Powderhounds.com sums up Craigieburn ski field in New Zealand

Craigieburn ski field rope tow in New Zealand (Photo courtesy of Powderhounds.com)

Craigieburn ski field rope tow in New Zealand (Photo courtesy of Powderhounds.com)

Powderhounds.com delivers this analysis of Craigieburn ski field in New Zealand:

Steep, deep and cheap sums up Craigieburn ski field in New Zealand. The club field in the Southern Alps (about 1.5 hours north-west of Christchurch) is definitely not a “resort” as there are no frills and definitely no glitz or glamour. You won’t find any of the Prada wearing set here, as it’s reserved for hard-core ski enthusiasts and powderhounds. The famous mohawked skier Glen Plake loved the Craigieburn ski area so much that he joined the club. A run has now been named after him – “Plake’s Mistake”. If Glen Plake made a mistake, then it gives you a bit of an idea about the difficulty of the terrain at Craigieburn Valley.

Craigieburn Ski and Snowboard TerrainCraigieburn Valley (or Craigieburn for short) has some of New Zealand’s most challenging patrolled terrain. The Craigieburn ski terrain varies from steep narrow chutes to wide open powder bowls. There is no grooming except for the grooming that Mother Nature performs, so the ski area is all “off-piste”. Long runs resemble heli-ski runs when there is fresh powder. Heli-skiing at the price of a $60 lift ticket – choice eh?

Of course Craigieburn doesn’t have the luxury of a helicopter, but rather a fairly primitive lift system. There are three nutcracker ropetows to transport skiers up steep pitches to cover 500 metres of vertical. The lifts are pretty fast, but the basic nature of them is great for keeping the crowds away. The major benefit of course is that there are more fresh tracks for those who are super keen (and super-fit).

If the steep nutcrackers on the way up don’t humble you, then the terrain on the way down might. This is not a ski area for families or beginners. Even strong intermediates would struggle with the terrain unless the snow conditions were absolutely perfect. Sixty percent of the terrain is under-rated as blue, but perhaps these runs are considered easy in comparison to the triple black runs which are described as “suicidal”.

Officially the resort has around 400 hectares of skiable area, but Craigieburn is a gateway to many more acres of back-country terrain. A bit of trekking is involved to get the best snow, but it is definitely worth the effort. Craigieburn and Broken River ski areas are “interconnected” via a hike of about 15 minutes, which opens up even more terrain.

Read much more in CRAIGIEBURN.

Vail Resorts expands Epic Pass to include skiing at Park City

Vail Resorts, Inc. has announced that with the company’s acquisition of Park City Mountain Resort, the iconic resort in Utah will join the Epic Pass, expanding the collection of mountains offered on the season pass to 22 resorts and more than 32,000 acres of skiing and riding.

“We’re thrilled to be able to offer unlimited skiing and riding at Park City Mountain Resort on the Epic Pass for the 2014-15 winter season,” said Kirsten Lynch, chief marketing officer of Vail Resorts. “We continue to provide even greater value and variety in skiing and riding with the Epic Pass and significantly invest in the guest experience at our mountain resorts, including new chairlifts, on-mountain dining options and innovative snowmaking expansions for the coming winter.”

The 2014-15 Epic Pass features unlimited, unrestricted skiing and riding at Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone and Arapahoe Basin in Colorado; Park City and Canyons in Park City, Utah; Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood at Lake Tahoe; Afton Alps in Minnesota and Mt. Brighton in Michigan.

Also, Epic Pass holders have the opportunity to extend their skiing and riding adventures globally with up to five consecutive free days (when booking in-resort lodging) at the renowned mountain resorts of Les 3 Vallées, France (Courchevel, La Tania, Méribel, Brides-les-Bains, Les Menuires, Saint Martin de Belleville, Val Thorens and Orelle) and Verbier, Switzerland, and five consecutive free days at Niseko United, Japan.

Vail Resorts is offering the season pass at $749 for adults and $389 for children (ages 5-12). Information: www.parkcitymountain.com

It’s hot out there, and Mammoth Mountain is already thinking ‘winter’

Mammoth Opening WeekendWith less than two months to the start of the ski and snowboard season at Mammoth Mountain, the resort is offering some early bird deals. They include:

  • Single-day lift tickets starting at $76, a 23 percent savings from last year’s price.
  • Two-day lift tickets for $151, a $47 savings from last year.
  • Three-of-four day lift tickets for $200, which works out to about $67 per day.

The tickets will be valid through the end of the snow season, although there are some blackout dates during the Christmas/New Year holidays and in mid-February.

For information, visit Mammoth Mountain’s website for “early bird lift ticket packages,” here.

Say it isn’t so, closing dates for ski resorts in New Zealand

Snow.co.nz has listed the closing dates for ski resorts in New Zealand

Sun, 28th Sep Treble Cone 2014 Closing Date Treble Cone Opening / Closing Dates
Sun, 28th Sep Remarkables Scheduled Closing Day The Remarkables Opening / Closing Dates
Sun, 5th Oct Coronet Scheduled Closing Day Coronet Peak Opening / Closing Dates
Sun, 5th Oct Ohau Closing Day Ohau Opening / Closing Dates
Sun, 5th Oct Rainbow Closing Day Rainbow Opening / Closing Dates
Sun, 12th Oct Tukino Closing Date Tukino Opening / Closing Dates
Mon, 13th Oct Hutt Scheduled Closing Day Mt Hutt Opening / Closing Dates

Please note: this calendar is a guide only and these dates are subject to change. 

Comparing Chile’s Portillo and Valle Nevado ski resorts

Jaunted.com compares two of Chile’s biggest ski resorts.:

“If you’re flying into Santiago for a ski trip, you have a number of options when it comes to the resort you choose, including Portillo, La Parva, El Colorado, Valle Nevado, and Termas de Chillán.

In this post, we highlight the two most recognizable for out-of-towners, Portillo and Valle Nevado. What’s the difference between the two, and which is right for you? Read on to find out.


Above: Valle Nevado

The Sking:

Valle Nevado is the largest ski resort in the Southern Hemisphere with over 34 square-miles of terrain. It is part of Chile’s Tres Valles ski area, meaning that the same lift ticket is good at both La Parva and El Colorado as well. Overall, the terrain is largely intermediate, with most of the groomers designed for what the resort describes as “laid-back cruising.” Adventure-seekers will still flock to Valle Nevado as it gains popularity for its excellent heli-skiing.

Portillo is smaller in size, but more extreme in terms of its terrain. It was the host of the 1966 World Championships for alpine racing, and has since served as a training ground for many Olympic teams and celebrity skiers during the North Hemisphere summer. There are only a handful of groomed trails, and much of the appeal of Portillo lies in its hike-to terrain and its high speed, multi-person poma lifts that pull skiers up the sides of the bowl.

Read more in CHILE

 

Tips for skiing at La Parva in Chile

Some good tips and strategies for skiing at La Parva by visit-chile.com

La Parva has a longitudinal orientation. Many runs will thus be accessed with more than one lift.

Local skiers shun the comfortable chairlifts for the speedier and less crowded poma lifts which seem to shoot off in every direction on the mountain.

Beginners can ski undisturbed at the northern base of the ski area below the village.

Intermediates seem to enjoy the super-wide Las Flores bowl which boasts a consistent drop for long, cruising, GS turns.

Advanced skiers should try the south-facing bowl under the return traverse from the Tortolas chairlift.

This is probably La Parva’s best mogul and powder area.

Experts are advised to venture out on the Manantiales traverse and ski the Mirador and Pared areas which then feed into the Super-G terrain of Barros Negros.

Vail plans nightclub experience on mountain

High elevation energy, world-class DJ entertainment and the ultimate mountaintop nightclub experience returns to Vail Mountain, one of the largest ski resortsin the world, as the resort welcomes back Décimo for six exclusive nights during the 2014-2015 winter season.

Last winter, Vail Mountain re-imagined the nightclub experience in the Colorado Rocky Mountains with Décimo when it debuted in March to a sold-out crowd. Located at 10,250 feet above sea level on Vail Mountain, Décimo featured three-time Grammy nominee, DJ, producer and artist Paul Oakenfold in an event that matched the legendary reputation of the mountain and resort.

This winter, let Gondola One in Vail Village take you to new heights for Décimo’s one-of-a-kind mountaintop dance party on Vail Mountain. Currently scheduled Décimo dates for the upcoming winter season include:

  • Wednesday, Dec. 31, 2014
  • Saturday, Jan. 24, 2015
  • Friday, Jan. 30, 2015
  • Friday, Feb. 13, 2015
  • Friday, March 6, 2015
  • Thursday, April 2, 2015

“The hugely successful debut of Décimo last March confirmed our belief that this is what our discerning guests from around the world are looking for to complete their experience in Vail,” said Chris Jarnot, senior vice president and chief operating officer of Vail Mountain. “We’re thrilled to be sharing Décimo this season and giving our guests even more reason to return to Vail.”
 
Décimo will continue to blend exceptional service and renowned entertainment with the excitement of a world-class nightspot set amongst the iconic backdrop of Vail Mountain. Each unique event will begin at the base of Gondola One in Vail Village.

From there, guests will be carried to mid-mountain in the gondola’s state-of-the-art cabins, complete with heated seats and Wi-Fi access. Just steps away from the top of the gondola, guests will enter a space that has undergone a carefully orchestrated transformation into the chic, dynamic nightspot that is Décimo, an exclusive nightclub experience complete with VIP tables and bottle service.
 
For information on Décimo events for the 2014-2015 winter season, FAQs and ticketing or VIP package details, visit www.DecimoVail.com or call (970) 754-CIMO (2466).
 
The Décimo experience is designed by Vail Resorts in conjunction with Las Vegas-based hospitality consulting firm Macro Management Group, known for providing a variety of expertise and services to events and ventures in Las Vegas, Nev. and Los Angeles, Calif.

Promo Video: http://vimeo.com/88457180

Savor The Andes At Valle Nevado’s Wine Fest

WineFest-EN

The Wine Fest at Valle Nevado is back and better than ever! Explore the fruits of Chile’s Central Valley by sampling premium wines from the region’s most prestigious vineyards. Wine Fest 2014 will be held today from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m..

Wine Fest features tastings from top Chilean wineries including Concha y Toro, Undurraga, Errázuriz, Casa Marín, Veramonte, and more, offering something new for every palate.

This event is free for all guests of the Hotels Valle Nevado, Puerta del Sol and Tres Puntas. Join us next to the Puerta del Sol pool.

Stories from the road in Portillo, Chile

Loved this story by Dan Kostrzewski on Powder.com:

The pool at the Hotel Portillo is, in my book, one of the most spectacular places on earth. A landlocked bright yellow cruise ship high in the Chilean Andes, Ski Portillo was unseasonably 60-degree warm for early September and very, very dry. Laguna Inca had already melted out and Los Tres Hermanos—the 15,000-foot peaks above the lake—were more rocky brown than windblown white. The storm season at Portillo was done and we had missed the last gasp by one week. Portillo was melting and our view was the consolation prize. Photographer Grant Gunderson and I were deep in the pool, drinking gringo-rate beers, admitting story defeat, and enjoying Chilean après during Brazilian week at 9,450 feet.

“Hey Grant,” boomed a voice from the balcony. “What the hell are you doing here?”

Standing on the deck was a face from both of our pasts: Craig Merrill, a former Baker local who had moved to Colorado nearly a decade ago for a job or a girl or some combination of the two. He and his buddy, Cody, were on a South America migration. Insufficient rental car paperwork thwarted their border crossing into Argentina and a Chilean border agent turned them back around. Holed up in a cheap rental down the steep beast of a highway that wound 30 switchbacks toward Los Andes, they spent their remaining ski days cracking into a gray zone between the customs terminal and the actual international border at the Tunnel de Cristiano Rentador. Over their first eight-buck beer in the hotel bar, they assured me they’d found pow above 12,000 feet, but there was a catch.

“Bring your passport,” Craig said.

The next morning I was hip deep, out of breath, and out of hiking shape, bootpacking up a steep final slope at 13,000 feet in the Andes to a high point with a view of 22,841-foot Aconcagua, the highest point in the Western and Southern Hemispheres. We’d started skinning at the tunnel, switchbacking into this no man’s land in hot, mushy spring corn then rising around a corner to higher ground, thick fog, breakable crust, and then finally deep, unconsolidated pow in a disorienting Andean swirl. It was a long way and a few years from Baker, but Craig’s presence pulled me up the final pitches, breaking trail, setting the pace, then finally handing over his last remaining Gu.

portillo-borderlands-pq

Even thousands of miles from home, skiers travel in a small circle. Like a failsafe, past connections have resurfaced on every foreign trip I’ve taken. An Icelandic farmhouse, a Chamonix gondola, a Bariloche hut, or a Smithers ice cave—each place, the crew I’ve run with has bumped into friends, friends-of-friends, and true brothers from some mission in the past. These chance encounters are the best unknown of packing the ski bag. The more air miles logged and the more odd encounters, the stronger the tie to this strange fraternity. Our small world of skiing is why someplace this foreign can feel as welcoming as home.

Read more about his trip at BORDERLANDS.

Mountain High offers season passes for $249

Winter starts now for Southern California as Mountain High kicks off its annual season pass sale with more than $200 in early bird benefits.

For as little as $249 (Regular $699) guests can enjoy an entire season of skiing and snowboarding at Southern California’s closest winter resort plus track their days ridden, number of days, vertical feet and more.

Seniors age 70 & over receive a FREE season pass and children ages 6 and under receive a FREE season pass with the purchase of an adult season pass.

Visit http://www.mthigh.com/season-pass-sale for a full list of prices and benefits including Mountain High’s $49 VIP Upgrade.

As an added incentive, guests who purchase an Adult, Young Adult, or College pass by Sept. 8, receive the following benefits:

  1. Free Buddy Ticket.  ($69 value)
  2. Specials on 686 Outerwear at www.686.com
  3. $25 Off at Magic Mountain (Valid Nov. 2nd, 2014 through March 4th, 2015)
  4. Sport Chalet Mystery Card (Discounts up to 25%)
  5. 50% Off at Pacific Park on the Santa Monica pier
  6. $10 Off at K1 Speedway, America’s premiere indoor karting center
  7. Fiesta Village Season Pass
  8. Raffle.  Winners to be announced September 12th, 2014:
    • 2015/16 Mountain High Season Pass
    • Ski & Stay Package to Stevens Pass / Leavenworth
    • 686 Outerwear Package
    • Go Pro Hero 3
    • VIP Parking Space

Pass holders from the previous 2013/14 season who renew by September 8th receive the aforementioned benefits plus another $50 off the Adult, Young Adult, and College rate.

 “No other resort in Southern California comes close to this offer.  When you purchase by Sept. 8, you get a full season of skiing and snowboarding at Mountain High, day or night, plus more than $200 in free gifts!  You can’t beat that,” says CMO John McColly.

Season Passes are good any day or night the resort is open during the 2014/15 season with no restrictions.

Regularly $699, these passes are on sale from August 30th to November 30th, 2014, for as little as $249.  For avid skiers and snowboarders they are the best way to save money and pay for themselves in as little as 5 visits.

Passes may be purchased online, at the resort, and by phone at 888 754 7878.  Please note there is a $10 processing for all new passes purchased including senior and children 6 & under.