The Ikon Pass Now Offers Skiers & Riders Access on Three Continents
Ikon Pass holders will now have access to more than 72,000 skiable acres over three continents with the addition of Niseko United, located on Japan’s northernmost island of Hokkaido. Japan is home to some of the planet’s most plentiful and light snow, making Niseko United a bucket list destination for any skier and rider on the hunt for fresh powder.
Niseko United is regarded as Japan’s premier mountain destination and is comprised of four ski resorts located on one mountain – Grand Hirafu, Hanazono, Niseko Village and Annupuri. Famous for the consistency and quality of its snow, Niseko United receives 50+ feet of snowfall every winter with just 7% of water content from crystallized moisture picked up from the Sea of Japan. Multi-million dollar investments in accommodation and infrastructure make Niseko United an excellent destination for families and powder hounds.
Loon Mountain, Sugarloaf and Sunday River Increase Access; Boyne Highlands, Boyne Mountain, The Summit at Snoqualmie, and Cypress Mountain Join the Ikon Pass Community.
The Ikon Pass community has expanded to all corners of the country with the addition of The Summit at Snoqualmie in Washington, Cypress Mountain in British Columbia and Boyne Highlands and Boyne Mountain in Michigan. Plus, access to Loon Mountain in New Hampshire and Sugarloaf and Sunday River in Maine just tripled.
Access The Summit at Snoqualmie, Cypress Mountain, Boyne Highlands and Boyne Mountain will offer 7 days each on the Ikon Pass, and 5 days each on the Ikon Base Pass with 10 holiday blackout dates, (Dec. 26 – 31, 2018; Jan. 19 – 20, 2019; Feb. 16 – 17, 2019).
Loon Mountain, Sugarloaf, and Sunday River originally offered 7 days combined between the three destinations on the Ikon Pass, (5 days combined between the three destinations on the Ikon Base Pass) and will now offer 7 days at each destination (5 days at each destination on the Ikon Base Pass), bringing access to 21 days total on the Ikon Pass (15 days total on the Ikon Base Pass).
When should you start planning your ski trip? For me it should be at least six months in advance to your trip, more if you are planning to travel in school holidays.
If you are travelling in the shoulder season (low season), such as early December – before the 20th), January, March in Europe (not in the US and Canada as they have Spring Break) and April (outside of Easter weekend), you can plan a bit more on top of the time and maybe see how snow conditions are.
For me, I need to know I have a trip in sight to be able to cope with routine. I always have my winter trip arranged by July (we go skiing with the family in February), and I do reserve the flat we use year-on-year as soon as we leave the place when our week is finished- so I book it one year in advance! That is because I have such a great deal, and my kids love going back to the same place, that is a no-brainer.
So where to start for planning your ski trip?
Well, you can try to start thinking where you want to go. Talking of the Northern Hemisphere- if you live in the UK as we do – are you going to drive (so that is only Europe and it would be France, Switzerland, Italy and maybe the Pyrenees’ or Austria, or fly, where you can add also the US, Canada or Japan. You can see the different websites with information on resorts and try to sort what resort is for the type of skier/boarder you are, or which one caters a diverse group.
The Ikon Pass announces that Taos Ski Valley in New Mexico will join the Ikon Pass community for winter 2018/2019, offering expanded access across the Rockies from British Columbia to New Mexico.
Taos is the southern gateway to the Rocky Mountains, nestled in an intimate valley where Spanish Colonial and Native American history meet a European village. The mountain boasts over 100 trails, including expert hike-to terrain on Kachina Peak. Taos Ski Valley is in the midst of a $300 million overhaul with new infrastructure and updated amenities, including the recently opened ski-in/ski-out hotel, The Blake, and a new high-speed quad chairlift for winter 2018/2019.
Now Offering Five Destinations in Utah with the IKON Pass
Ikon Pass holders now have access to nearly 10,000 acres of terrain in Utah between Deer Valley Resort, Alta, Snowbird, and now Solitude Mountain Resort and Brighton Resort – the most terrain offered in Utah on any season pass.
Earlier this month, Alterra Mountain Company completed its acquisition of Solitude Mountain Resort located in Big Cottonwood Canyon just 34 miles from the Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC) and less than an hour from Deer Valley Resort. The mountain offers skiers and riders 77 runs, three bowls, and a vertical drop of 2,030 feet across 1,200 acres, plus some of the most impressive off-piste terrain in the country. The quaint base village offers ski-in/ski-out accommodations along with year-round activities for guests.
Vail Resorts, Inc. (NYSE: MTN) today announced that the Company has closed on its acquisition of Stevens Pass Resort in Washington from Ski Resort Holdings, LLC, an affiliate of Oz Real Estate. The final purchase price, after adjustments for certain agreed-upon terms, was $64 million. Less than 85 miles from Seattle and renowned for its plentiful snowfall, the resort sits on the crest of the Cascade Range within two national forests – the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest on the west side, and the Wenatchee National Forest on the east.
The 2018-19 Epic Pass, Epic Local Pass, Epic Australia Pass, and Military Epic Pass now include unlimited and unrestricted access to Stevens Pass; the Epic 7 Day and Epic 4 Day Passes now offer seven and four unrestricted days respectively. Additionally, Whistler Blackcomb’s 5 Day and 10 Day EDGE Cards, which are available to residents of Washington State and Canada, allow pass holders to use two of five, or three of 10 days at Stevens Pass or any other Vail Resorts’ owned and operated ski resorts.
A Day Visit to the Terminal Neige-Refuge in Montenvers, Chamonix
This article may contain affiliate/compensated links. For full information, please see our disclaimer here
On our way to Courmayeur, this year we stayed for two nights in Chamonix. We had the luck to go this time up to the Gare du Montenvers and take the train up to the mountain to see the glacier of the Vallée Blanche. That in itself was a great day out! The train goes over a rack and pinion railway and through some nice forests and then climbs up giving travellers amazing views of Chamonix and the mountains surrounding the valley. Most people go up the station and then climb down the stairs to the ice cave, which needs to be carved each year in the glacier, as each year the glacier retreats many meters. It is impressive to see how high the glacier was not so many years ago. There is a small gondola that takes you to the top of the stairs, and then each year the stairs have to be extended down and down to reach the entrance of the ice grotto.
The day we choose was amazing, pretty warm in the sun, with some clouds menacing a storm that did not materialise, and we were happy to be up the mountain, as in the valley of Chamonix it was 31 C (this summer was way too hot all over Europe!). This considering that Chamonix is by Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in Europe and even here it was hot!
Not too many people know, that 100 metres from the train station (gare), walking back to the valley, you find the Terminal Neige-Refuge. This hotel was built in 1880 to accommodate the first mountaineers and travellers who went to visit the Mer de Glace. From outside is a typical ‘rifugio’ of the Alps, with granite façades and small windows. The hotel is perched at 2049 meters over sea level (6725 feet) with magnificent views to the Mer de Glace glacier, the mythical Aiguille des Drus, the Grand Jorasses, and also the Valley of Chamonix.