As summer draws to a close, Vermont ski areas are broadcasting high expectations for opening this winter.
With about a foot of snow expected in some parts of Vermont heading into the weekend, ski resorts and lodges are gearing up for some prime riding conditions.
We’re turning into mid-January with a busy and changeable weather pattern across North America. Two fast-moving (albeit mild) storms graze the East, while cold and snowy conditions persist for the West.
Most resorts have a bunch of bars to choose from when it comes to apres-ski, but if you want to find the down-home, braggin' rights kind of bar, just follow a local.
Tired of riding the lift? Then find the longest way down the mountain and treat yourself to a break from the bumps and trees and deep pow'. Mostly green, sometimes blue, these runs cool out the day – and they provide some of the best scenic views of the mountain.
Take a look at what SnoCountry found:
The rewards are great for taking the time to get out onto the trails. (Fisher Touring)
One of the greatest challenges for many people who love to cross country (XC) ski regardless of the snow conditions is making time to get out there. Skiers struggle with this, but there are easy ways make time and to be more prepared to enjoy skiing.
Sunrise on Mt. Mansfield from Sterling Pond. (Sunrise Mountain Guides)
Backcountry and sidecountry ski touring are all the rage now, but heading out of bounds without some experience can be at best a frustrating undertaking and at worst a dangerous one. SnoCountry.com has found the prefect combo of ski hotels that not only offer the comforts of a destination resort, but guide service to bring your adventure goals to reality.
The whiskey is lined up in Park City. (High West/Facebook)
Catching a cocktail after a long day on the slopes has been a winter tradition since the beginning and, recently, the distillers are making the good stuff right at the resorts.
Family golf at Stowe. (Stowe)
The kids might be going back to school soon, but there’s still plenty of time to enjoy some great deals at the greens and fairways of the golf courses across Northeast ski resorts.
A green mountain backdrop for Jay Peak's Jeezum Crow Festival. (Jay Peak)
The kids are out of school and it's time to grab your lawn chairs and blankets for some music in the mountains at Vermont ski resorts. Musical offerings range from free outdoor concerts and weekend music festivals to mid-week jams at local bars and restaurants.
Tele turns at the top of "Goat" at Stowe. (Stowe)
The true “steeps,” they make us pause. Across ski-snowboard country, we peer tentatively over the edge and into precipitous pitches, long and short, that cause the heart rate to rise and adrenaline to course through our veins.
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.
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.
About one-third of American ski and snowboard resorts have strung ziplines to keep the mountain thrills going through the summer.
Hundreds of thrill-seekers hook up and slide every offseason, choosing from full-speed rides (60 mph in some cases!) to more leisurely flights using hand brakes. Many combine with suspension bridges and other aerial challenges for a tour. Most ziplines have age and height restrictions – and require parents or guardians for youngsters.
Enjoy every last drop of this season by checking out our list of some of the best late spring eastern trails in the east.
Crisp autumn air and moderate temperatures make for the perfect time to head to your favorite resort for some al fresco dining. Here are SnoCountry’s favorites for a fall trip to take in the colors and enjoy a cocktail or meal on the deck.