Thank you for subscribing!
Got it! Thank you!

Global Ski Report: Cheaper, Faster, and Snowier

A handful of winter deals at St. Moritz and Tahoe, new lifts at Whistler and Wildcat, plus more news from slopes around the world.

Whistler Gains a New Gondola, Temporarily Loses an Old One

No sooner had Whistler, British Columbia (tel. 866/218-9690, 604/904-8134; premiered its spectacular Peak2Peak gondola connecting mid-mountain Whistler and mid-mountain Blackcomb than a tower buckled on one of the resort's older gondolas, the Excalibur. Twelve people were injured, none seriously. The two-stage Excalibur links Whistler Village with Blackcomb Mountain. The provincial BC Safety Authority quickly cleared the Excalibur's upper section to continue operating while crews worked on the lower section, which was back in operation within a few days.

Hunter Mountain Hits the Half-Century Mark

January 2009 kicks off an ongoing celebration at Hunter Mountain (tel.800/486-8376;, as this northern Catskills ski resort begins it 50th anniversary festivities that will feature various parties, competitions, contests and more. Celebrations aside, it is appropriate that Hunter is tweaking its fabled snowmaking system with 45 new snow guns and a new compressor to increase the system's output and efficiency.

Wildcat Boasts Long History, Fast Lift and 3-Mile Run

Wildcat, New Hampshire (tel.800/754-9453; combines tradition and scenery with a fast, modern summit lift. Civilian Conservation Corps workers cut the Wildcat Trail first cut by the Civilian Conservation Corp in 1933, making this the 75th anniversary of this legendary trail. Wildcat, still a family-owned, low-frills ski area, put in its first lift about the same time as Hunter. Its truly high-speed quad reaches the summit in just six minutes, and even beginners can ski or snowboard from the top on the 3-mile-long Polecat trail, one of the New Hampshire's longest runs. For a thrilling change of pace, visitors can ride New England's longest four-season ZipRider cable ride. The views across the valley to Mt. Washington Valley, New England's highest summit, are priceless.

Snowmaking Upgrade and Value Packages at Bolton Valley

Bolton Valley, Vermont (tel. 802/434-3444; has upped its snowmaking water pumping capability by up to 50 percent by replacing more than a mile of 4-inch pipe with 6-inch pipe. The terrain park is a majority beneficiary, not only from the bigger pipe but from the two new high-capacity Pole Cat fan snowguns. Bolton's E-Z Price Ski & Stay package is valid seven days a week and includes slopeside lodging, lift ticket, daily continental breakfast and access to the Bolton Valley Sports Center for $99 per adult, per day ($139 during the February 13-21 holiday period). Youngsters 17 and under stay free with parents but must have a lift ticket - but the good news is that at Bolton, the youth ticket is valid for ages seven through 17. At most mountains, adult tickets kick in at age 13.

Two Smaller Lake Tahoe North Shore Areas Offer Big Values

Mt. Rose-Ski Tahoe (tel.877/743-7673; entices guests with Weekend Xtenders (Friday-Sunday or Saturday-Monday tickets, $128); Two-for-Tuesdays (two-for-one tickets); Over the Hill Wednesdays (50-plus skiers or ride, $35), Ladies Day Thursdays ($29 lift tickets for women) and the Runs 'n' Roses special (two adults and two children, $128, available daily). Mt. Rose is the closest ski area to Reno with abundant, well-priced lodging. Twice-daily shuttle service from Reno is $15 roundtrip, and transportation/lift packages start at $69 per person. The shuttle operates through March 22, and reservations are recommended. Across the lake, Homewood Mountain Resort (tel. 877/263-7768 or 530/525-2992; offers a $39 adult lift tickets Monday through Thursday ($53 on the weekends). Homewood has well-priced on-site accommodations.

Good Deals at Ritzy St. Moritz

Glamorous St. Mortiz, Switzerland (tel. + 41 (0)81 837 33 33; doesn't customarily promote winter vacation values, but this year is the exception. A new package directed at vacation apartment guests includes accommodation, ski pass, travel on public transportation and discounts at the Upper Engadine snow sports schools. Detailed information and online booking is available from No matter where they stay, families can take advantage of the new family five- or six-day family ski pass. The first child under 13 is charged for the full children's rate, the second enjoys a 30 per cent discount off the children's (under-13) or young person's (age 13-17) rate, and any additional children of 17 use the region's 56 lifts free of charge. Also in St. Moritz, The Corvatsch cable car was upgraded with larger, higher-capacity cabins.