Strap In For High-Wire Thrills On Ziplines in the West

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At least a dozen ski and snowboard resorts in six states in the West have strung ziplines at or near the mountain to augment their offerings during the summer months.

In New Mexico, Angel Fire put its zipline network at the summit, with broad views of Sangre de Cristo Range. Guide-required for four-zip tour with six people max. Tours run every hour until 1 p.m, Friday-Monday.

Neighbor Red Riverloads two-seat Pioneer Flyer for backwards pull up to 600 feet elevation. A short pause for viewing, and then pairs are released for 35-mph free-ride back down. A shorter zip ride is incorporated into Hidden Treasure Aerial Park.

A couple of Colorado mountain resorts have ziplines at the mountain. Vail's on-mountain Epic Discovery Park incorporates a kids-only zipline -- about 10 feet in the air -- among its adventure package.

Purgatory has strung a pair of short, parallel ziplines that load on a condo deck and run over the base village center. Not long, the Plunge runs on weekends and can reach 35 mph.

Utah is home to one of the world's highest and longest ziplines, at Sundance Mountain Resort. Tucked up above Provo, the Sundance Zip has four spans with side-by-side cables that total two miles in length. And, you drop 2,100 vertical feet with control of speeds up to 65 mph -- with mid-air stops, too.

Above Salt Lake City, zipliners climb a 50-foot tower at the base of Snowbirdand reach 30 mph on side-by-side cables, landing on the deck of the tramway building. The ride is 1,000 feet long on a 15% grade.

Over in Idaho, Zip Tamarackruns four tours a day for a max of eight people, which lasts four hours. Each tour hooks onto eight ziplines with two suspension bridges interspersed -- plus a total of 1.5 miles of downhill hiking between platforms.

In California, Heavenly Mountainhas several ziplines on the hill. The rock-star zip is Blue Streak, one of the longest at 3,300 feet with a 525-foot vertical drop. Speeds reach 50 mph. The nearby Heavenly Flyer also reaches 50 mph as it skims the tree tops on an 80-second ride. And, an introductory ride can be had on the Red Flyer, which goes 100 feet at 15 feet above the ground.

And at Mt. Hood SkiBowl in Oregon, the resort has set up an aerial park the in air above the base area that includes an 800-foot long zipline. It's open Thursday to Sunday.

Many other resorts in the West sit near independent zipline operations, like Ski Cooper, Palisades Tahoe and Big Bear.

 

 

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Get Up And Out There: Mountain Biking In New Mexico's Mountains

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Summertime mountain biking has taken hold at most ski and snowboard resorts in the West, including a trio of northern New Mexico mountains whose MTB trail maps cover more than 100 miles in riding routes.

At all these resorts, base elevations are 8,000 feet or more above sea level. Flatlanders should allow a day or so to get acclimated before taking on strenuous rides. Drink plenty of water and carry more with you. Thunderstorms regulary roll through the southern Sangre de Cristos, so pack rain gear and warm clothing.

At Angel Fire, mountain biking has put down deep roots. Host to pro MTB competitions in the past, the resort has built an enviable bike park. A web of trails feeds off of the high-speed Chili Express, and the park's 60-mile trail systems consumes most of the front side of the mountain. Plenty of downhill for freeride and technical MTB-ers -- 2,000 vertical drop -- and miles of easy beginner routes, too.

The northern New Mexico resort boasts a base skills park, a dual slalom course, a long uphill-only trail and upper mountain hiking offshoot. Resort quote: " ... the best skinnies, jump lines, manicured flow and super chunk trails the United States has to offer."

Over the ridge, Taos Ski Valley is in the nascent stages of bike-park bulding. The resort has carved out its MTB trail system on its backside. Lift 4 out of the Phoenix base delivers riders to the head of Kachina Basin, right below 12,481-foot Kachina Peak.

Once there, two choices await: a 4-mile green run that winds back and forth down the hill, and a 1.5-mile blue run that is more directly downhill. On the front side there area a couple of beginner flows and steep-steeps, but no lift access this summer.

Down the Rio Grande, Pajarito Mountain spreads across 280 acres below a ridge above Los Alamos. Volunteer-built and raw in nature, the Pajarito Bike Park begins on the Aspen and Mother chairlifts that run up the middle of the trail map. Topping out at more than 10,000 feet, some 48 trails total 39 miles in length, and tend toward the higher skill levels on both downhill and technical routes.

The lifts run on Saturdays and Sundays only, and tickets must be bought at the hill. The park is part of the Mountain Bike Power Pass system that includes all-summer season access to Brian Head in southern Utah, Purgatory in southwest Colorado, and Spider Mountain Bike Park in Austin, Texas.

 

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Two-Day Mountain Collective Pass Returns With Western Flavor

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With prices for 2022-23 comparable to recent seasons, the two-days-each Mountain Collective ski and snowboard pass returns with a shuffled resort lineup that includes two big mountains in the West coming back to the fold.

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Southwest's Power Pass Embraces Choices; Purg OK'd For Expansion

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The Southwest Rockies' multi-mountain ski and snowboard season pass is on sale, as the Power Pass focuses on its seven winter resorts -- and a year-round mountain biking destination in Texas.

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SnoCast: New Year, New Snow. Bring It!

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As we close the book on 2021, we’ll get off to a busy snow start for the new year. A storm treks from coast to coast delivering new snow from the Southwest to Quebec. Details in this week’s SnoCast.

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7 Ways Your Ski Season Is About To Get Better

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All across the country, resorts have been working hard to bolster their offerings and to fix systemic issues, from addressing long lift lines and the mountain-town housing shortage to investing in renewable energy. With the proper precautions, there are more reasons than ever to hit the slopes this season.

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Power Pass 7-Pack All Spruced-Up For The Season

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New trails, new lodging, and plenty of on-mountain upgrades mark the start of the 2021-22 ski and snowboard season for the seven resorts on the Power Pass.

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Resorts To Loosen Covid Restrictions

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Last season, Covid gave a jolt to the time-honored habits of skiers and riders, but the 2021-2022 season promises to be a bit less restrictive -- with exceptions.

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Electric MTBs Take On The Mountains In The West

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It's been almost a decade since electric-assisted e-bikes hit the streets and bike paths of the urban West, and now they are gaining acceptance as a summer option at ski and snowboard mountain resorts.

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Powder Days All Around! Massive Storms Roll Across The West

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In the waning days of January, Mother Nature got to work -- dropping her glorious bounty upon the mountains of the West, and finally giving skiers and snowboarders the deep powder they've been waiting for.

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Skiers Want To Ski, And Ski Resorts Are Obliging

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Prior to the start of this year’s ski season, which began for many resorts in early December, questions lingered throughout the ski industry concerning just how many people would come to the slopes considering the current environment. From all reports, those questions have been answered emphatically. People want to ski, and they have been packing the resorts while at the same time adhering to strict social distancing guidelines.

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Hidden Gems for Nordic Skiers

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With a torrent of people hitting the trails and the outdoors across the country, XCSkiResorts.com wanted to give a shout out to hidden gem destinations for cross country (XC) skiing this winter. There may very well be an overflow of skiers at the most popular XC ski trails, so this guide will share some of the lesser-known but excellent destinations.

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New Lift Highlights What's New At Power Pass Resorts

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The network of Mountain Southwest resorts under the Power Pass season ticket continues to grow, and ownership has built a reputation for putting out money for upgrades.

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Northern New Mexico Resorts Ready For Season Of Limits

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Snow guns are ready, chairlift inspected, and snowcats ready to go as the New Mexico 2020-2021 ski and snowboard season begins to open in late November.

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The 10 Best Ski Area Mascots, Ranked

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We’re not here to split hairs about chair placements and tap choices. The selection of a mascot is the single most important choice a ski area can make. Some say a good pick can make or break a resort. To that end, we’ve created a list of the very best ski area mascots and ranked them. If you didn’t make the cut, sorry—this list is extremely selective. Ivy League who?

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Ikon, Western Resorts Extend Preseason Pass Deals

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The effect of the coronavirus has rippled across the U.S., and the domestic ski and snowboard industry is no exception.

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Taos: Shared Table

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It’s no surprise that community is at the heart of everything we do at Taos Ski Valley. As the first certified B Corp ski resort, we are constantly looking for ways to improve and give back to those that help define who we are. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the world in ways that were unimaginable only a month ago. Yes, ending the season early means less days on snow, but also lost wages for our staff and the employees of many local businesses in our tight-knit town. Once the decision to close the resort was made, our Food and Beverage team quickly realized we had a surplus of incredible food that would no longer be needed on the mountain and would be put to great use distributed to those in need in Taos.  Chris Goss, Director of Food and Beverage, explained: “We feed hundreds of skiers up on the mountain every day with these same ingredients, yet being able to donate this quantity of quality food to feed our own community at a time like this feels much more impactful. We are grateful to help in this small way.”

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Powder Alliance Set For 2020-2021 Season

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From this year's truncated season, on we go to the hopes and slopes of 2020-2021, where one of the most enduring multi-resort programs awaits -- with some streamlining.

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Insider Guide: Taos Ski Valley

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Taos Ski Valley is a skier's mountain. Not for the faint of heart. It can match steeps with any in the Rockies. And, if storms course far enough south, it's a dry powder snow-pocket nonpareil. Six years of new ownership has smartly overhauled the lifts and base areas of this venerable original-family resort, including high-end hotel The Blake and chairlift to the top of Kachina Peak.

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Eat Your Way to Fitness at these Cross Country Ski and Snowshoe Food Events

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Want a guilt-free way to indulge yourself with food while exercising? Cross country (XC) skiing and snowshoeing are some of the best forms of aerobic exercise, but if you go on a "Gourmet Ski Tour" on your XC skis or snowshoes, you may very well eat your way to fitness at a number of trailside food stops. What a grand time so go ahead, eat, ski, and be merry - appetizers, wine, champagne, fondue, entrees, desserts, and more.

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