Ski Season Preview

The Hide, a Design Hotel, opening in the Swiss village of Flims, will have 47 rooms and an outdoor terrace with views of the Alps.

New ski resorts, expanded ski areas, added lifts and new facilities have been announced all across North America and Europe, from Switzerland and France to Utah and Colorado. Here is a sampling of what to expect in 2018-2019.

Switzerland Tourism reports that, on September 29, Zermatt Bergbahnen AG will open a new 3S Cableway from Trockener Steg to the Klein Matterhorn. Once opened, it will be the highest 3S cableway in the world, reaching a vertical rise of over 2,600 feet. The cableway is being built in addition to the existing aerial tramway and will increase the transport capacity by 2,000 guests per hour.

Meanwhile, with a total of 14 new transport facilities, The SkiArena Andermatt-Sedrun is set to become one of Central Switzerland’s largest skiing destinations. In December 2017, the Andermatt-Nätschen-Gütsch gondola cableways and the Hinterbördli-Strahlgand chairlift entered service. With the 10-person Oberalppass-Schneehüenerstock cable car opening in the 2018-19 winter season, the link between Andermatt and Sedrun will be up and running in both directions, according to Switzerland Tourism.

Zermatt’s new 3S Cableway from Trockener Steg to the Klein Matterhorn will be the highest such conveyance in the world. 

Switzerland will also welcome a new resort this December, opening in the village of Flims. The Hide Hotel Flims, a Design Hotel, will open in the eastern region of the Swiss Alps and provide 47 rooms, several dining options, a spa, an outdoor terrace with views of the Alps, and a full kids center. Skiers can enjoy the roughly 150 miles of pistes in the area.

In France, the high-mountain Grand Hotel du Montenvers ski resort in Chamonix has been restored. The century-old property, perched more than a mile above sea level near the Mer de Glace glacier, has been revamped by Maisons et Hotels Sibuet, the company behind such hotels as Terminal Neige Totem in Flaine and the Fermes de Marie in Mégève. During their stay at the Grand Hotel du Montenvers, guests can explore the challenging 12-mile Vallée Blanche off-piste ski route, which has a vertical descent of almost 9,000 feet.

Elsewhere in France, Club Med is preparing to open a new ski resort, Les Arcs Panorama, in Savoie in December. Set in an alpine forest within the French Alps, Les Arcs is billed as a 4-Trident family-friendly resort with a 5-Trident luxury space. Skiers at the new property can take advantage of the Paradiski ski region, the second largest ski domain in France, with 264 miles of ski slopes. The resort offers 433 guestrooms and suites, ski-in / ski-out access, and three restaurants. 

Club Med’s new Les Arcs Panorama, in Savoie, France, will have ski-in / ski-out access, 433 guestrooms and suites and three restaurants.

North America

Club Med also announced plans for its first ski resort in North America since the company sold its Crested Butte property 12 years ago. The new resort will open in Quebec’s Le Massif de Charlevoix ski region in 2020. Plans call for a $93 million investment to develop a 300-room resort, which will include a five-trident boutique hotel-style area with exclusive amenities and suites. While skiing, travelers will be able to take in waterfront views overlooking the Saint Laurence River.

Another ski resort operator, Vail Resorts, is continuing to expand its North American portfolio. The company agreed to purchase Triple Peaks, LLC, the parent company of Okemo Mountain Resort in Vermont, Mount Sunapee Resort in New Hampshire and Crested Butte Mountain Resort in Colorado. The company will purchase Triple Peaks, LLC for $82 million, subject to certain adjustments. Additionally, as part of a separate transaction, Vail Resorts will also purchase Stevens Pass Resort in the state of Washington from Ski Resort Holdings for $67 million.

When the transactions close, Vail Resorts’ 2018-19 Epic Pass holders will have unlimited and unrestricted access to all four resorts. Vail Resorts’ Epic Pass allows access to all its ski areas and resorts in North America, Europe, and Asia with just one pass, instead of requiring individual passes to each property. Several versions of the pass are offered, each with its own guidelines and restrictions such as the number of days guests can spend at each resort. The 2018-19 pricing of the full Epic Pass has been set at $899, while the scaled-down Epic Local Pass is available for $669. 

Last year, the Alterra Mountain Company unveiled a similar service, the $999 Ikon Pass, which provides access to more than 63,000 skiable acres of terrain at 26 mountain destinations in nine states and four Canadian provinces. For the upcoming ski season, Alterra Mountain Company has announced that travelers can receive a complimentary Ikon Base Pass (a limited version of the full Ikon Pass) when they purchase a full Deer Valley Resort Season Pass for the upcoming season. Those who purchase their 2018-2019 Full Season Pass for the Utah resort by December 15 will receive the new Ikon Base Pass. 

The Ikon Base Pass, priced at $699, includes access to the same terrain as the Ikon Pass, as well as discounts on food and beverage and reduced rates on ski lift tickets. The Ikon Base Pass offers fewer days at each resort and is subject to blackout dates. 

Visitors to Deer Valley can also enjoy getting out on the slopes faster with the resort’s new chairlift. The Homestake chairlift is being replaced by a new, detachable, high-speed quad chairlift, designed to cut ride time in half and increase uphill skier capacity by 400 skiers per hour. The Homestake lift provides skier access from the Silver Lake Village to the top of Bald Eagle Mountain.

Colorado Ski Country USA reports that a slew of its ski areas and resorts will offer new lifts and expanded areas of operation for the 2018-19 season.

Winter Park Resort, home to the Winter Park Express, will install a new 10-person gondola for 2018-19, increasing uphill capacity, while Copper Mountain will replace two chairlifts for the upcoming season. The American Eagle lift will be replaced by an 8-person gondola and the American Flyer lift will be replaced by a six-person bubble chair in order to increase capacity.

Loveland Ski Area, east of Denver, will install its first four-person high-speed detachable chairlift for the 2018-19 season and will expand its snowcat skiing operations. Farther south in Leadville, Cooper resort is adding a surface lift for the 2018-19 season to access its terrain expansion, which includes 100 additional acres of advanced terrain. 

A two-year expansion will be completed for the 2018-19 season at Arapahoe Basin, adding 468 new skiable acres of intermediate and expert terrain in the Beavers and Steep Gullies. Additionally, Purgatory Resort has opened new expert and intermediate trails to increase glade skiing space.

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