From Utah to Vancouver: Inside ski mountain lodging

Written by E for CNN New York Written by E for CNN New York Hotels are getting into ski resort build-outs of their own, experimenting with spinning and tele-connecting ski lifts, new ski areas…

From Utah to Vancouver: Inside ski mountain lodging

Written by E for CNN New York Written by E for CNN New York

Hotels are getting into ski resort build-outs of their own, experimenting with spinning and tele-connecting ski lifts, new ski areas and neighboring hotels.

Those stories combine to create an experience that some say includes long lines, limited terrain and an inconsistent service style.

In the winter, skiing and snowboarding dominates North America’s snow sports scene. Roughly 3 million visitors hit the slopes annually. Canadian winter resorts call it “the six Ps”: picturesque, cool, pampering, sanitized, non-existent and a bit worrisome. For those of us who just want the skiing, the trend toward condos-cum-ski chalets could be just what we’re looking for.

Mountain side ‘cabins’

Home to two ski regions, and spreading as far east as Whistler-Blackcomb in British Columbia, Canada, the Elk resort in Utah is among the most anticipated additions to US resorts.

The ski areas of Canyons in Park City, Utah are slated to make a stunning architectural statement with Canyons Village, a luxury residential, retail and dining destination that will include residences, hotel rooms and rental condos with views of Blackcomb Mountain

In mid-September, the resort gave a tour of the town square for CNN.

Nick Santangelo and Laddie Ketley of architecture firm Hoisington Engel discussed how Canyons will be one of the most cohesive ski resort communities in North America.

No crashing in the lifts

Access to Canyons Village is not set in stone. It’s being designed to be walkable to the base of Blackcomb Mountain for skiers or snowboarders, but also pedestrian friendly with a bistro, coffee shop, bar and retail space.

“This is all about creating a sense of place,” says Santangelo.

1 / 8 A rendering of the new village featured in a marketing image for Canyons’ Canyons Village. Credit: Canyons

Canyons Village will also be the site of a fully connected lifts, allowing for a seamlessly connected experience from the base of Blackcomb Mountain down to the main base area. It could mean improved lift lines, Santangelo says.

View from the top

“You can take the two lifts to the top of Canyons,” says Ketley. “You’ll get a tremendous view of the Canyons in the middle of this extraordinary mountain.”

Photographer Thomas Gardiner, who is in the process of editing his book “Everyday to Powder: North America’s Epicenters” (due out early 2019), will be able to make the trip from Utah to British Columbia each winter. His essay, “Getting to the Top,” features an aerial view of the base of Blackcomb Mountain

“It’s all so big,” he says, from the gondola to the top of the mountain. “It’s about the high altitude.”

“It’s really something. If you take those hot air balloons over New York City, they’re beautiful, but it’s not like you’re going over a mountain.”

He mentions Ski Sundown resort in Vail.

“You get access to more land, more virgin ski terrain. They’re inviting. It’s an experience that you don’t get at a lot of resorts.”

A Colorado twist

Taking a different approach to a connected village, Breckenridge Mountain Resort in Colorado is actually building ski lodges for more land use, set in a planned community called Real Woods. The first lodge will open next summer in California, says Brian Hollinshead, creative director of Built in Colorado, the development company that is developing Real Woods.

“We’ve designed the development in a way to create a ski area without the ski resort,” Hollinshead says.

The plan is to build permanent year-round facilities for both skiing and biking, a trail for dogsledding, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and an outdoor playground for children. The site is located 25 miles northeast of the city.

The resort is reinventing its lifts to help you glide by people without gloves on

Long story short

Just like in ski resorts outside of the US, the trend for renting ski chalets is here, at least for a year. At the start of the season, major companies including Treehotel and UltimateHillcrest begin selling ski and ski-in ski-out cashes for anywhere from $150 per night for studio living to $1,200 for high-end suites.

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