Our Work

6 Ski and Snowboard Mountains that are Almost More Fun in the Summer

The resorts that we ski and snowboard at in the winter don't disappear once the snow stops falling, and many of them are taking advantage of their infrastructure to transform themselves into outdoor playgrounds in the summer months.  With plentiful lodging, quality dining and stunning mountain views, these resorts have a lot to offer a vacationer in the summer. Many offer kids programs, and activities for all ages and interest.

Check out our list of six ski and snowboard resorts that are worth a visit in the summer!

Skiing in July... in Vermont?

 
 

The Craftsbury Outdoor Center has been storing snow since the winter as part of an experimental "snow farming" project working to see if snow can be stored from one season to another.  Many, around the world, are hoping to use this technique in the future to help build early-season bases, and alleviate some of their dependance on natural snowfall as climate change makes weather more variable.  Several major events from the Iditarod to the Hahnenkamm World Cup ski races in Austria, now depending on the technique.

It will be really interesting to see the capabilities of snow storage technology and its impact on the future of winter sports as the technology develops, but for now, it's fun to watch people fool around in a pile of snow in the middle of summer!

Sand Skiing in Peru!

 
 

It's been so hot at our headquarters in Denver over the last couple weeks that it's difficult to believe it will ever snow again.

Jesper Tjäder and Emma Dahlström with GoPro have one idea on how to get your turns - and even hit kickers and rails - without waiting for the white fluffy stuff. Watch these skiers hike up and then shred the Cerro Blanco dune in Peru!

Undoubtedly rad, but all I can think about is the SAND IN THEIR BOOTS!!

The Catamount Trail: Vermont's 300-Mile Nordic Ski Trail

Did you know that if you strap on a pair of cross-country skis just east of the Deerfield River at Vermont’s southern boarder and head north, you can ski on uninterrupted trail until you arrive at the Canadian boarder 300-miles north?

The Catamount Trail, which began in 1984 as the thesis project of Steve Bushey, Paul Jarris and Ben Rose when they were students at the University of Vermont, is now the longest uninterrupted cross-country skiing trail in North America. Its 300-miles of trail, between Vermont’s southern to northern boarders, were painstakingly pieced together by the Catamount Trail Association (CTA) over 20 years. The trail connects vast wilderness areas to old timber roads; it crosses farmland and protected forests, and caters to skiers of a variety of levels.


The trail is a vast cooperative effort, passing through both public and private land, and demanding hours of volunteer labor to maintain; it reflects a state-wide dedication to a no-frills outdoor culture and the preservation of the state's long history of winter sports.


Unlike many aspects of the winter sports world, especially those associated with Nordic skiing’s brasher alpine cousin, the Catamount Trail is explicitly designed to be accessible and inexpensive, where skiers are drawn by the state’s stunning natural beauty rather than by high speed trams, luxury accommodations, or glitzy off-slope shopping. The trail is the result of a rugged culture that is increasingly absent from a skiing world dominated by corporate giants Vail and Alterra.

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But in Vermont — and it’s eastern neighbor New Hampshire — you can still find trail systems maintained by passionate volunteers, mountains where the owner personally greets their customers each morning and, occasionally, lodge beers for less than $5. It is a land that respects rigorous exercise and bone chilling winds, where winter sports are part of a time-honored way of life.

Ben Rose, one of the Catamount Trail’s founders, and the Executive Director of the Green Mountain Club, describes the project’s unique vision: It’s a “very intimate way to see the landscape. Like hiking the Long Trail, skiing the Catamount Trail is a way to see Vermont from its heart.”

Although few people actually ski the whole trail — as it’s always not easy to camp along the route in winter — few people have actually skied the whole trail, each winter it’s estimated to support over 8,000 skier days.

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On their website the CTA states that their goal “is to create a future in which Vermont is home to a world-class network of locally-supported winter back-country trails and terrain accessible to outdoor travelers of all abilities and means.” As winter recreation is becoming increasingly corporate across the US, organizations like the CTA will play an increasingly important role in ensuring that winter sports like cross country skiing and snowshoeing remain accessible and inexpensive as they have been for centuries.

A lonely stretch along the Catamount Trail is about as far as you could get spiritually from, say, Aspen’s glamorous Little Nell’s bar, but for many, the former encapsulated the soul of winter sports in a way the latter new can.

Snowriders Round-up: Wk 1

Happy Fourth of July, Snowriders! We're starting something new - a weekly round-up of ski, snowboard, snow and environmental news from around the web. We'll use these posts to keep you updated on what we're up to, share the news that Snowriders care about, and provide you with a little snowy inspiration for your week. 

👇 Let us know in the comments what you think about these new weekly posts 👇

New & Exciting from Us: We got our Instagram account up and running again! Follow us @SnowridersOrg! We'll be posting pictures and videos to get you through the summer and sharing photography from our followers - tag us in your snowy posts to be featured!

More from the Week:

Snow fell at Snowdown Ski Area in Montana on Tuesday, July 3rd with temperatures dropping to around 29 degrees. The snow didn't stick around for too long, but not before the ski area snapped some pictures of the summer blanket of snow. See the full story here.

One skier was transported off of the The Great One, outside Bozeman, in a helicopter, the other given a ride down by the search-and-rescue team after not being able to descend alone. Full story here.

 

For more on weird weather in 2018 check out this great article from Popular Science: 

2018 has Been Full of Weird Weather so Far

From snow in June in Canada to a fire started by a thunderstorm in Texas -- check out the full article here

Daydream Fuel:

 Prepare to drool: watch this beautiful drone footage of skiing at Chamonix in April. Watch it  here .

Prepare to drool: watch this beautiful drone footage of skiing at Chamonix in April. Watch it here.

Ski Resort Giants: who owns what

Growing Giants: As Alterra Mountain Co. and Vail Resorts grow, who owns what and which mountains remain independent

Last week, it was announced that Utah's Solitude Mountain Resort is to join the growing list of major resorts purchased by Alterra Mountain Co. since spring of last year. Alterra, together with its major rival, Vail Resorts, now own a total of 31 resorts across North America.

And with dueling mega-passes - Ikon and Epic - these growing industry superpowers are flexing influence across a huge swath of the ski and snowboard market. Both the Ikon and Epic passes offer access to many of the resorts owned by Alterra and Vail respectively as well as other affiliated mountains, in the US, Canada and Europe.  Here's a current list of who owns what:

Vail Resorts

Afton Alps
Beaver Creek Resort
Breckenridge Ski Resort
Canyons Resort
Heavenly Mountain Resort
Keystone Resort
Kirkwood Mountain Resort
Mount Brighton
Mount Sunapee Resort
Northstar California
Okemo Mountain Resort
Park City Mountain Resort
Perisher Ski Resort
Stowe Mountain Resort
Vail Ski Resort
Whistler Blackcomb
Wilmot Mountain

Alterra Mountain Company

Alpine Meadows
Big Bear Mountain
Blue Mountain
Deer Valley
June Mountain
Mammoth Mountain
Snowshow
Solitude Mountain Resort
Squaw Valley
Steamboat
Stratton
Snow Summit
Tremblant
Winter Park Resort

 

 

Independent Spirit

 Some independent mountains like Vermont's  Magic Mountain  celebrate their independent spirit.

Some independent mountains like Vermont's Magic Mountain celebrate their independent spirit.

With so many resorts joining the Epic-Ikon party, smaller independent mountains across the US are at risk of suffering devastating losses in the shadow of these growing giants.  Independent mountains offer some of the most unique ski experiences and develop some of the most devoted followings.

Our organizer, Lucie Coleman, has lived in Colorado for five seasons now, but every new helmet gets a Mad River Glen sticker before it ever sees the light of day.  In Denver, you see more bumper stickers repping Loveland, Cooper and Monarch Mountains than almost any other local ski areas. While we can't deny that we're excited about the prospect of skiing 20+ resorts for less than $900, independent mountains still have our heart!

Tell us about your favorite independent mountain in the comments!

And check out our list of some great multi-mountain passes available for next season that aren't Epic or Ikon.

 

We Asked Winter Olympians about Climate Change, Here's What They Said

We asked some 2018 Winter Olympians about climate change, disappearing winters, and renewable energy.  They share their experiences, and hope for the future of winter sports below.

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"I support a 100% Renewable Energy future because fighting climate change is not only essential for global stability, it is an opportunity for our global community to come together to achieve the impossible. We can achieve a 100% renewable energy future and along the way we can eradicate hunger, poverty and opportunity inequality. Together we can form a compassionate, thriving and sustainable global community. I have had the privilege of travelling the world as a professional skier, and along the way I have seen that anything is possible when we work towards a common goal."

-Noah Hoffman, Olympic X-Country Skier 2018


"Global warming is having a huge impact on the winter sports that we love. As a winter sports athlete, I have seen many events get canceled in recent years in due to lack of snow. This is happening in places that are known for having huge amounts of snow throughout the winter. In order to protect our planet and the sports we love, we have to move forward towards having a 100% renewable energy future. I hope that future generations will be able to enjoy the winter activities that we have been lucky enough to grow up with."

-Mick Dierdorff, Olympic Snowboarder


"Honestly, everything that I enjoy doing in this world is made possible because we have a lot of snow, clean water and healthy mountains. As soon as those things stop being true, everything I love to do in this world will be gone, and I really just don’t want to wait around watching until that happens. It isn’t a matter of if we should change anymore, but how do we change. Each and every step we take, it is important that it is in the right direction. Because hey, we all want to go ski some powder right?

"If we want to keep doing the things we love, and using the earth as our playground, there has to be a change. I want to go skiing for the rest of my life, and I want the next generations to be able to ski. I want to be able to surf in a clean ocean, and I want it to stay that way for everyone who graces this earth. It's as simple as that."

- Casey Andringa, Olympic Freestyle Skier 2018


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"I have spent over a decade traveling around the world to the same snow destinations to compete in World Cup competitions. Over the course of my career, I have seen first hand how climate change has affected many of these places. What were once "winter wonderlands" are now the only places that can host an early season world cup. Places that typically had normal winters now are forced to battle rains, warm temperatures and little to no snow.  Without trucking in man-made snow or machines that can make snow above freezing, these venues could no longer host a competition. All this has happened in just the past decade, imagine how it could be if we continue on this path for another decade! We need to treat ourselves and our environment better and that's why I support 100% renewables."

- Bryan Fletcher, Olympic Nordic Combined Athlete

Keep Litter off our Mountains!

Melting snow can uncover hidden treasures on ski mountains. 

Single gloves, dropped goggles, abandoned poles and even whole skis emerge from their icy hiding placing as temperatures warm.  If you know someone who has worked ski patrol or snow removal, you've likely heard stories of rolls of cash, gold watches, and even mysteries like a full set of dentures being left behind by melting snow. But in addition to these inadvertently dropped and lost valuables, mountain resorts are increasingly battling a more worrying collection hidden beneath the snow: thousands of pounds of cigarette buts, plastic bottles and other litter.

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Visit a ski resort during the summer, and you're likely to hike past a few stashes of red bull cans that never made it into the recycling bin, or piles of decomposing cigarette butts, carelessly disposed of months ago in the snow.

This is a terrible legacy that ski and snowboard resorts bear. As outdoor enthusiasts and appreciators of the natural world, we believe it is our responsibility to protect and advocate for our environment, not contribute to its further degradation through carelessness and lack of foresight. Snowriders wants to change this dirty legacy of ski resorts by committing to more responsible stewardship of our mountains. 

This commitment comes in two parts:

1) Don't be part of the problem:

Do. Not. Litter. Remember you are a guest in a wild and beautiful landscape while you're skiing. You wouldn't throw your trash all over a national forest or city park (I hope), so don't do it while you're skiing or riding, either!

2) Become part of the solution:

As individuals, we can't solve this garbage problem alone, but we can take responsibility for it. The environmental impacts of our winter sports are the problem of every skier and snowboarder. Become a good steward! Help clean up the places we play! 

Check if your local mountain holds a volunteer clean-up day over the summer, or before next season begins in the fall. Here are a few great clean-up opportunities on our radar:


Alta Ski Area Clean Up - Saturday, July 8, 2017; 8:00am to 12:00pm

"Join us for a fun day of all over the mountain. It's not just a trash clean up, but a treasure hunt sometimes. After a lovely lift ride to the top of Collins, we will leisurely take our routes downhill. It's a stewardship exploration."

Keystone Resort Clean Up Day - Tuesday, June 12; 8am

"Join fellow employees and community members as we pick up litter on the mountain, roads, and base areas."

Sierra-at-Tahoe "Keep Sierra Clean Day" - TBD, likely October, 2018

For the last 11 years, Sierra-at-Tahoe has gathered their community in the fall to clean up their mountain playground before the snow starts falling for the season. Keep an eye our for the announcement of this year's event.

Respect the Mountain Project, across Europe - multiple events

Throughout the summer, the Respect the Mountain Project hosts events across europe - from Spain to Romania - to help clean tonnes of trash strewn across the alps each winter. In Europe this summer? Check out their extensive events calendar to do your part.

Colorado Olympians join us in Call for Renewable Energy

Published on May 16, 2018 in The Gazette

Warmer Winters Threaten Colorado's Winter Sports

In January, the New York Times published a report detailing the existential threat faced by winter sports around the globe. The study determined that of the 21 cities that have hosted the Winter Olympic Games, nine will no longer have reliably freezing temperatures by as early as mid-century due to climate change. In other words, winter is slowly disappearing.

As Winter Olympians who rely on consistent snow and freezing temperatures to pursue our respective disciplines, we have seen firsthand the impacts of climate change in Colorado and around the world. We must speak up and speak out to save Colorado’s winter sports and way of life.

The list of events cancelled or disrupted by warm winters and lack of snow grows each year, including those that were held consistently for decades.

Last season, Wisconsin’s famed American Birkebeiner nordic ski race was cancelled for only the second time in its 45-year history. Both the men’s Lake Louise World Cup, in Alberta, Canada, and the Beaver Creek Bird of Prey World Cup here in Colorado were cancelled last year because there wasn’t enough natural snow, and it was too warm to make enough snow. The year before that, Squaw Valley in California cancelled its Ski and Snowboard Cross World Cup event due to lack of snow. 

Even the casual skier or snowboarder can attest to this trend.

Colorado is closing out one of its worst ski seasons in a decade, with statewide snowpack totals less than 70 percent of normal. The southwest corner of the state experienced a particularly snowless winter, dealing a heavy blow to small resorts such as Hesperus Ski Area in Durango, which was forced to close at the beginning of March. These event cancellations and reduced snowfall foreshadow something alarming: Our historic winter wonderlands may soon run out of consistent snow entirely.

We refuse to watch our winters melt away. That’s why, as winter athletes, we believe that our communities can and must take steps to combat climate change.

Global warming is caused by carbon pollution. To stop global temperature rise, we must cut our carbon emissions. Corporations and local governments can help by committing to using 100 percent renewable energy sources in the future. 

This transition is both essential and possible. Companies including Apple and Coca-Cola, and mountain communities like Avon and Breckenridge have already committed to 100 percent renewable energy. Aspen has already succeeded! Nationally, wind and solar energy has increased 700 percent and 4,300 percent respectively over the last decade. Renewable energy is also becoming more affordable and accessible for all Americans, as the cost of production and storage drops.

A renewable future is attainable in Colorado, but it won’t happen on its own. The share of wind and solar is growing, but still only accounts for 19 percent of our statewide electricity consumption.

As Winter Olympians, we are calling for swift action and commonsense policies that cut carbon pollution and transition us to a clean energy future. This is the only way to protect the future of our sports, the outdoor lifestyle we cherish, and the planet we inhabit. Our communities must be leaders in the fight against climate change by committing to a clean energy future and protecting the future of winter sports, and our Colorado way of life, for generations to come.

Casey Andringa
Olympic Freestyle Skier, 2018
Boulder, CO

Mick Dierdorff
Olympic Snowboard Cross Athlete, 2018
Steamboat Springs, CO

Jasper Good
Olympic Nordic Combined Athlete, 2018
Steamboat Springs, CO

Noah Hoffman
Olympic Cross Country Skier, 2014, 2018
Evergreen, CO

Jaelin Kauf
Olympic Freestyle Skier, 2018
Vail, CO

Keaton McCargo
Olympic Freestyle Skier, 2018
Telluride, CO

Paul Casey Puckett
Olympic Alpine and Freestyle Skier, 1992, 1994, 1998, 2002, 2010
Aspen, CO

Joanne Firesteel Reid
Olympic Biathlete, 2018
Boulder, CO

Lucie Coleman
Snowriders International


Sign on to Snowriders' letter in support of a transition to a 100% renewable future!

Powder, Not Power Plants

"I have been skiing to both North and south Poles for over 20 years and I personally have witnessed a deterioration of sea ice on the Arctic Ocean." - Doug Stoup, Artic Explorer and Guide

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Doug Stoup, President and Founder, Ice Axe Expeditions

“There is no operation manual for Spaceship Earth. The technology age or new industrial revolution with bio-technology, smartphones, 3-D Printing, Artificial Intelligence and autonomous vehicles will affect the quality of our existence for hundreds of years. I have been skiing to both North and south Poles for over 20 years and I personally have witnessed a deterioration of sea ice on the Arctic Ocean. This is truly an early warning sign that we need to shift to 100 percent renewable energy NOW! We need to move to cleaner energy to have a sustainable vision for our collective future. There is no resupply for Spaceship Earth. There are no passengers, we are all crew and cannot afford to procrastinate. We need to mobilize for immediate action through agile governance, technology and protection for us to survive.”

We don’t want to watch our winters melt away! That’s why Snowriders International is dedicated to fighting for a 100% renewable energy economy.

A 100% Renewable energy economy is essential to cutting global warming pollution and ensuring snowy winters for generations to come!

It's clear that as a society we must take urgent and decisive action to reduce emissions in order to prevent the worst impacts of climate change.  However, currently, good climate policies like the Clean Power Plan, clean car standards, and the Paris Agreement, are under attack in Washington. And the Department of Interior's plans to open up hundreds of miles of protected land and coastline to drilling and fracking operations threatens to reverse our clean energy progress. Fortunately, visionaries on the local, state and national level are stepping up and continuing to lead the transition to a 100% renewable energy future. As part of the Voices for 100% Renewables campaign, we are amplifying the voices of these leaders.

This winter, Snowriders is delighted to welcome polar pioneer Doug Stoup to the Voices for 100% Renewables campaign.

 

Hundreds of leaders - from mayors of major cities, to scientific authorities - had contributed their voices to this campaign so far, demonstrating the broad effort to transition away from dirty energy towards a renewable future NOW.

With so many visionaries from across the world working on this problem, a 100% Renewable world is not only essential, but it is within our reach.

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Ethan Strimling, Mayor, Portland, Maine

“Here in Portland, Maine we’re moving city operations toward a 100% Clean Energy by 2040 goal. Protecting our long term environmental health will take hard work, collaboration, foresight and creativity. It will also mean never taking ‘no’ for an answer because when it comes to ensuring a sustainable future for all of Portland, it’s not a choice, it’s a necessity.”

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Bill McKibben, Founder, 350.org

“Aside from the small bonus of not destroying the planet, renewable energy comes with many other benefits as well. Coal, oil, and gas; which we power our world with now, are found in a few places around the world. The people who happen to live on top of these places get enormous power because of the money and political influence they gain. Think about Saudi Arabia, think about the Koch brothers in our country, the biggest oil and gas barons and the biggest political players in our corrupted system. If we are all generating our own power: from the sun that falls on our shingles or the wind that blows through our streets, then we won’t need the Saudis anymore, we won’t need the Koch brothers anymore. We will be able to have not just clean power but a much cleaner democracy.”

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Wenonah Hauter, Founder and Executive Director, Food & Water Watch

“We know that we have the renewables technology and together we can organize the political will to create a clean energy future.

Renewables are ready today. We have the technical know how to build out 100% renewable energy systems. Not only is this a critical step forward for cleaning up our environment and protecting our global climate – it will also create jobs and be a boon to the economy. The only thing that has stood in our way is the lack of political will. But, because of the growing movement for a clean energy revolution, the political winds are shifting.

People are taking action to change our energy future in unprecedented numbers. They see that progress has been stunted at the federal level and so they are working at the state and local level to stop dirty energy projects and to support clean energy solutions. Recently, Maryland joined New York and Vermont in banning fracking and Pueblo City, Colorado joined 22 other cities in committing to going 100% renewable.

We are so excited about the tremendous number of people who are fired up to make the changes we need to survive. To help capture the enthusiasm, we are launching a new volunteer-led effort called Off Fossil Fuels to give activists the ability to run local campaigns across the country to keep fossil fuels in the ground, stop pipelines and other risky infrastructure projects, and transition to 100% renewable energy by 2035.”