The off-season is a busy time for ski resorts. When the snow melts and the skiers and riders have moved on to golf swings and singletrack, resorts have a window to implement projects in their development plans, such as building or replacing chairlifts, upgrading snowmaking and improving the overall guest experience.
As skier visits climb, Colorado and Utah resorts put a premium on upgrades and renovations. “[Western] resorts are making millions of dollars in investments to improve the guest experience for the 2018 – 19 season,” says Kathryn Robinson, Communications Coordinator for Colorado Ski Country USA. “There will be half a dozen new chairlifts across the state of Colorado, including two at Copper, getting skiers and snowboarders up the mountain more efficiently, and greatly increasing uphill capacity, as well as new lodging and dining options, including Steamboat’s highly anticipated new roaming snowcat food truck, the Taco Beast.”
Whether schussing your way to the innovative food-truck-of-the-mountains or riding a new 6‑pack, book your gear through Ski Butlers and plan a trip so that you can experience the latest improvements to your mountain experience. Here’s a sampling of what you’ll find this coming season.
Copper Mountain, Colorado
Copper Mountain boasts 23 lifts, a staggering 6 terrain parks and 150 runs on 2,490 skiable acres. This coming season, Copper replaces two lifts, which will increase uphill capacity from the base area. The American Eagle will now be upgraded to a lift that will feature both 8‑person gondola cabins and 6‑person chairlifts. Guests can ward off the winter chill this season on the upgraded American Flyer, which will be replaced by a 6‑person chair with bubble coverings.
Deer Valley, Utah
Deer Valley, a mere 37 miles away from Salt Lake City airport, has 21 lifts, 2,026 skiable acres with 660 acres of snowmaking. This season, Deer Valley implements over $8 million in upgrades, all designed to enhance the mountain experience. The Homestake chair will be upgraded to a detachable, high-speed quad. The resort is investing in snowmaking system upgrades that include increasing capacity, adding new low-energy guns and replacing thousands of feet of snowmaking pipes. Deer Valley also adds four new Prinoth snowcats to their grooming fleet, increasing capacity to lay down more acres of their famous corduroy for their guests.
Park City, Utah
Aside from being located in Park City, a vibrant mountain city with free transportation to award-winning restaurants, bars and shops, the ski area boasts 7,300 skiable acres (half of those are long, blue cruisers) with 41 lifts serving 348 runs. 2018 – 19 is a great season to take lessons at Park City, thanks to the new High Meadow Park beginner learning area, with its own upgraded lift. Snowmaking will also be added to the new High Meadow Park as well as Red Pine Road. Guests will be treated to a new menu and interior renovations to the Mid Mountain Lodge, as well as an expansion to accommodate 200 more seats at the Cloud Dine restaurant.
Photo Credit: Larry Pierce
“Ski Town USA,” Steamboat’s moniker, is known for having the largest population of Olympians as residents. A lively western mountain town with night skiing and trademarked “Champagne Powder,” the resort has 2,965 skiable acres, 18 lifts and 165 runs. Steamboat’s base village will offer new restaurants, including Timer and Torch, located next to the gondola square, which will have indoor and outdoor seating, two outdoor bars and an outdoor BBQ. Steamboat will also unveil the “Taco Beast,” a snowcat that will operate like a food truck on the mountain. Stay tuned for possible terrain expansion at the Boat and new lifts.
There are hints that Vail will increase uphill capacity with an upgrade to the Game Creek #7 lift, following the trend over the past few seasons of recently upgraded lifts, of which three were detachable 6‑packs. Over the summer, Vail will make improvements to the maize at chair 4 for better traffic flow. The Epic pass also includes more resorts than ever, such as Telluride in Colorado, and resorts in Europe, the Midwest, Canada, New England, Utah and Tahoe, as well as four more mountains that come with the acquisition by Vail Resorts of Crested Butte, Stevens Pass, Okemo Mountain and Mount Sunapee.