Jackson Hole getting the good stuff. (Jackson Hole)
It’s finally going to feel more like fall across the East as a sharp Canadian front plows through New England and brings snowfall, plus those long-awaited colder temperatures.
Weather forecasts for Sunday River Resort look favorable for opening by Saturday. (Sunday River/Facebook)
We’ve been waiting for our snowmaking window here in the East, and it’s finally here. Skiers and riders can make plans now for first turns of the season at Sunday River, Wildcat, Mount Snow and Killington.
Maine views for miles at Sunday River. (Sunday River)
Sunday River is coming into the ski and ride season with a lot to talk about, including a new chairlift and trail, improved snowmaking equipment, expanded outdoor restaurant seating, and the launch of new slopeside condos to be built in 2018-19.
Killington snowmakers doing what they do best. (Killington)
Fresh pow turns taken Christmas week last year. (Sunday River)
In a bold step that should make your holiday planning easy, Maine's Sunday River will hold a flash sale on a new Holiday Pass. If you’re an adult who plans to ski and snowboard during the holidays, it is the equivalent of paying $30/day to ski every day from December 23, 2017 until January 1, 2018.
The Mount Snow Brewers Festival is back for its 23rd year. (Mount Snow)
Craft brews, music and fun are on tap as we transition into fall in the mountains of the Northeast. In addition to some tasty frosty beverages, resorts will be featuring local food treats and live music, along with special events.
Discover stand-up paddle boarding on the waterways of Western Maine. (Sunday River)
The mountains of Maine have plenty to offer summer visitors, from the myriad mountain trails to quiet waterways to wildlife viewing opportunities. With local knowledge from a guide, guests can maximize fun and adventure on their trip to Vacationland.
Going for the basket at Gore Mountain. (Gore Mountain)
Want to add a little friendly competition to your mountainside hike? Disc golf at your favorite Eastern resort is a great way to get outside with your buddies, perfect your throw and explore the mountain from a new perspective. Scoring is the same as golf - count the number of throws needed to get the disc in the basket.
Sunny spring days ahead at Sugarloaf. (Sugarloaf)
Soft spring bumps and goggle tans are still calling many to the mountains in the Northeast, and a stormy March has left a handful of resorts in great shape to make it to May for those who aren’t ready to trade the skis for bikes and boats.
Catchin' some rays at Crested Butte (Crested Butte/Facebook)
One of the perks that comes with sticking out the ski and snowboard season to the end is a great sun tan – and lots of party time in the sunshine.
Most mountain resorts make space for sun-worshippers to engage in their favorite apres-ski activities, and SnoCountry took a look around to find some of the best.
Purgatory. Look out, or you might ski right into Purgy's at the base of the southern Colorado resort. Hit up the outdoor bar for craft beers, order an appetizer, and lounge in the deck chairs for some of the best people-watching locales around.
Park City. Mid-Mountain Lodge once served more than 1,000 miners a day. Now, it's the 10th Mountain outdoor grill at the base of the Pioneer and McConkey's Express lifts. Lodge has two-tiered decks and hosts weddings during summer.
Squaw Valley. Take the tramway to High Camp halfway up the mountain. Even if the pools are empty, there's tons of deck chairs and plenty of choices for a nosh – and the views of the Sierra and Lake Tahoe will amaze.
Lutsen Mountains. Summit Chalet at the top of Moose Mountain lays out food, drink and spectacular views to the North Shore of Lake Superior. Menu offers wraps, soups, burgers and pizza -- including local fave walleye sandwich.
Loon. Camp III, a log cabin in the former logging area on New Hampshire mountain, sits at the base of North Peak Express Quad. It's famous for its venison stew, bison burgers and daily specials – but if the sun's out, hit the expansive deck with a beverage and sun screen.
Sunday River. Foggy Goggle, at the base of the Maine resort, is reputed to have the longest après ski party in the East. Also venue for Bud Light Music Series, with massive deck and tons apres-ski eats on the menu.
Crested Butte. The new Umbrella Bar atop the Prospect Lift gives novices and intermediates a place to catch some rays – if the weather's right. Retractable windows create open-air atmosphere for munchies and local craft beer – and eye-popping views of southern Colorado Rockies.
Mark Engel (L) and Robby Kelley (R) fly off the first jump during the finals of the Pro Ski Challenge at Sunday River. (Lisa Mutz-Nelson)
The Pro Ski Challenge launched its comeback event at Maine's Sunday River March 11, the start of a full tour in 2018 that will include four to six stops across the U.S. and Canada.
The event was part of the rebirth of the World Pro Ski Tour, which has been dormant for 17 years. Racers from across the U.S. and Canada attended, with athletes coming from as far away as Argentina and France.
David Chodounsky of the U.S. Ski Team skied through zero degree temperatures and high winds on Sunday River's Monday Morning Trail to win the $10,000 grand prize of a total $31,000 purse.
Sponsors, athletes, and fans bonded throughout the weekend during the Ski with the Pros Day and at parties in the area. Fans had the opportunity to mingle with Olympians, NCAA champions, and World Cup competitors.
"It's an unbelievable feeling to win this race," Chodounsky recalled. "It was amazing to race against these guys, I had a blast, so it feels tremendous to win. It was a good old-fashioned drag race."
AJ Ginnis, who is ranked sixth in the U.S. in slalom, qualified in the top position for Saturday's final slightly ahead of first ranked Chodounsky, second ranked Mark Engel, third ranked Robby Kelley, and fifth ranked Michael Ankeny. Ginnis experienced a heartbreaking defeat as he slid on his hip past the final gates, shocking the spectators on the deck of the Sunday River base lodge. Despite the agony, he treasured the experience, "It was still an unbelievable event and I'll remember it forever."
The World Pro Ski Tour will immediately begin planning a calendar for the 2018 season, including Sunday River and other potential sites such as Vail, Colorado; Sun Valley, Idaho; Stowe Mountain, Vermont; Steamboat Springs, Colorado; Bretton Woods, New Hampshire; and Boyne Highlands, Michigan.
Don't fill up on leftovers; there's a second helping coming tonight to Sugarloaf. (Sugarloaf/Facebook)
Competitor Robby Kelley from Burlington, Vermont. (WPST)
Sunday River skier finds his happy place in the powder. (Sunday River/Facebook)
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.
Thanks to a mix of natural and man-made snow, Sunday opens Nov. 23. (Sunday River)
A mild fall kept many Northeast skiers and riders fearing we might face another winter like last year, but the temps have dropped, snow has arrived and opening days are happening across the region.
Killington grooms out Superstar in preparation for the first World Cup in the East in 25 years. (Killington)
Vermont's Killington Resort received the official approval from the FIS (Internal Ski Federation) for the Thanksgiving weekend Audi FIS Ski World Cup women's giant slalom and slalom events. Meanwhile, resorts across the country struggle to open for the 2016-17 season due to warm temperatures and lack of natural snowfall.
Snowmaking at Killington begins at the top. (Killington/Facebook)
Opening day is on the minds of skiers and snowboarders already, and brace of resorts have turned on snow guns – and turned eyes to the skies -- in hopes of being the first to open in 2016-2017.
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.