ESPN’s X Games staying put in Aspen through 2019

Shaun White catches air during his first run in the men's snowboard superpipe finals at the 2013 Aspen X Games on Jan. 27, 2013. (Photo by Mahala Gaylord/The Denver Post)

Shaun White catches air during his first run in the men’s snowboard superpipe finals at the 2013 Aspen X Games on Jan. 27, 2013. (Photo by Mahala Gaylord/The Denver Post)

By Jason Blevins
The Denver Post

The X Games will remain in Aspen through 2019.

X Games owner ESPN and the Aspen Skiing Co. announced today a deal that would keep the winter carnival of now-Olympic athleticism at Aspen’s Buttermilk ski area for another five years. The X Games launches its 13th year in Aspen this week. By 2019, the Roaring Fork Valley will have hosted the iconic contest for 18 years.

“It’s amazing how X Games has seemingly become part of Aspen/Snowmass’ identity over the years,” said Aspen Skiing Co.’s John Rigney, who spent countless hours negotiating renewal contracts with ESPN in 2004, 2007, 2009, 2012 and 2013, in a statement released today. “There’s a rich cultural history here and we’re fortunate to host many world-class events, but I can’t think of a single event that resonates so well with kids and young adults as X Games does — and that’s a win for our resort, and more importantly the sports we love. Our community is proud to collaborate with ESPN and we look forward to five more great years together.”

Aspen beat out several other bidders to host the snowy bacchanal. Park City in Utah initially expressed interest but wanted the event to reschedule to April. Two Lake Tahoe ski areas in California — Squaw Valley and Heavenly — submitted a joint bid that would have separated X Games events into two venues across the lake. Whistler in British Columbia pondered hosting, but local officials demurred at the idea of flipping, racing snowmobiles, a lucrative staple of the X Games. Quebec City in Canada also submitted a bid.

But Aspen emerged as a clear favorite. The valley, populated with four ski resorts, provides an entire ski area — family-friendly Buttermilk — to ESPN for months as the network assembles the venue infrastructure and technical networks required for hosting the sprawling event. ESPN takes over an entire base-area hotel for several weeks while it prepares for the X Games and tears the venue down after the four-day, 200-athlete circus.

“For the last 13 years, Aspen/Snowmass has been a fantastic location for the Winter X Games and we’re excited about extending our stay in Aspen/Snowmass and continuing our great relationship with Aspen Skiing Company,” said Scott Guglielmino, senior vice president, programming and X Games, in the statement. “While the level of interest from other locations was excellent, the opportunity to continue our collaboration with Aspen Skiing Company proved the most promising for long-term growth and development of the event.”

The X Games draws about 120,000 visitors every January to Aspen, swelling the valley’s lodges and hotels to capacity and mirroring the valley’s New Year’s Eve and Labor Day holidays.

While the network and privately-owned ski area don’t discuss the economic impact of the X Games, Aspen’s city sales tax reports reveal healthy bumps in lodging, restaurant and bar spending during the X Games. But the cash is only part of the benefit.

ESPN’s splays snowy Aspen into more than 260 million homes in 200 countries, a marketing boon that is hard to quantify for a ski company that thrives on powder-hunting visitors.

ESPN in October last year nixed a global expansion of the X Games into Spain, France, Germany and Brazil a mere 18 months after launching the international plan. The network in 2012 trumpeted three-year contracts with Barcelona, Munich and Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil as well as continuing support for its European Winter X Games in Tignes, France. In October, the network killed those global events after only one event in each location.

The Summer X Games ended an 11-year run in Los Angeles last summer. The wildly popular summer contest will be held this June in Austin’s 1,500-acre Circuit of the Americas sports complex.

Jason Blevins: 303-954-1374, jblevins@denverpost.com or twitter.com/jasontblevins

Ski Colorado guide: Updates from resorts in the Rocky Mountain state

A skier takes on big powder at Crested Butte. (Crested Butte Mountain Resort photo)

A skier takes on big powder at Crested Butte. (Crested Butte Mountain Resort photo)

Compiled by Vickie Heath
The Denver Post

Where resorts have announced their single-day lift-ticket pricing, it is included. When not yet released, last year’s prices are offered for comparison purposes.

Arapahoe Basin Ski Area
Season:
Open now through early June.
Information: 888-272-7246; arapahoe basin.com
Terrain: 960 acres. 23 percent expert; 37 percent advanced; 30 percent intermediate; 10 percent beginner. 110 trails, 2 terrain parks.
Summit: 13,050 feet. Base: 10,780 feet. Vertical: 2,270 feet. Longest run: 1.5 miles.
Lifts: 1 high-speed quad; 1 quad; 1 triple; 3 doubles; 2 conveyors.
Lift tickets: Adult full-day, $67 (through Dec. 20), $87 (Dec. 21-Jan. 5), $82 (Jan. 6-April 27); youth (ages 15-18) $55 (through Dec. 20), $72 (Dec. 21-Jan. 5), $67 (Jan. 6-April 27); child (ages 6-14) $32 (through Dec. 20), $45 (Dec. 21-Jan. 5), $40 (Jan. 6-April 27); $25 allseason for seniors 70+; children 14 and under ski free Dec. 1-20; children 5 and under ski free all season. Season packages available, see website.
Hours: 9 a.m.-4 p.m. daily. (Black Mountain Express and Pallavicini lifts open 8:30 a.m. weekends and holidays).
Located: 68 miles from Denver, either via Interstate 70 west to Silverthorne (Exit 205), then 12 miles east on U.S. 6, or I-70 west to Loveland Pass (Exit 216), then 8 miles west on U.S. 6.

Aspen Highlands
Season:
Dec. 14-April 13
Information: 800-525-6200; aspensnowmass.com/aspen-highlands
Terrain: 1,040 acres. 36 percent expert; 16 percent advanced; 30 percent intermediate; 18 beginner. 122 trails, no terrain park. Summit: 11,675 feet. Base: 8,040 feet. Vertical: 3,635 feet. Longest run: 3.5 miles.
Lifts: 3 high-speed quads, 2 triples.
Lift tickets: Single-day window price $117 (last year’s price) 
Hours: 9 a.m.-4 p.m. daily.
Located:
200 miles from Denver via I-70 and Colorado 82.

Aspen Mountain
Season:
Nov. 28-April 20
Information: 800-525-6200; aspensnowmass.com/aspen-mountain
Terrain: 675 acres. 26 percent expert; 26 percent advanced; 48 percent intermediate; no beginner. 76 trails, no terrain park. Summit: 11,212 feet. Base: 7,945 feet. Vertical: 3,267 feet. Longest run: 3 miles.
Lifts: 1 gondola; 1 high-speed quad; 1 high-speed double; 2 quads; 3 doubles.
Lift tickets: Single-day window price $117 (last year’s price)
Hours: 9 a.m.-4 p.m. daily
Located: 200 miles from Denver via I-70 and Colorado 82.

Beaver Creek
Season: Nov. 27-April 20
Information: 877-204-7883; beavercreek .com
Terrain: 1,832 acres. 39 percent expert; 42 percent intermediate; 19 percent beginner. 150 trails, 3 terrain parks. Summit: 11,440 feet. Base: 8,100 feet. Vertical: 3,340 feet. Longest run: 2.75 miles.
Lifts: 2 gondolas, 11 high-speed quads; 1 triple; 2 doubles; 9 surface/conveyors.
Lift tickets: Single-day window price $129 (last year’s price). Multiday tickets prices vary and are available on the website. Best deal: Epic Pass (epicpass.com)
Hours: 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. daily (Hours extend over the season.)
Located: 120 miles west of Denver via I-70, to Avon (Exit 167). Enter roundabout, continue left going back under I-70. Go through four more roundabouts until the entrance to Beaver Creek.

Breckenridge Ski Resort
Season: Nov. 8-April 20
Information: 970-453-5000, 800-789-7669, breckenridge.com
Terrain: 2,908 acres. 36 percent expert; 19 percent advanced; 31 percent intermediate; 14 percent beginner. 187 trails, 4 terrain parks (25 acres), 1 superpipe. Summit: 12,998 feet. Base: 9,600 feet. Vertical: 3,398 feet. Longest run: 3.5 miles.
Lifts: 1 eight-person gondola; 3 high-speed six-persons; 8 high-speed quads; 1 triple; 6 doubles; 4 surface; 8 carpets.
Lift tickets: Single-day window price $99 (last year’s price). Discounts and multiday tickets prices vary and are available on the website. Lowest price guarantee with 7-day advance purchase.
Hours: 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. daily early season, 8 a.m-4 p.m. regular season.
Located: 90 miles from Denver via I-70 west to Exit 203. Continue south on Colorado 9 to Breckenridge.

Buttermilk Mountain
Season:
Dec. 14-April 6
Information: 800-525-6200; aspensnowmass.com/buttermilk
Terrain: 470 acres. 26 percent advanced; 39 percent intermediate; 35 percent beginner. 44 trails, 2 terrain parks. Summit: 9,900 feet. Base: 7,870 feet. Vertical: 2,030 feet. Longest run: 3 miles.
Lifts: 3 high-speed quads, 1 double, 2 handle tows, 2 ski/snowboard school lifts.
Lift tickets: Single-day window price $117 (last year’s price)
Hours: 9 a.m.-4 p.m. daily.
Located: 200 miles from Denver via I-70 and Colorado 82.

Copper Mountain
Season:
Nov. 1-April 20
Information: 866-841-2481; coppercolorado.com
Terrain: 2,465 acres. 18 percent expert; 36 percent advanced; 25 percent intermediate; 21 percent beginner. 140+ trails. Summit: 12,313 feet. Base: 9,712 feet. Vertical: 2,601 feet. Longest run: 2.8 miles.
Lifts: 1 high-speed six-person; 5 high-speed quads; 5 triples; 4 doubles; 8 surface and conveyor lifts.
Lift tickets: Single-day window price $109 (last year’s price). Visit CopperColorado.com for discounts and multiday prices.
Hours: 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Monday-Friday (base lifts until 4 p.m.); 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Saturday, Sunday, holidays (base lifts until 4 p.m.)
Located: 75 miles from Denver via I-70 west at Exit 195.

Crested Butte Mountain Resort
Season:
Nov. 27-April 6
Information: 800-600-2803; skicb.com
Terrain: 1,547 acres. 16 percent advanced; 58 percent intermediate; 26 percent beginner. 121 trails, 3 terrain parks plus a snowboard/skier cross course. Summit: 12,162 feet. Base: 9,375 feet. Vertical: overall 3,062 feet (includes hike to The Peak); lift served 2,775 feet. Longest run: 2.6 miles.
Lifts: 4 high-speed quads; 2 fixed-grip quads; 2 triples; 3 doubles; 2 surface; 2 carpets.
Lift tickets: Nov. 27-Dec. 13: Adult $59; youth 13-17, $53; child 7-12, $32; 65+, $47. Dec. 13-20, Jan. 6-March 6 and March 14-April 6: Adult $98; youth 13-17, $88; child 7-12, $54; 65+, $78; Dec. 21-Jan. 5: adult $101, youth 13-17, $91, child 7-12, $56, 65+, $81; March 8-15: Adult $98; youth 13-17, $88; child 7-12, $54; 65+, $78. Children 6 and under ski free all season. Discounted lift ticket packages available by calling 800-544-8448.
Hours: 9 a.m.-4 p.m. daily (High Lift and East River Lift close at 3:30 p.m.; North Face Lift closes at 3 p.m.)
Located: 230 miles from Denver via U.S. 285, U.S. 50 and Colorado 135.

Eldora Mountain Resort
Season:
Nov. 22-mid-April
Information: 303-440-8700; eldora.com
Terrain: 680 acres. 30 percent advanced; 50 percent intermediate; 20 percent beginner. 53 trails, 3 terrain parks. Summit: 10,800 feet. Base: 9,200 feet. Vertical: 1,600 feet. Longest run: 3 miles.
Lifts: 2 quads; 2 triples; 4 doubles; 1 Poma; 2 conveyors.
Lift tickets: (last year’s pricing) Adult full-day $79; child 6-15, $45; senior 65-74, $42; Senior Silver 75+ and children 5 and under, $10; adult half-day (starts at 12:30 p.m.) $64.
Hours: 9 a.m.-4 p.m. daily.
Located: 45 miles from Denver via I-25 north to U.S. 36 west. Head into Boulder, then take Canyon Boulevard (Colorado 119) west. Follow 119 to Nederland. Turn left at the roundabout. Continue south on 119 for 1 mile. Turn right on County Road 130 and follow signs to Eldora.

Howelsen Hill Ski Area
Season: Nov. 30-March 16 (conditions permitting)
Information: 970-879-8499; steamboatsprings.net/ski
Terrain: 50 acres. 10 percent expert; 40 percent advanced; 30 percent intermediate; 20 percent beginner. 15 trails, 1 terrain park. Summit: 7,136 feet. Base: 6,969 feet. Vertical: 440 feet. Longest run: 3,678 feet.
Lifts: 1 double; 1 Poma; 2 carpets.
Lift tickets: Adult full-day $20; youth 7-18 and senior 60+, $15; child 6 and under, $8. First Tracks Ticket (1-3 p.m. Tuesday-Friday) $10; night ticket (5:30-8 p.m. Wednesday-Thursday, 3:30-6 p.m. Tuesday and Friday) $10. Terrain park (no lift access) $10. One-way ticket $5. Nordic ticket (no lift) $13. All Access season pass: Adult $305, youth 7-18, $140; child 6 and under $50; 60+ $140. Alpine Only season pass: Adult $175, youth 7-18, $80; child 6 and under $35, 60+ $80. Nordic Only season pass: adult $150, youth 7-18, $80, child 6 and under $35, 60+ $80. Prices increase $30 each Dec. 1.
Hours: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; 1-6 p.m. Tuesday; 1-8 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, 1-6 p.m. Friday. Closed Monday.
Located: 157 miles from Denver via I-70 west to Silverthorne (Exit 205). Then take Colorado 9 north 37 miles to Kremmling, then go west on U.S. 40 to Steamboat Springs (53 miles).

Keystone Resort
Season:
Nov. 1-April 20
Information: 970-496-4386; keystoneresort.com
Terrain: 3,148 acres. 57 percent expert/advanced; 29 percent intermediate; 14 percent beginner. 131 trails, 5 terrain parks. Summit: 12,408 feet. Base: 6,900 feet. Vertical: 3,128 feet. Longest run: 3.5 miles.
Lifts: 2 gondolas; 5 high-speed quads; 1 high-speed six-person; 1 quad; 1 triple; 3 doubles; 7 surface; 6 carpets.
Lift tickets: Single-day window price $67-$114. One-day advance purchase. Multiday advanced purchase lift ticket rates available.
Hours: 8:30 a.m. (9 a.m. early season) and close at 4 p.m., 6 p.m. or 8 p.m. on night skiing evenings.
Located: 70 miles from Denver via I-70 west to Silverthorne (Exit 205). At the end of the exit ramp, turn left (east) at the stoplight onto U.S. 6. Go 6.2 miles into Keystone Resort.

Loveland Ski Area
Season:
Open now, through early May
Information: 303-571-5580, 800-736-3754, skiloveland.com
Terrain: 1,800 acres. 46 percent expert/advanced; 41 percent intermediate; 13 percent beginner. 93 trails, 1 terrain park. Summit: 13,010 feet. Base: 10,800 feet. Vertical: 2,210 feet. Longest run: 2 miles.
Lifts: 3 quads; 3 triples; 2 doubles; 1 Poma surface lift; 1 magic carpet surface lift (for ski school only).
Lift tickets: Early season pricing, through Dec. 13: adults $49, child 6-14, $25. Regular-season pricing, Dec. 14-April 13: adults $61, child 6-14, $27; child 5 and under free; 70+ season pass $89.
Hours: 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday; 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday-Sunday and holidays.
Located: 53 miles from Denver via I-70 west at Exit 216.

Monarch Mountain
Season:
Weather permitting-April 13
Information: 888-996-7669; skimonarch.com
Terrain: 800 acres. 130 acres (16 percent) is hike-to terrain. The remaining 670 acres is 27 percent beginner, 30 percent more difficult, 43 percent most difficult. Hike-to terrain is 88 percent expert. 53 trails, 2 terrain parks. Summit: 11,952 feet. Base: 10,790 feet. Vertical: 1,162 feet. Longest run: 1 mile.
Lifts: 1 quad; 4 doubles; 1 surface lift; two conveyors for ski school.
Lift tickets: Adult $65; teens 13-15, $40; junior 7-12, $25; senior 62-68, $40; ages 6 and under and seniors 69+, free.
Hours: 9 a.m.-4 p.m. daily.
Located: 157 miles from Denver via U.S. 285 and U.S. 50.

Powderhorn-Grand Mesa
Season:
Dec. 12-March 30 (could open earlier or stay open later, weather permitting)
Information: 970-268-5700; powderhorn.com
Terrain: 1,600 acres, 600 skiable. 30 percent advanced/ expert; 50 percent intermediate; 20 percent beginner. 63 trails, 2 terrain parks, 1 tubing hill. Summit: 9,850 feet. Base: 8,200 feet. Vertical: 1,650 feet. Longest run: 2.2 miles.
Lifts: 1 quad; 2 doubles; 2 surface.
Lift tickets: Adult full day $59; youth and senior $51.
Hours: 9 a.m.-4 p.m. daily.
Located: 250 miles from Denver via I-70 west to Exit 49 south on Colorado 65. Go 20 miles on 65 and look for Powderhorn on your right.

Purgatory at Durango Mountain Resort
Season:
Nov. 29-March 30 (extended season based on conditions)
Information: 970-247-9000; 800-525-0892; coloradoski.com/resorts/purgatory
Terrain: 1,360 acres. 35 percent expert/advanced; 45 percent intermediate; 20 percent beginner. 88 trails, 5 terrain parks. Summit: 10,822 feet. Base: 8,793 feet. Vertical: 2,029 feet.
Lifts: 1 high-speed six-person; 1 high-speed quad; 4 triples; 3 doubles; 1 magic carpet.
Lift tickets: Adult full-day $77; youth 13-17, $60; seniors 65-79, $66, super senior 80+, $30; child 6-12, $46.
Hours: 9 a.m.-4 p.m. daily.
Located: 337 miles from Denver via US-285 South to US-160 West, to US-550 North.

Silverton Mountain
Season:
Dec. 21-April 13
Information: 970-387-5706; silvertonmountain.com
Terrain: 1,819 acres. 100 percent expert/advanced. 69 trails, 1 terrain park. Summit: 12,300 feet. Base: 10,400 feet. Vertical: 1,900 feet. Longest run: 1 mile. Plus heli skiing on more than 22,000 acres.
Lifts: 1 double.
Lift tickets: (regular season): Adult full-day $99-$139 guided; $49 unguided; all day guide (per person) includes lift ticket; $159 Heli Drops.
Hours: Vary; seasons go back and forth between guided and unguided. Call or visit website for schedule.
Located: 359 miles from Denver via I-70 to U.S. 50, to U.S. 550. Drive through the town of Silverton and turn left onto Colorado 110A for 7 miles.

Ski Granby Ranch
Season:
Dec. 11-April 6
Information: 888-850-4615; granby ranch.com
Terrain: 406 acres. 25 percent expert/advanced; 45 percent intermediate; 30 percent beginner. 41 trails, 6 terrain parks. Summit: 9,202 feet. Base: 8,202 feet. Vertical: 1,000 feet. Longest run: 1.5 miles. Night skiing 5-8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays Jan. 3-April 5.
Lifts: 2 quads; 1 triple; 1 double; 1 surface.
Lift tickets: (regular season): Adult full-day $64; child 6-12 $44; senior 61-69 $49; kids 5 and under free, seniors 70+ $15.
Hours: 9 a.m.-4 p.m. daily.
Located: 78 miles from Denver via I-70 to U.S. 40, Exit 232. Continue on U.S. 40 over Berthoud Pass, 15 miles north of Winter Park.

Ski Cooper
Season:
Dec. 14-April 6
Information: 719-486-3684, 800-707-6114; skicooper.com
Terrain: 400 acres. 30 percent expert/advanced; 40 percent intermediate; 30 percent beginner. 35 trails, 1 terrain park. Summit: 11,700 feet. Base: 10,500 feet. Vertical: 1,200 feet. 2,400 acres snow cat tour skiing on Chicago Ridge. Longest run: 1.4 miles.
Lifts: 1 triple; 1 double; 3 surface (including magic carpet surface lift).
Lift tickets: Adult full-day $47; child 6-14 $27; senior 60-69 $36; 70+ $24.
Hours: 9 a.m.-4 p.m. daily.
Located: 110 miles from Denver via I-70 and U.S. 24.

Snowmass
Season: Nov. 28-April 20
Information: 800-525-6200; aspensnowmass.com/snowmass
Terrain: 3,332 acres. 30 percent expert; 17 percent advanced; 47 percent intermediate; 6 percent beginner. 94 trails, 3 terrain parks. Summit: 12,510 feet. Base: 8,104 feet. Vertical: 4,406 feet. Longest run: 5.3 miles.
Lifts: 1 eight-person gondola; 1 high-speed six-person; 1 six-person gondola; 7 high-speed quads; 2 quads; 3 doubles; 4 ski/snowboard school lifts (including carpets); 2 platter pulls.
Lift tickets: Single-day window price $117 (last year’s price)
Hours: The Sky Cab opens at 8 a.m.; the Cirque lift opens at 10 a.m.; the Village Express opens at 8:30 a.m.; all other lifts open at 9 a.m. Last lift closes at 4 p.m. daily.
Located: 200 miles from Denver via I-70 and Colorado 82.

Steamboat Springs
Season: Nov. 27-April 13
Information: 800-922-2722, 970-879-6111; steamboat.com
Terrain: 2,965 acres. 44 percent expert/advanced; 42 percentintermediate; 14 percent beginner. 165 trails, 4 terrain parks. Summit: 10,568 feet. Base: 6,900 feet. Vertical: 3,668 feet. Longest run: 3.1 miles.
Lifts: 1 gondola; 1 six-person express; 5 high-speed quads; 1 quad; 6 triples; 2 doubles; 2 surface.
Lift tickets: Single-day window price $80-$109 (last year’s pricing). Multiday ticket prices vary and are available on steamboat.com/tickets.
Hours: 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. daily.
Located: 157 miles from Denver via I-70 west to Silverthorne (Exit 205). Then Colorado 9 north 37 miles to Kremmling, then go west 53 miles on U.S. 40 to Steamboat Springs.

Sunlight Mountain Resort
Season:
Dec. 6-March 30
Information: 800-445-7930, 970-945-7491; sunlightmtn.com
Terrain: 680 acres. 5 percent expert; 20 percent advanced; 55 percent intermediate; 20 percent beginner. 67 trails, 1 terrain park. Summit: 9,895 feet. Base: 7,885 feet. Vertical: 2,010 feet. Longest run: 2.5 miles.
Lifts: 1 triple; 2 doubles.
Lift tickets: Adult full-day $57; child 6-12 and young senior 65-79, $45; child 5 and under and senior 80+, free.
Hours: 9 a.m.-4 p.m. daily.
Located: 10901 County Road 117, Glenwood Springs, 160 miles from Denver via I-70 to Colorado 82 south and County Road 117 to Glenwood Springs.

Telluride Ski Resort
Season:
Nov. 28-April 6
Information: 800-778-8581; tellurideskiresort.com
Terrain: 2,000-plus acres. 41 percent expert/advanced; 36 percent intermediate; 23 percent beginner. 127 trails, 3 terrain parks. Summit: 13,150 feet. Base: 8,725 feet. Vertical: 4,425 feet. Longest run: 4.6 miles (Galloping Goose).
Lifts: 2 high-speed gondolas; 7 high-speed quads; 1 fixed quad; 2 triples; 2 doubles; 2 surface; 2 carpets.
Lift tickets: Single-day window price $69-$106; visit tellurideskiresort.com/pass
Hours: 9 a.m.-4 p.m. daily.
Located: 330 miles from Denver via I-70 to Grand Junction and go south on U.S. 50 to Montrose. Continue south on U.S. 550 to Ridgway, then turn right onto Colorado 62. Follow this to Colorado 145 and turn left. Follow the signs into Telluride.

Vail
Season:
Nov. 22-April 20
Information: 970-SKI-VAIL (754-8245); vail.com
Terrain: 5,289 acres. 53 percent expert/advanced; 29 percent intermediate; 18 percent beginner. 193 trails, 3 terrain parks. Summit: 11,570 feet. Base: 8,120 feet. Vertical: 3,450 feet. Longest run: 4 miles.
Lifts: 2 gondolas; 1 high-speed six-passenger; 15 high-speed quads; 1 fixed-grip quad; 3 fixed-grip triples; 3 surface, 6 conveyors.
Lift tickets: Single-day window $90-$129 adults, $63-$89 children (last year’s pricing). Discounts and multi-day tickets available on the website.
Hours: 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. daily (early season), hours extend over the course of the season.
Located: 100 miles west of Denver via I-70.

Winter Park Resort
Season:
Nov. 13-April 20
Information: 970-726-1564; winterparkresort.com
Terrain: 3,081 acres. 55 percent expert; 19 percent advanced; 18 percent intermediate; 8 percent beginner. 143 trails, 6 terrain parks. Summit: 12,060 feet. Base: 9,000 feet. Vertical: 3,060 feet. Longest run: 4.9 miles (Village Way).
Lifts: 2 high-speed six-persons; 7 high-speed express quads; 4 triples; 6 doubles; 3 surface; 1 rope tow and 1 Village Cabriolet.
Lift tickets: Single-day window price $65-$109 (last year’s pricing). Discounts and multiday tickets prices available on website.
Hours: 9 a.m.-4 p.m. weekdays, 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. weekends and holidays. Eagle Wind closes at 2:15 p.m. Panoramic Express and Pioneer Express close at 3 p.m.
Located: 67 miles from Denver via I-70 to Exit 232, then U.S. 40.

Wolf Creek Ski Area
Season: 
Nov. 8-April 6 (could open earlier, weather permitting)
Information: 970-264-5639; ski report: 800-754-9653; wolfcreekski.com
Terrain: 1,600 acres. 20 percent expert; 25 percent advanced; 35 percent intermediate; 20 percent beginner. 77 trails, no terrain park. Summit: 11,904 feet. Base: 10,300 feet. Vertical: 1,604 feet. Longest run: 2 miles.
Lifts: 2 high-speed quads; 1 quad; 1 triple; 1 double; 1 high-speed Poma; 1 carpet.
Lift tickets: Adult full-day $58; child ages 6-12 and senior 65+, $31; adult half-day $45; child and senior half-day $24; child 5 and under, $6; 80+ free.
Hours: 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. daily.
Located: 246 miles from Denver via U.S. 285 and U.S. 160.

Fewer and fewer places open for that last run of the season

With only three California resorts still operating — Mammoth Mountain, Alpine Meadows and Squaw Valley — the 2012-13 ski/snowboard season has mostly wrapped up in the Golden State. It’s the same story elsewhere in the country. Here’s a status report:

Colorado
Aspen Highlands will open for one last weekend, this Saturday and Sunday. The resort has received more than 20 inches of new snow in the past week.

Loveland Basin will be open until May 5, and until then the resort is inviting skiers and boarders with passes from any other ski area to bring those passes to Loveland where they may purchase a lift ticket for $36.

Maine

Sugarloaf Mountain has an impressive 134 trails still open. No closing date has been announced, but the resort will be scaling back on its grooming efforts mid-week.

Oregon
Mt. Bachelor will be open daily through May 26, but only from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Mt. Hood Meadows will be open daily through Sunday, then for one final weekend of the season, May 4-5

Utah
Alta has one final weekend, this Friday through Sunday.

Snowbird will be open daily through May 12, then it shifts to a Friday-Sunday schedule for the remainder of the season (likely until the end of May).

Vermont
Jay Peak, which is expected to close for the season on May 12, has 59 trails and seven lifts in operation.

Killington Mountain Resort– with two lifts and 39 trails open earlier this week – plans to be open every day until May 5, then weekends only beginning May 11.

Sugarbush Mountain Resort will be open daily through Sunday, then opening for one final weekend on May 4 to celebrate its Kentucky Derby/Cinco de Mayo weekend. Two lifts and 24 trails are currently open.

Airbags prove a useful training tool for X Games competitors

Bobby Brown slides down the hill after wiping out in the men’s ski big air finals at the Winter X Games. The use of an airbag in training can help develop the body mechanics needed for big tricks, but it also increases the risk for athletes striving for glory in action sports now defined by increasingly technical and dangerous tricks. (Photo by Daniel Petty/The Denver Post)

By Jason Blevins
The Denver Post

Backflips are taking over skiing and snowboarding. Spinning double and triple-corked trickery was the golden ticket in every competition at last weekend’s X Games in Aspen.

The sketchy-to-learn tricks have expanded the training toolbox for athletes to include massive airbags.

Superstar Shaun White honed his triple-cork on a private airbag at Breckenridge. His airbag training at a private pipe at Silverton Mountain in 2010 greased his way to Olympic halfpipe gold that year. Today, the massive bags aren’t just for the pros but also the young aspirants nipping at their heels.

“It’s just changed everything. It’s so valuable and such a great in-between step, that difficult step between imagining a new trick and actually doing it. Now we can have the luxury of taking that step and not get hurt,” said Aspen’s Gretchen Bleiler, who sessioned an airbag at Mammoth Mountain ski area two weeks ago as she regained her snowboarding pipe form after suffering an eye injury while training on a trampoline.

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Shaun White slides into X Games slopestyle and superpipe finals

Shaun White competes in men’s snowboard slopestyle at the X Games on Thursday in Aspen. White qualified for the finals by placing seventh. (Photo by Aaron Ontiveroz, The Denver Post)

By David Krause
The Denver Post

ASPEN — With some of the more exciting qualifiers rolling through Thursday afternoon to open the X Games, crowds were looking to the skies on a regular basis.

With only one finals event Thursday at Buttermilk Mountain, the opening day for the X Games features plenty of qualifying runs down the superpipe and the slopestyle course for the men.

Shaun White squeezed into the slopestyle finals, advancing for the first time since 2009 when he won gold. White qualified seventh Thursday after two runs in the elimination round.

Later in the evening, White, who has won the past 11 superpipe events he’s entered, put down a basic first run and earned 87 points, which was tops for the round. However, he dropped to second overall after Iouri Podladchikov, know better as I-Pod, had an 87.33-point run in the second round.

White had a chance to best I-Pod, but White bottomed out on his first hit of the second run.

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Torin Yater-Wallace returns to X Games halfpipe as ‘veteran’

Torin Yater-Wallace has the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia, in his sights as he throws tricks that include the first-ever 1800 in competition. (Photo by Andy Cross/The Denver Post)

By Jason Blevins
The Denver Post

Torin Yater-Wallace in 2011 was the youngest athlete to medal at the Winter X Games at age 15. Two years later the halfpipe phenom is a battle-scarred, heavy-medaled veteran.

After a momentous 2012 that included the first-ever 1800 thrown in competition and gold medals at both the Europe Winter X Games and the first World Cup contest of the 2012-13 season in New Zealand, the 17-year-old is still on track for an explosive performance in halfpipe skiing’s debut at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

This week Yater-Wallace will announce a sponsorship deal with Red Bull — but he keeps the Target lid — and returns to the halfpipe for his third X Games at Aspen after surgery to repair his shoulder.

Joining him in the halfpipe this show are his best pals, 18-year-old Aspen native Alex Ferreira and Crested Butte 16-year-old Aaron Blunck. The contest will highlight the newest-school halfpipe skiers and weathered patriarchs of pipe Simon Dumont and Tanner Hall.

“We have always skied together, and they have supported me so much in the last two years, and now seeing them get this opportunity, it’s just awesome,” Yater-Wallace said of his friends during a phone interview this week. “My first X Games was terribly nerve-wracking, so I kind of know what they’ll be feeling. I think it will definitely loosen it up, just to be hanging with good friends at the pipe. It could feel like just another day, you know.”

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Shaun White may have triple-cork down before Winter X Games in Aspen

By Jason Blevins
The Denver Post

As Shaun White ramps up for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, all eyes will be watching him in the slopestyle competition next week at Aspen’s Winter X Games.

He’s gunning to compete in both halfpipe and slopestyle in Sochi and is pretty much a lock for the halfpipe team. His push for slopestyle is less certain, despite his enthusiasm and a list of slopestyle win that eclipses his halfpipe tally.

“I love to compete in slopestyle,” he said last month in an interview before the Breckenridge Dew Tour, where he won the halfpipe competition and didn’t compete in the slopestyle event. “It’s definitely more exciting to me than halfpipe right now.”

After two seasons off from slopestyle competition to prepare for the 2010 Winter Olympics halfpipe, White’s return to the realm of money booters foundered. He failed to make the finals in the 2011 X Games and qualified last in the 2012 X Games. The next month he won the X Games slopestyle comp in Tignes, France with back-to-back double corks.

But double corks, while the double-flipping winners in the pipe, are so 2011 in slopestyle. Teenager Mark McMorris and Canadian Sebastian Toots battled in last year’s X Games slopestyle contest with dueling backside triple-cork 1440s. (That’s four rotations and three flips — and pretty much ridiculous.)

So the question has been whether White would develop the triple cork in time for a slopestyle showdown on the X Games Buttermilk course. Videos posted Wednesday from White’s practice sessions in Breckenridge’s terrain park seem to indicate that he’s ready.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-uuZYmyanf4&feature=player_embedded