New lifts, big birthdays and massive expansions at popular ski resorts

What's happening at your favourite resorts


 

Blue is Bigger

With a recent $7.5-million infusion, Ontario’s Blue Mountain—already the province’s largest mountain village—has grown by another 20 per cent. The Orchard expansion at the mountain’s south end includes 64 acres of skiable terrain, a high-speed, six-person chairlift and six trails—snowmaking and night lighting included. Also new: a 1.6-kilometre beginner trail, the longest in Ontario.

Tremblant’s 75th

Seventy-five years ago this season, Joe Ryan launched a lift up Quebec’s Mont Tremblant—a single chair up the south-facing Flying Mile. It was only the second hill in North America (after Sun Valley) to boast a chairlift. Tremblant is planning special celebrations for Feb. 12, 2014, the Laurentians ski resort’s official 75th birthday.

A Lift Up

Both Whistler and Blackcomb mountains will be equipped with new chairlifts for 2014. Whistler’s new Harmony 6 Express is a high-speed six-pack that increases upload capacity by 50 per cent. The new lift services Whistler’s massive Harmony Zone, from the Symphony Amphitheatre all the way to Glacier Bowl. On Blackcomb, Crystal Ridge’s age-old triple chair has been replaced by a four-person, high-speed Crystal Ridge Express, promising to increase skier carrying capacity by 65 per cent.

Red, White & Grey

They’re calling it one of the largest expansions of an existing North American ski resort in the past 40 years. B.C.’s Red Mountain will open Grey Mountain and its new lift in time for the 2014 season—997 new acres of skiable terrain accessed by a fixed-trip Poma quad chair. Grey is volcano-shaped, which allows for 360-degree skiing around the peak from a single lift, a rare topographical feature. The expansion elevates Red Resort to the top three per cent of all resorts in North America for skiable acres—2,682 in total.

Learn To Ski Like 1, 2, 3…

B.C.’s Big White introduces its new Mom, Dad and Me Ski program—two-hour lessons for kids aged three to six—and a parent. The program is designed to help children learn to ski while, at the same time, providing parents with tips on how to teach their kids themselves—on-snow game and activity suggestions included. The Mom, Dad and Me program has been packaged with two nights accommodation, four two-day lift passes plus tube park tickets, starting at $275.

Let’s Go Tubing Now

Mount Washington has packed up its tubing park and moved it across the mountain. In a $750,000-expansion, the ski resort on Vancouver Island has built a brand-new area for snow tubers next to its Alpine Lodge, adding more tubing lanes and a Magic Carpet lift to transport tubers uphill at a crazy capacity of 2,000 tubers per hour. The move makes way for a new beginner zone for skiers and snowboarders—Easy Acres now provides learners with six wide, easy green runs and five Magic Carpet lifts.

Fernie’s Firepit

Outdoor play extends beyond the ski slopes with a new winter zipline at Fernie Alpine Resort, open Saturdays through the southeastern B.C. ski area’s 2013 winter holiday season. Also new for Fernie: an outdoor firepit on the back of the Slopeside deck—a perfect place to sip a Starbucks while watching the night skiers lurk on Fernie’s Mighty Moose.

Panorama’s Pro Circuit

Do you ski or snowboard like a pro? The Panorama Mountain Academy debuts in British Columbia this season, offering one-month to 16-week sessions on how to be a ski or ride instructor. Candidates work towards accreditation from the Canadian Ski Instructors Alliance (CSIA) or the Canadian Association of Snowboard Instructors (CASI). Internships and accommodation are also available.

Revving up for Revy

Revelstoke Mountain Resort in B.C. is revving up a new 56-passenger luxury coach for skiers travelling to and from Calgary International Airport. The service ($215 per person) provided by Revelstoke Mountain Transfers & Tours will operate four days per week and will offer stops at Kicking Horse, Banff, Big White, Sun Peaks, Silver Star, Apex, Halcyon Hot Springs and more.

 

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