First tracks! Snow! Mammoth Mountain opens for winter

Cheers go out from the skiers and boarders riding the first chair of the winter at Mammoth Mountain this morning. (Photo by Peter Morning/Mammoth Mountain Ski Area)

Cheers go out from skiers and boarders riding the first chair of the winter Thursday morning at Mammoth Mountain. (Photo by Peter Morning/Mammoth Mountain Ski Area)

Let the skiing and snowboarding begin!

Mammoth Mountain opened Thursday morning for the 2014-15 winter season with some snowy weather – hopefully a preview of the months ahead. Flurries added to the 12-16 inches of natural and manmade snow already at the resort.

Broadway Express was running with access to Broadway and Upper Main Park. The Unbound Terrain Park crew set up 10 jibs and one jump in Upper Main Park, which was quickly filled with freestyle skiers and snowboarders.

After first chair, Greg Dallas, Mammoth Mountain’s COO, offered his greetings: “Thank you for being here and sharing the excitement and passion of opening day with us. … Here’s to a great year!”

That’s what we’re hoping for too.

Information: www.mammothmountain.com

Mammoth Mountain celebrates Thursday opening

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Dust off your skis and snowboards, call your friends, and start this season off right. Mammoth Mountain is kicking off opening day on Thursday with its traditional Broadway Express banner breakthrough and annual beer toast. Enjoy live music, food, and drinks on the Main Lodge sundeck during the day, contests in the park and more.

Lift ticket prices on Opening Day are just $50, purchase yours today

 Opening Weekend Event Schedule

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 13​

7am – Free coffee and hot cocoa at the Little Mill snowcat at Broadway Express
7am – DJ in the Monster booth at Broadway Express
8:29am – Countdown to kick off 2014/15
8:30am – #MammothsOpen! First chair and annual banner breakthrough
11am – Beer toast on the Main Lodge Sundeck and drink specials at Tusks Bar. Try a mimosa’s or the award winning bacon bloody mary.
11:15am-3pm – Live music on the Main Lodge Sundeck
8pm – Mr. Plant viewing the Volcom & Pat Moore at Wave Rave Snowboard Shop on Main Street
9pm – Snowboarder Magazine’s Foreword premiere at Wave Rave Snowboard shop on Main Street.  Featuring Mammoth Team Athletes Jaeger Bailey & Garrett Warnick

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 14

1-4pm – Live music on the Main Lodge Sundeck
7-10pm – Giro Season Opener: Pathology Film Premiere hosted by Giro Snow at Campo Mammoth

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 15

11am – Hang out in Main Park featuring the Mophie Jam, 32 TF debut, DJ in the Monster DJ booth and specials at the Little Mill
1-4pm – Live music on the Main Lodge Sundeck
6:30pm – Eastside K9 Fundraiser: Days of My Youth movie viewing at Canyon Lodge

*Conditions permitting
-

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.

Ski free, stay free packages at Jackson Hole Ski Resort

Jackson Hole Ski Free Stay Free vacation packages are even better than before, and now through November 27th, 2014, receive a $200 airfare credit on December and January stays or a $300 credit for March bookings.

Ski Free Stay Free packages are being offered from all North American cities, all airline carriers, and all major lodging partners  –  showcasing the immense variety of available accommodations from slope-side luxury to more affordable options.

With these new package options, guests receive a free night of lodging and a free day of skiing when they purchase four nights or more for qualified dates.

“If you are considering a ski vacation, this is definitely the time to purchase; with the increased airfare credit in the early season and the new credit for March bookings, along with lodging and ticket savings make Jackson Hole easier to get to and more affordable than ever before,” stated Adam Sutner, Chief Marketing Officer of JHMR.

In the area of accessibility, Jackson Hole has improved air capacity by another 8% on top of last season’s similar improvement.  This winter will feature non-stop flights from 13 major US cities, bolstering Jackson Hole’s position as the most accessible destination resort in the Rocky Mountains.

Additionally, the majority of the new capacity has been added in early season and late season.  Jackson Hole’s goal is to offer a better-than-ever early season skiing product combined with better-than-ever access.

Further enhancements in air accessibility include new non-stop service from Washington D.C.’s Dulles Airport. The overall winter air schedule details flights that start earlier in December and the majority of those routes run through closing day of the winter season on Easter Sunday, April 5th 2015.

Jackson Hole Airport, with its completed new baggage claim system and $30 million dollar expansion over the last few years, now presents a more efficient and comfortable arrival and departure experience. Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is just a short 30 minute drive from the terminal, offering convenience and proximity to one of the most beautiful winter playgrounds in the world.

Book online or with a travel expert by phone 888-838-6606.

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.

New nonstop service from London to Lake Tahoe ski resorts

In partnership with Ski Lake Tahoe, Thomas Cook Airlines has today announced the UK’s first non-stop air service, from London Gatwick (LGW) to Reno (RNO), with the first flights taking place in December 2015.

The twice weekly service to Reno from Gatwick, opening up a host of ski holidays for UK travellers, departs on Wednesdays and Saturdays.  The flights begin on Dec. 19, 2015 and runs until 9th April 2016.

“It’s fantastic news that we’re able to offer skiers from the UK the first ever non-stop flights to Reno-Tahoe, opening Lake Tahoe as a real option for their winter break.  On top of our new routes to Miami and New York next summer and our brand new Premium cabin, we’re leading the way in offering a quality experience at great prices for the discerning traveller heading to the USA,” said Christoph Debus, CEO, Thomas Cook Airlines.

Andy Wirth, the Vice Chairman of the Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority, said the combination of incredible skiing and Reno-area casinos will make the new flight a unique and unforgettable experience for travellers.

“We’re thrilled to welcome Thomas Cook Airlines and Great Britain to the Reno-Tahoe International Airport,” Wirth said “With this unparalleled nonstop convenience and a world class travel partner in Thomas Cook, this flight really opens up one of the best skiing markets in the world, the United Kingdom, to Lake Tahoe and the great casinos and night life of Reno.”

Reno-Tahoe International Airport is one the closest airports to major ski resorts in North America. Passengers can see ski runs from the airport’s runways upon landing and it is a quick 45 minute to 1-hour drive from airport baggage claim to the ski lifts. The flight will be contingent upon approval of landing rights by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Lake Tahoe is where North America’s largest concentration of World-class ski resorts lie within majestic mountains featuring jaw-dropping cliffs, serene glades and stunning views.

Skiers can choose from Heavenly, Kirkwood, Mt. Rose-Ski Tahoe, Northstar California, Sierra-at-Tahoe and Squaw Valley | Alpine Meadows.  With 400 inches of snow a year and over 600 unparalleled runs with 113 lifts on 17,000 acres, Lake Tahoe is a skiing and snowboarding paradise, with endless ways to have fun après ski.

Thomas Cook Airlines has recently released further details of its new cabin experience for customers on its Airbus A330 long haul fleet, with brand new Economy and Premium services bringing a great value product to long haul customers on its flights from May 2015.  To view a film of the new Thomas Cook Airlines cabins click here.

Christoph Debus continued, “Our brand new long haul Economy cabins and service will challenge perceptions of our airline, and our new Premium will ensure skiers can experience a great range of services, flying in style to their winter break in Lake Tahoe.”

Starting this week, holidays and flights to Reno/Lake Tahoe on refurbished A330 aircraft – including the new Premium service – can be booked via www.thomascookairlines.com and www.thomascook.com,

Finally, a healthy snowfall with 10 days until Mammoth opens for winter

Mammoth Lakes welcomed about a foot of new snow over the weekend, and it couldn’t have come at a better time because Mammoth Mountain Ski Area opens for the winter in 10 days. Peter Morning braved the cold to take some great pics of the white stuff coming down. A sampling…

Mammoth's snow-making operations get a helping hand from Mother Nature at the Broadway Express lift.

Mammoth’s snow-making operations get help from Mother Nature at the Broadway Express lift.

Resort's iconic mammoth is covered in white.

Resort’s iconic mammoth is covered in white.

A building is there there somewhere.

A building must be in there somewhere.

Time for a selfie.

Gotta take a selfie.

California ski, snowboard resorts get a Halloween treat: snow!

The Village at Squaw Valley became a winter wonderland this morning as several inches of snow fell at the resort and throughout the Lake Tahoe area. (Squaw Valley photo)

The Village at Squaw Valley became a winter wonderland this morning as several inches of snow fell at the resort and elsewhere in the Lake Tahoe area. (Squaw Valley photo)

About the time kids were trick-or-treating on Friday night, mountain resorts throughout California were starting to get a special treat: snow. In some cases, it was the first white stuff of the season, raising hopes that the lengthy drought – fingers crossed – will come to an end this winter. There certainly was lots of excitement to go around:

Mountain High: The first snow of the season fell this morning at Mountain High Resort giving the area a crisp glow and solidifying the coming of winter. Traditionally, Mountain High opens in mid-November but it all depends on the season. Three times in the past 10 years, the Wrightwood resort has opened in October. Mountain High’s 10-year average is a Nov. 16 opening. For a gallery of “first snow of the season” photos, click here.

Heavenly: Winter has arrived at Tahoe, and Heavenly Mountain Resort received 3 inches of new snow overnight. 

Northstar: Three inches of fresh snow has accumulated and snow continues to fall. Temperatures have remained in the low 20s and the mountain’s snowmaking team has activated Northstar’s state-of-the-art snowmaking system. The National Weather Service has forecast an 80 percent chance of snow throughout the remainder of the day and into the evening, with expected additional accumulation of up to 3 inches. Snow showers are predicted for Sunday at a 20 percent chance.

Sierra-at-Tahoe: The resort received as much as 6 inches of snow overnight in the base area near the new Solstice Plaza. Early season snowfall is a reminder that winter and the ski and snowboard season are right around the corner.

Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows: The winter storm sweeping through the Sierra Nevada has brought 10 inches of fresh snow to Alpine Meadows’ upper mountain and 6 inches to Squaw Valley by late Saturday morning, with snow continuing to fall at both mountains. This is the first significant snowfall of the 2014-15 winter season, and comes less than a month before Squaw Valley’s scheduled opening date of Nov. 26. Alpine Meadows is expected to open on Dec. 12.

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.

Heavenly Mountain making snow for Nov. 21 opening

In addition to 2” of natural snow during the weekend, Heavenly Mountain Resort has fired up the West Coast’s largest and most powerful snowmaking system and has begun making snow in anticipation of a Nov. 21 opening day.

The snowmaking system ran for seven hours over night Sunday, blowing snow at the top of the Gondola, as well as on California Trail, Orion and Tamarack return.

“Cold temperatures and natural snowfall have been building the buzz around the upcoming season, and now that snowmaking has begun, we are full steam ahead with more than four decades of snowmaking experience and expertise at our backs,” said Pete Sonntag, vice president and COO of Heavenly. “We will open on November 21 with the some of the best snow surface conditions at Lake Tahoe.”

Heavenly’s extensive snowmaking system is capable, under optimum conditions, of producing three-and-a-half feet of snow across one acre in an hour and can cover 73 percent of the resort’s 97 trails in machine-made snow.

Heavenly is expanding its snowmaking capabilities this season by adding snowmaking to Easy Street, a beginner run at the top of the Gondola. A spur line has also been added from the top of Dipper Express that allows Heavenly to make snow on Skyline Trail near the top of Milky Way Bowl.

This will make it possible to open Skyline Trail earlier in the season and provide skiers and riders access to both California and Nevada earlier than ever before.

The resort also added three new fan guns to the fleet, increasing the total number of energy efficient fan guns the resort has to 67. These new SMI Puma fan guns are more energy efficient and also more efficient on the production side.

Heavenly kicks off the 2014-15 ski and ride season on Friday, November 21, with opening day and the first Unbuckle at Tamarack après party of the season.

Unbuckle takes place daily from 3:30-5:30 p.m. with a live DJ, half-priced drinks, giveaways, food specials, lots of dancing and, exclusively on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, the lovely Heavenly Angels.

The party continues with Winter Ignite on the weekends of December 5-6 and 12-13, culminating in a free concert by Young The Giant in Heavenly Village on December 13 at 7:00 p.m.

Winter Ignite will jumpstart the 2014-2015 ski and ride season with pop-up DJ Cat and Unbuckle après kick-off parties, the Pretty Faces movie premier and comedy from Daniel Tosh at MontBleu Resort Casino and Spa on Friday, December 12. For more information, go to skiheavenly.com/winterignite.