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Month: August 2017

Aspen Ski Resorts Epic Merger

What does $1.5 billion in the the ski biz? A bunch of great ski resorts, so says the Crown family, of Aspen Resorts, with their recent acquisition of Intrawest, KSL and Mammoth.

Aspen owns a mammoth ski resort conglomerate dozen now – competing with the likes of Vail Resorts which now tallies 19 ski resorts.

This new Aspen ski company, renamed and branded as Alterra Mountain Co., now tallying 13 mountain resorts and six million annual skier visits, including:
Squaw Valley  Alpine Meadows
Mammoth Mountain and June Mountain
Snow Summit and Bear Mountain also in California
Steamboat and Winter Park Resort, Colorado
Solitude and Deer Valley Utah
Stratton Vermont
Tremblant in Quebec
Snowshoe Mountain Resort in West Virginia
Blue Mountain Ski Resort in Ontario
Canadian Mountain Holidays heli skiing operations

Boom!

Aspen Resorts, and its four ski mountains, Snowmass, Ajax, Aspen Highland and Buttermilk, remain a separate company owned by the Crown family. If you were to count them in the overall ski picture that would be 16 ski resorts, approaching Vail Resorts conglomerate… but Vail is still the big daddy in skier visits with busy resorts like Vail, Whistler Blackcomb, Breckenridge and Keystone, Whistler Blackcomb, Park City and Heavenly.

KSL Capital Partners and the owner of the four Aspen resorts, Henry Crown and Company, are the backers of this 1.5 billion ski bundle.

The mega mountain pass for Aspen’s new entourage is the IKON pass to compete with Vail Resorts Epic Pass – 19 ski resorts (plus ski benefits at more including Telluride, Resorts of the Canadian Rockies –  Kicking Horse, Kimberly, Fernie, Nakiska and Mont Sainte Anne, and Hakuba Japan’s 9 ski areas, for about $800 bucks. While we don’t love ski monopolies and downhill dynasties, you can’t beat the value of a multi-venue unlimited vertical ski pass for under a $1000….

By Heather Burke, Photos by Greg Burke, Family Ski Trips Copyright 2018

Visit Heather Burke’s websites Family Ski Trips.com and  for luxury resort reviews: www.theluxuryvacationguide.com

 

 

Stay in ski shape all summer!

If you are snow lover and ski freak like me, you think winter just doesn’t last long enough. You hear the snow haters that bleep and moan about snow, ice, and cold, and you think “they are missing out on the best season – winter.” Well, just like you aren’t going to change minds, you aren’t going to be able to skip over spring, summer & fall either. You could take a ski trip to Chile, or New Zealand, or ski a glacier at Zermatt or ski a volcanic glacier in Oregon at Mount Hood, but I suggest a better, less expensive option is to have your sun & fun, stay in shape and appreciate the changing seasons. Here are some of my favorite summer activities, call them ski substitutes:

HB_waterski09H2O Skiing – water skiing is a second cousins to snow skiing. The quad muscles, core strength and isometric movement is the same skiing on water as on snow. Water skiing is a great work out, explosive energy and fitness is required to get up and stay up for a 15-30 minute ski, as much as 13-15 ski runs in fact Like downhill skiing, it’s not for the timid or the faint of wallet – let’s see you need a ski, or two, a ski boat, pfd, tow line, gas for the boat, a driver and spotter, and then you pray for calm crystal waters, glass-like lake conditions are akin to powder or perfectly groomed snow. The speed and centrifugal force of an arcing water ski turn is as close as you are going to get to the thrill and gravitational pull of carving on snow till winter returns.

Wakeboarding – the summer bro to snowboarding, wakeboarding also works your quads, core and upper body in great pre-ski or après ski season conditioning. If you like to hit 2015-bri-wakeboard1the terrain park in winter on your board, then wakeboarding is just your speed in summer sine you can perform tricks, turns and jumps on a wakeboard.

Cycling – road cycling or mountain biking are great exercise for skiers and riders. You work your quads, gluteus, hamstrings,  and calves while exploring the great outdoors. Whether you are big on hill climbs or prefer touring the meandering coast on your road bike, cycling is a fun fitness activity. Like skiing, heads up and helmets on – bike accidents are more prevalent than ski injuries, and particularly bike head trauma. So ride with care, watch for cars, and seek out bike paths, trails and quieter less trafficked places to ride whenever possible.

Hiking – what better way to enjoy the beautiful mountains in summer, without snow, than to climb to the summit. Pack a picnic, put on your hiking boots and go for the peak. Hiking is easy on the wallet and the eyes, especially when you summit and can see the panorama you earned from your ascent.  Just like skiing, your hiking regimen should start small and gradually increase your distance and mountain difficulty for the best enjoyment and conditioning. Be prepared for all weather and conditions, do your research, and pack in and pack out all your provisions (water, food, flashlight, first aid). Take only memories and leave only foot prints is the golden rule among hikers. Take care on your descent to use proper form for those ski knees of yours.  Consult your local state parks and hiking clubs for tips on the best trails, where to park and start your trip,  and to find the right hike size, length and steepness s for your level and time allowance.

heather-aspen-supBoating – SUP – sailing or power boating, stand up paddle boarding, kayaking or canoeing, while not as physically strenuous as skiing, offers a similar great outdoors escape as snow sports. Being on a boat provides a feeling of oneness with nature, and the opportunity to escape from the concrete jungle, the computer keyboard, the day to day, and test your survival skills with outdoor adventure. Many skiers spend their summers boating for the beauty of being on the water, not unlike being on a mountain. Boating is also very social, like minded individuals gravitate toward the water – which is melted snow after all, to party, swim, raft and tell fish tales and yachting stories in lieu of powder day brags.

These are a few of my favorite summer things… what’s your summer savior till snow flies and we ski again?

Heather Burke, 2018 Copyright & Photography property of Family Ski Trips

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