Archive for the ‘skiing’ Category

Park City’s Grand Summit Hotel to Undergo $15 Million Renovation and Join RockResorts

March 27, 2017
Park City UT_20170324_421e2 (c) Karen Rubin

A view of Park City’s Canyons Village in spring. Vail Resorts, which owns Park City resort plans a $15 million renovation of the Grand Summit Hotel at Canyons Village and to flag it as a RockResorts property © 2017 Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Grand Summit Hotel at Canyons Village in Vail Resorts’ Park City mountain resort in Utah, will undergo an extensive $15 million renovation this spring and subsequent flagging as a RockResorts property. The renovations will bring the hotel up to par with both its unrivaled location at the base of the largest ski resort in the United States and the modern luxury its guests expect in a travel experience. The property will temporarily close from April 17, 2017 – in conjunction with the close of Park City Mountain’s ski and snowboard season – through mid-summer.

“We couldn’t be more excited to bring the interior of the Grand Summit Hotel up to the same caliber as the world-class resort that’s just steps away from the property,” said Jim Dullanty, president of the Grand Summit Homeowner’s Association. “This transformation will undoubtedly elevate the experience for all of Grand Summit Hotel’s guests as well as the unit owners themselves.”

The renovation will include a complete overhaul of all 212 suites, including new interior finishes, furnishings, soft goods, appliances, artwork and technology. The property’s communal spaces will also be incorporated into the renovation, including the lobby and front desk, full remodel of the on-site spa, café and general store, and refresh of the conference and meeting spaces.

The interior design work will be conducted by Boulder, Colo.-based TRH Interior Design, which has also designed and transformed other Vail Resorts properties such as Crystal Peak Lodge in Breckenridge, Colo., as well as other luxury mountain properties such as the Westin Snowmass Resort and the Lumiere Hotel in Telluride.

Following the extensive renovation, the Grand Summit Hotel will be flagged as a RockResort.

RockResorts, a division of Vail Resorts, owns and operates a collection of premium properties, lavish RockResorts Spas and distinctive dining options in iconic mountain locations.

“We are thrilled to add Grand Summit to the RockResorts collection,” said Ron Neville, Vail Resorts’ vice president of hospitality. “The RockResorts brand represents the hallmark of casually elegant properties with exceptional service in our mountain resort locations. We’re looking forward to continuing to deliver extraordinary service and experiences to our guests at the Grand Summit.”

The Grand Summit Hotel sits majestically in the heart of Canyons Village at Park City. Its 212 lock-off suites provide guests with more than 290 lodging options, including hotel rooms, studios, one-, two- and three-bedroom suites and expansive luxury penthouses. Many rooms have balconies, fireplaces, double showers and full kitchens with service for eight guests. The Grand Summit’s heated outdoor swimming pool is an ideal place to relax after an adventurous day of exploring the outdoors year round. More information about Grand Summit Hotel can be found here.

RockResorts, a wholly owned subsidiary of Vail Resorts, owns and operates luxury resorts that offer casually elegant accommodations, lavish RockResorts Spas, renowned golf courses, award-winning dining and a variety of exciting outdoor adventures. The RockResorts collection includes The Arrabelle at Vail Square and The Lodge at Vail in Vail, Colo.; The Osprey at Beaver Creek and The Pines Lodge in Beaver Creek, Colo.; and One Ski Hill Place in Breckenridge, Colo.

Vail Resorts, Inc subsidiaries operate 10 world-class mountain resorts and three urban ski areas, including Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone in Colorado; Park City in Utah; Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood in the Lake Tahoe area of California and Nevada; Perisher in Australia; Whistler Blackcomb in Canada; Afton Alps in Minnesota, Mt. Brighton in Michigan and Wilmot Mountain in Wisconsin. The Company owns and/or manages a collection of casually elegant hotels under the RockResorts brand, as well as the Grand Teton Lodge Company in Jackson Hole, Wyo. Vail Resorts Development Company is the real estate planning and development subsidiary of Vail Resorts, Inc. Vail Resorts is a publicly held company traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: MTN). The Vail Resorts company website is www.vailresorts.com and consumer website is www.snow.com.
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Vail Resorts to Acquire Stowe Mountain Resort Vermont, Add to Epic Pass

March 27, 2017

Stowe Mountain Resort Vt

Vail Resorts is moving to complete the acquisition of Stowe Mountain Resort, Vermont, which would be the company’s first resort on the East Coast, and would give East Coast skiers more of a reason to buy the Epic Pass.

Vail Resorts, Inc. in February entered an agreement to acquire Stowe Mountain Resort from Mt. Mansfield Company, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of American International Group, Inc. (AIG), for a purchase price of $50 million, subject to certain adjustments. Stowe Mountain Resort will be Vail Resorts’ first mountain resort on the East Coast and complements the Company’s network of 10 world-class mountain resorts and three urban ski areas.

This acquisition brings together Vail Resorts, a leading mountain resort operator, with AIG Global Real Estate (AIGGRE), a major real estate developer, which share a common vision for the long-term success of Stowe Mountain Resort as a premier, high-end resort for skiers and snowboarders on the East Coast. Vail Resorts is acquiring all of the assets related to the mountain operations of the resort, including base area skier services (food and beverage, retail and rental, lift ticket offices and ski and snowboard school facilities) at Mount Mansfield and Spruce Peak. Other facilities such as the Stowe Mountain Lodge, Stowe Mountain Club, Stowe Country Club and certain real estate owned and held for potential future development will be retained by MMC.

“We’re thrilled to add Stowe Mountain Resort to our family of world-class mountain resorts. With the investments in both mountain infrastructure and base area facilities that AIG has made over the years, Stowe Mountain Resort has become the premier, high-end resort for East Coast skiers and snowboarders. We look forward to working with AIG to continue enhancing the guest experience and to ensure the resort’s long-term success,” said Rob Katz, chairman and chief executive officer of Vail Resorts.

Douglas Tymins, president and chief executive officer of AIG Global Real Estate, said, “Under Vail Resorts’ management, Stowe’s reputation as a premier ski destination with a commitment to excellent service will continue to grow. AIGGRE is looking forward to combining Vail Resorts’ tremendous mountain operations capabilities with our continued commitment to the development of the Spruce Peak community.”

Stowe Mountain Resort in Stowe, Vt., has undergone major capital and facilities improvements including the Spruce Peak Adventure Center, the new Meadows Quad on Spruce Peak, Evolution Stowe’s RFID tickets, passes and gates and the new Shops at Spruce Peak. Spruce Peak also has new high-speed lifts, new base facilities and gourmet restaurants. MMC will retain ownership of the renowned Stowe Mountain Lodge at Stowe Mountain Resort, a 312-room hotel and spa that has already been recognized as one of the greenest and most luxurious mountainside hotels in the world, and additional slopeside real estate opportunities.

This transaction is subject to Vermont administrative review. At closing, the purchase price will be adjusted for certain agreed upon terms, including a reduction (or increase) in the price by the amount that the resort’s EBITDA exceeds capital expenditures for the period from Nov. 1, 2016, through closing. Stowe Mountain Resort is expected to generate incremental annual EBITDA in excess of $5 million in Vail Resorts’ fiscal year ending July 31, 2018.

Vail Resorts plans to integrate Stowe Mountain Resort into its Epic Pass and other season pass products for the 2017-18 winter season, subject to the acquisition closing. With the Epic Pass, Vermont skiers and snowboarders will have unlimited access locally at Stowe at an attractive price as well as the best of the West at Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone in Colorado; Park City in Utah; Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood in Tahoe; and Whistler Blackcomb in British Columbia, Canada.

See: Vail Resorts Plans to Add Stowe Vermont to 2017-18 Epic Pass Giving Northeastern Skiers New Reason to Buy

Vail Resorts, Inc subsidiaries operate 10 world-class mountain resorts and three urban ski areas, including Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone in Colorado; Park City in Utah; Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood in the Lake Tahoe area of California and Nevada; Perisher in Australia; Whistler Blackcomb in Canada; Afton Alps in Minnesota, Mt. Brighton in Michigan and Wilmot Mountain in Wisconsin. The Company owns and/or manages a collection of casually elegant hotels under the RockResorts brand, as well as the Grand Teton Lodge Company in Jackson Hole, Wyo. Vail Resorts Development Company is the real estate planning and development subsidiary of Vail Resorts, Inc. Vail Resorts is a publicly held company traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: MTN). The Vail Resorts company website is www.vailresorts.com and consumer website is www.snow.com.
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Vail Resorts Plans to Add Stowe Vermont to 2017-18 Epic Pass Giving Northeastern Skiers New Reason to Buy

March 27, 2017

 

 

Park City, Utah, which now encompasses The Canyons making it the largest ski resort in the United States, is one of 10 world-class Western resorts that are part of the Vail Resorts collection, all included on the Epic Pass. Now, the pending acquisition of Stowe, Vermont, gives Northeastern skiers added reason to purchase the pass © 2017 Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Vail Resorts just announced that the Epic Pass plans to offer unlimited, unrestricted access to Stowe Mountain Resort for the 2017-2018 winter season, subject to the closing of the acquisition. Purchasing the 2017-2018 Epic Pass now through Sunday, April 9 ensures that skiers and snowboarders will lock in the lowest price, combined with the most benefits, such as six discounted lift tickets (“Buddy Tickets”) for family and friends.  Stowe will be the newest resort among 45 of the world’s most iconic mountain destinations to be offered with the Epic Pass (subject to the closing of the acquisition) – which includes 10 world-class Western destination resorts, among them Vail, Breckenridge, Park City, and Whistler Blackcomb.

The addition of Stowe, for the first time gives Northeastern skiers an even better incentive to purchase the Epic pass, which pays for itself after just five days of skiing, especially if they take advantage of the early bird discounted rates.

Available for $639, the Epic Local Pass offers unprecedented value to guests who are willing to plan around a few restrictions. Skiers and snowboarders would receive a total of 10 days at Stowe (subject to the acquisition closing), Vail, Beaver Creek, and Whistler Blackcomb with holiday restrictions; unlimited, unrestricted skiing or riding at Breckenridge, Keystone and Arapahoe Basin; and access with limited restrictions at Park City, Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood.

Available at $859 for adults, the 2017-2018 Epic Pass offers access to 45 of the world’s best mountain resorts – including Stowe Mountain Resort in Vermont, subject to the acquisition closing; Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone and Arapahoe Basin in Colorado; Whistler Blackcomb in Canada; Park City in Utah; Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood at Lake Tahoe; Perisher in Australia; Afton Alps in Minnesota; Mt. Brighton in Michigan and Wilmot Mountain in Wisconsin. Epic Pass holders will again enjoy limited access to 30 European ski resorts including Verbier and Les 4 Vallées in Switzerland, Les 3 Vallées in France; Arlberg in Austria; and Skirama Dolomiti Adamello Brenta in Italy. Each resort delivers an iconic experience, unique alpine traditions and impeccable service. Purchasing the 2017-2018 Epic Pass this spring ensures skiers and snowboarders the lowest price, combined with the most benefits, such as six discounted lift tickets (“Buddy Tickets”) for family and friends.

For guests interested in skiing Stowe exclusively, Vail Resorts anticipates offering limited Stowe-specific season pass options.  Details about pricing, access and benefits will be announced after the close of the acquisition.

“We look forward to welcoming Stowe to our family of world-class resorts, to continue providing our guests with exceptional experiences, and to build upon the unprecedented value of the Epic Pass,” said Kirsten Lynch, chief marketing officer of Vail Resorts. “With the addition of Stowe, the Epic Pass would provide guests access to the East Coast’s most iconic skiing, as well as unlimited, unrestricted access to the best of the West – including Vail, Breckenridge, Park City and Whistler Blackcomb, among many additional world-renowned destination resorts throughout North America.”

You can purchase season passes and start planning their next winter vacations at EpicPass.com.

2017-2018 Ski and Snowboard Season Pass Options

Epic Pass™: Ski unlimited and unrestricted from opening day to closing day for only $859. The Epic Pass pays for itself in just over four days of skiing or snowboarding. Enjoy unlimited, unrestricted access to Stowe (subject to the closing of the acquisition); Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone and Arapahoe Basin in Colorado; Whistler Blackcomb in Canada Park City in Utah; Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood at Lake Tahoe; Perisher in Australia; Afton Alps in Minnesota; Mt. Brighton in Michigan, and Wilmot Mountain in Wisconsin for the 2017-2018 season. The Epic Pass grants limited access to Arlberg in Austria; Les 3 Vallées, Paradiski and Tignes-Val D’Isere in France; Skirama Dolomiti in Italy and 4 Vallées in Switzerland. No restricted dates. A child pass (ages five to 12) is $449.

Epic Local Pass™: For $639, receive 10 days at Stowe (subject to the closing of the acquisition), Vail, Beaver Creek and Whistler Blackcomb with holiday restrictions; unlimited and unrestricted skiing and snowboarding at Breckenridge, Keystone and Arapahoe Basin; and skiing and snowboarding at Park City, Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood with limited restrictions. The Epic Local Pass pays for itself in just over three days. A child pass (ages five to 12) is $339.

Epic 7-Day™: Perfect for skiers in search of a week of skiing. The pass pays for itself in just over three days and includes a total of seven unrestricted days valid at Stowe (subject to the closing of the acquisition), Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone, Whistler Blackcomb, Park City, Heavenly, Northstar, Kirkwood and Arapahoe Basin, plus seven free days at Afton Alps, Mt. Brighton or Wilmot Mountain. The Epic 7-Day Pass is $639 for adults and $339 for children (ages five to 12).

Epic 4-Day™: A convenient option for a short ski trip. The pass pays for itself in just over two days and includes a total of four unrestricted days valid at Stowe (subject to the closing of the acquisition), Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone, Whistler Blackcomb, Park City, Heavenly, Northstar, Kirkwood and Arapahoe Basin, plus four free days at Afton Alps, Mt. Brighton or Wilmot Mountain. The Epic 4-Day Pass is $419 for adults and $229 for children (ages five to 12).

Those who purchase the Epic Pass or Epic Local Pass prior to April 9 will receive six Buddy Tickets that are automatically loaded onto your Epic Pass or Epic Local Pass – the best discounted rate for lift tickets that pass holders can give to friends or family to use.

Season Pass Insurance: Vail Resorts encourages guests to purchase pass insurance. All of the Company’s season pass products are non-refundable and non-transferable; however, pass insurance covers pass holders in the event of unexpected circumstances including sickness, injury and job loss. Find out more at EpicPass.com.

For those who want to ski Stowe exclusively, Vail Resorts anticipates offering limited Stowe-specific season pass options.  Details about pricing, access and benefits will be announced after the official close of acquisition.

Vail Resorts, Inc subsidiaries operate 10 world-class mountain resorts and three urban ski areas, including Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone in Colorado; Park City in Utah; Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood in the Lake Tahoe area of California and Nevada; Perisher in Australia; Whistler Blackcomb in Canada; Afton Alps in Minnesota, Mt. Brighton in Michigan and Wilmot Mountain in Wisconsin. The Company owns and/or manages a collection of casually elegant hotels under the RockResorts brand, as well as the Grand Teton Lodge Company in Jackson Hole, Wyo. Vail Resorts Development Company is the real estate planning and development subsidiary of Vail Resorts, Inc.

Visit www.snow.com for more information.
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NYS To Spend $20 Million on Major Upgrades at Gore, Whiteface Mountains

January 26, 2017
Whiteface Mountain, Lake Placid, NY is so have millions of dollars in upgrades © 2017 Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Whiteface Mountain, Lake Placid, NY is so have millions of dollars in upgrades © 2017 Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

New York State will invest up to $20 million for major upgrades at Whiteface and Gore Mountains to attract more visitors and build on the North Country’s bourgeoning winter tourism industry. The investments will enhance the current facilities at Gore and Whiteface Mountains and create state-of-the art skiing, lodging, dining and retail opportunities as well as year-round activities. The project will be the first major upgrade at both Whiteface and Gore in 30 years and will develop opportunities to increase off-season revenue, while making these facilities more competitive with other resorts around the world.

“Winter tourism is a key driver of the North Country economy and we have made it a top priority to leverage natural assets in the region to increase visitors, create jobs and spur economic growth,” Governor Andrew Cuomo said. “New York State has Olympic-caliber assets and world-class skiing, but the facilities at Gore and Whiteface are outdated and sub-par. This investment will transform these resorts into year-round, world-class skiing destinations, and attract new skiers and snowboarders from around the globe.”

The investment will build on the current facilities at the mountains and create an unparalleled tourism destination for visitors in the North Country. In addition, it will help expand opportunities for local small businesses in the surrounding areas and help promote the state’s vast winter recreational opportunities. This investment will leverage up to $80 million in private funding to add additional amenities and retail options for guests. The $20 million for the upgrades at Whiteface and Gore is in addition to $10 million the state is providing to the Olympic Regional Development Authority as part of the 2017-18 FY budget.

Modern day ski resorts are shifting their primary functions from just purely ski and snowboarding based facilities to ones that provide upscale amenities, conveniences and year round attractions. Substantial improvements to the day lodge facilities at both Gore and Whiteface Mountains will make them competitive with other world resorts and able to meet ever-changing resort needs.

Improvements to the Whiteface Mountain Ski facility would encourage growth and investment in nearby Wilmington and other surrounding areas thereby increasing year-round visitation.

The upgrades at Whiteface include:

  • Expanding the Bear Den Lodge and adding a state-of-the-art learning center, bar and restaurant;
  • Expanding and renovating the Adirondack Base Lodge and parking lot;
  • Installing a line connecting the Bear Den Learning Center area to the Mid Station;
  • Building one of the longest zip lines in North America; and
  • Building the longest mountain coaster in the United States.

Improvements to Gore facilities would significantly increase revenue opportunities and growth internally and for private investors. Enhancing this market reach will make Gore to a more competitive experience.

Snowboarding at Gore Mountain. Improvements include restoring the original 1967 gondola unloading station into a Gore summit warming facility and overlook © 2017 Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Snowboarding at Gore Mountain. Improvements include restoring the original 1967 gondola unloading station into a Gore summit warming facility and overlook © 2017 Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

The upgrades at Gore include:

  • Expanding seating capacity and modernizing the Saddle Lodge’s facilities and infrastructure;
  • Adding a third story to the Base Lodge – building corporate meeting room space, additional seating and customer amenities, and expanding the rental shop in the Northwoods Lodge; and
  • Restoring the original 1967 gondola unloading station into a Gore summit warming facility and overlook.

When comparing Whiteface and Gore to other competitive North American ski resorts including Killington, both facilities fall short in providing world-class amenities and year-round activities. Making improvements at these mountains will drive increased revenue for the facilities and the surrounding communities and will ultimately expand economic growth and investment opportunities. It will also make unparalleled skiing and winter recreation opportunities more accessible to visitors from New York City and downstate regions closer than other skiing locations throughout the northeast.

Economic Impact of Tourism in New York
Tourism is an economic driver for New York State, and especially important in Upstate. In 2015, the tourism industry generated a total economic impact of $102 billion – an all-time high for the state. Winter tourism at Whiteface and Gore Mountains accounts for more than $100 million in economic impact each year in the North Country.

Last week, the Governor also unveiled a new marketing campaign designed to increase visitors and generate interest in New York State’s top winter tourism attractions and destinations. New York will host its annual Free Snowmobiling Weekend for all out-of-state and Canadian snowmobilers from Friday, February 3, through Sunday, February 5, 2017. The state’s snowmobiling community generates a total economic impact of approximately $868 million, according to a 2011 study by the State University at Potsdam.
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Learn to Ski or Ride at Liftopia’s Top-Rated Beginner-Friendly Ski Areas

January 6, 2017
vt-ski-smuggs-122610_58e2-c-karen-rubin

Smugglers Notch, Vermont, came in #7 for Best Family resorts and #10 for Top Beginner Friendly in the Northeast on Liftopia’s Best in Snow Awards list © 2017 Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

January is Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month, and Liftopia, which claims to be the largest online and mobile marketplace for lift tickets and other mountain activities, has compiled a list of the top beginner-friendly and family-friendly ski areas across North America that are ideal for those looking to learn one of winter’s signature sports.

This list is part of Liftopia’s Best in Snow Awards, honoring North America’s most beloved ski areas. The awards, unveiled last week, feature winners across five regions and seven categories (including Beginner-Friendly and Family-Friendly) that Liftopia customers said would be most useful in helping them make the most informed decisions when choosing where to ski or snowboard, regardless of ski area size. You can find the complete list of winners along with methodology here: https://bestinsnow.liftopia.com/#/.

Some highlights:

West Coast:  California has the most beginner-friendly and family-friendly ski areas in the West, including Tahoe Donner (first place in the family-friendly category), June, Boreal, Bear Valley, Snow Valley, Homewood, Donner Ski Ranch, Mammoth, Squaw Valley-Alpine Meadows and Sierra-At-Tahoe. Anthony Lakes (OR) is the #1 beginner-friendly ski area in the region.

Northeast: Bretton Woods is the #1 beginner-friendly and family-friendly ski area in the region. In addition to Bretton Woods, New Hampshire has the most beginner-friendly and family-friendly ski areas in the Northeast, including King Pine, Cranmore, Black Mountain, Pats Peak, Ragged and Attitash.

High West: Utah is home to the most beginner-friendly and family-friendly ski areas in the High West, including Eagle Point (#1 Beginner-Friendly Ski Area), Sundance, Brighton, Powder, Alta, Solitude and Brian Head. In the Family Friendly category, Sipapu, NM came in #1 in the region.

Midwest: Michigan ski areas reign supreme in the Midwest, with the most beginner-friendly and family-friendly ski areas including Crystal Mountain (first place in both categories), Shanty Creek, Boyne Highlands, Caberfae, Nubs Nob and Boyne Mountain.

Southeast: West Virginia has the most beginner-friendly and family-friendly ski areas in the Southeast, with Canaan Valley the number one Beginner Friendly and Family Friendly Ski Area in the region. Other winners include Snowshoe, Timberline Four Seasons and Winterplace.

Liftopia operates the largest online and mobile marketplace and resort technology platform serving the ski and mountain activity industry. Skiers and riders can purchase lift tickets, equipment rentals, meal vouchers and more from more than 250 ski areas in North America on Liftopia.com and via the Liftopia mobile app, with savings of up to 85% off walk-up window rates when purchased in advance. Founded in 2005, Liftopia is headquartered in San Francisco and backed by leading institutional and angel investors. Visit the Liftopia blog or follow the company on Facebook and Twitter.

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Magic Mountain, Crystal Mountain, Mad River Glen Get Top Spots in Liftopia’s First-Ever ‘Best in Snow’ Awards

January 6, 2017

SAN FRANCISCO– Liftopia, the largest online and mobile marketplace for lift tickets and other mountain activities, unveiled its first-ever 2016-17 Best in Snow Awards honoring the most beloved ski areas in North America. Unlike other awards, the 2016-17 Best in Snow Awards, is the only ranking that incorporates the largest dataset in the industry combined with feedback from thousands of skiers and snowboarders to determine ski areas they are most passionate about in North America.

The 2016-17 Best in Snow Awards, Powered By Liftopia, features winners across seven categories that Liftopia customers identified as most useful for choosing where to ski or snowboard, regardless of ski area size. These categories include Beginner-Friendly, Most Challenging, Family-Friendly, Best Snow Consistency and Quality, Least Crowded, and Best Value in addition to overall Best in Snow. Winners were compiled in five different regions: Northeast, West Coast, High West, Southeast and Midwest.

Magic Mountain in Vermont took the top spot as Overall Best in Snow winner in North America, with customers saying it’s “the best kept secret in the Northeast” and “a true skier’s mountain” that is “steeped in tradition” and “never overcrowded” with “awesome terrain,” “challenging runs,” and “the best staff in the business.” Crystal Mountain in Michigan, coming in second, received raves for their “great atmosphere,” “lifts and runs are fun and varied,” “people are very friendly” and “they’re always doing improvements at the resort.” Liftopia customers love the terrain at third place Mad River Glen in Vermont, saying “Nothing compares to the challenge of Northeast skiing and Mad River Glen. It is simply the best if you are up for it.”

The remaining Overall Best in Snow winners include Alta, Utah (#4); Jay Peak, Vt. (#5); Bretton Woods, N.H. (#6); Wildcat Mountain, N.H. (#7); Powder Mountain, Utah (#8); Snowbird, Utah (#9); and Sugarloaf, Maine (#10). Bretton Woods and Crystal Mountain took top spots as Beginner- and Family-Friendly Ski Areas as well as Ski Areas With the Best Snow Consistency and Quality in their respective regions (Northeast and Midwest); Magic Mountain is the Most Challenging Ski Area in the Northeast; Alta has the Best Snow Consistency and Quality in the High West; and Powder Mountain offers the Best Value in the High West.

“For years people have told us they wanted a ranking system that wasn’t based simply on which resorts were the biggest or relied on a handful of ‘expert’ opinions or advertising dollars. They want to find their next favorite ski area and to know which resorts are most beloved by other skiers and boarders,” said Evan Reece, co-founder and CEO of Liftopia. “We crafted the Best in Snow Awards with details from a consumer survey and combined the results with our proprietary data to uncover the ski areas people love most. We are excited that the findings show what we already believed to be true: consumers do have amazing passion for ski areas of all sizes.”

Methodology

To compile the 2016-17 Best in Snow Awards, Liftopia surveyed their customers to measure their enthusiasm on specific aspects of their favorite resorts such as family friendliness, challenging terrain, crowds, and snow consistency and quality. Respondents took into consideration criteria such as snow quality and conditions, grooming, accessibility, terrain variety and difficulty, vertical drop, learn to ski and snowboard programs, staff and instructors, resort size, crowds and lift lines, accessibility of lifts and beginner terrain, off-slope activities, the surrounding community, and cost of lift tickets, rentals and programs, among others. More than 10,000 responses were then weighted with a proprietary algorithm based on Liftopia’s exclusive dataset that includes skier and snowboarder visits annually, acreage, uphill capacity and average true cost of skiing to surface the best ski areas overall, across seven categories and five regions, based on what matters most to skiers and snowboarders.

Winners for the Overall Best in Snow, Beginner Friendly Ski Areas, Most Challenging Ski Areas, Family Friendly Ski Areas and Ski Areas with the Best Snow Consistency and Quality categories were determined by the total number of votes from survey participants for their favorite resorts in each category, normalized by skier and snowboarder visits annually. Winners for the Least Crowded Ski Areas category were determined by total number of skier and snowboarder visits annually divided by skiable acreage as well as participant feedback and votes on the least crowded ski area. Winners for the Ski Areas with the Best Value category were determined by total number of votes for ski area with the best value, normalized by skier and snowboarder visits annually and the average true cost of skiing based on effective ticket prices per resort, including ticket window, advance purchase and season pass data.

Complete List of 2016-17 Best in Snow Awards, Powered By Liftopia: The winning ski areas in each category and region can be found by visiting http://bestinsnow.liftopia.com/

About Liftopia

Liftopia operates the largest online and mobile marketplace and resort technology platform serving the ski and mountain activity industry. Skiers and riders can purchase lift tickets, equipment rentals, meal vouchers and more from more than 250 ski areas in North America on Liftopia.com and via the Liftopia mobile app, with savings of up to 85% off walk-up window rates when purchased in advance. Founded in 2005, Liftopia is headquartered in San Francisco and backed by leading institutional and angel investors. Visit the Liftopia blog or follow the company on Facebook and Twitter.

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Ski Vermont’s Specialty Food Days Tour Returns to the Mountains for 2017

December 31, 2016
okemo-010316_20160105_199e2-c-karen-rubin-bubble

Ski Vermont’s Specialty Food Tour comes to Okemo Mountain Resort on Friday, February 24, 2017. At Okemo, ride to the mountain top in comfort of the bubble chair © 2016 Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

From Vermont’s highly recognizable brands like Cabot Cheese, Ben & Jerry’s and Vermont maple syrup to local goodies like Kimball Brook Farm chocolate milk and Gringo Jack’s chips and salsa, enjoy all the flavors of Vermont during the Ski Vermont 2017 Specialty Food Day Tour. This season Ski Vermont’s marketing partners Long Trail Brewery, Woodchuck Cider, Silo Vodka, Mad River Distillers and Caledonia Spirits will bring an added element to the tour with beer, cider and spirits tasting.

“The Specialty Food Days Tour is such an exciting program to oversee,” said Adam Rowe, Marketing Manager at Ski Vermont. “We have some great new spirit sponsors lined up for the 2016-17 season, and some of the best local food producers in Vermont. I can’t wait to watch the skiers and riders enjoy this year’s offerings and tell others about it online through our #SnackSkiVT contest.”

Specialty Food Days for 2017 are scheduled for:

  • Saturday, January 14, 2017: Quechee Ski Area
  • Friday, January 27, 2017: Jay Peak Resort
  • Saturday, January 28, 2017: Burke Mountain Resort
  • Tuesday, January 31, 2017: Mad River Glen
  • Saturday, February 11, 2017: Bromley Mountain
  • Saturday, February 18, 2017: Middlebury College Snow Bowl
  • Tuesday, February 21, 2017: Smugglers’ Notch Resort
  • Friday, February 24, 2017: Okemo Mountain Resort
  • Saturday, March 4, 2017: Pico Mountain
  • Sunday, March 5, 2017: Magic Mountain
  • Saturday, March 11, 2017: Killington Resort
  • Saturday, March 18, 2017: Sugarbush Resort
  • Sunday, March 19, 2017: Bolton Valley
  • Saturday, March 25, 2017: Stratton Mountain Resort
  • Saturday, April 8, 2017: Stowe Mountain Resort

Skiers and riders can participate in a contest this year during Ski Vermont’s Specialty Food Day tour. Samplers will be encouraged to take photos of their food and beverage experiences and tag them #SnackSkiVT on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Ski Vermont will choose one winner at the end of the season and send them a prize bag full of swag from Ski Vermont partners and two lift tickets for the 2017-18 season.

Returning Vermont food vendors include: Cabot Cheese, Vermont maple syrup makers, Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, Kimball Brook Farms chocolate milk, Gringo Jack’s chips and salsa, Karen’s Artisan Popcorn, It’s Arthur’s Fault sauces, and Ambrosia Confections. New vendors include Vermont Peanut Butter Company, Caledonia Spirits, Mad River Distillers and Silo Vodka. 

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Ski Vermont Welcomes 2017 with New Ways to Hit the Slopes, Save and Win Big

December 31, 2016
pico-122410_136e2c-karen-rubin-49er

Skiing at Pico Mountain Resort, Vermont. Vermont ski resorts are welcoming 2017 with a host of special programs and events © 2016 Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Montpelier, VT – Ski Vermont pairs with partners in Vermont and across the country to provide great programs and incentives to get on the slopes this season. Long time skiers and riders, as well as those looking to learn a snowsport for the first time can win great prizes like lift tickets to Vermont resorts, skis from Rossignol and snowboards from Burton, among many other prizes this season.

Longtime participants in the national Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month initiative, Vermont resorts offer $49 beginner packages during the month of January. Ski Vermont also offers the Take 3 Pass this season, which includes 3 beginner lessons for just $129. Ten participants in this program are eligible to receive a pair of Rossignol skis or a Burton snowboard at the end of the season.

Ski Vermont aims to reward already established Vermont-loving skiers and snowboarders this season with the new Bring-a-Friend program and the 2016-17 Season Scavenger Hunt. For those that want to introduce a friend or family member to skiing or snowboarding, they simply need to refer them (or gift them) a Ski Vermont Take 3 Pass and help get them to the slopes and into their first lesson. The first 100 participants will receive 2 lift tickets to a resort in Vermont.

Social-savvy skiers and riders can participate in the inaugural Ski Vermont Scavenger Hunt this season. Each week, starting on Thursday, December 29th, Ski Vermont will announce the resort, product and prize of the week on Instagram and Facebook. Participants post photos of the resorts and/or product that week to be entered to win prizes from Ski Vermont partners like Darn Tough socks, Skida headwear, Vermont maple syrup and more. Two lucky participants will walk away with a Burton Process Flying V snowboard or a pair of Rossignol Soul 7 HD skis at the close of the season.

“We are extremely excited to launch new initiatives for both beginners and established skiers and riders this season,” said Ski Vermont’s Director of Marketing and Communications Sarah Wojcik. “With great incentives provided by our partners and Vermont resorts, Ski Vermont aims to reward those visiting our Green Mountains and reveling in the state’s official winter sports – whether for the first time or hundredth.”

For the 17th year in a row, Ski Vermont is offering the Fifth Grade Passport, allowing fifth graders to ski virtually for free up to 88 days at Vermont alpine and Nordic resorts. For more information on Ski Vermont’s programs and incentives to slide, visit skivermont.com.

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White Christmas for Lake Tahoe Means More Skiing, Festive Holiday Celebrations

December 18, 2016
Ski Heavenly

Heavenly Mountain Resort which already has a blanket of snow for great skiing, is set to host its annual Heavenly Holidays at Heavenly Village, a two-week festival featuring ice sculptors, live music, 16-foot snow globe inside which kids can get their picture taken with Santa, culminating with New year’s Eve concert, LED dance show, Gondola ball drop and dazzling fireworks show © 2016 Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Lake Tahoe, Calif. & Nev. – Another round of snow-laden storms delivered close to two feet of fresh snow to the Northern Sierra, a timely gift atop the Christmas wish lists of Lake Tahoe-bound skiers and snowboarders. The entire destination has been transformed into a festive winter wonderland as the region readies to welcome holiday travelers and New Year’s Eve revelers during the action-packed weeks leading up to 2017.

Benefitting from an active weather pattern off the Pacific Coast over the last two months, Lake Tahoe resorts continue to open additional chairlifts and terrain with season snowfall totals recently surpassing the 100-inch mark. Powder-minded skiers and snowboarders will find plenty of fresh snow over the holiday season as forecasters are calling for a perfect blend of sunny skies and intermittent storms to freshen up the slopes.

“This latest round of storms ensures a White Christmas in Lake Tahoe with miles of open trails and skiing and snowboarding options for every ability level,” said Mike Pierce, President of Ski Lake Tahoe. “The beauty of Sierra Nevada storms is all it takes is one monster measured in feet rather than inches to open the entire mountain.”

The holiday season in Lake Tahoe is brimming with family-friendly celebrations and Santa sightings on the slopes, altogether creating winter vacation memories certain to last a lifetime. The festivities include torchlight parades, firework shows and East Coast NYE parties timed to celebrate the arrival of 2017 at 9:00pm PT so the younger revelers can still get their sleep before hitting the slopes the next day.

For the adult crowd, New Year’s Eve in Lake Tahoe is truly a sight to behold as the evening climaxes with the biggest slope-side block party on the planet with thousands of revelers spilling out into the Stateline casino corridor to celebrate the stroke of midnight. Music festivals, boundary-pushing nightclubs and Vegas-style entertainment await fun-seeking travelers who consider last chair to last call one of the high points of a great ski trip.

With new flights being added this season from important gateway air markets such as New York, Atlanta, Dallas and Los Angeles, the Reno-Tahoe International Airport now offers nonstop service from 23 major cities across the U.S. and Mexico with one-stop service from almost anywhere in the world. Destination travelers can visit www.SkiLakeTahoe.com for complete details on planning a winter getaway to Lake Tahoe and read on for an overview of festive events and fun-filled celebrations planned over the Christmas holidays and New Year’s Eve.

Holiday Festivities and Family-Friendly NYE Celebrations

Heavenly Mountain Resort is set to host its annual Heavenly Holidays at Heavenly Village, a two-week festival from December 19 through December 31 featuring ice sculptors, live music and a 16-foot, oversized snow globe inside which kids can get their picture taken with Santa. The two-week festival culminates on New Year’s Eve with an outdoor concert, LED dance show, 9:00pm Gondola ball drop and a dazzling firework show.

Skiing is believing at Homewood Mountain Resort as Santa Claus will take to the slopes each day from December 21-24 at 11:00am-2:00pm with the cobalt blue waters of Lake Tahoe serving as the perfect backdrop for an unforgettable Christmas card. The resort will also be celebrating the last runs of 2016 with its New Year’s Eve-ning celebration from 3-5:00pm on December 31 with live music, champagne toasts, s’mores, firepits, snowcat photo opportunities and poster signings by Homewood’s ski patrol dogs.

Taking advantage of its spectacular setting atop the Pacific Crest, Kirkwood Mountain Resort will be welcoming in the new year with its annual Torchlight Parade and New Year’s Eve Firework Show beginning at 6:00pm on December 31. The festivities include an on-snow bonfire and guests looking for the ultimate firework viewing experience can reserve a seat aboard the resort’s enclosed Expedition: Kirkwood snowcat for a ride to the top of Caples Crest for a complimentary champagne toast and hot chocolate.

Northstar California looks like a scene straight from a Charles Dickens novel as The Village Ice Rink and festive storefronts at the Village at Northstar have been decorated with thousands of twinkling lights and holiday garlands. Guests can enjoy Noel Nights on Thursdays in December with classic ways to celebrate the season including ice skating, sleigh rides and hot cocoa and s’mores beside a fire pit. These holiday traditions expand to nightly celebrations from December 15 through December 24 along with the addition of Santa Sightings and Ripperoo Parades. The resort will be ringing in 2017 on December 31 during its annual New Year’s Eve Fire & Ice Celebration featuring a David Bowie tribute band and a firework show at 9 pm.

Mt. Rose-Ski Tahoe was one of the first Lake Tahoe resorts to get into the holiday spirit as hundreds of skiers and snowboarders dressed as Santa took over the slopes on December 10 to take part in the resort’s annual Santa Ski Day. Long known for its laidback atmosphere and family-friendly vibe, Mt. Rose will be celebrating New Year’s Eve from 4:30-6:30pm on December 31 with a kids’ torchlight parade, a snowcat parade and its crowd-pleasing firework show.

Tis the season to shred at Sierra-at-Tahoe as the resort is set to host its Holiday Hollapalooza, from 12-2:00pm on December 18, a festive GS race pitting families and friends dressed up as Santa’s elves and Mrs. Claus in head-to-head heats. Sierra Saxmas also takes place on December 18 featuring some of California’s best saxophone players performing in the Solstice Plaza from 12-3:00pm. Sierra will be celebrating Christmas Eve on December 24 with an Apres Ski Ugly Sweater Party before Santa hits the slopes on Christmas Day, December 25.

Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows is rolling out Santa’s red carpet to commemorate its first annual Merry Days & Holly Nights from December 17-31, two-weeks of fun-filled holiday festivities featuring ice sculptor demonstrations, moonlit snowshoe tours, farm-to-table dinners with Olympians and legends, horse drawn carriage rides, a mini-Polar Express train for kids and a giant singing Christmas Tree. Special performances will include two nights of the Holly Feet & Grinch’s Groove show featuring the Utah Ballroom Dance Company, Truckee Dance Factory and a Grinch Look-a-Like contest for kids judged by Santa True himself. Guests can ski or ride with Olympic gold medalist Jonny Moseley on select days and the two-week celebration climaxes with a New Year’s Torchlight Parade and Fireworks Show on December 31.

SnowGlobe Music Festival, Boundary-Pushing NYE Parties

The Sixth Annual SnowGlobe Music Festival returns to South Lake Tahoe from December 29-31 bringing together a passion for music and mountains with multiple stages of world-class DJs and headlining acts combined with big air exhibitions by local skiers and snowboarders. This year’s lineup has doubled in size with scheduled performances by The Chainsmokers, Flume, Major Lazer, Odesza and many more.

Most of the major resort casinos in and around Lake Tahoe will be hosting over-the-top, Vegas-style New Year’s Eve parties with live music, international DJs, VIP booth service and no shortage of go-go dancers. The entire Stateline casino corridor turns into the biggest slope-side block party on the planet as thousands of revelers spill out into the barricaded streets to celebrate the arrival of 2017.

On New Year’s Eve, the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino will be hosting an 80’s Flashback Party featuring Glam Cobra in its Vinyl Event Venue as well as a DJ Extravaganza and Plaza Countdown. MontBleu Resort Casino will be throwing three parties for the price of one in its Blu and Opal Ultra Nightclubs as well as its newly renovated 16,000 square foot convention center. Four Color Zack will be behind the turntables at the Edge Nightclub in the Peppermill Reno with complimentary champagne toasts and a massive balloon drop at midnight.

Surrounding North America’s largest alpine lake, the collection of resorts that make up Ski Lake Tahoe are Heavenly, Homewood, Kirkwood, Mt. Rose-Ski Tahoe, Northstar California, Sierra-at-Tahoe and Squaw Valley | Alpine Meadows. Lake Tahoe boasts some of the highest annual snowfall totals in the entire country while still averaging more than 300 days of sunshine each year. The seven resorts, all offering breathtaking lake views and panoramic mountains vistas, are conveniently located near the Reno-Tahoe International Airport. For further information on how to book airfare, lodging, lift tickets and transportation for Ski Lake Tahoe resorts and their travel partners, visit www.SkiLakeTahoe.com

 

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Snow Pros Offer Tips to Get Your Kids Ready for a Ski Vacation

December 7, 2016

Keystone Mountain Resort

Ski school at Keystone Mountain Resort, Colorado © 2016 Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Is a ski holiday on tap for this year’s winter vacation? To insure the trip goes well, the snow pros from the Professional Ski and Snowboard Instructors of America (PSIA-AASI) National Team (the best-of-the-best ski and snowboard instructors in the country), suggest these simple tips to get kids ready for the slopes so your readers can make the most of their family winter vacation together:

  1. Be active as a family before your trip

Skiing and snowboarding are sports that require some physical fitness, so start an exercise program for you and your family. Whether it’s enrolling kids in soccer or another sport, to taking walks together as a family, it’s important to get moving.

  1. Do your homework on the weather

Most resorts have mountain cams and temperature updates. Know what the weather and temperature is like on the mountain and where you are staying, so you can dress your child appropriately for conditions. At some resorts temps vary greatly from the town versus the mountain.

  1. Try on ski/snowboard clothes and equipment before you go

For younger children getting used to putting on ski or snowboard equipment and clothing helps them adjust to the mountain environment more easily. You can make it a game and help them see their ski/snowboard clothes and equipment as something fun to play in versus something strange or bulky to wear. For older kids, it also helps to check to make sure everything still fits and is working properly before you arrive on the slopes.

  1. Invest in lessons for your kids

Having your kids learn from an expert can make their ski/snowboard experience more fun and also gives you time to enjoy the slopes. Set the expectation that the lesson is more like a sports practice than going to school and that they’ll have fun while getting to learn new skills.

  1. Watch ski/snowboard movies or videos to get everyone excited

Use media to motivate your kids and set expectations of what their experience on the mountain and lessons will be like. There’s an array of ski and snowboard clips on YouTube to videos on the PSIA-AASI YouTube Channel here.

  1. Pack the right gear

You don’t have to spend a fortune on kids’ ski and snowboard gear. Just make sure they have a good snowsuit that’s wind/snow resistant along with goggles, long socks pulled up below the knee, snow gloves and insulated layers. If they become more involved in the sport then you can invest in wicking base layers and more expensive jackets when they will be out on the mountain for longer periods of time.

 

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