A Killington ski adventure

killington

By Marlene Greer

Sometimes we west coasters can be ski snobs. We have so many great SoCal and Western US ski resorts to choose from we don’t bother with what’s on the other side of the country. Well, we’ve put aside our bias and are trying – for the first time – skiing in Vermont. Join us in our adventure on the right coast as we explore historic Killington and Pico ski resorts.

Families and friends make Deer Valley a tradition

Skiers crowd liftlines at Deer Valley Ski Resort in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Marlene Greer)

Skiers crowd liftlines at Deer Valley Ski Resort in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Marlene Greer)

By Marlene Greer, Correspondent

Deer Valley is a skiers-only resort — one of the few left in the country. And Deer Valley plans to keep it that way.

“We survey our guests and (no snowboarders) is among the top reasons why people come to Deer Valley,” said Bob Wheaton, president and general manager. He says the resort is doing well financially with only skiers, and he doesn’t see the policy changing.

No snowboarders made our skiing experience more relaxed. And quiet. Deer Valley is excellent casual skiing at its best.

Jill, skiing at Deer Valley with a friend and her friend’s daughter Lauren, described it a little differently. “It’s lazy skiing,” said Jill, a vivacious 50-something lifelong skier. “Nice runs, not crowded, no snowboarders, not too difficult. I’m old. I’ve got bad knees. I want nice, easy skiing.”

This was the trio’s third trip to Deer Valley in three years. The two friends from Texas, whose husbands don’t ski, have been skiing together for many years. Lauren joined them three years ago for their annual ladies-only ski trip, and Deer Valley is their go-to destination.

“It started with six of us friends,” Jill said. “Now only the two of us are going, with Lauren. We’ve been to Deer Valley many times. It’s our favorite mountain.”
It’s also the favorite of Amy and Bill from Austin, Texas. The couple returned to Deer Valley for the second year with their two young children, 7-year-old Ben and Caroline, 9.

The parents felt the resort was ideal for their family. Ben’s favorite trail is Ontario, a long green groomer running from the top of Flagstaff Mountain.
“We’ve been doing that all day,” Amy said with a sigh.

The parents also like the kids ski school program.
“They have fun with other kids, and Bill and I can go ski,” Amy said. “They could probably ski with us now, but we like the ski school. It’s expensive, but if you are spending this much to ski here, what’s a few hundred more?”

Deer Valley lift tickets are on the high side — $108 a day for adults, $68 for
children. The resort offers a nice discount for seniors 65 and older at $77 a day.

Making a mother-daughter trip to Deer Valley Ski Resort in Park City, Utah

Bear House adds whimsy to ski trails at Deer Valley Ski Resort. (Photo by Marlene Greer)
Bear House adds whimsy to ski trails at Deer Valley Ski Resort. (Photo by Marlene Greer)

By Marlene Greer, Correspondent

It was snowing for the first time in three weeks when my stepdaughter and I arrived at Deer Valley Resort in early February: Six inches of soft powder over groomed hardpack and just under freezing. Ideal conditions.

We were standing midmountain looking at the trail map trying to decide where to head to for some easy intermediate terrain. We had tried Bald Mountain earlier and found it too chopped up. It also has a 9,400-foot summit, so we were looking for something a bit easier on our first day on skis this season.
A mountain host gave us some great advice.

“Head to Flagstaff Mountain. There are some beauuuutiful blues off the back side,” the friendly Aussie said with the enthusiasm of a skier on a powder day. Everything was an exclamation!

“Take Hawkeye first. It’s excellent! Groomed with a nice pitch,” he advised. “Then try Sidewinder; it’s a bit steeper, but still nice. They are all just beautiful runs!”

This was our first trip to Deer Valley, and we found many “beautiful blues” in the next two days of skiing. We particularly liked Little Baldy Peak. The runs were groomed, nearly deserted (even on a Saturday) and there were no lift lines. We felt like we had the place to ourselves.

Deer Valley, one of the three major ski resorts in Park City, Utah, covers five mountain peaks and 2,026 acres. All levels of terrain can be accessed on all peaks with the exception of the resort’s highest — Empire Peak at 9,500 feet — which offers intermediate and expert terrain only.

Most of the lifts have high-speed quads, giving skiers more time on the slopes. The resort is surrounded by private property, so you’ll see large homes on the side of many runs.

Look for the Raccoon House and the Bear House off Last Chance Trail. Both have whimsical critters of all sizes hanging from the roof, sitting on the deck, peeking in windows and hiding in trees.

Canadian ski resorts getting lots of snow in Banff, Lake Louise

March is in like a lion with two huge dumps of snow at Canada’s Big 3 Resorts. After a Pineapple Express weather system dumped over 90cm of snow at Sunshine Village in one week we were graced with another system that led to 80cm of fresh pow coming down on the Lake Louise Ski Resort.

Mt. Norquay has also benefited from all this snowfall and conditions are great with 60 days of skiing left in Banff-Lake Louise.

Watch our video recap of conditions from around the resorts, check the action shots below and gear up, because with another snowfall warning in effect we are expecting a fresh 15 cm this Thursday!

Sierra-at-Tahoe’s 2014-15 passes come with a bonus for this season.

Home to 2,000 acres of skiable terrain, Sierra-at-Tahoe Resort has a deal for those who purchase a 2014-15 Keepin’ It Real Unlimited Season Pass: free skiing the rest of the 2014 season at the resort and also at Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows.

Sierra-at-Tahoe is offering the Keepin’ It Real Unlimited Season Pass for $289 through April 30. The price increases by up to $100 starting May 1 (earlier, if quantities run out).

Along with free skiing and riding at Sierra-at-Tahoe, Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows, passholders can enjoy free skiing/riding in much of the Western U.S. with The Powder Alliance. Those resorts include Angel Fire Resort, Arizona Snowbowl, Bridger Bowl, China Peak, Crested Butte, Mountain High, Mt. Hood Skibowl, Snowbasin, Schweitzer, Stevens Pass and Timberline.

Season passholders will automatically be enrolled into a free membership that earns points toward free lessons, rentals, lunch and other bonuses.

Information: www.sierraattahoe.com or 530-659-7453.

Park City Mountain Resort plans Snowasis family carnival

Snowasis, Park City Mountain Resort’s family-themed spring carnival, returns with an expanded nine-day schedule in 2014. Running March 22-30, Snowasis celebrates PCMR’s standing as one of North America’s top-ranked family winter destinations, including #2 ranking among all North American resorts for family programs by the readers of SKI Magazine.

A program of on-snow games, live performers, s’mores roasting, scavenger hunts, an avalanche dog meet ‘n greet and more was too big for a single week, leading to an expanded schedule in 2014. All Snowasis events are free and open to the public.

A complete Snowasis schedule follows below. Also viewable online at: http://www.parkcitymountain.com/snowasis

World Ski and Snowboard Festival set for April 11-20 in Whistler

What do you call 10 days of out-of-this-world action, both on and off Whistler’s slopes? The World Ski and Snowboard Festival, of course. Set to cause a scene April 11 – 20, this fest has earned its cred as the biggest annual gathering of winter sports, music, arts and culture in North America.

Here, massive vertical and slopestyle contests promise plenty of action: The World Skiing Invitational/AFP World Championship is a heart-thumping, high-flying challenge, while The Monster Energy Shred Show features not one, but two snowboard events. (These snowboard challenges will bring on the oohs and aahs, thanks to The Big Air’s massive kicker andSlopestyle’s array of terrain park tricks.)

And when it’s time to trade the thump of adrenalin for a kaleidoscope of sensory delights, be sure to stroll the village for glimpses of arts and musical presentations on outdoor concert stages and within the resort’s conference centre and nightclubs.

Tip: snag a ticket forIntersection, a celebration of action sport filmmaking at its best, or check out screenings of the winners in the film, action sports, and photography contests during the Best of the Fest finale. Both visual feasts that may be just the inspiration required to wax the skis and boards. wssf.com

Sierra at Tahoe Resort celebrates Equinox Spring Festival on March 15

This spring Sierra-at-Tahoe Resort is celebrating the season, snow, sunshine, and good times with the Equinox Spring Festival. The Festival includes a concert series, events and parties.

The Equinox Spring Festival will kick off with a big party to welcome home our Olympians including 2014 gold medalists, Jamie Anderson and Maddie Bowman, and two-time Olympic medalist Hannah Teter. The festival kicks off March 15, 2014 and will conclude on the final week of the season.

A Golden Celebration and Plaza Grand Opening Party – March 15

Sierra Resort will welcome home 2014 Olympians and team riders Jamie Anderson, Maddie Bowman, and Hannah Teter. All three athletes are now Olympic gold medalists and Sierra Resort representatives. They will join their hometown for a celebration where government officials and dignitaries will honor them in front of their friends and family. Autograph signings, live music, and a party will follow.

The celebration will take place on Sierra’s new plaza. The new $5 million project transforms the skier services and amenities area into a mecca for gathering, après, and services.

Guests will experience a 30,000 square-foot deck where they can relax in the sun and watch the action on the slopes. Along with a new deck area, guests can enjoy the new 9,000 square-foot indoor facility that includes, a retail store, demo center, and fresh healthy food options at the Solstice Eatery.

Live at Grandview Music Series Sponsored by Tahoe South

The Soft White Sixties with Vokab Kompany ­– March 22. Kicking off the Live at Grandview Music Series, The Soft White Sixties and Vokab Kompany will rock the stage with alternative music that everyone can enjoy.

Hot Buttered Rum with The CreakApril 5 Guests can free their heels all day long at the 11th annual Telegrass Festival where they can learn to telemark or improve their current skills with telemark clinics and demonstrations. Once they have mastered their telemark turns, guests can free their minds with bluegrass music from Hot Buttered Rum and The Creak.

Midi Matilda with Tracorum – April 12 Straight from San Francisco, Midi Matilda features Logan Grime and Skyler Kilborn who use soaring falsetto’s, driving rhythms, and a fresh mix of guitars, bass and synthesizers, giving them a unique sound that will have guests dancing along and smiling all afternoon.

Jackson Hole Mountain Resort announces headliner for first rendezvous

Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is excited to announce nationally acclaimed artist, Michael Franti and Spearhead, as the headlining act for the 1st Annual Jackson Hole Rendezvous.

The Jackson Hole Rendezvous is a three-day spring lifestyle and music festival taking place from March 27-30, 2014. The multi-day event kicks off Thursday, March 27th with a free concert in the town of Jackson at the Snow King Arena, featuring Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe.

The free live music then heads to Teton Village on Friday night with reggae legends Steel Pulse hitting the stage, followed by a fireworks display. Then on Saturday March 29th, Michael Franti and Spearhead will rock the concert area in Teton Village before the night closes with another massive fireworks display.
Jackson Hole Rendezvous is a gathering of mountain and music lovers from around the country, here to celebrate another spectacular winter and the arrival of spring.

Under the bright skies of the warm spring sun, Jackson Hole Rendezvous will be headlined by Michael Franti and will also include a range of other events such as the Pole, Peddle, Paddle,  The Marmot Coombs Classic – a celebration of skiing in memory of the late Doug Coombs, the après-crowd pleaser Music under the Tram, contest giveaways and other base area activities.

All shows will have opening acts, food and beverage sales, with the venues opening with free admission at 6:00pm.
“This year, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is investing in expanding our spring event as a way of saying thank you to our guests for an incredible season together,” said Anna Olson, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort Marketing Director.  “It is the perfect way to close the season –three nights of free concerts both in town and on the mountain and perfect spring skiing conditions as a result of near record-breaking February snowfall.”

South Lake Tahoe salutes Olympic athletes on March 15

South Lake Tahoe, the tight-knit ski community big on Olympic athletes will honor its three USA team members in a city-wide celebration, Saturday, March 15.

Jamie Anderson, Maddie Bowman, who won gold for snowboarding slopestyle and freeskiing halfpipe respectively, and Hannah Teter who placed fourth in snowboarding halfpipe, will be lauded at Sierra-at-Tahoe Resort.

A procession will take the Olympians via fire truck from South Tahoe High School, onto Highway 50, past the airport and through the town of Meyers, concluding at Sierra Resort. At 1 p.m. community members can line Highway 50 along the route and cheer the Olympian procession as it drives by.

Attending the festivities will be California Senator. Ted Gaines, El Dorado County Supervisors and South Lake Tahoe City Councilmembers with proclamations for the three Olympians. The party will include autograph signings, live music, food and drink specials, prizes and a raffle with proceeds to the Sierra Foundation, which grooms future world class athletes.

The South Tahoe High School marching band will greet the Olympians at Sierra-at-Tahoe’s new Solstice Plaza at 1:40 p.m. The National Anthem by the South Tahoe High School Choir will be followed by an introduction from Sierra-at-Tahoe’s General Manager John Rice.

Meyers, Calif., residents Anderson, Bowman, and Teter may have put the tiny town of 3,000 just west of South Lake Tahoe on the international map as having the most gold medals per capita.

Jamie Anderson, 23, won her Olympic gold medal in the women’s inaugural snowboard slopestyle competition at Sochi. She also won four Winter X Games gold medals in 2007, 2008, 2012 and 2013.

Maddie Bowman, 20, struck gold in the women’s freestyle skiing halfpipe competition at Sochi, also her first. The skier also brought home gold at the Winter X Games in 2013 and 2014 in the superpipe division.

Hannah Teter, 27, was a 2006 Olympic gold and 2010 Olympic silver medalist in the women’s snowboarding halfpipe. Teter finished fourth at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics in the halfpipe event. She was a 2003 Winter X Games gold medal winner and 5-time bronze medalist.

Well-wishers and partygoers are encouraged to board buses or carpool to the resort as parking will be limited. The athletes will depart from South Tahoe High School at 1 p.m. Bus schedules, times as well as all event details will be available at www.sierraattahoe.com.

The welcome home celebration for the Olympians at the country’s “Best Ski Destination” (USA Today, Jan. 2014) is sponsored by Sierra-at-Tahoe Resort, the City of South Lake Tahoe, Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority, El Dorado County, Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, Barton Health, Tahoe Center for Orthopedic, and the Lake Tahoe South Shore Chamber of Commerce.