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  1. https://m.sevendaysvt.com/vermont/passhole-or-persecuted-snowboarder-decries-lifetime-ban-from-stowe-mountain/Content?oid=24988725 Sent from my moto g(6) using Northeast Mountain Sports mobile app
  2. http://news.vailresorts.com/corporate/stowe-acquisition-closing.htm Unlimited skiing at Stowe for $859 and includes all the other resorts! Sent from my SM-G930P using Northeast Mountain Sports mobile app
  3. I may be the one of the only ones here based out of northern Vermont but I figure some of you must have Epic passes Stowe Mountain Resort will open for the 2017-2018 winter season at 8am on Friday, November 17, with over 2,000 vertical feet of top-to-bottom skiing & riding serviced by the FourRunner Quad. Our Mountain Operations team has been hard at work preparing the mountain for opening day. Thanks to a week of excellent snowmaking temperatures, we expect to start the season on Friday with up to 12 open trails, totaling up to 4 and a half miles of skiing & riding. Those trails are expected to include: Upper Lord, Lord, North Slope, Lower North Slope, Ridgeview, Lower Ridgeview, Sunrise, Standard, Crossover, Lower Lord, Centerline and possibly Upper Hayride.Stowe Parks plans to have 6 freestyle features on Lower North Slope to kick off the winter, so make sure to check those out!Please note that skiing & riding will be for intermediate & advanced ability levels only to start the season. The weather forecast calls for temperatures hovering around the freezing mark over the next 24 hours, along with the chance of some light snowfall tomorrow and tomorrow night. The snowmakers will take a brief break due to the marginal temperatures until tomorrow night, when they’ll get back to work focusing on terrain expansion.
  4. Stowe - The Gateway to Vail Resorts By Jim Kenney Part Two Arapahoe Basin, CO My discussion in Part One covered Stowe and the major resorts owned by Vail in the state of Colorado. The last, but not least, Epic Pass eligible ski area in Colorado is Arapahoe Basin. It’s included on the season pass by a long standing agreement, but it is not owned by Vail. In fact, it’s almost the anti-Vail in vibe and terrain. A higher percentage of guests at Arapahoe Basin are locals, rather than the typical destination vacationers that predominate at many other Vail Resorts. The base lodge at Arapahoe Basin is seriously old school and will appeal to you if you like the Mansfield Lodge at Stowe. They are almost the same vintage. Just as the scenery around Stowe is beautifully rugged and unlike anything else in Vermont, so is the scenery especially scraggy and spectacular around Arapahoe Basin compared to some of the other nearby ski areas. But it is the informality that I really like. It’s the kind of place where on a mild day you can ski back to your car for a lunch or après ski cookout. Management doesn’t mind if you bring your BBQ grill, cooler, and lawn chairs to party for hours at their slopeside parking lot “beach”. There is no lodging at the base, but Keystone has plenty and is only about five miles down the road. Old schoolers and the East Wall at Arapahoe Basin, CO, photo by Jim Kenney The terrain at Arapahoe Basin is well…epic. It includes the hike-to extreme chutes of the precipitous 13,000’ East Wall and world class bump runs in the Pallavicini trail pod. If your favorite lift to ski at Stowe is the Fourrunner Quad, then you’re gonna love the Pallavicini Chair. There are also wide open ridges in Montezuma Bowl and ego-soothing corduroy cruisers on the Lenawee and Norway Faces. Lift served skiing takes place between approximately 10,800 and 12,500’. Hiking the East Wall can add another 500’ vertical. Total skiable acreage at Arapahoe Basin is about 950, smallish for Colorado, but an expert would never tire of this place. Bring your “A” game to A-Basin… and your lungs. Magnificent spring conditions at A-Basin, photo by Jim Kenney Park City, UT Westward Ho! The next stop on the grand Vail Resorts tour is Park City, UT. The Park City I’m referring to is the now lift-linked 300+ trails/41 lifts/7300 acres of the formerly separate Park City and Canyons ski areas. I suppose confounding mega-resort might describe the unified Park City, but it actually skis a lot like Killington or Sunday River. If you know how to mine the good stuff at those horizontally huge resorts, then you can employ the same mindset to get the best out of Park City. It can be fun to try to sample the entire scope of this mountain in one wide-ranging day – skiing as exploring. But after chasing this wanderlust my first few visits to Park City I now think it’s more rewarding to select a half dozen good trail pods and concentrate on those for a day. My favorite lifts for advanced terrain at Park City from left to right on the trail map include the bumps of McConkey’s, the chutes of Jupiter, the trees of Peak 5, the bowls of Ninety-Nine 90, the glades of Tombstone, and the offpiste from Super Condor. You’ll find moderate to miniscule lift lines at all of these lifts most days. McConkey's Bowl left and Jupiter Peak right, photo by Jim Kenney The town of Park City is as welcoming to medium-budget guests as Breckenridge and shares a similar Victorian-mining heritage. If you want to go really low budget, in February 2015 I slept 150 yards from the Payday Express Chair in the men’s dorm of the Chateau Après Lodge for $40 per night. For scenic on-hill lunches I think the patio of Summit House above the Motherlode Chair is Park City’s answer to the Octagon at Stowe. Between the moderate base elevation (6500’) and the easy 32 mile drive from SLC International Airport, Park City is a fine choice for flatlanders who only have time for a two or three day visit to the Rockies. For those staying longer Park City is a lively base to explore much good skiing outside the Vail Resorts empire. Park City is within 10 minutes of Deer Valley and under an hour to the snowy resorts of Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons. I often utilize the large, free parking lot at the base of the Cabriolet lift on the Canyons-side of the resort. The Town lift at Park City, photo by Jim Kenney Heavenly, CA My knowledge of Heavenly is probably my weakest of the major Vail Resorts in North America. I have only two days there in recent years and I never got to explore the renowned advanced terrain of Killebrew and Motts Canyons. There is super scenic intermediate terrain off the Sky Express from the 10,000’ summit of the California side. Beginners can enjoy the views from the mid-mountain green circle terrain served by the Big Easy Chair. It’s accessed by the Heavenly Village Gondola. The resort draws a very international clientele and on a clear day it’s easy to see why. Do you want views of the cobalt blue Lake Tahoe or the checkerboard sepia desert of Nevada? You can alternate all day between numerous groomers for great scenes in both directions. The views of Lake Tahoe from Heavenly will blow you away, photo by Jim Kenney Two of the most noteworthy attributes of Heavenly’s lodging situation are the slopeside casinos in the village base at Stateline, NV and the cheap motels of South Lake Tahoe, CA. What you lose on gambling, you can make up by staying at one of the many mom & pop motels within a mile or two of the California base and Aerial Tramway for under $100 per night. Heavenly Aerial Tram, photo by Jim Kenney Kirkwood, CA I’ve got about ten days in recent years at Kirkwood. I love it. At 2300 skiable acres it’s a little smaller than some of the other Vail Resorts, but it offers reasonably affordable slopeside accommodations if you go with an older condo. The advanced terrain is bada$$ and on the order of the more celebrated steeps at Squaw and Mammoth. It has been the site of many freeride/extreme ski competitions (The Cirque) and is home to some of the most renowned cliff hucking junkies in the High Sierras. The inbounds terrain for advanced/expert recreational skiers is highlighted by Wagon Wheel Bowl featuring a steep headwall known as The Wall and a terrific array of chutes, slots, drains (large natural halfpipes), and the aforementioned cliffs. To the looker’s right of Wagon Wheel Bowl is more similarly fine advanced terrain beside the Cornice Express Chair. It’s slightly less steep and includes a tasty mix of groomers, moguls, trees, and a remote area called Palisades Bowl. All you have to do at Kirkwood to get a fun side country feel is keep traversing from the top of the higher lifts. The “backside” of the mountain is served by the Sunrise Chair and offers nice intermediate-friendly terrain including The Wave, a big cornice drop with a fairly mild apron that sets up every winter near the top of the chair. Wagon Wheel Bowl, photo by Jim Kenney The location of Kirkwood is somewhat isolated, about 35 mountainous miles south of Lake Tahoe and Heavenly. In good weather it’s not difficult to day trip over to Heavenly or vice versa and I highly recommend a visit to both if in the area. In snowy weather be prepared because when the Tahoe tire-chain law goes into effect the police are out to enforce it. Kirkwood’s base is primarily a condo village. One of the fun dining-out opportunities there is to make the two mile drive for a meal at the historic Kirkwood Saloon originally founded as a ranch and way station by pioneer Zachary Kirkwood in 1864. Kirkwood has a relatively high base (7800’) compared to other ski areas in the Tahoe region and typically retains better snow because of it. View from Cornice Bowl, photo by Jim Kenney Whistler-Blackcomb, Canada Besides Stowe, the other huge recent acquisition by Vail Resorts has been the purchase of Whistler-Blackcomb in Western Canada’s province of British Columbia. I made my first ever visit to Whistler (and British Columbia) for a week in early March 2017. My wife joined me on this trip. If you think a day in Burlington, VT is a fun thing to do on an extended visit to Stowe (and I do), then check-out Vancouver on the way to or from Whistler. Before we made the 75 mile drive to the resort we spent a day seeing touristy sights in Vancouver including a performance of Coastal First Nations dancers and tour at the Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia followed by a sampling of the enormous variety of foods and produce at the Granville Island Public Market. Once at Whistler Village we did some fun snow shoeing together and plenty of shopping. Whistler Bowl, photo by Jim Kenney My ski days at Whistler were a mix of epic-ness and whiteout-ness. Each day was comprised of moments of great fun in excellent snow and terrain, but also moments of poor visibility. I suppose this variability comes with the territory when skiing in the Pacific Ranges of British Columbia’s beautiful Coast Mountains. Some of my favorite advanced terrain were the trees off the Symphony and Harmony express chairs, beautiful Whistler Bowl, and the great steep faces in Blackcomb Glacier. My advice is to try to latch onto some locals or at least take one of the free daily mountain orientation tours to help maximize your chances of finding the best snow conditions and your preferred terrain. Whistler-Blackcomb is huge in every respect including vertical drop (5280‘) and skiable acres (8171). You can and will ski through multiple types of snow conditions on a single top to bottom run. Like Stowe, Whistler-Blackcomb has an inter-mountain transfer lift, but it's a bit higher off the ground. The Peak to Peak Gondola, photo by Jim Kenney Conclusion If you are going to be a Stowe passholder next year and you’re thinking about skiing western mountains to take advantage of your new season pass, I hope I’ve given you some food for thought. If I have to pick a handful of favorite terrain experiences among the greater family of Vail Resorts, here are five in no particular order. - The steepness and scope of Blackcomb Glacier - Bogeying the bumps off A-Basin’s Pallavicini Chair - Checking out all the slots, chutes and drains of Kirkwood - Pointing ‘em downhill in the vastness of Vail’s Back Bowls - Exploring the varied and bodacious upper mountain terrain at Breckenridge Blackcomb Glacier, photo by Jim Kenney Every one of the mountains I’ve discussed in this piece is worthy of an extended visit. Whistler-Blackcomb and Breckenridge have it all. Vail, Beaver Creek, Park City, Keystone and Heavenly are excellent all-around mountains and especially pleasing for intermediates. A-Basin, Kirkwood, and yes, Stowe, qualify as little bada$$es in the grand scheme of Vail Resorts. Familiarity breeds fondness at all these places in my humble opinion. If you have an EpicPass next winter, to paraphrase Shakespeare, why then the ski world’s thine oyster, which with skis thou may open!
  5. Stowe - The Gateway to Vail Resorts By Jim Kenney Part One Introduction Not too long ago the only gateway at Stowe, VT was the one that led to its own awesome self - the Ski Capital of the East. With some of the East’s best snow, steepest bump runs, choicest sustained groomers, and renowned tree skiing Stowe doesn’t play second fiddle to many places. But my-oh-my, how things have changed since the annexation of this Eastern icon by Vail Resorts in early 2017! By some calculations the 2017-18 multi-resort EpicPass including Stowe will be a cool $1000 less than last year’s Stowe-only pass. Next ski season could be the best of times for longtime Stowe pass holders who want to add western sightseeing to their ski resumes. Setting aside the philosophical aspects of ski area acquisitions and consolidations, the fact is a Stowe-inclusive EpicPass now represents access to a multitude of runs, lifts, and experiences at some of the best ski venues on planet Earth. Drawing on my travel experiences and this new East-West connection I'd like to share a few of my favorite things to ski and do at Vail Resorts around North America. In the past three years I've had a chance to log about 50 ski days at ten major ski areas that are part of the burgeoning Vail Resorts Empire in 2017-18. The mountains I visited recently include Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone, Park City, Kirkwood, Heavenly, new acquisitions Whistler-Blackcomb and Stowe, and EpicPass eligible Arapahoe Basin. By no means do I have a local's knowledge of these resorts, but after skiing a number of days at each I have developed strategies and preferences for enjoying these great, but sometimes confounding mega-mountains. The emphasis in this discussion will be on skiing and ski terrain, but I'll also expound on ancillary things that make for a good ski day or week such as transportation, parking, dining, lodging, etc. As always, I'll throw in some photos to help illustrate my points Stowe, VT Until a few visits in recent years I hadn’t skied Stowe since 1971. I was astounded by the new lodging and dining developments at the base of Spruce Peak. But what hadn’t changed one iota at Stowe was the tremendous ski terrain and beautiful setting beneath Vermont’s highest peak, Mt. Mansfield (elevation 4393’). The ski area and the town of Stowe, approximately seven miles apart, are something all New England skiers worth their salt must get to eventually. I’ve experienced some of the Mansfield steeps like Starr and Goat trails, and the challenging trees to skier’s left of Goat. I've made tracks in side country routes like Angel Food to skier’s left off Chin Clip. I’ve also carved the excellent, sustained cruisers off the Stowe gondola, and enjoyed the surprisingly nice mix of terrain on Spruce Peak. Mt. Mansfield from the top of the Fourrunner Quad, photo by Jim Kenney Stowe’s got Character with a capital C. Besides the Front Four, the historic Mansfield Base Lodge, and some of the earliest purpose-built ski trails in America, Stowe’s got The Matterhorn, a classic après ski bar, and the eponymous town. Perhaps my most valuable insight about Stowe, in the context of the 2017 ski world order, is that I’ve seen enough of it to make comparisons with many mountains in its new adopted family of Vail Resorts. Stowe side country, photo by Jim Kenney Vail, CO Let’s state the obvious first, Vail is huge! Technically, there are two or three larger ski areas in North America, but a great amount of Vail’s 5,289 skiable acres are completely contiguous on the front and back sides of one giant ridge. This means ready access to 3000 vertical feet of tree-lined runs on the frontside and nearly 2000 vertical feet in six, expansive bowls on the backside with no tricks, convolutions or disconnects. Throw in the journey to the remote-feeling terrain of Blue Sky Basin and you’ve got a ski area that takes weeks, if not seasons, to fully explore. Some of the best advanced terrain is under and to the skier’s left of the Northwoods Express Chair (frontside), Sun Up Bowl off the High Noon Express Chair (back bowls), and the trees and cornices off the Skyline Express Chair in Blue Sky Basin. Photo: The tree skiing around Prima Cornice off the Northwoods Chair is every bit as challenging as the woods beside Goat trail at Stowe. Most guests bite the budgetary bullet and stay slopeside at Vail, but all eight of my ski days there in the last three seasons came as a day-visitor and never once did I pay for parking. Once you figure out the parking game (http://www.vailgov.com/parking/winter#1570272-strongfree-outlying-parkingstrong ) you’ll find other ways to save at Vail, such as the free BBQ grills sprinkled around the mountain for DIY picnickers, free evening snowshoe tours (including an Eagle Bahn Gondola ride) atop the mountain at the Nature Discovery Center, and strolling Vail Village, one of the best window shopping and people watching towns in the ski world. There are even some pretty reasonable and tasty places to eat in Vail such as Pazzo’s Pizza overlooking Solaris Plaza and Moe’s BBQ in Lionshead. The legendary back bowls of Vail, photo by Jim Kenney Beaver Creek, CO The decidedly upscale Beaver Creek Ski Area is an easy dozen miles west of Vail. I have to admit as a senior skier this place is the bomb. I have long since passed the age of not being too proud to ride the escalator out of the Beaver Creek base area to the loading point of the Centennial Chondola. Compare this to the steep slog from the Mansfield Lodge to the Fourrunner Quad at Stowe There is a challenging side to the skiing at Beaver Creek, but it shines brightest as a mountain that pampers intermediates like few others including the easy and very scenic terrain near the summit of the mountain to be served in 2017-18 by the new Red Buffalo Express Chair. Beaver Creek has an amazing elevation spread from 7400’ to 11,440’ above sea level with all aspects of exposure. From my nine ski days there between 2015 and 2017 I can tell you these physical gifts combined with a state of the art snowmaking and grooming operation present a strong chance of good to excellent ski conditions throughout much of the season. My favorite advanced terrain at Beaver Creek includes the Stone Creek Chutes on the far looker’s left of the mountain layout, the steep race trails off the Birds of Prey Express Chair, and all of Grouse Mountain including Royal Elk and Black Bear Glades. Good snow in Black Bear Glades, far skier's left off Grouse Mountain, photo by Jim Kenney You can pay big bucks to stay slopeside, but I have the found the nearby town of Avon to be an excellent and reasonably priced lodging location to access both Beaver Creek and Vail. There is free and frequent shuttle bus service from Avon to the lifts at Beaver Creek obviating any need to pay for parking. And there is inexpensive county bus service to Vail if you want to go there for a day. Anyone visiting this area for a week would be foolish not to experience both mountains if possible. Avon also has many moderately priced restaurants and motels. It’s at a good sleeping elevation (7400’) for visitors from the flatlands. If you like to eat wild game, check out the Gashouse Restaurant in Edwards, CO. There’s about $100,000 worth of taxidermy hanging on the walls to inspire your choice of meal entree. If one were to fly into nearby Eagle Airport, then Beaver Creek/Avon could be an easy destination to go carless. Beaver Creek, the day AFTER I had six uncontested laps on Helmut's trail under the Centennial Chondola in 12" of new snow. It was still good, photo by Jim Kenney. Breckenridge, CO I have eight days at Breckenridge in the last three years and my conclusion is this place is super fun! My Breckenridge-Stowe analogy is that the lower mountain at Breckenridge is to Spruce Peak, as the upper mountain is to Mt. Mansfield. The lower mountain at Breckenridge can be hectic at prime times and littered with Texas gapers, but the upper mountain is quieter, much steeper, and mostly the reserve of skilled locals. I find the advanced terrain at Breckenridge more interesting than at either Vail or Beaver Creek. Some of the best includes the steep trails and tight trees off the E-Chair, runs like Psychopath off 6-Chair, runs like Mustang off the Falcon Super Chair, and the short, but steep drops in Horseshoe Bowl served by a T-Bar. The frosting on the Breck cake is the hike-to chutes on Peak 8 above the Imperial Express Chair (e.g. Zoot Chute) and on Peak 6 above the Kensho Chair (e.g. North Chute in the Six Senses). Once you’ve given your lungs a couple days to adjust to the high altitude, all visiting experts should check out this hike-to terrain. The climbs aren’t that bad and the payoff can be really memorable above tree-line skiing with better snow surfaces than the back bowls at Vail. Zoot Chute above Peak 8 is the big one in the center, photo by Jim Kenney. I think the town of Breckenridge right at the base of the slopes is the most user-friendly of the major resorts in Colorado with lots of restaurants, bars, shops, and parking, including free satellite parking in the “airport” lot served by frequent free buses to town and to the ski trails via the Breck Connect Gondola base station. Breckenridge reminds me of a middle/upper-middle class beach town in the mountains where many bars offer a burger and fries for only about $10-12. For other dining choices you can go upscale at Victorian themed Hearthstone, midscale at The Canteen Taphouse, or try lighter fare at La Francaise Bakery/Coffee Shop. Downtown Breckenridge, photo by Jim Kenney Keystone, CO Some folks tend to treat Keystone like the Summit County stepchild because it may not be the steepest and deepest of ski areas, but I think it has some very fine intermediate to advanced terrain with great views of 3000+ acre Dillon Reservoir. The Keystone layout incorporates three mountains. The front mountain, Dercum, has excellent and long (~2300’ vertical) intermediate slopes including Schoolmarm, which on a quiet day is IMHO one of the best and prettiest low-intermediate runs in the US. The groomers on Dercum are reminiscent of the long ones served by Stowe's Gondola and have a similar vertical drop. The second mountain, North Peak, offers great spring bump skiing in light crowds on runs like Geronimo. The third mountain, The Outback, features a collection of great tree runs such as Pika and Timberwolf. Some days Keystone runs an inexpensive a la carte snowcat operation from the top of The Outback offering single black diamond skiing that is ideal for offpiste neophytes. Timberwolf Glade in The Outback, photo by Jim Kenney It also presents a slightly more affordable choice to ski and stay slopeside than the other Vail Resorts in Colorado. I’ve used VRBO to catch some good spring deals in the attractive condos at the base of the River Run Gondola. One pretty day in March I took my wife (a nonskier at this point) on a 30-something-dollar scenic snowcat ride at Keystone. We went as high as 12,000' in a swanky snowcat and enjoyed al fresco dining at the mountaintop Outpost Restaurant afterwards. Usually in the early Fall you can get four packs of tickets on the Keystone website for about $200 that are good at Keystone and Arapahoe Basin, two ski areas that present a fascinating contrast in terrain and vibe. I’ll discuss Arapahoe Basin and a bunch of other mountains in part two of this article coming soon... Part Two. Starfire Trail on the North Peak at Keystone, CO, photo by Jim Kenney
  6. It looks like we need our first trip report: After missing a ski day on Saturday for a birthday party, my son and I were looking forward to making turns on a bluebird spring day! I was expecting fairly light crowds and ski-on at the forerunner, so I was surprised to find the Mansfield lot FULL when we arrived at 10:30. We parked in one of the Gondi lots (which also filled by days-end), geared up, and skied over to the Mansfield lodge. The liftline was chaotic - people were massed together outside of the corral with no one directing traffic. The shortest line of the day was 10 minutes! Fortunately the lift is fast, and the skiing was worth the wait. As it got later in the day, and more beers were consumed by the hordes of 20-somethings on the hill, snowballs started flying in the liftline. For our warm-up run, my nine year old wanted to hit Starr. Of course! What the hell else would one want to warm up on?! It wasn't open from the top, so we cut in on S-53. The bumps were great. Soft, big, and well-spaced. Starr and Goat were the best bump runs of the day. We also hit a number of other runs including Bypass which was narrow and bumped up nicely, Liftline, National, Nosedive glades (lots of snow left!), Perry Merril and Gondolier. We skied Liftline later in the day and halfway down my legs ran out of gas! Soft corn bumps are fun, but when it gets deep and heavy it sure is exhausting... We braved the liftline for the forerunner one last time so that we could ski over to the Gondi lot.
  7. So much snow still above 3000'. Can probably skin and ski most things for another 3-4 weeks. Woods around Goat, Bypass, and Nosedive still loaded up.Was my first time up in about 5 years, was crazy to see the downburst area. Given the amount of snow cover and density you could ski in the hazard area since any obstacles were well covered or exposed. Obligatory Goat pic.

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