Skiing in Banff could be more affordable this year, thanks to a just-announced partnership between the famed winter mecca and the Mountain Collective, whose pass grants holders big savings in a traditionally expensive sport.
A longtime winter favorite, Banff’s mountains provide 8,000 acres of ski and snowboard terrain in a UNESCO-recognized wilderness deep in the Canadian Rockies. All three ski areas inside Banff National Park —Lake Louise, Sunshine Village, and Mount Norquay —are joining the Mountain Collective.
Sick of the selfie? Tourism New Zealand’s new take on the trend may peak your interest. Enter the “dronie,” a video taken by a high-flying, remote control-operated drone. Through August, the company will hit the slopes with its own miniature aircraft to shoot 8-second HD clips of visitors to several South Island ski areas. The drone-toting representatives email the videos to participants, free of charge.
It's Throwback Thursday, and with freezing temperatures still gripping much of the country, it seems only fitting to look back at one of the world's top winter destinations—St. Moritz, Switzerland. This 1930 video from the iconic Badrutt's Palace Hotel has us ready to hit the slopes in style.
Who can blame a woman for doing yoga in heels (see 0:37) when she's staying at the classiest hotel in the Alps? Badrutt's Palace has just the kind of atmosphere that makes morning back bends an excuse to feel fancy.
Now is the time to purchase next year's ski passes, with early bird specials promising hundreds of dollars in savings.
With Vail Resorts' Epic Pass, holders gain unlimited access to the company's major U.S. resorts (Vail, Breckenridge and Northstar), and for the first time ever, five days at Japan's sprawling Niseko United. At $739, and $379 for children, it makes up its value if users spend more than a week on the slopes during the year.
It's official: Every state in the continental US—minus Florida—has snowfall. And with a long weekend coming up, it's the perfect opportunity to head to the hills for some skiing. Sites like Liftopia, Snow.com, and GetSkiTickets.com are offering last minute deals all over the country. Our favorite savings? Liftopia's $14 ski pass for New Hampshire's Ragged Mountain tomorrow—that's a 79% discount. They're selling out fast though, so act fast!
Q: Any advice on flying with skis? —Hitomi Ueda, via e-mail
A: Most airlines treat a collection of sporting equipment as a single piece of checked luggage—so your skis, poles, and boots count as only one item, not three. We recommendPark Accessories, a new line of bags made with Italian coated canvas. Shown: the Northern Lights, which holds two pairs of skis ($1,150).
It's that time of year again when I spend hours online looking for an affordable place to bring the kids skiing. Trust me, it's not easy. And I've been tempted to give up on the idea altogether, but these deals look seriously promising.
Make sure to check out LIftopia.com first. The discount site partners with more than 250 resorts worldwide. Just this morning I found savings of up to 50% at Magic Mountain, in Vermont, and 35% in Park City, Utah for a four day trip at the end of January. Ski.com is another winner and offers deals on airlines, lodging, and even lift tickets around the globe.
Ten years ago, I stayed at the then-relatively-new Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch, at the base of Colorado’s Beaver Creek resort. The ski lodge was a new concept for the Ritz-Carlton, and I loved everything about it: ski-in/ski-out access, a great room with a huge stone fireplace, an outdoor fire pit for roasting marshmallows. Thankfully, all of that’s still there, but last month, the hotel put the finishing touches on a big renovation. Since I was out in Colorado, I went to take a look.
The big news? A brand-new, three-meals-a-day, open-kitchen restaurant called Buffalos, which serves up its namesake in several forms, like a buffalo steak and eggs, a bison burger, and something I wasn’t expecting to like as much as I did: bison tartare (washed down with a few Colorado craft beers). The hotel’s other restaurant, Spago, didn’t exist when I first visited, but since 2007, it’s been turning out Wolfgang Puck’s sensational seasonal dishes. And as I sampled his stupendous pumpkin-filled pasta, bonus—Puck himself was dining with his family a couple tables away.
It’s not every day that a ski resort massively expands out its skiable acres. Maybe it opens a new lift or on-mountain restaurant, but for a resort to increase its footprint by 20% is an enormous undertaking. Yet that’s exactly what Colorado’s Breckenridge Ski Resort is doing with its new mountain, called Peak 6, which opens on Christmas Day. And since I was out in Colorado, I stopped by Breck for a pre-opening look.
First off, the stats: Peak 6 brings 400 acres of lift-served terrain and 143 acres of hike-to terrain (skewing intermediate but pretty evenly split between intermediate and expert trails), three new bowls, eight new cut trails, and two new chairlifts. In all, it’s one of the biggest ski-area terrain expansions in North America in the past decade. And it’s on top of Breck’s existing five peaks, 2,900 acres, four terrain parks, a 22-foot superpipe, 11 bowls, and the highest chairlift in North America.
Just last week, we wrote about saving big on ski passes by purchasing them early from Liftopia and Epic Pass. Now, Epic Pass has announced a new competition—fittingly dubbed the Epic Race.
The first ten people to ski all 26 resorts included in the Epic Pass will win a pass for life. That means free lift-tickets to some of the world's top ski destinations: U.S. mountains include Vail, Beaver Creek, and Breckenridge. In the French, Swiss, and Austrian Alps, passholders can enjoy the slopes at mountains such as Courchevel, Verbier, and Stuben.
Registration for the Epic Race starts November 1. Learn more here.
Peter Schlesinger is a research assistant at Travel + Leisure, and a member of the Trip Doctor news team. You can follow him on Twitter at @pschles08.