What’s new at ski resorts in 2015-16?

As the leaves begin to change, our attention turns to the snowy days to come and what they might hold. With every new ski season comes new memories and new things to experience and enjoy. To keep you up to date on what you can expect across Ski Country for the 2015-16 season, we compiled an A-Z list of all the shiny new updates at ski resorts.

Andermatt, Switzerland

A new six-seat covered chairlift will connect Gurschen and Gurschengrat zones on Andermatt’s Mount Gemsstock. In the coming years, 14 new lifts, as well as new trails and restaurants will be constructed to merge the Andermatt and Sedrun ski areas.

Aspen Snowmass, Colorado

The High Alpine lift at Snowmass has been realigned and replaced with a high-speed quad, improving upper-mountain circulation and allowing guests to ski from Rock Island, AMF and Cirque without having to drop to the lower portion of the mountain. Plus, skiers and riders will be able to access Upper Green Cabin much easier. The new High Alpine lift will reduce the ride time from 11 minutes to 5.6 minutes.

Aspen Highlands’ après-ski aficionados will enjoy a remodel of the mid-mountain Cloud Nine restaurant. The legendary party bistro will maintain its unique atmosphere and offer more space to improve restaurant flow and service. Upgrades will include two functional dining rooms, now adjacent to each other, new restrooms and cozy touches, like a new fireplace. The $1.1 million restoration will also include kitchen enhancements.

New this year at Aspen’s only Forbes Five Star, AAA Five Diamond hotel, the Little Nell, is a new winter activity. Guests of the Little Nell can experience Snowcat Academy, where they actually get to groom Buttermilk Mountain alongside one of Aspen Skiing Company’s grooming professionals. Participants will load up in a Prinoth “Bison 350” snowcat at Panda Peak at the base of Buttermilk before heading out to take a lesson and lay some tracks.

Crested Butte, Colorado

This summer, Crested Butte received some big news! The US Forest Service’s Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forest Service District Offices have accepted project proposals submitted in 2013 to expand the resort by 500 acres. The proposal calls for two new chairlifts, a replacement of the North Face surface lift, more snow-making on current ski terrain, and 15 miles of single-track trail to add to the resort’s Evolution Bike Park.

Last year, Crested Butte added 40 acres of advanced/expert terrain called Teo 2, located skiers’ right beyond Teocalli Bowl at the top of the High Lift. This was the first step in the resort’s plans to expand on the back side of the mountain. Currently, getting out of the Teo 2 zone requires a 20- to 30-minute hike back via Schofield Road and Paradise Bowl. The new plans would eliminate the hike.

Watch the video below or read our blog post to learn more about Teo 2.

Once the Environmental Impact Statement is finalized, which will be in about two years, Crested Butte can begin construction.

Courmayeur, Italy

The Skyway Monte Bianco (Mont Blanc) will enjoy its first full season of operation. This mind-blowing engineering feat ascends to the 11,371-foot Pointe Helbronner via two cableway sections. The project also included complete renovations of the base terminal in Courmayeur and the mid-way station at Mont Fréty. From Helbronner, visitors can enjoy up-close views of Mont Blanc’s sharp spires and peaks, including Dent du Géant, and peer across the extraordinary Vallée Blanche. Skiing from the new cableway isn’t recommended unless you’re with a professional guide and have advanced backcountry knowledge.

Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Jackson Hole Mountain Resort will be celebrating its 50th anniversary this winter, and a big part of the celebration is the opening of the new Teton Lift. The chairlift will be located between the existing Casper and Après Vous chairlifts and serve the expert-only Sheridan Ridge terrain that previously could only be reached by hiking. The new lift will also drop skiers close to the north-facing sidecountry zone, Granite Canyon. The grand opening of the Teton Lift will be on December 19, 2015, 50 years after the first opening day for the resort.

Downtown Jackson is also seeing some updates. The 49er Inn & Suites has undergone a multi-million dollar renovation and 9,619-square-foot expansion, which includes five additions and a modern rustic mining exterior and interior. Other new facelifts include the property’s 60 suites and 80 rooms, a new lobby, offices, a breakfast room and, on the second floor, an exercise room, hot tub and pool with views of Snow King.

Okemo, Vermont

In addition to a second orange bubble chair at Jackson Gore, Okemo is installing a new chairlift and creating a new trail at South Face Village. Snowmaking capabilities have been ramped up on two trails in the Jackson Gore area.

Park City – Canyons, Utah

Two of Utah’s most iconic ski resorts—Park City and Canyons—are now both under the ownership of Vail resorts and will be linked by an interconnect gondola. The resulting combined ski area will be the largest in the United States with 7,300 acres of terrain.

Read more in our guide to the Park City Canyons connection.

Powderhorn, Colorado

This ski season, the Western Slope’s quaint, down-to-earth Powderhorn ski resort will unveil the Flat Top Flyer, a Poma high-speed quad chairlift replacing the Take Four lift. The new lift will cut ride time in half, and offers a more comfortable sitting experience.

Revelstoke, B.C.

Revelstoke is “stoking” their cool factor by adding an 11-acre terrain park this season, which will be located directly under the Stoke Chair. The new park will be 1,476 feet long and 328 feet wide, and will offer plenty of creative jib features and a range of jumps, which will evolve with the snowfall throughout the winter.

Squaw Valley, California

To help reduce powder-day lift lines, Squaw Valley is upgrading the Siberia Express from a high-speed quad to a high-speed six-pack. The quad lift, which was installed in 1985, and is one of the earliest detachable quads in the U.S., is often shut down due to high winds at the summit. The newer six-pack’s larger and heavier chairs will be able to operate in more adverse conditions than the previous quad.

Sugarloaf, Maine

Sugarloaf spent $1.3 million over the summer to upgrade many components of their existing chairs, including anti-rollback technology and automated braking. The most notable update comes in the replacement of the King Pine lift’s terminal. Other lifts getting updates include Double Runner, Sawduster, Skidway, Snubber, Timberline and West Mountain.

Sunshine Village, Banff, AB

Canada’s first heated chairlift will debut at Sunshine Village at the start of the 2015-16 ski season. The new Tee Pee Town high-speed quad will feature heated seats, foot rests and shielding orange-bubble covers. The state-of-the-art lift will run at a speed of 1,000 feet per minute.

Steamboat, Colorado

Steamboat is freshening up several of its on-mountain food and beverage facilities for guests. Gondola Joe’s, Steamboat’s most popular grab-n-go spot for breakfast and lunch in the base area, will be expanded to offer increased dining and kitchen space. The Four Points Lodge is also receiving upgrades that include more space for the award-wining chefs to craft their unique, gourmet creations. The enhancements will provide faster service, too. Additionally, the Rendezvous Lodge on the Sundown side of the mountain will get a new exterior design and interior upgrades.

Steamboat will also be incorporating RFID technology into its lift tickets, multi-day passes and season pass products using the QuickTrax card.

Sun Valley, Idaho

Sun Valley will be more accessible this season. The 2015-16 flight schedule includes direct flights from Denver, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Salt Lake City and Seattle, with a 13 percent increase in available seats over last season. The majority of the increased seats will be offered during the busy holiday season. The expanded service includes Alaska Airlines, adding a second Seattle flight over the holidays, United Airlines, increasing the Denver flights during peak season from two to five flights per week, and Delta, increasing the frequency of its third daily flight from Salt Lake City.

Telluride, Colorado

This season, Telluride will provide more accessibility from more destinations. Montrose Regional Airport, which is a 1.5-hour drive from Telluride, has added new flights from New York-La Guardia, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Las Vegas. Telluride will be able to boast 14 direct flights coming from 11 major hubs.

Last season, Telluride increased flights from Dallas-Ft. Worth and New York/Newark, and added service from Phoenix, which led to a record number of passengers. Dallas-Ft. Worth and Phoenix will see more flights this winter, along with continued flights from Denver, Houston, San Francisco and Atlanta.

Vail, Colorado

Vail Mountain will increase uphill capacity on Avanti Express Lift by replacing the 1989 detachable quad with a modern detachable six-person lift, similar to the Mountain Top Express Lift.

Val di Fassa, Italy

The new Alba-Col dei Rossi cable car will connect Val di Fassa’s village of Canazei and the Ciampac ski area to the Belevedere ski area. The cable car has a length of 7,414 feet and rises 2,896 vertical feet, and is the eighth Doppelmayr cable car of its kind to be built in the Alps.

Val d’Isere, France

The new five-star hotel, Le Yule, will celebrate its grand opening in December 2015. A Val d’Isère ski in ski out hotel, Yule is located on the edge of the snow front, just a couple feet from the lifts, and provides unique access to the Olympic slopes, Bellevarde and Solaise. Highlights at the 41-room hotel include a lounge bar, swimming pool, wellness area with three treatment rooms, two saunas and a steam room, onsite ski shop, game room and a cinema.

Whistler Blackcomb, B.C.

North America’s largest ski resort is celebrating its 50th anniversary this winter with a movie, early-booking deals and plenty of events throughout the season.

In other updates, the resort is premiering a newly renovated Rendezvous Lodge to improve capacity and functionality. Tasty new dining options at the lodge include Thai-inspired wok station, Japanese ramen bowls, a Mexican taqueria and sustainably sourced seafood. Guests will also enjoy a total revamp of on-mountain fine-dining restaurant Christine’s in the 2015-16 ski season. Additions at Christine’s include a new look, a new menu and a new award-winning chef. For social media skiers and snowboarders, the resort is unveiling WB+ this season, a new interactive platform that connects to the resort’s RFID technology. With WB+, guests can track personal stats and gain access to friends and family members profiles, allowing everyone to hit terrain goals and challenge themselves in fun ways while they ski or ride at Whistler Blackcomb. The Blackcomb Daylodge will also see a new Rossignol Dynastar Lange Rental Boutique for winter 2015-16, which offers products ranging from race, powder and backcountry skis to performance boots. The boutique offers guests the convenience to try different skis based on the conditions and terrain.

Winter Park, Colorado

On the tails of last season’s 75th Anniversary, Winter Park is introducing RFID technology into its lift tickets, multi-day passes, and season pass products using the QuickTrax card.

Whitefish, Montana

This summer, Whitefish Mountain Resort worked to expand and improve the Summit House, the only mountaintop restaurant in Montana. New windows will take advantage of the spectacular views of Glacier National Park and the Flathead Valley. The expanded patio area will be able to accommodate 150 additional guests.


If all these new updates and upgrades have you excited for ski season, get your vacation on the books today. Build a customized quote or if you have additional questions our knowledgeable Mountain Travel Experts are standing by for your call, email or chat.

About Author: Leah Boucher
Originally from the icy trails of New Jersey, I moved West to pursue powder and a career in writing and editing. Now living in Aspen, Colo. and working for Ski.com as Director of SEO + Content, I've been able to combine a litany of skills, passions and interests. You'll find me skiing at Aspen Mountain or Aspen Highlands in the winter and mountain biking at Snowmass in the summer.

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