Loveland chairlift ready to be first open. (Loveland/Facebook)
It’s the time of year when the first snow hits the high ridges, the ski shows debut – and resorts begin to announce the day that the new ski and snowboard season will arrive.
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.
Mountaintop views of the total solar eclipse. (NASA)
On Aug. 21, the first solar eclipse to cross North America in 38 years will hit the Oregon coast about 9 a.m. PDT, then course over the mountains of Idaho and Wyoming before hitting the Midwest and finishing up across the North Carolina high country.
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.
Just off the Blue Ridge Parkway, Wintergreen trails offer stunning vistas. (Wintergreen)
We all know the mountains are the place for stunning beauty in the summer. The best way to discover this beauty is to get out and hike the miles of trails to be found at your favorite resort. Grab your pack and explore one of SnoCountry’s favorite hiking trails.
Bring your lawn chairs and blankets as Sundance invites talented local bands and artists to mingle their music with the mountain air. (Sundance/Facebook)
This summer, the hills are alive with the sound of music – pop, rock, jazz and much more – as resorts all over the country crank up the volume.
Summer 2016 brings new trails and a third lift to the Ramshead mountain area at Killington, scheduled to open by late July. (Chandler Burgess/Killington Resort)
At nearly 100 ski and snowboard resorts across America, the ski lifts provide access for a burgeoning number of mountain bikers who seek the same thrills as downhill skiers and riders: turbo-charged straightaways, high-speed turns and plenty of air.
The 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.
Resorts in the West believe skiers and snowboarders should be able to enjoy the inherent excitement, exhilaration and thrills on the slopes – and feel safe while doing them.For nearly two decades, the National Ski Areas Association has designated January as the time to focus on how to activity on the slopes and trails safer for everyone. And, in the past several seasons, the issue has been in the spotlight with high-profile accidents and lawsuits.
It's not the Polar Vortex, it's winter! And it has arrived across North America as ski resorts from coast-to-coast are turning on snowmaking and spinning the lifts.
Some of the best skiing in the U.S. is found in some of the least discovered locations, according to Travel Blue Book co-founder Greg Johnson, and the Heartland’s Lutsen Mountains is on that list.
Idaho is known for its wild and powdery backcountry that can be reached slowly on foot, or for those less patient, by snowcat at seven locations and helicopter at one.
The first major snowstorm of the season sent ski racers packing, and powder hounds reaching for fat skis.
“It’s the first powder storm of the season, and the crowd is going wild,” said Emily Moench, communications manager for Snowbird on Wednesday morning. “Powder hounds are chomping at the bit.”
Many season passes add extra value through discounted rentals, food, ski shop apparel, and other perks, but several Heartland season passes also include alliances with western and eastern ski resorts. Check them out. There are some good benefits if you’re planning a ski vacation outside the Midwest this winter.
Father’s Day is Sunday, June 16. Let him know he’s appreciated by celebrating his day at a ski resort. Here’s a sampling of how resorts can make it fun and easy.
Springtime is music time in the mountains and from coast to coast, resorts are rocking in the festive vibe with sunshine, soft snow, warm temperatures, live on-snow concerts, events and festivals.