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  • What’s New at Ski Resorts for 2006-2007

    by Mitch Kaplan

    It's the snowsliders' question that burns from the moment a nip appears in the air: what's new at the ski areas for this season? Has our favorite resort has added terrain, a chairlift, new programs or at least fixed the parking lot? We're consumers, after all, and we want new, bigger, better, more, improved and different. Let's have a look around North America and see what some of the major snowsliding resorts have been up to since last season's melt off. Here's what's new for 2006-2007.

    East

    Bolton Valley Resort, VT www.boltonvalley.com: The northern Vermont ski resort has been named a Burton Learn to Ride Center, and one of only a handful of Women’s Learn to Ride Centers in North America. A new progression terrain park also been added for sliders who want to learn and hone their freeride park skills.

    Burke Mountain Ski Area, VT www.burkemountain.com: Burke is introducing several new programs and clinics for children and adults, including smaller groups for novice with a complimentary lift ticket after completing four levels of lessons; women-specific ski/ride clinics for all levels; daily freestyle and freeride lessons with a focus on park safety and etiquette for kids and teens; and guided first tracks tours on powder days.

    Killington Resort, VT www.killington.com: Low energy snowmaking guns, an upgraded grooming fleet of 21 snowcats, and new gondola ski racks to accommodate twin-tip and fat skis and snowboards have been installed, and new family ski/snowboard zones have been designated across the mountain. A new Family Adventure Center has been built at the Snowshed Lodge, featuring night tubing. The new Killington Grand Resort Hotel Spa features a Vichy Shower wet room and a complete menu of massage, facials and pedicure treatments.

    Magic Mountain Ski Resort, VT www.magicmtn.com: The Inn on Magic Mountain at the base of the ski area has been completely renovated, including the all new Christies Restaurant. On hill, snowmaking improvements are under way at Magic and plans for the updated Hokus Pokus Terrain Park are nearing completion.

    Mount Snow Resort, VT www.mountsnow.com: At 4,940 feet, Mount Snow’s new terrain park becomes the longest in the East—nearly a mile with something for everyone, serviced by the Nitro Express high-speed quad. During Nickelodeon Children’s Weeks (Dec. 22-25), kids (and parents) will enjoy activities, special surprises, bands featured on Jack’s Big Music Show plus visits from SpongeBob SquarePants and Dora the Explorer, includes three nights’ lodging (third night is free at participating properties), three days’ skiing (with a free lift ticket on December 25) and all activities starting at $564 for a family of four (two adults, two children ages 12 and under). Nickelodeon’s Kids Rule Adventure Week (March 11-16) includes lodging, lift tickets (kids get a free lift ticket and clinic when their parent purchases a lift ticket) and all activities starting at $381 for three nights for a family of four; $635 for a five-night package.

    Okemo Mountain Resort, VT www.okemo.com: The Big Bang and Eclipse trails are being reintroduced with snowmaking for the first time. Bang is Okemo's only non-gladed double black diamond trail. A new ice skating rink and fitness/aquatic center have been constructed at the Jackson Gore base.

    Smugglers’ Notch Resort, VT www.smuggs.com: Smugglers’ celebrates its 50th Birthday by engaging guests in its history, stories and programs through special weekly presentations and events: a trail map for kiddies, Welcome Party with cake, fireworks and bonfire, Showtime Theatre’s 50th Birthday Revue, a Snow Ball and special vacation packages. The Morse Highlands Terrain Park shifts to the Log Jam trail for a longer, wider, and more hit-filled beginner run.

    Stowe Mountain Resort, VT www.stowe.com: An inter-mountain, Poma ten-person standing gondola transfer lift opens in December, providing much-needed transportation to and from Mount Mansfield and Spruce Peak bases.

    Stratton Mountain Resort, VT www.stratton.com: A children’s environmental program, called We-xplore, Designed from a global perspective, will get kids out and about in the local environment and learning how our surroundings tie in with the greater picture.

    Sugarbush Resort, VT www.sugarbush.com: Lincoln Peak Village features three new facilities, including a new Gate House day lodge and 61 new residences in the resort's Clay Brook development.

    King Pine Ski Resort, NH www.kingpine.com: A triple chair replaces the Black Bear Double Chair, and a new advanced ski trail comes on-line with snowmaking.

    Bretton Woods, NH www.brettonwoods.com: The Hobbits Children’s Ski School and Family Center building has undergone a $500,000 upgrade and expanded by 33% to comfortably accommodate more children. The Lumber Yard terrain park gets new lights, flagging and a sound system. At the historic Mt. Washington Hotel, many renovations involving painting and structural improvements are underway.

    Tenney Mountain Ski Area, NH www.tenneymtn.com: New owners’ began this summer with work on the snowmaking system, trails improvement, a new terrain park, a new Bombardier-350 groomer and new programs at the ski school.

    Pats Peak, NH www.patspeak.com: Improved snowmaking will automatically operate, producing more snow more efficiently. Lighting has been added to the Hurricane Trail, meaning night skiing on 20 of 22 trails. A 500-foot SunKid Wonder Carpet lift replaces the Bluster J-Bar, and the Beginner’s Area is reconfigured, creating more wide-open terrain for learning. Construction projects include a multi-million dollar renovation of the main base facilities.

    Granite Gorge, NH www.granitegorge.com: Newly reopened, the ski area snowmaking and lighting, and A new 30’ diameter Pacific Yurt will be in place, and an improved snowtubing park with the expert Thrill Hill lane.

    Waterville Valley Resort, NH www.waterville.com: The terrain park experience has improved, with the addition of a Burton Progression Park catering to those getting comfortable catching air and sliding rails, a new Grenade Bomb Jib and a livened-up entrance to the Exhibition Terrain Park.

    Sunday River, ME www.sundayriver.com: In addition base area infrastructure improvements, a new intermediate trail named Southpaw appears on Barker Mountain to connect the Lower Upper Cut trail with the middle section of Agony. A new trail named Lollipop will offer easier access to the Lollopalooza Trail in Jordan Bowl, and Jim’s Whim receives snowmaking coverage to provide reliable access to T2.

    Sugarloaf/USA, ME www.sugarloaf.com: A new marquee terrain park, up to 400 feet wide and nearly a half a mile long, promises bigger, better and more features than have ever between the SuperQuad and the Lower Narrow Gauge trail. The Chaser trail returns to a conventional ski trail with its former name, Lower Double Bitter, and will be the site of a snowboard-cross course for events and special occasions. The Stomping Grounds becomes a mini-park for first time new-schoolers. The Jean Luce Competition Facility was built in partnership with the Sugarloaf Ski Club and the Town of Carrabassett Valley, and serve as the on-mountain headquarters for racers, coaches and parents. The first of two phases to beautify the Sugarloaf Village is underway, including new landscaping, signage and building exteriors.

    Windham Mountain Resort, NY www.windhammountain.com: A new high-speed, detachable quad will reach the east peak in four minutes. C Lift triple has been upgraded. Three new trails, unnamed at press time, will grace mountain. The tubing park will feature a new 120-foot by 60-foot ice skating rink and timber-framed skating rental and warming center, lit for night use. A completely renovated restaurant called the Trail's End Tavern & Grill will replace Vines Bistro at The Winwood Inn.

    Belleayre Mountain, NY www.belleayre.com: The Super Chief chairlift has morphed into a high-speed detachable quad., reducing the ride from 15 minutes to five.

    Jiminy Peak, MA www.jiminypeak.com: Left Bank has been re-graded and widened to make this popular route to the bottom more beginner-friendly. Jiminy will now feature the Burton Learn to Ride program for all snowboard lessons. The Mogul Thing has been added off Grand Slam, and is rated intermediate but covered top to bottom with moguls.

    Camelback Ski Area, PA www.skicamelback.com: The new Nights Only Pass allows school-aged sliders lift access seven nights a week from 4-10 p.m. The ski area will be participating in the Burton Progression Park Program; the Laurel Glade Park will be re-configured as a learning park, and the Advanced Park on Rhododendron Glen will include both snow features and more than one dozen new rails and boxes. Access to the Rhododendron Advanced Park will be restricted to those who have passed the park safety and etiquette certification. A regulation 11-foot/6-inch walled half pipe on Oak Grove is planned. The half pipe on Laurel Glade will be re-graded this fall and will smaller. All Camelback Season Pass Holders can receive discounts at Jay Peak on both daily lift tickets and overnight stays.

    Shawnee Mountain, PA www.shawneemt.com: A new SKIwee Bowl Teaching Area located between lower Bushkill Trail and Little Chief Slope, will feature new extended carpet lifts, colorful teaching aides, permanent fencing and automated snowmaking. The Incubator Terrain Park will complementing Shawnee’s 3000-foot Bushkill Super Park, offering novice-level features. The Pocono Plunge Snow Tubing Park will add a limited number of two person snow tubes to accommodate adult/small child sliding.

    Blue Mountain, PA www.skibluemtn.com: A high speed detachable Six Pack Lift replaces the Challenge Chair. A 2,400-foot addition to the Valley Lodge offers more seating and a larger parking lot, and a new Piston Bully Park Groomer adds to the area’s largest grooming fleet.

    Snowshoe Mountain Resort, WV www.snowshoemtn.com: The Soaring Eagle Express, a detachable quad lift replaces the Widowmaker Lift, reducing the ride time from nine-plus minutes to less than three. Phase I of the Soaring Eagle Lodge features 140 spacious homes, in only, along with retail, lounge and two restaurants.

    Midwest

    Chestnut Mountain Resort, IL www.chestnutmtn.com: Added two new runs this Season—black diamond rated Mine Shaft and more difficult level "Bobcat."

    Paoli Peaks Ski Area, IN www.PaoliPeaks.com: An 800-foot tubing arena with 400-foot conveyor carpet will open on separate acreage away from the ski resort, with separate facilities and parking.

    Perfect North Slopes, IN www.perfectnorth.com: An enlarged Beginner Learning Area and 260-foot conveyor lift, with more snowmaking and slope night lighting are added, plus 10 more snowtubing lanes, a new restroom facility and a Tubing Tent.

    Sundown Mountain, IA www.sundownmtn.com: Season pass is also valid for Sundown Mountain just west of Dubuque, Iowa, and Silver Mountain at Kellogg, Idaho. From opening through Christmas Eve, children 11 and under get a free lift pass for each parent pass purchased.

    Blackjack Ski Area, MI www.skiblackjack.com: A new terrain park on the west side of the Mountain, called Spillway has been added.

    Crystal Mountain Resort, MI: www.crystalmountain.com: Turning 50 this winter, Crystal introduces the "Super Sundays" season pass, for $99 that entitles skiing every Sunday, all season. The Crystal Clipper chairlift will use wind power beginning this winter.

    Indianhead Mountain Resort, MI www.indianheadmtn.com: The new Timber Wolf intermediate terrain park is located on Old Flambeau. The Big Chief Terrain Park has been enlarged. And, for the entire season, kids nine and under ski free with a paying adult.

    Marquette Mountain Ski Area, MI www.marquettemountain.com: A new triple chair will be in operation.

    Mount Bohemia, Ski Area, MI www.mtbohemia.com: Additional gladed terrain will open.

    Shanty Creek Resort, MI www.shantycreek.com: New ownership brings new rental equipment, a Magic Carpet lift at Schuss Mountain, and improved terrain park and quarter pipe.

    Buck Hill Ski Area, MN www.buckhill.com: A new quad chairlift services the south end of the hill, replacing the old double and servicing some beginner terrain and the terrain park, which will be bigger this year. Two new trails have been cut.

    Giants Ridge, MN www.giantsridge.com: The beginner’s area has nearly doubled in size, providing plenty of space for lessons and practice, and 20 have been feet added to the Magic Carpet, creating a 140-foot prime beginners and instruction area. The Magic Carpet is great for all types of skiers or riders!

    Welch Village Ski Area, MN www.welchvillage.com: New season pass membership options include the Jump-Gen pass for seniors’ grandchildren, ages 5-15, for $99.

    Snow Creek Ski Area, MN www.skisnowcreek.com: A snow tube arena opens on the east side of the slopes. Named Tornado Alley, the new 600-foot arena will feature 10 tubing lanes serviced by a 400-foot conveyor carpet. A viewing and picnic area will be available, as well.

    Boston Mills/Brandywine Resort, OH www.bmbw.com: A 250-foot conveyor carpet will provide additional uphill capacity in the beginner and teaching area.

    Mad River Mountain Ski Area, OH www.skimadriver.com: A $2.5 million dollar slope expansion has begun with a tubing hill expansion and a new 1700-foot triple chairlift that services two new trails. A new beginner terrain park will go in where the old tube hill was located. And, a new 10-lane, 900-foot snowtubing park, featuring a 450-foot conveyor carpet, will have its own ticketing, food court, dining area and rest rooms.

    Snow Trails Winter Resort, OH www.snowtrails.com: A new snow tubing park has been added, with a special conveyor lift and a dedicated snowmaking system plus additional night lighting.

    Devil’s Head Resort, WI www.devilsheadresort.com: Four luxury condominiums constitute Phase I of the 26-unit Glacier Ridge Condominium Development. A 410-foot conveyor carpet has been installed in the beginner area.

    The Mountain Top at Grand Geneva, WI www.grandgeneva.com: A second conveyor lift will replace the rope tows and facilitate kids’ programming expansion.

    Nordic Mountain Ski Area, WI www.nordicmountain.com: New snowtubing runs in the new snowtubing center and two new glade trails, plus a Progression Park with small, medium, and large features come on line.

    Rockies

    Aspen/Snowmass, CO www.aspensnowmass.com: Snowmass’ new Elk Camp Gondola features spacious eight passenger cabins that transport guests from the base of Fanny Hill to the alpine scenery of Elk Camp in 7.5 minutes. Aspen Mountain’s Silver Queen Gondola are fitted with new, six-passenger cabins provide more room and 360-degree views during the ride.

    Beaver Creek, CO www.beavercreek.com: Some 180 acres of new, short, steep, gladed runs in the Stone Creek Chutes area will offer in-bounds excitement for expert skiers and riders.

    Breckenridge, CO www.breckenridge.com: A new gondola starts from the Breckenridge Transportation Center right on historic Main Street and has terminals at Peaks 7 and 8, providing an vital link from town to the ski resort base areas, including a mid-station at Shock Hill.

    Copper Mountain, CO www.coppercolorado.com: The free Tucker Mountain Snowcat Tour improvements enable more people to get farther along the ridge more frequently.

    Crested Butte Mountain Resort, CO www.cbmr.com: The East River Lift has been replaced with a high-speed quad, cutting chair time in half and providing improved access to some of the resort’s best intermediate terrain. The completion of the first phase of the $200 million Mountaineer Square will be visible in the spring of 2007.

    Durango Mountain Resort, CO www.ski-purg.com: The first phase of Purgatory Lodge, a three-phase, $100 million project that will reconstruct and revitalize Purgatory Village and Durango Mountain Resort’s base area, has been launched. Phase I features resort amenities and services, commercial space and lodging units.

    Keystone Resort, CO www.keystoneresort.com: Some 278 acres of expert terrain will open in Upper Independence Bowl for hike-to and snowcat-accessed sliding. The A51 Incubator beginner park will be expanded; it’s one of the country’s largest nighttime parks. The Keystone Lodge is completely renovating its spa and will reopen this winter as a full-service Avanyu Spa.

    Monarch Ski & Snowboard Resort, CO www.skimonarch.com: An 8,400 square foot skier services lodge building has been constructed to house a new rental shop and ski school center. The existing rental shop is now a 2,400 square-foot dining area with grab-n-go food service. Teaching terrain more than doubles with the addition of a new 80-foot Magic Carpet lift at the base.

    Ski Cooper, CO www.skicooper.com: A new Children’s Center has been built.

    Steamboat Resort, CO www.steamboat.com: The Sunshine triple chairlift has been replaced with a high-speed detachable quad, complemented with a new trail and expanded snowmaking coverage. Nearly $1 million was spent renovating the popular cafeterias at the Thunderhead and Rendezvous Saddle lodges. The Yampa Valley Regional Airport has been expanded and improved.

    Vail Resort, CO www.vail.com: Improvements involve "behind the scenes" fine-tuning, including a Blue Moon Restaurant makeover; seven snowcats upgraded and a new Zaugg pipe cutter able to cut 22-foot Superpipe walls. Some $183 million has been spent to refurbish hotel rooms and upgrade facilities including spas, dining, shops, and community facilities. In total, more than 100 new lodge units and 9,250 square-feet of retail space are open now or will be later this year.

    Winter Park Resort, CO www.winterparkresort.com: A new triple chairlift starts at an elevation of 10,316 feet along the Vasquez Cirque egress and extends up the backside of Parsenn Bowl to 11,486 feet. Its location not only grants skiers and riders access to some of Winter Park’s steepest and deepest terrain but significantly shortens the time required for guests to return from Winter Park Resort’s in-bounds off-piste terrain. Seven new trails have been cut. And Snoasis, home to kids’ programs, has (thankfully) been expanded.

    Wolf Creek Ski Area, CO www.wolfcreekski.com: The new Raven Lift, a detachable quad, replaces the Dickey double chairlift, adding flexibility to beginners’ terrain and needs. The beginner teaching area has moved uphill to the wide open areas of Divide Trail, alleviating congestion of the base area during holiday periods. New skiers and boarders will have the option to ski or safely download on the detachable.

    Sun Valley Resort, ID www.sunvalley.com: Bald Mountain now has a Super Pipe, and at 425 feet long and 18 feet high, it meets competition Super Pipe standards. Freestyle ski and snowboard lessons will be offered on a Super Pipe.

    Bogus Basin, ID www.bogusbasin.com: The new, 200-foot Easy Rider moving carpet eases beginners’ lives. Bogus also has new loops and trails for Nordic skiers, as well as solar-powered trail lights for night skiing.

    Tamarack Resort, ID www.tamarackidaho.com: The final stop of the Chevrolet U.S. Snowboard Grand Prix takes place here on a specially made 22-foot-wall halfpipe and uniquely constructed snowboardcross course. Some 5,000 acres of new terrain, 250 more acres of lift-accessed tree-skiing terrain, and three new runs open this season.

    Schweitzer Mountain, ID www.schweitzer.com: Extensive forest thinning has been completed, adding more tree skiing acreage, particularly in the North Bowl where the exit out of the expert chutes has been improved. In the beginner area a new snowmaking gun has been added along with a 250-foot Musical Carpet.

    Silver Mountain, ID www.silvermt.com: A new tubing hill has been added, and beginners’ terrain doubled in size.

    Lookout Pass Ski & Recreation Area, ID/MT www.skilookout.com: The new Timber Wolf double chair and five new runs on the Montana side of the mountain are ready, increasing vertical drop to 1,150 feet. Two of the new runs are rated advanced and the other three are rated intermediate.

    Big Mountain Resort, MT www.bigmtn.com: A new Super Pipe opened in March 2006 that’s 450 feet long, 57 feet wide, with 18-foot high walls, and a 16-degree pitch, all meeting FIS competition standards. Snowmaking, lights for night use during scheduled night skiing, and a sound system complete the pipe package. The expanded Fish Bowl terrain park located near the new pipe also includes revamped hits, rails, and other features. A new Day Lodge premiers, creating a central location for mountain services including the Snowsports School, kids' center and day care facility, rental shop, full-service cafeteria, main ticket office, guest services, seasonal lockers, group space, and day-use basket-check. A new beginner quad chairlift has been installed to the east of the free Big Easy carpet lift, covering 269 vertical feet with a with minute ride.

    Beaver Mountain, UT www.skithebeav.com: The old double lift is being replaced by a triple.

    The Canyons Resort, UT www.thecanyons.com: Intermediate and advanced terrain has expanded with the opening of the new Dreamcatcher quad, adding more than 200 acres of pristine glades and trails. The Tombstone quad has been replaced with a six-pack chairlift.

    Deer Valley Resort, UT www.deervalley.com: The existing Sterling triple chairlift on Bald Mountain has morphed into a high-speed detachable quad, and new glade skiing added off of the Sultan chairlift.

    Park City Mountain Resort, UT www.parkcitymountain.com: A new triple chair has been installed and three intermediate runs added. The home to the "Terrain Park of the Year" for two years running, according to Transworld Snowboarding magazine, new rails, funboxes and jumps will be added to the four terrain parks.

    Powder Mountain, UT www.powdermountain.com: After 30 years, the double chair lift at Hidden Lake has been replaced with a high-speed detachable quad, cutting travel time in half to approximately eight minutes.

    Snowbird Ski & Summer Resort, UT www.snowbird.com: The Peruvian lift has been removed and replaced with a new high-speed quad to below the steepest Chip’s Run pitch. At the top of the lift, North America’s first ski area tunnel, a 600-footer, with a conveyor lift provides access to Mineral Basin.

    Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, WY www.jacksonhole.com: Snowsliders will be able to access 100% of the mountain including Rendezvous Bowl, Corbet's Couloir and the backcountry gates via the Bridger Gondola and a series of chairlifts including the new East Ridge Chair to the summit, a temporary double chairlift in use until the new aerial tram opens December, 2008. The Bridger Gondola will have 18 more cabins and Thunder Chair will have 16 more chairs added. At the top of the Bridger Gondola, the new Bridger Restaurant will have incredible valley views of Jackson Hole and the famed on-mountain Corbet’s Couloir to the south.

    Ski Santa Fe, NM www.skisantafe.com: A new Poma triple chair goes into service this winter—it was ready last season but wasn’t operated—running to a new higher summit for the area at 12,075 feet atop of Deception Peak. Six new trails, four expert and two intermediate, are served by the lift.

    Taos Ski Valley, NM www.skitaos.org: A $3.5 million renovation has converted The Inn at Snakedance into the Snakedance Condominiums and Spa, with 33 condominium units, a new fine-dining restaurant, one of the Ski Valley's favorite apres ski spots in the adjoining bar, a more full-featured grocery store. On the site of the former historic Edelweiss hotel at the base of Lift 3, the Edelweiss Lodge and Spa is a totally new and luxury version of the former hotel. The Edelweiss is the first major new building project in Taos Ski Valley in the past 11 years. The Inn at Taos Valley will be open this winter with 12 new, one- and two-bedroom, fully furnished condos, and free shuttle service to and from the ski area.

    West

    Stevens Pass Ski Area, WA www.stevenspass.com: Two 100-foot conveyor lifts have been installed on the Beacon Hill section of Daisy. Each lift will transport new skiers and boarders up in stages, creating a progressive, comfortable, and enjoyable learning experience.

    Crystal Mountain, WA www.skicrystal.com: The new $6.2 million Campbell Basin Lodge, a one-level, mid-mountain, 12,500-square-foot day lodge, is constructed of Northwest Cascade heavy timber and stone design.

    Mission Ridge, WA www.missionridge.com: A new high-speed quad cuts ride time almost in half, as well as adding 50 vertical feet.

    49' North Mountain Resort, WA www.ski49n.com: An additional 300 acres of terrain is now open in the East Basin, with nine new trails of varying levels of difficulty plus tree skiing areas.

    Mt. Bachelor, OR www.mtbachelor.com: The Pine Marten Express lift is now a high-speed quad and will be wind-powered. The Glades at Sunrise will return in the area between the Sunrise Express lift and Marshmallow.

    Mt. Hood Meadows, OR www.skihood.com: A new Children’s Learning Center opens centrally located in the south lodge. The center consolidates the daily learning and supervised activities for ages 4 to 12.

    Northstar-at-Tahoe, CA www.northstarattahoe.com: Two new Doppelmayr lifts open. A high-speed six-pack, which will dramatically improve access to Lookout Mountain and the Backside and access 13 trails and 137 acres of total terrain, including 60 acres of new intermediate terrain, including a new mile-long run to connect guests directly from the top of the six-pack to the Backside. A European-style surface lift replaces Salmon Tow, easily accessible from the top of the new six-pack lift, providing convenient access to Lookout Mountain.

    Diamond Peak, CA www.diamondpeak.com: The mountain teams up with Burton Snowboards to become a Burton Learn to Ride Center and will now make demo snowboards available. A new Learn Together Special for families is inaugurated. The Child Ski Center's Frequent Private Lesson Program gives kids a sixth private lesson free after five are purchased. A Midweek All Day Special allows kids to take all day group lessons on any two days out of a five-day period for $180. The special includes lessons, indoor supervision and lunch.

    Mammoth Mountain Resort, CA www.mammoth-mtn.com: A state-of-the-art Top of the Sierra Interpretive Center designed to educate visitors about the surrounding area and the dynamic nature of the Eastern Sierra features five interactive displays with facts about local geology, hydrology and the volcanic history of Mammoth Mountain, the Long Valley Caldera and more. Through window lined-walls, guests get a bird’s eye 180-degree view of peaks, valleys, rivers, volcanoes and rock formations left behind from glaciers along with explanations of what they are looking at.

    Canada

    Whistler Blackcomb, BC www.whistlerblackcomb.com: A new high-speed detachable quad is online providing access to 1,000 acres in Whistler Mountain’s high alpine back bowls. The Symphony Express will run to the Piccolo peak from the bottom of Flute Bowl and will showcase some of the most spectacular high alpine terrain available in North America, with unmatched views, vast open bowls, deep snow and gladed finales. Following the theme, the area also features new run names which include Rhapsody Bowl, Adagio, Staccato Glades and Encore Ridge.

    Sun Peaks, BC www.sunpeaksresort.com: Four new intermediate runs on the lower part of Orient Ridge facilitate access to East Village lodging. These runs feature numerous tree islands to enhance the beauty of the ski experience and to keep the snow dry and fluffy. One of the first new commercial developments in East Village is the Umbrella Café, a ski-in/ski-out café with indoor and outdoor seating.

    Big White, BC www.bigwhite.com: The Snow Ghost Express, Canada’s longest high-speed six passenger chairlift, services trails and terrain adjacent to the current Ridge Rocket Express, Big White’s most popular runs and terrain. Down at Happy Valley, a 400-foot Magic Carpet replaces a 150-foot handle tow and triples the length of the beginner area.

    Ski Silver Star, BC www.skisilverstar.com: A CAD Doppelmayr "Unistar" fixed-grip quad chair will service the Alpine Meadows (Attridge) runs, providing improved access to several "local knowledge" runs like Split Decision, Solitude, Lonestar, Ridge Run and the upper third of Christmas Bowl.

    Red Mountain, BC www.redresort.com: Red Mountain Resort is of secret lines, chutes, stashes, and great lift-accessed boundary skiing, and local knowledge is now available at the new Mountain Project. Situated inside a funky log cabin, this on-mountain guide facility will provide endless guiding options, from in-bounds day tours to overnight backcountry expeditions. The Mountain Project Lounge with its plasma TVs, comfy couches, and warm soapstone stove will also host a "T-Bar" serving exotic tea blends, and will be the perfect place to both get pumped up for your guided powder tour, and unwind and feel the warmth post-adventure.

    Ski Bromont, Que www.skibromont.com: Yet another quad chair has been added to the resort’s ever-growing collection, along with three new runs and more grooming and snowmaking power.

    Station du Mont Gleason, Que www.montgleason.qc.ca: Two new lit trails and significant improvements to the gladed runs which make up 35% of the area’s skiing come on-line.

    Mont Blanc, Que www.skimontblanc.com: Here, too a new quad chairlift will make the uphill trip better. Getting there will be easier, too, thanks to a multi-million dollar highway improvement project.

    Mont Tremblant, Que www.tremblant.ca: Worth a look even if just for the novelty of it is the Ice Hotel Quebec’s N’Ice Club Mont-Tremblant, made of 100 tons of ice and 1600 tons of snow. It has stone and ice sculptures, private alcoves, a fireplace, video projectors, an ice bar, cocktails served in glasses made of ice and a dance floor. The latest restaurant addition is Fat Mardis, with a Bourbon Street/Mardi Gras atmosphere and a Louisiana-inspired menu.

    Want more on winter family fun? Be sure to sign up for our e-newsletter to get the latest on winter family travel & gear deals, plus tips to make your life easier! Ollie in!

    JOIN THE RIPPIN' RIDERS TEAM!!! . If you rip.. or want to... be a product tester. Join the Rippin' Riders Team for deals, discounts, and first shot at testing new product.

    ...... Mitch Kaplan is the author of The Unofficial Guide to the Mid-Atlantic with Kids, The Cheapskate’s Guide to Myrtle Beach and The Golf Book of Lists. He is a contributor to The Unofficial Guide to New England & New York with Kids and to the annual guide Ski America & Canada.

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