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

Foresight Ski Guides get grant to help visually impaired skiers

Foresight Ski Guides, a non-profit that pairs volunteer ski guides with visually impaired skiers was recently the recipient of a grant from the Daniels Fund.

Foresight Ski Guides will use its Daniels Fund grant to further its goal of providing visually impaired skiers and snowboarders the opportunity to experience a great day on the slopes.

“We are so grateful to be chosen to receive this very generous grant from the Daniels Fund,” says Foresight Ski Guides Founder Mark G. Davis.

A lifelong skier who lost his functional vision, Davis started Foresight after he relearned skiing and discovered the challenge of “skiing blind” as an experience that lifted grief and depression, bringing renewed passion and confidence to his life.

“I want to share the transformative experience of skiing with as many people in the visually impaired community as possible,” says Davis. “The Daniels Fund grant will be incredibly helpful in continuing Foresight’s mission.”

This funding provided through the grant will help Foresight to continue to provide visually impaired snow athletes with everything they need, including a personalized itinerary for their snow sport trip to the slopes, an on-site greeter, specially trained, experienced ski guides, a lift ticket, top of the line equipment, ground transportation to the slopes and lodging assistance. The grant will also aid Foresight in recruiting more volunteers to work as guides.

Dedicated to making world-class skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing and cross-country touring both affordable and accessible to visually impaired and blind skiers, Foresight Ski Guides provides recreational opportunities in the Colorado Rockies at Vail and Beaver Creek.

Foresight Ski Guides, Inc. is a Colorado corporation with tax exempt, non-profit status as outlined in Section 501c(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. For more information regarding Foresight Ski Guides, call 303-506-3859, visit www.foresightskiguides.org or follow Foresight Ski Guides on Facebook andTwitter.

Lindsey Vonn kicks off new Ski Girls Rock at Mt. Brighton

U.S. Olympic gold medalist and World Cup alpine ski champion Lindsey Vonn comes to Mt. Brighton Saturday, Oct. 25 to kick off the upcoming ski and snowboard season and introduce her new “Ski Girls Rock” program, including an exclusive training session with locals girls and the 2014 state champion Brighton High School Girls MHSAA Ski Team.

Vonn, who packed the house last fall during her first Mt. Brighton appearance, returns to introduce Ski Girls Rock, which will debut at Mt. Brighton this winter. The program for girls ages seven to teen, was inspired and designed by Vonn herself and will be led by Mt. Brighton female instructors.

It focuses not only on improving skiing technique, but also empowering girls through the sport and building students’ confidence while developing friendships, teamwork and social skills.

Vonn has chosen to bring this previously Vail- and Beaver Creek-exclusive program to Vail Resorts’ Michigan and Minnesota ski areas – Mt. Brighton and Afton Alps – because of her ties growing up skiing in the Midwest and knowing how important youth development programs are to the local community.

Vonn will personally meet with ski instructors at Mt. Brighton to prepare them to teach this unique girl-focused program and conduct a private preseason “dry land” training session with girls registered for one of the four Ski Girls Rock sessions, as well as the Brighton High School State Champion Girls Ski Team.

At the base of Mt. Brighton’s ski slopes Vonn and the Mt. Brighton instructors will give the girls instruction on proper warm-up exercise techniques – the same types of exercises Vonn employs in advance of her global ski race season.

“I can’t think of a better way to kick off the season at Mt. Brighton than introducing girls from the local community to Ski Girls Rock with a pre-season workout alongside their local state girls ski champions.” said Vonn. “I’ll get to meet Mt. Brighton’s ski instructors who will be teaching Ski Girls Rock this winter to discuss how sports empower girls and helps them build confidence while developing friendships, teamwork and social skills.”

Growing up in the Midwest and getting her start in alpine ski racing at an urban ski area similar to Mt. Brighton, Vonn’s heartfelt message will get those in attendance excited for another epic season of skiing and snowboarding at the iconic Livingston County ski area.

“Lindsey Vonn’s appearance here last fall was the perfect way to kick-off our first season of Mt. Brighton being part of the Vail Resorts’ family and a place, quite literally, where Epic begins,” said Mt. Brighton General Manager Taylor Ogilvie. “Having Lindsey come back to Mt. Brighton this year to personally introduce Ski Girls Rock, which previously was only offered at Vail and Beaver Creek, is a true testament as to how Mt. Brighton’s Ski & Ride School offers Vail Resorts’ world-renowned instruction here locally in Michigan.”

Following her private Ski Girls Rock training session and meet and greet, Vonn will meet with the public, for autographs and likely a few selfies, too!

“Last year was a lot of fun and I’m looking forward to returning to Mt. Brighton,” said Vonn. “I will get to meet with girls of all ages at this event and I can’t help but see some of myself in them.”

Who | Lindsey Vonn, Mt. Brighton Ski Instructors, 2014-2015 Mt. Brighton Ski Girls Rock program participants and Brighton High School Girls MHSAA State Champion Ski Team
Where | Mt. Brighton, 4141 Bauer Road, Brighton, MI 48116
When | Saturday, October 25
Time | 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. – Private warm-up session with Lindsey, Ski Girls Rock participants (see below to sign-up and get access to this session; space is limited) and the 2014 state champion Brighton High School Girls MHSAA Ski Team
1:00 – 2:30 p.m. – Lindsey Vonn autograph session open to the public
Bonus! Girls who participate in Ski Girls Rock at Mt. Brighton will be entered for a chance to win a trip to Vonn’s end-of-season Ski Girls Rock party in Vail, Colo.!

Ski Girls Rock will be offered at Mt. Brighton on four different holiday weekends this season: Dec. 21-23, 26-28, Jan. 17-19, and Feb. 14-16. Pricing for the three day program is $267 and includes lift ticket, lesson and lunch. For season pass holders, the program is offered for $207 including lesson and lunch.

Mt. Brighton is part of Vail Resorts’ Epic Pass, offering unlimited, unrestricted skiing and snowboarding at 12 resorts, which also include Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone, Arapahoe Basin, Canyons, Park City, Heavenly, Kirkwood, and Afton Alps, as well as five consecutive days each at Niseko United in Japan, Verbier, Switzerland and Les 3 Vallées, France.

To sign up for Ski Girls Rock and gain access to the Oct. 25 Lindsey Vonn private warm-up session visit the “Winter” – “Kids Lessons” page at www.mtbrighton.com or call: (810) 229-9581. Note that space is limited.

Shaun White brings snowboarding to Pasadena Rose Bowl

By Lauren Gold, Staff Writer

Olympic gold medalist and professional snowboarder Shaun White announced Friday that he will bring the Air & Style sports, arts and music event to the Rose Bowl Stadium in February.

The event will be the first time Air & Style, which began in Europe in 1993, will be held in the U.S. It will feature a 16 story ramp covered in man made snow for the skiing and snowboarding competition. There will also be skateboarding, music, food trucks, art, technology, fashion, family activities and other entertainment.

“It’s going to be one of those things where it’s kind of up to you to make your own experience at the event,” White said. “Everybody has been describing it as if it was a party I was throwing. There is going to music, sports, food, there is going to be something you haven’t seen before. That’s been our underlying goal of the event to enhance peoples experience.”

White, who purchased a majority share of the event this year, said the iconic Rose Bowl Stadium was the perfect location to host it.

“I love L.A., I live in L.A. I remember going to the Rose Bowl and seeing U2 play and it was just such a blowout massive event and … I was there for the weekend flea markets. I remember thinking this is such a great place, it’s so close and so fun,” White said. “So (for the event) we basically took this satellite view of Los Angels and that was like right in the heart of it so we decided to try to pursue the Rose Bowl.”

Plus, he added, it will bring rare snow to Southern California.

“The idea is kind of bringing these things that happen in the mountains to the city,” White said. “We were doing an event with Target recently they had this days of winter thing going on. People were losing it they were so excited about the snow and it dawned on me that a lot of people in the area and in Pasadena haven’t experienced snow before. I can’t wait to see their reactions when we park this right in their front lawn.”

Read more in Lauren’s story WHITE.

Liftopia’s pricing engine gives skiers more options

Liftopia, which operates the largest consumer marketplace and resort technology platform for ski lift tickets and other mountain activities, has introduced the industry’s first tiered dynamic pricing system for lift tickets featuring Value,Value Plus and Flexible options – now available for purchase for the 2014/2015 ski season.

The new ticket options feature a range of savings and flexibility to meet the needs of any type of skier or snowboarder, whether they are traveling to their destination or hitting the slopes closer to home:

  • Value lift tickets are date-specific, non-refundable and non-changeable, offering the deepest discounts with savings up to 85 percent off walk-up window rates when purchased in advance. These are ideal for consumers who know the exact dates they will be skiing or riding.
  • Value Plus lift tickets offer added flexibility, allowing a one-time date change during the season.
  • Flexible lift tickets offer the ultimate flexibility with unlimited date changes during the season.

 If Value Plus and Flexible tickets are changed to dates that are more expensive, customers will just pay the difference in price.  Customers will never be charged separate change fees.

“At Liftopia, we work hard to make it easier for people to ski more often in ways that are also beneficial for ski areas, and these new options provide a range of flexibility to give consumers a choice of what is best for their needs,” said Evan Reece, co-founder and CEO of Liftopia. “Since prices move up over time, consumers can have confidence that the farther they buy in advance the more they will be rewarded for their commitment.”

 Some examples of Value, Value Plus and Flexible lift tickets now available for purchase include:

 Mount Snow, VT – Purchase lift tickets in advance for the week of Christmas (Dec. 22-26) and get a Value ticket starting at $46.99, or 48 percent off the walk-up rate; Value Plus starting at $55.59, or 38 percent off the walk-up rate; or Flexible starting at $60.59, or 33 percent off the walk-up rate.

  • Arapahoe Basin, CO – Purchase lift tickets in advance for the last week in December (Dec. 29-Jan. 2) and get a Value ticket starting at $58.99, or 35 percent off the walk-up rate; Value Plus starting at $64.99, or 27 percent off the walk-up rate; or Flexible starting at $69.99, or 21 percent off the walk-up rate.
  • Mad River Glen, VT – Purchase lift tickets in advance for New Year’s Day (Jan. 1) and get a Value ticket starting at $39.99, or 49 percent off the walk-up rate; Value Plus starting at $47.79, or 40 percent off the walk-up rate; or Flexible starting at $52.79, or 33 percent off the walk-up rate.
  • Killington, VT – Purchase lift tickets in advance for President’s Weekend (Feb. 14-16) and get a Value ticket starting at $76.99, or 16 percent off the walk-up rate; Value Plus starting at $81.99, or 11 percent off the walk-up rate; or Flexible starting at $86.99, or 5 percent off the walk-up rate.
  • Snowbird, UT - Purchase lift tickets in advance for the last week in January (Jan. 26-30) and get a Value ticket starting at $56.99, or 40 percent off the walk-up rate; Value Plus starting at $64.59, or 32 percent off the walk-up rate; or Flexible starting at $69.59, or 27% off the walk-up rate.

All prices are based on availability and will change dynamically.

 In addition to Value, Value Plus and Flexible tickets, skiers and snowboarders can also purchase rentals, lessons, meal vouchers, and more through Liftopia.com and the Liftopia mobile app.

The flexible tiered pricing options are also being introduced by several resorts which utilize the cloud-based Liftopia Platform to implement advance-purchase commerce and the industry’s most advanced dynamic pricing models on the resorts’ own websites and mobile channels.  The Liftopia Platform also provides resorts access to sophisticated business intelligence and customer analytics.

For more information on Value, Value Plus and Flexible tickets as well as Liftopia and the Liftopia Platform, visit www.liftopia.com.

On the Snow editors pick their favorite skis

2015 Editors’ Choice: Our 41 Favorite Skis

The top men’s and women’s skis for the 2014/15 season. From Frontside carvers and All-Mountain Front/All-Mountain Back versatility machines to Powder slayers, this is the best of what your favorite ski brands have to offer.

Frontside Faves

1
The 7 Best Men’s Frontside Skis for 2015
These seven pairs of men’s Frontside carvers topped our list for 2015. Read on to find out why. Full Article

4 Top 2015 Women’s Frontside Skis

All-Mountain Front Standouts

2
2015′s Top 6 Men’s All-Mountain Front Skis
Ski testers dubbed these six standout pairs of men’s All-Mountain Front skis worthy of our 2015 Editors’ Choice. Full Article

The 4 Best Women’s All-Mountain Front Skis for 2015

The Best of All-Mountain Back

3
7 Top-Scoring Skis: 2015 Men’s All-Mountain Back
These seven pairs of men’s All-Mountain Back Skis impressed testers most, now among the ranks of our 2015 Editors’ Choice skis. Full Article

4 Winning Women’s 2015 All-Mountain Back Skis

Most Popular Powder Planks

4
Our 5 Favorite Men’s Powder Skis for 2015
Five pairs of men’s powder skis floated to the top of the 2015 lineup and onto our Editors’ Choice list. Full Article

4 Women’s Powder Ski Standouts for 2015

Josh Daiek battles Mt. Ruapehu in New Zealand

As ski season down under winds down, here’s an interesting story by Josh Daiek at www.joshdaiek.com:

“I powered down the table saw and took a seat for my lunch break when I noticed a missed call from Mike Douglas. His voicemail informed me of an upcoming ski trip to New Zealand, I frantically called back eager to hear the details. The trip was for a Salomon Freeski TV project, the plan, explore and expose some of the less popular skiing on the northern island. I was thrilled, I’ve always wanted to ski New Zealand. I tried not to sound overly excited or anxious as I confirmed with Douglas “I’m in!” I hung up the phone and began dancing around the room like an idiot.

My first instinct was to research and gather as much info as possible about the mountains and conditions on the north island, but as I began typing into the Google search I simply stopped. What does it matter? I thought. I’m going to get on a plane, fly half way around the world and go skiing during summer! That’s all that matters anyway. It seemed like the right thing to do, maybe a little more spontaneous, no expectations, no schedule, no worries.

After an airport rendezvous in Auckland, the crew assembled of 3 skiers; Mike Douglas, Chris Rubens, myself, 2 cinematographers; Anthony Bonello, Ben Knight and 1 photographer; Bruno Long. We crammed all gear and people into two cars and rolled out. We merged onto the highway and I unfolded a road map asking Mike “Where are we going?” It was then that he began to reveal the story of the natives, the Maori Tribe, and their sacred volcanoes. We were out to explore, document and ski these historical volcanoes.

Our first day we headed to Mt. Ruapehu to explore the ski resort Whakapapa. As we drove to the mountain I sat in the back seat, my eyes glued to the window, anxiously awaiting the sight of the mountains. Mother nature had other plans though, with dense cloud cover, rain and nearly nonexistent visibility we weren’t afforded a real view of the mountain. The first week we struggled to tough out the elements, battling in the rain and seeing how long are goretex would last. A combination of bullet proof crust and the gnarliest flat light I’ve ever seen (or not seen) made for some tough skiing too.

After a long day of strife at the resort we made our way home when all of the sudden, the clouds began to part. For the first time on our trip we actually saw Mt Ruapehu! I think we were all pretty excited to finally see the mountain and as the sunset behind the horizon I was pumped for the next day.

Read more in RUAPEHU

Australia has best season in decades

By HENRY BELOT
Ski resorts on the Snowy Mountains are preparing for the final week of the ski season in what has been described as one of the best seasons in almost a decade.

With the season officially coming to an end, Thredbo spokeswoman Susie Diver described the year as a healthy result for the entire industry despite the doom and gloom felt when ski-fields were only dusted with snow for the Queens birthday.

“It really comes down to an amazing snowfall of two metres within just a couple of days in July and a very cold and dry August that meant the snow cover remained,” she said.

Read more Bumper ski season heads for the finish line – http://www.theage.com.au/act-news/bumper-ski-season-heads-for-the-finish-line-20140926-10la9a.html via @theage