Wednesday, June 21, 2017

North America's Biggest Operators in the Ski Business (2017:4): Peak Resorts.

Peak Resorts, Inc. is a publicly owned Missouri-company that operates ski resorts in the Midwest and Northeast United States.
The company was founded in 1977 by Tim Boyd. In 1982 he bought his first ski resort (Hidden Valley Ski Area). Shortly thereafter he opened a ski-resort in suburban Kansas City, Missouri at Weston, Missouri (Snow Creek Ski Resort).
Launched in March, 2015, next winter a new Peak Pass offers access to seven different mountain locations across four states in the Northeast. Resorts include Mount Snow in Vermont; Attitash, Wildcat and Crotched Mountains in New Hampshire; Hunter Mountain in New York; and Jack Frost and Big Boulder in Pennsylvania.
"This winter, we looked at all of our pass products across the Northeast, including the offerings of our newest acquisition, Hunter Mountain", stated Tim Boyd, CEO and president of Peak Resorts. "We felt the variety of each resort's on-mountain experience, as well as the proximity of our resorts, makes the Peak Pass a unique and affordable product for the vast majority of skiers and riders in the Northeastern U.S".

Peak Resorts Owned Mountain Resorts:

Alpine Valley, Ohio
Boston Mills/Brandywine, Ohio. All three Northeast Ohio ski resorts – Alpine Valley, Boston Mills and Brandywine – are operated collectively.
Mad River Mountain, Ohio. Resort is operated under long-term agreement by Peak Resorts, Inc. Resort is owned by EPR Properties.
Attitash, New Hampshire
Crotched Mt. Ski Area, New Hampshire
Wildcat Mountain, New Hampshire
Jack Frost, Pennsylvania
Big Boulder Ski Area, Pennsylvania
Mount Snow, Vermont
Hunter Mountain, New York
Paoli Peaks, Indiana
Hidden Valley, Missouri

Last season, Peak Resorts launched a new season pass. The new Peak Pass features a total of six pass options valid at seven different mountain locations across four states in the Northeast. Resorts include Mount Snow in Vermont; Attitash, Wildcat and Crotched Mountains in New Hampshire; Hunter Mountain in New York; and Jack Frost and Big Boulder in Pennsylvania.
"We felt the variety of each resort's on-mountain experience, as well as the proximity of our resorts, makes the Peak Pass a unique and affordable product for the vast majority of skiers and riders in the Northeastern U.S", stated Tim Boyd, CEO and president of Peak Resorts.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

North America's Biggest Operators in the Ski Business (2017:3): Boyne Resorts

Boyne Resorts was founded by Everett Kircher in 1947.
Boyne Resorts is still a family owned company, based in Boyne Falls, Michigan, and the largest privately owned ski and golf corporation in the country.
In 2000, SKI Magazine honored Kircher himself as one of the "Top 100 Most Influential Skiers of All Time". Placing him beside Olympic athletes, inventors and filmmakers such as, World Cup champion and Olympic gold medalist, Jean-Claude Killy and the popular filmmaker, Warren Miller.
Boyne Resorts owns 4 ski areas and manages an additional 6 ski areas for CNL Lifestyle Properties.
Boyne Resorts' portfolio currently includes Michigan's two premier mountain and golf resorts, Boyne Highlands and Boyne Mountain; and The Inn at Bay Harbor - A Renaissance Golf Resort in Michigan; Big Sky Resort in Montana--founded by the late Chet Huntley in 1970; Brighton Ski Resort in Big Cottonwood Canyon near Salt Lake City, Utah; Crystal Mountain near the Mt. Rainier National Park in Seattle and The Summit at Snoqualmie in Washington; Loon Mountain in New Hampshire; Sugarloaf and Sunday River resorts in Maine; Cypress Mountain near Vancouver, British Columbia--official freestyle skiing and snowboard venue for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games; Gatlinburg Sky Lift near the Great Smokey Mountains National Park in Gatlinburg, Tennessee.
Boyne Resorts continues to build and improve four-season destinations to fit "a way of life" for the active families and friends who gather there. Offering the very best in golf, ski, tennis, biking, hiking and cross-country skiing together with luxurious accommodations, fine dining, cozy restaurants and lounges and exquisite spa facilities, Boyne remains a leader in the industry.

Boyne Owned Mountain Resorts:

Big Sky Resort, Montana (purchased in 1976 by Everett Kircher)
Boyne Highlands Resort, Michigan (acquired in 1964)
Boyne Mountain Resort, Michigan. Everett Kircher founded Boyne Mountain in 1947)
Crystal Mountain Resort, Washington (acquired in 1997)

Resorts operated under long-term agreement by Boyne USA. Resorts are owned by CNL Lifestyle Properties:

Cypress Mountain, British Columbia 

Boyne Resorts has teamed up with POWDR Enterprises to form the POWDR-Boyne partnership alliance. This strategic alliance provides brand partners the opportunity to leverage and activate the combined reach and influence of these world-class resorts.

In March, 2015, Intrawest, Powdr and Boyne Resorts jointly launched the new and revolutionary M.A.X Pass. Since then POWDR Enterprises also has joined forces with other resorts across North America to bring skiers a better M.A.X. Pass. The 2017/18 Multi Alpine Experience (M.A.X.) Pass provides access to 44 mountains all over North America. M.A.X. Passholders will get 5 days of skiing or riding at each of the 44 participating resorts for the 2017/2018 ski season:

Alyeska, Alaska
Belleayre, New York
Big Sky, Montana
Blue Mountain, Ontario; Canada
Boreal Mountain, California
Boyne Highland, Michigan
Boyne Mountain, Michigan
Brighton, Utah
Buck Hill, Minnesota
Copper Mountain, Colorado
Crested Butte, Colorado
Crystal Mountain, Washington
Cypress Mountain, British Columbia, Canada
Eldora, Colorado
Fernie Mountain Resort, British Columbia, Canada
Gore Mountain, New York
Granite Peak Ski Area, Wisconsin
Kicking Horse Resort, British Columbia, Canada
Killington, Vermont
Kimberley Albine Resort, British Columbia, Canada
Lee Canyon Resort, Nevada
Loon Mountain, New Hampshire
Lutsen Mountains, Minnesota
Mont Saint Anne, Quebec, Canada
Mont Tremblant, Quebec, Canada
Mountain Creek, New Jersey
Mountain High, California
Mount Sunapee, New Hampshire
Mt. Bachelor, Oregon
Nakiska, Alberta, Canada
Pico Mountain, Vermont
Okemo, Vermont
Snowshoe, West Virginia
Solitude, Utah
Steamboat, Colorado
Stoneham, Quebec, Canada
Stratton, Vermont
Sugarloaf, Maine
Summit at Snoqualmie, Washington
Sunday River, Maine
Wachusett, Massachusetts
Windham, New York
Whiteface, New York
Winter Park, Colorado

Purchasers of the M.A.X. Pass can ski 5 days at each of the 44 participating ski resorts, for a total of 220 days of skiing at North America’s premier mountain destinations.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

North America's Biggest Operators in the Ski Business (2017:2): Powdr Corp.

POWDR is a private, family-owned company run with the mission to share, inspire, and celebrate lifestyle and mountain sports.
Within POWDR’s portfolio are nine mountain resorts including Copper Mountain and Eldora Mountain Resort in Colorado; Killington and Pico Mountain in Vermont; Boreal Mountain Resort and Soda Springs in the Lake Tahoe region of California; Mt. Bachelor in Oregon, Lee Canyon in Nevada, and Gorgoza Park in Park City.
Also included in POWDR’s portfolio are the Woodward camps and progression centers which includes Woodward Pennsylvania, Woodward Copper in Colorado, Woodward Tahoe and Woodward West in Stallion Springs, California.
Through ownership of Human Movement Management in Louisville, Colorado, POWDR fuels participation in the adventure lifestyle with a collection of festivals, themed runs and branded events. Outside Television, based in Westport, Connecticut, is the national active, outside-lifestyle programming network subsidiary of POWDR, and Sun Country Tours in Oregon is the company’s river rafting outfitter. 

POWDR Corporation is one of the largest ski resort operators in North America. Unlike its competitors, Powdr focuses on ski area operations rather than real estate development. It is owned by the Cumming family and headquartered in Park City, Utah. John Cumming, who co-founded the clothing company Mountain Hardwear (Columbia Sportswear purchased Mountain Hardwear in 2003) is the current CEO.
POWDR was founded in 1994 by John Cumming with the purchase of Park City Mountain Resort. On September 2014 Vail Resorts announced that the Company has acquired Park City Mountain Resort (PCMR) from Powdr Corp. for $182.5 million in cash, subject to certain post-closing adjustments. The acquisition includes all of the assets of Greater Park City Company (GPCC), the land used for ski terrain at the resort held by Ian Cumming, and certain base parking lands owned by Powdr Development Corp., which have approved zoning for approximately 687,000 square feet of residential and commercial development. The acquisition does not include the Gorgoza tubing operation, located approximately 10 miles from the resort, which will be retained by Powdr Corp.
Powdr’s nine Mountain resorts cover regions in the Mountain West, the Pacific Northwest
, and the Northeast. The company is based in Park City, Utah.

POWDR Corp Owned Mountain Resorts:

Boreal Mountain Resort, California
Soda Springs Mountain Resort, California
Copper Mountain, Colorado
Eldora Mountain Resort, Colorado
Lee Canyon, Nevada
Mt. Bachelor, Oregon
Gorgoza Tubing Park, Utah
Pico Mountain, Vermont
Killington, Vermont

POWDR Enterprises has teamed up with Boyne Resorts, a family-owned operator of 12 resorts and attractions across North America, to form the POWDR-Boyne partnership alliance. This strategic alliance provides brand partners the opportunity to leverage and activate the combined reach and influence of these world-class resorts.

In March, 2015, Intrawest, Powdr and Boyne Resorts jointly launched the new and revolutionary M.A.X Pass. Since then POWDR Enterprises also has joined forces with other resorts across North America to bring skiers a better M.A.X. Pass. The 2017/18 Multi Alpine Experience (M.A.X.) Pass provides access to 44 mountains all over North America. M.A.X. Passholders will get 5 days of skiing or riding at each of the 44 participating resorts for the 2017/2018 ski season:

Alyeska, Alaska
Belleayre, New York
Big Sky, Montana
Blue Mountain, Ontario; Canada
Boreal Mountain, California
Boyne Highland, Michigan
Boyne Mountain, Michigan
Brighton, Utah
Buck Hill, Minnesota
Copper Mountain, Colorado
Crested Butte, Colorado
Crystal Mountain, Washington
Cypress Mountain, British Columbia, Canada
Eldora, Colorado
Fernie Mountain Resort, British Columbia, Canada
Gore Mountain, New York
Granite Peak Ski Area, Wisconsin
Kicking Horse Resort, British Columbia, Canada
Killington, Vermont
Kimberley Albine Resort, British Columbia, Canada
Lee Canyon Resort, Nevada
Loon Mountain, New Hampshire
Lutsen Mountains, Minnesota
Mont Saint Anne, Quebec, Canada
Mont Tremblant, Quebec, Canada
Mountain Creek, New Jersey
Mountain High, California
Mount Sunapee, New Hampshire
Mt. Bachelor, Oregon
Nakiska, Alberta, Canada
Pico Mountain, Vermont
Okemo, Vermont
Snowshoe, West Virginia
Solitude, Utah
Steamboat, Colorado
Stoneham, Quebec, Canada
Stratton, Vermont
Sugarloaf, Maine
Summit at Snoqualmie, Washington
Sunday River, Maine
Wachusett, Massachusetts
Windham, New York
Whiteface, New York
Winter Park, Colorado

Purchasers of the M.A.X. Pass can ski 5 days at each of the 44 participating ski resorts, for a total of 220 days of skiing at North America’s premier mountain destinations.

Monday, June 12, 2017

North America's Biggest Operators in the Ski Business (2017:1): KSL Capital Partners

KSL Capital Partners, LLC is a U.S. private equity firm dedicated to investments in travel and leisure businesses. The company private equity investments range across travel and leisure businesses, such as hotels and resorts, clubs, fitness, ski and resort real estate. It has offices in Denver, Connecticut and London.
KSL Capital Partners was formed in 2005 by Michael S. Shannon, the firm's Chairman, and Eric C. Resnick, Chief Executive Officer.
Mr. Shannon was a founding principal of KSL Recreation Corporation in 1992, which was a platform company of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Co. Over the next decade, with the assistance of Mr. Resnick as its Chief Financial Officer and KKR, KSL Recreation grew to become one of the largest independent owners and operators of resorts, controlling some of the most well known destinations in the world. KSL owns 2 Mountain Resorts in California, on the North Shore of Lake Tahoe in the Sierra Nevada: Alpine Meadows and Squaw Valley.
On September 27, 2016, KSL Capital Partners, LLChave entered into a definitive agreement to sell an aggregate of 2,727,750 common shares of Whistler Blackcomb Holdings Inc. in private transactions for CAD$36.38 per common share (or CAD$99.2 million in aggregate) representing approximately 7.1% of Whistler Blackcomb’s issued and outstanding common shares. Following completion of the transaction, KSL will continue to exercise control or direction over 6,364,750 common shares or 16.7% of Whistler Blackcomb’s issued and outstanding common shares.

On April 10, 2017, Intrawest Resorts Holdings, Inc. announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired by a newly-formed entity controlled by affiliates of the Aspen Skiing Company, L.L.C. and KSL Capital Partners, LLC.
Intrawest owns and/or operates six four-season mountain resorts with approximately 8,000 skiable acres and over 1,100 acres of land available for real estate development. Intrawest’s mountain resorts are geographically diversified across most of North America’s major ski regions, including the Eastern United States, the Rocky Mountains, and Canada (Blue Mountain in Ontario, Snowshoe in West Virginia, Steamboat in Colorado, Stratton in Vermont, Tremblant in Quebec,Canada, and Winter Park Resort in Colorado). The Company also operates an adventure travel business, the cornerstone of which is Canadian Mountain Holidays, a leading heli-skiing adventure company in North America. Additionally, the Company operates a comprehensive real estate business through which it manages condominium hotel properties and sells and markets residential real estate.

On April 12, 2017, Mammoth Resorts, the owner of Mammoth Mountain Ski Area, Snow Summit, Bear Mountain and June Mountain, announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired by a newly formed entity controlled by affiliates of the Aspen Skiing Company, L.L.C. and KSL Capital Partners, LLC.

Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows combined operations at the end of 2011 and offer skiers and riders over 6,000 acres, 44 lifts and over 270 trails on a common lift ticket.
Host of the 1960 Winter Olympics, Squaw Valley is internationally renowned for legendary terrain that spans 3,600 skiable acres, six peaks and 30 chairlifts, and ranges from an expansive mountaintop beginner area to unrivaled expert steeps, trees and bowls. Off the mountain, families relax in The Village at Squaw Valley, enjoying a host of restaurants, bars, boutiques and art galleries.
Squaw Valley was purchased by KSL Capital Partners in November 2010.
In September 2011, Alpine Meadows and Squaw Valley Ski Resort merged. The two resorts will retain their distinct identities and unite under common management led by Squaw Valley’s parent company, KSL Capital Partners, LLC. Alpine Meadows’ parent, JMA Ventures, will own a smaller part. The new umbrella entity over both resorts will be known as Squaw Valley Ski Holdings, LLC

Ranked as a top winter resort by SKI Magazine, Alpine Meadows is known for its abundant and varied skiable terrain, family-friendly atmosphere, and innovative children’s ski and snowboard programs. Alpine’s seven powder bowls, groomed slopes, and authentic hospitality are among the many attributes that have made the resort a favorite of the local community and visitors alike. Alpine Meadows offers skiers and riders access to more than 100 trails across 2,400 skiable acres serviced by 14 lifts.

Mammoth Resorts is the leading four-season mountain resort operator in California. The company owns and operates a variety of recreation, hospitality, real estate development, food and beverage and retail enterprises. This includes Mammoth Mountain Ski Area, Snow Summit, Bear Mountain and June Mountain, which collectively host over two million annual skier/snowboarder visits. Mammoth Resorts is also the owner-operator of Tamarack Lodge and Resort, Mammoth Mountain Inn, Juniper Springs Resort, the Village Lodge, Mammoth Mountain Bike Park, Snow Summit Bike Park, Mammoth Snowmobile Adventures, Sierra Star Golf Course, and Bear Mountain Golf Course.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

The Mountain Collective Ski Pass

In August 15, 2012, four of the world’s best independent resorts, -Alta, Aspen/Snowmass, Jackson Hole and Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows-, launched The Mountain Collective Ski Pass. When the Pass was released in 2012, the market was already shifting away from expensive single-mountain passes designed for skiers who lived and skied at one mountain.
"When we set out to create this pass, we asked ourselves, ‘If we weren’t in the industry, what pass would we buy?’ These are the mountains we want to ski and we’ve really strived to keep the initial price low and add more value over the years", said Aspen’s Vice President of Marketing Christian Knapp, who was involved in the creation of the Collective and continues to manage it. "Multi-resort passes are here to stay. People want variety and choice. They want to chase the snow and they want to have options to link up with friends and have cool experiences and travel" (Powder, February 10, 2017).
"This is a completely new concept for a ski pass and gives winter enthusiasts the freedom to access some of the best skiing and snowboarding in the world", said Knapp, "There’s been an incredible spirit of collaboration amongst the partners to bring this historic alliance and innovative new product to life" (UnofficialNetworks, August 14, 2012).
In 2013 Snowbird, Whistler Blackcomb, and Mammoth joined The Mountain Collective. Since then The Mountain Collective consists entirely of independently owned resorts (with the exception of Whistler Blackcomb, which was bought by Vail Resorts in August 2016).
"The Mountain Collective successfully captured the imagination of mountain travel enthusiasts looking for variety, flexibility and affordable access to the best independent resorts in the world", said Knapp, "Adding these three world-class mountains makes this the ultimate dream pass, and only serves to enhance the value skiers and riders will enjoy from The Mountain Collective" (Transworld Business, March 12, 2013).

The Mountain Collective added another premier independent ski destination in North America to its roster of iconic mountains for the 2014-15 winter season: Ski Banff-Lake Louise-Sunshine. Also pass purchasers received two free days at Valle Nevado, Chile and Thredbo, Australia.
In March, 2015, Sun Valley Resort joins AltaSnowbird, Aspen Snowmass, Ski Banff-Lake Louise-Sunshine Village, Jackson Hole, Mammoth Mountain, Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows, Thredbo, Valle Nevado and Whistler Blackcomb in this alliance of classic destinations. In August, The Mountain Collective widened their geographic reach with the addition of two iconic destinations to its roster. Stowe joined the Mountain Collective as their first resort on the East Coast, while Taos extends passholder access into New Mexico.
In addition, for the first time pass holders had also exclusive lodging deals and two bonus days at the Hakuba Valley, Japan.
For the 2016/17 winter season, the Mountain Collective included: AltaSnowbird (Utah), Aspen Snowmass (Colorado), Ski Banff/Lake Louise/Sunshine (Alberta, Canada), Jackson Hole (Wyoming), Mammoth Resorts (Mammoth Mountain and June Mountain in Eastern California; Bear Mountain Resort and Snow Summit Resort in Southern California), Revelstoke (British Columbia), Ski Queenstown-Coronet Peak-The Remarkables (New Zealand), Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows (California), Stowe (Vermont), Sun Valley (Idaho), Taos (New Mexico), Telluride (Colorado), Thredbo (Australia), and Whistler Blackcomb (British Columbia, Canada).
Affiliate Destinations Include: Chamonix (France), Hakuba Valley (Japan) and Valle Nevado (Chile).

For the 2017/2018 season The Mountain Collective adds Sugarbush, Vermont and Snowbasin, Utah to the club.
Next season skiers and riders who join the Mountain Collective receive two free days of skiing or riding, unlimited 50% off single day lift tickets thereafter (with no blackout dates), and exclusive lodging deals at each of these 16 destinations:
With the Mountain Collective, it’s now possible for passionate skiers and riders to claim thousands of vertical feet and chase ideal winter conditions across Alberta, Australia, British Columbia, California, Colorado, Idaho, New Mexico, New Zealand, Utah, Vermont, and Wyoming.
You will receive two days of skiing at each destination, not Mountain. For example, you will receive two free days of skiing between Alpine Meadows and Squaw Valley, as those two mountains are the same destination.
Alta and Snowbird are considered two separate destinations for 2017/2018.
Lake Louise and Sunshine Village are also considered two separate destinations for 2017/2018.
Affiliate destinations do not qualify for 50% off lift tickets.
The Mountain Collective pass can be purchased online at:

"The power of this alliance is the strength of these individual resorts", said Knapp. "We’re all competitors in a lot of ways, but there’s a lot of mutual respect and we all share common values. It’s all about skiing and the big mountain experience" (Powder, February 10, 2017).

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Endless Winter in California Extend Ski Season Into August

You may associate California with the classic surf film "Endless Summer", but this season in California they are in the midst of a true Endless Winter.
This summer, people will be able to surf and ski in the same day as some of California’s ski resorts stay open into the summer, thanks to the winter’s unusually high snowfall.
NASA data found that California’s snow accumulation this year was larger than the past four years combined, and the California Department of Water Resources said it was 185 percent greater than the yearly average.After a winter of extreme weather that led to flooding and the lifting of the drought emergency status in California, skiers and snowboarders will be able to hit the slopes well into the summer months.
We can honestly say this season at Mammoth has been the best in the country, producing the best spring conditions in decades. Even the biggest season on record [668” 2010-2011] did not produce the kind of conditions and coverage we’re seeing right now.
With a current base depth of 100” at Main Lodge and over 240” at the summit, Mammoth will be operating daily into August for one of the longest seasons in history.
Kids Ski free into August. Now through the end of the season, kids 12 and under ski and ride for free.
Squaw Valley expects to be open through the weekends in July. This season you can enjoy summer skiing and the 4th of July with a music and ski festival at Squaw Valley!
"An epic snow year means California will see skiers and riders from all around the world getting in their last runs well past spring at multiple resorts", said Michael Reitzell, President of the California Ski Industry Association (Ski California). "The conditions have been amazing and all resorts have enjoyed a long season". 
Reitzell thinks having winter and summer operations running simultaneously is a good thing. "In fact, it probably might lead to more people choosing to come try to do both on the same day, which is, I think, one of the coolest things California has to offer …" he said. "In Tahoe or Mammoth, you could go skiing, water skiing, mountain biking, river rafting, and play golf all in the same day".
The California Ski Industry Association (CSIA) is a non-profit trade association representing 29 ski resorts in California and Nevada under the brand "Ski California". 

Sunday, June 4, 2017

UTMB 2017: 1 Event - 5 Races - 8,000 Runners From 5 Continents and 92 Countries

The UTMB® is a trail-running event for trail-runners from all over the world. Each year, the elite of the trail-running world find themselves in Chamonix to participate in one of the event's 5 races.
To participate or assist with the UTMB®, is to vibrate to the rhythm of the trail-running planet and to share an extraordinary festival at the heart of a territory which has been mobilised for the occasion. 2 000 volunteers from 15 different countries, 19 French, Italian and Swiss communes within the Mont-Blanc country all working for the success of the event and supporting the UTMB® runners. 16 000 supporters who are coming to encourage their nearest and dearest and more than 50 000 spectators who will visit the salon and participate in the animations in all the villages of the Mont-Blanc country.

One of the greatest European Mountain Trail Races. The international race takes place in one of the most incredible landscapes on the world. A breathtaking scenery of seven valleys, 71 glaciers and 400 summits like the Mont Blanc, the Dent du Géant and the rock face of the Grandes Jorasses. The athletes cover a distance of 171 km and 10,300 of positive altitude change along the famous GR TMB, within 46 hours, at an altitude ranging between 1012 m and 2537 m., crossing six passes over 2000 metres high. They will pass through 3 countries: France, Italy and Switzerland. The sporting and human achievement is remarkable: 168 km is the distance between Paris and Auxerre by the motorway; it is also the distance of four marathons back to back. The positive height gain is equivalent to twice the ascension of Everest from base camp.
Starting in the Place du Triangle de l'Amitié, Friday 1st at 18:00
  • 3 countries: France, Italy and Switzerland
  • 3 alpine regions: The 2 Savoie, The Aosta Valley andValais
  • 19 communes: Chamonix Mont-Blanc (FR), Les Houches (FR), Saint-Gervais (FR), Les Contamines-Montjoie (FR), Servoz (FR), Hauteluce (FR), Beaufort (FR), Bourg-Saint-Maurice (FR), Séez (FR), La Thuile (IT), Pré-Saint-Didier (IT), Morgex (IT), Courmayeur Mont-Blanc (IT), Orsières (CH), La Fouly et Champex-Lac, Trient (CH), Vallorcine (FR), Finhaut (CH), Salvan (CH), Martigny-Combe (CH)
  • 2300 runners (92 countries)
  • Maximum race time: 46 hours
  • Estimated time for the first finishers is 20 hours
  • Limited to runners who have a minimum of 15 qualification points

Created in 2006, it has become as popular as its big sister. The CCC is considered by many runners to be "the little one" nevertheless it too, constitutes one of the most difficult challenges in ultra - trail.
A semi-tour of Mont-Blanc, starting from Courmayeur with 101km, 6,100 metres of positive height gain and in semi-autonomy.
Starting in the centre of Courmayeur Friday September 1st at 9:00.
  • 1900 runners
  • Maximun race time: 26:30 hours
  • Estimated time for the first finishers is12 hours
  • Limited to runners who have a minimum 8 qualification points.

Sur les Traces des Ducs de Savoie (TDS)

Wilder and more technical than the UTMB and the CCC, in the heart of the Aosta valley and the two Savoie, this demanding race offers a new vision of the tour of Mont Blanc and the Beaufortain country. The route will allow the discovery of the col de la Youlaz (2,661m) above Courmayeur, the "passage du Curé" or the sublime view of the massif of Mont Blanc from the col de la Gitte in the heart of Beaufortain.
A semi-tour of Mont-Blanc starting from Courmayeur with 119km, 7,250 metres of positive height gain and in semi-autonomy.
Starting from the centre of Courmayeur on Wednesday August 30th at 06:00.
  • 1600 runners
  • Maximum race time : 33 hours
  • Estimated time for the first finishers is 14 hours
  • Limited to runners who have a minimum of 8 qualification points

The Orsières-Champex-Chamonix (OCC)

The new race was launched in 2014. Tthis race will be perfect for fans of medium distances (in the category Trail Ultra Medium between 42km and 69km). Therefore, for the less "ultra" runners wishing to get into the event of the UTMB® will find a race suitable for them to start the adventure. Orsières will finally experiment the rhythm of a start of a race desired for several years.
The race will start from Orsières located southwest of the canton in the Val d’Entremont. This valley offers unique landscapes: ultimate peaks on the eastern flanks of the Mont Blanc drawing the franco-swiss frontier, hanging glaciers on polished rocks, fiery torrents… The layout of the OCC goes through that nature, in a charming atmosphere before reaching Champex and the last part just as magical at the UTMB® or the CCC®.
Starting from Orsières Place Centrale on Thursday August 31st  at 8:15.

La Petite Trotte à Léon (PTL)

A hallucinatory and non competitive event! A "grand" tour of Mont Blanc adding high passes, often higher than 2,500 metres and with some delicate passages. If you like solitude, solidarity and total adventure, that is the reason for trying it once.
This ultra-endurance pedestrian event leads participants on a large tour of Mont-Blanc,taking high routes, without way-markers on the ground, which necessitates the sense of orientation on and off paths.
Its conception is original and its unusual specificities distinguish it from other races. The spirit of the  PTL® depends upon mental engagement, an adventurous team spirit as well as sporting values and also those of the mountains.
  • An event without final positions and in complete autonomy, to be realised by teams of 3 (or 2) inseparable runners. The total number of runners will be limited to 300.
  • The route is different each year, not way marked but simply mapped (GPS waypoints are provided). So as to progress in security competitors must be able to master navigation with a GPS and also have sufficient knowledge in map reading, the use of a compass and of an altimeter.
  • Around 300km and 28,000 metres of positive height gain
  • Maximum authorized time: 141 hours
  • Start from Chamonix Monday August 28th at 9:00

8000 runners from 5 continents... what about you? por UltraTrailMontBlanc

Monday, May 29, 2017

Honouring Edmund Hillary

"It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves", Sir Edmund Hillary (1919-2008)

On 29th of May 1953, Sir Edmund Hillary and a Nepalese Sherpa, Tenzing Norgay, became the first climbers to conquer Mount Everest, the highest place on earth.
They reached the top of the world at 1130 local time after a gruelling climb up the southern face. "A symmetrical, beautiful snow cone summit" (Edmund Hillary).
The two men hugged each other with relief and joy but only stayed on the summit for 15 minutes because they were low on oxygen. Hillary took several photographs of the scenery and of Sherpa Tenzing waving flags representing Britain, Nepal, the United Nations and India.
Sherpa Tenzing buried some sweets and biscuits in the snow as a Buddhist offering to the gods.

This post is a tribute to the legendary mountaineer, adventurer and philanthropist Sir Edmund Hillary on the day he reached, with Sherpa Tenzing Norgay, the summit of Mount Everest. Sir Edmund Hillary died on 11 January 2008, after a heart attack in Auckland City Hospital, aged 88. He was farewelled at a state funeral – an unprecedented honour for a private citizen – on 22 January.
All we love the mountains and adventure need to remember Sir Edmund words: "The explorers of the past were great men and we should honour them. But let us not forget that their spirit lives on. It is still not hard to find a man who will adventure for the sake of a dream or one who will search, for the pleasure of searching, not for what he may find".
In a 2005 interview said: "My relationship with the mountains actually started when I was 16. Every year a group used to be taken from Auckland Grammar down to the Tangariro National Park for a skiing holiday (...) That was really the start of my enthusiasm for snow and ice and mountains in general. For a few years I skied whenever I could". He enjoyed skiing immensely, and when he was 50 years old, he decided to draw up a list of half a dozen things that he really hadn't done very well, and he was going to make efforts to improve. "One of them was skiing, and I did become a very much better skier".
Sir Edmund's greatest project was his Himalayan Trust, set up in the 1960s, to help improve the lives of the Sherpas and hill people of Nepal. Even more than Everest, this will remain a perpetual memorial to his life and achievements. From 1966 Hillary raised funds and made numerous visits to the Himalayas to build built schools, hospitals and other facilities in the mountains.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Kilian Jornet Summits Mount Everest Twice in a Week

Kilian Jornet summited Mount Everest twice in a week without using supplemental oxygen, sherpa support, or fixed ropes. For this second ascent, Kilian Jornet left on May 27th from Advanced Base Camp (6.500m) and it took him 17 hours to the summit in a very windy day. From there, he returned to the Advanced Base Camp where he is resting with Seb Montaz. This was just five days after he set a fastest known time up the mountain from base camp, completing the journey in 26 hours. Even still, he just barely missed setting the fastest known time from advanced base camp to the summit, a record held by Hans Kammelder, who did the route in 16 hours and 45 minutes in 1996.
Jornet said it was “cool to summit Everest twice in one season” without using oxygen.
"Today I felt good, although it was really windy so it was hard to move fast", he said. "I think summiting Everest twice in one week without oxygen opens up a new realm of possibilities in alpinism and I’m really happy to have done it".According to his blog, Jornet left advanced based camp at 6,500 metres and ascended using the normal route, passing the three high-altitude camps used by climbers attempting to scale Everest.
"The climb to the summit was slow but continuous (...) The wind was the main obstacle Jornet had to overcome, on an extremely windy Himalayan day. Weather conditions improved throughout the night in the latter part of the route and he returned to advanced base camp 29 hours 30 minutes after leaving".
Jornet, who describes himself as a “semi-nomadic” mountain lover, said he saw competing as a way to meet friends and better himself.But, above all, I conceive sport as a way to discover landscapes both inside and outside you", he said on his website. "I love silence and solitude, but communication, listening, reading, writing and travelling also appeal to me … My life is spent pursuing and fighting for my dreams".

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Roger Moore's Tribute

"My father believed in toughness, honesty, politeness and being on time.
All very important lessons", Roger Moore

Roger Moore – who played the iconic spy in seven films from 1973 to 1985, making his Bond bow in Live and Let Die – passed away on Tuesday, May 23th, in Crans-Montana (Switzerland) after a "short but brave battle with cancer". He was 89.
Roger Moore was born on 14 October 1927 in Stockwell, London. He was the only child of George Alfred Moore, a policeman, and Lillian "Lily" Pope.
In the 1960s, between filming, he started visiting the Swiss Alpine resort Gstaad in the canton of Bern. By 1978 he had decided to move there to offer his children a calmer life. According to Tribune de Genève, Moore liked to joke that "the residents are more interested in my car than me". Years later, he told Swiss broadcaster RTS that he had moved to Gstaad after his kids, who learned to ski there, pressured him into it.
From Gstaad Moore moved to Crans-Montana in Valais on the other side of the Alps in 1996 where he spent his last days. Moore described Crans-Montana as more relaxed.
While in Switzerland he was involved in charity work. From 1991 he was a travelling ambassador for UNICEF, after being introduced to the charity by Audrey Hepburn.
On 9 March 1999, Moore was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE), and promoted to Knight Commander of the same Order (KBE) on 14 June 2003. The citation on the knighthood was for Moore's charity work, which dominated his public life for more than a decade. Moore said that the citation "meant far more to me than if I had got it for acting... I was proud because I received it on behalf of UNICEF as a whole and for all it has achieved over the years".

James Bond 007 is a fictional British agent created in 1952 by Ian Fleming. Some of the most iconic scenes in Bond history have taken place on the mountain slopes. In "The Spy Who Loved Me".movie, Bond escapes an ambush by Soviet agents, killing one of them in a downhill ski chase that concludes when he skis off a cliff and falls only to open a Union Flag parachute.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

NSAA Announces Top Ski Area Marketing Programs for 2016-17

The National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) has given seven ski areas top honors for their 2016-17 marketing programs. NSAA announced the winners today at its National Convention and Tradeshow being held this week in Scottsdale, Ariz. The awards are sponsored by Inntopia, a strategic marketing, commerce, and business intelligence firm based in Stowe, Vt.

NSAA presents the awards to member resorts with successful marketing programs that ultimately help grow the sports of skiing and snowboarding. Here are the 2016-17 winners::

Best Use of Mobile Technology
Boreal Mountain Resort, California

Best Social Media Campaign
Squaw Valley | Alpine Meadows, California

Best Direct Marketing Program
Bristol Mountain Resort, NY

Best Use of Video Marketing
Tamarack Resort, Idaho

Best Family Campaign
Sunlight Mountain Resort, Colorado

Best “Bring a Friend” Campaign
Pico Mountain, Vermont

Best Overall Marketing Campaign
Killington Resort, Vermont.

Judges for the awards were Mike Bisner, vice president of business development for MWRC Internet Sales; Kristen Lummis, a snowsports and travel writer and two-time winner of NASJA’s Harold S. Hirsch Award for her popular Brave Ski Mom blog; and Mike Lewis, director of brand activations and digital strategy at ZEAL Optics.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Red Bull X-Alps 2017 Route

The new route will be the longest and hardest in the event’s 14-year history. Racing a straight-line distance of 1,138km from Salzburg to Monaco, 32 world class athletes from 21 countries will hike and fly via 7 turnpoints in 7 different countries - including Austria, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, France and for the first time; Slovenia. This exciting new development will make the world's toughest adventure more challenging and more unpredictable than ever before.
As if that wasn’t enough, the new Slovenian turnpoint will lead the participants to race along Europe’s largest mountain range and traverse it four times between the northern and southern fringes. The race will also feature 3 turnpoints fewer than in 2015.
Race director Christoph Weber says; "The distances between the turnpoints will be longer than in the last seven editions. Such a wide variety of potential routes comes with a whole new world of strategic possibilities that will push rookies and veterans alike to their very limits; both mentally and physically".
The race starts at the historic Mozartplatz in Salzburg, Austria. From there, the athletes will run through the city and up the Gaisberg to Turnpoint 1. The scenic view above the Salzburger Land region will attract thousands of fans from far and wide, all of whom will be there to support the competitors as they set up their paragliders and embark on their first flight of the contest.
A grueling 157km straight-line journey south through Austria will take them to Turnpoint 2, the Mangart paragliding launch pad on the edge of Triglav National Park in Slovenia. Triglav is the first Slovenian turnpoint to appear in the race and is the country’s highest mountain at 2,864m above sea level.
Ulrich Grill, organizer of Red Bull X-Alps explains; "The new terrain around the Triglav Turnpoint will require some innovative new strategies that could make all the difference in the early stages of the race".
Traveling northwest from Slovenia, the competitors will traverse the Austrian Alps for a second time to reach Turnpoint 3; Aschau-Chiemsee in Germany. Located at the foot of the Kampenwand in the picturesque municipality of Aschau im Chiemgau, the athletes will decide whether to continue west on foot, or climb upwards and take to the air.
Turnpoint 4 is the second Austrian turnpoint in the race and can be found in the village of Lermoos. Situated in the shadow of the Zugspitze, the almost 3000m mountain connects Austria to Germany and offers the athletes huge flying potential. The right thermals at the right time could give them a serious boost onto the next leg of their exhausting journey.
Pushing back south through the Alps to Italy, the athletes will find themselves at Turnpoint 5, nestled closely to Lake Garda by Monte Baldo. At this point, the competitors will have successfully passed the halfway mark; but with tired feet, aching muscles and 499km still to go, anything could happen. Who will hike around the lake and who will be brave enough to fly across it?
Turnpoint 6 lies 251km west at the Matterhorn in southern Switzerland, making it the longest stretch between two consecutive turnpoints in the race. If getting there isn’t hard enough, navigating around one of the highest summits in Europe certainly will be. The region is also a key strategic point in the race, as the athletes set off on the last quarter of their journey.
In a final push, the hungry competitors will battle it out over the remaining 246km to reach Turnpoint 7 in Peille, southeast France. Finally, the timer will stop, leaving the athletes to make the 2km victory flight over Monaco to the warm, blue waters of the Mediterranean Sea. Here, they will touch down in style on a landing float to celebrate the accomplishment and relief of completing the world’s toughest adventure race.
The new route for Red Bull X-Alps 2017 will be the most demanding in the race’s 14-year history. From now, the athletes have just three months to prepare for the enormous journey that lies ahead. Studying the geography of the route will go a long way, but to emerge victorious will take a whole new caliber of endurance and determination. There’s no telling who will take the title, but with some of the greatest athletes in the world, it will certainly be an adventure to remember.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Red Bull X-Alps 2017

Red Bull X-Alps 2017 will start on July 2nd and will be the eighth edition of the world’s toughest adventure race. The combination of trekking and paragliding is one of the most exciting hybrids to emerge from the ongoing convergence of mountain sports.
Starting in Salzburg, 32 Athletes of 21 nationalities will race across the Alps to Monaco via 7 turnpoints in 7 different countries.
Athletes must journey non-stop for more than 1,000km across the Alps by foot or paraglider via set turnpoints. This demands a high level of endurance because when the weather isn’t friendly for flying, athletes must keep trekking until the clouds clear and they can take off again. It’s not uncommon for athletes to hike up to 100km in a day.
Being selected to compete in the world’s toughest and most prestigious adventure race is an achievement in itself. The race committee selects only the best athletes from around the world, based on solid mountaineering and trekking experience, endurance fitness, mental strength and flying ability. Only the most skilled and adventure-tested athletes will be considered.
In the race’s first editions, only one or two athletes had what it takes to make it from Salzburg to the finish line in Monaco. Ever since, the level of competition has intensified and in the last race two-thirds of the athletes made the goal.
The 2015 edition saw 19 athletes of the 32 that competed make the goal – a record number since the first race in 2003. Incredibly, 12 rookies crossed the finish line, including athletes from the US, Korea, New Zealand and elsewhere for the first time in history.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Washington’s Mission Ridge Ski & Snowboard Resort Wins NSAA 2017 Conversion Cup Award

Mission Ridge Ski & Snowboard Resort in Washington is the winner of the 2017 National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) Conversion Cup Challenge, sponsored by HEAD Wintersports. This annual award recognizes resorts across the country that have developed outstanding programs to convert new skiers and snowboarders into lifelong enthusiasts.
Mission Ridge was selected among a strong field of ski areas from across the US. The other three finalists were Boreal Mountain Resort, California, Copper Mountain Resort, Colorado, and Whistler Blackcomb, BC, Canada.
NSAA launched the initiative in 2010 as a way to pique competition among member ski areas and recognize those who make significant strides to boost conversion rates. The winner is chosen based upon proven results, creative ideas, consistent execution, and long-term commitment to the conversion effort. Several key metrics are used in the judging process, including beginner lesson volumes; quantifiable success of beginner lesson packages; season-to-date sales and repeat sales data collection; and marketing ingenuity and use of new media.
Mission Ridge won the honor largely based on the success of its Freedom Pass program, which is designed to provide a specific roadmap for beginners to become (at least) intermediate skiers. The Freedom Pass is an evolution from the successful Learn to Ski in 3 program that Mission Ridge had in place for the 2013-14 and 2014-15 seasons.
The Freedom Pass addresses some of the most common hurdles for beginners, including the cost of the lesson, the feeling of intimidation, the lack of a clear progression to the next level, and the hassles related to equipment. The $159 Freedom Pass includes unlimited beginner group lessons, access to the beginner lift, and equipment rental.
"The Freedom Pass allows beginners the freedom to learn at their own pace and feel comfortable, confident, and inspired to explore new terrain because they aren’t worried about a limited number of lessons", noted the awards application from Mission Ridge. Not only do beginners get to take as many lessons as they want, once they feel comfortable moving up to more challenging terrain, Mission Ridge has the next stepping stone ready: a discounted three-pack of all-mountain lift tickets, a discount on an intermediate lesson, and a discount on a season pass for the subsequent season. This additional package of upgrades encourages new skiers and snowboarders to continue with the sport by exploring intermediate terrain and committing to a season pass the following winter. More than 20 percent of Freedom Pass holders from the 2015-16 winter became season pass holders this past season.
Mission Ridge improved e-mail communication with Freedom Pass customers this season, with customized e-mails triggered upon sign-up, after the third lesson, and at other key milestones in the program. Tracking the progress of beginners through the life cycle of the program was a critical element. Mission Ridge tracked the number of lessons as well as non-lesson visits for each participant in the Freedom Pass, and has monitored these figures year-over-year.

SKI Magazine Announces Golden Eagle Awards

SKI Magazine has honored three ski areas—Berkshire East Mountain Resort, Mass., Taos Ski Valley, NM, and Squaw Valley I Alpine Meadows, Calif.—with the 2017 Golden Eagle Awards for Environmental Excellence. In addition, SKI named Onno Wieringa of Alta Ski Area in Utah as the “Hero of Sustainability” honoree for 2017.
The Golden Eagle Awards, overseenin a partnership between SKI and the National Ski Areas Association (NSAA), are the ski industry’s most prestigious honor for recognizing resort environmental programs and projects.
"When SKI founded this program in 1993, our goal was to recognize resorts that were actively addressing environmental issues, raising the bar, and encouraging other resorts to follow suit by serving as models for similar projects across the industry", said Andy Hawk, managing director of Active Interest Media’s Mountain Group. "It’s amazing how far the ski industry has come in 24 years, particularly with today’s focus on addressing climate change".
The resort awards are divided into three categories: small (fewer than 200,000 annual skier/boarder visits), medium (200,000 to 500,000 visits) and large (more than 500,000 visits). The Hero of Sustainability Award is designed to honor an individual making a difference in resort environmental performance.
Berkshire East Mountain Resort in Massachusetts won the Golden Eagle Award in the small ski area category. Berkshire East produces more electricity than it uses on an annual net basis. In 2012, the ski area was the first in the world to power 100 percent of its operation with a 900 kWh wind turbine and a 500 kWh solar field. In the past year, it launched an energy efficiency program, including installation of 500 LED lights and snowmaking and pumping upgrades, totaling $3 million in investment. These renewable energy and energy efficiency measures result in about 2.6 million pounds of CO2 reduced annually. In addition, the resort installed a wood burning system that uses wood cut from the resort’s forest management and glading work, and a sawmill to produce finished lumber from blow-down timber for construction or replacement of buildings. The resort opened a Renewable Energy Classroom in 2016 to host students, groups, and organizations so they could learn about the basics of wind energy generation, solar fields and energy efficiency measures, storage, and the electric grid.
Taos Ski Valley in New Mexico took the top environmental honors in the medium-sized ski area category for its comprehensive and groundbreaking “Taos Verde” sustainability program. This year Taos was the first ski resort in the world to become a certified B Corporation. Certified B Corps are required to meet the highest standards of verified economic, social, and environmental performance, and public transparency. Taos earned this recognition because the Taos Verde mission is not only to pursue environmental business practices but also to promote a more resilient and robust community. Taos has taken drastic actions over the past two years to reduce its overall energy consumption by 10.9 percent. The resort is a participant in the Climate Challenge, and has committed to a 20 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2020. Taos has discontinued the sale of disposable plastic bottles at all facilities—offering reusable bottles as an alternative—expecting to remove 10,000 plastic bottles from its waste stream annually. Additional watershed protection measures, waste reduction efforts, and engagement with conservation non-profits make Taos a standout and deserving recipient of the Golden Eagle Award.
Squaw Valley I Alpine Meadows in California won the Golden Eagle Award in the large resort category for its multifacted approach to sustainability and leveraging its influence in support of climate change solutions. Squaw has reduced its own carbon footprint as an early adopter of sustainable technologies and a participant in the Climate Challenge. The resort supports a broad array of regional transit and parking initiatives, including free POW Parking for HOVs, free electric car charging, free skier shuttle services between lodging and the mountain, and between Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows, eliminating roughly 85 tons of CO2 in emissions annually. Squaw also partners with POW through hosting the Rider’s Alliance & Athlete Summits, the branding of its funitel cabin with POW to educate guests on the “POW Seven” Pledge, and even a POW branded phone booth in the Village during the World Cup, featuring facts on climate, scripts, and state representatives’ contact information to encourage guests to engage in advocacy. In collaboration with FIS, Squaw accomplished a Carbon Neutral 2017 World Cup by offsetting the event’s carbon footprint (including all mountain operations—snowmaking, lifts, grooming—and travel emissions of athletes, coaches, and World Cup staff to and during the event, their accommodations, and meals) through purchase of certified carbon credits and an on-site solar installation. This effort will serve as a model for future carbon neutral FIS events. Squaw has used its influence to effect change beyond the resort as well, by joining a Regional Clean Power Coalition to encourage power provider Liberty Utilities to replace coal with renewable energy sources, and joining Switch, Tesla, Patagonia, and others in support of a successful Nevada ballot measure, Question 3, to require lawmakers to create an open, competitive, well-regulated energy market.
Onno Wieringa is a Hero of Sustainability for his environmental leadership at the helm of Alta Ski Area. He has been a leading voice for Alta’s triple bottom line performance since before the phrase was popular. Wieringa published one of the industry’s first environmental reports and commissioned one of the first ski area greenhouse gas inventories in the country, years before NSAA launched the Climate Challenge, long before we had POW or Paris. In 2008, he founded the Alta Environmental Center (AEC) to pursue sustainability internally for the ski area, act as a resource to the community, and foster environmental education. The AEC has received much deserved recognition for its many contributions to sustainability. Wieringa has shared his sustainability experience widely in his leadership roles across the industry, including years of service on the NSAA Environmental Committee and Ski Utah. Through the Mountain Collective, he encouraged peer resorts to find common ground in sustainability and helped boost participation in the Climate Challenge. Wieringa has always approached sustainability from a common sense perspective of hard work and doing right by people and the places we love. For that, he is a Hero of Sustainability. He is retiring this year after 44 years of service to Alta Ski Area. He has left a lasting and positive legacy of valuing environmental stewardship that will serve the ski area, its employees and community, Utah, and the ski industry for decades to come.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Skier Visits Up to 54.7 Million in 2016-17

The National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) announced that U.S. ski areas tallied an estimated 54.7 million skier and snowboarder visits during the 2016-17 season, up 3.7 percent from last season’s 52.8 million total. The annual skier visit count, an important industry metric, was released today at the NSAA Convention and Tradeshow being held this week in Scottsdale, Ariz.
This past season, ski areas in the Northeast region experienced an impressive rebound, as skier visits grew by 27 percent in this region to 11.8 million visits. In addition, the Pacific Northwest region is estimated to have had its best season on record (4.4 million visits) and the Rocky Mountain region its second-best winter in terms of skier visits (21.7 million). Visits were up from last winter in the Southeast region, but down slightly in the Midwest region and the Pacific Southwest region.
The traditional ski holiday periods of Christmas and Spring Break were busy at resorts across the country, contributing to the overall positive season. Skier visits were up 30 percent in December and up 4 percent in March, relative to the 2015-16 season.
Across the country, it was a season of contradictions”, said Michael Berry, president of NSAA. "We had more snow this season in the California Sierra Mountains than the previous four seasons combined. And yet Chicago recorded its first-ever snowless January and February in more than 146 years.” One thing always remains true, Berry continued. “Even after one or two winters of less than great snow, skiers come back in droves when Mother Nature cooperates, and we consistently see that season after season".
Encouragingly, the number of open and operating U.S. ski areas rose to 479 in the 2016-17 season, up from 464 last season. The Northeast region has witnessed a rebirth of several formerly defunct ski areas in the past few seasons—a positive sign for skiers and snowboarders seeking out new places to visit and for local populations who want to learn to slide on snow.
The number of lessons taught at U.S. ski areas increased this season, indicative of the growing appetite to learn to ski and snowboard. These activities provide terrific opportunities to get outside in the winter and spend time with family and friends.
Average resort snowfall increased by 36 percent nationally, which contributed to ski areas being open an extra week, on average, compared to the 2015-16 season. The increased length of the operating season was most pronounced in the Southeast (23 days longer) and Northeast (15 days longer) regions.