Snowboarders flock to Air+Style at Rose Bowl

Snow boarders practice on the Big Air ramp prior to the start of the Shaun White's Air + Style: Los Angeles.

Snow boarders practice on the Big Air ramp prior to the start of the Shaun White’s Air + Style: Los Angeles.

By Brian Day, Staff Writer

The North American debut of Shaun White’s Air+Style extreme sports and music festival at the Rose Bowl on Saturday offered an eclectic mix of activities and attractions to delight the senses of guests.

In between the main attractions of a 150-foot-tall snow-covered ramp which snowboarders lunched from to perform high-flying acrobatics and two stages providing a full day of concerts, there was no shortage of ways to keep busy.

For the first time in its 22-year history, the event took a festival format, rather than assigned seating, organizers said. Guests were invited to peruse the grounds outside of the Rose Bowl as they watched their favorite athletes and listened to their favorite bands.

“I really like the set up,” said Rebecca Velasco, 21, of Santa Barbara. “You can turn this way and see the state, and you can turn that way and see the ramp.”

She and two friends sat in the grass with friends between the massive snow ramp and the venue’s main stage, where the band Bad Things performed. Olympian snowboarder Shaun White, who runs the event, plays guitar with the band.

While she was enjoying the snowboarding, Velasco and her friends said it was primarily the music that attracted them to Air+Style. In particular, the group was looking forward to performances by Phantogram and Diplo.

“I like the roaming atmosphere,” 21-year-old Brandon Pineda of Santa Barbara added. “There’s a lot to explore.”

In addition to sampling the wares of a host of food trucks and booths, guests watched artists work, tried their hand and carnival games, relaxed in a tented arcade and had free custom T-shirts made. More adventurous guests were invited to jump from a tall platform onto a giant airbag.

Read more in Brian Day’s story SNOW

Looking for a good time in Quebec City and its Winter Carnival

Looking for a good time? No, we don’t mean that KIND of good time! Join us as we travel to historic Quebec City for the fabulous Winter Carnival. We’re thinking French food, French wine and joi de vivre.

Maybe we’ll join the parade through the streets tonight, or jump in a canoe for the race across the frozen St. Lawrence. Come check out the ice hotel with its famous ice bar, maybe share a little ice wine.

Of course, we’ll be skiing in the local mountains. Have you ever skied Mount St. Anne’s? We’ll even throw in a little history and cultural background.

 

 

FIS Alpine World Ski Championships list concerts

2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships Organizing Committee added four more headlining names to its free concert lineup for the Championships, including CeeLo Green, KC and the Sunshine Band, Craig Wayne Boyd and Andreas Gabalier.

Scheduled from February 2-15, the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in Vail and Beaver Creek are expected to showcase athletes from more than 70 nations, with an estimated 750 million-plus worldwide television viewers and an onsite media and broadcast entourage of approximately 1,800 members.

The concerts, scheduled in conjunction with the nightly Medals Presentation at Vail’s Championships Plaza, located at Solaris, will be free to the public with the live show kicking off each evening at 6:30 pm. It is recommended that guests arrive early to ensure a prime viewing spot.

“Each of these four artists are an amazing addition on their own, and we are over the moon with excitement for our nine total free concerts now confirmed during the World Championships,” said Ceil Folz, president of the Vail Valley Foundation and 2015 World Championships Organizing Committee.

“In addition to watching the world’s best alpine ski racers for two weeks here in Vail and Beaver Creek, our guests from near and far will be able to enjoy some of the greatest musical acts on the stage today, all for free. We are proud to deliver this experience and hope that it adds to the growing excitement as we approach February 2,” Folz said.

Five-time Grammy Award Winning singer-songwriter-producer, television personality, actor, entrepreneur, and pop culture and fashion icon CeeLo Green will take the stage on Valentine’s Day (February 14). Known best for his worldwide hit “Forget You,” which received five Grammy nominations and won the category for “Best Urban/Alternative Performance,” he’ll also perform top hits like “Crazy,” “Bright Lights Bigger City” and more.

KC and the Sunshine band have been entertaining audiences around the world for forty years and are slated for a free performance on the evening of Tuesday, February 10. Topping the charts with seven No. 1 singles and three triple platinum albums, including hits like “Get Down Tonight,” “That’s The Way (I Like It),” “Boogie Shoes,” and “Rock Your Baby,” KC and The Sunshine Band defined disco music and forever influenced music with its timeless sound and mission of getting people out of their seats and onto the dance floor to celebrate.

Harry Wayne Casey, named “Founder of the Dance Revolution,” and his band will get the crowd dancing with their greatest hits as well as new music from their soon-to-be-released album, Feeling You! The 60s, which is slated for national release on Tuesday, March 10, 2015.

To compliment this legendary band, the 2015 World Championships will also feature a fresh new artist just coming onto the scene – recent winner of “The Voice,” Craig Wayne Boyd on Sunday, February 8. The Texas-born country singer and multi-instrumentalist will most certainly bring a flare to the Championships, with his easy musical versatility, sure to appeal to everyone’s tastes.

Rounding out this list of heavy hitters will be international sensation Andreas Gabalier, who will take to the free concert stage on Wednesday, February 4. Not only was Gabalier the artist behind the 2013 World Championships’ Official Song in Schladming, Austria, he is also a celebrated folk singer throughout Europe and recipient of both the ECHO music award in folk music category and the Amadeus Austrian Music Award in 2012.

Five headliners were previously confirmed for the 2015 World Championships lineup, including Michael Franti & Spearhead on February 3, Mix Master Mike on February 5, American Authors on February 6, O.A.R. on February 7 and Phillip Phillips on February 12. The 2015 Organizing Committee intends to book concerts every night during the two weeks of the Championships.

Lack of snow closes small Sierra ski resorts

By Bob Goligoski, Correspondent

Melting snow and warm 50-degree temperatures in the Northern Sierra have forced three smaller ski resorts, and one large cross country ski area, to shut down this week. The four resorts plan to re-open as soon as the next decent-sized snow storm hits.

The alpine resorts – Dodge Ridge, Badger Pass in Yosemite Park and Donner Ski Ranch near Truckee – are all lower elevation resorts with limited or no snow making systems. Tahoe Donner cross country ski area, also on Donner Pass, turned off the lights on December 20.

Skiers returning this week from larger Lake Tahoe area alpine resorts with snow-making systems reported good snow cover at places such as Northstar and Sierra Tahoe with about two-thirds of the runs open.

Sean Waterman, a Dodge Ridge spokesman, said, “We probably could have limped along with some of our learning terrain open. But it’s not quite the experience that we want people to have.”

A spokeswoman for the Tahoe Donnar cross country area said, “We regret to inform you that after doing our best to keep trails open for skiing and snowshoeing, we are closing due to limited snow. When more snowpack allows, the facility will reopen and all programs, clinics and events will resume as scheduled.”

The nordic area is among the largest in the Sierra with 50 plus trails spread over more than 100 kilometers of terrain. The downhill ski area at Tahoe Donner has better snow and remains open.

Forecasters say that the high-pressure system that is blocking storms from reaching the Sierra appears to be weakening and more snow is a possibility for late January and early February.

Forest Service OKs sale of Bear Valley ski area

By Bob Goligoski

The U.S. Forest Service has approved the sale of Bear Valley ski area to Skyline International Development Inc., a large, Toronto-based operator and developer of hospitality resorts and destination communities. The sale price was not disclosed.

Skyline intends to press ahead with an ambitious, approved master plan for Bear Valley that includes additional chair lifts, construction of 350 residential units, a new 40,000 square foot village center and a 54-unit lodge. Skyline did not disclose its timeline for making the improvements.

Bear Valley was sold by the Bear Valley Mountain Cooperative, a group of community leaders who acquired the resort in 2013. Skyline owns one other ski area, Horseshoe Resort located near Toronto.

Skyline CEO Michael Sneyd said, “We are delighted to add Bear Valley to our growing portfolio of hotels and resorts. Given Bear Valley’s spectacular beauty, excellent terrain and potential for improvement, we believe it is a great fit.”

In its approval action, the Forest Service on December 19 issued a permit to Skyline to operate the resort.

Bear Valley, which opened in the Sierra in 1947 between Lake Tahoe and Yosemite Park, has eight chairlifts and one surface lift. With a vertical drop of 1,900 feet spread across 1,680 skiable acres, the resort has 75 runs.

For this season, Bear Valley has increased its staff with a goal of “ensuring more employees per guest than other destinations.”

Liftopia offers lift tickets up to 72 percent off

We can’t think of merrier way to spend Christmas Day or a happier way to kick off the New Year than on the slopes. Liftopia, the largest online and mobile marketplace for lift tickets and other mountain activities, is kicking off their annual Christmas & New Year’s Day Promotion featuring savings up to 72% off lift tickets when purchased in advance compared to walk-up window rates. 

Christmas Day and New Year’s Day are ideal times to go skiing and boarding – fewer crowds, shorter lift lines, wide-open runs and more powder time! But purchase your lift tickets now – the further in advance you book, the more you will save. Here are some examples of the savings that can be found on Liftopia for Dec. 25 and Jan. 1:

  • Caberfae Peaks, MI: one-day lift tickets starting at $9.99 (72% off)
  • Bolton Valley, VT: one-day lift tickets starting at $19.99 (59% off)
  • Ragged Mountain, NH: one-day lift tickets starting at $34.99 (56% off)
  • Anthony Lakes, OR: one-day lift tickets starting at $17.99 (49% off)
  • Snowbasin, UT: one-day lift tickets starting at $48.99 (45% off)
  • Smuggler’s Notch, VT: one-day lift tickets starting at $39.99 (44% off)
  • Arapahoe Basin, CO: one-day lift tickets starting at $50.99 (43% off)
  • Jay Peak, VT: one-day lift tickets starting at $41.99 (42% off)
  • Mt. Abram, ME: one-day lift tickets starting at $14.99 (40% off)
  • Hoodoo, OR: one-day lift tickets starting at $28.99 (40% off)
  • Whiteface, NY: one-day lift tickets starting at $57.99 (35% off)
  • Snowshoe, WV: two-day lift tickets starting at $114.47 (35% of)
  • Homewood, CA: one-day lift tickets starting at $57.99 (34% off)
  • Mt. Hood, OR: one-day lift tickets starting at $49.99 (32% off)
  • Crystal Mountain, MI: one-day lift tickets starting at $45.99 (31% off)

Need a last minute holiday gift? Liftopia Gift Cards are great gifts and stocking stuffers. Liftopia gift cards are available in any dollar amount (up to $1,000) and are good for lift tickets, rentals, lessons, meals and more at any of Liftopia’s 250+ resort partners. What’s more: no extra fees, no expiration date, and they can be sent electronically or printed so the gift can be given in person or via regular mail.

Keystone opens over the weekend with 50 acres

Keystone Resort debuted with 50 acres of skiing and riding Friday, including top-to-bottom intermediate terrain on the Spring Dipper and River Run trails, to begin the 2014-15 winter season.

Several hundred early risers were in line prior to the River Run Gondola opening at 9 a.m., including some guests who camped overnight to get the coveted first spot in line. All were treated to complimentary fresh doughnuts, hot chocolate, coffee and Nature Valley breakfast bars. Additionally, the first 200 skiers and riders in line received an exclusive Keystone Starbucks travel mug and were entered into a raffle for great prizes including snowboards, long boards, and Keystone logo wear.

Keystone provided free parking across the resort on Friday as a thank you to guests for the early season patronage. Free family-friendly activities such as a bungee-trampoline, climbing wall and bounce house were available from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Gondola Plaza and will be free throughout the weekend.

Following the on-snow festivities Saturday, families can enjoy a showing of “Muppets Most Wanted” at Keystone’s Kidtopia Headquarters in River Run Village at 4 p.m. Additionally, the annual Get Stocked movie festival at Warren Station continues on Saturday with two showings of “Pretty Faces,” a film starring women who take the path less traveled. Located in the heart of Keystone’s River Run Village, the first showing is at 5:30 p.m. with a second showing at 8 p.m.

Keystone is now open for daily operations, with lifts running from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Updated condition reports, live web cams and the events calendar may be found online at Keystoneresort.com. Night skiing and riding operations will begin on Wednesday, Nov. 26. Lift tickets may be purchased online at keystoneresort.com, or via the new mobile ticket platform at snow.com.

Friday also marked the official return of Keystone’s signature Kids Ski Free offer. For the third season, children 12 and younger receive free lift tickets with just a two or more night stay in any of Keystone’s owned/operated lodging options.

Keystone’s offer is as simple as childhood itself, without any red tape or restrictions; there are no blackout dates, giving families the freedom to take advantage of the special deal on weekends and throughout holiday periods, a rarity in the ski industry.

To date, the resort provided more than 60,000 Kids Ski Free lift tickets and Keystone is proud to offer the industry’s simplest and most valuable Kids Ski Free program for a third year in a row. Reservations may be made at Keystoneresort.com or by calling 800-328-1323.

Japanese ski resorts gearing up for new season

Japan National Tourism Organization promotes Winter Sports

 


Niseko Resort, Hokkaido

 

Japan is home to some of the best snow on Earth, with famous skiing/snowboarding resorts throughout HokkaidoTohoku, and the Hokuriku regions. Nagano and neighboring Niigata prefecture are famous winter sports locations that are only a 2-3 hour train ride away from Tokyo.

Don’t forget Niseko in Hokkaidoa skier’s paradise with its steep slopes and breathtaking views! JNTO also has a listing of all ski resorts within Japan for your reference.

 


Shirakawa- go, Gifu Prefecture

 


Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture