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Snow Resorts are Magical Places for Winter Holidays

December 8, 2017
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Whistler-Blackcomb, British Columbia, Canada (© Mitchell Winton)

Snow-covered mountain resorts are particularly magical at the holidays, and they go all out.

“The quintessential holiday vacation is a ski trip in the mountains,” says CMO at Ski.com and industry veteran, Dan Sherman. “From elaborate light displays in quaint mountain villages and Santa races to holiday markets and torchlight parades, mountain destinations offer the epitome of an idyllic holiday atmosphere.”

Here are just a few examples:

Stowe, Vermont An idyllic New England town, Stowe is a winter wonderland. The streets of historic downtown come to life during the holidays with a local artisan market. From candy cane-making demos to the annual winter-themed ice carving, there is plenty to do off the mountain. Catch a holiday concert at the Spruce Peak Performing Arts Center or take the kids to a community screening of It’s a Wonderful Life. Ring in the New Year with Stowe’s on-mountain Torchlight Parade and Fireworks Show over Spruce Peak.

Vail, Colorado: Vail’s Holidays are held from November 29th through December 31st. The festivities kick off with the annual Kris Kringle Market, an outdoor market featuring 34 local and regional Colorado vendors, where travelers can pick up unique last minute gifts. On the evening of December 17th, join the Mayor and take in the Town of Vail Tree Lighting by the Covered Bridge, while the Vail Children’s Choir sings. On December 22nd, Vail Winterfest Ice Theater hosts their Grand Opening Celebration. Ice Sculptor Paul Wertin creates oversized ice chairs where travelers can kick back and relax while enjoying film projects, such as How the Grinch Stole Christmas. On New Year’s Eve, ski instructors and locals form a glowing train down the mountain, while fireworks bring in the new year, lighting up Vail’s iconic setting. Other activities include ice skating, lantern making, holiday sweater runs to burn off some extra calories and children’s cookies and tea parties.

Whistler Blackcomb, Canada Dress like Santa and Ms. Claus and ski for free on the annual Santa Ski Day, this December in Whistler. The first 75 guests to arrive at the Garibaldi Lift Company dressed in holiday garb will be awarded a free lift ticket. The iconic Fire & Ice shows light up the town every Sunday evening as skiers and snowboarders hit a big air jump through a ring of fire. The 34th annual Christmas Eve Carol Service takes place at the Westin Resort and Spa, bringing to life the story of the birth of Christ along with traditional carols and music. In addition, children can ice skate with Santa throughout the holiday season at the Whistler Olympic Plaza.

Vorderstadt Kitzb¸hel

Kitzbühel, Austria (© Markus Mitterer)

Kitzbuhel, Austria An ultimate holiday destination for skiing and festivities, the town of Kitzbuhel transforms into a Christmas market and winter wonderland from November 30th through December 26th. Featuring traditional Tyrolean crafts, food and traditions, the market celebrates the holidays with a variety of musical acts featuring local choirs and musicians, Christmas readings, petting zoos and pony rides for the children. On January 1st, thousands of locals and visitors ring in the New Year with a torch skiing and flame jumping show, complete with the 64th annual fireworks show put on by fireworks champion, Armin Lukasser.

Squaw Valley, California: The holidays kick off in Squaw and Alpine Meadows on December 16th with the Opening Ceremonies. The Ceremonies include a glow stick parade, lead by the one and only Santa. The parade meanders through Squaw’s “Ye Olde Christmas Village” and the “Merry Wonderland” (a transformed Olympic Village Lodge). Check out the Ice Garden and performances by the Truckee Tahoe Community Chorus. Participants will also enjoy the “Taste of Squaw,” where local dining establishments provide free bites of signature items. Santa continues his visits throughout the week, stopping at the Merry Wonderland, the Ice Garden, Village at Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows. On December 21st, visitors can enjoy a concert put on by the Squaw Valley Institute featuring blues-infused covers of classics by likes of BB King, Kat King Cole, Otis Redding, Eric Clapton and more. Other festivities include Ugly Sweater parties, brunch with Santa and skiing with Santa on December 25th.

Innsbruck, Austria: From mid-November through early January, the capitol of Tyrol is awash with Christmas festivities. The neighborhood of Alstadt features popular Medieval houses on the narrow Kiebachgasse street. Brothers Grimm characters peer down from the widows and tickle the imagination of children and the young at heart. Vendor booths are laden with festive goods like gingerbread, wooden toys and hand-blown ornaments. Every day at dusk, trumpeters perform traditional carols on the 500-year-old Golden Roof. Don’t miss Kiachln, a traditional Advent doughnut served with hot cranberry sauce. Take a ride up the funicular to Hafelekar, located just outside of Innsbruck to enjoy the twinkling city below.

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Sun Valley, Idaho (© Kevin Syms)

Sun Valley, Idaho The birthplace of skiing in the U.S., Sun Valley, Idaho is a small town with five-star amenities, but without the crowds. Christmas festivities start early with the annual Tree Lighting Ceremony on December 16th. Santa will be present, as well as the Sun Valley Carolers, an ice carving demo and free cookies and hot chocolate. Carolers perform daily performances throughout the Sun Valley Village and at various Sun Valley restaurants through the holidays. A European-style open-air market on the Sun Valley Lawn features vendors and holiday goodies. On Christmas Eve, enjoy the Winter Wonderland Ice Show while warming up with free hot chocolate and fresh-baked cookies at the Lodge. Don’t miss Christmas Eve fireworks and a sky-illuminating torchlight parade down Dollar Mountain. Take sleigh rides to Trail Creek Cabin for dinner or amble down Main Street in Ketchum, lit up with a festive holiday gallery walk and festive decorations on all of the beautiful lodges.

Aspen, Colorado: The 12 Days of Aspen usher in the holidays in Aspen, Colorado. On December 20th, kids can make their parents a special gift at the St. Regis, while LeAnn Rimes will perform at the Belly Up that evening. The following day, Santa will be at the Winer Wonderland with his live reindeer. Come meet St. Nick and enjoy free hot cocoa and cookies while getting your picture taken. Santa will also be conducting sleigh rides throughout the 12 Days through town with Mrs. Claus; visitors can reserve spots in advance to take a ride. During the afternoons the spirited Hotel Jerome will be hosting carolers for visitors and locals alike. On the 23rd, everyone’s favorite characters from Peanuts come to life at the Wheeler Opera House with a presentation of A Charlie Brown Christmas. And finally, on the 31st, ring in the New Year with an astounding fireworks show over Aspen Mountain. The Infamous Stringdusters will cap off the evening with a performance at the Wheeler Opera House.

For assistance making travel arrangements, visit Ski.com (you can do an on-line chat with a specialist) or call 800-908-5000 or 970-429-3099.

 

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What a Stocking Stuffer! Kids’ Night on Broadway Tickets Now on Sale

December 6, 2017
NYC-Bdway_20160216_213153915e2 (c) Karen Rubin

Tickets are now on sale for Kids’ Night on Broadway®. Kids’ Night on Broadway will take place in New York City on Tuesday, February 27, 2018. © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

New York, NY – What a stocking stuffer! Tickets are now on sale for Kids’ Night on Broadway®. Kids’ Night on Broadway will take place in New York City on Tuesday, February 27, 2018.

Participating shows include: AladdinAnastasiaThe Band’s VisitBeautiful: The Carole King MusicalA Bronx TaleCome From AwayChicagoFarinelli and the KingKinky BootsThe Lion KingOnce On This IslandThe Phantom of the OperaSchool of RockSpongeBob SquarePants, and Wicked. Shows are subject to change.

Kids’ Night on Broadway is an annual event where kids 18 and under can attend participating Broadway shows for free when accompanied by a full-paying adult (all guests must have a ticket to attend shows; offer is applied as 50% off each ticket; no additional ‘free’ tickets are added to orders).

A Kids’ Night on Broadway ticket includes restaurant discounts, parking discounts, activities, and more. On Tuesday, February 27, 2018, select shows will offer in-theatre activities for kids including talkbacks, Kids’ Night on Broadway activity books, and more events still to be announced! Restaurants and parking discounts will be announced in January.

Kids’ Night on Broadway will also take place in multiple cities around the country, with different shows and venues putting their own spin on the event, on numerous dates throughout the year.

Kids’ Night on Broadway is a program of The Broadway League. It is generously presented by The New York Times and is sponsored by WABC-TV with additional support from Turnstyle and Westchester Family.

 

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Capital Christmas: A December Vacation in Washington, DC Checks Every Box on a Holiday Wish List

December 5, 2017
Capitol Building at Night, Washington DC

December is an enchanting time to visit Washington DC. Destination DC can help plan a visit © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

(Washington, DC) –- Destination DC (DDC), the official marketing organization for Washington, DC is primed to help travelers plan unforgettable December holidays in the nation’s capital. Washington.org is packed with seasonal inspiration on a holiday landing page including hotel packages and deals, festive menus, ice skating rinks, Christmas markets, can’t-miss events and more. Scroll instant inspiration on DDC’s Instagram and Facebook accounts or speak with a travel concierge (1-800-422-8644), Monday-Friday, 8:30am-5pm EST.

“Whether your ideal December getaway includes a family photo with the National Christmas tree and A Christmas Carol at Ford’s Theatre or a morning at the MLK Memorial, an afternoon of ice skating at the National Gallery of Art’s rink and a Michelin-star dinner, we can help you plan an unforgettable holiday in Washington, DC,” said Elliott L. Ferguson II, president and CEO of DDC.

Among special packages and events:

SEASONAL HOTEL PACKAGES

Between Nov. 28-Dec. 20, the Four Seasons Hotel Washington, DC displays lavish holiday décor from 20 area designers. The luxury Georgetown hotel treats travelers with 30% off suites, Dec. 4-31, 2017.
The Ritz-Carlton Georgetown’s Deck the Halls offer includes Santa’s milk and cookies at turn-down and an in-suite holiday tree. The Ritz-Carlton Washington, DC welcomes guests to Savor the Season with a 30-foot gingerbread Washington Monument and a $50 food and beverage credit.
Winter packages at the Willard InterContinental include a delicious welcome amenity and the official 2017 White House Christmas ornament thru Dec. 31.

ICE SKATING RINKS

Twirl around the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden’s rink thru March 11, 2018. Warm up inside the Pavilion Café and visit Vermeer and the Masters of Genre Painting: Inspiration and Rivalry in the West Building thru Jan. 21, 2018. FREE
New: The Potomac-side rink at The Wharf in SW DC joins the party of neighborhood rinks in Georgetown and Capitol Riverfront.
New: Glide on iceless”rinks at the Fairmont Washington, D.C. Georgetown and the Watergate Hotel.

HOLIDAY LIGHTS AND TOURS

ZooLights animates the National Zoo with more than 500,000 LED lights, snowless tubing and concerts between 5-9pm until Jan. 1 (closed Dec. 24, 25, 31). FREE

George Washington’s Mount Vernon offers character-guided candlelit tours, 18th century dancing and fireside caroling, Dec. 1-2, 8-9, 17.
Holiday in the Park illuminates Six Flags America with lights, rides and s’mores Dec. 2-3, 9-10, 16-17, 22-23, 26- Jan. 1.
Tour America’s roadside attractions in miniature at Seasons Greenings: National Parks and Historic Parks at the U.S. Botanic Gardens thru Jan. 2. FREE
The National Christmas tree in President’s Park on the Ellipse is attended by 56 decorated trees, Santa’s Workshop and musical performances thru Dec. 31. FREE
The National Menorah will be lit on the Ellipse throughout Hanukah. On Dec. 12 at 4pm, the American Friends of Lubavitch celebrates with dreidels and donuts. FREE

SHOPPING

Find only-in-DC gifts at Made in DC, a new store in Dupont Circle and Steadfast Supply in Capitol Riverfront. Pop-up Christmas markets: Downtown Holiday Market in Penn Quarter and Union Market’s Brief Assembly run thru Dec. 23.
CityCenterDC, the Penn Quarter’s luxury shopping and restaurant destination, dresses up with a giant reindeer, a sky-high tree for the season. Between Dec. 1-3, a 12-foot-high igloo adds to the Instagram fun.
Georgetown Glow, an outdoor exhibition of light-art installations dots the historic shopping district between 5-10pm, Dec. 8, 2017-Jan. 7, 2018. FREE

PERFORMANCES AND ATTRACTIONS

New: Digital gallery Artechouse welcomes The Imaginary World of the Nutcracker, Dec. 7, 2017-Jan. 7, 2018.
The Kennedy Center hosts seasonal shows including Merry Tubachristmas! (Dec. 11, FREE), Second City’s Twist Your Dickens (Dec. 5-31) and the National Symphony Orchestra’s Handel’s Messiah (Dec. 14-17).
The Washington Ballet’s version of The Nutcracker (thru Dec. 24) swaps George Washington for the Nutcracker Prince at Warner Theatre.
A richly dressed A Christmas Carol (thru Dec. 31) takes over Ford’s Theatre.
New: Christmas Illuminated is one of many exhibits at the Museum of the Bible.

DINING AND NIGHTLIFE

Toasts the season at Drink Company’s Miracle on Seventh Street, a trio of over-the-top pop-up bars thru Dec. 31.
Find lavish holiday teas in the Lounge at the Mandarin Oriental Washington, DC and Tea Cellar at the Park Hyatt Washington DC. The St. Regis Washington D.C. celebrates 12 days of Champagne (Dec. 12-24).
Among the city’s New Year’s Eve delights, Michelin-starred chef José Andrés offers tasting menus at China Chilcano, Jaleo and Oyamel.

Destination DC, the official destination marketing organization for the nation’s capital, is a private, non-profit membership organization of 1,000 businesses committed to marketing the area as a premier global convention, tourism and special events destination with a special emphasis on the arts, cultural and historic communities.

Visit washington.org.
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Accuweather Thanksgiving Travel Forecast: Rain to Hug US East Coast; Lake-effect Snow to Slick Roads Near Great Lakes

November 21, 2017

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By Alex Sosnowski, Senior Meteorologist for AccuWeather.com

AccuWeather Global Headquarters – November 21, 2017 – AccuWeather reports rain may slow travel for a time in part of the east coast of the United States, while significant travel delays are likely in the Northwest and near the Great Lakes leading up to Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, Wednesday and Thanksgiving Day represent some of the busiest travel days of the year for all means of transportation, according to the American Automobile Association (AAA).

While the weather will cooperate for a large portion of the nation, there will be some areas of concern for holiday travel.

Rain to hug Atlantic coast

In lieu of a major storm, a weak storm is likely to brush part of the Atlantic Seaboard prior to Thanksgiving Day.

Wet weather is in store over much of Florida into Tuesday night. Rain is forecast to brush the coastal areas of the Carolinas and the mid-Atlantic coast late Tuesday night and then coastal New England on Wednesday.

The greatest impact will be to motorists.

Wet road surfaces and blowing spray may require lower speeds.

“The combination of rain and a low cloud ceiling may also be enough to lead to airline delays in Boston and perhaps New York City for a time on Wednesday,” according to AccuWeather Chief Meteorologist Elliot Abrams.

How far west the rain extends will depend on how close to the coast the storm tracks. At this time any long-duration rain is not likely to occur west of Interstate 95 in the mid-Atlantic region. Areas right along the mid-Atlantic coast may get a few hours of light rain.

Drenching rain is mostly likely to occur in southeastern New England and eastern Long Island

A brief period of rain and snow may occur on the back side of the storm over the central and northern Appalachians and eastern Great Lakes from Tuesday night to early Wednesday.

“Regardless of the amount of rain and/or snow showers, gusty winds are likely to herald the return of the cold air on Wednesday,” Abrams said. “Winds may pose a problem as the massive balloons are inflated ahead of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City.”

Another storm is forecast to bring more rain to parts of Florida on Thanksgiving Day, according to AccuWeather Meteorologist Fait Eherts.

Snowy, windy episodes to pester Upper Midwest

A new burst of cold air and a weak storm are forecast to produce spotty snow for the northern tier of the Midwest into Thanksgiving Day.

The fresh batch of cold air will be accompanied by gusty winds over much of the North Central states. Winds may be strong enough to lead to airline delays even in the absence of any snow showers into Wednesday.

As a pocket of arctic air races southeastward, it will briefly renew lake-effect snow from northern Michigan to northern and western New York, western Pennsylvania and northeastern West Virginia into midweek.

Motorists should be prepared for sudden snow showers and rapidly changing road conditions on their travels in these areas.

From late Wednesday to early Thanksgiving Day, a brief period of snow and/or freezing drizzle will develop over the northern Plains and slice southeastward across the Great Lakes.

While only a small amount of wintry precipitation is anticipated, even a thin coating of snow or ice can cause great difficulty for motorists on crowded highways.

Throughout the Midwest, there will be a couple of episodes of gusty winds that may lead to minor airline delays and tricky crosswinds on the highways.

Storms to harass travelers in northwestern US

By far, poor travel conditions will be the most consistent in coastal areas of Washington and Oregon through Thanksgiving Day.

Motorists venturing along the Interstate 5 corridor in the Northwest can expect rounds of drenching rain and periods of fog, according to AccuWeather Meteorologist Kyle Elliot.

Lesser rain is forecast east of the Cascades.

Snow levels are forecast to rise slowly into Thanksgiving Day.

Motorists may encounter slushy and slippery conditions into Tuesday over Snoqualmie Pass along I-90 in Washington. Milder conditions will allow plain rain to fall from Tuesday night to Thursday. However, fog may accompany the milder air over the mountains, where snow remains on the ground.

The milder air will allow rain to fall or a mixture of rain and snow to occur at most intermediate elevations of the northern Rockies, including many of the major passes.

Major weather-related travel disruptions unlikely over rest of US

It is possible that flights originating from the Northwest, coastal Northeast and Upper Midwest may cause minor delays elsewhere across the nation into Thanksgiving Day.

However, a large portion of the Southwest, South-Central and interior Southeast can expect good travel conditions.

Showers are forecast to retreat to the Gulf of Mexico along the Texas and Louisiana coasts beyond Tuesday night.

 

Airline-Style Variable Pricing Comes to Bromley, Cranmore, Jiminy Peak; Save 30-50% With Advance Purchase

November 16, 2017
Bromley

Bromley Mountain, Vermont, one of the Fairbank Group ski resorts in New England.

HANCOCK, Mass. – As the start of the 2017-18 ski season has begun, the Fairbank Group of New England ski resorts – Bromley Mountain, Cranmore Mountain Resort and Jiminy Peak Mountain Resort – officially launched airline-style variable lift ticket pricing for skiers and riders able to plan ahead and purchase tickets online before they arrive.

Discounts of 30 to 50 percent off the walk-up ticket window price represent the resorts’ largest lift ticket savings ever offered and provide substantial savings in exchange for a non-refundable/non-transferrable advance sale ticket purchased online.

Visitors access the resort website, click the pricing calendar, then select their age group, number of tickets required, and specific days between now and April 2018. After approving the itinerary, they check out and receive email confirmation to present to the ticket window upon arrival. The percentage savings on holidays and weekends are slightly less than midweek rates.

Similar to airfares, lift ticket rates may expire, sell out or be priced higher the closer you get to your visit, and advance tickets are limited, according to Michael Van Eyck, assistant general manager of Bromley Mountain in southern Vermont.

“We want to reward skiers and riders for planning ahead and committing early. Advance sales also provide us with a projection of how busy we will be on any given day,” said Van Eyck, who reminds skiers and riders to check the websites of each resort for specific restrictions.

Sample lift ticket prices reveal substantial savings:

*            At New Hampshire’s Cranmore Mountain Resort, as of today, purchase an adult ticket for New Year’s Day 2018, and the advance purchase price is $49, a $26 savings off the walk-up $75 window rate that day (35 percent discount). The same price is available most midweeks in March unless it sells out early. (cranmore.com)

*            On the Bromley Mountain website, skiers can pre-purchase Dec. 15 lift tickets for $42, a $38 savings (48 percent off) the walk-up rate of $80. Buy Jan. 3 or 4 for $49 per day, and the savings is as high as $31 per ticket, or 39 percent off the $80 same day ticket window rate, assuming it’s still available at the time of purchase. (bromley.com)

*            Plan in advance to ski Jiminy Peak Mountain Resort in western Massachusetts during the first week of March and the $43 advance ticket represents a 43 percent savings compared to the walk-up rate of $76, provided the ticket is purchased soon enough and doesn’t sell out, which skiers will know at the time of purchase. (jiminypeak.com)

Famed American poet Ralph Waldo Emerson, a native Bostonian, once said, “The future belongs to those who prepare for it.”

In this case, the earlier you plan the more you save.

The Fairbank Group, LLC, based at Jiminy Peak and co-owned by the father-son team of Brian Fairbank and Tyler Fairbank, manages and oversees a group of businesses that include the ski resorts Jiminy Peak Mountain Resort, Cranmore Mountain Resort and Bromley Mountain, as well as SnowGun Technologies, EOS Ventures, Bullwheel Productions and other endeavors. For more information visit Fairbankgrp.com.

 

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Liftopia’s Cyber Monday Sale

November 16, 2017
Pico Mountain, Central Vermont

Pico Mountain, Vermont. Liftopia is offering a Cyber Monday sale Nov. 21-28 © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

With snow beginning to fall in many parts of the country just as the Cyber Monday shopping frenzy begins, resorts are gearing up for the start of ski season. To celebrate, Liftopia is launching a Cyber Monday Sale, featuring up to an additional 25% savings on gift cards, on top of already amazing deals (up to 80% off!) at more than 250 ski areas in North America.

Liftopia Gift Cards make a great stocking stuffer and are the ultimate gift for any skier or snowboarder – especially those who already have all the gear they need (or who want to buy all their gear themselves!). No fees or expiration dates, choose any amount from $5 to $1,000, send digitally or print out.

Details of Liftopia’s Cyber Monday Gift Card Sale include:

  • Spend $100 on a Liftopia Gift Card, get $115 (15% more!)
  • Spend $150 on a Liftopia Gift Card, get $175 (17% more!)
  • Spend $200 on a Liftopia Gift Card, get $250 (25% more!)

The sale starts at 12:00 am on Tuesday, Nov. 21 and ends at 11:59 pm on Tuesday, Nov. 28. Visit https://cyber.liftopia.com/ for more details and to purchase. Click here if you would like images of skiing/snowboarding, or an image of the Liftopia gift card.

Liftopia is one of the largest online and mobile marketplaces for lift tickets, equipment rentals, meal vouchers and other mountain activities at more than 250 ski areas in North America, with savings of up to 80% off walk-up window rates when purchased in advance.

The fine print: Only one Cyber Monday gift card can be used per Liftopia account. You may not stack, combine or otherwise redeem more than one Cyber Monday gift card, regardless of amount, to any single Liftopia account.

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Accuweather: Blinding Lake-effect Snow, Bitterly Cold Winds to cause Thanksgiving Travel Delays

November 15, 2017

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By Alex Sosnowski, Senior Meteorologist for AccuWeather.com

AccuWeather Global Headquarters – Nov. 15, 2017 – AccuWeather reports  that following the mild, wet weather ending this week, progressively colder air will unleash rounds of lake-effect snow from the Upper Midwest to the interior Northeast for travel during the week of Thanksgiving.

Travel delays related to wind and/or snow are likely in parts of the midwestern and eastern United States.

“We expect two major pushes of cold air into the eastern half of the U.S. during the week of Thanksgiving,” according to AccuWeather Long-Range Meteorologist Evan Duffey.

The weather pattern is giving mixed signals as to whether or not a storm will bring rain and snow to the East during the transition to the cold weather.

However, there will be a consequence as reinforcing waves of cold air pass over the Great Lakes.

As cold air passes over the relatively warm waters, streets of towering clouds form and deposit heavy snow along the downwind shoreline and dozens of miles inland.

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Where the bands of heavy snow persist, up to a foot of snow can fall. As many as two rounds of lake-effect snow are anticipated from Sunday through the Thanksgiving weekend.

The details of which communities will be hit the hardest on particular days has yet to be determined. A small variance in the wind direction can vary the bands of heavy snow by a dozen miles or more.

For example, a west-southwest wind off Lake Ontario would blast Watertown, New York, with intense snow, but a due west wind would potentially bury communities such as Barnes Corners and Sandy Creek, New York, several miles to the south.

“Motorists with plans on utilizing Interstate 90 from northern Indiana to western New York, I-81 in northern New York state and other highways immediately downwind of all of the Great Lakes should be prepared for travel delays and rapid changes in roadway visibility next week,” according to AccuWeather Meteorologist Steve Travis.

One round of lake-effect snow associated with the first cold blast will erupt later this weekend into early next week.

Another round of lake-effect snow may begin during the middle of next week. There is still uncertainty as to the extent or intensity of that round of lake-effect snow.

Travel conditions will range from blinding snow and the potential for temporary road closures to sunny over a span of a few miles.

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At times, the bands of lake-effect snow may extend 200 miles or more to the central Appalachians. Motorists traveling through the higher terrain in West Virginia, western Maryland and western and northern Pennsylvania should expect locally blinding snow squalls and a quick accumulation on roads. This includes stretches of I-79 and I-80.

At times, wind gusts may be strong enough to lead to difficulty for high-profile vehicles. Strong crosswinds at airports from the Midwest to the mid-Atlantic coast can lead to airline delays in lieu of any snow or a major storm.

Gusty winds to add to the pain of the cold air

“Blasts of cold air like this are not uncommon during the middle and latter part of November,” Duffey said. “However, following the warmth during most weeks of this autumn season, heating demand will be high.”

Temperatures are projected to average 5-10 degrees Fahrenheit below normal during multiple days during the week of Thanksgiving from the Midwest to the Northeast, as well as much of the Southeast.

The anticipated weather pattern will translate to highs in the 20s over the northern tier to the 40s over the interior South on the coldest days. AccuWeather RealFeel® temperatures can dip to 20 degrees lower than the actual temperature at times.

Battling the wind on the highway may reduce fuel efficiency.

Regardless of wind, motorists can expect to pay much more at the pump for their Thanksgiving road trip. Strong consumer demand and lowering national inventory have pushed gasoline prices to nearly 40 cents a gallon higher than last year at this time, according to the American Automobile Association.

One positive of the cold weather pattern will be plenty of opportunities for ski resorts to make snow in the days leading up to Thanksgiving.

What about the storm potential?

In terms of large-scale storms that may increase commute time, one storm projected to affect much of the eastern U.S. this weekend will likely be warm enough for rain in most areas and even gusty thunderstorms in part of the Midwest.

However, it is the same storm that will set into motion the first blast of cold air for next week.

“A second storm during the middle of next week has the potential to bring a period of rain along the Atlantic coast and snow over the Appalachians spanning Wednesday to Thanksgiving Day,” according to AccuWeather Chief Meteorologist Elliot Abrams. “Another scenario is the second storm may be so overwhelmed by cold, dry air that it is forced out to sea.”

Regardless of the nature of the storms, gone are the warm and tranquil conditions that graced much of the Midwest and East during October.

Motorists and airline passengers should anticipate delays and be ready to adjust their travel plans during the week of Thanksgiving.

 

Iconic 91st Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Kicks off Holiday Season in NYC; Here’s What to Expect

November 9, 2017
NYC-MacysThanksgvParade 112410_128e2(c) Karen Rubin

Macy’s iconic Thanksgiving Parade that kicks off the winter holiday season actually starts the night before, with a gigantic blow-up event that has become a major festival experience, drawing tens of thousands of onlookers on the streets around the American Museum of Natural History and Central Park West © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

NEW YORK –This Thanksgiving, a magical march returns to the streets of New York City and to homes across the U.S. as the 91st Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade® kicks off the holiday season with its signature spectacle of wonder. On Thursday, Nov. 23 (9 a.m.-noon in all time zones), the streets of Manhattan will come alive at the sound of “Let’s Have a Parade!” Matt Lauer, Savannah Guthrie and Al Roker of NBC’s “Today” will host the broadcast. Telemundo will simulcast the parade in Spanish, with the event hosted by Carlos Ponce, Jessica Carrillo and Karim Mendiburu.

Ready to spread holiday cheer, the annual procession is sure to delight more than 3.5 million spectators and more than 50 million viewers nationwide with its traditional merriment. Since the first march in 1924, the Macy’s Parade has captivated audiences and become synonymous with the start of the holiday season. For the 91st edition, the line-up will feature 17 giant character balloons; 28 legacy balloons, balloonicles, balloonheads and trycaloons; 26 floats; 1,100 cheerleaders and dancers; more than 1,000 clowns; 12 marching bands; and 6 performance groups.

The star power on parade will once again feature some of the nation’s most riveting performers. Taking to the streets of New York City on board one of Macy’s signature floating stages and thrilling the nation with their performances at Herald Square will be 98 Degrees, Lauren Alaina, Cam, Sabrina Carpenter, Andra Day & Common, Sara Evans, Jimmy Fallon & The Roots, Flo Rida, Goo Goo Dolls, Kat Graham, Andy Grammer, Angelica Hale, Olivia Holt, Nicky Jam, Wyclef Jean, Bravo’s Top Chef stars Padma Lakshmi & Tom Colicchio, Dustin Lynch, Miss America 2018 Cara Mund, Leslie Odom Jr. and the cast & Muppets of Sesame Street, Bebe Rexha, Smokey Robinson, Jojo Siwa and more.

On 34th Street, Broadway’s best shows will take a star turn in front of Macy’s famed flagship with special performances from the casts of “Anastasia,” “Dear Evan Hansen,” “Once On This Island” and “SpongeBob SquarePants – The Broadway Musical.” In addition, the show-stopping Radio City Rockettes®  will bring their signature high-kicking magic to Herald Square.

“The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is one of our great holiday traditions and we’re thrilled to be able to once again bring the pageantry and spectacle to viewers across the country,” said Doug Vaughan, Executive Vice President, Special Programs and Late Night, NBC Entertainment. “We can’t wait to see all the balloons, floats and high-end entertainment that have become such an integral part of this wonderful event.”

“For more than 90 years, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade has signaled the start of the holiday season for millions of families. We are thrilled to once again come together as a nation to give this gift of joy and wonder to all,” said Susan Tercero, group vice-president of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. She added, “Our incredible team has planned a fantastic spectacle featuring an amazing line-up of giant character balloons, floats of fantasy, the nation’s best marching bands and performance groups, a dazzling array of musical artists, all coming together to herald the arrival of the one-and-only Santa Claus.”

The Macy’s Parade is always a unique multi-level, magical march that provides spectators with different experiences, whether they watch it on television with friends and family or scout the perfect spot on the route to watch it unfold live. To give fans another unique viewing opportunity, Macy’s, along with NBCUniversal and Verizon will once again take viewers closer to the magic via up close and personal views of the event through a 360-degree livestream of the parade on Verizon’s YouTube page. The stream, found at www.youtube.com/verizon, will be synced with the start of the Parade.

Flying Icons

Taking flight on Turkey Day will be the Parade’s signature giant character helium balloons. Since their introduction in 1927, these giants of the sky have featured some of the world’s most beloved characters. This year four giant characters will debut, including Olaf from Disney’s “Frozen,” Illumination presents Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch, Jett from Super Wings™ and PAW Patrol®.

The balloon line-up will also feature the return of Harold the Baseball Player, a legacy Macy’s character prominently featured in Twentieth Century Fox’s iconic holiday film classic “Miracle on 34th Street.” In celebration of the film’s 70th anniversary, the Harold heritage balloon has been recreated for this year’s Parade, painted in hues of black, white and grey, to look exactly as it did on-screen during a memorable scene in the 1947 film. In addition to Harold, the famed spokesduck, the Aflac Duck, will debut as an all-new balloonicle (a Macy’s Parade innovation of hybrid cold-air balloon and vehicle) and is sure to have fans quacking with joy and laughter down the route.

Returning giant balloon characters include Angry Birds’ Red; Charlie Brown; Diary of a Wimpy Kid®;  Sinclair’s Dino®; the Elf on the Shelf®; Hello Kitty®; Ice Age’s Scrat and His Acorn; Pikachu™; Pillsbury Doughboy™; Red Mighty Morphin Power Ranger; Ronald McDonald®; SpongeBob SquarePants; and DreamWorks’ Trolls.

Parade Floats

Floating down the route this Thanksgiving, the Parade’s signature floats transport spectators to worlds of wonder. Designed and created by the incredible artists of Macy’s Parade Studio, which include carpenters, painters, animators, sculptors, metal fabricators, scenic/costume designers and electricians, this year’s line-up of floats sets an unparalleled stage for entertainment. The painstaking process of creating a Macy’s Parade float is both a creative and technical endeavor. Macy’s Parade floats are often three-stories tall and several lanes of traffic wide, but must collapse to no more than 12½-feet tall and 8-feet wide in order to travel safely from the New Jersey home of the Parade Studio, to the Manhattan starting line via the Lincoln Tunnel each Thanksgiving eve. These creations are not only works of art, but also engineering marvels.

This year five new floats will debut including Everyone’s Favorite Bake Shop by Entenmann’s® (Sara Evans), Harvest in the Valley by Green Giant® (Lauren Alaina), Parade Day Mischief by Sour Patch Kids® Candy (Nicky Jam), Shimmer and Shine by Nickelodeon (Jojo Siwa) and Universal Playground by Sprout® (Angelica Hale). A special float by Delta Air Lines will also debut to commemorate the season of togetherness with the perfect gift of song, as more than 125 Macy’s employees gather to form a one-of-a-kind cross-generational choir aboard the Macy’s Singing Christmas Tree.

The returning float roster includes 1-2-3 Sesame Street by Sesame Street (Leslie Odom Jr. and the cast and Muppets of “Sesame Street“); The Aloha Spirit by King’s Hawaiian (Goo Goo Dolls), Big Apple by N.Y. Daily News (Bebe Rexha); Big City Cheer! by Spirit of America Productions (Miss America 2018 Cara Mund); Building a Better World by Girl Scouts of the USA (Andra Day and Common); The Colonel’s Road Trip to NYC by Kentucky Fried Chicken (Dustin Lynch); The Cranberry Cooperative by Ocean Spray®; Deck the Halls by Balsam Hill® (Olivia Holt); Discover Adventure! by Build-A-Bear (Sabrina Carpenter); Frozen Fall Fun by Discover®/NHL (Wyclef Jean) and NHL Hockey Hall of Famers Ray Bourque & Bryan Trottier); Fun House by Krazy Glue® (Flo Rida); Heartwarming Holiday Countdown by Hallmark Channel (98 Degrees); It’s All Rock & Roll by Gibson Brands (Jimmy Fallon & The Roots); Mount Rushmore’s American Pride by South Dakota Department of Tourism (Smokey Robinson); On The Roll Again by Homewood Suites by Hilton® (Andy Grammer); Santa’s Sleigh; Snoopy’s Doghouse by Peanuts Worldwide; Stirrin’ Up Sweet Sensations by Domino® Sugar (Cam); Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles by Nickelodeon (Kat Graham); and Tom Turkey featuring Bravo’s Top Chef (Padma Lakshmi, Tom Colicchio).

Drum Roll, Please…

Marching bands are a central piece of the Thanksgiving delights, bringing national excitement and hometown pride to the streets of the Big Apple, not to mention the musical beat to the holiday revelry. Twelve performance ensembles will take up the call of the baton and march down the streets of Manhattan. This year’s bands include Colony High School (Palmer, Alaska), Davis High School (Kaysville, Utah), Rosemount High School (Rosemount, Minn.), West Harrison High School (Gulfport, Miss.), Rockford High School (Rockford, Mich.), Ohio University (Athens, Ohio), Nation Ford High School (Fort Mill, S.C.), Trumbull High School (Trumbull, Conn.), Prairie View A&M University (Prairie View, Texas), the United States Air Force Band and Honor Guard, Macy’s Great American Marching Band (United States) and the NYPD Marching Band (New York, NY).

Specialty Parade entertainment always promises a unique, exciting, and sometimes humorous look at the nation’s finest performance groups. Returning to the line-up this year are the dancers and cheerleaders of Spirit of America Dance Stars and Spirit of America Cheer. These groups combined feature more than 1,000 of the nation’s very best performers recruited from small towns and big cities. Days before Thanksgiving, they will gather for the first time in NYC, ahead of their once-in-a-lifetime national spotlight. Adding to the dance floor revelry will be 34th & Phunk, a special group commissioned and produced by Macy’s with organizers from the United States Tournament of Dance. Choreographed by the legendary artist Willdabeast Adams and acclaimed dancer Janelle Ginestra, 34th & Phunk will be a one-of-a-kind hip-hop dance crew featuring performers of all ages and from all walks of life, who have a passion for dance and precision movement. Bringing a Broadway flair to the spectacle will be the talented kids of Camp Broadway, who this year have auditioned and selected dancers/singers from military bases around the nation, and who will pay tribute to America with their performance. Rounding out the performance group list are the zany Red Hot Mamas (Post Falls, Idaho) who will deliver their signature humorous take on the holiday season, along with the whimsical stars of the Big Apple Circus (New York, NY).

Interactive Fun

This year the magic of Macy’s iconic balloons and Parade artistry will head south for the winter to give fans an up close and personal experience for the holidays. Starting on Saturday, Nov. 18, Universal Orlando Resort’s destination-wide Holidays celebration begins, featuring the all-new “Universal’s Holiday Parade featuring Macy’s.” This one-of-a-kind experience is where merry and mayhem mesh to create a fantastic treat for park guests that features more than 15 incredibly detailed floats, colorful stilt-walkers and characters, and a specially created cast of all new Macy’s balloons that you can’t see anywhere else. Universal’s Holiday Parade featuring Macy’s will run daily from Nov. 18 through Jan. 6.

The 91st Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will begin at 9 a.m. from 77th Street and Central Park West. The procession will march to Columbus Circle, turn onto Central Park South and march down 6th Avenue/Avenue of the Americas. At 34th Street, the Parade will make its final turn west and end at 7th Avenue in front of Macy’s Herald Square. “A Holiday Treat for Children Everywhere” has been the guiding motto of this annual tradition for more than nine decades and is the mandate that continues to this day.

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade broadcast is produced by the Emmy Award-winning Brad Lachman Productions. Brad Lachman serves as executive producer, Bill Bracken will co-executive produce and Ryan Polito directs.

For more information on the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade,  visit www.macys.com/parade  or call the Parade hotline at 212-494-4495. Follow @macys on various social networks and join the conversation using #MacysParade.

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Vail Resorts’ Beaver Creek Opens Red Buffalo Park Learn-to-Ski Area

November 9, 2017
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Tubing at the Adventure Center atop Beaver Creek Resort © Dave E. Leiberman/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Beaver Creek Resort, Colorado, renowned as a world-class luxury family mountain resort, is opening a new 200-acre Red Buffalo Park for the 2017-2018 season – an incomparable family learning area at the top of the mountain with 13 trails dedicated to beginner and learning terrain, serviced by a new Red Buffalo Express Lift (#5), a new Cookie Cabin, Kids’ Adventure Zones, snow sculptures, and a Ski School Skills Zone.

The new family and adventure learning area is designed to improve the experience for beginner and intermediate skiers and further establish Beaver Creek, part of Vail Resorts, as one of the world’s best luxury family resorts. Located at the mountain’s highest elevation, 11,440 feet, Red Buffalo Park provides 13 trails designated as a family learning area. At the heart of Red Buffalo Park, the new Red Buffalo Express Lift (#5), a high-speed quad, will improve the beginner experience by decreasing lift lines and providing a shorter, 4.3 minute ride to the top of the mountain.

Red Buffalo Park amenities include Kids’ Adventure Zones, snow sculptures, Park 101 and Zoom Room terrain parks, and a dedicated Ski School Skills Zone on Upper Sheephorn trail. Beaver Creek Ski & Snowboard School students will have access to the new Cookie Cabin, a mountaintop refuge serving Beaver Creek’s famed, fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies daily.

“Red Buffalo Park is all about more time skiing with your family in an area that focuses on beginners and intermediate skiers and riders. Upgrading Red Buffalo Express Lift will provide high-speed lift access to the amazing beginner terrain at the top of Beaver Creek, resulting in less time riding the lift and more time skiing,” said Beth Howard, chief operating officer of Beaver Creek Resort. “We expect this improvement to take significant volume off Cinch Express, Beaver Creek’s second most-popular lift, and it really is an improvement befitting of Beaver Creek’s luxury, family experience, as it enhances a key beginner and family area of our mountain.”

 

Red Buffalo Park

Unlike most beginner learning areas, Beaver Creek’s Red Buffalo Park is located at 11,440 feet, the highest point of the mountain. The gentle slope of the designated learning trails provides terrain fitting for beginner and intermediate skiers and riders, plus breathtaking panoramic views of the Gore Range. Guests can ride the new Red Buffalo Express Lift (#5), located at the heart of Red Buffalo Park, for quick access to all 13 trails.

The new Red Buffalo Express Lift (#5) is named after the signature, beginner Red Buffalo trail, which provides incredible views of the Gore Range and is named after two signature peaks of the Gore Range, the Red peak and Buffalo peak. The new lift will reduce ride time by 50 percent, from 8.6 minutes to 4.3 minutes, and will increase uphill capacity by 75 percent. With the upgrade, all primary lifts on Beaver Creek will be high-speed.

 

New Ski School Experiences at Red Buffalo Park

Cookie Cabin: Guests enrolled in Beaver Creek Ski & Snowboard School will have access to the Cookie Cabin, located at the top of Red Buffalo Express Lift (#5). Serving up Beaver Creek’s famed, fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies all-day long, the Cookie Cabin provides the perfect rejuvenation during a day on the slopes.

Sheephorn Ski School Skills Zone: Upper Sheephorn, a signature trail in Red Buffalo Park, is designated as a Ski School Skills Zone. The wide trail with sweeping views of the Gore Range is the perfect place for guests to refine their skills. After mastering the Sheephorn Skills Zone, guests can move on to explore the rest of the mountaintop terrain offered at Red Buffalo Park. 

Activities & Events in Red Buffalo Park

Snow Sculptures: Explore Red Buffalo Park to discover various snow sculptures located alongside the trails. Watch as the sculptures grow in size throughout the season – guests might even see Beaver Creek’s master snow sculptor at work.

Kids’ Adventure Zones: With banked turns, covered wagons, teepees and more, these fun areas are perfect to build confidence and challenge children’s skiing and riding abilities. Discover a sense of adventure on these runs designed just for kids within Red Buffalo Park.

  • Jack Rabbit Alley: This is a perennial favorite for kids of all ages. This trail starts at the very top of the mountain and winds its way through the trees of Red Buffalo Park challenging advanced and intermediate skiers.
  • Wild West Trail: A little bit of the Wild West built into Jack Rabbit Alley. Ski through a covered Calistoga wagon or explore the inside of a Native American teepee.
  • Mystic Maze: A fun interpretive trail winding through the lower trees just off the Ski School Skills Zone. This is a great piece of terrain for intermediate skiers to explore and learn about the animals on Beaver Creek Mountain.

Terrain Parks

  • Park 101: This beginner terrain park is great for people who are just learning the basics of freestyle snowboarding or freeskiing. The entry-level park contains small jumps, boxes, rails, and stall features designed for beginner riders and skiers to learn the basics of a terrain park.
  • Zoom Room: An intermediate-level park designed to flow through a variety of different and unique features including boxes, rails, log-slides, stall features, and jumps. Zoom Room is the natural progression once skiers and riders get comfortable with the basics.

Ski With A Ranger
Join partners from Walking Mountains Science Center and the United States Forest Service on a fun, engaging and complimentary tour of the beautiful natural surroundings here at Beaver Creek. Come learn more about the forest around you including wildlife, plants, history and the mountain ecosystem in winter. The tour will meet every Monday, starting December 11, at 1:30 p.m. at the top of Red Buffalo Park for an hour long educational adventure. Ability Levels 3 and up, open to all ages.

Vail Resorts’ Beaver Creek Resort  is renowned as a luxury family resort and for legendary attention to detail, World-Cup mountain pedigree, intimate alpine village, and reputation for world-class service. Just 30 minutes east of Eagle Airport (EGE) and 2.5 hours west of Denver International Airport (DIA), Beaver Creek offers luxury accommodations throughout three villages and ski-in, ski-out luxury lodges and hotels. More than 40 in-resort and slope-side restaurants, elegant village boutiques, cherished daily traditions and activities such as world-class downhill skiing and snowboarding spanning 1,832 acres with 3,340 vertical feet of descent, snow shoeing, Nordic skiing, and ice skating in the Beaver Creek village. Visit BeaverCreek.com for additional information and vacation planning.  

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Park City’s Grand Summit Hotel Unveils $15 Million Renovation, RockResorts Branding

November 9, 2017
Park City UT_20170324_420e2 (c) Karen Rubin-Canyons

View of the Canyons base area at Park City from the gondola. The Grand Summit Hotel has been renovated and rebranded under the RockResorts banner © 2017 Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

BROOMFIELD, Colo. – Canyons Village at Park City’s premier lodging property, Grand Summit Hotel, has debuted an extensive $15 million renovation and RockResorts branding. The Grand Summit hotel boasts an unrivaled location at the base of Vail Resorts’ Park City mountain resort,  the largest ski resort in the United States, and now, following the renovation, the modern luxury its guests expect in a travel experience.

“We are thrilled to debut the transformational renovation at the Grand Summit, which has brought the hotel up to the same caliber as the world-class resort that’s just steps away from the property,” said Ron Neville, Vail Resorts’ vice president of hospitality.

The Grand Summit Hotel’s renovation included a complete overhaul of all 212 suites, including new interior finishes, furnishings, soft goods, appliances, artwork and technology. The property’s communal spaces were also 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 was 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.

Additionally, the Grand Summit Hotel has been be rebranded 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.

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., through its subsidiaries, is one of the leading global mountain resort operators. Vail Resorts’ subsidiaries operate 11 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; Whistler Blackcomb in British Columbia, Canada; Perisher in Australia; Stowe in Vermont; Wilmot Mountain in Wisconsin; Afton Alps in Minnesota and Mt. Brighton in Michigan. Vail Resorts 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).

For more information, visit  www.snow.com.

See also:

Park City Mountain, Utah: Biggest Ski Area in US is One of Easiest to Reach

 

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