Mammoth Mountain, in eastern California, recently announced that it has acquired Big Bear Mountain Resorts and Snow Summit in a $38 million deal, making it one of the biggest ski companies in the United States. Together with June Mountain, which is already owned by Mammoth Mountain, the new four-resort group collectively hosts more than two million snow sport enthusiasts each year. In an interview, CEO of Mammoth Mountain, Rusty Gregory, noted that announcements detailing development and expansion plans for all four resorts will be made in the next few months.
Already one of the California’s most popular resorts, Mammoth Mountain Ski Area covers more than 3,500 acres of skiable terrain along the eastern slopes of the Sierra Nevada mountain range in eastern California, offering traditional alpine skiing and snowboarding, as well as cross-country and snowshoe terrain, snowmobile action and Snowcat tours. The ski area’s top elevation is 11,053 feet, with its base elevation at 7,953 feet. Average snowfall is 400 inches, with snowmaking on 46 trails. Twenty-eight lifts ensure more time on the snow, and an average of 300 days of sunshine adds to the pleasure of skiing at this Californian resort.
To make snow sport in this region of California even more accessible, particularly to visitors from the East and Midwest, Mammoth Mountain recently announced that two new flights into Mammoth Lakes airport will be added in the upcoming season – Alaska Airlines will be flying from Las Vegas, and United from Denver. Mammoth has also initiated its new “Cali4nia Pass” offering unlimited skiing and boarding at all four of its resorts, discounted for a limited time.
The Snow Summit deal includes a golf course, a driving range and a number of parking lots, along with the rights to 438 acres of skiable land which is owned by the US Forest Service. Moreover, Mammoth Mountain’s investors are reportedly planning to build on land around Snow Summit and Bear Mountain, all of which adds to the value of the deal. For skiers the development of the resorts and combined deals that may make snow skiing more affordable, the acquisition of Snow Summit and Big Bear Mountain by Mammoth Mountain is no doubt good news.
Ski Vermont resorts will not be waiting around for Mother Nature to be gracious enough to deliver snow timeously during the 2014-2015 snow sport season. It was recently announced that resorts represented by non-profit trade association Ski Vermont, together with Efficiency Vermont, will be undertaking a $15 million upgrade of the ski area’s snowmaking system to ensure skiers and riders will be able to hit the slopes when the season begins.
In addition to bringing business to the area, the upgrade makes sense from an environmental point of view. Up to 1,800 older model snow guns will be scrapped and 2,300 new low energy snow guns will be installed for the upcoming season. To determine what models of snow guns would be most suitable to meet Ski Vermont’s goals, engineers from Efficiency Vermont conducted tests on fifteen different models, taking note of water, air and energy consumption, as well as their overall performance. Advances in technology have resulted in new model snow guns using up to 85% less energy to operate than older snowmaking equipment. It is anticipated that the upgraded snow guns will result in saving of around $2 million per annum, while attracting more snow sport enthusiasts to the area, thereby contributing to the economic welfare of the state.
While the energy saving of the new equipment is significant, snow sport fans will no doubt be thrilled that it will produce better quality snow and has the capability to create slopes even when temperatures are above ideal, thereby extending Vermont‘s snow skiing and snowboarding season.
Vermont Ski Areas Association President, Parker Riehle, noted that an upgrade of this magnitude has never been seen before, going on to thank Efficiency Vermont for its dedication to the Vermont ski industry. Snow skiing and snowboarding are the official state sports of Vermont, which is a leading international snow sport destination.
After a very slow start to the 2014 season in June, Australian ski resorts are celebrating massive snowfalls which have left some areas covered in more than a meter of snow – just in time for the country’s mid-year school holidays. Communications and Media Manager of Australia’s biggest resort, Samantha Hales, noted that there will be more than forty lifts operating at Perisher, Blue Cow, Smiggin Holes and Guthega this weekend. Staff members at the resort are working hard at grooming snow, building lift tracks and ensuring that the ski areas are safe for the influx of guests expected at the weekend.
Referring to the bountiful snowfall as ‘Snowmageddon 1.0’, Mount Hotham has already got lifts going and is anticipating excellent school holiday snow skiing and snowboarding activity. With predictions of more snow – ‘Snowmageddon 2.0’ – the resort is geared up to receive guests with all the facilities needed for loads of snow sport fun.
With gold being discovered in the remote region of the Victorian Alps in 1851, skiing was born out of necessity for the miners in the area. As roads were developed by mining companies, skiing was no longer the most efficient way to travel, but during the 1920s recreational skiers discovered Mount Hotham and development of the area as a ski resort followed.
Located at 1861 meters in the Victorian Alps northeast of Melbourne, Mount Hotham has a ski area of 320ha with superb beginner terrain (20% of area), intermediate terrain (40% of area) and advanced terrain (40% of area). Its longest downhill run is 2.5 km, and it has uphill lift capacity of 24,485 per hour, with snowmaking facilities to augment natural snowfall on slopes.
Australia’s ski areas experienced one of the warmest May months in years, and June produced very little snow, with some areas, including Treble Cone at Wanaka, having their sparse snow cover washed away by rain. Climate scientists confirmed that June temperatures were well above average, further fueling fears that 2014 may be a disappointing season. But all that changed when snow started falling, and excitement is mounting as snow sport enthusiasts plan to head for the slopes in July, and Australia’s ski resorts are ready and waiting with a snow-laden welcome.
With the 2014 Winter Olympics well underway, the excitement and competitive levels are running high as countries start to count their medals. Officially known as the XXII Olympic Winter Games, and most often referred to as Sochi 2014, the games feature a total of 98 events in 15 winter sport disciplines. Sochi 2014 is the debut for a number of events, including women’s ski jumping, biathlon mixed relay, mixed-team figure skating, half-pipe skiing, mixed-team luge, snowboard parallel slalom, and ski and snowboard slopestyle. The events are taking place at two groups of new purpose-built venues – the Olympic Park in Imeretinsky Valley on the Black Sea coast, and the resort of Krasnaya Polyana.
The Women’s Alpine Skiing event today saw a tie for first place with Tina Maze of Slovenia and Dominique Gisin of Switzerland both covering the 2.7 km stretch in 1:41.57. This is Gisin’s third downhill victory, two of which were ties, the other being a World Cup victory in January 2009 which she shared with Anja Paerson from Sweden. Maze, wearing bib number 21, took to the starting line 30 minutes after Gisin in the number 8 bib. As temperatures rose, Maze appeared to be hindered by softening snow on the final slope, but crossed the finish line with the exact same time as Gisin – and was clearly pleased with the result. Lara Gut of Switzerland took the Bronze Medal, with Daniela Merighetti coming in fourth and Fabienne Suter in sixth place.
Yesterday’s events included the Women’s Pursuit Biathlon, with the Gold Medal going to Darya Domracheva of Belarus, Silver going to Tora Berger of Norway and Bronze to Teja Gregorin of Slovenia. The Short Program Figure Skating Pairs event saw Russia in first and third place, with Germany in second, China in fourth and Canada in fifth place. The Free Skating event will take place tomorrow, with the points earned being added to the Short Program Figure Skating Pairs to determine final score and medal awards.
Highlights of tomorrow’s program include the Ladies’ Classic Cross-Country, Men’s Figure Skating, Team Relay Luge, and Men’s Individual Biathlon. Sochi 2014 continues until Sunday 23 February.
In a recent survey by SKI magazine, around 20,000 readers voted for their favorite ski destination in the West, with Utah earning some high praise and three spots in the top ten. Deer Valley took second place, with Park City Mountain Resort coming in at fifth and The Canyons at tenth. Other Utah resorts in the top thirty included Snowbird at 17th, Alta at 27th, Solitude at 28th, Snowbasin at 29th and Brighton at number thirty.
Deer Valley Resort is located near Park City in the Wasatch mountain range, around 36 miles east of Salt Lake City. The ski culture has its roots in the Park City Winter Carnivals that took place in the 1930s, with ski trails being built during the winter months of 1936-1937 and the first ski lifts where built by local residents in 1946. A lot has changed since then, and today Deer Valley has over two thousand acres of skiable area, with one hundred runs offering everything from green dot ‘easiest’ to black diamond ‘most difficult’. The 24 lifts servicing the area can move more than 50,000 skiers per hour and include a gondola, a fixed-grip quad chairlift, 12 high-speed quad chairlifts, 5 triple chairlifts, 2 double chairlifts, and 4 magic carpets. Snowfall averages 300 inches per season, with snowmaking equipment covering more than 660 acres. In the 2013 SKI magazine survey, Deer Valley was second only to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and achieved top ten ratings in the categories of lifts, snow cover, weather, access, digital performance, après-ski, off-hill activities and overall satisfaction.
The top fifteen resorts of the thirty highlighted by the survey are:
1. Jackson Hole, Wyoming
2. Deer Valley, Utah
3. Vail, Colorado
4. Sun Valley, Idaho
5. Park City Mountain Resort, Utah
6. Whistler Blackcomb, British Columbia
7. Telluride, Colorado
8. Steamboat, Colorado
9. Snowmass, Colorado
10. The Canyons, Utah
11. Beaver Creek, Colorado
12. Big Sky, Montana
13. Aspen Mountain, Colorado
14. Mammoth Mountain, California
15. Crested Butte, Colorado