FRESH TRACKS – November 24, 2023

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At peace with modern times

Tremblant opened its 85th season on Thursday, November 23. Adding to the changes witnessed since 1939, this season marks the introduction of RFID terminals in chairlift corrals. So you won’t have to improvise new yoga moves while those behind you lose their Zen waiting for the scanners to read your card, resort staff remind you to place your RFID lift pass in an EMPTY pocket in the upper left portion of your outfit. Snowmaking continues into its fourth week on Flying Mile in preparation for the return of World Cup racing to Tremblant with a women’s giant slalom race scheduled on December 2 and 3.

Smashing the ice ceiling

When Blackcomb loaded chairs on November 23 it marked the start of the first season for new Whistler-Blackcomb chief operating officer Belinda Trembath. Trembath taking over the helm of the largest ski resort in North America is part of a growing number of women in top-level positions at ski resorts, a development probably not opposed by her boss, Vail Resorts CEO Kirsten Lynch.

Get them before they’re gone

Speaking of Whistler-Blackcomb, if you don’t have your Epic Pass yet, stop dithering. The passes go off the market on December 3, with Ikon passes also becoming unavailable sometime in early December (tba). Mountain Collective passes will go off sale on December 10th, but a new promotion just announced offers Air Canada frequent fliers 5,000-10,000 bonus miles with the purchase of a Mountain Collective Pass. Sounds like a match made in ski trip heaven.

Giving Mother Nature and Father Winter a hand

When Mont Sutton opens next Friday (December 1st) skiers will benefit from a doubling of the snowmaking system’s production capacity. It’s part of the $2.2 million in investment directed toward operations for the new season. More hose + new guns = more new snow. 

Slow, maybe steady?

British Columbia saw an uncharacteristically dry November, with rain amounts at Vancouver’s airport coming in at only 57 percent of average for the month. That’s resulted in limited openings at some resorts and delays at others. This week Big White pushed back their planned opening by one week. The new target date is December 30. But, skiers take heart. The Weather Network reports that 2008 also saw a slow start for B.C. in November, but that season ended up registering the second deepest snowfall totals. 

Alps getting hammered

If winter is taking its time to visit North America, the same can’t be said for Europe. Following on the heels of a difficult winter, the 2023/24 season is off at a torrid pace. Industry vets are calling it one of the best starts in memory and resorts are responding. Tignes and Val Thorens in France opened on November 18, a week earlier than anticipated. In Austria, Kitzbühel and Sölden opened two weeks early. Switzerland already has nine major resorts open, including Davos and Verbier.

Ski Canada Staff
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