Burton U.S. Open Snowboarding Championship at Vail

The month of March is off to a strong start at Vail Mountain with seven inches of new snow reported Wednesday, 14” in the past 48 hours, and more than three feet in the past week!

In addition to fresh powder, guests visiting Vail this week can also catch some of the world’s best snowboarders live in action at Golden Peak during the 33rd Burton U.S. Open Snowboarding Championships.

The Burton US Open, which first took place in 1982, is the longest-running snowboarding competition in the world and draws the best riders to compete for a coveted US Open title.

On the heels of the 2015 Alpine World Ski Championships, snowsports enthusiasts can get their fill of world-class, Olympic-level slopestyle and halfpipe snowboarding competitions in Golden Peak by day, and enjoy free concerts from names including Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Moon Hooch, Girl Talk and more by night.

For more information visit www.Vail.com/Burton or www.Burton.com/USO.

Keystone to host Burton Mountain Festival Feb. 20-22

Keystone Resort will host the final stop of the 2015 Burton Mountain Festival, an on-snow community snowboarding festival for families, friends and riders of all ages to enjoy.

From Friday, Feb. 20 to Sunday, Feb. 22, the three-day event will feature free snowboard demos, contests, and après entertainment. Based in Keystone’s Mountain House Base area, the 2015 Burton demo fleet featuring boards, boots and bindings will be available for free trials from 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Friday through Sunday. All events are free and open to the public.

For the youngest of shredders, the Keystone Burton Riglet Park offers riders as young as three-years-old the opportunity to enjoy snowboarding. The innovative Riglet program gives young children an introduction to snowboarding in a learning park built specifically for them.

Burton will provide free snowboards, boots and bindings for the tykes to use, with free access to Keystone’s Riglet park where kids can utilize mini-features such as boxes, ramps and rails from 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Friday through Sunday.

Riglet lessons are also available daily throughout the season at Keystone’s Ski&Ride School.

On Saturday, Keystone’s A51 Terrain Park will host a stop on Burton’s 2nd annual Party in Your Park snowboard contest series, a grassroots tour celebrating the fun in contest snowboarding.

Featuring a unique setup in A51 designed specifically for Party in Your Park, riders will be added to one of three teams who will work together during the event.

Prizes will be awarded to the winning team, while the best individual riders will be invited to compete in the West Coast and East Coast finals. The contest takes place from 11 a.m.-12 p.m. and there is no registration fee for riders. Registration takes place from 9-10 a.m. on Saturday in the Burton Lounge Tent at Mountain House Base area.

Keystone’s Last Lift Bar, located in the Mountain House base area, will host après entertainment from 4-6 p.m. on Saturday, featuring live music from “The Swing Crew” as well as tons of free prizes.

As one of the closest ski resorts to Denver, Keystone is the ultimate location for families to enjoy the allure of the mountains; be it on snowboards, skis, ice skates, snow tubes or horse-drawn sleigh rides – Keystone is truly a mountain of possibilities.

To purchase lodging, lift tickets, rental equipment, or for more information about Keystone, visit keystoneresort.com or call (877) 204-7889. Follow the resort at @KeystoneMtn on Twitter or at www.Facebook.com/Keystone.

For more information on the 2015 Burton Mountain Festival, visit burton.com/bmf or facebook.com/BurtonSnowboards and follow #burtonmtnfest and #PartyInYourPark.

Black diamonds are a girl’s best friend at Breckenridge

Black diamonds can be a girl’s best friend in Breck – black diamond runs that is – especially during the ski area’s inaugural Women’s Ski Week, Feb. 14-22, 2015.

Women’s Ski Week at Breckenridge Ski Resort will highlight the resort’s offerings just for women to help moms, sisters, daughters and girlfriends get the most out of the mountain and town the way only women know how: by providing a welcoming, supportive and fun place to improve skiing or snowboarding skills, meet new friends and take the stress out of planning a family vacation.

Women’s Ski Week at Breckenridge will offer women of all ages unique ski and snowboard lessons, gear demos, fashion tips, and more!

Women’s Ski Week Schedule:
Feb 14 – 16           Ski Girls Rock – Created by the most successful woman skier of all time, Lindsey Vonn, Ski Girls Rock features lessons for girls ages 7 to 14 from our top women instructors. The lessons are headed up by devoted women instructors who have had an opportunity to meet with Lindsey recently to understand her vision for Ski Girls Rock and hope to convey this same sense to each of their students.

Feb 14 – 22           Women’s Ultimate 4 / Ladies First - With a maximum of four women per class, the Ladies First lesson gets you more individualized attention with experienced female instructors.

Feb 18                   Women & WineSometimes, a full day lesson can just be a little too much. That’s why we’re introducing Women & Wine – a half day lesson for women only (starting at 1:15 p.m. every Wednesday) followed by a complimentary glass of wine for après. Ski, sip, and play for just $69 as you learn from the best women instructors at Breck. Special for the Feb. 18 session, Gallo wines will join to show off the best wines in their line and explain the proper pairings. This class is held every Wednesday through March 4.

Feb 20                   Women’s First Tracks - Join Breck February 20 for first tracks on the mountain! Anyone who books a women’s program or lesson this year at Breck will get free access to this event!

Feb 20 – 22            Women Ski/Snowboard Camp – At Breck’s three-day Women’s Camp, you’ll get exactly what you’re looking for — whether that’s just a bit more confidence in the bumps, or just a better understanding of the equipment on your feet. Our supportive and fun female instructors will break the group down by ability and guide you and your friends around our incredible mountain at your pace.  And speaking of feet, Smartwool will be giving out free socks to the ladies during the clinic.

Feb 21                   Bombshells - Specifically for the moms of our Bombers and BAM kids, we’re offering discount lessons for women of any level looking to get the most of their time on the mountain. Held from 10 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. each Saturday, this lesson is the perfect length to let you drop your kid off, grab a coffee and catch your lesson right on time.

Feb 21                   Get the Girls Out – Join women’s outdoors organization SheJumps for a fun women-only ski day. Meet the ladies at the Starbucks at the base of Peak 8 at 10:00 a.m. to ski in an all-woman, all-fun ski or snowboard day.

Feb 21 -22             Breck Sports Women’s Gear Demo Days – Try out new gear before you buy! Demo a pair of skis or a snowboard on the slopes at Breck at a special price for Women’s Ski Week ($30!). Gear experts will be at the base of Peak 8 offering great demo selections tailored to your ski/ride style and ability. Demo days are brought to you by Breck Sports.

Learn more about Women’s Ski Week and the five new Breckenridge Ski and Ride School programs tailored to women only at WomensSkiWeek.com.

Afton Alps welcomes first Riders’ Cup

Ice Cross Athletes from Around the World to Compete on Jan. 18 for World Championship Points and chance to Advance to Red Bull Crashed Ice

WHO: Up to 128 male and 24 female ice cross downhill athletes from around the world will be competing in the Riders Cup on Jan. 17-18 at Afton Alps to earn Ice Cross Downhill World Championship points and to qualify to compete in the Red Bull Crashed Ice series, including the Jan. 24 competition in downtown St. Paul. These athletes boast a variety of different sporting backgrounds – everything from downhill skiing to mountain biking to hockey and more.

WHAT: Ice cross downhill is the fastest sport on skates, with athletes racing down an ice track featuring hairpin turns, drops and gaps at speeds of more than 40 mph. The Riders Cup evolved from these athletes building their own tracks with local ski resorts and sponsorship partners, and for the first time ever this year, will give its competitors the chance to earn points towards their world championship ranking. The Riders Cup will make ice cross downhill more accessible to interested athletes and allow competitors from more than 15 different nations to participate in races this year.

There will be four Riders Cup events, added by popular demand, across the world this year: Jan. 18 at Afton Alps in Hastings, Minn.; Jan. 31 in Kleinarl, Austria; Feb. 14 in Jyväskylä, Finland; and March 7 in Sherbrooke, Québec (Canada). Adding the four Riders Cup events to the four existing Red Bull Crashed Ice competition brings the total number of ice cross competitions in 2015 to eight.

The athletes participating in the Riders Cup events will be able to earn up to 25 percent of the points awarded at the four major Red Bull Crashed Ice competitions. This means that participation in all four of the Riders Cup events will be equivalent to participating in one Red Bull Crashed Ice race.

The Afton Alps event will take place over two days with a Riders Cup training camp and time trials occurring on Saturday, Jan. 17 and the official Riders Cup race taking place on Sunday, Jan. 18. The Riders Cup will feature 32 heats of the top 128 men and up to four heats of the top women (up to 16). Athlete registration can be found at AftonAlps.com and is available on a first-come, first-served basis until Jan. 11.

The Afton Alps Riders Cup track will be an estimated 400 meters in length with over 60 meters of vertical drop, which is comparable to the Red Bull Crashed Ice championship course in St. Paul. It will be sculpted out of snow from the ski hill, covered with natural ice and littered with a variety of obstacles. The Afton Alps course will take more than eight days to build from the ground up, with approximately 10 international Crashed Ice athletes (from more than five countries) and 30 local athletes working on-site.

WHEN: Saturday, Jan. 17 – Riders Cup Training Camp and Qualifier

  • Practice and qualifying runs beginning at 8:30 a.m.

Sunday, Jan. 18 – Riders Cup

  • 11 a.m. – Venue opens
  • 11 a.m.- 12:30 p.m. – Riders Cup Elimination Round
  • 2:30 – 4:30 p.m. – Riders Cup Finals
  • 4:30 – 5 p.m. – Riders Cup Award Ceremony

WHERE: Afton Alps ski area, 6600 Peller Ave. S. in Hastings, Minnesota. The finish line and public viewing area will be near the base of lift #11 in the Meadows area.

INFO: For the full Riders Cup event schedule, visit AftonAlps.com or call (651) 436-5245.

ABOUT: The Riders Cup is just one example of how Afton Alps provides a variety of entertainment besides skiing and snowboarding. Afton Alps provides year-round entertainment including New Year’s Eve fireworks, a beer and wine festival in the fall, golfing and more.

Afton Alps is a subsidiary of Vail Resorts, Inc., the leading mountain resort operator in the U.S. For over 50 years, Afton Alps has delighted the Twin Cities’ families as one of the Midwest’s premier winter destinations. Nestled in the scenic St. Croix River Valley just outside Minneapolis and St. Paul, this sprawling resort poured $10 million last season into re-imagining the guest experience with renovated base area facilities, a powerful state-of-the-art snowmaking system and a new cutting edge terrain park. With nearly 300 skiable acres, 50 trails, 18 lifts and four terrain parks, there is enough terrain to challenge experts to beginners, day or night. Accessible, affordable and fun, this big-time resort with a small-town feel has converted thousands of first-timers into lifelong skiers and riders, and with the opportunity to take that passion to Vail Resorts’ iconic western mountains; Afton Alps is truly the place where Epic begins. For more information, visit AftonAlps.com.

Follow Afton Alps on Twitter at @AftonAlpsMN, Instagram at @AftonAlps and on Facebook at Facebook.com/AftonAlpsMN.

Blue Sky Basin marks 15 years at Vail Mountain

Since its opening 15 years ago on Jan. 6, 2000, Blue Sky Basin has become a legendary area on Vail Mountain and a favorite amongst locals and guests from around the world.

This outer-most area of the resort offers a distinct backcountry feel, complete with glades, cliffs, steeps, and often plenty of powder and fresh tracks within 645 acres of developed ski and snowboard terrain!

In honor and celebration of Blue Sky Basin’s 15th anniversary at Vail Mountain, following is a list of the 15 things we love about this legendary area of Vail Mountain!

  1. A Powder Day!

It goes without saying that Blue Sky Basin powder days are the best days! An abundance of powder, fresh tracks and secret stashes await skiers and snowboarders here after recent snowfalls.

  1. The Backcountry-Like Feel

Skiers and snowboarders can enjoy all the ambience of the backcountry, including barn-like structures, gladed terrain, cliffs and steeps, all within the safety of the ski resort boundaries. The NSAA even awarded Vail with the Silver Eagle award in 2000 for excellence in visual impact.

  1. Its Size

With 645 acres of developed ski and snowboard terrain, Blue Sky Basin alone is bigger than many individual ski resorts around the United States! That’s a lot of terrain to explore in addition to the rest of Vail’s more than 5,000 acres of terrain.

  1. Gladed Terrain

Known for its amazing natural gladed terrain, Blue Sky Basin, offers fantastic tree skiing in places like Champagne Glade, Steep and Deep, and Resolution.

  1. Groomers, too!

Intermediate skiers and snowboarders don’t be shy, Vail Mountain’s snowcats still make the seven-plus mile journey out to Blue Sky Basin each day to groom trails like Big Rock Park, Grand Review and The Star.

  1. Grilling at Belle’s Camp

Pack up the burgers and brats, and head out to Blue Sky Basin’s Belle’s Camp for the ultimate on-mountain barbeque complete with expansive views of the Sawatch Mountains and Ten-Mile range.

  1. The Views

Blue Sky Basin’s terrain isn’t the only thing that takes your breath away in this outer-most area on Vail Mountain. Panoramic views of surrounding mountain peaks and of Vail’s legendary Back Bowls are just as impressive as the sheer variety of terrain.

  1. Lover’s Leap

Whether you take the plunge solo, or with a partner, Blue Sky Basin’s Lover’s Leap is sure to get your heart pounding as you slide up to the edge of the cornice and take a leap of faith onto the steep snow surface below.

  1. Choose Your Own Adventure through Big Rock Park

No two runs are ever the same when skiing and snowboarding down Big Rock Park. Stick to the main-groomed trail, weave in and out of tree islands, pop into the trees for fresh powder, and make this run all your own!

  1. Dawg Haus

Break for a brew and a brat at this trail-side hot dog stand in between laps on Pete’s Express Lift (#39). It’s the perfect quick lunch stop for hungry skiers and snowboarders who don’t want to break from their powder laps for too long.

  1. The Name and Historical Connection

The name of the area honors the Ute Indians, the original settlers of the Vail Valley, who were referred to as the “Blue Sky People.” The tribute, combined with Colorado’s brilliant blue skies inspired the name Blue Sky Basin. The area also pays tribute to Vail’s founders in the names of two of the three Blue Sky Basin chairlifts – Earl’s Express Lift (#38) and Pete’s Express Lift (#39).

  1. While the Snow’s Away, the Wildlife Can Play!

As part of the approval for Blue Sky Basin, the U.S. Forest Service implemented a Supervisor’s Closure on the Back Bowls and Blue Sky Basin to protect elk calving habitat from early-May to the end of June and no organized summer activities are allowed.

  1. The Fireplace at Belle’s Camp

Head inside Belle’s Camp to warm up by the fire on a snowy winter’s day.

  1. The Snow Stake Cam

Your best source for live, up-to-the-minute snowfall totals in Blue Sky Basin. Check out the online camera at Vail.com to see for yourself how much snow fell in the past 24 hours.

  1. Last, but certainly not least, that one particular line in that one particular place on an epic powder day – you know the one!

What do you love about Blue Sky Basin? Share your favorites with Vail throughout the month of January by tagging @VailMtn on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and using the hashtag #BlueSkyBasin.

For more information visit www.vail.com, stop by the Mountain Information Center, or call (970) SKI-VAIL (754-8245).

EpicMix Guide allows guests to ski Vail Resorts

Vail Resorts announced that EpicMix™ Guide, the fifth generation of its award-winning, free, multi-channel app which will re-imagine how skiers and snowboarders will maximize their time on the mountain this winter, is now available for download for iPhone or Android operating systems.

EpicMix™ Guide uses guest input to generate a customized, step-by-step navigational guide to experience Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge or Keystone in Colorado, Canyons in Park City, Utah, or Heavenly, Northstar or Kirkwood at Lake Tahoe like a long-time local.

“With EpicMix Guide, skiers and riders are able to input what kind of skiing they like to do, what kind of terrain they want to explore and how much time they have available, and the app provides a custom itinerary to help them navigate the mountain in a care-free way, maximizing the fun they’ll have that day,” said Kirsten Lynch, executive vice president and chief marketing officer of Vail Resorts.

Guests need only download the EpicMix app from the iTunes Store or Google Play for the Android Market, then activate their free account via the app or at www.epicmix.com using their pass or lift ticket number.

They then log into any one of the various EpicMix channels (app, mobile web, desktop) and answer a variety of questions including: desired resort, starting location at the resort, terrain difficulty desired, and length of time available.

EpicMix Guide then automatically generates the optimal route for that guest on that day. The online version is perfect for those who want to plan their trip in advance, while the app is the best way to track real-time progress.

“EpicMix Guide is like handing you 20 years of experience at that resort on your first visit there,” said Lynch. “We’re putting this power at the fingertips of every one of our guests.”

The EpicMix development team sought the insider knowledge of each resort’s most experienced Ski and Ride School instructors to build itineraries which would let guests explore each mountain in a unique way that is appropriate for the corresponding skill level.

Guests can experience beginner routes such as “Schoolmarm Cruiser” at Keystone or intermediate routes like “Dipper Explorer” at Heavenly, or challenge themselves with advanced routes like “Ricky’s Ridge Adventurer” at Vail.

These are just a few examples of the 350 possible routes spread across the eight mountain resorts (excluding Park City Mountain Resort).

Once an itinerary is completed, skiers and riders can share their itinerary, along with photos and other stats about their day, on social media through Facebook and Twitter.

“We’ll give you all the assets you need to share the story about your epic day,” said Lynch.

Vail Mountain offers 2,700 skiable acres this Thanksgiving

Skiers and snowboarders have even more to be thankful for this Thanksgiving holiday at Vail Mountain, one of the largest ski resorts in the world, as the resort opened the High Noon Express Lift (#5) today, providing access to the terrain of its legendary Sun Up and Sun Down bowls.

Vail received more than 30 inches of snow since Saturday, and more than six feet in the past three weeks, making for fantastic conditions across the mountain.

“We have a lot to be thankful for every year in Vail, but this year is extraordinary. It’s rare to have conditions this good, this early in the season,” said Chris Jarnot, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Vail Mountain.

“We’ll be talking about Thanksgiving 2014 for years to come. Our crews have been working incredibly hard literally around the clock to open terrain as quickly as possible. With Chair 5 now open, we hope to open China Bowl next, possibly yet this weekend.”

With the addition of Vail’s Legendary Back Bowls, guests now have access to more than 2,700 developed skiable acres of terrain accessible by the following lifts:

  • Gondola One
  • Avanti Express Lift (#2)
  • Wildwood Express Lift (#3)
  • Mountain Top Express Lift (#4)
  • High Noon Express Lift (#5)
  • Riva Bahn Express Lift (#6)
  • Game Creek Express Lift (#7)
  • Born Free Express Lift (#8)
  • Highline Express Lift (#10)
  • Northwoods Express Lift (#11)
  • Gopher Hill Lift (#12)
  • Little Eagle Lift (#15)
  • Eagle Bahn Gondola (#19)
  • Cascade Village Lift (#20)

The resort anticipates opening the remainder of Vail’s lifts and terrain, including Blue Sky Basin in early December.

All guests are reminded that they must observe all posted signs and closures, especially during the early season. Closed trails may contain hazards due to early snow coverage. Accessing closed terrain is a violation of the Colorado Ski Safety Act and will result in the loss of skiing privileges and could involve prosecution and a fine.

Vail Mountain to open on Friday at 9 a.m.

Vail Mountain, one of the largest ski resorts in the world, will open for the 2014-2015 season on Friday, Nov. 21, 2014 with access out of both Vail Village and Lionshead as well as return routes to both base areas.

“We know that we’ll be opening both base areas, but we’re going to give our snowmakers, groomers and patrollers one more night to confirm exactly what we’ll be able to open on Friday morning for Vail’s opening day,” said Chris Jarnot, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Vail Mountain. “Stay tuned for an update tomorrow.”

Vail Mountain lifts will open at 9 a.m. throughout the early season to accommodate early-morning operations. Skiers and snowboarders are asked to observe all posted signs and closures, especially during the early season.

Warm temps delay Breckenridge Ski Resort opening

Breckenridge Ski Resort announced that unseasonably warm weather experienced throughout the region this past month will cause a delay to the resort’s opening day, originally scheduled for today. The resort plans to announce a revised opening day early next week in order to provide skiers and riders as much information as possible.“While we have been very optimistic about snowmaking efforts for Friday, warmer temperatures this week have slowed our efforts. As with all our resorts, our top priority is to provide our guests with a superior early season product,” said Breckenridge Vice President of Mountain Operations, Gary Shimanowitz. “Breck has one of the longest ski seasons in the country, and we want to make sure the experience is fun and safe from the start.”

The resort will provide daily updates at Breckenridge.com/2014OpeningDay and will announce a revised opening early next week.

WAKE UP BRECK DETAILS FOR NOV. 6
On Thursday, Nov. 6, Breckenridge Ski Resort hosts the 12th annual “Wake up Breck” community thank you event throughout Breck, with town and ski area management staff on hand to provide complimentary coffee and exclusive commemorative Breck mugs at local coffee shops throughout town. The giveaway begins at 7a.m. and continues only while supplies last! Find the list of participating coffee shops at Breckenridge.com/Wake-Up-Breck.

New this year, Wake Up Breck is being sponsored by EpicPromise, the Company’s new sustainability brand to engage Summit County locals and guests in one of its core values, “Do Good.” To celebrate the launch of EpicPromise locally, Breckenridge Ski Resort is making a donation – $1 for every mug – to Trout Unlimited for the work the organization is doing to restore Illinois Gulch, a special place near Breckenridge that is contaminated with mine waste and pollution. Learn more at www.epicpromise.com

STAY CONNECTED
Visit Breckenridge.com for terrain updates, snow reports, lodging deals, event details and the lowest priced lift tickets guaranteed. Stay connected all season long and learn more about Breckenridge Ski Resort at www.facebook.com/Breckenridge watch official resort videos at www.YouTube.com/Breckenridge, and follow @Breckenridgemtn on Instagram and Twitter.

Vail Resorts create new programs for women

Despite making up over half the population of the United States, women only make up 40 percent of alpine skiers and only 32 percent of snowboarders according to participation data from SnowSports Industries America (SIA).

Vail Resorts, the world’s leading mountain resort operator, announced a new company initiative to increase women’s participation in skiing and snowboarding.  Vail Resorts created a number of new programs and products, available for the 2014-15 winter ski and ride season.

  • Vail Resorts’ Ski & Ride Schools will offer the Women’s Ultimate 4, a lesson for women where they can join fellow women and a female coach to learn or brush up on skiing in a small-group setting, from the foundation-building basics of a “first-timer” class (open to all), to navigating the easiest greens, to sharing tactics and camaraderie on mountain green and blue runs. Women’s Ultimate 4 lessons will be offered at Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone in Colorado, Park City and Canyons in Utah, and Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood at Lake Tahoe.
  • Select resort Ski & Ride Schools will also offer four-hour lessons for women, providing ample time for the drop-off and pick-up times of their kids’ lessons, as well as “Mommy & Me” lessons, where instructors spend time with the mother and the child, reviewing what the child is working on and providing tips on how to continue to develop the child’s skills.
  • The comments also spurred Vail Resorts to create Prima, a personalized concierge service to assist with every aspect of the vacation experience for the company’s most loyal Brazilian guests of Vail and Beaver Creek.