[Cover Photo: Jackson Hole Mountain Resort]
As skiers and snowboarders brace for a snowy winter ahead, a handful of ski areas are hustling to finish a series of new developments for their skiing and riding faithful.
Whether these developments include new chairlifts, gondolas, or restaurants, the 2016/2017 ski season will have a variety of new offerings from the east to the west and everything in between.
Here are 12 Ski Area Developments Coming This Ski Season
Jackson – Sweetwater Gondola
JHMR just continues to break ground and this summer, resort officials are looking forward to a newly built Sweetwater Gondola. Repalcing the outdated Sweetwater Triple, the gondola will transport skiers to an area just above the Casper restaurant. Locals are really hoping this pushes intermediate skiers out of tram line and towards the north side of the ski resort.
- 8 Person Gondola Cars
- 1,276′ vertical rise
- 2,000 people per hour
Two New Lifts @BigSky
The Challenger and Lone Peak chairs are both set to be replaced prior to ski season. The Lone Peak triple will be replaced this summer by a high-speed quad and the Challenger will be replaced by a fixed-grip triple.
- Triple chair
- 1,672′ vertical rise
Lone Peak Stats
- Quad chair
- 833′ vertical rise
Waterville Valley Expands Boundary
Titled, “The Green Peak Expansion,” Waterville Valley’s first expansion in roughly 30 years will add 45 new acres in addition to a fixed grip triple. The expansion is set to cost the ski area $2 million and should be ready in time for the 2016/2017 ski season.
Green Peak Expansion
- 45 added acres
- 10 new trails
- Newly installed fixed-grip triple
Arizona Snowbowl’s Grand Canyon Express
Grand Canyon Express Stats
- Six-pack, high-speed detachable chair
- 1,530′ vertical rise
Cloudchaser Expansion @MtBachelor
Mt Bachelor is about to widen its reach after implementing its new Cloudchaser Lift. The new high-speed detachable quad will add 635 acres to Mount Bachelor’s already famed terrain for the first time in over 20 years.
- High speed detachable quad
- 635 added acres
- 1448′ vertical rise
Vail’s Back Bowls To See New Sun Up Lift
Except for the Sun Up Lift, Vail has become a center for High Speed Quads. However, the Sun Up Lift in Vail’s famous back bowls will be replaced, giving the mega ski resort one less classic chair.
Sun Up Stats
- Detachable high-speed quad
- 4 minute ride
Grand Targhee To Replace Blackfoot Chair
Since 1974, the Blackfoot Lift has been largely left alone. That changes this ski seas as the Wydaho resort plans will replace the lift with a fixed grip quad, effectively cutting the ride time in half.
- Fixed grip quad
- 1,200′ vertical rise
- Ride time decreased from 12 to 7 minutes.
- 1,800 skiers per hour
Whistler Blackcomb To Renovate The Roundhouse | Add Snowmaking
Whistler Blackcomb is going through some serious cha-cha-cha-changes after getting acquired by Vail Resorts. Currently, no announcement has been made as to what developments Vail will pursue immediately but officials believe the previously proposed $8 million in improvements will continue as planned for the upcoming 2016/2017 ski season.
In addition to the Roundhouse update, Whistler will add new magic carpets and snow making systems to beginner areas.
Find out more here: Whistler Blackcomb Announces 8 Million Investment Plans
The Blake Hotel @TaosSkiValley
The Blake Hotel has been in the works ever since Taos was sold and finally, the Hotel will stand tall amongst a revamped base area. The building is named in honor of TSV founders Ernie and Rhoda Blake. The new hotel is scheduled to be operational this coming fall.
“Construction of a new hotel, The Blake at Taos Ski Valley, represents the first step towards upgrading the quantity and diversity of lodging options at the resort.” – Taos Ski Valley
Find out more here: Base Village Redevelopment
Wilmot Mountain Chairlift And Lodge Revamp
Wilmot is replacing three lifts with quads as well as adding a new surface lift to offer better access to its terrain park. These improvements come on the heels of Vail’s recent acquisition of the midwestern ski hill.
“The new lifts will increase capacity by up to 45 percent” – Vail Resorts
Find the entire development plan here: Vail Resorts to Invest $13 Million to Completely Transform the Guest Experience at Wilmot Mountain
Cherry Peak Adds Summit Chair
In its second year of operation, Utah’s Cherry Peak Resort will add a chairlift to access the 7,050′ summit.
Summit Chair Stats
- Triple Chair
- 7,050′ summit
- 1,265′ vertical rise
Find out more here: Cherry Peak Will Complete Summit Lift for 2016-17
Purgatory’s New Surface Lift And Trail
Purgatory is adding a new surface lift that is akin to the rope tow @Alta, added snowmaking, as well as a smaller, side trail for the upcoming season.
“This fall, Purgatory is installing a new surface lift on the backside of the mountain, which will provide access to Legends Express high-speed detachable quad from some of the best fall line skiing on the mountain.” – Ed Youmans, VP Of Mountain Operations