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Mid-Atlantic/SE skiing (PA, NJ, DC, MD, VA, WV, NC) for 2019-20


Angel Diva
I know, I know, it's still summer time. But changes are happening that will impact the upcoming season for the mid-Atlantic that I'd like to note sooner rather than later. So this is the place for people interested in 2019-20 news and advice related to skiing/boarding in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, southern NY, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, or North Carolina. When snowmaking temps arrive, we'll talk about snow too. Hope there can be a meetup or two of Ski Divas in the MidA/SE this season.

NC: Sugar, Beech, Appalachian, Cataloochee

VA: Massanutten, Wintergreen, Bryce
MD: Wisp
WV: Snowshoe, Canaan Valley, Winterplace

PA, western: Blue Knob, Seven Springs, Hidden Valley, Laurel Mountain
PA, closest to DC: Liberty, Roundtop, Whitetail
PA, eastern: Elk, Montage, Jack Frost, Blue, Camelback, Bear Creek, Big Boulder

NY Catskills: Belleayre, Hunter, Windham, Plattekill

For the Mid-Atlantic discussion for 2018-19, click here
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Angel Diva
The biggest news for DC/NoVA folks is that Vail Resorts is buying out all shares of Peak Resorts. The sale is expected to be final by fall. That means Liberty, Roundtop, and Whitetail will be on the Epic pass for 2019-20.

Philly folks who like Jack Frost/Big Boulder will find it on the Epic pass list too.

Folks who get an Epic pass will have unlimited access to Hunter.

Peak Passes will still be valid for 2019-20. Upgrades to Epic are possible. @Ski Sine Fine found that the FAQ is pretty thorough.

For more about the changes for the former Snowtime resorts, Hunter, JF/BB:
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Angel Diva
Anyone wondering what's happened to Timberline? I took it off the list in Post #1 because I doubt the lifts will be running for 2019-20. The entire ski resort is up for sale. The owner declared bankruptcy a few months ago. The situation has been very messy for a while. Even if a buyer steps forward, the polecat snowguns are being sold for $72K soon.

July 2019 Ski Area Management (SAM) News


Angel Diva
I think the most obvious operational changes for the Peak resorts for the first season as part of Vail Resorts will be:

1) RFID passes based on hand-held scanners (day passes, season passes)
2) option to buy some version of an Epic pass that includes local mountain(s) and VR destination resorts

Signage will be different but that doesn't really have much impact on skiing/boarding or travel planning. The merger is supposed to be final by late September. Given how often VR staff have had to integrate a new location, they will have a plan in place long before then.

Won't know until spring 2020 whether or not VR is going to offer "local" Epic pass options for PA or the northeast or individual small resorts. Right now it's possible to get regional passes for Colorado and Tahoe. Can get Epic passes for just one ski area/resort for the three midwest locations bought before 2017, Kirkwood, and Stevens Pass.


Certified Ski Diva
I’m excited about some upgrades at my go to mountains - Windham and Belleayre.

Windham - moving lift A to replace lift C. Will make it a lot faster to get to up to the Wonderama and Lower Wipeout trailS.

Bellayre - brand new lodge at the lower mountain and a new lift to replace the lower mountain lift. I’m most excited that they’ll have the bathrooms on the main level now.



Ski Diva Extraordinaire
The biggest news for DC/NoVA folks is that Vail Resorts is buying out all shares of Peak Resorts. The sale is expected to be final by fall. That means Liberty, Roundtop, and Whitetail will be on the Epic pass for 2019-20.
I bought a Peak Pass for L/RT/WT 2019/20 (and an Ikon Pass for Snowshoe and points west). I haven't received any notice about the sale to Vail, so thank you for posting this, @marzNC .

I can't say I'm at all happy to hear about this sale. Guaranteed that prices will spike sky high next year if VR follows true to form. The prices already were substantially raised for the upcoming season under the Peak Pass.

What really sucks though will be 20/21. I really don't want to have to buy both Epic and Ikon to ski the weekday places I favor here in Metro DC (Epic), and Snowshoe/points west (Ikon). Hopefully Epic will have a "local" option.
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Angel Diva
@BlizzardBabe : Since you have Ikon, are you going to Taos? Divas will be there the last week of Jan and the first week of Feb. There are Meet On The Hill threads for both weeks already. Travel planning started early. I'm going early Feb and ChrisB is going to give a Ski Week a try for the first time. :smile:

I got Full Ikon plus a Midweek Alta pass for next season. Heading to SLC midseason in addition to my annual late season stay at Alta Lodge with friends.
I bought Peak Traveller for L/RT/WT, Epic for Breck/Keystone (as often as I go there, maybe I should consider them my “home mountain” :smile:), and IKON really for just Taos but also to check out other IKON destinations. When the VR acquisition closes, I should get a refund of the Peak pass since I have Epic already. For 20/21, I can see just getting the Epic pass and maybe some sort of pass for just Taos if my inaugural Taos Ski Week gets me hooked. I might forgo the IKON for 20/21.

I’m not sure VR would have a local pass for just the PA resorts for 20/21 and beyond. Looking through my notes, the Epic Local Pass early pricing was $659. The unlimited Peak Pass early pricing was $629. So for $30 more, you gain a lot more resorts. Of course, the calculus would be different if you opted for the Peak Traveller (week days only w/ blackouts $329) or the Ranger (11 blackouts $529). In that case, the incremental is more substantial.


Angel Diva
What really sucks though will be 20/21. I really don't want to have to buy both Epic and Ikon to ski the weekday places I favor here in Metro DC (Epic), and Snowshoe/points west (Ikon). Hopefully Epic will have a "local" option.
Have to admit I'll be surprised if there isn't some sort of regional option for Epic for the midwest and the Mid-Atlantic. Folks in the Mid-A should sending comments about the idea as soon as the sale is final IMHO.

For the three existing midwest Epic locations, two have 1-resort passes. There are also senior options for the midwest. There are regional options for Tahoe and Colorado. So VR has experience with the concept and can probably afford it, unlike Peak Resorts.
Windham - moving lift A to replace lift C. Will make it a lot faster to get to up to the Wonderama and Lower Wipeout trailS.
Apparently there have been rumors about Windham and Ikon for a while. Would make some sense for Ikon to announce something new in the early fall. Last fall they opted to announce one addition per day for about a week.


Ski Diva Extraordinaire
@BlizzardBabe : Since you have Ikon, are you going to Taos? Divas will be there the last week of Jan and the first week of Feb.
I won't be there this season, unfortunately. The two conferences that are MUST attendance for work are in that time period. Luckily, one is in Denver this year, so I'm planning to spend an additional 4 days around the conference and hit an Ikon resort, either Copper or Winter Park. I haven't been to either in many moons. I have oodles of Hilton Honors points, so it'll depend on whether/where I can get a lodging deal. Later in the season I'm going to Steamboat w/SCWDC and Red Mountain BC w/Pentagon.


Angel Diva
The price for Epic passes go up on Sept. 2. The sale of Peak Resorts shares to Vail Resorts won't be final by then, but is expected by the end of Sept. The normal final deadline for getting an Epic pass is mid-Nov, the Sunday before U.S. Thanksgiving.
Not convinced it's going to make any difference operationally, but Camelback ownership has changed. It's been owned by a REIT for a while. At some point in 2019, KSL Resorts bought Camelback. But that's not the same company as KSL Capital Investments, which is an owner of Alterra.

Most of KSL Resorts locations are ocean beach properties. The indoor waterpark at Camelback was clearly of more interest than the ski slopes. The slopes are just one seasonal activity that makes Camelback a popular 4-season resort.

"Located in the Pocono Mountains, Camelback Resort is a one-stop-shop for countless adventures. Camelback Lodge and Aquatopia Indoor Waterpark – voted #1 Indoor Waterpark in the USA & one of the best family resorts in the Poconos. The eight-story Lodge complements all the mountain offers from skiing and snowboarding to PA’s largest outdoor water park, zip line adventures and more.
. . ."
Finally noticed that "KSL" is at the bottom of Camelback webpages. Have never looked at the Camelback website that carefully but remember the hoopla when the waterpark was built. Perhaps that's when when KSL Resorts (not KSL Capital Investments that helped create Alterra) started paying attention.

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@Peaheartsmama : I know you were hoping when the topic came up in the spring Camelback would get onto Ikon. While it still could as a partner, I don't think Alterra would buy the resort outright.
Given that both Massanutten and Wintergreen were selling season passes in the spring for the first time, it's a bit different being able to see the prices lift tickets and passes already. Used to have to wait until September, or even October.

What's new for Wintergreen is that it's possible to buy an Unlimited pass even if not a property owner. It's priced at $999 compared to $329 (until Sept. 2) for the standard pass that doesn't include Saturdays 9:00-4:00. The marketing tag line is Mission Affordable. For families, there is a family pass for 4 at $999 without Saturdays or $1499 for unlimited access.

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Wintergreen with it's high-speed lifts is great mid-week. Might be even more crowded on weekends this season with these low pass prices. My friends went with the Boy Scouts last winter on a Saturday day trip. It wasn't the best experience because of the busy slopes and lifts.

Massanutten season passes are about the same, with slight price increases. The deadline for early season pricing is Nov. 30. What's new is that Mnut is part of the new multi-resort Indy Pass. For $199 get 2 days at all the Indy partners, which include Mnut, Bryce, Canaan Valley, Blue Knob, and Cataloochee.

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For the three NC ski areas around Boone, pretty different approaches to season pass sales. Beech doesn't have info for 2019-20 online yet but can see the prices for last season. Sugar is selling season passes, with Oct. 14 as the deadline for the current price. There was an Early Bird period that ended in late June. App started posting about winter on their website in mid-August and the deadline for the lower season pass prices is Oct. 1.

App's annual Preseason Sale and Ski Swap is Oct. 11-20. It's been going on for 22 years! No cash if your used stuff sells, just store credit. I may be able to check it out this time since my daughter's fall break is around that time. Driving home via Boone isn't that much of a detour.
I'm not a beer drinking but those who are will have a new reason to consider a ski vacation to Snowshoe this winter. The owner of the new brewery has been doing business at Snowshoe for a while. Lawrence Walkup went to Snowshoe to work in 2006 and opened the Spruce Tavern in the village in 2010. So he knew the effort that would be required just to build the brewery. Walkup bought the land near Silver Creek about five years ago. Take a look at the pictures. It's clear a lot of thought went into the design and decor. The craft brews will only be sold at Snowshoe.

Snowshoe gets its brewery – Old Spruce
Turns out the Indy Pass couldn't wait until Sept. 1 to start selling. Already available as of Aug. 27. $199 until 12/1/19, then goes up $20. Blue Knob, Canaan Valley, Bryce, Massanutten, Cataloochee on the list. The Indy Pass provides 2 days at each, subject to blackout dates at Cat (not valid weekends or holidays Dec. 26-31, 2019, Jan. 20, Feb. 17, 2020). Also a third day ticket at least 10% off. Worth reading the FAQ on the website.


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