Lots Of News From VailThe Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver ruled unanimously in favor of the U.S. Forest Service and Vail Associates regarding Vail’s Category III expansion. The decision affirmed that the Forest Service properly analyzed and addressed the projected impacts that Category III may have on the Canada Lynx and that the Forest Service also properly followed the process for review and approval of the entire project. Vail Resorts also announced construction in the Category III ski area expansion has progressed sufficiently to allow the resort to open three-fifths of the 885 acres of new terrain during the 1999/2000 season. Three of the four new high-speed quad chairlifts planned for the expansion will open this season. The expansion area, formerly known as Category III, now will be called Blue Sky Basin. The official grand opening of the new area is scheduled for January 6, 2000.

Loveland Pass Adds Capital Improvements

Improvements for the upcoming season at Loveland Pass include a one-million dollar upgrade to Loveland’s snowmaking and grooming capabilities. Loveland added six new Lenko automatic fan guns, increasing the area’s snowmaking firepower 25 percent and giving Loveland the second largest automated snowmaking system in Colorado. Loveland also added four new Pisten Bully snow-grooming machines made by Kassbohrer. The flagship of this new grooming fleet is the new Pisten Bully 300 W–a winch-assisted groomer that will be used for the steeper double-black-diamond trails.

Nighttime Partying At Blandford

The Blandford Ski Area, in Blandford, Massachusetts will be open for the first time for regularly scheduled night snowboarding every Friday night in January and February from 5:00 to 9:30 p.m. Three trails and the halfpipe will be under the lights. The trails will be serviced by one chairlift, a multi-lift, and a T-bar.

Blandford will also be offering trails for use exclusively by school or adult race team practice on Monday and Wednesday evenings beginning December 27.

Crested Butte Challenges Students To Stay CleanWhen someone offers a beer to a local high school student, the consequences of saying “yes” might be as immediate as missing tomorrow’s powder morning. In a program unparalleled in the recreational industry, Crested Butte Mountain Resort offers free season ski passes to all ninth through twelfth grade students in Crested Butte and Gunnison who sign a pledge to remain drug and alcohol free. If a student breaks the pledge, he is asked to turn in the pass (or pay its value for the remainder of the season). Last year the company gave away 300 passes through the program, which is now entering its eighth year.

Crested Butte will be hosting the Sixth Annual Sector Sport Watches U.S. Extreme Boarderfest on April 2—6, showcasing four days of big air, boardercross, and “extreme” competition.

New Telluride Additions

Three new lifts, including two state-of-the-art, high-speed detachable quads, have been added to Telluride’s slopes for ’99/00. The lifts are part of approximately ten-million-dollars that the Telluride Ski and Golf Company committed to on-mountain improvements over the summer of 1999. The addition of the lifts brings Telluride’s ratio of high-speed to other lifts to six for six.

Also look for Telluride to host the halfpipe competition for the 2000 ISF World Snowboard Championships on January 8—15. The Air Garden, host for the halfpipe competition, boasts more than 40 solid hits, from spines and tabletops to quarterpipes, breadloaves, hips, rollers, and funboxes.

Jackson Hole To Host Rob Kingwill Freestyle Camp

On December 29—31, Jackson Hole will host the new Rob Kingwill Freestyle Camp–a unique opportunity for intermediate and expert snowboarders who want to master freestyle snowboarding, including big ai halfpipe, and terrain-park riding. Evening activities include movies, speakers, prizes, and gym sessions with 1998 U.S. Open Halfpipe Champion Rob Kingwill.

Angel Fire Investments Pay Off

In the past four years Angel Fire in New Mexico has invested over ten-million dollars in improvements with a master plan of an additional 30-million to be pumped into the resort over the next seven years. The expansion began three years ago with the installation of two high-speed detachable quads–The Chile Express and The Southwest Flyer installed in 1998. Other improvements include a new, 6,000-square-foot Children’s Ski and Snowboard Center, a terrain park, and more snowmaking capabilities.

Squaw Adds New Lifts

In preparation for its fiftieth anniversary season, last summer Squaw Valley installed two high-speed six-pac detachable chairlifts. One six-pac replaced the old headwall lift and the second replaced both the Gold Coast and mainline lifts. Together with Funitel, the new lifts will also access more of Squaw’s terrain during storm conditions. Squaw has increased its snowmaking capabilities with the installation of eleven new fixed-fan guns covering more upper mountain acreage around Gold Coast.

The Canyons Adds Some Acreage

The Canyons’ biggest improvement news for the season is the opening of Peak Five in the White Pine Canyon area. This expansion, accessed by a new four-passenger chairlift, will add approximately 300 additional acres of skiing and riding terrain to the resort. Located just to the South of Peak Ninety-Nine 90, this lift will open new intermediate and expert terrain that previously could only be reached by backcountry hiking. With the new terrain expansion, The Canyons will offer the most trails in Utah with over 125.

Deer Valley Resort ExpansionDeer Valley is implementing five-million dollars in improvements for the ’99/00 winter season, including the addition of three new chairlifts and three new runs. Anew triple chairlift will be placed on Flagstaff Mountain in the meadow south of the existing Red Cloud Chairlift. The existing Clipper triple chair located at the resort’s base area will be replaced by the new Silver Lake Express high-speed detachable quad. The expanding seating capacity and increased speed of the new chair will transport more guests from the base to the mid-mountain Silver Lake area of the resort more rapidly. The Homestake triple chairlift will also be replaced by a new fixed-grip quad, enabling Deer Valley guests to return from the mountain’s mid-mountain Silver Lake area to the Snow Park base area more quickly. The addition of the three new chairlifts increases Deer Valley’s uphill capacity to 38,300 boarders per hour.

Snowbasin Transforms Itself

Snowbasin literally transformed itself into something completely new last year with the addition of the Strawberry and Middlebowl gondolas, the John Paul Quad, and the Olympic Tram. This year, they’ll be adding snowmaking to cover 600 acres of skiable terrain at the resort.

Snowbird Adds 500 New Acres

The big news at Snowbird this year is the birth of the Mineral Basin area. Last summer Snowbird added an additional 500 acres of new terrain–a 25-percent increase. Previously accessible by snowcat, Snowbird has installed a high-speed detachable quad into their newest powder playground. Mineral Basin’s 500 acres are all nearly treeless and offer eighteen new runs and a vertical drop of 1,489 feet.

Snowbird will also feature a new terrain park for boarders located on Big Emma in Gad Valley, Entry One.

Sundance Adds Snowmaking

The big news at Sundance is snowmaking. A first-ever snowmaking system is currently under construction. It will cover twenty percent of Sundance’s terrain, primarily the beginning and intermediate runs on the front of the mountain.

Park City Partners With Burton

Park City Mountain Resort has partnered with Burton to create innovative instructional programs. Besides the Burton Learn to Ride system designed to increase first-day success rates, there’s also the Burton Chopper Kids program that not only gives instruction, but exposes the snowboard lifestyle. Chopper programs are available in two-hour, half-day, and full-day increments and include lift ticket and equipment rental. With Burton

Park City Mountain Resort has partnered with Burton to create innovative instructional programs. Besides the Burton Learn to Ride system designed to increase first-day success rates, there’s also the Burton Chopper Kids program that not only gives instruction, but exposes the snowboard lifestyle. Chopper programs are available in two-hour, half-day, and full-day increments and include lift ticket and equipment rental.