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.

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. 

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.

Chile’s ski resorts of Portillo and Valle Nevado

Here’s an interesting comparison by wakeandwonder posted on jaunted.com

“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.

Above: View of the Laguna del Inca from the deck of Ski Portillo

The Lodging and Amenities:

Valle Nevado is home to three hotels and a few condo buildings, each offering its own individual amenities, including restaurants, pools, hot tubs, and vibe. The lodgings are modern at Valle Nevado, with much of it being built in the past few decades. The Hotel Puerta del Sol is the most famous silhouette at the top of the mountain, commanding some of the best views, with moderate pricing. The eponymous Hotel Valle Nevado is the luxurious offering, with designer furniture and the chic crowd to sit in it. For budget travelers, Hotel Tres Puntas is where you’ll want to be. They’re all on the same mountaintop; the prices only mean a different standard of amenities.

There is only one hotel at Portillo: Ski Portillo. When at capacity, it accommodates about 500 guests, and has a pool, large hot tubs, fitness center, restaurant, bar, and disco on site. The hotel was built in the 1940s and has changed very little since those first years, making it a very historical place. That said, while the dining room walls could talk, the food and service are up to date with the times. Modern amenities, such as wireless Internet, are also now offered. And don’t forget about Tio Bob’s, one of South America’s best apres ski spots.

The Vibe:

Because of its infrastructure, Valle Nevado plays more like a traditional North American ski resort, attracting a wide variety of overnight guests and day trippers with different priorities and interests. Instruction for beginners of all ages is available, but you’ll be buzzed along the slopes by the best skiiers in the world; Valle Nevado is the training ground for many winter Olympic ski teams, plus host to events like the Copa Atilio (Chile’s oldest slopestyle competition).

The experience at Portillo is a lot different due to its intimate size and limited lodging. It is often compared to that of a cruise ship in that 1) Most people come and ski at the resort for a week, usually Saturday to Saturday 2) Dining is included in your stay and, like a cruise ship, there are seating times for breakfast, lunch, and dinner 3) Everyone stays at the same hotel and there is only one restaurant, one bar, one pool area, and one nightclub, allowing guests to get to know each other very quickly and making socializing easy and unavoidable.

Last chance to get early-season rates for Tahoe ski resorts

Sept. 1 marks the last chance to receive the early-season rate on Tahoe Local, Tahoe Value, and Epic season passes – all of which offer access to the Best of Tahoe resorts, Heavenly Mountain Resort, Northstar California and Kirkwood Mountain Resort.

“Our ability to deliver the best snow conditions is unique among Tahoe resorts.  Between Heavenly and Northstar’s world-class snowmaking systems and Kirkwood’s well-deserved reputation for receiving the region’s most annual snowfall, pass holders can look forward to a great 2014-15 season,” said Bill Rock, senior vice president and chief operating officer for Northstar California.

With the region’s most valuable season pass options starting at $409, pass holders receive access to the most terrain and best conditions in the region as well as fewer restrictions than other resorts’ season pass options.

“In addition to proven snow quality, Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood offer guests varied experiences of a lifetime that speak to the diversity of each and showcase the partnerships that continue to push boundaries, making the collective value greater and truly the best of Tahoe,” said Pete Sonntag, vice president and chief operating officer for Heavenly Mountain Resort.

Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Lake Tahoe
The high-energy atmosphere and experience at Heavenly Mountain Resort is guaranteed to reach a new level during winter 2014-15: Heavenly Mountain Resort, the Park Family and Warner Hospitality announced Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Lake Tahoe will open in late December 2014 or early 2015 in South Lake Tahoe’s casino core. In addition to a 25,000 square foot casino, the property will include more than 500 renovated hotel rooms, new restaurants and bars, the largest outdoor pool experience in South Lake Tahoe, and an assortment of live entertainment venues both indoors and out.

Complimentary Champagne Toast. Every Day. 
Echoing the resort’s penchant for California laid-back luxury, Northstar California invites guests to enjoy its daily complimentary Champagne toast on the slopes this season.  Offered every day on the snow at 2 p.m., this new tradition is a nod to Northstar’s casual elegance and the best of Tahoe.

Authentic Big-Mountain Terrain
As a member of the world’s short list of iconic, big-mountain experiences, Kirkwood Mountain Resort offers skiers and riders the region’s deepest snowpack and legendary steeps.  In addition to enjoying the resort’s famously raw beauty and pristine snow quality, guests can experience Kirkwood’s best-of-Tahoe adventure through Expedition:Kirkwood – renowned for offering snow cat tours beyond the resort’s terrain, snow safety education, and guided backcountry tours and camps.

The Epic Pass, Tahoe Local Pass and Tahoe Value Pass provide access to the region’s three premier resorts—Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood—with the combined 10,270 acres of skiable terrain and three unique resort experiences. Heavenly delivers an unmatched high-energy vibe, Northstar offers Tahoe’s premier luxury experience in a family-friendly atmosphere, and Kirkwood is known for its authentic, big-mountain ski and ride experience.

Housing costs threaten life of ski bums

Fascinating story on m.curbed.ski.com:

There’s something awesome about being a ski bum for one season or for twenty: your main goal in life is to chase the snow. Whether it’s in Jackson Hole, Breckenridge, or Sun Valley, ski bums come for the skiing or snowboarding and stay as your waitress, your ski instructor, or if they are lucky, your bartender. But rising housing costs and a shortage of housing options are threatening the ski-bum way of life and ski towns should be worried.

@OnTheSnow: Livin’ the Ski Life: Why the Death of the Ski Bum Will Ruin Ski Towns … http://t.co/ARuP8eskcp

The Mountain Collective pass on sale at Liftopia

The Mountain Collective has begun selling tickets for the 2014/2015 season adding Ski Banff-Lake Louise-Sunshine to its premier roster of independent ski resorts and giving skiers and riders access to seven iconic destinations.

Ski Banff-Lake Louise- Sunshine joins AltaSnowbird , Aspen Snowmass, Jackson Hole, Mammoth Mountain, Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows and Whistler Blackcomb in this unprecedented collaboration of destinations powered by Liftopia.

Beginning today consumers can purchase The Mountain Collective Pass at the 2014/2015 rate of  $389 via www.themountaincollective.com and via Liftopia.com, the exclusive technology, distribution and marketing partner of this historic alliance.

Additionally, the price for the kid’s pass has been reduced more than 55 percent to just $99 for the 2014-2015 season making it an ideal time to plan a family ski vacation.

Included in the pass are:

·      Two free days at each ski area

·      Unlimited 50% off lift tickets, after complimentary days are used, at each of the seven destinations

·      Exclusive perks such as discounted hotel rates at some resorts

Quantities are limited at this rate and there are no blackout dates or restrictions when using the free days or discounted days at any of the resorts.

This partnership demonstrates how the ski industry is evolving in its marketing and distribution practices to drive more purchases online and in advance while providing incentives to get skiers and snowboarders to spend more time on the mountains they love.

It also shows how the concept of a “ski pass” continues to evolve, from the traditional offering that includes season pass holders or resorts within close proximity to one another to a pass that brings added value for destination skiers.