On-mountain eating welcomes Taco Beast mobile taco truck. (Steamboat/Facebook)
Ever got a sudden hunger pang while skiing or riding, but the snow was too good to waste time in the cafeteria line? Or you are far from the nearest on-mountain eatery?
More carving at Winter Park with new gondola. (Winter Park/Facebook)
Winter Park Resort has announced that it will replace the mountain’s workhorse Zephyr Express chairlift with a gondola – a move aimed to upgrade the mountain’s infrastructure and to shorten weekend and holiday lines.
Copper to cut season pass price for next season. (Copper Mountain/Facebook)
The season pass battles are officially on for 2018-2019, and Copper Mountain has fired its salvo with an early-season pass priced about 25 percent lower than this season's top price.
Going into the backcountry appeals to many. (Snowmass/Facebook)
Recent efforts by ski and snowboard resorts and towns to penalize those who go illegally under the ropes reached fruition when Snowmass issued fines to four skiers who went into a closed area.
Deer Valley is Alterra Mountain Company's Utah destination. (Alterra Mountain Company)
The joint venture of affiliates of KSL Capital Partners and Henry Crown and Company that brought together Intrawest Resorts holdings, Mammoth Mountain, Deer Valley and Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, now has a name: Alterra Mountain Company.
Never too far from the forest at Taos. (Taos Ski Valley/Facebook)
Few things bring skiers and riders closer to the mountain than getting off the piste and into the forest.
Tetons loom over Jackson Hole airport. (Jackson Hole Airport/Facebook)
Vacationing skiers and snowboarders can be an anxious lot. They want to get the most runs possible in the time they have, so getting out of the airport quickly and onto the slopes as soon as possible is paramount.
The liftee needs a place to live, too. (Vail Careers/Facebook)
So you want to be a ski bum? Get a job at a resort, find a place to live, and get a pass for free. All sounds cool -- except for the “cost of living” thing.
Ready to go after landing in Aspen. (Aspen-Pitkin County Airport/Facebook)
This season, it will be easier than ever to hop on a plane and head for where the powder is freshest in Colorado.
Sun Valley set to go with early discounts. (Sun Valley/Facebook)
Once the snow begins to fly, skiers and riders make plans to get up into the hills as soon as possible – and stay there as long as possible. As a result, many Rocky Mountain resorts lay out early season ticket and lodging deals.
Tremblant has new owner. (Tremblant/Facebook)
Consolidation in the winter resort industry continues as a partnership between a newly formed entity in Aspen and a private equity firm announced the pending purchase of Intrawest and its six ski and snowboard resorts.
Included in the deal, which is expected to be closed by next fall, are Steamboat, Winter Park, Snowshoe, Stratton, Mont Tremblant and Blue Mountain. They will join with Squaw Valley-Alpine Meadows, a property of partner KSL Capital Partnership, under the new corporate entity. Aspen SkiCo's Aspen Mountain, Snowmass, Buttermilk and Aspen Highlands are not in the deal and will continue to operate independently.
Season tickets purchased for 2017-2018 at each resort will be honored, and the benefits of multi-resort passes Rocky Mountain Super Pass, the M.A.X. Pass and Mountain Collective will also continue through next season, according to a press release. No information has been given yet about consolidation of ticketing.
Skiers and snowboarders shouldn’t expect to see any major changes at any of the resorts this next season, as the deal won’t be signed and sealed until the third quarter of 2017. However, statements from Aspen Skiing Corp. and KSL Capital Partners indicate that the new corporation is ready to “help realize the collective potential of Intrawest’s portfolio of resorts.”
The deal comes as the latest in a trend toward consolidation in the ski and snowboard business. Vail Resorts expanded into the Eastern market with the recent purchase of Stowe, giving it a across-the-nation portfolio of resorts. Others owning multiple resorts include Boyne USA, Peak Resorts and Powdr Corp.
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.
Often teams have to go deep into the wilderness for backcountry rescues. (Mountain Rescue Aspen/Facebook)
Steamboat is believed to be the first resort to officially say it may impose a fine on skiers or snowboarders who venture beyond the ropes and subsequently need to be rescued by Steamboat ski patrollers.
The proposed fine, which is now delineated on trail maps and on-mountain signs, is aimed at keeping inexperienced skiers and riders out of the backcountry. The fine could be as high as $500, although Steamboat officials say it may not apply to every case – and none has been assessed so far.
“If you don’t know, don’t go” is the mantra issued by the Steamboat Ski Patrol that has already had to pull people out of dangerous situations in the backcountry this season.
“(The situations) vary from ski area by ski area because some have much greater backcountry access than others, but where this is an issue it’s becoming a bigger and bigger one by the year,” Colorado Ski Country USA’s Chris Linsmayer told SnoCountry.com. “It’s an ongoing discussion within the industry and the rescues do really put strain on a ski areas who have to divert important resources and ski patrol staff to conduct them.”
Across the West, the vast majority of ski resorts primarily sit on federal land. Public access can be limited to an access gate or as to mode of travel (i.e., ATVs). But it cannot be denied under normal conditions.
Backcountry numbers have exploded in the West. Steamboat officials say as many as 500 people might go through access gates in a day. Anyone who’s gone to resorts in the Wasatch Mountains outside of Salt Lake City knows this, too.
A few resorts have tried to bill rescues, but resort officials have found that the threat of having to pay sometimes makes people reticent to call in an emergency or even to refuse help when it arrives. Colorado state law forbids formal search-and-rescue teams from charging.
If big snow falls early, pay less to ski more powder at Crystal Mountain. (Crystal Mountain/Facebook)
This is what we do in anticipation of another ski and snowboard day: Think snow, check web cams, pray for cold – and lock in a couple of early-season discount tickets.
Most resorts drop ticket prices before the holidays to entice us into the high country as soon as possible. Savings also can be had by ordering online, buying in groups, and going midweek.
Here’s SnoCountry’s sampling of early ticket deals around the country:
Crystal Mountain. Limited number of five-pack of adult tickets available on first-come, first-served basis at Washington mountain. Cost is $335 for 10 percent savings.
Sundance. Utah resort sells limited number of day tickets 40-60 percent off on a revolving basis. For example, Dec. 9 ticket costs $30.99 – more than half off.
Mammoth Mountain. Ski opening day at Cali resort for $50, online only. Includes free coffee and cocoa to stay warm till lift opens at 8:30 a.m.
Snow Summit. Opening day at SoCal mountain is $41; stay another day and get two days for $69. Must buy online at least 72 hours in advance.
Steamboat. Through Dec. 18, three days of skiing and riding costs $169 with Boat Launch Pass, plus 20 percent off mountain lodging.
Aspen/Snowmass. Book at least two nights before Dec. 18 and get 40 percent off lift tickets at any SkiCo mountain. Book three nights at Little Nell Hotel before Dec. 18 and get two lift tickets free.
Bromley. Purchase a Sun Mountain Card by Dec. 16 for $69, and get $30 off full day ticket price all season. Price goes up to $79 after that.
Stratton. Top out at $69 midweek, $89 weekend with bonus day after Jan. 2 for $89 with X2 Card.
Waiter at The Farm in Park City serves up plates from fresh, local produce (The Farm/Facebook)
The idea that local restaurants can hook up with nearby farms, ranches and food producers to create truly sustainable, “local” cuisine has caught fire not only in towns around the country, but also at ski and snowboard resorts.
Nowadays, it’s a common sight to see a chef checking out the veggies or baked bread at a local farmers market -- or on the organic produce aisle at the neighborhood grocery store – to stock up for the day’s menu.
More and more, they come from the fine dining rooms at mountain resorts. Here’s SnoCountry’s sampling of where to eat fresh at ski and snowboard resorts this season:
Canyons. Located right on the Ski Beach at the base of the Park City, Utah, resort, The Farm Restaurant lives up to its name by sourcing ingredients from local farms, cattle ranches and vineyards. A regularly revolving menu coincides with seasonally available foods. Taste treat: Utah corn soup.
Mount Snow. Harriman’s sits just up from the main base of the southern Vermont area. It combines classicly trained chefs with fresh food grown, raised and produced at 20 farms in the Green Mountain state. Taste treat: Aged cheddar from Jasper Hill Farms.
Stowe. In the heart of the base area, Solstice serves artisan-inspired plates inside Stowe Mountain Lodge, relying upon a partnership with farmers, cheesemakers and producers from the northern Vermont region for the freshest ingredients. Taste treat: Angus braised short ribs with Cabot Creamery grits.
Steamboat. Unbuckle your boots and stride into the Truffle Pig for apres-ski snacks, dinners and to-die-for desserts. Ingredients from pastures and gardens of northern Colorado valley inspire truly local menu. Taste treat: Truffle pig fries.
Fly through the sky at Seven Springs for Labor Day fun (Seven Springs/Facebook)
The end of the summer is unofficially marked by the Labor Day weekend (Sept. 2-5), and then the long, long wait for ski and snowboard season to begin.
So before the waiting begins, get a whiff of the high-mountain air and winds in the pines by checking out the holiday festivities at resorts all around the country.
Spend a day horseback riding through some of the most beautiful landscapes Wyoming has to offer.(Jackson Hole Central Reservations)
Our wheels often take us on adrenaline-fueled trips through the forests, but sometimes it’s worth it to explore new terrain on a different mode of transportation, one that allows us to slow down and appreciate mountain wildflowers and stunning vistas. Let an experienced guide at a mountain resort share with you the opportunity to see a favorite mountain resort by horseback.
Whether you are a full-fledged foodie or an emerging gourmand, you are sure to find more than one event to whet your appetite at the Steamboat Wine Festival. (Steamboat Wine Festival)
Sampling wines and local food are just the beginning of the activities you’ll discover at wine festivals at mountain resorts across the country this summer. Find extraordinary wining and dining in gorgeous mountain settings.
Ski and snowboard instructors at Beaver Creek are set to schedule a vote on unionizing, after garnering the requisite number of signatures for an election.