What’s new this winter and who opens first for skiing on early season snow?
Arapahoe Basin opened Oct 29, 2023! Keystone Nov 1, 2023…
What’s shiny and new at ski resorts near (and far) from you!
Mammoth in California– has two new six packs debuting. Broadway and Canyon Express. Impressive since Mammoth closed for skiing August 6 summer 2023 – that’s a long ski season, and a short off-season.
Keystone finally unveils Bergman Bowl’s high-speed 6-pack, all this terrain was previously reached by occasional cat skiing trips.
Breck – sister resort across the valley – installs a new Peak 5 Super 5 Quad, also on the Epic Pass.
Winter Park gets a 6 -passenger Pioneer Express.
Steamboat debuts the new Wild Blue Gondola servicing lower mountain terrain, and a Mahogany Ridge quad!
Park City Utah, a Vail-owned Epic Pass partner, gets a new Silverlode 8-pack, and a 6-pack Eagle Express lift.
Snowbasin gets a new Demoisy 6-pack and is now on the IKON PASS.
Big Sky Montana debuts a newer bigger summit tram to Lone Peak – with a 75 person acapacity, and new tram pass policy. Alos on the Big Sky chair upgrade list are a new Thunderwolf 6 pack, a Moonlight and Headwaters quad on Moonlight, plus a South Face quad. Wow!
Mt Bachelor in Oregon upgrades the Skyliner to a six pack.
Aspen Mountain has a new hi-speed Pandora quad.
In Vermont, Killington unveiled its new Base Lodge – the K1 Thanksgiving weekend 2022- when Killington hosts the annual FIS Women’s World Cup Tour. This season’s Killington World Cup ski racing is Nov 24-26, 2023!
Magic Mountain debuted a quad- The Black Line Quad brings skiers up the mountain like “magic” compared to the old double chair. Don’t worry, the old Red Chair double is still there for a nostalgic (read: slow) ride up.
Saskadena Six sounds new in Vermont, but actually it’s the re-brand of Suicide Six ski area on its 86th year of ski operations. Saskadena means “Standing Mountain” in Abenaki, apparently the Suicide reference wasn’t woke.
In Maine, Sunday River gets a new Barker 6-pack for 2023-24, on the heels of last season’s 8-pack at Jordan Bowl – thank you Doppelmayr and Boyne – the parent company also of Big Sky, Loon, and Boyne in Michigan. Is Sugarloaf next on the great 8 pack lift list? Doubt it.
Saddleback is back for its 3rd season under new management, since 2020. Its the largest independent ski area in Maine, since Sunday River, Sugarloaf, and Pleasant Mountain – formerly Shawnee Peak – are all Boyne-owned. With 600 acres of skiing, Saddleback has reasonable pricing, a great vibe, spectacular views too of Rangeley Lakes region.
New in New Hampshire, Waterville Valley gets a 6-passenger chair that whisk skiers from the day lodge to the summit, in just over 5 minutes. The high-speed bubble chairs are the first of their kind in the US – the chairs are actually designed by Porsche, vroom!
Out West, Arapahoe Basin was again first to open for skiing in Colorado, and arguably the nation, unless you count Wild Mountain and Andes Towers Hills rope tows in Minnesota. New to A Basin this season is a 6-pack chair to replace the mid-mountain Lenawee Triple, a big upgrade. The big A has come along way as an indie ski resort on both the front side and back Montezuma Bowl. Also A-Basin is no longer part of the Epic Pass partners for three seasons now!
At Vail, last season’s high-speed quad (#17) lifts skier out of Sun Down Bowl up to Wildwood, alleviating some pressure on the High Noon lift (#5) and providing better access to Game Creek. Strategically, the Game Creek quad (#7) was upgraded to a six-pack to increase uphill capacity by 50%, moving more of the epic volume of skiers around the resort.
Telluride gets a new high-speed quad at Chair 9. Telluride, while independent, is part of Vail Resort’s Epic Pass so you can ski here 7 days unlimited, unrestricted, if you buy the full Epic Pass plan.
Snowbird debuted all new Red Car and Blue Cars (sound Dr Seuss-ical) on their legendary base to summit Tram. The new Tram cabins sport glass panel floors, and an open-air rooftop balcony for 15 sightseers –scaredy cats not encouraged (access to the deck debuts summer 2023).
Whitefish Montana gets a new 6-pack, aptly called the Snow Ghost given this Montana mountain’s magical snow-caked trees on the summit. This lift flies from Whitefish’s base to the summit, 2,244’ vert, with sensational views of Glacier National Park. You can even see Canada from the top, eh?!
Lookout Mountain that borders Montana and Idaho debuts its Eagle Peak Expansion, doubling the skiable acreage of this cool ski mountain.
For Vail-owned California ski resorts, Heavenly’s North Bowl lift upgrades to a high-speed four-person chair and Northstar’s Comstock Express is now a six-pack.
Also in Lake Tahoe ski region, Palisades Tahoe – formerly and perhaps always Squaw Valley – launches the ambitious Base to Base gondola which travels 2.4 miles in 16 minutes connecting Squaw’s terrain to Alpine Meadows, the final keystone in this mountain merger. Say bye bye shuttle bus!
Grand Targhee Wyoming debuts its new Colter Lift on Peaked Mountain opening former hike-to only terrain, a 30% expansion of lift served skiing at this cool Wy-daho ski area that we love.
Jackson Hole’s new Thunder lift is a high-speed quad quickly accessing Laramie Bowl, and Jax’s top ski runs in 4-minutes – hardly enough to catch your breath between J-Hole laps.
In Canada at Whistler Blackcomb, Whistler’s Creekside Gondola six-person gondola is upgraded to a 10-pack, and the Big Red Express will go from a four-person lift to a high-speed six-person chair.
In ski pass news, the Epic Pass and the IKON pass continue to offer skiers and riders tremendous value at about $1000 for over 40 ski resorts on each. Lift tickets at the window same-day purchase on the other hand continue to climb well above the $100 mark – $275 at Vail ticket window on the day of skiing (less for pre-purchase online). Big Sky’s one-day ticket is as much as $222. Advanced purchased and multi day deals are highly recommended but the season pass is by far the best value, and it encourages and incentivizes you to ski more!
Here are ski area opening dates, more to come in the coming days and months:
Arapahoe Basin October 29, 2023
Keystone Nov 1, 2023