Travelwise

What’s new at North America’s ski resorts

 

Florida ski club trips

 Florida has more than a dozen ski clubs plus the Florida Ski Council, each of which offers trip packages for members each year. These normally include air fare, transfers and lodging at group prices as well as special perks such as complimentary happy hours and some meals. Lift tickets may or may not be included. Some trips listed below may be sold out at publication date.

SOUTHEAST FLORIDA CLUBS

 Miami Ski Club plans five trips this year: Heavenly Ski Resort, California, Jan. 26-Feb.2, $1,769 per person, double occupancy; Big Sky, Mont., Feb. 24-March 3, $1,749; St. Anton/Prague, Austria, March 15-26, $3,442; Winter Park, Colo., March 23-30, $1,464. The fifth trip is a summer skiing jaunt in Las Lenas, Argentina. www.miamiskiclub.net.

Fort Lauderdale Snow Ski Club has four trips, three of which — to Heavenly ($1,749), Big Sky ($1,740) and St. Anton/Barcelona ($3,699) — are the same dates as the Miami club trips. Both are arranged through the 17-member Florida Ski Council, but details and inclusions differ. In addition, the Lauderdale club offers Beaver Creek, Colo., Dec. 27-Jan. 3 ($1,949). www.fortlauderdaleskiclub.com.

Boca Ski Club plans two trips: Aspen/Snowmass, Jan. 26-Feb. 2, $1,599; and Jackson Hole, Feb. 2-9, $1,970. A third trip, to Sun Valley, is sold out. www.bocaskiclub.com.


Special to The Miami Herald

Good news for skiers: It looks like snowfall this winter in both eastern and western ski areas will be normal, according to several forecasters. That’s a major change from last year, when an unexpectedly warm and dry winter had a drastic impact on some western ski resorts.

The only regions where below-normal snow might occur this winter are the Pacific Northwest and possibly Northern California, depending on who is doing the forecasting. However, snowfall forecasting is not an exact science and weather patterns can change on short notice.

By now, most if not all ski resorts have opened and are hosting the season’s first skiers and snowboarders. They’ll be the first to experience new ski terrain, snowmaking, apres-ski spots, restaurants and other improvements made in the off season.

The biggest upgrade is at RED Mountain, a little-known ski area in British Columbia’s Kootenay Mountains, which is developing nearly 1,000 new ski acres with 22 new runs — a whole new mountain — this year and next.

With its new 997 acres, about two-thirds of which will be beginner and intermediate, RED will have a total 2,682 acres of skiable terrain. The first eight runs will be ready this season. RED will shuttle skiers to the top of the new Grey Mountain acreage this winter in a snowmobile-bus; it will install a quad chair next summer. .

Meanwhile, several resorts are celebrating signifcant anniversaries with new features and improvements.

Steamboat Springs, marking its 50th year, is building an Ice Castle that will be one of only two in the country. (The other is in the Mall of America in Minneapolis.) Made entirely of ice, the frozen playground will have three tons of towers and tunnels as well as 250,000 hand-placed icicles. Meanwhile, the city of Steamboat Springs is building a new ski jump at Howelsen Hill.

Also celebrating its 50th year is Vail Mountain, which just debuted a new 10-passenger gondola in Vail Village. The resort will begin a series of special events this month, including Snow Daze with a lineup of bands headlined by Wilco Dec. 10-16, a 50th anniversary film premiere Dec. 14 and a birthday fete Dec. 15.

In Nevada, Las Vegas Ski and Snowboard Resort, in honor of its 50th year, is installing a new quad lift that is more beginner-friendly, opening seven new trails and a new mountain grill. In Utah, Alta is marking its 75th anniversary with events through January, and in California Northstar is celebrating its 40th anniversary with completion of $30 million in improvements, including a new lodge, quad lift, expanded terrain and new runs.

Also in California, the Lake Tahoe area is spending $100 million to upgrade facilities in hopes of landing the 2026 Winter Olympics. Reno-Tahoe International Airport has made $27 million in improvements and added new flights, among them a one-stop from Fort Lauderdale. A new stretch of interstate highway will provide faster access to South Shore resorts.

Several major competitions will take place at Lake Tahoe this winter, among them the U.S. Freestyle Championships at Heavenly Mountain and the U.S. Alpine Championships at Squaw Valley.

Among new features, Squaw Valley will open two new chairlifts and plans to create a new mile-long terrain park. Sierra-at-Tahoe Resort will introduce the world’s only Burton Star Wars Experience, which aims to get kids aged 3 to 6 interested in snowboarding by combining teaching techniques with Star Wars figures and storylines.

Back in Colorado, Snowmass is adding 230 new acres of terrain on Burnt Mountain, bringing its total skiable acreage to 3,362 acres, second only to Vail in Colorado. Snowmass also just opened Elk Camp, a major new mid-mountain restaurant and events center. The restaurant in the $13-million center can seat up to 300 guests.

Winter Park will open a new Tube Park this month with four lanes, conveyor lift access and warming structure. Another new terrain park, this one for beginners, has been added by Arapahoe Basin, along with a new conveyor lift. Also family friendly is Copper Mountain’s newest attraction, an Alpine Rush Zip Line. Opened this past summer, it allows two guests to fly side by side above Copper’s West Lake ice skating rink.

Families take note: Keystone has new deal for you: Kids 12 and under ski/snowboard free every day, all season long, with no blackout dates. To qualify, kids must stay two or more nights in one of Keystone’s lodgings.

In Park City, Utah, Deer Valley has installed a new high-speed detachable quad lift called Mountaineer Express. Park City Mountain Resort is partnering with Neff Headgear to debut a new terrain park called Neff Land that has a candy theme, and Canyons Resort is offering the Ultimate Mountain Experience fantasy camp, in which skiers learn with celebrity instructors. Elsewhere in Utah, Sundance will open a new lift accessible from its upper parking lot and Snowbasin is expanding its terrain park.

Jackson Hole in Wyoming has installed a new high-speed detachable chair at mid-mountain, expanded its intermediate Casper trail network, and gained new nonstop air service from several cities. It also is one of four major Western resorts offering a new pass for avid skiers. Called the Mountain Collective, the pass permits two free days at each of the resorts for $349 plus other perks. The resorts are Alta, Aspen/Snowmass, Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows and Jackson Hole.

Read more Travel stories from the Miami Herald

  • Airlines

    Are American, US Airways delivering on merger promises?

    The new American Airlines — the product of last year’s controversial merger between American and US Airways — may only be a few months old, but that hasn’t stopped travelers from forming opinions about the world’s largest airline.

  •  
 <span class="cutline_leadin">A life in ruins:</span> Posters at the Hacienda Napoles ranch tell the story of slain Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar, once the head of the Medellin drug cartel.

    Colombia

    In Colombia, a playground with a past

    Wandering through a decaying doorless archway, I encounter a young boy crouching on a floor of broken tiles and rubble, beneath a framed newspaper front page from May 1984. “Lara B Assassinated,” the headline blares. “State of Siege.”

  •  
Passengers on the Harmony V go on a birding adventure in a pirogue on the Gambia River, home to more than 500 species of birds.

    Gambia

    Up the river in West Africa

    The radiant sun was starting its late-afternoon descent, and I was gliding on glassy water through a Gambian archipelago of tropical rain-forest islands in a brightly painted boat, a converted ferry with an upper deck and even a soft-drink bar. Propped against pillows with my feet up, I was as comfortable as Cleopatra on her royal barge.

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK



  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category