift. A year later, a high-speed quad went in. The newest Falcon SuperChair will be a six-seat high-speed that will bolster uphill capacity and allow snowboarders and skiers more Peak 10 laps each day.

At Vail, the original Northwoods chair went in 1985 to open up intermediate and advanced terrain on Blue Sky Basin on the upper front side. Resort officials noted congestion on the lift, especially for skiers and riders heading over to the back bowls.

New Northwoods lift at Vail aims to ease mid-mountain congestion

“The replacement of Northwoods will impact a key area of the mountain, especially at the end of the day, as guests are leaving Blue Sky Basin and making their way west,” said Vail’s Doug Lovell.


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Resolve To Ring In The New Year At A Mountain Resort

Resolve To Ring In The New Year At A Mountain Resort

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 fireworks

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 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 dog parade

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.



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Snow Comes To The West, Opening Days Abound

Snow Comes To The West, Opening Days Abound

A pair of skiers punctuate the new season at Copper Mountain. (Copper Mountain/Facebook)

Just as doomsayers raised their voices, Mother Nature came to the rescue in the West and turned the conversation to, “When are you opening?”


For many resorts in the Rockies, Sierra and Cascades, the answer is a resounding “soon.” Yes, terrain will be quite limited – often a couple of runs in the beginner/intermediate areas – but many ski and snowboard areas put up cheap ticket deals to get people to the slopes as soon as possible.

Significant snowfall coursed across the northern tier of the Western mountains in the past week, dropping as much as a foot on Steamboat which opens this week. Most Colorado resorts that pushed back their traditional pre-Thanksgiving opening days have put a new date on the calendar. Colorado’s Keystone, Breckenridge, Winter Park and Copper Mountain all dropped the ropes this past week, after a week’s delay. Eldora is set drop the ropes this week.

Farther south, resorts like Purgatory got enough to open while others, like Taos Ski Valley, put it off until snowmaking and natural snowfall will cover more terrain.

Mammoth snowmakers

Out west In SoCal, Mammoth Mountain has been open for a couple of weeks and, in the Sierra, both Boreal and Mount Rose began spinning lifts this past week while a slew of other Tahoe-area resorts plan to open for Thanksgiving.

Early snow has come fitfully to Utah, but Snowbasin plans to lead the pack with a Wednesday (Nov. 23) start, followed by Park City on Friday (Nov. 25). A bunch of Utah’s 15 resorts haven’t announced an opening yet.

Up in the Northwest, Mount Baker expects to win the race this season by kicking off the season on Nov. 23. Others have coverage, but await more.

OpenSnow forecasters see multiple storm systems rolling in off the Pacific in the next couple of weeks, bringing significant snowfall to the mountains and brightening the prospects for early-goers all across the West.


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Breckenridge, Keystone Kick Off Season Friday, Nov. 18

Breckenridge, Keystone Kick Off Season Friday, Nov. 18

Grooming 'cats work hard to get Keystone open. (Keystone/Facebook)

Two more Summit County resorts will crank up for the 2016-2017 this week, with Keystone opening on Friday, Nov. 18, and neighbor Breckenridge following on the next day.

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Loveland, Mammoth Set To Spin Lifts Nov. 10

Loveland, Mammoth Set To Spin Lifts Nov. 10

Loveland's snow guns have been blasting in the last couple of weeks. (Loveland/Facebook)

UPDATED Wednesday, Nov. 9: Loveland Ski Area becomes the second ski and snowboard mountain in the Rockies as the resort is all prepped and ready for opening on Thursday (Nov. 10).

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Keep The High-Speed Thrills Going With Summer Alpine Coasters

Keep The High-Speed Thrills Going With Summer Alpine Coasters

Hit high speeds on alpine coaster at base of Snowbird (Snowbird/Facebook)

Since the mid-1990s, summertime alpine coasters have sprung at winter resorts all over the country. The wind-in-your-face speeds, high-speed turns and mountain vistas mimic the sights and sounds what skiers and snowboarders feel during the snowy times. 

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Summer Mountains Put Fat-Tire Bicyclists To Endurance Tests

Summer Mountains Put Fat-Tire Bicyclists To Endurance Tests

Rider in Big Bear Grizzly 100 gets encouragement from a fan (Big Bear Gran Fondo/Facebook/Pink Shorts Photography)

For those with big lungs, tree-trunk quads and a desire to spend hours on a mountain bike -- or folks who enjoy watching them -- the mountains all across the country are an endurance racer’s heaven.

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Chairlift Upgrade In Vail Bowls, Restaurant At Breckenridge Planned

Breck Peak 8Vail Resorts will continue investing in its portfolio of mountain resorts this summer by installing a high-speed quad chairlift at Vail and building an eating spot at Breckenridge.

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More Resorts, Terrain Open Across The West; Northeast Still High And Dry

Loveland Ski AreaWith up to two feet of new snow this past week, resorts across the west continue to open and expand terrain heading into the weekend.

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Breckenridge Voters OK Lift Ticket Tax For 2016-17; Revenues To Ease Traffic

BreckenridgeFacing up to growing traffic and parking congestion, the electors of the town of Breckenridge overwhelming approved a tax on lift tickets that would go specifically to ease transit issues in the Colorado mountain town.

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Loveland, A-Basin First Out Of Gate As Colorado Resorts Set Opening Dates

Loveland early groomingThe unofficial race to open first in Colorado is over for 2015-2016, with Loveland Ski Basin and Arapahoe Basin both opening for the season on Thursday, October 29.

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Afton Alps, Mt. Brighton Epic Passes Offer Plenty Of Choices

Aston AlpsMinnesota’s Afton Alps and Michigan’s Mr. Brighton are both part of the Epic Pass, which offers unlimited access to all of Vail Resorts western ski areas as well as both Midwest resorts. It offers as much slope time for diehard Heartland skiers and riders as they want.

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