It was an extremely busy offseason for ski resorts across North America, as terrain expansions happened throughout the United States and Canada.

I decided to compile a list of the expansions that are opening across the continent this winter and rank the five most significant ones. But first, here are some honorable mentions.

Honorable Mentions: 

Bogus Basin is adding two new trails to its front side, as pictured in the circle located on the trail map above. Independence is a roomy intermediate trail, while Blackbird is a spacious and open advanced run. 

Cape Smokey in Nova Scotia is adding seven trails to its trail network for this winter. These runs appear to be a part of prior trail maps but disappeared from recent ones when the mountain was community ran, likely meaning that they weren’t maintained during this time period. In my opinion, this still counts as an expansion.

Gore Mountain is opening a new run that makes accessing the North Creek Ski Bowl much easier. The Backwoods will be a groomed run with snowmaking capabilities that starts just below the top terminal of the Burnt Ridge Quad, runs alongside the Barkeater Glades, and ends above the Roaring Brook Bridge at the bottom of The Pipeline Traverse run.

The Montana Snowbowl is adding a Skytrac triple chairlift from its base area to the Top of TV Mountain. This gives skiers more access to this once-secluded peak, and they are opening new terrain around the lift.

According to an interview that the Snowbowl had with ABC 4, the new terrain will open this winter, and the new runs are very steep. There hasn’t been a new trail map released yet, but their master development plan map gives you an idea of what they’ll be like (pictured around the middle of the photo below, to the left of the purple/green rectangle).

Mount Bohemia is adding five glades to the gnarliest trail network in the Midwest. These new glades, which are all double-black diamonds, are circled below.

Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe added a new high-speed quad this offseason, with a new Lakeside beginner run servicing the top of the lift. The Around the World trail has also been rerouted.

After expanding onto a new peak for the 2020-21 season, Nordic Valley will be adding five new runs to the Nordic Express area. These are mostly glades, with them being of advanced and expert difficulty.

Utah Olympic Park is expanding its facilities onto a new peak with a high-speed quad and a few steep trails for training purposes, but this will be a private mountain that’s only accessible to athletes.

5. Sundance Mountain Resort:

Sundance Mountain Resort continues to rapidly improve its mountain, adding two new chairlifts last year, and expanding onto a new terrain pod this offseason. The forty-acre expansion will feature ten trails and a new lift. The new Wildwood chairlift is a fixed-grip quad with a ride time of seven minutes, while the runs consist of mostly beginner and intermediate terrain.

This week, Sundance Resort announced that they’re opening the Wildwood lift on December 16th, and will be serving hot bread and honey butter to the first one hundred people that arrive at the lift.

4. Mt. Shasta Ski Park:

Over the summer, Mt. Shasta Ski Park grew its vertical drop by expanding onto Gray Butte. Six new trails have been added to Mt. Shasta’s network, ranging from intermediate to the ski resort’s first double black diamond. The new lift gives them 211 more acres of skiable terrain and 250 acres of backcountry access.

The new terrain pod is serviced by a fixed-grip quad chairlift, which has a vertical rise of 1,144 feet, and a ride time of ten minutes. Last week, they opened up Gray Butte thanks to the five feet of snow that they’ve gotten to start their season off.

3. Lookout Pass:

For many years, Lookout Pass has been working on expanding onto Eagle Peak. This project came to a head this offseason when they installed the new Eagle Peak Quad chairlift. This is a Garaventa CTEC Fixed Grip Quad chairlift, which was updated by Skytrac.

The terrain consists of fourteen easy, intermediate, and advanced runs and glades, with another lift planned in the future. The 500-acre expansion grows Lookout Pass to 1023 acres and increases its vertical drop by five hundred feet. Today, they just announced that the new peak will be opening tomorrow (December 16th).

2. Grand Targhee:

For years, the terrain off Peaked Mountain served as Grand Targhee’s spot for cat-skiing. Over the offseason, they added a Doppelmayr high-speed six-pack chairlift, which climbs 1815 feet up Peaked Mountain, and carries nearly 2000 skiers/riders an hour.

The 600-acre Peaked Mountain expansion has a mix of wide-open groomers, steep chutes, and expansive glades. When conditions permit, it also gives skiers and riders access to some of Wyoming’s most challenging terrain.

1. Palisades Tahoe:

This is the only expansion on this list that won’t add new trails, but it’s clearly the most significant connection to two ski resorts in the United States since the Park City-Canyons gondola.

Before this lift, you could only get from Alpine to Palisades or the other way around by hitting the road by car/shuttle or heading into the backcountry. The Base to Base Gondola doesn’t add new terrain to their trail network, but connecting two of the most popular ski resorts in Lake Tahoe seems like an expansion to me, as it’s finally feasible to get KT-22 and Alpine Bowl laps within a short timeframe.

The sixteen-minute ride from base to base features four terminals and ninety-six cabins, which can fit eight people into each one. The length of the gondola ride from base to base is 2.4 miles long, with it being a one-mile trip to get from the Palisades Village to KT-22 stations, and 1.4 miles from KT-22 to the Alpine Meadows base area terminal. The new lift will officially make Palisades Tahoe the largest ski resort in the Golden State.

The soft opening for the new gondola is December 17th. Matt Lorelli from Unofficial Networks will be there for its grand opening, so we’ll have more coverage coming your way on this impressive new gondola.

Image Credits: Grand Targhee/Olim Wimberg(Featured Image), Lookout Pass, Bogus Basin, Cape Smokey, Gore Mountain, Montana Snowbowl, Mount Bohemia, Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe, Nordic Valley, Ian Wood Sundance ResortMt. Shasta Ski Park, Palisades Tahoe

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