Friday, November 29, 2013

Happy USA Thanksgiving! 

Durango Mountain Resort

A great weekend for skiers in the US with so many resorts either open or opening especially for the Thanksgiving Holiday Weekend. Here's a list of the latest resorts all over North America with upcoming openings:

Beaver Creek, CO – Nov 27
Crested Butte, CO – Nov 27
Steamboat, CO – Nov 27
Powder Mountain, UT – Nov 27
Snowbasin, UT – Nov 28
Jackson Hole, Wyoming – Nov 28
Telluride, CO – Nov 28
Canyons Resort, UT – Nov 29
Purgatory, CO – Nov 29
Howelsen Hill, CO – Nov 30

And in Canada:
Blackcomb opening day by Logan Swayze
Blackcomb, Canada - Nov 28
Silver Star, Canada – Nov 28
Big White, Canada – Nov 28
Revelstoke, Canada - Nov. 30
Fernie, Canada – Nov 30

Fernie by Mark Eleven Photography

Check out my articles on all these Canadian resorts at:

Other Ski News:

Sneak-a-Peak - With great snow falling in Canada, Kicking Horse is planning a surprise preview weekend Dec 7/8. Full opening is scheduled for Dec 13. See my article on The Horse in Canada section.   

Thanks to Aspen!
Free skiing, free accommodation, free rentals and free food from Dec 20-25 - sounds like a challenge for Santa. But it will be a reality this year for kids whose parents book Aspen/Snowmass during the Black Friday through Cyber Monday deal over Thanksgiving weekend. Kids ski, stay, rent and eat for free with a paying adult who books the package before midnight Dec 2:

Vail Challenge - 

A ski pass for all the Vail Resorts for the rest of your life would be a dream come true for every Colorado wintersports fan. And, for ten tenacious skiers and snowboarders this could be a reality. 

The first ten contestants in the Epic Ski Race to notch up all 26 ski resorts under the Vail Resorts banner will win lifetime passes. Not an easy feat as the ski hills span four countries and two continents: Colorado, Utah, Lake Tahoe, Minnesota and Michigan in the USA and resorts in Switzerland, France and Austria.

Among the 300 contestants vying for Vail victory is Sean Regan, originally from Boston, who is doing the race both to win the pass and also to raise money for a scholarship fund for a single parent family. Other contenders include father and 

son teams from Park City, UT and Louisville, CO, who want to spend serious bonding time over their shared passion. There's also a Guiness record holder who has run for US President; a family who love skiing so much they used Vail for their daughter’s middle name; an airline pilot from Atlanta, GA who, at 47, is out to prove that older guys have still got it by doing a board slide in the terrain park of every mountain; a couple from Lake Tahoe who got engaged at Heavenly and will use the race as the honeymoon they never took; and a plucky woman from New Jersey who is using the Epic Race to get to know a potential "Mr. Right".

You can follow the progress of #EpicRace on Twitter, FacebookYouTube and at

TO DO LIST: Buy Ski Canada Magazine on newstands from Monday December 2 to read my debut article in there!!

Friday, November 22, 2013


Ski Canada 

Vol. 42 Issue 3 out December 2 - including my story on "The British Invasion"

How do you feel when the best assignment of your year literally falls onto your desktop? Jubilant, terrified, awed and excited beyond belief!

Sunshine Village by Paul Zizka/Banff Lake Louise Tourism

This was me a few months ago when I was asked to write an article for hallowed editor, Iain MacMillan. His glossy magazine, Ski Canada, is the highest profile dedicated ski publication in Canada and seems to get bigger while other mags fold.

Banff Mt Norquay by Paul Zizka/Banff Lake Louise Tourism
The story he commissioned was a Brits’ eye view of Banff Lake Louise, my home ski area. As a Brit myself, I had a heads up on what the average British skier thinks of Alberta’s Big 3 but it was still fascinating to get very varied viewpoints from a hodge podge of fellow countrymen who ski, live or work there. The story took me 50 hours to perfect and I loved every minute! I almost self-combusted waiting to hear if it had made the grade. It did!

MacMillan – known by those who dare as Mac - has been the enthusiastic editor of Ski Canada since 1995. As well as vetting articles and equipment guides, Mac writes ski epics himself both for Ski Canada and other publications such as Canada’s Globe and Mail.

Mac started skiing in his infancy: “I don't remember but I'm told I was in nappies when I was put on skis,” he told me recently. Growing up near Hamilton, Ontario, he skied Ellicottville, New York, with his family and still skis at Holiday
Holiday Valley Resort
http://www.holidayvalley.comon wintry weekends. Each season he notches up around 40 or 45 days on snow: “half in the east here and half in the real mountains”. Having skied in dozens of top destinations, he still has a burgeoning bucket list including Armenia, Georgia, Norway, Morocco, New Zealand and Alaska.

Co-raising three kids and the occasional French exchange student keeps him young enough to measure up to 20-something rippers when skiing on assignment. “My knees are the only old joints in the group,” he joked. “That said, the best ski group isn't about being the same age, it's more about similar abilities. It's at après ski where I get behind the young knees.”

On the Ski Canada website, Mac notes that their combination of passionate printed and social media ski news creates “a club-like loyalty among readers”. And, despite the distraction of other “noise” online, readers remain faithful. Amid the widespread erosion of print journalism by social media, Ski Canada has outlasted all competition. Mac puts this down to inclusive, informative and entertainment factors. “Lots of publications have come and gone trying to serving one specific niche only, while forgetting the vast majority of skiers going through the liftline,” he explained. “We also try to never take ourselves too seriously.” With a publication as established as Ski Canada, he said, future fears are more likely to focus on “climate change, and sore knees and whether my new jacket will match my ski pants…”

Ski Canada's Annual Buyer's Guide

After 18 years on the job, he remains as motivated as those days in diapers: “There are so many untold stories the file is always overflowing; I just wish we had more pages to tell them!” I know what he means: for me, reading a new issue of Ski Canada is like hanging out in a vibrant après ski bar with dedicated skiers full of tantalizing tales and anecdotes straight off the slopes.

Based from Toronto, Ski Canada magazine publishes an annual gear guide, results from its alpine ski tests, reviews of international ski areas, features and ski tuition tips from a pool of 100-plus professional writers and photographers – now including me!

Lake Louise by Paul Zizka/Banff Lake Louise Tourism

Issue 3 Vol. 42– including my colonial contribution - is available to subscribers next week and on newsstands from Dec 2. It also features an equipment powder test at Mike Wiegele’s Helicopter Skiing as well as improvement tactics from Whistler’s Extremely Canadian coaches. VailResorts, Quebec and the Yukon are also highlighted in what is, to many, the skier’s Bible.

Ski hills opening up over the next week include: 

Lake Tahoe: 
Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood on Fri Nov 22 

Aspen Snowmass by Jeremy Swanson
Vail Nov 22
Eldora Nov 22

Aspen Mntn/Aspen Snowmass Nov 23
Beaver Creek Nov 27
Crested Butte Nov 27
Steamboat Nov 27
Jackson Hole Nov 28
Telluride Nov 28

Snowbird Nov 20
Alta Nov 22
Park City Mountain Resort  Nov 23

Powder Mountain  Nov 27
Snowbasin  Nov 28

Stowe, Stratton, Jay Peak, Sugarbush and Smugglers' Notch Nov 23

Sun Peaks, BC Nov 23
Silver Star, BC Bonus Weekend Nov 23/24
Monte-Sainte-Anne, Quebec Nov 23
Big White, BC Nov 28
Mt Norquay - Big Chair opens Nov 23

More terrain open this weekend at Marmot Basin

Also, check out my article about Big White, British Columbia, on UK travel site Silver Travel Advisor at: