There’s no denying it. Fall is upon us in the High Country, which means ski season is close. Each winter ushers in a litany of exciting “new” things: new snow, new terrain conquests, new memories and maybe even new destinations. So what’s new for the 18-19 ski season? We compiled an A-Z list of some of the new stuff at ski resorts you can count on ahead of time.
New and increased multi-resort season pass offerings
For the past 10 years, Vail Resorts’ industry-leading Epic Pass has been the only major, multi-resort pass offering. In January 2018, that all changed when a new season pass competitor was announced. The newly formed Alterra Mountain Co.’s Ikon Pass pulls 35 destinations under one banner. Most recent additions include unlimited access to Solitude, Utah and Crystal Mountain Resort in Wash., as well as limited access to Niseko, Japan, Taos, N.M. and Brighton, Utah (which is just up the road from Solitude).
In the days, weeks and months following the announcement, the Epic Pass continued to add more resorts to their 2018-19 pass including Crested Butte, Telluride, Hakuba Valley, Japan and Canadian Resort of the Rockies (Fernie, Kicking Horse and Kimberley). The latest announcement is that Vail Resorts purchased Crested Butte, Okemo, Mount Sunapee and Stevens Pass, Washington and will offer unlimited access, i.e. unlimited days of skiing and no blackout dates, to all four resorts on the 2018-19 Epic Pass. Epic Pass holders now have access to an additional 20 resorts compared to 2017-18.
This is all good news for skiers and snowboarders, as skiing at a variety of top destinations in one winter just got a whole lot cheaper. Purchasing one or both of these passes, depending on their travel plans and preferences, will ensure skiers and riders save big since the cost of the pass pay for itself in just a five to eight days of skiing.
Learn more about the Ikon Pass and Epic Pass →
Big Sky to open America’s first eight-person chairlift this winter
New Limelight Hotel in Snowmass Accepting Reservations Jan. 4, 2019 and onward
Winter visitors can experience Whistler Peak’s new Cloudraker Skybridge and Raven’s Eye Cliff Walk
Photo: Mitch Winton
The new Whistler Peak suspension bridge and cliff walk, located at the top of Peak Express, provide exhilarating bird’s eye views of the Garibaldi Mountains.
Winter Park’s Zephyr chairlift will be replaced with a 10-person gondola
New S3 chairlift in Zermatt
The new lift, which will be the world’s highest S3 cableway, will increase capacity to the Klein Matterhorn by 2,000 skiers per hour. This is the first step in the new connection to Cervinia, Italy (the Italian ski resort on the other side of the Matterhorn).
Copper Mountain replaces two chairlifts for better uphill capacity
Copper Mountain’s American Eagle lift is set to become a gondola/chairlift and the American Flyer will be a six-person, high-speed bubble chair.
Steamboat will enjoy some cool new food & beverage updates
Part of Alterra Mountain Co.’s (Ikon Pass) capital improvements are directed at Steamboat. Most notably, the resort is getting a snowcat food tuck, aka the “Taco Beast,” which will roam the mountain fueling up hungry skiers and riders.
Deer Valley’s Homesake lift will be replaced with a high-speed quad
The new chairlift will benefit skiers by cutting ride-time in half and increasing uphill skier capacity by 400 skiers per hour. The Homestake chairlift provides skier access from the Silver Lake Village to the top of Bald Eagle Mountain.
Originally from the icy trails of New Jersey, I moved West to pursue powder and a career in writing and editing. Now in Aspen, Colo. and working for Ski.com managing the website and blog content, I couldn't be happier. You'll find me skiing at Aspen Mountain or Aspen Highlands in the winter and mountain biking at Snowmass in the summer.