News from Aspen Snowmass for the 2017-18 Season

on September 7 | in Aspen Highlands, Aspen Mountain, Buttermilk, Snowmass | by | with No Comments

Chris Davenport skiing down a steep snow covered slope through powder in the mountains with a view of snow covered mountain peaks in the distance. Photo courtesy of Aspen Skiing Company.

Chris Davenport skiing down a steep snow covered slope through powder in the mountains with a view of snow covered mountain peaks in the distance. Photo courtesy of Aspen Skiing Company.

As the 2017/18 winter season approaches, Aspen Snowmass continues to invest not only in the resort experience through large headliner events, new partnerships and expanded products, but also in the resort’s infrastructure.

This season, Snowmass turns 50 with season-long celebrations to commemorate this significant milestone. Also at Snowmass, the resort is scheduled to host the Olympic qualifier Toyota U.S. Grand Prix event featuring the best freestyle athletes in the country. As part of the Snowmass summer expansion titled The Lost Forest, the Breathtaker alpine coaster is scheduled to open for the 2017/18 winter season. In addition, American Airlines launches new non-stop flights from Phoenix this winter and the Mountain Collective pass continues to add resorts. On the sustainability front, Aspen Skiing Company, in partnership with the Elk Creek coal mine, reaches the five year milestone of capturing coal methane to generate electricity. Looking to the future, Snowmass Base Village is under construction as the largest ski resort development currently underway in North America totaling $600 million dollars with a future 10 buildings planned at the base of Snowmass. Construction has already begun on a new 99-hotel room Limelight Snowmass, new Four Mountain Sports store, a public plaza and a new Ice Age Discovery Center.

The following details what’s new at Aspen Snowmass for the coming winter 2017/18 ski season.

New Headliner Events

Snowmass Celebrates 50 Years with Season-Long Festivities

The 2017/18 winter season marks the 50th anniversary of the Snowmass Ski Area. Snowmass Tourism, together with Aspen Skiing Company and others, are creating a season-long celebration in commemoration of the anniversary. Celebrations include vintage, 1967 lift ticket pricing of $6.50 on Friday, Dec. 15 as well as a festive weekend of anniversary activities Dec. 15-17 such as a retro party at Elk Camp restaurant, fireworks display, the return of Banana Days, an on-mountain celebration at Spider Sabich Picnic arena and more. Additionally, throughout the season, the celebration continues with new gold signs that mark the original ski trails, monthly fireworks display over Fanny Hill, a new mural in Base Village commemorating the history of Snowmass and more. For more information, visit www.aspensnowmass.com/snowmass50.

Snowmass to Host Toyota U.S. Grand Prix with Olympic Spots on the Line

U.S. Snowboard Team and U.S. Freeski Team athletes will be competing to punch their tickets to the Olympic Winter Games in the 2017-18 iteration of the Toyota U.S. Grand Prix. Aspen Snowmass will host five qualification events Jan. 10-14 at Snowmass. The resort previously hosted one of the first halfpipe snowboarding Olympic qualification events and a big air snowboarding exhibition event in 1998. For more information as well as the detailed schedule, visit http://ussa.org/news/olympic-spots-line-toyota-us-grand-prix.

 

New Capital Improvement

Breathtaker Coaster, Part of the Snowmass Summer Expansion titled The Lost Forest, Scheduled to Open Winter 17/18

With a target opening of December 2017, the Breathtaker Coaster will feature a 5,700 foot-long track with a total ride time of seven to nine minutes. The coaster will span 410 vertical feet with the speed controlled by the rider, but there will be anti-collision technology for safety and a tandem option for small children. The Breathtaker will be open for both summer and winter operations in which the coaster will wind through the trees between Gunner’s View and Sandy Park ski trails on Snowmass Mountain.

 

Air Service

American Airlines to Launch New Non-Stop Flights from Phoenix Next Winter

American Airlines is offering new daily nonstop flights to Aspen/Pitkin County Airport (ASE) from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX) starting this winter along with expanded service from both Dallas Ft. Worth (DFW) and Chicago O’ Hare (ORD). In total, American will offer up to eight daily flights from four hubs next winter while daily nonstop service from DFW will now continue throughout the fall. The timing of all these flights allows for connections from American’s entire domestic and global networks. In addition, Delta Air Lines serves ASE with nonstop flights from Salt Lake City, Los Angeles International Airport, Atlanta International Airport, and Minneapolis / St. Paul. United Airlines offers 20-25 daily nonstop flights from Denver, Chicago O’Hare, Houston, Los Angeles, and San Francisco International.

 

Deals

Sugarbush, Vermont and Snowbasin, Utah Join The Mountain CollectiveTM as Resort Partners and Niseko, Japan as a Global Affiliate for the 2017-18 Season

The Mountain Collective™ continues to expand access to the world’s top resort destinations for the 2017-18 season with the addition of Northern Japan-based, Niseko United, as a global affiliate and Sugarbush, Vermont and Snowbasin, Utah as resort partners. Additionally, existing partners Alta, Snowbird, Banff Sunshine, and Lake Louise will separate to operate as individual destinations within The Mountain Collective Pass, providing twice the number of days at popular destinations in Utah and Alberta, Canada. With these 2017-18 season additions, passholders will now have access to 40 days of skiing at 20 world renowned ski Destinations. For more information about The Mountain Collective Pass, visit https://mountaincollective.com/.

 

Rental/Retail

New Dynafit Uphill Gear Available to Rent at Four Mountain Sports

Four Mountain Sports will once again offer uphill gear to rent for skiers and riders who would like to uphill ski or skin up the mountain. New this year, the rental equipment has been upgraded to Dynafit gear, a global leader in the uphilling industry. Uphill skiing, also known as ‘skinning’ or ‘alpine touring,’ consists of special equipment that allows guests to hike uphill on their skis and then ski down. Dynafit’s best in class rental fleet for Aspen will include SpeedFit 84 skis, Radical boots and the Radical 2 binding. Aspen Snowmass offers an abundance of options for uphilling, whether taking a clinic through the Ski and Snowboard Schools, skinning up to a Cliffhouse Full Moon Dinner, or simply touring around the mountain, the resort’s uphill policy remains liberal to accommodate this ever growing sport. For more information about uphilling at Aspen Snowmass, visit www.aspensnowmass.com/while-you-are-here/see-all-guides/uphilling-guide.

 

Sustainability

Aspen Snowmass Hits Five Year Anniversary of Capturing Coal Methane to Generate Electricity—Remains the Only such Operation in the United States

In 2012, Aspen Skiing Company partnered with the Elk Creek coal mine, Holy Cross Energy, and Vessels Coal Gas on a $5.5 million investment to capture waste methane vented from a coal mine in neighboring Somerset, Colo. The three megawatts of baseload power generated from the project produces as much energy as Aspen Skiing Company uses annually — approximately 24 million kilowatt hours. In addition, by destroying methane, a potent greenhouse gas, this project eliminates three times the carbon pollution created by the resort each year. The benefit of the project—and the electricity—flows not to the ski resort, but into the grid, reducing the carbon footprint for the entire region. This project is the only one of its kind in the United States.

 

Technology

The Aspen Snowmass App: New This Year, Track Your Vertical Feet and Highland Bowl Laps

New last season, Aspen Snowmass launched an App that offers a convenient way for guests to access mountain conditions, skiing/riding data such as tracked skier days, interactive mapping that track guests’ movement across each mountain and information such events, activities, lift tickets, lessons and more. New this year, the App will now track user’s vertical feet as well as Highland Bowl laps. For more information, visit www.aspensnowmass.com/app.

 

Future Capital Improvements

New Limelight Hotel Snowmass

This spring, Aspen Skiing Company (ASC) began construction on the new Limelight Hotel Snowmass for a scheduled completion date of November 2018. The new hotel will feature 99 hotel rooms and 11 for-sale condominiums, plus a new restaurant and children’s game area. Modeled after the company’s existing properties in Aspen, Colo. and Ketchum, Idaho, the hotel will be located adjacent to Snowmass Mountain’s Elk Camp Gondola providing ski-in/ski-out access. The new hotel property will remain consistent with the Limelight brand featuring amenities and extras such as an expanded continental breakfast, après ski deals in the Lounge, live music, adventure activities such as First Tracks and Inside Tracks, a ski concierge as well as pet-friendly rooms. Stonehill & Taylor, based out of New York City, have been selected to design the interior, with plans to continue the Limelight’s contemporary yet casual design theme.

 

Snowmass Base Village Development

Construction has begun on the Snowmass Base Village development, a collaboration between three major players in the mountain resort business: East West Partners, Aspen Skiing Company and KSL Capital Partners.

This premier mountain resort development, located at the base of Snowmass Ski Area, is the largest ski resort development currently underway in North America totaling $600 million dollars with a future 10 buildings planned at the base of Snowmass. Development is currently under way for the following:

  • The 99-room, 11-residence Limelight Hotel. The Limelight will also host Snowmass Mountain Club, an exclusive 230-member private club with member parking, lockers and lounge space right at the base of the mountain. The mountain-contemporary building was designed by Oz Architecture, with a clean, crisp interior design approach from Stonehill & Taylor.
  • A central public events plaza that will serve as the community’s gathering space with an ice-skating rink in the winter and events lawn during summer months, as well as fire pits, children’s pop-up fountains and other community amenities. The plaza was designed by Oz Architecture and StudioINSITE.
  • A residential condominium building adjacent to the Plaza and Elk Camp Gondola with three residences and a Four Mountain Sports store. The building was designed by Oz Architecture, with interior design by The Ranch House.
  • The Discovery Center, a public building that is anticipated to include a number of interactive activities for families and children. Programming for the Discovery Center is being contemplated around the discovery of Ice Age fossils found at nearby Ziegler reservoir that captured the community’s and world’s attention. It is being designed by Harry Teague Architects.

 

Winter Operations

Aspen MountainOpening: Nov. 23, 2017

Closing: Apr. 15, 2018

Aspen HighlandsOpening: Dec. 9, 2017

Closing: Apr. 8, 2018

ButtermilkOpening: Dec. 9, 2017

Closing: Apr. 8, 2018

SnowmassOpening: Nov. 23, 2017

Closing: Apr. 15, 2018

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