Ski Industry News

Upside Down Ski Resorts – Where You’re Guaranteed to Come Out on Top

by Dan Giesin | September 20, 2018

It’s a bluebird powder day or a sun-splashed spring morning and you’re all amped up to get on the hill.
Not so fast there, bub.
Once you’ve parked the car in the resort lot and perhaps battled queues at the lift-ticket office and/or rental shop, you still have one more line to face before making some turns: The slow trudge through the chair-lift maze and then the ride up the hill.
But what if you can eliminate that last hurdle? What if you can exit your car, collect your gear, click into your bindings and head blissfully downhill?
There are a handful or so of ski resorts in North America that will allow you to do that. They are upside-down resorts, ones that have their main lodges and other major guest facilities at the top of the mountain.
So if you’re in a hurry to go from parking the car to carving the slopes, check out one or all of the following:

Blue Mountain

Located in the Pocono Mountains about a 90-minute drive from New York City or Philadelphia, Blue Mountain is a small ski hill with one big attribute: the biggest vertical drop — 1,082 feet — in all of Pennsylvania. The 64-acre resort has 39 trails — 59 percent of which are rated intermediate or harder — serviced by 10 chairs, two of which are high-speed quads, and four surface lifts. Blue Mountain also has five terrain parks, a couple of day lodges and a tubing hill. The resort’s sparse 40-inch annual natural snowfall average is augmented by 100 percent snowmaking.
 

Echo Mountain

About 50 minutes west of Denver via I-70 and Idaho Springs lies Echo Mountain Resort, the closest lift-served skiing and snowboarding to Colorado’s state capitol. There you’ll find a triple chair and surface lift to provide access to 600 feet of vertical, four named runs and extensive glade skiing, which takes up about one-third of the hill’s 60 acres. Echo Mountain also has night skiing Tuesday through Saturday.
 

Hogadon Basin

Owned by the municipality of Casper, Wyo., Hogadon Basin is situated in the mountains 11 miles south of the city. The 60-acre resort has  a 630-foot vertical and 27 trails — more than three-quarters of which are rated intermediate or harder — and some gladed skiing, which are accessed by a double chair and a surface lift. There is also extensive snowmaking to supplement the 140 inches that Mother Nature supplies annually.

Le Massif

Soaring above the St. Lawrence Seaway about an hour east of Quebec City, Le Massif lives up to its name: With a 2,526-foot drop from its day lodge to the bottom of the lift system the resort boasts the most vertical of any Canadian ski resort east of the Rockies. Fifty-two runs lace the 406-acre resort, with more than half of them rated intermediate or harder; of particular interest is La Charlevoix, a double-black diamond run that at one point gives the illusion that a rider is going to drop straight into the St. Lawrence. Le Massif has five lifts, including a gondola and three high-speed conveyances, two on-mountain lodges and a 4-plus-mile-long bobsled/luge track.

Powder Mountain

The largest winter mountain resort in the United States at 8,646 skiable acres,  Powder Mountain lies an hour or so east of Ogden, Utah. The resorts has 167 marked runs — 75 percent of which are rated intermediate or harder — serviced by six chairs and three surface lifts; there is also plentiful hike-to terrain and Powder operates a snow-cat service to help access the resort’s 2,500 feet of vertical. Powder has a couple of terrain parks and three day lodges and caps daily lift-ticket sales at 1,500. Oh yeah, there’s also the 500-inches of Utah’s light and dry that falls on Powder each winter.

Snowshoe

Popular with skiers and boarders from Washington, D.C., and other mid-Atlantic regions, Snowshoe drops down from the second highest point in West Virginia, 4,848-foot Cheat Mountain. The resort’s 244 skiable acres are spread over three distinct zones, Snowshoe Basin, Silver Creek and Western Territory, and are laced by 59 runs, more than half of which are rated intermediate or harder. Snowshoe seven chairs, two of which are the high-speed variety, to haul riders up its 1,500 feet of vertical. Although the resort boast of steady snowfall from lake-effect storms, Alberta clippers and nor’easters, Snowshoe is fully covered but snowmaking guns.

Spirit Mountain

Rising above the western end of Lake Superior and operated by the city of Duluth, Minn., Spirit Mountain is a multi-sport winter playground. For skiers and snowboarders, there are 22 runs and four terrain parks lacing through the resort’s skiable acres and and five chairs and two surface lifts conveying guests up its 700 vertical feet of relief. There’s also fat-tire biking, snow tubing, cross-country ski trails and an alpine coaster at Spirit.

 Hogadon Basin

Owned by the municipality of Casper, Wyo., Hogadon Basin is situated in the mountains 11 miles south of the city. The 60-acre resort has  a 630-foot vertical and 27 trails — more than three-quarters of which are rated intermediate or harder — and some gladed skiing, which are accessed by a double chair and a surface lift. There is also extensive snowmaking to supplement the 140 inches that Mother Nature supplies annually.

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