Here Are All the Ways Skiing and Ski Resorts Are Getting Better This Season
As winter enthusiasts eagerly dust off their snow gear and prepare for another season on the slopes, ski resorts across the country are gearing up to offer an experience like never before.
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In a quest to elevate the visitor experience, increase safety, spread out the growing number of guests, and embrace technological innovations, ski resorts are rolling out a host of advancements that promise to redefine the winter sports landscape. Here are some of the biggest and best upgrades to the United States’ various ski resorts this season.
Colorado’s resorts are seeing the lion’s share of terrain expansion in the United States this season.
There’s Aspen Snowmass, which already encompassed more than 5,000 acres of skiable terrain spread across four distinct mountains before this year. Now, Ajax (the mountain downtown Aspen is at the base of) has opened an additional 153 skiable acres of high-elevation terrain (adding 1,220 vertical feet) in an area called Hero’s, which includes 26 trails, 15 chutes, and three gladed areas, all of which is rate expert level. All told, Aspen Mountain will expand by 20% this winter.
Then there’s Keystone, which opened 550 acres of high-alpine bowl skiing in mid-January. Previously, the area was only available to those on snowcat tours or who were willing to hike up, but now skiers are swept up to 12,282 feet with a new high-speed chairlift. The newly accessible Bergman and Erickson bowls have runs ranging from beginner (with some of the highest-elevation green runs in the country) to expert.
Similarly, for years, some of Steamboat’s best expert-level bowls and glades have been hike-to-only, accessible from a backcountry gate. However, that changed this season with the addition of 650 new acres (making the resort the second largest in the state) in the Fish Creek Canyon and Pioneer Ridge areas of the mountain.
On the other side of the country, Sugarloaf, Maine’s biggest ski resort, is also adding 12 new beginner and intermediate trails, spread across 120 acres.
Across the country, lifts are getting bigger and faster, helping relieve congestion and giving skiers and snowboarders more time on the mountain.
Colorado’s Breckenridge is making it easier for beginner and intermediate skiers and snowboarders to reach appropriate upper-mountain terrain by opening a high-speed quad known as the FIVE SuperChair. And just down the road, Winter Park has opened the new six-person, high-speed Wild Spur Express chairlift, which also features mid-mountain boarding for quicker laps.
Snowbasin in Utah recently revealed its new high-speed, six-person DeMoisy Express chairlift, doubling the uphill capacity in the Strawberry area, which is known for getting jammed up, especially on peak days.
Big Sky Resort in Montana also debuted the new Lone Peak Tram, which can shuttle 75 people to the top of the mountain (the previous nearly 30-years-old tram held just 15 passengers) in one go. It’s also 600 vertical feet longer than its predecessor and slightly faster (cutting the ride time to just 3.7 minutes, down from five).
In Idaho, Brundage Mountain Resort just unveiled the new Centennial Express, a high-speed quad replacing the Centennial Triple Chair. It’ll reduce ride time from base to summit to six minutes (previously 16). The nearby Schweitzer Mountain Resort is slated to open the Creekside Express chairlift, replacing the Musical Chairs lift and doubling uphill capacity.
Over in New Hampshire, Attitash Mountain just launched The Mountaineer, a four-person, high-speed lift that replaces the slower and smaller Triple Summit lift, increasing uphill capacity. Also in the Granite State, Loon Mountain just added a four-person chairlift that will give visitors fresh access to 30 acres and 11 trails.
And in Maine, Sunday River recently unveiled one of the most luxe and fastest chairlifts in the country, with ergonomic heated seats, a safety bar that automatically lowers, and weather bubbles to keep the elements out and riders cozy.
On Mountain Amenities
A long time in the making but worth the wait, The Aerie Lodge at Copper Mountain in Colorado has finally opened. Located mid-mountain, at the top of the American Eagle chairlift, the 25,000-square-foot space offers a cafeteria (think ramen, burger, and salad stations), a bar and lounge, a coffee shop (with arguably the best lattes in town), and a full-service restaurant called Forage and Feast, which boasts stellar mains focused on Colorado-raised proteins like venison and elk and sweeping views of the Ten Mile range.
Similarly, Crystal Mountain in Washington also celebrated the opening of a 25,000-square-foot lodge this season, albeit near the base. Beyond the standard ticket window, the complex features four dining outlets, retail areas, and patio spaces with fire pits.
Finally, Canmore Mountain Resort in New Hampshire officially opened the 30,000-square-foot Canmore Mountain Resort at the base, offering a cafeteria, bar, retail, and locker rooms.
Pumped up Passes
Those who hold one of the major ski passes will have more options this season, both domestically and abroad.
Ikon Pass added four new resorts to its roster, all found in the U.S. Two are in the East—Camelback Resort and Blue Mountain Resort—both in Pennsylvania. The West Coast saw the addition of Snow Valley near Running Springs in California. And in Alaska, there’s Alyeska Resort near Girdwood, renowned for having North America’s longest continuous double black diamond ski run.
Epic Pass expanded its presence in Switzerland with the addition of the Dissents Ski area. Its neighbor, Andermatt-Sedrun, joined the ranks in 2022, so skiers can now freely move between the two.
Finally, Indy Pass added more than 50 new resorts this season, including some in Canada (such as Shames Mountain and Pass Powderkeg), Europe (like Hopfgarten and Westendorf), and Japan (Kiroro Snow World and Togakushi Ski Resort).