Review of Mountain Upgrades for 2015/2016 Season

Okemo Ski Resort

Photo courtesy of Okemo Mountain Resort

There are always changes going on at various resorts across the United States. Many resorts are upgrading to more high efficent snow guns and improving the conditions. But, there are other things going on as well. Here is a review of some of the major changes at various resorts across the United States for the 2015-16 season:

Park City and Canyons (Utah)

There is probably no bigger story this year for resorts then the merger of Park City and Canyons into one resort making it the largest ski/snowboard mountain in the United States. They resort now has over 300 trails, 7,300 acres of terrain, and 38 lifts. As part of the merger, they have invested $50 million to improve the giant resort. The biggest improvement is the addition of the new Quicksilver Gondola which will connect Canyons and Park City. There is also the new Miners Camp restaurant. They have upgraded the King Con and Motherlode lifts and have widened some trails for better traffic flow.

Taos Ski Valley

Taos has made large investments in improving the overall experience on the mountain. They have increased snow making for better early season coverage and they’ve improved the skiability on Ernie’s and the Wild West Glade. There are also plans to groom more steep terrain this season such as Hunziker Bowl and Main Street off Kachina Peak. A new hotel is under construction. This 80 room hotel will have a spa and new restaurant. The hotel should open in the fall of 2016.

Jackson Hole Ski Resort (Wyoming)

Celebrating their 50th anniversary, Jackson Hole has added the Teton Express. Extreme skiers/boarders will be happy with this. This lift will take riders about 100 feet from the entrance to Granite Canyon, a backcountry area known for cliffs and cornices.

Snowbird Ski Resort (Utah)

A new structure has been added at the summit of Hidden Peak. This two-story building contains a 190-seat cafeteria, a coffee shop, and a large deck with panoramic views.

Vail Resort (Colorado)

They have replaced the Avanti Express Lift (#2) with a new 6 person lift. The Avanti Express Lift is a primary lift on the front side of Vail Mountain and will reduce wait times and improve reliability.

Okemo Ski Resort (Vermont)

With the popularity of their orange heated bubble chairs, they have added more of these colorful chairs on a new high-speed bubble chairlift named Quantum Four. This makes Okemo the first resort in North America to have multiple bubble chairlifts. These chairs are designed to keep you nice and warm on the lift. Okemo has also expanded snowmaking to 98 percent of its trails. RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) passes is also new for Okemo this season. If you haven’t used RFID passes before, we can tell you that it is a nice feature that makes it easier for riders to not have to pull out passes and also makes the lines go faster since scanning is done simply by walking next to the scanners. On top of this, they have also added a new fixed-grip Leitner-Poma chairlift that will connect the Village Center at SouthFace Village at Okemo to the South Face Express Quad and provide access to the new Suncatcher trail. This gives Okemo a total of 121 trails and 20 lifts.

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Photo courtesy of SPRUCE PEAK REALTY, LLC

Stowe Mountain Resort (Vermont)

They have added a new 200,000 square-foot building including a children’s adventure center. A new ice-rink and numerous shops, restaurants near a community plaza.

Whiteface Mountain (New York)

Committed to utilizing more than 10 megawatts of solar energy which is capable of suppling all of the power for the base lodge and lifts each ski season.

Whitefish Ski Resort (Montana)

Transformation of the Summit House and the new Ski Patrol building. The Summit House has been greatly expanded.

Loon Mountain (New Hampshire)

Loon has expanded the Camp III lodge. But the big news for them is the approval by the US Forest Service to allow construction of a new learning center and a 6,000 square foot lodge at South Peak. Also, they will be adding 2 quad lifts and 26 acres of new terrain. No timeline has been announced yet.

Q Burke (Vermont)

Opening an entirely new hotel, along with many other improvements. There will be a 116 room hotel including studios and suites giving the resort its first luxury slopeside lodging. The building will also offer a restaurant, bar, conference space, and fitness center. Snowmaking has also been expanded with $1 million spent.

Sugarbush Resort (Vermont)

Added a new fixed-grip quad to replace the Valley House Double off of Gadd Peak.

Solitude Ski Resort (Utah)

With new ownership, they have upgraded the nostalgic Summit chair to an express quad. New restaurant options have also been added.

Stratton Mountain (Vermont)

Stratton is investing $9 million in upgrading the base lodge adding 4,000 square feet including expanded seating.

Cannon Mountain (New Hampshire)

As part of its $4 million Mittersill project, Cannon is adding snowmaking with 130 new snowmaking guns on Baron's Run, Sky Line, Ridge Run and new connector trail.

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