Utah's Skiers, Snowboarders Find More Conveniences This Season

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A new chairlift, acres of new terrain, expanded parking lots and more snowmaking mark what folks will see when they venture into the Utah mountains this winter.

Starting up north, Beaver Mountain has added more parking spaces. At the base, crews have begun building a new 25,000-square-foot lodge that will hold space for skier services, food and beverage, and retail next season.

Nearby Cherry Peak has put in a tubing park served by a magic carpet just to the viewer's left of the main lodge. On the hill, more snowmaking infrastructure went in this summer.

Up above Ogden, Snowbasin has addressed the popularity of the Strawberry Peak area with the new Demoisy Express high-speed six-pack. The new chair is expected to both relieve congestion and make it easier to traverse a long ridge and return to the base area.

The new high-speed will load next to the gondola and rise nearly 2,000 vertical feet to a sheltered dropoff point just short of the top ridge. From there, trails lead to and from the frontside Middle Bowl Express, and skiers and rider get a choice of the alpine terrain of Diamond Bowl or the Strawberry treeless steep slopes.

Neighbor Powder Mountain has tweaked its ownership model to makes its real estate more attractive by designating three two existing chairlifts -- Mary's and Village, and a new high-speed in the Raintree sector -- for homeowner-only skiing and riding. But another 500 acres of gnarly steeps, called DMI, has opened for guided tours off the upper north boundary.

As a nod of changing conditions, Powder installed its first snowmaking equipment. Night skiing now coasts $19 for some 300 acres under the lights.

Down below, Nordic Valley has had a tough run of it so far this season. The Eden-based mountain lost one of its two chairlifts -- the 53-year-old Apollo double -- to major mechanical issues. In its place, Nordic Valley has 18-seats sled towed by snowmobiles to bring folks to the upper mountain high-speed Nordic Express. Management says it can handle about 200 skiers-riders an hour.

Two new runs -- blue Beserker and black My Backyard -- were cut over the summer, and more parking spaces went in. In January, the resort's base lodge caught fire and was destroyed. The mountain was closed for several days, but is now open with temporary facilities.

Always cramped for parking, Sundance spend the summer tweaking the parking and access around the base of Jake's Lift, and then adding a new beginner run from Jake's to the upper parking lots.

Down south, Brian Head opened more glade runs -- from beginner to expert rated -- in the trees beneath Wildflower chair, and alongside the Shotgun run. More snowmaking went in, too.

And Eagle Point went deep into the inner workings of both the Skyline and Monarch chairs to upgrade for more efficient operation.

 

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Quartet Of Southern Idaho Resorts Aim At Skier-Comfort This Season

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Like many U.S. ski and snowboard resorts this season, a group of four Idaho resorts focused on nitty-gritty projects to make things more comfortable and safe for skiers and riders in 2022-2023.

At Boise's own Bogus Basin, lift crews added more chairs to Morningstar and Superior Express to help move more skiers and riders around the mountain. Two new trails on the upper mountain make back-to-front connection easier, and some greens got wider.

Night skiing terrain has expanded, putting Sunbeam and Superior runs under the lights. Down below, there are 50 more parking spots, and snowshoeing operation is gaining ground.

About two hours' north sits Tamarack. Rejuvenation continues since new owners took over in 2018. Focus this summer was on apres-ski: A new 5,000-square-foot restaurant and bar -- with mezzanine and outdoor seatings -- went in slopeside in the base village. Pay digitally and choose from a wall of 40 self-serve beer taps.

The Indy Pass works at Tamarack. On the 1,100-acre mountain, snowmaking continues to be amped up so that about a fifth of the terrain has snowguns. Tamarack's trail map leans toward the more difficult and difficult categories, with clearly 80% of the trail falling into one or the other rating.

Just up the road, Brundage Mountain ski patrol have moved into new digs this winter. A brand-new 2,800-square-foot space houses patrol and first aid facilities. A couple of new groomers are on the hill to smooth out the early-season surfaces. Brundage is also a members of the Indy Pass system.

Nostalgians will take the last rides on the 32-year-old Centennial fixed-grip triple, as plans call for a detachable high-speed chair to go in next season. Also in the near future at Brundage is a new base lodge to replace the original A-frame, and there will be hints of real estate development around the base of the heretofore day-trip resort.

In Idaho's southeast sector, venerable Sun Valley continues its march toward 90 years in business (2026) by opening up some new terrain in the Warm Springs portion of the 2,700-acre resort. Two gladed sections were cleared this summer to expand the mountain's western edge in preparation of two new chairlifts scheduled to go in for next season as part of an aggressive improvement plan.

Also, Sun Valley joined the Ikon Pass as a seven-day partner, and the Mountain Collective for its two days free and half-off any additional days. And, Sun Valley will reclaim some of its old racing roots by hosting the U.S. Alpine Championships in March.

 

 

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Front Range Oldies-But-Goodies Celebrate Anniversaries, Upgrades

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Copper and Cooper, Eldora and Echo: These well-traveled Colorado mountains have been easy-to-reach for Denver-area skiers and riders for more than a half century -- and this season is no different.

First of all, the birthdays. Ski Cooper outside Leadville celebrates 80 years in operation. Eldora looks back at 60 years on the eastern front of the Rockies. Local hill Echo Mountain is 62 years old this season. And, "youngster" Copper Mountain rings in its 50th season in the ski business.

For 2022-2023, Ikon Pass member Copper is content to pause to commemorate its five decades in operation with events and memorabilia. On the mountain, the family-friendly, beginner-focuses Western Territory enters its second year with two adventure zones, and green runs Roundabout and West Ten-Mile on the far western edge of the resort. (A replacement Lumberjack chair is planned.) Plus, after several years of fees and reservations, parking at Copper is once again free and first-come first served.

Up the road at Ski Cooper/Chicago Ridge, tree-thinning this summer opened up more space in the green-rated Leprechaun Lane forest near the base. Also, crews continued to remove trees from the all-expert Tennessee Creek Basin chutes and glades on the backside of the legendary Tenth Mountain Division ski area that opened in 1942. The ticket is $30 on Thursdays, and snowcat rides up to the Continental Divide are now split out into half-day trips.

Above Boulder, Ikon Pass resort Eldora has added another 800 parking spots -- good news for its Front Range loyalists who were sometimes turned away as parking lots filled up quickly on busy days in recent seasons. More snowmaking capacity went in around the Alpenglow chairlift and Little Hawk learning area, and on-mountain internet connections got a boost.

And at Echo Mountain, which has experienced a renaissance after several seasons teetering upon closure, a longer and gentler Travelers Traverse now connects the top of the chairlift to the bottom in one continuously wandering trail. Popular night skiing will light up trails until 9 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays.

 

 

 

 

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New Terrain, Upgraded Chairlifts Highlight Spokane-Area Openings

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A quartet of Inland Northwest ski and snowboard mountains within a couple of hours' drive from Spokane have new offerings as the 2022-2023 season gets underway.

The Lookout Pass trail map got longer this summer with the Eagle Pass expansion on the western edge of the mountain. New is nearly 500 more acres with the new Eagle Pass fixed-grip quad, reachable by a leisurely green run off the resort's main summit. Terrain includes mostly blue runs, plus a long lift-line black and a few other expert pitches.

Straddling the both the Idaho-Montana border and the Mountain and Pacific time zones, the expansion nearly doubles the ski and snowboard area's size to 1,023 acres, and it raises the mountain's vertical-foot drop to 1,650. Also this summer, crews regraded the Success beginner area and tweaked the base lodge, rentals and parking. Its season pass links with eight Western resorts, including Bluewood and Mission Ridge in Washington state.

Staying up north, Schweitzer expansive Outback Bowl got an upgrade with the Stella high-speed adding more chairs to reduce the ride time to acres of glades and blue groomers. The chairlift anchors the skier's right portion of the large basin on Schweitzer's back side.

Down below, the children's center got an upgrade, and a new spa has gone in next to the base Selkirk Lodge. Schweitzer honors the Ikon Pass for seven free days.

At 49 Degrees North (named for its latitude), the big news came last season with the opening of the mountain's first high-speed quad chair. The base-to-summit Northern Spirit takes skiers and riders to the high ground in seven minutes, clearing out base area clogs and improving access to the wide variety of trails off the 5,774-foot Mt. Chewelah summit.

Along with the Sunrise Basin and Angel Peak expansions in the recent years, 49 Degrees North has jumped from 1,500 to more than 2,300 acres. Its season pass reciprocates with Bluewood, Mission Ridge, Loup Loup and White Pass in the state.

Northern Idaho's Silver Mountain has opened more powder-stash terrain this season by pushing the ski boundaries off Chair 2 . Named South of the Border, it adds about 20 acres of glades and powder meadows -- plus a new trail back to the base of the lift.

On the other side of the mountain at the Chair 4 mid-station, Silver has opened up a new Jackass Snack Shack to commemorate the resort's first name, Jackass Ski Bowl. The resort is now a member of the Powder Alliance. And, Silver is the only mountain in the West that connects to town (Kellogg, Idaho) via a gondola.

 

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Big Bear Mountain Resorts, Mountain High Bring Skiing, Riding To SoCal

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Southern California skiers and snowboarders have plenty to choose from within a couple hours' drive from the Los Angeles Basin into the coastal mountain range.

Two of those resorts -- Mountain High and Bear Mountain/Snow Summit -- actually fill out five separate trail maps as, over the years, consolidation produced a wider variety of terrain.

At Mountain High, skiing began in the 1940s and has expanded to three separate mountains -- East, West and North -- that split out nicely according to skill and type of terrain. The West Resort, now combined with neighbor East Resort, acts as the focus for the three resorts. But each has its own base facilities. Free shuttles run between West and East bases.

This season, skiers and riders will benefit from more snowmaking capacity (essential for a SoCal mountain), more features in the terrain park and renovations to the Foggy Goggle Bar at the West Resort base.

Mountain High is a Powder Alliance member and accepts the two-day-free Indy Pass. Night skiing on 85% of West Resort goes until 10 p.m. every evening at West Resort, with tubing park at North Resort. Parking can be an issue. There is on free parking lot, at the West Resort, but all the others cost $20 per vehicle.

Head to northeast into the San Bernardino mountains to find a longtime favorite of SoCal's skiers and 'boarders, Bear Mountain and Snow Summit. Under the moniker of Big Bear Mountain Resorts, the two mountains sit separately above Big Bear Lake, but you only need one ticket or an Ikon Pass, to ski and ride both.

This season, a multi-year renovation of the Bear Mountain base has produced an upgraded Laybacks Bar, a more convenient layout for the rental shop, and additional parking. Bear's 1,665 vertical drop serves a couple of long blacks, but the emphasis is on terrain parks. More than 200 features spread around the 200-acre mountain, plus a pair of halfpipes. The mountain's huge learning area focuses on getting never-evers up and onto the slopes, while progressive parks aim to step up freestylers' game.

Partner mountain Snow Summit is a couple of miles down the road, and emphasizes intermediate and advanced terrain with a double-blacks and a bevy of wide-open groomers. Fourteen lifts cover the mountains 240 acres, with two high-speed chairs to the 8,000-foot-high ridgeline. Night skiing at Snow Summit runs weekends and holidays.

 

 

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Go Big, Go Deep On Ikon's Mountains In Pacific Northwest

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A trio of ski and snowboard resorts of the Pacific Northwest take the Ikon Pass, and each offers something different for those venturing into the Cascades.

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Power Pass 7-Pack All Spruced-Up For The Season

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New trails, new lodging, and plenty of on-mountain upgrades mark the start of the 2021-22 ski and snowboard season for the seven resorts on the Power Pass.

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California's Trio Of Ikon Pass Resorts Rarin' To Go

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Things are expected to get closer to "normal" at California ski and snowboard resorts this season, as do the four mountain resorts in the Golden Bear State that honor the Ikon Pass.

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Tighter Restrictions, A Smattering Of Upgrades Highlight Opening Of California Resorts

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A few improvements have sprung up at California resorts this season but, more importantly, state officials said that ski and snowboard mountains can stay open regardless of which Covid "tier" their county falls under.

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Idaho Resorts Open With A Modest Array Of New Features

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Ski and snowboard resorts throughout Idaho are opening for the season, albeit cautiously, and offseason improvements are muted but still significant.

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New Looks Dot Utah's Ski And Snowboard Landscape This Season

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Aside from Covid-related changes, capital improvements big and small went up this summer at eight of Utah's ski and snowboard resorts.

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'Big Boys' Begin To Open In Colorado; Breck Features New Peak 8 Base

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The flush of double-digit preseason snowfall in the Colorado Rockies and cold temps have propelled early openings all around – in particular, some of the largest resorts in the state.

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Half-Dozen Pacific Northwest Resorts Ready To Drop The Ropes

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The first snow storms of the 2018-2019 season have coursed across the Pacific Northwest, and a number of resorts are gearing up for November openings.

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