Editor’s note: This article continues a focus on this season’s skiing attractions. See our look at El Niño’s impact on the slopes.
The winter ski season is well under way, and several North American resorts have upgraded their lifts, lodging, and snow-making abilities. A few are also celebrating landmark years with special events. So make your plans before it’s too late, and keep in mind that prices at resorts depend on the time of year.
Park City, UT
The resorts in the Park City area have been busy, and plans are on the table to make it easier for vacationers to traverse ski venues. The combination of Park City Mountain Resort and Canyons Resort ski areas in a $50 million capital improvement project will create the largest U.S. ski resort, boasting more than 7,300 acres of skiable area, plus a number of infrastructure upgrades. Those include Quicksilver, a new high-speed aerial gondola that will whisk skiers and snowboarders, eight at a time, between the combined resorts over the Pinecone Ridge.
Meanwhile, Deer Valley is offering a package ski deal for the Martin Luther King holiday, which is now possible after the Sundance Film Festival pushed its opening to the following weekend for the next nine years, says Emily Summers, senior communications manager at Deer Valley Resorts. Deer Valley will also unveil the upgrades it made after purchasing Solitude Mountain Resort, which is just outside Salt Lake City—an hour away in the winter. Shuttle options will be provided between the two resorts.
Jackson Hole, WY
Celebrate 50 years of skiing in Jackson Hole Mountain Resort (JHMR) with 50% off lift tickets from January 11 to 31 just by showing a season pass from any ski resort in the world. In December, the resort will also unveil its new high-speed Teton Lift, which will finally provide easy access to intermediate and expert skiing on the north side of JHMR. That area—between the already existing Casper and Apres Vous lifts—was previously accessible only by foot, and it was a tough hike.
Bretton Woods, NH
New Hampshire’s largest ski area, Bretton Woods, is among those upping its game on snow-making with new low-energy, air-water snowguns. The area’s 464 acres of skiing and snowboarding offers both alpine and Nordic trails, and is home to the Mount Washington Hotel. Bretton Woods has won SKI magazine’s readers’ poll for best grooming in the east for three straight years.
Among several packages on offer this year, Bretton Woods has a “BOGO” special for Leap Day: buy one ticket and get a complimentary companion ticket. Better yet, anyone born on Leap Day gets in free.
New snow-making equipment at both Boyne Mountain Resort in Boyne Falls and Boyne Highlands Resort in Harbor Springs will improve snow quality for two popular slopes. Additionally, the Boyne resorts have joined the M.A.X. Pass, a “multi-alpine experience” ski pass that provides skiers and snowboarders with five days of access at 22 participating resorts across North America.
Also new this year is a 10-kilometer fat-tire snow biking trail that is groomed as if it were a cross-country trail. The resort will also host a women's-only ski clinic with former U.S. ski team member Lisa Densmore.
This is a year for 50th anniversaries, and Whistler Blackcomb is on the list. Located just north of Vancouver, it was the site of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. Whistler is celebrating its half-century in business with major upgrades that range from hospitality to an online interactive ski-experience platform to snow-making for glacier preservation.
The Rendezvous Lodge has seen a significant renovation that upped capacity and modernized amenities, including new food options. RDL, the new luxury rental boutique located in the Blackcomb Daylodge, will offer personalized services such as the flexibility to try different skis to suit various conditions and terrain. The choices on offer, not surprisingly, will be among tailored Rossignol, Dynastar, and Lange ski equipment.