64 oz. Gnar Burger at Squaw (Rocker@Squaw/Facebook)
Few foods capture the spirit of skiing and snowboarding as much as the venerable hamburgers, and resorts town eateries tout all manner of this longtime mountain favorite.
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. 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. 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. 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. 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.
This rendering shows what the base area will look like after redevelopment (Squaw Valley Tomorrow)
Squaw Valley officials say completion of final design and plans for the multi-decade project can get underway after Placer County approval of its ambitious development plans for the base area.
The project at the Lake Tahoe resort reflects a trend among Western resorts to upgrade into order to keep up with their international and domestic competitors. Officials recognize that the pre-eminence of Squaw Valley in the 1960s and 1980s has waned, due greatly to the lack of concerted updating and reinivigorating the property.
About 90 percent of the project lies on existing parking lots, according to resort officials, and calls for an overhaul of existing retail outlets, and construction of about 1,500 new beds in some 750 lodging units. The initial work on the project would include ski in/ski out lodging, fractional cabins on the west side of the base area, and the Mountain Adventure Camp – a 90,000 square foot rec center that sits partially on the previous center’s footprint.
The timeline for completion of the $1 billion project extends out as far as 25 years, and initial work won’t begin until planning approvals can be secured for each portion of the development.
“Each lot that is to be developed will be subject to a similar public review and approval process that includes opportunity for community input, so nothing is immediately going to start in the way of construction,” Squaw’s Jess VanPernis Weaver told SnoCountry.com, noting that actual construction may not begin for a couple of years.
The project sits on 22 parcels owned by KSL Capital Partners, which bought the resort in 2010 from closely held interests that stretch back to the 1949 opening of the mountain. Recently, Squaw Valley and neighboring Alpine Meadows joined forces.
Opening day for the 2016-2017 season is slated for Nov. 23, weather permitting.
A 2.3kW solar installation at Aspen Highlands ski patrol headquarters. (Aspen Skiing Company)
During the past couple of decades, a majority American ski and snowboard resorts have come to embrace that climate change is a reality – and a threat to their futures.
Evidence of resorts engaging the principles and practices that reduce fossil fuel use and carbon footprint can be found at many venues and in many ways. Low-energy snowmaking is spreading, as is on-mountain recycling, car pooling priority parking and biofuel use.
Here’s SnoCountry’s sampling of some of the green projects at U.S. resorts:
Sugarloaf. The northern Maine resort has gone all in to reduce its footprint, including revegetation to reduce erosion and composting at area restaurants that produces “black gold” soil used on the Sugarloaf Golf Course.
Cranmore. New Hampshire resort added its first electric/diesel groomer snowcat to supplement a fleet that has been burning biodiesel for a decade. New condo project will heat and cool with efficient electric pump systems.
Crystal Mountain. The Michigan resort got recognition for carbon-reducing LED lighting in parking lots, and its high-speed Crystal Clipper chair that runs solely on wind power credits.
Stevens Pass. All the lift cables at the Washington mountain are lubricated by non-petroleum castor oil, and management actively seeks out “green” vendors for its food and beverage services. Snowmobiles burn low-sulfur diesel, and operate as much as possible during off-hours.
Squaw Valley. Can’t buy bottled water at the California resort; instead, you can fill up water bottles at refill stations for free.
Aspen-Snowmass. The Colorado resort complex chose a political route in addition to e-efforts. Partnering with Protect Our Winters, all employees wear the organization’s patch, and resort officials lobby hard for local, regional and national climate change awareness and action.
The National Ski Areas Association lists 200 U.S. resorts that have signed on to its Sustainable Slopes program – and more than a dozen have received money for “green” projects through the program.
Snowbird tram glides above the Utah resort. (Snowbird/Facebook)
At U.S. ski and snowboard resorts, nearly a dozen aerial tramways keep running during the summer, ascending to high-mountain perches where the views are unparalleled.
Find waterfalls and maybe some wildlife on your way to Shirley Lake at Squaw Valley. (Squaw Valley)
The dog days of summer are upon us, and that means it’s time to find some relief from the heat in the cool, clear water of a mountain swimming hole. There’s something about that first jump in to a natural stream or lake that makes you feel like a kid again.
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.
We all know that “summer” and “California” are inexorably linked, but it’s not just beaches and surf at ski and snowboard resorts up in the mountains.
Buoyed by talk of El Niño and eternal optimism, the 14 alpine resorts around Lake Tahoe can’t wait to drop the ropes on the 2015-16 season.
Big air snowboarding and an alpine team event were approved the International Olympic Committee (IOC) this week as new event inclusions for the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea. The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association had been among nations lobbying for inclusion of big air. U.S. World Cup stops were released by the F.I.S. as well.
Squaw Valley Ski Holdings, LLC announced it has reached an agreement with the owner of private land located between Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows to create a base-to-base gondola connection between the two mountains.
Four feet at Mt. Rose, two feet at Squaw Valley, 19 inches at Northstar – winter returned to the Tahoe area with a vengeance this past week. But, California and across the West will see things quieting down and warming up for much of Presidents' Week.
Despite 6,000-plus acres of skiing and riding already at Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows, the giant Lake Tahoe, Calif. sister resorts have tweaked their trail maps to give visitors even more options.
It’s the first time a world Cup has been staged at Squaw Valley, Calif. since 1969, but the International Ski Federation has chosen the California High Sierra resort for an Audi FIS Skicross world Cup and FIS Snowboard World Cup March 4-8, 2015.
School’s out and the cool mountains present an even cooler line-up of summer activities that can make a hero out of parents and grandparents, aunts and uncles. Just take those active youngsters and teens on a mountain resort vacation and you’ll be amazed at the things you can do together to have fun.
The 2014 Wanderlust Festivals will run from Vermont to Colorado to California in the U.S., and Canada’s Whistler and Tremblant.
Snow has receded to all but the highest ridges around Lake Tahoe, signaling the start of a busy summer season in the northern California mountains.
It was a good season at Crested Butte Mountain Resort. So good, that its not over yet!