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September 2012

Who & What's New For 2012

  • Vail, Les 4 Vallees Form Epic Combo
    Vail Resorts (VR) has partnered with Verbier, Switzerland, to provide Epic Passholders three days of free access to Verbier and the other members of Les 4 Vallées, Nendaz, Veysonnaz and Thyon.

    The four comprise the largest ski area in Switzerland. This means that VR's Epic Pass now includes unlimited access to the seven VR areas (Vail, Breckenridge, Keystone, Beaver Creek, Northstar, Heavenly, and Kirkwood) plus Arapahoe Basin and limited access to the Swiss quartet. (SAM). That's a while lot of skiing, any way you look at it!

  • New for Vail Resorts
    Six out of seven Vail Resort mountains will replace NASTAR with their new EpicMix Racing, where skiers will automatically have their race times compared to ski racing great, Lindsey Vonn, for digital gold, silver and bronze medals. Race times and digital medals will be available on both the EpicMix website and mobile app.

    Vail created the Lindsey Vonn Race Series in which all skiers and riders will be ranked based on their best 10 races of the season. The top racers from across Vail's six resorts will be invited to a grand finale event in April, hosted by Vonn, on the Birds or Prey World Cup Course at Beaver Creek.

  • September Snowfall
    Several ski resorts have had their first snowfall of the year.

    • Alyeska received their first snow on September 6. Whistler and Sunshine Village received some on 9/10, and Pikes Peak, Winter Park, A-Basin, Keystone and Aspen/Snowmass followed on 9/12.  

    • Locals throughout the Roaring Fork Valley (western Colorado) are hoping that this early snowfall is a sign for a big snow season in "the land where beer flows like wine." With meteorologists predicting the El Nino effect for the 2012-2013 season, their wish just might come true.

  • Mountain Collective Pass
    Jackson Hole, Alta, Squaw Valley-Alpine Meadows and Aspen Skiing Company are offering, what they call, a ground-breaking ski pass, for the 2012-2013 season. The Mountain Collective Pass offers two free days at each of the four destination resorts plus a 50 percent discount on an unlimited number of lift tickets at each destination after the complimentary days are used. The pass also entitles buyers to exclusive lodging deals throughout the ski season.

  • New at Aspen
    Aspen is also opening 230 acres of new terrain on Burnt Mountain this season, making the Snowmass Ski Area the second largest ski resort in Colorado.

    Other major projects include a new mid-mountain restaurant and events center just steps from the top of the Elk Camp Gondola at Snowmass. The five-star, five-diamond Little Nell will be boasting a newly renovated restaurant called Element 47.

  • New Lifts on the Mountains
    • A new high-speed detachable quad has been installed at Snowbird this summer to replace the two-seater Little Cloud lift that has serviced Snowbird since 1960.

    • Squaw Valley has installed a new, high-speed, six-seater, the Big Blue Express, replacing the High Camp chair. It extends to the top of the Shirley Lake ridgeline, providing access to Shirley Lake, Solitude and Ganite Chief chairs, plus beginner and intermediate terrain that was previously inaccessible via the old HC chair. Park Pulley, a new tow lift was installed to provide easier access to the Belmont terrain park, and, a triple chairlift, Mountain Meadow, replaced the Links double chair. Whew, they've all been busy this summer!

  • Lower Lift Ticket Prices
    • Snowbasin announced a reduced price on season lift passes for the 2012-2013 season, charging $449 to $649, which is two-thirds the cost of last season's tickets. This includes 3 free days at Sun Valley Resort.

    • Brian Head’s unrestricted season pass will be $499 at early purchase rates.

    • Eagle Point, located 18 miles east of Beaver in Southern Utah, prices its pass even lower at $369 -- but everybody can ski free on Thursdays in January to introduce the resort to area skiers -- and, probably best of all, they're offering free skiing to California residents all season long any day of the week!

  • Park City Season Not In Doubt
    While a long-term lease agreement for Park City Mountain Resort (PCMR) remains elusive, PCMR leaseholder and Canyons owner assured PCMR that the resort will be able to open for the 2012-13 season.

  • Congratulations to Michael J. Ballingall
    Our favorite Canadian/Aussie, Michael J. Ballingall, has recently been appointed to the board of directors of BC Pavilion Corporation. Michael will help direct PavCo as it works to increase business for the two large public facilities it operates in the B.C. Lower Mainland – the Vancouver Convention Centre and BC Place Stadium.

    Not only is Michael the Senior Vice-President of Sales & Marketing for Big White Ski Resort (Kelowna), he is also President of the Big White Chamber of Commerce, Vice-Chair of the Canadian Ski Council, a Director of Tourism Kelowna, Past Chair of TOTA, and a member of the Canadian Tourism Commission's Emerging Markets Committee.

    Michael says he is proud to serve PavCo and notes it is the first time a person from the Thompson Okanagan region has ever served on that Board. He looks forward to being a voice for the region, helping Thompson Okanagan to benefit from the business generated by the PavCo facilities. "With our new non-stop air service into the region from Los Angeles, it bodes well for us attracting more business travel into the region."

Far West Travel

  • Cruise the Panama Canal from September 28 through October 12, 2012. Be sure to check the newly revised flyer on the website. Cabins in categories, other than what FWSA has reserved, can be booked on request (based on availability) once a total deposit of $400 in deposit has been paid. If you have any questions, contact Gloria Raminha or call her at 661-800-8229. more...

  • Aspen/Snowmass will be the host for the 2013 FWSA Ski Week. The dates are February 2 to 9, 2013. Contact Gloria Raminha, VP of North American Travel, for more information. more...

  • Far West Mini Ski Week will be to Mt. Bachelor with lodging at The Riverhouse in Bend, OR. Dates are March 25-30, 2013. This trip is limited to the first 100 people who sign-up and pay their initial deposits. Contact Gloria Raminha for more information. more...

  • Far West International Ski Week to Innsbruck, Austria is March 2-10, 2013, with an extension to Garmisch & Munich, Germany from March 10-17, 2013. Sign ups are taking place NOW! Contact Debbie Stewart, VP of International Travel, for more information. more...

Club And Council News

  • Bay Areas Snowsports Council
    September 10, 2012 was the annual BAC Tailgate BBQ/Oakland A's Baseball game and fireworks show. An anticipated 160 attendees participated in the evening's activities that were a benefit for Disabled Sports USA, Far West Division. Donations were expected to reach $1,000 for this outstanding event. Way to go BAC!

Communication News

  • Far West's New Website
    Thanks to all of the hard work of Catherine Ohl, Far West Ski Association has a beautiful new website. Catherine spent her summer giving us a facelift and reorganizing & updating content. Please check us out at www.fwsa.org. And, don't forget to "LIKE" us on Facebook while you're at it.

  • Far West Skier's Guide
    The 2012-2013 Far West Skier's Guide will be our 25th Annual. How time flies! We invite you to be a part of it as an advertiser. Contact Leigh Gieringer for more information at 480.600.6099. more...

Convention News

  • Passkey On-line Registration
    Bay Area Snow Sports Council is busy working on the 81st annual Far West Ski Convention, which will be held June 6-9, 3013 at the Grand Sierra Resort and Spa in Reno, Nevada. All attendees to the Far West Ski Association Convention can now make reservations on-line by going here.

    No password is required. There are no resort fees. The room rates (double occupancy) are: Grand Sierra Standard Room - $79.00; Summit Suites Grand II Room - $104.00. more...

In Memory

  • A Pioneer in Skateboarding and Snowboarding
    Tim Sims, frequently credited with inventing the first modern snowboard has died of cardiac arrest. Sims built his "Skiboard" prototype in wood shop class in seventh grade in 1963, and followed with several skateboard and snowboard industry firsts, including the first snowboard with metal edges, the first pro-model and women's-specific snowboard.

    In addition to being on many snow and skate podiums throughout his career, winning the slalom event at the U.S. Open of Snowboarding in 1985, Sims was a snowboarding stunt double for Roger Moore in the 1985 James Bond film "A View to a Kill."

Late Breaking News

  • Glen Plake Survives Himalayan Avalanche
    A deadly avalanche has taken the lives of 8 people with more climbers missing in the Himalayas in Northern Nepal. Shortly before 5 a.m. on Sunday, September 23rd, the Manaslu peak of 26,758 foot (8,156 meters) came rushing down over a climbing expedition. Four of the dead are French along with one German, one Italian, one Spainard and one Nepalese sherpa.

    Glen Plake, world-renowned freestyle skier and pioneer, was a survivor of the avalanche. Plake was swept nearly a thousand feet in his tent, with an eye injury, minor wounds and missing teeth as a result. Glen was part of a team attempting to become the first team to ski the world’s eighth highest peak without oxygen.

    Those missing, presumed dead, are Rémy Lécluse and Greg Costa from France and the Canadian, Dominique Ouimet.

    231 foreigners in 25 separate teams were attempting to scale Mount Manaslu in the current autumn climbing season.
Download a Word Document of the September 2012 News Flash.

If you have information for future editions, email editor Debbi Kor.





Vail Resorts' Epic Pass just got better with three free days at Verbier or any of the other members of Les 4 Vallées.




Vail Resorts announce the Lindsey Vonn Race Series. Lindsey will set the pace for all of EpicMix Racing. Each day at each of resort, one of the race pros will run the EpicMix Racing courses using their time to get Lindsey’s time for the course.




Four ski resorts team to offer the Mountain Collective Pass that is good for two days each at Aspen, Alta, Jackson Hole, Squaw Valley-Alpine Meadows.




Squaw Valley is investing in new chairlifts and lift line improvements to greatly enhance the beginner and the terrain park experience, as well as to improve the overall flow of the upper mountain.




Californians ski FREE at Eagle Point in Southern Utah.




Congratulations to Michael J. Ballingall, Big White's Senior Vice-President of Sales & Marketing, on his appointment to the board of directors of BC Pavilion Corporation




You can now make your reservation online for the 2013 Far West Convention to be held in Reno, June 6-9. Check it out here.




BAC hosted it's 7th annual tailgate party at the Oakland A's verses the Baltimore Orioles on September 14. All proceeds from the event were donated to Disabled Sports USA, Far West Division.




Tim Sims, inventor of the first modern snowboard has died of cardiac arrest at 61. RIP!




Freeskiing pioneers and ski mountaineers Glen Plake, Rémy Lécluse and Greg Costa, had been attempting to become the first team to ski the world’s eighth highest peak without oxygen when an avalanche occurred.




Glen Plake (left) survived the Himalayan avalanche but Rémy Lécluse (center) and Greg Costa (right) are still among the missing and presumed dead. All three were camped at base camp 3 at 7,000 m (23,000 feet) in their sleeping bags when the avalanche hit. Glen and Greg were in the same tent.
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