From efficient snowmaking to recycle stations to wind and solar generation, ski and snowboard resorts know that their survival depends upon reducing the effects of climate change.
For any skier or rider, their bucket list includes not only visits to renowned resorts but also taking a run down a trail they've heard about for a long time. Here's SnoCountry's shot at those trails.
As we bid a fond farewell to 2018, the editors at SnoCountry take a look at the news that shaped skiing and riding at mountain resorts across North America over the year.
With 2018 quickly coming to a close, several areas across the U.S. and Canada will get final bursts of snow and cold for the year. Here’s the breakdown…
After an incredible November, more wintry conditions take us into December. We’ll kick it off with a cross-country storm system tracking low across the U.S.
Sufficient November snowfall and a steady diet of cold nights across the southern tier of the Rockies assured resorts in New Mexico and Arizona that they will open on time.
The owner of Taos Ski Valley has purchased a 30-seat passenger jet and will begin regular flights to and from Texas to the airport serving the northern New Mexico resort.
Rock climbing is a specialized sport, with its own equipment and techniques. But European-based via ferratas have begun to spring up in the U.S. mountain country to make the sport more accessible to more people.
Single chair alive and well at Mad River. (Mad River Glen/Facebook)
Since the beginning, ski area operators have experimented with how to best get people up a hill. That innovative spirit lives on, as new types of lifts go up, but the old way is still hanging on.
The Caprese burger. (California Burger Co./Facebook)
Calling all foodies: The burgers in ski and snowboard country are now worthy of your attention.
Aspen Snowmass in a sweet spot this week. (Jordan Curet)
The Eastern United States will see it all this week from snow and cold to warmth and rain. The West will be consistently snowy, especially across the Rockies.
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.
Taos kids' teaching area gets makeover. (Taos Ski Valley/Facebook)
A reconfigured beginner slope and lifts highlight the latest round of upgrades at Taos Ski Valley, as other resorts along the southernmost tier of the Rockies also add lifts, trails and services.
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.
Loveland could see a few more inches this week. (Loveland/Dustin Schefer/Facebook)
Welcome into the week of Halloween! I don't want to spook you, but blizzard conditions are possible in parts of the country. Let's talk about what we can expect.
Celebrations at Breck. (Breckenridge/Facebook)
As if to say auf wiedersehene to summer and willkommen to winter, Oktoberfest in the Western mountains is celebrated just as the seasons pivot away from fun-in-the-sun and toward the upcoming ski and snowboard season.
Spring jumpin' at Sierra-at-Tahoe (Sierra-at-Tahoe/Facebook)
With plenty of snow still on the ground, a growing number of resorts across the West are going to keep the lifts turning longer than scheduled.
In New Mexico, Taos Ski Valley announced it will extend its season an extra week to Sunday, April 9 – although it will closed April 3 for it annual employee day. Three lifts will be running that extra week, but the beginner lifts will be turned off.
In Los Alamos, Pajarito Mountain officials decided to keep things going a week longer to March 26 – and then on weekends if conditions permit.
To the north, Purgatory will cease daily operations as scheduled on April 2, but will reopen on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through the end of the month.
Also at the southwest Colorado resort, there’s a new surface, “transfer” lift open now to eliminate a long, flat traverse for skiers and snowboarders to the Legends Express on the mountain’s backside. Lift 11 can be picked up at the bottom of Dirty Secret, Siegele Street and Bottom’s Chute and shuttled back to the high-speed quad.
“The new lift provides easier access from advanced and expert trails to the newest high-speed quad,” said Purgatory’s Ed Youmans.
There’ll be another week of skiing and riding at Sierra-at-Tahoe, which announced it will stay open until April 24 – also Customer Appreciation Day. The Tahoe-area mountain has seen more than 500 inches fall from the sky this season, a “season for the books,” is how GM John Rice characterized the season.
Hike the bowls at 'green' Taos (Taos Ski Valley/Facebook)
Environmentally conscious skiers and snowboarders who want to “walk the talk” can do so by taking to the slopes at Taos Ski Valley.
The New Mexico resort just became the first winter resort in the world – and the fifth company in its home state – to qualify as a “B Corp” for adhering to rigorous standards of “social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency,” according to the nonprofit B Lab that issues the designations worldwide.
“The people who live and work at Taos Ski Valley have long known about our commitment to the community and our investments in the ongoing health of our mountain ecosystem,” said CEO Dave Norden. “Visitors that choose Taos Ski Valley for their next vacation will be doing so with the knowledge that they’re supporting the ethics and commitment of a Certified B Corporation.”
Among Taos Ski Valley’s efforts that led to the certification were:
· Discontinuing sale of disposable plastic bottles, replacing with reusable containers.
· Moving freshly fallen snow to highly trafficked and shadier locations – and placement of snow fences to hold snow -- to save on snowmaking costs.
· Serving locally sourced food at the resort’s five restaurants.
· Retrofitting facilities with low-flow fixtures, waterless urinals, and dual-flush toilets to reduce water consumption.
· Heating the new Blake Hotel through a geothermal system.
· Paying a minimum of $10 an hour for all employees.
Other B Corp certified companies related to the ski and snowboard industry include apparel maker Patagonia, craft beer brewer New Belgium Brewing and Vermont’s Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream. More than 1,600 companies in 42 countries have received the honor.
While resort owner and conservation advocate Louis Bacon’s money have paid for much of these efforts, the Blake family that owned the mountain since its inception had begun reducing the resort’s carbon footprint in the years prior to the sale in 2013.
Glenwood Hot Springs Resort includes the largest mineral hot springs pool in the world. (Glenwood Hot Springs)
Looking for a little personality to your ski lodgings, but still don't want to break the bank? Chain hotels are great for a standard room, but these accommodations will put you up in style with a personal touch. Innkeepers will have local intel, and you'll have a few bucks left to explore restaurants and shops in town, too.