ski information

Colorado Ski Deals for Kids!

Ski days become a little more complicated when you have kids in tow.

With each additional child there is more gear to pack, more bodies to bundle into the car, and more pricey lift passes to purchase. And growing children frequently means dealing with rentals and ski lessons, all of which can get very expensive very quickly.

Visit Estonia  via  Flickr ,  CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Visit Estonia via FlickrCC BY-NC-SA 2.0

That being said, there are few things better in life than sharing a love of skiing and riding with your kids. Colorado understands why people live and play here. They know we want to share the incredible mountains and plentiful snow with the next generation, and they want to make it easy!

With a little pre-planning, you can capitalize on the amazing ski and snowboard deals available to kids in this state, and get them on the slopes for free this season!

Did you know that kids in kindergarten through 5th grade can get 4 free days of skiing or boarding at each of the following four resorts: Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone and Vail?

That's a pretty monstrous deal. And it's available right now, for a limited time, through Vail's Epic School Kids Colorado Pack program.

All you need to do is to register at any front range Epic Mountain Gear location (except for the Frisco storefront). Bring your child and a form of ID for them (report card, student ID, birth certificate or passport). Once you are registered, you can pick up your free passes at the resort ticket window on your first ski day.

There's more too. Each child is eligible for a FREE first-timer lesson as well as free rentals for the lesson.

For fifth and sixth graders, Colorado Ski Country has an even better deal!

Registration is now open on the Colorado Ski Country website for their 2018/19 5th and 6th Grade Passport Program. The fifth grade ski passport gives registered students 3 free days at each of Colorado's 22 premier ski areas.  That's 66 days of free skiing!! For 6th graders, this same deal is available for just $105!

Have more tips for skiing with kids on a budget? Let us know in the comments.

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!

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.

Photo by  Simon Matzinger  on  Unsplash

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.

 

Multi-Mountain Season Passes Available for the 2018/2019 Season (other than Epic and Ikon)

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If you've been paying attention at all, you know that Alterra Mountain Co. announced the launch of its shiny new Ikon Pass this spring. The full 2018/19 adult pass, currently going for $999, gives you unlimited access to 12 resorts including Mammoth, CA, Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, CA, and Winter Park, CO as well as 7 days at each 13 other resorts including Jackson Hole, WY, and Killington, VT. 

Since the announcement of the Ikon Pass, much time and many published words have been dedicated to debating the relative advantages of the new Ikon Pass and Vail's Epic Pass. (The Epic Pass, available for $899, gives you unlimited access to 19 North American resorts including Whistler Blackholm, BC, Park City, UT, and Breckenridge, CO. It also gives you 7 days at Telluride, plus a number of days at resorts in the Canadian Rockies, Japan and across Europe).

But, if you haven't yet been wooed by one of these giants, there are other multi-mountain passes out there that may suit more niche and local interests.  Check out our list below!  Note that many of these passes have different levels at different prices. Full adult pass prices are listed below, but check out their websites for more options.

 

Colorado - 

CO Ski Country Gold Pass - TBD - a fully transferable pass that give you full access to all 23 Colorado Ski Country member resorts with no blackout dates.

Colorado Gems Card - $25 - gives you two 2-for-1 lift tickets OR two 30% off lift tickets at each of the ten Colorado Gems Resorts.

Summit Value Pass - $549 - give you full access to Keystone and Arapahoe Basin, and access with limited holiday restriction to Breckend

 

New England- 

Peak Pass - $829 - full pass give you full unrestricted access to seven New England resorts including Mount Snow and Attitash.

 

Utah- 

Yeti Pass - $649 - gets you 1 day pass at every Utah ski and snowboard resort.

Ski3 Pass - $759 - valid at Belleayre, Gore & Whiteface Mountains.

Gold Pass - $4,900 - a fully transferable pass (your friends and family can use it when you aren't) that gives you 50 days or more at each of Utah's 14 ski and snowboard resorts.

Silver Pass - $3,150 - gets you 30 or more days at each of Utah'a 14 ski and snowboard resorts.

Reciprocal Pass - depends - if you purchase a season pass Beaver Mountain, Brian Head and Sundance, you get three free days at each of 15 reciprocal pass program partners.

 

Other National/International Pass Programs:

Freedom Pass - depends - if you buy a season pass at any of the 14 "soul filled" participating mountains across north america, including Magic Mountain, VT and Cooper Mountain, CO, you get three free days at all of the other participating resorts.

Mountain Collective - $429 (limited time sale!) - gives you two days each at 16 premier resorts across North America, including Toas, Alta, and Revelstoke.

Powder Alliance - depends - if you buy a season pass at any of the 19 Powder Alliance member resorts, including Loveland Ski Area, CO, and Sugar Bowl Resort, CA, you get three free days at the other 18.

How to Stay in Shape for the Off-Season

At some point every September, I vow to get in shape for ski season.  I plan to rebuild my stamina and the strength in my legs so that this year my first summit of the Aspen Highlands Bowl is less painful and I spend fewer Mondays hobbling around the office.  So far, this fall-bootcamp method of preparing for the season has not yielded very impressive results. I procrastinate, I get busy, and suddenly the first snow is falling and despite my best intentions I'm still winded and fatigued by the end of my first day.

I stay in pretty good shape year round - I hike, bike and run, when I can't be skiing - but despite this, the physical intensity of skiing takes it out of me anew every November.  Although I stay active, my other sports don't maintain the core and leg strength necessary for strenuous skiing. And beyond a little body-weight training and extremely intermediate yoga, I've never been able to maintain much of a strength routine.  Clearly my attempts to frantically generate one every fall haven't been working.

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This year, I'm doing it differently.  It's a lot easier to stay in shape than it is to get back in shape, so rather than trying to rebuild in the fall, I'm starting now. 

I've done my research, I've bought some protein powder, I'm off to a good start.  Join me in staying fit this summer, and vowing to start next season off in better shape than I'm ending this one!

Here are three areas to focus on in your quest for sweet off-season gains:


1.  Strength: Legs and Core

Both skiing and snowboarding build muscles in your legs, core and arms. Maintain your strength throughout the summer by incorporating weight training into your routine 2 -3 times per week. Focus on exercises that work your glutes, quads, abs, and back. If you've noticed any particular areas of weakness during the season, you can begin by targeting those areas.  I've had some knee troubles this winter, so I've been strengthening my hamstrings in order to help stabilize and protect my joints.

If you don't have access to a gym, body-weight exercises like squats, lunges, and planks are a good place to start. Biking is also an excellent way to maintain these muscles in the off-season, but challenge yourself with hilly terrain or shorter rides at high resistance on a stationary bike to build strength.

2. Plyometrics and Balance

One of the main reasons that skiing and snowboarding are so strenuous is that both require repeated explosive motion. Turning through deep snow is like hopping back and forth between your edges and requires both balance and agility. Include plyometric training at the end of your strength work outs this summer to build the strength, speed and explosiveness of your turns.

Plyometric exercise included repeated explosive motion like jumps and leaps. A simply plyometric exercise that requires no equipment is the "ski jump," where you jump, feet together, laterally back and forth over a line, kind of like you're skiing. You can also use a step or low wall to jump up and then down from. Always land softly and try not to pause between jumps until your set is complete.

Yoga is also a great off-season activity, as it will help improve flexility and balance.

3. Cardio and Stamina

Finally, the last piece of maintaining and improving your fitness during the off-season, is working on your cardiovascular fitness.  Skiing requires a lot of stamina, frequently at high altitude, so cardio and endurance training are key.  Running, biking and swimming are all great options, but really anything that gets your heart pumping for an hour or so a three to five times a week is excellent. Alternate between doing slow/long-distance sessions and high intensity interval training (HIIT) work outs to maximize your results.


With this plan in place, I'm feeling much more confident about my fitness for next winter. In fact, after focusing on these three areas all summer, I assume I'll be forgoing chairlifts altogether next season! 

Let us know how you plan to prep for next season in the comments! Do you have a tried-and-true method or an inovative new plan?

Prep your Skis for Summer!

They say an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure - and that’s certainly true when it comes to your ski and snowboard equipment. A little TLC this spring will go far to preventing your gear from degrading over time and keeping it in peak condition for longer.

Here’s a quick guide to end-of-season ski and snowboard care to keep your gear safe in the off-season and allow you to hit the slopes with the first snow in the fall.

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1.  Repair

While thoroughly tuning your skis at the end of the season may seem like a waste of time, dealing with issues like core shots right away will help you maintain the integrity of your skis. Get nicks, and scrapes patched and sharpen your edges for good measure.  You won’t regret the extra effort when you hit the slopes with pristine skis at the beginning of next season.

 

2. Wax

The best thing you can do for your equipment in the off-season is give them a good thick coat of wax. Waxing them prevents the bases from getting nicked in storage and prevents oxidation which can degrade your bases while they’re not in use. Leave the wax on thick, and scrape in the fall when you’re ready to use your equipment again.

 

3.  Store Carefully

Finally, put your skis or boards in a safe spot to hibernate for the summer. Keep them somewhere out of extreme conditions including heat, cold or sunlight and where their bases don’t scrape or rub against anything. Beware of propping them upright where they can be knocked over or in a pile with other equipment. Consider investing in rack to give your quiver the rest they deserve before next season.

Use your Pass One More Time

Many season passes include discounts on tuning and wax.  The Epic pass, for instance, allows pass holders get free or heavily discounted equipment tuning at multiple locations in California, Colorado, and Utah. The Rocky Mountain Super Pass gets holders 10-30% off tune-ups at Winter Park Resort and Copper Mountain.

 

Check the details of your pass, and don’t miss this opportunity to use it one last time this season!

Closing Day Events Happening this Weekend (April 8 - 9, 2018)

This first week of April marks the bittersweet time of year when lifts begin the shut down, and skiers begin to emerge from their GoreTex to step into the sun for the warmer summer months. To dull the blow of the looming off-season, resorts across the country are ending their year with bang this weekend.  From live music, to costume competitions - not to mention a fresh layer of snow - this weekend is looking to be one of the most fun, and thoroughly ridiculous weekends of the 2017-2018 season. So grab your brightest onesie, and find your closest pond-skim on the list below!

Saturday April 7, 2018

CO - Aspen Buttermilk's Redbull Homerun
"Sprint for your skis or your snowboard, throw yourself down the marked course and finish at this year's biggest apres ski party."

UT - Deer Valley Closing Weekend Day 1

Sunday April 8, 2018

CO - Aspen Buttermilk's Bacon Day + Uphill
"In celebration of Buttermilk’s closing day, the mountain hosts an annual Bacon Appreciation Day featuring a schedule of all things bacon including bacon waffles at the Cliffhouse starting at 9am, bacon doughnuts from ColoraDough at 10:30am, bacon samplers around the mountain from 11am-it runs out, and more samples in the base area from 2 - 4 PM."

CO - Aspen Highlands Closing Day Party + Highlands Bowl BBQ
"The base area of Aspen Highlands is a natural conduit for all skiers and riders coming off the mountain, and it's also a natural gathering place to close out another successful season. Enjoy a live DJ, hilarious costumes and a festive atmosphere as locals and guests say "until next time" to the slopes of Aspen Highlands."

CO - Crested Butte Closing Day

CO - Keystone Slush Cup + Closing Day
"Grab your sunglasses, camp out in a lawn chair and close out the season in style with the 2018 Keystone Slush Cup! Join the fun for your chance to win prizes or cheer from the sidelines and snap big-splash pics!"

CO - Monarch's 10th Annual Parking Lot Cook-Off & Tailgate Party
"Everyone is invited to celebrate the end of the ski season and the beginning of the whitewater boating season with BBQs and beach chairs in the Monarch parking lot! Decorate your tailgate, prepare your best dish, and wow the judges for a chance to win a season pass for next season."

CO - Telluride Closing Day
"Don't miss the Pond Skim and dance party at Gorrono Ranch! Pond Skim registration is from 10-11am. They only take the first 100 people so get there early if you want to participate! DJ Soul Atomic will start spinning at 12 pm. Last call for alcohol at 2:45 pm.  Once the mountain closes, The Commonheart will be playing a FREE concert at Heritage Plaza."

UT - Deer Valley Closing Weekend Day 2

VT - Mad River Glen End of Season Bash
"Who better to close out the ski season than The Grift, everyone’s favorite apres ski band!  Ain’t nothing better than a hard day of skiing followed up by some amazing music and that famous Mad River Glen conviviality!"

WY - Jackson Hole Final Music Under the Tram of the Season w/ Sneaky Pete and The Secret Weapons

 

Spring Pass Deals!

The Season Isn't Over 'til It's Over

For many resorts, the last weeks of the season are upon us, which means it's time to savor those last spring turns! The good news is that mother nature is here for us snow lovers. Late season storms are maintaining a healthy base of snow in the west, and snow showers across the country this week mean the possibility of fresh tracks for the weekend.

The Rocky Mountains, from Montana to Utah are expecting about 4-8 inches of snow over the next few days, while Vermont and New Hampshire may get a more modest 2-3".  Meanwhile Kirkwood Mountain Resort in California is anticipating a stunning 15" by the end of the weekend.  For more detailed and up to date snow forecasts, check out the resources over at OpenSnow.com.

Did you know that many resorts offer spring skiing deals and discount passes?


While we will morn the closure of many of our favorite mountains over the next couple of weeks, some North American ski mountains pride themselves on their late closure dates and months of spring skiing. At many of these resorts, you can find great spring deals on lodging and buy specific discount passes just for the spring months. A spring pass at one of these resorts can save you money, and help you soak up every last drop of winter. Check out these spring pass options from resorts that routinely stay open into June.
 

Arapahoe Basin's Spring Pass - from $269
OR double down, and ski the rest of this season and next for $429!

Killington's Nor'Beaster Spring Pass - from $219

Mt Bachelor Springtacular Pass - from $249

Mt. Hood Meadows Spring Pass - from $169

Snowbird Spring Pass - from $579

Squaw Valley Spring Super 4 - from $236

Timberline Lodge Spring Pass - from $139

Winter Park Spring Triple Play Pass - from $159