It’s about that time, ladies and gents. Time to get hyped for the 2013/14 season, and for all the latest and greatest features the resorts are bringing to the table. New chair lifts, new terrain, and new hours; resorts across the country are piling on the perks, and we’re here to make sure you milk them.
1. Holy Moly, Copper Mountain is making moves. The resort has confirmed a two phase enhancement of it’s territory, expanding terrain and adding new lifts. The project, called ‘The 12’s’ encompasses three peaks: Tucker Mountain, Union Peak and Copper Peak, all of which exceed 12,000 feet. For Phase I of The 12’s, Copper will be upgrading and replacing the Storm King lift, introducing a new t-bar lift that will double up-hill capacity. “Celebrity Ridge” lift will also make it’s debut, making it’s home at the top of the Sierra chairlift and providing easier access to a slew of peaks and bowls. Phase II, in turn, will focus on adding acreage and installing lift-service to expert steeps. In addition, snowcat accessed terrain will be expanded, and the introduction of the Tucker Lift will provide lift access to over 260 acres of terrain that currently can only be reached by snowcat. Damn. Well played, Copper.
2. Colorado’s Arapahoe Basin has announced a new ‘master plan’ to improve it’s terrain. The plan includes the construction of a new 4-seater chairlift in the Beavers area— which would serve 400 new acres of terrain— a short surface lift to improve access to Montezuma Bowl, and increased water storage for snowmaking. A-Basin’s efforts are currently underway, so keep your eyes peeled and your boards waxed.
3. Big Sky Resort and Moonlight Basin have officially joined forces. Together, these resorts now boast over 5,700 acres of rideable terrain, with 4350 vertical feet, 23 chairlifts and 10 surface lifts. With this merger, Big Sky and Moonlight can now claim their title as biggest resort in the US.
4. New Hampshire’s Waterville Valley Resort is making big moves this season, kicking off its first major trail expansion in over 30 years. Adding over 40 acres of trails, 12 acres of glades, and a new high-speed four-person chairlift, Waterville is certainly upping the ante. Opening day is November 23, so go ahead and get that countdown going.
5. Though no massive changes have been made to Steamboat Resort’s terrain or lift services since last season, they are certainly mixing things up. The resort is firing its Christie Express Lift back up for some sweet night shredding, every Monday through Thursday nights, from 6:30- 8:30 pm. A little post-happy hour carving doesn’t sound too shabby to us!
6. After undertaking “the biggest ski resort expansion in North America in more than a decade,” Breckenridge Mountain introduces Peak 6. The Peak 6 project includes 400 acres of lift-served terrain, as well as 143 acres of hike-to terrain. On top of this, Breck is unveiling a new high-speed, six-person chairlift and a new fixed-grip chairlift for easy Peak 6 access. The official opening day for Peak 6 lifts and terrain will be announced early during the winter season— in the meantime, you can get in on the Peak 6 trail-naming-game.
7. Over in Bozeman, Montana, Bridger Bowl Ski Area has kindly added two new triple chairs to its lift line-up. The Alpine lift and the Powder Park lift are newcomers to Bridger Bowl’s fleet, and once up-and-running, these two will triple the resorts capacity for giving riders a lift.
8. Snowbird Resort is getting in on the upgrades as well, polishing up the Gad 2 chairlift into a high-speed quad. Additionally, the Utah resort has extended its cat road, meaning an impressive expansion of its cat snowboarding terrain. Going for a hat-trick of innovations, Snowbird has also joined the Mountain Collective with Alta Resort, meaning that all season passholders at either resort can score half-price tickets to the other.
9. Sugar Bowl Resort has burned some serious cash— to the tune of $20 million— in order to amp up their offerings for the coming season. The resort is cutting the ribbon on a new triple chair, The Crow’s Peak Chair, allowing riders access to a whole new world of advanced and expert terrain. In even bigger news, Sugar Bowl is investing a cool $12 million into a new campus for the Sugar Bowl Academy, adding new dorms, classrooms, and training space. Among its perks, Sugar Bowl Academy is also the only ski-in/ski-out academy in the US.
10. Whistler Blackcomb is taking on the upcoming season with a vengeance, investing a solid $3 million in snowmaking upgrades, while also building up their trail offering with two new lifts: the Crystal Ridge Express high-speed quad—over on Blackcomb Mountain—and the Harmony 6 high-speed six pack on Whistler.
11. Not the be left out, Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows resorts have poured around $8 million into the up-coming season, just one small part of a five-year makeover that totals $70 million. For this round of upgrades, investments will be made in a snowmaking system, a grooming fleet, and in acquiring new snow cats. The resorts will also amp up their arsenal of jibs, making-over terrain parks with new features geared towards intermediate and advanced riders.
12. Moving on over to the East Coast, Stratton Mountain Resort has put some serious effort into ramping up for the 2013/14 season, investing $6 mil into three new snowcats, two new trails, and a new double-black glade called the Squirrel’s Nest. Additionally, Stratton can now count a 1,500 horsepower electric snowmaking air compressor to their fleet, meaning more snow and cleaner energy. Well played, Stratton, well played.
13. Stowe Mountain Resort is jumping on the snowmaking train as well, dropping $3.4 mil on equipment and upgrades for this season. Take, for example, the resort’s 120 new tower guns, 4 Super Pole Cat fan guns, and the miles of newly laid snowmaking pipe. These improvements come hot on the heels of last year’s massive equipment revamp, meaning that over the past two years, Stowe has added a cool 445 new tower guns, 150 energy efficient land guns, 20 fan guns, and seven miles of fresh snowmaking pipe. Damn.
14. Keeping our eyes on the east coast, Okemo Mountain can’t be overlooked. The resort has recently unveiled Operation Snowburst, a $1 million investment in snowmaking that includes 225 new HKD SV tower guns. Additionally, Okemo is opening a new glade and teaming up with Killington, Pico, and Mount Sunapee to offer a brand-spankin’-new season pass, “4.0 The College Pass.”
15. Sunday River Resort is now the second largest resort in New England— just behind sister-resort Sugarloaf— thanks to a 75 acre addition to it’s terrain. Sunday River now boasts 5 new double black diamond glades, plus a 15-acre terrain park called T72.
16. Making our way back west, the next stop is Angel Fire Resort, in New Mexico, where two new half-mile winter trails are being unveiled for the 2013/14 season. The first will offer berms and jumps, the second winding through the trees. What really makes Angel Fire stand out this season, however, is the introduction of a new nighttime terrain park called “Powder City.”