Snow is falling (dumping, really) out west, and we all know what that means—it’s almost ski season! Many of our favorite resorts in the western United States are already packing a couple feet or more of snow. It's a promising start after a difficult snow year for many parts of the country last year (and an employee crisis left over from Covid). Ski resorts across the country have been hard at work preparing to open new lifts, improving dining and operations and arranging season-long festivities. Read on for everything you need to know this season about our favorite mountains (Ikon, Epic and others!), including what’s new, opening dates and where to stay.
(Note: All opening dates are subject to weather and may change.)
Contact Indagare or your Trip Designer for assistance planning a customized ski trip and matching you to the best ski resorts and hotels that are right for you.
Ski bums everywhere can rejoice at the news that Ikon has added eight resorts to its lofty collection, bringing the total to 64. Notable additions include Snowbasin (a former Epic partner), Sun Valley, Palisades Tahoe, Mammoth (formerly Mountain Collective) and—to the joy of Alps fanatics—France’s Chamonix. Those still hoping to purchase a pass should do so before December in case they sell out. Passes go on sale in March each year, and a little-known fact for spring skiers: at select mountains, the Ikon pass becomes effective immediately following purchase or in early April, so early purchasers can enjoy spring skiing from the slopes of Tremblant to Stratton in the east and Mammoth, Palisades Tahoe and Winter Park in the west.
Ikon Pass ($1,229) Notable mountains not included: None! All Ikon mountains are included. Notable mountains with unlimited days: Stratton, Steamboat, Palisades Tahoe, Mammoth, Sugarbush, Tremblant Maximum number of days for all other notable resorts: 7 days (select resorts have fewer). Blackout dates: None.
Ikon Base Pass ($919) Notable mountains not included: Jackson Hole, Aspen Snowmass, Deer Valley, Alta, Sun Valley, Snowbasin Notable mountains with unlimited days: Stratton, Palisades Tahoe, Mammoth, Sugarbush, Tremblant (includes blackout dates at all but Tremblant) Maximum number of days for all other notable resorts: 5 days (select resorts have fewer). Blackout dates: Major holidays and the surrounding days.
There's big news at Big Sky (which has received almost two feet of snow in the past week): Our favorite Montana mountain is well on its way to completing its 2025 Vision, which includes a new tram to Lone Mountain Summit, improved on-mountain dining and a new two-stage gondola.
Lifts: Just in time for the 2023 season, Big Sky’s tram experience will see a major upgrade, with a brand new Lone Peak Tram and an all-glass viewing platform at the peak, with panoramic views of the sprawling resort and beyond.
Operations: Though we hope for heavy snowfall every season, sometimes the forecast needs a bit of help, so, this year, Big Sky has expanded their snowmaking capabilities to Andesite Mountain (known for its expert trees snuggled beneath beginner and intermediate terrain), with over one mile of snowmaking on the beginner run, Safari. And for those staying off-mountain, they have also expanded their parking with 350 new spots.
Aprés: Aprés Skiers, say hello to the Umbrella Bar. Following the trend seen across the west, Big Sky has put in their very own glass tent in Mountain Village, done up European-style with 360 degree views.
Where to Stay: Montage Big Sky, Ranch at Rock Creek and Lone Mountain Guest Ranch On the Horizon: One&Only Moonlight Basin (Coming Winter 2024)
Best known for its “cowboy powder,” rugged terrain and laid-back attitude, it is the accessibility on and off the mountain that sets Jackson Hole apart from the rest this year.
(Note: Ikon and Mountain Collective passholders must make day reservations in advance.)
Flights: Exciting new direct flights from Miami to Jackson Hole have been announced on American Airlines. These flights will run daily from December 25 to January 10, weekly from January 10 through February 15 and daily again through April 3.
Lifts: Shorter lift lines await, with a high-speed quad replacement for the Thunder Lift, allowing easier access to Laramie Bowland, the expert shoots beneath the lift.
Dining: Joining buzzy Coelette, the new Kampai opened in January of 2022, serving premier Japanese cuisine prepared by head chef Chris Massad (who previously worked with Nobu Matsuhisa in Vail).
Aspen’s après ski scene may be even more effective at inspiring loyal returners than the resort’s four mountains—but having a wide range of beginner, intermediate and expert terrain certainly doesn’t hurt. This year, improvements to the resort are primarily for the benefit of beginners.
(Note: The days on Ikon allotted for Aspen Snowmass are the total number of days for all four mountains.)
Village Operations: The base of Buttermilk Mountain has spent the summer getting a facelift—a $23 million facelift. Expected to open in mid-January, visitors will be able to enjoy a 9,000-square-foot skier services building, which has brought ski school, rentals and ticketing all to one glossy new home.
Dining: Taikun Sushi opened this past summer at the Marble Bar in the Aspen Mountain Residences with a 13-course Omakase experience. And in the location that formerly housed L’Hostaria, PARC Aspen is expected to open in late November 2022, serving a farm-to-table menu and offering three dining experiences: the modern locals bar, a contemporary fine dining room or an exclusive wine and chef-paired dinner. Plus, as part of Buttermilk Mountain’s renovation, Buttermilk Mountain Lodge Restaurant (formerly known as Bumps) has undergone a makeover, which includes an expanded bar and outdoor patio named The Backyard.
The future is bright for Steamboat (and not just because of the mountain's long list of events and celebrations for the 2022-23 season). The resort recently announced a $200 million expansion project called Full Steam Ahead, which will include new lifts, après ski spots, restaurants, lodging and more—the beginnings of which will come online this year!
Lifts: The first leg of the new Wild Blue Gondola will be opening for Winter 2023. Expected to be the longest and fastest 10-person gondola in the country, this first half will run from the base area to the new mid-station, ski school headquarters and beginner’s area, Greenhorn Ranch (formerly Bashor’s Basin). As a result, the Preview Lift was retired, and the Christie Peak Express has been slightly relocated. When the full project is completed for the 2023-2024 season, Wild Blue Gondola will be able to whisk skiers from the base to the top of Sunshine peak in under 13 minutes.
Recreation: For season-long fun, head to the new Skeeter’s Ice Rink in Steamboat Square, which will be the center stage for season-long events, including Opening Day and numerous 60th-anniversary celebrations. Steamboat has also redone their stage, which in typical Steamboat fashion, will have music and events throughout the season
Dining and Aprés: The Range is a new two-story food hall in Steamboat Square with four dining options, choice of mobile- or in-person ordering, indoor and outdoor lounge space and easy views of Skeeter’s Ice Rink and the redone stage.
Notable Events: Light Up Snow Cat Parade (December 31), The Music Fest at Steamboat (January 7 to 12) Where to stay: Villa Rentals—Indagare can help arrange.
Where to Stay: Snowpine Lodge
Notable Events: The Sun Valley Film Festival (March 29 to April).
Where to Stay: Sun Valley Lodge
Vail Resorts has really doubled down on improvements this year, following a tougher than normal season countrywide—in large part due to crowds and service issues. What does “doubling down” look like? Approximately $300 million has been invested into the guest experience.
One major step in reducing the crowds this year will be the limited Day Ticket sales for all of Vail’s resorts, making it even more important to plan ahead. The other main step is the Epic Lift Upgrade, which has seen new and updated lifts for the 2022-23 season at 12 of Vail’s most popular resorts (details below). Epic Pass holders will also enjoy Epic Mountain Rewards, including 20 percent off food, lodging, rentals and more at all Epic Mountains.
For those who followed the employee crisis largely credited with the 2021-22 issues at Vail Resorts, Vail not only announced a new $20/hour minimum wage for hourly employees (an average 30 percent increase from last year) and also rolled out additional benefits. Since happier employees leads to better service (and to more employees), the hope is that this will go a long way towards improving the experience at Epic mountains this year.
Epic Pass ($899)
Epic Local ($699)
It’s Vail’s 60th Anniversary! And what better way to celebrate than with two new lifts, a season of themed cocktails, dining and events and an exciting step in their sustainability goals?
Lifts: Look forward to reduced wait times in the back bowls with two new high-speed lifts: a quad in Sun Down Bowl, which will run from the base of Chair 5 up to the Wildwood Restaurant and a six-pack replacing the current quad in Game Creek Bowl.
Aprés Ski: Vail’s 60th Anniversary will bring to the mountain an aprés experience like no other, reviving traditions from Vail’s early days (with some exciting enhancements). Most notable is the return of the ice bar, first created by one of Vail’s investors Bill Whiteford for the 1964-65 season. Located by the Eagle’s Nest and Wildwood lifts, Vail’s revived retro ice bar offers a unique après experience (that will be reconstructed after every storm) and includes four Snow Bungalows for a more private experience.
Two signature limited-edition spirits from 10th Mountain Whiskey will also be sold exclusively on the mountain. But perhaps the most inventive of Vail’s après enhancements is the Aprés Passport: a limited number will be available at special Passport drops throughout the season and there will be signature offerings, events and giveaways for those who fill their passport.
Sustainability: Five years ago, Vail announced its Commitment to Zero, a goal to reach a zero net carbon footprint by 2030—efforts include the ski industry’s only gondola-based waste-removal system and a custom designed recycling center. This year, they became the first mountain resort in the world to reach certification as a Mountain Ideal Sustainable Destination.
Where to Stay: The Four Seasons Vail, Ritz Carlton Club Vail and The Arrabelle at Vail Square, which is going all out for anniversary with themed cocktails, complimentary strudel service and whiskey tastings for guest check-in and a daily Signature Hot Chocolate Cart sure to charm both kids and adults with hand-crafted marshmallows, cookies, candies, toffee and cider.
While Park City may be more renowned, all the goods are coming to Canyons this year, starting with the new expansive ski beach, complete with heated pavement, fire pits and abundant soft seating in Canyons Village. The newly opened family-friendly Red Tail Grill is also a prime new spot with an outdoor patio offering your choice of seating with sunny views of Canyons and specialty cocktails. And don’t miss Après Pendry at the new Pendry Park City, a sleek European-style space with bar and lounge seating, an outdoor patio and live music. (Though Pendry guests may prefer to take their après at the Pool House, an exclusive picturesque rooftop spot with extensive outdoor seating, a full kitchen and a hot tub.)
Dining: In addition to the American fare served at Red Tail Grill, Canyon’s village is now home to the Pendry’s Kita, serving Japanese grill style cuisine; Dos Olas, a casual brightly colored Mexican hot spot; and the family-friendly retro diner Disco Pizza.
Operations: The new Slopeside Village in Canyons will provide 441 more beds for Park City Employees, adding to the improvements made by Vail.
Notable Events: Sundance Film Festive (January 19 to 29) Where to Stay: Pendry Park City or Washington School House (Deer Valley Hotels like Stein Eriksen Lodge and The Goldener Hirsch are a short drive away)
Northstar is 50 years old, and the ski resort is celebrating with a toast and lift upgrades—and fun events all season long.
Lifts and Slopes: The popular Comstock Express lift has been replaced by a high-speed six-pack, increasing the uphill capacity by 50 percent. Plus, a new perk called First Tracks is being offered: the mountain will open exclusively for pass holders (Epic pass included) a half an hour early (at 8:30 a.m.) every Monday beginning in mid-December.
Aprés: Time for a tōst! Enjoy après at Lake Tahoe’s only slopeside, mountain-view bubble experience (located near East Ridge on Mt. Pluto), where champagne or bubbly cider will be served at 2:00 p.m. each day. And at the Village at Northstar, drinks, snacks and ice skating can be enjoyed to live music every Saturday from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m.
Celebration: For Northstar’s last week this spring, they will be hosting daily activities from the much beloved tradition of pond-skimming to costumed freestyle competitions. The planned closing date is April 16, pending conditions.
Where to Stay: Ritz Carlton Northstar and villa rentals (Indagare can help arrange).
In the land of pristine corduroy and heated sidewalks, it is all about the slopeside food this year—plus, travelers who only visited early season last year, can explore some exciting new terrain.
Terrain: For all those who missed it last year due to a delayed opening, McCoy Park (complete with 17 new trails across 250 newly skiable acres) will see its first full season in 2022-23.
Slopeside Dining: Beaver Creek is well-known for its cookies (especially among the kids), but this season they’re taking it to a new level. Beaver Creek Cookie Cabin will be opening its interior to its Ski and Snowboard School guests, serving gooey chocolate chip cookies and cocoa all day. And at Mamie’s Mountain Grill at the top of the Bachelor Gulch Express Lift, they’re offering a taste of the Alps with German-fare, including pretzels, bratwurst, soups and stews.
Over at the “Ski Capital of the East,” gone is the steep hike up to the base lift; the fixed-grip Mountain Lift has been extended and replaced by a high-speed six-pack. Notable Events: Stowe Winter Carnival (January 19 to 22) Where to Stay: Spruce Peak at Stowe Mountain Lodge or Edson Hill
At Telluride (which only has seven days on the Epic pass), a new high-speed quad is replacing the current Plunge Express, expected to open in time for the holidays. Where to Stay: Madeline, Auberge Resorts Collection, Lumière and Inn at Lost Creek
Just a three-hour drive from New York City, Mt. Snow has just become even more convenient—for the skiers on the mountain at least. The Sundance and Tumbleweed triple lifts are being supplanted by one high-speed six pack, and the Sunbrook chair has been replaced with a high-speed quad. Where to Stay: The Hermitage Inn
It’s a numbers game at the only unlimited Epic Mountain in Canada, as a high-speed 10-person gondola replaces the six-person Creekside Gondola at the mountain’s original base and a high-speed six pack replaces the Big Red Express Quad. This 30 pecent increase in uphill capacity is expected to reduce lift wait times, a common wish across the country. Where to Stay: Four Seasons Whistler Blackcomb or Fairmont Chateau Whistler
Best known for its champagne skiing and stylish village center, Crans-Montana is soon to be graced with a new luxury property. The Six Senses Crans-Montana is expected to open February 2023, with Swiss chalet-style slopeside rooms and suites and a signature Japanese restaurant.
See you on the slopes!
Contact Indagare or your Trip Designer for assistance planning a customized ski trip and matching you to the best ski resorts and hotels that are right for you.
We only feature hotels that we can vouch for first-hand. At many of them, Indagare members receive special amenities.Get In Touch