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SnoCountry SnoCast: Winter Storm Finishes The SnoCast Season

SnoCountry SnoCast: Winter Storm Finishes The SnoCast Season

(Yes, this is really the end of April at Lake Louise Ski Resort in Alberta, Canada with nearly 145cm this month. Similar scenes will overtake the Rockies as yet another snowstorm finishes the month of April. (Lake Louise Ski Resort/Twitter)

Believe it or not, we’ll be turning the calendar into May with a bonafide snow storm for part of the Rockies and upper Midwest.

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SnoCountry SnoCast: Making Turns Into April

SnoCountry SnoCast: Making Turns Into April

Nearly a foot of snow came down Monday at Alta Ski Area in Utah, and they are loving the forecast with more snow in the cards at the end of this week. (Alta /Facebook)

We turn the calendar into April in this week’s SnoCountry SnoCast. There’s still plenty of great skiing and riding to be had, with more snow in the forecast.


In this week’s outlook, I’ve got my eyes on a large storm system that will impact all areas from the Great Lakes to Northeast Friday-Saturday (March 31-April1) that will no doubt leave some bullseyes of deep snow in parts of New England and Quebec. In the West, a storm system drops in from British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest Thursday, before spreading inward by the weekend. Here’s what to expect by region for March 29 - April 3.

Eastern U.S. / Midwest: In the Northeast and Midwest, March is sure to go out “like a lion," as they say. A storm system/low pressure will track from Missouri on Thursday, east-northeastward, eventually scooting off the Southern New England coast by Saturday. On the northern side of this storm system, a swath of snow will fall from Eastern Wisconsin, to Central/Northern Michigan, then eventually spreading over parts of New York and New England. There is some discrepancy among weather models by the time this system reaches New York and New England. The trusty GFS (American) and European models disagree on exact placement of heaviest snow once the storm reaches the northeast. 3-6” is a “safe” forecast for now for most of the lower Adirondack slopes, southern Vermont and the southern White Mountains in New Hampshire, with nearly 10” in far southern Vermont and Massachusetts’ Berkshires. That forecast is more in line with the GFS.

The European is hinting at the system being a bit farther north, which would bring more widespread 6”+ amounts in the areas I just mentioned, and also spread farther north to cover more areas of northern New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine with snow. Given that difference, it’s important to check the forecast as the time gets nearer to seek out the deepest snow for your Friday/weekend ventures to the slopes. If I had to pick some early best bets, I’d say you can’t go wrong with some central and southern Vermont mountains, and even western Massachusetts Berkshire mountains by Saturday first chair. But again, keep an eye on that forecast because the storm can shift by the weekend.

European model forecast snowfall totals in Northeast and Midwest through April 2.

 American model forecast snowfall totals in Northeast and Midwest through April 2.

Western U.S.: The Western U.S. gets another system or two this week as energy moves into the Pacific Northwest Thursday, then eventually spreads inward by the weekend. This will mean more snow over nearly all of the higher mountains to finish March and start April. Look for anywhere from 4-9” for the Washington and Oregon Cascades, all mountains of Idaho (5-10"), and northwest Wyoming through Thursday. Then, look for new snow, probably higher totals, 6-12”, widespread for Utah’s Wasatch and Uinta Mtns, Wyoming and Colorado Rockies from Friday-Saturday. Locally higher totals will likely be squeezed out at the higher mountains, with up to 2 feet possible over the Colorado peaks. A good setup for the West into the weekend. Use caution, though, for those venturing into the Cascades. I do see high risk of avalanches after recent temperature fluxuations and wind. Ski areas typically maintain and control avalanche danger, but caution for those who seek out the backcountry.

American model forecast snowfall totals in West through April 2.

Now remember, what I've shown you in images is a computer forecast model. There always needs to be some human interjection to make a good forecast. Thats what I do! And also what the National Weather Service does. Here's a look at the actual forecast snowfall totals from the National Weather Service. This shows through the end of Saturday, April 1. No joke!

 

Canada: Plenty of new snow opportunities in Canada this week. The same storm I mentioned in the Midwest/Northeast section will bring fresh snow to our Eastern Canada mountains in Quebec and Ontario Friday-Saturday. Again, depending on storm track, forecast amounts may vary by the weekend. Generally, 5 – 10 cm looks achievable, with locally higher amounts if the storm sneaks a little farther north. Just enough to soften up the trails. In Western Canada, a storm system brings ample mountain snow Thursday (March 30). Many ski areas in British Columbia and Alberta will squeeze out 20-40cm from Thursday-Friday. Enjoy that!

Forecast snowfall totals in Western Canada through April 2.

That's all for this week's SnoCountry SnoCast, skiers and riders. Have a blast with any new snow in your area. As always, I'll catch you next Wednesday for the next edition of SnoCast right here on SnoCountry.com. 

Special thanks to Lyndon State College student forecasters Amanda Stone, Scott Myerson, and Christopher Kurdek for their weekly contributions and forecasts.

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SnoCountry SnoCast: Officially Spring; Winter Weather Hangs On

SnoCountry SnoCast: Officially Spring; Winter Weather Hangs On

Breckenridge Ski Resort has been loving the spring-like conditions this past week, but more winter-like weather makes a quick return in the forecast. (Breckenridge/Facebook).

It’s officially spring time on the calendar, so we can now expect the weather to be even more “fickle” than in the winter. This week’s SnoCast will proves that winter weather is fighting to hang on as long as possible despite what the calendar says.

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Insider’s Guide To Solitude Mountain Resort

Insider’s Guide To Solitude Mountain Resort

A face-full of Wasatch powder. (Solitude/Facebook)

Solitude Mountain is one of the most aptly named resorts in America. Both the marketers and loyalists tout non-existent lift lines and expansive terrain – promoting a day of “solitude” in the Utah mountains.


Resort sits near top of Big Cottonwood Canyon with two base areas – day parking Moonbeam and overnight Solitude Village. Bought by over-the-ridge neighbor Deer Valley in 2015, Solitude has since gotten a new and realigned high-speed (Summit Express), and upgrades inside lodges and restaurants – with promise of more.

Aerial view of Solitude.

Terrain/Lifts. Total vert just over 2,000 feet with 1,200 skiable acres spread across two cirques, and divided into distinct sections. Novices should stick to lower mountain off Moonbeam (only 18 percent of hill is green). Classic groomers roll off Sunrise, Apex, Eagle and Powderhorn lifts. Upper front serves up a few cruisers, but specializes in delivering skiers and riders to the steep, deep and gnarly. Tons of short, steep lines between trails to explore, and plenty of trees in Headwall Forest off 10,035-foot summit, or if you slalom through Black Forest into Honeycomb Canyon. That’s where Solitude sets itself apart: Honeycomb Canyon feeds all parts of the powder hound’s soul, with traverses (or short hikes) off the summit leading to glades, chutes, bowls and cliffs on both sides of the backside steep canyon. Return access requires a couple of chair rides on which to rest weary legs.

Deals. Multi-day tickets cut day rate, and season pass tops at $979, including days at Deer Valley and Brighton. SolBright ticket ($99) permits crossover to neighboring Brighton Mountain. Stay at resort properties in Solitude Village and cut ticket costs. Solitude part of M.A.X. Pass network.

Eat/Drink. Nothing on the mountain but skiing fare at base restaurants. Wander into the village and find everything from pizza to filet miñon. Target the Thirsty Squirrel bar for aprés-ski drinks and chatter. Lounge upscale at the Library Bar in Powderhorn Lodge, or strap on snowshoes for half-mile trek to The Yurt for four-course meal.

Village at dusk

Stay. One hotel – the Inn at Solitude – surrounded by condos, townhouses and private home rentals in village. Down below, town of Sandy and Salt Lake City jammed with overnight options.

Miles of nordic trails at Solitude

Play. Expansive Nordic center winds out of village with all levels of trails. Snowshoes can be rented for those who need more stability, and there’s an ice rink in the village.

Travel. A shuttle from Salt Lake City airport gets you on the slopes in about an hour. It’s 20 miles up Big Cottonwood Canyon; public transport is preferred, with loading spots around the city and at mouth of canyon. Parking can be limited.

Kid set to hit the slopes

Insider Tip: First-timers should check out trail map ahead of time, as lifts link up oddly. Warm up below, and then plan to do multiple runs on a particular section of the mountain to avoid having to take more than one lift or making lengthy traverses.

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PC SkiGal: Park City’s Sundance Transformation

PC SkiGal: Park City’s Sundance Transformation

Virtual Reality is fast-becoming an important player in the world of creative filmmaking. (Sundance Film Festival/Facebook)

It’s begun. The Sundance storm nearly rivals the actual Snowmaggedon that this ski hamlet has felt for the past month and continues to experience. Park City is bracing themselves- $100 parking lots and all- for the flood of People in Black. We are a mere day away from the extravagant parties and film premieres, the branding and “activations”.

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SnoCountry SnoCast: Active West; Warmth in the East

SnoCountry SnoCast: Active West; Warmth in the East

Stowe Mountain Resort boasts 5-6 inches of new snow in their most recent storm system. While the pattern doesn't favor "huge" storms in the East, there are still great conditions to be had. (Stowe Mountain Resort/Facebook)

In this week’s SnoCast, we dig into yet another active stretch for the western U.S. and continue to hope for a much colder change in pattern for the East.

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SnoCountry SnoCast: Too Much Snow?!

SnoCountry SnoCast: Too Much Snow?!

"Stop" -  a word hardly ever muttered by ski areas in the winter. But, with recent crippling snow in the West, we may have had a little too much of a good thing. A break to regroup is in the forecast. (Image: Crested Butte/Facebook)

In this week's SnoCast, a brief respite from an extremely active West, and variable conditions in the East leading into the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend. Here's what to expect for weather conditions by region.

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SnoCountry SnoCast: Extremely Active West, Colder Turn In The East

SnoCountry SnoCast: Extremely Active West, Colder Turn In The East

Mammoth Mountain boasts 24-46" in just 24 hours as of Wednesday. A steady plume of moisture means rounds of big time snow out west. (Mammoth Mountain/Facebook)

Happy Wednesday, all. It’s the best time of the week, SnoCast time! Let’s dig into this week’s forecast and find out where the best conditions will be for hitting the slopes. 

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PCSkiGal: How To Sundance

PCSkiGal: How To Sundance

Egyptian Theatre Marquee. (Sundance Institute/Jill Oreschel)

My parents called tonight. They're coming to Sundance. I choked a bit. I've lived in Park City since 1990 and this is a first. "Are you sure?" I queried. "Sundance is a zoo. There's no parking, all of the restaurants are booked, it's even more expensive around here than normal, the tickets are probably sold out…" Was there a Beginners Guide To Sundance out there anywhere?


"Your father and I want to see snow and Europe's too far," said Mom. "Plus, I've always wanted to stay at the St. Regis." My folks are in their 80s. Back in the day, our vacations revolved around skiing but they retired the sticks decades ago. Still, you can't help but miss the mountains in winter when you've spent almost your whole life playing in them.

I considered this new information. Parents who don't ski but love film, snow and mountains. Sundance might just be the perfect vacation. When they've visited Park City in the past they've been bored. This is a town for adventure junkies. Once you've done the outlet mall, gotten a massage and fed on the "fine dining" there's not much else for retired skiers around here.

I started my research. How then do I advise my parents, your average tourists, to make the most out of their time at Sundance? Looks like I was going to have to devise my own Beginners Guide To Sundance.

The Beginners Guide To Sundance Starts With Lodging

You won't have a place to stay if you don't have a place to stay. In other words, book your lodging early and don't be picky. Everything in Park City gets gobbled up the closer you get to those last 10 days in January. My parents aren't into crashing in a three-bedroom place with four other people so they got a room at the St Regis with timeshare points that could have bought them a month in Hawaii. You can get a place in Salt Lake City for much less but the highway commute in January can be a nightmare if it dumps. You don't want to be stuck in a whiteout on I-80 while your movie plays. BTW, the major benefit of having a condo over a hotel room is the ability to cook, so you don’t have to eat out for every meal, saving some money.

The Beginners Guide To Sundance Transportation

Sundance traffic 

No, Mom, you do not need a car. Split a cab, call Uber, book a shuttle. You DO NOT want a rental car in Park City during Sundance. The city shuts down Main Street to traffic, there's zero parking available unless you want to pay $50 for lots that are normally free, and the congestion is ridiculous.

I hitched a ride from Park Avenue to the top of Main (two miles tops) last year and it took over an hour. The bright side was I got to spend that time chatting with a fascinating, charmingly abrasive, post production supervisor from New York who worked on several of my favorite films.

Park City brings in extra buses to handle the transportation. The free system runs like clockwork and rivals any you would find in a large metropolis. They run late into the night so you don't need to worry about being stranded and the cast of characters on those buses- from local ski bums to Netflix execs- are priceless.

The Beginners Guide To Sundance Ticketing

Get a Sundance ticket package if you can afford one. My parents will see as many movies as they can but if you don't plan ahead individual tickets (which go on sale Jan. 17 for non-locals) sell out fast and you wind up standing in a cold waitlist line hoping someone doesn't show.

There is a new ewaitlist system that eliminates standing in line TWICE to MAYBE get in but you'll still have to be at the theater at least 30 minutes prior to showtime. You'll also need to be somewhere with a strong signal. The waitlist opens one hour prior to the screening and if you get a number higher than 50 your chances of actually getting in are slim to none. You can often buy tickets off scalpers standing in front of the theater. Patrons wind up with extra tickets because friends or clients couldn't make it in time or they decided to go to a party instead. I've gotten many a free ticket this way.

The Festival packages are pricey for non-locals ($650) but in addition to 10 tickets ($250 value), they include Festival credentials for two peeps.

Sundance Film Festival 

You can only plant your butt in a dark theater for so long. The pass gets you into the rocking ASCAP music café, the Cinema Café, the Filmmakers Lodge, and several other "credential-only" venues that host VIP events like cocktail receptions and filmmaker panel discussions. You also get a ticket to the opening night party, but it's only a bonus if you like blaring dance music and drunk 20-somethings.

The Cast of Sing Street

The Beginners Guide To Sundance Dining

"We want to go to the restaurants and experience the scene," my mom added. So does everyone else, Mom. If you get to Park City without reservations you will be ordering Domino's and Davanza's. Start booking the minute you know you're coming. Three nights in town equals three reservations.

Private parties book out most of the restaurants. Still, the best spots to celeb spot if you can get in are the Riverhorse Café, Chimayo, Zoom, Yuki Yama and Prime Steakhouse. I recommended St Regis' J&G Grill to my folks for the first Saturday night of the Fest to avoid the mayhem of Main. You can also eat someplace off Main that doesn't take reservations – like Sammy's Bistro, El Chubasco, The Blind Dog and our newest yummy Ganesh Indian Cuisine. If you just want something to eat and you want out of town anyway, locals head to Kimball Junction where you have a ton of options from Five Guys to Ghidotti's.

That's it for this first leg of our journey. Stay tuned for my mom's next phone call.



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SnoCountry SnoCast: "Chilling" Like Mid-Winter

SnoCountry SnoCast: "Chilling" Like Mid-Winter

Layers will be key as you hit the slopes this week! With the right precautions, nothing can stop skiers and riders from getting the fresh snow at Jay Peak Resort where a quick hit of arctic cold air is followed by some fresh snow for the weekend. (Photo: Christopher Kurdek)

We are going to see some temp swings both in the East and West in this week’s outlook. From warm ups to January-like cold snaps, and snow in between, here’s the breakdown of the forecast in this week's SnoCast.


 

We’re in mid December, the holidays are coming right up, and the ski conditions look great. Last winter was (not so fondly) "the winter that wasn't" for a lot of the East, no thanks to very warm temps. This year...much better! About 40 percent of the U.S. has snow on the ground, and nearly 100 percent of Canada. Compared to this time last year, many ski resorts are happy leading into the holidays. 

Snow cover comparison from this year to last year.

This week's outlook (Dec. 14-19) is quite a different story. Unlike last year with warm temps, we are in for some really chilly snaps that will have you digging for the layers before hitting the slopes in some areas. Oh, and snow, too. Here's what to expect by region.

Northeast: It seems we keep getting hit after hit of snow in the Northeast. While each system is generally small and quick moving, it has helped generate good early season skiing and riding. It’s going to be brutally cold (like, lots of layers and frequent 'pop-ins to the lodge’ cold) to finish this week. Most ski areas will have temps below zero in the mornings in New York and New England, and daytime highs in the single digits Friday. That arctic chill breaks a bit for the weekend, though, as a system moves through the Great Lakes. Expect a few inches of fresh snow on the mountains Saturday. Get out early before milder temps build back in through the day (and maybe a little mixed precip). The numbers below show the GFS model output, but do not account for any melting after as temps climb Saturday-Sunday. Look for another quick cold snap behind that system for early next week.

Snow forecast from the GFS (American) model

 

MidWest:A forecast with “book-end” arctic air for our Midwest ski areas this week. Bone-chilling mornings and mid-winter like days finish this work week. Look for a small shot of natural snow later Friday night into Saturday as a quick moving system drops a few inches of snow. That system pulls in yet another taste of arctic air to follow for early next week. One word: layers.

West: Western ski areas may also have some temperature swings to deal with this week. A storm system moving through northern California has tons of moisture with it Wednesday-Thursday (Dec. 14-15), but snow levels will be very high as warmer air comes in from the Pacific. As that system pushes inward, there will be enough cold air to get snow over Idaho, Utah, and Wyoming mountains Thursday and lingering into the start of the weekend. Look for the highest amounts, a foot or more, over the Wasatch of Utah and the Wyoming Wind River and Teton Ranges. Get out Friday for best conditions, since bitter cold air pours in by the weekend for a lot of the interior west mountains. Another quick shot of snow comes into the Pacific Northwest (Washington/Oregon Cascades) Sunday with a few more inches.

Snow forecast from the European ensemble output model.

Canada: Certainly enough cold air to go around now. Very cold, arctic air will dip through eastern Canada finishing this work week. Another pocket of cold, arctic air also swings through central Canada over the weekend. So, where’s the snow? The storm system mentioned in the Northeast section will deliver several inches of snow for ski areas in Ontario and Quebec Saturday. There will be plenty of time to make snow for ski areas with ample cold in place. Look for deeper moisture over British Columbia, the coastal range and Rockies by the end of the weekend and especially early next week. This will likely bring big accumulation over several days, really picking up intensity sometime mid next week. We’ll be talking about that in next week’s SnoCast. 

Cold temps remain in place for Canada over the next 5 days 

That's all 'til next week's SnoCast.

Special thanks to Lyndon State College students Amanda Stone, Chris Kurdek, and Scott Myerson for weekly contributions and forecasts.

 

 

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Utah Buses To Run More Often Into Front Range Resorts

Utah Buses To Run More Often Into Front Range Resorts

Snowbird is one of four Wasatch resorts that fill their parking lots to the brim. (Snowbird/Facebook)

The bus system of the Utah Transit Authority will narrow its focus this winter in order to get more skiers and snowboarders on the slopes more efficiently.


That means more bus trips up Little Cottonwood Canyon to Alta and Snowbird, and more runs up Big Cottonwood Canyon to Solitude and Brighton. It also means no direct service for visitors staying in downtown hotels or local city dwellers.

That quartet of ski resorts has always been within easy reach of Salt Lake City and environs, but they have been hampered by heavy congested traffic and a lack of consistent bus service up the narrow canyon roads.

To that end, the UTA has decided to eliminate direct ski resort service from downtown hotels. Instead, it will increase service by 35 percent from three light rail stations in south Salt Lake City as the jumping-off point for buses into the mountains. Connections at Murray Central and Historic Sandy stations head up to Snowbird and Alta, while buses loading at Bingham Junction Station go to Solitude and Brighton.

UTA officials contend that connections from the light rail stations will entice more people to park there, as opposed to the smaller, more cramped lots at the canyons’ base.

During peak hours of 7 to 10 a.m., buses will run every 15 minutes from the parking lots at the base of the two canyons. In the afternoon between 3 and 6 p.m., they will run from the four resorts to the parking lots at the mouth of the canyons.

UTA also will ramp up weekend service during peak hours to diminish both vehicle traffic on access routes and crowded buses.

During off-peak hours, UTA has upped the frequency to every 30 minutes – again, an effort to spread out the number of riders on these busy routes.

A one-way adult fare is $4.50, or $2.25 for seniors. For a map and schedule, click here

Utah Transit Authority is ramping up service to ski resorts

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SnoCountry SnoCast: Snow From Coast To Coast Over the Next Five Days

SnoCountry SnoCast: Snow From Coast To Coast Over the Next Five Days

Good news! The weather is finally turning a snowier and colder corner. In fact, for a lot of you, the snow may be falling as you read this week’s SnoCast.

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Insider’s Guide To Alta

Insider’s Guide To Alta

Nighttime in Alta, with Salt Lake City down the canyon. (Alta/Facebook)

Just by its name -- Alta Ski Area – you can tell that you’re skiing “old school.” The famed powder mountain is one of the oldest in the country, opening in 1939, and much is the same today. Don’t bring your snowboard: Alta’s one of three resorts that prohibit knuckle-draggers. But do bring goggles, powder suits and perhaps a snorkel for, typically, the Alta gets 500-plus inches. 


Terrain. Alta is two cirques side by side. The front under 11,000-foot Mt. Baldy rolls gently down the middle. But get up on the sides, and that’s where Alta really speaks to you. Be ready for lots of traversing to get to iconic Sunspot or High Rustler skier’s right or Ballroom to the left off Collins high-speed. Take Wildcat chair for a trip up into Alta’s original trail – and peek over into Snowbird. Or traverse over to the backside for an array of wide-open slopes in Greeley Bowl, the gnarly drops off Supreme lift, or the only greens on the hill -- gentle long cruisers all the way to the base.

Alta

Tickets. Used to be cheapest day ticket around, but now at full retail of $96. Online, reloads and multi-days cut prices. Alta is in the Mountain Collective, also has combo with Snowbird. Beginners get late-afternoon deal for novice-only tickets for Albion lift.

Ski School. Alf Engen Ski School among nation’s best, especially for powder skiing. Alta Lodge hosts renowned multi-day “performance ski camps.”

Alta

Eat. Basic skier’s fare on the hill at Watson’s Shelter on the front, and Alf’s Lodge on the back. Down below, the same during the day, but the fondu flames fire up every evening at lodges.

Lodging. Three classics await -- Alta Lodge, Peruvian Lodge, Rustler Lodge – with European cuisine, cozy rooms and steins of beer. Goldminer’s and Snowpine a bit newer but also compact. A limited number of condos and townhouses up near the mountain. Down below, town of Sandy is full of VRBO’s and motels.

Transportation. The airport-to-lift trip is the quickest in country. Utah encourages taking a bus up Little Cottonwood rather than fight the traffic, which can be monumental if it’s snowing. Shuttles run regularly back down to town and nonstop to the airport. Parking’s cheek-to-jowl around the base (no lot shuttles).

Alta

Insider Tips: You want challenge? Head skier’s left off Wildcat and stick near the boundary rope. All it does is get steeper, cliff-ier and longer the farther you go. Want to miss crowds? Stay overnight and hope the access road is closed by avalanche.

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Powder Mountain To Add Acres, Lifts, Villages

Powder Mountain To Add Acres, Lifts, Villages

Plenty of new lift-access powder to go for at Powder Mountain (Powder Mountain/Facebook)

If you’re searching to find the largest in-bounds terrain in the United States, look no further than Powder Mountain in northern Utah. 


This season, ownership will have 1,000 more skiable acres and two new lifts up and running by opening day in December. The lifts will open up terrain that was guide-only, and provide access to a pair of planned mountain villages with up to 500 total home sites.

The additional acreage within its ropes means Powder Mountain is once again the largest ski and snowboard area in the country: 7,957 acres. It surpasses Park City Mountain for No. 1 with this expansion.

Powder Mountain lift installation

Skier and snowboarders at “Pow’ Mow’” will be able to ride a lift into Mary’s and Lefty’s canyons very soon, as mid-December has been set for the unveiling.

Also, the owners are capping the number of season passes at 1,000, and lift tickets to 2,000 each day to avoid congestion.

“We strive to maintain the uncrowded, wide open, adventurous experience Pow Mow is known for,” the resort said. “(With expansion) we aim to keep our skier density of 1 acre per skier."

For years, Powder Mountain has been a secret snow stash above Ogden that harnesses chairlifts, snowcats and school buses to get powder hounds into untracked territory -- on any given day. All but the snowcat areas are inbounds, including terrain below James Peak and Hidden Lake Peak, and in Cobabe Canyon.

In 2013, a group of entrepreneurs paid $40 million for the property as home for conferences and think-tank gatherings.

Early development plans in got slimmed down, and now it’s a pair of villages that “is to embody a next-generation urbanism that nourishes social entrepreneurship, connection and collaboration, and responsible living,” said Powder Mountain’s JP Goulet.

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Passport To Adventure: Kids Ski Free

Passport To Adventure: Kids Ski Free

You don't need to be a Michigander to take part in the Cold is Cool program. (Ski Snowboard Michigan/Facebook)

The “Passport” Program is a tried and true, and often free, method to introduce school children to snowsports in 10 different states. These Passports vary, but typically parents pay a small administrative fee for the "passport" booklet that includes many free offers at ski areas across each state.

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Make The Swap: Affordable Gear Finds At Ski Swaps

Make The Swap: Affordable Gear Finds At Ski Swaps

You'll find gear to put a smile on your face at the Vail Ski Swap. (Vail Ski and Snowboard Club)

As we’re preparing for ski and board season, it’s time to think about upgrading our gear or selling some of your old stuff, and fall ski swaps are a great way to make that happen.

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Word Is Out: Whisper Ridge To Open For Backcountry Powder

Word Is Out: Whisper Ridge To Open For Backcountry Powder

Powderhound cuts a fresh line through trees at Whisper Ridge in northern Utah. (Whisper Ridge/Facebook)

The Wasatch Front above Salt Lake City has long been a backcountry paradise for skiers and snowboarders willing to take a hike beyond the trams, gondolas and lifts at a dozen of Utah’s winter resorts. Now, there’s something in between.

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Farm To Table Restaurants: Good, Clean Food At The Mountain

Farm To Table Restaurants: Good, Clean Food At The Mountain

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.

Harrimans Mount snow

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.



Solstice at Stowe

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.


Truffle Pig Steamboat

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.


 

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Appeals Court Keeps Alta’s Snowboarding Ban In Place

Appeals Court Keeps Alta’s Snowboarding Ban In Place

It'll be skiers only at Alta Ski Area after latest ruling from federal court. (Alta)

A final round of appeals by a group seeking to force Alta Ski Area to admit snowboarders has failed, leaving the Utah resort as one of three U.S. mountains that only skiers can enjoy.

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PCSkiGal: Skiing At Snowbird Still 'Unreal'

Snowbird springThe skiing at Snowbird has been unreal. Yes, skiing. While the rest of the Wasatch is hunkered down, sitting out the back-to-back storm cycles because closing days have come and gone, diehard locals are rejoicing. Nineteen inches in the last 48 hours and more on the way.

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