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The latest news, deals, and events from ski resorts throughout North America.

The Mountains Shape Colorado Golf Courses

Keystone-Golf

Fourteeners loom over Keystone golfers (Keystone/Facebook) 

The golf season at Colorado winter resorts may be truncated but, while they are open, the courses reflect the mountains amidst they sit.

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Vail Resorts Commits To Zero Net Operating Footprint By 2030

Northstar-Vail-Resorts

Vail Resorts is working to keep Northstar snowy. (Vail Resorts/Facebook)

Vail Resorts will aggressively pursue a comprehensive sustainability commitment, called “Epic Promise for a Zero Footprint.” This undertaking commits to zero net emissions by 2030, zero waste to landfill by 2030 and zero net operating impact to forests and habitat.
 


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SnoCountry SnoCast: A Battle of Seasons In The Forecast

SnoCountry SnoCast: A Battle of Seasons In The Forecast

Sugarloaf Mountain in Maine is loving this Spring so far with a fresh 5-10" of snow from Tuesday-Wednesday this past week. A good base depth is essential to keep the lifts turning into this second week of April (Sugarloaf/Twitter)

Spring keeps on springing surprises at us! In this week’s SnoCast, Old Man Winter makes a return to western US, while Mother Nature insists Spring is on the way in the east.

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Purgatory Debuts Lift, Extends With Taos, Pajarito, Sierra-at-Tahoe

Purgatory Debuts Lift, Extends With Taos, Pajarito, Sierra-at-Tahoe

Spring jumpin' at Sierra-at-Tahoe (Sierra-at-Tahoe/Facebook)

With plenty of snow still on the ground, a growing number of resorts across the West are going to keep the lifts turning longer than scheduled.


In New Mexico, Taos Ski Valley announced it will extend its season an extra week to Sunday, April 9 – although it will closed April 3 for it annual employee day. Three lifts will be running that extra week, but the beginner lifts will be turned off.

In Los Alamos, Pajarito Mountain officials decided to keep things going a week longer to March 26 – and then on weekends if conditions permit.
A few more turns at Purgatory.

To the north, Purgatory will cease daily operations as scheduled on April 2, but will reopen on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through the end of the month.

Also at the southwest Colorado resort, there’s a new surface, “transfer” lift open now to eliminate a long, flat traverse for skiers and snowboarders to the Legends Express on the mountain’s backside. Lift 11 can be picked up at the bottom of Dirty Secret, Siegele Street and Bottom’s Chute and shuttled back to the high-speed quad.

“The new lift provides easier access from advanced and expert trails to the newest high-speed quad,” said Purgatory’s Ed Youmans.
More pow at Sierra-at-Tahoe.

There’ll be another week of skiing and riding at Sierra-at-Tahoe, which announced it will stay open until April 24 – also Customer Appreciation Day. The Tahoe-area mountain has seen more than 500 inches fall from the sky this season, a “season for the books,” is how GM John Rice characterized the season.

Same at Keystone and Schweitzer, where mountain managers have decided to add another week to April 16.

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Stay In Winter Mode With Resort Ice Skating

Stay In Winter Mode With Resort Ice Skating

Skate with the stars at Sun Valley (Sun Valley/Facebook)

Downhill skiing and ice skating have been linked closely during the cold winter months, and a number of winter resorts around the country link with outdoor ice rinks.


Most stay open into the evenings, and typically charge a fee for a couple of hours of skating, offer skate rentals that are sometime free if you’re staying at the resort, and have food and drink nearby.

SnoCountry.com took a look around the country, and came up with some ice rinks of note for some skating enjoyment:

Squaw Valley ice skating

Squaw Valley. You have to take an 8-minute cable car ride to 8,200-foot High Camp to reach a 100x200 foot rink, with Olympic Museum and mind-blowing views of the Sierra and Lake Tahoe. Cost includes tram ride.

Sun Valley. Outdoor rink next to Sun Valley Lodge in main village, the 77-year-old sheet hosts popular Sun Valley Ice Shows. Individual or group lessons available, and world-class skaters often stop by for practice and autographs.

Keystone ice skating

Keystone. Colorado resort has two skating venues: A five-acre lake in the heart of the resort’s village with Zambonis putting down new surface; and, the more traditional Dercum Square Ice Rink near the base of the ski and snowboard mountain.

Guidant John Rose Oval

Guidant John Rose Oval. While not at a resort, this 110,000 square-foot sheet in Roseville, Minn., is close enough for skiers and snowboarders from nearby Afton Alps, Hyland Hills and Buck Hill to stop by apres-ski. Rink has hosted U.S. and international speedskating competitions.

Liberty Mountain. The Pennsylvania resort opened a new skating pond this season, located in the newly renovated pedestrian core of the base area and open daily till 10 p.m. Courtyard Pond has seating for viewers.

Whiteface skating

Whiteface. Take a turn on the same ice as Olympic champ Sonja Henie, and where annual Stars on Ice Tour features top skaters. The Speed Skating Oval has skate rentals and a fir pit in the middle. Or glide onto Mirror Lake for some old-fashioned pond hockey.


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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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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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Old Man Winter Is Late To The Party … Again

Old Man Winter Is Late To The Party … Again

Snowmaking is underway at Colorado's Winter Park Resort, which is planning a Nov. 23rd opening. (Photo: Winter Park Resort)

Old Man Winter is still wearing flip flops as Indian Summer has segued into a beautiful Indian Fall throughout much of North America - except Canada's Whistler Blackcomb, which is sitting on more than 50 inches of snow.

 

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Six Colorado Cross Country Ski Areas - One Pass

Six Colorado Cross Country Ski Areas - One Pass

Devil's Thumb Ranch Resort scenery. (Devil's Thumb Ranch)

The Colorado Cross Country Ski Association (CCCSA) is making exploration easier with a multi-ski resort pass good at six of the Nordic ski areas in the state. The CCCSA 2016-17 Punch Pass is on sale now for $99 and it allows purchasers to discover the snow on Nordic trails at six different resorts.

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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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A Few Resorts Charge Nothing For Scenic Summer Lift Rides

A Few Resorts Charge Nothing For Scenic Summer Lift Rides

Free rides all the time at Bretton Woods (Bretton Woods/Facebook)

A ride up a ski lift in the offseason both gives a different perspective on a favorite mountain and gets the juices flowing for the upcoming skiing and snowboarding season.

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More Resorts, More Terrain Open In California, Colorado

Wolf CreekThe first storm cycle of the season has brought much-need precipitation to California and the Pacific Northwest, and enough snow to open a few more resorts, and expanded terrain offerings in Colorado.

 

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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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Colorado Resorts Upgrade Lodges, On-Mountain Eateries

Colorado eateries upgradesNew lifts and trails often get the headlines during the off-season, but much of this summer’s work in Colorado centers around lodges, base facilities and restaurants.

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Vail Adds Real Time Liftliine Waits To EpicMix App

Vail EpicMix logoVail Resorts has announced EpicMixTime, an expansion of its ski and snowboard app, EpicMix, which will allow guests at Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone to access real-time lift line wait times enabling them to better navigate the mountain and make the most out of their ski and ride experience. 

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Vail Resorts Launches Free Skiing, Riding For K-5 Colorado School Kids

Epic School KidsVail Resorts will offer all Colorado kindergarten through fifth graders 16 days of free skiing - four days each at Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, and Keystone for the remainder of the current 14-15 season and beyond.

 

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Colorado Resorts Target Kids To Keep ‘Em Coming; 'Make It Effortless'

Winter Park targets kidsQuite clearly, the future of the ski and snowboard industry will rely upon a younger generation that wants to get onto the slopes and trails at a winter resort.

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Keystone Mountain Experience Means Discounts, Free Clinics For Newbies; First Is Dec. 13-14

Keystone ExperienceColorado’s population keeps growing, so newcomers to the Colorado mountains can get a two-weekend primer in what skiing and snowboarding in the Rockies is all about from Keystone Resort.

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