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Breckenridge Ski Resorts

Vail, Breckenridge to Reopen for Bonus Weekend

Breckenridge Ski Resort and Vail officials announced today they will extend the two resorts’ ski seasons one additional weekend, April 19-21, due to the large amounts of snow the resorts have received in recent days.

Breckenridge has received over 5 feet of snow so far in April, including another 16 inches since the resort’s initial closing on Sunday. At Vail, 2 feet of snow has fallen since the original closing day of its 50th anniversary season. More snow is in the forecast this week for both resorts.

“After skiing some amazing powder turns on Closing Day and more heavy snow in the forecast this week, we just don’t have the heart to shut down Breck’s lifts just yet,” said Pat Campbell, senior vice president and COO at Breckenridge Ski Resort. “We can’t deny how great the conditions are, so this is a great opportunity for all of our guests to take advantage of a few extra days and enjoy more of the spring skiing and riding we all love here in Breck.”

“This is a great way to end our 50th anniversary season,” added Chris Jarnot, senior vice president and COO at Vail Mountain. “This is an opportunity for our season pass holders and skiers from around the region to take advantage of a few extra days, and enjoy more of the spring skiing we all love here in Colorado.”

The announcement comes on the heels of the Aspen Skiing Co.’s decision Monday to keep Aspen Highlands open for a bonus weekend, April 27 and April 28. Highlands’ original closing day was scheduled for April 21.

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Explore Colorado: Off the Slopes Fun in Breckenridge

imagesSki season is winding down with many resorts closing this weekend and next weekend.  Breckenridge Ski Resort closes on April 14th.  While there is a lot of fun on the slopes, there is also a lot of family fun you can have off the slopes.

If you like to hike, snowshoe, or skin up a mountain, then head up Peak 9 or any of the peaks at Breckenridge before the lifts open or after the ski season is over.  If you go early, you will get great views of the sun coming up over the Continental Divide.  It is a workout and it is free!  Something else that is free is sledding at Carter Park, just a couple of blocks off of Main Street.  It is a great hill for a ton of sledding fun.

The Gold Runner Alpine Coaster runs in the winter and summer.  The coaster is 2,500 feet of track that winds through trees and right along the ski slopes.  Through this weekend, it is open 11am-4pm.  It will re-open for the summer season.  Single rides are $7 for ages 3-7 and $16 for 8 and up.  All day tickets are $12 for ages 3-7 and $29 for 8 and up.  During the summer, there are all sorts of activities on Peak 8 that the kids will enjoy. You can head north on Highway 9 to Frisco to visit the Frisco Adventure Park.  The tubing lanes are 1,200 feet long.  Cost is $25 a person.  You can also go on a roll in an Xorb, which is kind of like a giant hamster ball.  Cost is $7 for a 5 minute ride.  The kids will love it and adults will get a great mini-workout running and falling in the Xorb.

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Expansion of the Breckenridge Ski Area

imagesThe most popular destination for British skiers in the USA will be nearly a quarter as big again next season thanks to a long planned expansion plan being realised. Work is due to begin imminently on an expansion on to a fifth peak at Breckenridge ski resort in Colorado, one of America’s most authentic ski towns as well as one of the world’s highest ski areas -it’s top lift, the Imperial express, the world’s highest chairlift, less than 90m short of 4,000m above sea level.

The project will see ‘Peak 6’ linked to the existing ski area at Peak 7 by two chairlifts – a quad and a six seater – and the creation of more than 20 new runs both above and below the treeline. Peak 6 has been a long standing expansion dream for resort planners but many years of planning, local consultation and environmental assessments have had to go in to the plan, particularly with trees needing to be cut to create the new runs below the treeline.

Altogether Peak 6 will unlock lift-served access to 543 acres of terrain, taking Breckenridge’s today ski area size to nearly 3,000 acres and placing it within the US top 20 on size. The new terrain will include five high Alpine bowls and some 23 runs, 13 of them located above three treeline, the remaining 10 cut through the forest.

The above treeline terrain will be intermediate level terrain and Breckenridge’s first above-treeline intermediate grade slopes.  The exact opening date of the new terrain is yet to be decided and Breckenridge, which formally closed for the season last weekend, will re-open this after several feet of powder fell in the last few days.  Great for skiing but less helpful for beginning construction for next winter!

Colorado Ski Visits Down 11%

colorado-ski-map-620x406According to The Colorado Springs Business Journal ski visits across the state of Colorado are down 11.5% so far this season, compared to the same period last year. The Journal sites the lack of snow and late openings for many Colorado resorts as major factors in the drop of skier traffic.

“First period is largely fueled by in-state visitors, and an unseasonably warm October and November kept many Coloradans from tallying lots of ski days” said Melanie Mills, president and CEO of Colorado Ski Country USA, a nonprofit industry group that represents several of the state’s largest ski resorts. “Snow did not arrive in earnest until mid-December.”

Despite the slow start, ski areas saw a strong holiday period with conditions more in line with an average year. The New Year started with storms, which bodes well for the rest of the season, she said.

“There is some real buoyancy in the indicators for the months ahead. February and March hotel bookings are pacing ahead of last year by 3.5 percent and 8.6 percent respectively,” Mills said. “Carnival and Easter are well-timed for ski visitation this year and Colorado’s traditional snowier months lie ahead.”.

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Skiing’s Season Pass Revolution Now Includes Lodging

CBMR-FireworksIn the past two years I have covered the fast evolving world of season ski passes, which are a game changer for ski travelers. This trend just keeps getting better.

The main players I have profiled here are Vail Resorts with its Epic Pass, now good at 13 major resorts across Colorado, Utah, California, Nevada, Michigan and Minnesota, plus partners in Austria and Switzerland. The other major option is The Mountain Collective, a package of discounted lift tickets across several independent powerhouse resorts including Aspen/Snowmass, Jackson, Alta, Snowbird, Whistler/Blackcomb, Mammoth and Alpine Meadows/Squaw Valley. There are also more niche regional products such as Utah’s Ski Salt Lake Super Pass and Colorado’s Rocky Mountain SuperPass.

So what’s the newest wrinkle in the world of ski season passes? Well at Crested Butte Mountain Resort, whose season pass already includes limited free skiing at Okemo in Vermont and Sunapee in New Hampshire, the town’s Nordic Inn has upped the ante considerably with an entirely new concept, combining a traditional season pass with 10 flexible nights of bed and breakfast lodging. This means you can make up to two 5-day trips to Crested Butte to use the pass and each time have a place to stay at no additional charge. Or you can break the ten days up however you want for multiple visits at any time from Nov. 20, 2013 through April 6, 2014, with no blackout dates, and extra days are available as an add-on at a 40% discount. If your schedule is flexible you can chase storms and come just for fresh powder. At the same time, Crested Butte Mountain Resort just lowered its regular adult season pass prices by more than 40 percent, just $599 for a full-season adult ski pass with no blackout dates.

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Laid-back Breckenridge Isn’t Just For Skiers

BreckenridgeThis is an article I recently read that made me want to drop everything and head to Breckenridge!

Some mountain towns are touted for their luxury accommodations, fine dining or arts scene. Some are known as places to go for spas, hiking or biking. Others, for golf or world-class fishing.

Breckenridge may have the best combination of all those attributes.

Known for its massive ski resort, Breckenridge also has plenty to offer in summer and fall, with a wide range of activities, reasonable prices and a low-key vibe, all set in the picturesque Colorado Rockies. “The weather is great, it’s clean and it’s well-kept, the prices are not exorbitant and you can find anything that you want to do,” said Monroe Buford. The Gulf Shores, Ala., resident has spent summers in Breckenridge with his wife, Sue, since 1994. “It’s just an ideal place for people who like to get out of the heat in the summertime.”

Breckenridge, about 82 miles west of Denver, was founded as a mining town during the mid-19th-century gold rush. It became a resort town in the 1960s with the opening of the ski area, which attracts more than 1 million skiers every year. Over the years, the town that locals call Breck became a summer and fall destination as well. It’s easy to see why. Breckenridge sits along the Blue River, just above where it feeds into Dillon Reservoir, and below the 14,000-foot peaks of the Ten-Mile Range. Panoramic views are visible from pretty much anywhere in town.

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2012-13 Skier Visits Creep Up by 4 Percent in Colorado

Arapahoe Basin Ski AreaColorado’s ski areas hosted 11.4 million skier visits last season, a nearly 4 percent increase over the previous season’s 11 million.

The 11.4 million mark, while an increase over the dismal and dry 2011-12 season, is the third-slowest season in the past decade, and the annual increase falls well below the national spike of 11 percent.

Colorado Ski Country USA, the trade group that represents 21 of the state’s 25 ski areas, reported 6.4 million skier visits in 2012-13, an increase of 3.8 percent, or 235,000 skier visits, over 2011-12. Vail Resorts’ four Colorado ski areas — Vail, Breckenridge, Keystone and Beaver Creek — saw about 5 million skier visits.

Colorado’s 2012-13 season started slowly, with weak snow and local skiers staying home. Storms in late December and late spring fueled a rebound in visitation. But it wasn’t enough to pull the state closer to the 12 million-skier-visit benchmark it reached in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2011.

Declining skier visits does not necessarily correlate to decreasing revenues, as evidenced by ski areas that saw increased revenues in 2011-12, which saw record declines in visitation.

The Epic Pass Will Include Canyons Next Season

indexThe Epic Pass, a prized multi-resort ski pass sold by Vail Resorts, will include access to Canyons Resort during the next ski season, a result of the lease deal between Talisker Corporation and Vail Resorts involving Canyons Resort.

In a prepared statement announcing the lease, Vail Resorts says people who buy the Epic Pass will be able to use it at the Snyderville Basin resort on an “unlimited and unrestricted” basis.

The Epic Pass is also good at Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone, which are in Colorado, and the Lake Tahoe-region resorts of Northstar, Heavenly and Kirkwood. It also offers holders five days of skiing at a resort in Switzerland and a combined five days at three resorts in Austria, including St. Anton.

The statement says the Epic Pass for the 2013-2014 ski season is currently priced at $689 for adults, lower than the price of a season pass at Canyons Resort during the most recent ski season.

The Epic Pass is well known in the industry for offering buyers flexibility between two of North America’s prime skiing regions, Colorado and Lake Tahoe.

Breckenridge Ski Resort opening for season

The Breckenridge Ski Resort is kicking off its season, joining other Colorado resorts that are already open.

The resort is counting on a big storm bringing more than a foot of snow beginning Friday to some areas on the Western Slope.

Copper Mountain and Keystone Resort are now open, giving skiers and snowboarders more options of where to make turns in Colorado. Arapahoe Basin and Loveland opened in October.

The Colorado ski industry is hoping to bounce back from last season, when snowfall in large parts of the state was below average.

Switzerland is Now Epic: Vail + Verbier Join Forces

Vail Resorts announced today an unprecedented partnership with Verbier, Switzerland, that will enhance the already incredible value of Vail Resorts’ Epic Season Pass, providing three days of free access to the Verbier ski resort, including Les 4 Vallees, the largest ski area in Switzerland, for new and renewing 2012-2013 Epic Season Pass holders. In addition to unlimited, unrestricted skiing and riding at eight world-class mountain resorts in the United States, Epic Pass holders will now have the opportunity to extend their winter to Europe and experience four additional premier mountain resorts including the illustrious Verbier resort, as well as Nendaz, Veysonnaz and Thyon, Switzerland. The “Four Valleys” ski area boasts breathtaking views of the Rhone Valley and the infamous Matterhorn, and extend to the Valais and Bernese Alps, culminating in the largest ski area in Switzerland.

“Vail Resorts Epic Season Pass holders already receive an incredible experience with unlimited, unrestricted access to Vail Resorts’ seven world-class resorts including Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, KeystoneHeavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood, as well as Arapahoe Basin, but we wanted to give them even more benefits by offering Epic Season Pass holders three free days of skiing at the legendary Verbier ski resort, including Les 4 Vallees  in Switzerland,” said Kirsten Lynch, executive vice president and chief marketing officer for Vail Resorts.

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