North American Ski Season Preview


The Park Hyatt Beaver Creek
The Park Hyatt Beaver Creek is offering the Stay at Three, Ski for Free package.


It won’t be long before the mountain slopes across North America are filled with schussers, cross-country skiers and snowboarders, so we’ve rounded up the top trends to be aware of when reaching out to your sporting clients this fall and winter.

Whether your clients are looking to pack the most skiing into a single itinerary or are planning multiple trips this winter, resorts and hotel companies are making it easier than ever to mountain-hop with combined passes and packages. 

The Four Seasons Mountain Collection resorts in Jackson Hole, WY; Vail, CO; and Whistler, BC; are rolling out the Winter Passport Program, which rewards guests who stay at all three resorts this winter with a set of custom Prior skis or a snowboard. After their first stay, guests who stay at a different property receive 15 percent off the best available rate and, with a final stay at the third resort, 25 percent off the best available rate. 

The Hyatt Mountain Collection is offering the Stay at Three, Ski for Free package. When guests book a three-night stay at all three properties in the collection—in Park City, UT; Beaver Creek, CO; and Lake Tahoe, NV—during the season, they will receive a complimentary EpicPass for winter 2014–2015. 

Vail Resorts is bringing two new ski areas under the aegis of its EpicPass as part of the company’s expansion into the Midwest. Toward the end of last year Vail announced the acquisition of Afton Alps in Minnesota and Mount Brighton in Michigan, and the company is investing $10 million in new facilities, terrain and snowmaking at each resort in advance of the upcoming season. With the addition of these two resorts, Vail’s EpicPass now covers18 mountains in three countries. The pass grants unlimited skiing and riding at Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone, Arapahoe Basin and Eldora in Colorado; Canyons in Park City, Utah; Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood in Lake Tahoe; Afton Alps in Minnesota; and Mt. Brighton in Michigan. (For your clients who prefer the slopes of Europe, the pass offers five free days in Verbier, Switzerland and five free days at Arlberg, Austria.)

Resorts in the Park City, Utah area will be offering a multi-pass option of their own. Qualifying 2013-2014 season pass holders at any one of Alta Ski Area, Deer Valley Resort, Park City Mountain Resort or Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort can enjoy three free days of lift access at each of the other three ski areas. 

Topnotch’s $15M Reopening

This season will mark the reopening of Topnotch Resort in Vermont following a $15 million renovation. The resort, which officially reopened June 28, now offers new restaurants and fully renovated facilities. 

The first new eatery, The Roost, pairs local craft beer and Executive Chef Steve Sicinski’s take on small plates served in an indoor/outdoor dining area that combines a 70-seat patio with a free-standing pergola crafted from a stone wall retained from the former Topnotch lobby with outdoor couches, a fire pit, bocce ball and views of the surrounding mountains. 

The second restaurant, Flannel, is a reimagining of the resort’s former Norma’s. Also helmed by Sicinski, the restaurant will serve contemporary fare with a focus on fresh, seasonal ingredients. 

The renovation also includes the resort’s arrival area, with a newly landscaped entry road and a lobby that has been reoriented to showcase mountain views. The guest rooms now have handmade furniture, textiles and painted artwork. Additionally, the Topnotch Spa has new curated treatment experiences called “Pathways to Wellness,” and there is a new outdoor event space and redesigned ballroom and meeting spaces. 

Other New Developments

At Copper Mountain Resort in Colorado, guests can get a taste of the upcoming Olympics in Sochi with a chance to visit the same terrain used for training by U.S. Olympic hopefuls.


Topnotch Resort in Vermont
Topnotch Resort in Vermont has undergone an extensive renovation.


“With travel to Sochi being extremely difficult to experience the Olympics first hand, Copper Mountain has made it possible for fans [to] meet and cheer on our on-snow heroes on U.S. soil before they head overseas,” said Stephanie Sweeney, public relations coordinator at Copper Mountain. 

On November 8, the resort will host a pep rally to celebrate and officially announce the members of the 2013-2014 U.S. Alpine Ski Team. Also, the U.S. Freeskiing and U.S. Snowboarding teams will take to Copper’s Main Vein Superpipe for early season training in November. From December 16 to 22, the teams will be competing alongside 13 other countries in the second-to-last Olympic qualifier, the U.S. Grand Prix World Cup, also taking place at Copper.

Fresh off its debut of Chalet Pelerin in the French Alps this past season, luxury chalet operator Eleven Experience opened Sopris this past summer in Crested Butte, CO, adjacent to the company’s flagship Scarp Ridge Lodge. Sopris can be rented on its own or combined with Scarp Ridge for groups of 20 and up. Starting at $800 per person, all-inclusive, Sopris has three en-suite rooms and a loft bunk room with four singles, as well as a game room.  

Also in Colorado, Steamboat Springs is adding a new on-mountain restaurant dubbed Four Points Hut. At 9,716 feet above sea level, the new dining facility will offer natural, healthy upscale menu items in a modern mountain lodge-inspired dining area that seats over 200. 

Vail in Colorado is continuing its on-mountain improvements with two new chairlifts. The Mountaintop Express Lift (#4), one of the most-used lifts on the mountain, will increase capacity from four-passengers to six. Gopher Hill Lift (#12), currently a fixed-grip double lift in one of Vail’s beginner areas, will be upgraded to a triple. 

At Whistler Blackcomb in British Columbia, Canada, the PEAK 2 PEAK Viewing Gallery, officially unveiled this past May, will see its first winter. The interactive gallery in the PEAK 2 PEAK terminal offers guests a bird’s-eye view of the resort’s gondola,  which holds the world’s record for longest free span between ropeway towers, 1.88 miles, and highest point above the ground, 1,427 feet. Additionally, an $18 million lift expansion will add a new Whistler Mountain Harmony 6 high-speed six-pack chairlift and a new Crystal Ridge high-speed quad chairlift for the 2013-2014 season, increasing capacity by more than 1,000 skiers per hour. 

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