Christmas in the mountains runs deep with traditions. But a number of resorts try to work outside the box and be creative with their celebrations.
Last season, portions of Idaho were among the few locales in the West that got normal snowfall, so hopes are high for an even better season in the Gem State.
We’re turning the calendar to November in this SnoCountry SnoCast, and with that comes more signals that winter is coming. A weather pattern featuring frequent storm systems will impact both the western and eastern areas this week.
With the proliferation of Smartphones and digital cameras, you don’t have to be a professional photographer to capture the beauty of the West – especially in the mountains.
A late-night fire at the Warm Springs Day Lodge at Sun Valley has caused heavy damage to the 25-year-old base lodge, but no one was inside at the time of the blaze as the resort closed four days prior.
The Caprese burger. (California Burger Co./Facebook)
Calling all foodies: The burgers in ski and snowboard country are now worthy of your attention.
Choose a mini-bowl to ski at Sun Valley. (Sun Valley/Facebook)
Few experiences on a mountain rival pushing off down a massive alpine bowl, with nothing in your way and infinite lines to follow. And the Rocky Mountain resorts have many to choose from.
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.
Lunch at Summit Chalet includes view of Minnesota's Lake Superior. (Lutsen Mountains)
Refueling at lunchtime is a long-standing tradition among skiers and riders. And doing so on the mountain – rather than in a crowded base lodge – suits those who don’t want to lose their edge while they pause to eat.
A keystone holiday getaway is a good bet. (Keystone)
The B-rolls of early snowfall photos have started, and the usual suspects have already dropped their ropes on a new season. So the next question is: Where to ski and snowboard during the holiday season?
Arcing a jump at Sun Valley terrain park. (Sun Valley/Facebook)
Keepin’ up with ever-changing terrain park trends presents a challenge to all resorts, and Sun Valley is one that is making sure it’s current … and cool.
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.
Seasons show their change at Aspen-Snowmass. (AspenSnowmass.com)
Summer gondola rides are coming to an end, the mountain bike heads into the garage, and thoughts turn to the upcoming ski and snowboard season throughout the West.
Mountaintop views of the total solar eclipse. (NASA)
On Aug. 21, the first solar eclipse to cross North America in 38 years will hit the Oregon coast about 9 a.m. PDT, then course over the mountains of Idaho and Wyoming before hitting the Midwest and finishing up across the North Carolina high country.
A summer chairlift ride includes eye-popping views. (Schweitzer Mountain Resort/Facebook)
Idahoans and visitors alike escape the summer heat down below by heading into the mountains of the Gemstone state.
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.
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.
Ropes are dropping on trails from California to Maine as snowstorms and snowmaking weather offer up one of the best starts to a winter in recent memory. As your options open up, mountain general managers from across the country shared with SnoCountry.com their not-to-miss routes for fun on the hill.
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.
The Stowe Rocks climbing center is fun for every age. (Stowe Mountain Resort)
In the snow covered months, some of us may have the inclination to huck a few cliffs along the edges our favorite mountains. Come summer, it's time to approach those mountains from a different angle, with climbing ropes and harnesses. Whether it's with guide up the rock face of a local route or auto-belayed on a man-made wall, climbing offers adventure and summer fun in the mountains.