Category Archives: Outdoor News

Best Spring Ski Festivals in the West

spring ski festival pond skimming

It’s nearly March. The snowiest month of the ski season is only days away and places like Snowbird and Mammoth have already reached record-breaking base depths with no end to the powder days for the near future. While those who hate winter lament; those of us who live for sliding are doing the mother of all dances. And this spring will be the ultimate culmination of the best ski season since 1995. You can bet the coming festivals that celebrate spring skiing and shenanigans will rage from the energy this winter has stoked.

Spring skiing means less base layers, more sunlight, longer afternoons for apres. It’s the time for locals and guests to celebrate an epic ski season with festivals, events, tailgating parties, and pond skimming. How can you get in on the action? Check out our list of top spots to ring in the spring.

Tahoe Snowfest, Lake Tahoe

North Lake Tahoe SNOWFEST is one of the largest winter mountain festivals on the west coast. The annual 10-day event celebrates the best of North Lake Tahoe from ski town nightlife to outdoor family-friendly events. Get ready to party March 2-12 with parades, laser show and fireworks, pancake breakfasts, live music and concerts, bar parties, ski races, dog and pet events, ice carving, a polar bear swim and much more. 

Subaru Winterfest, Snowbird and Woodward

The concert and mountain lifestyle tour is a winter playground for music fans, skiers, snowboarders, and dog lovers alike. It gives you an excuse (do you really need one?) to get outside and gather with fellow winter lovers as you celebrate the move towards spring and warmer days with live music, giveaways and vendor booths. The tour visits Woodward, Park City, first on March 18 with headliner the Spazmatics and then moves to Snowbird March 24-26 and music from SunSquabi and Simba Sax.

Spring Gruv, Park City/Canyons

Park City Mountain’s annual spans a whopping 16 days, starting with Oakley Week on March 23 and culminating with a 100-foot pond skim on April 8. Anyone can enter and there are prizes for the biggest splash, best costume, and best overall skim, plus tons of raffles and giveaways. There’s live music every afternoon and most evenings along with jugglers, magicians, s’mores and backyard games.

Rendezvous Spring Festival, Jackson Hole

The Jackson Hole Rendezvous Spring Ski Festival is a two-day music festival on March 31 – April 1, 2023, that starts in downtown on Friday night but finishes in Teton Village on Saturday afternoon. Chart-toppers The Revivalists will headline with ZZ Ward and Preservation Hall Jazz Band. Then Yellowstone crooner Ryan Bingham headlines alongside Elle King plus Futurebirds and Dumpstaphunk. Tickets are free but you have to reserve on Eventbrite and it’s first come-first serve.

Bonus, skiers and snowboarders who own a valid 2022-23 winter resort season pass ANYWHERE in the world who travel to Jackson Hole during Rendezvous Fest can receive a 50% discount on lift tickets!

Altitunes, Big White

Canada’s biggest mountain music festival is back for two days of music, skiing, and an array of outdoor activities with your crew, March 31-April 1. The tunes are curated for a fun blend of folk, pop & alt- rock, and a full day of upbeat dance music on Saturday.

WinterWonderGrass, Steamboat & Palisades

Bluegrass, jamgrass and roots music and beer. What more could you want? Oh, yeah, great skiing. This pair of three-day festivals will be held in Colorado and California, March 3-5 and March 31- April 2, respectively. Headliners in Steamboat – Greensky Bluegrass, The Infamous Stringdusters, Leftover Salmon and Paul Gauten and more will perform on four stages, over three days.

WWG part 2 will take place at Palisades Tahoe on March 31-April 2, with Trampled By Turtles, Greensky Bluegrass and Marcus King topping the bill.

Day passes start at $109 and include three hours of complimentary beer and spiked seltzer tastings.

World Ski and Snowboard Festival, Whistler

Hands down the most off-the-hook spring ski festival in North America. Known to locals as WSSF, the World Ski & Snowboard Festival combines spring energy with a week of non-stop events and action on and off the slopes. Ski and snowboard competitions like Big Air and Slush Cup, music, art, photography, action filmmaking and exciting nightlife will happen April 10-16.


The country’s top multi-multisport event to benefit of Mt. Bachelor Sports Education Foundation will have racers gearing up May 13 in Bend, Ore. Anyone can enter as individuals, pairs, or teams at

Since 1976 the event which features ski (alpine and nordic), bike, run, canoe/kayak, sprint legs annually attracts thousands of competitors from throughout the Northwest and beyond, and stretches from the slopes of Mt. Bachelor to the finish line in Bend’s Old Mill District.

Whether you are a less-competitive racer who wants to join a team for fun, have an active day with friends or family, or an elite multi-sport athlete, the SELCO PPP has a place for you.

Lindsey Vonn Skis the Streif

American speed queen becomes first woman to ski legendary Streif course.
Interviews courtesy Redbull Content Pool
Lindsey Vonn strapped back into her skis and became the first woman to ever ski the Streif – and the first to ever dare to do so at night. The Streif is considered the greatest challenge on the FIS Alpine Ski World Cup and it is a race Vonn could never compete in due to only men’s downhill races being held in Kitzbühel.

The American won everything there is to win in the sport before retirement in 2019 but one last dream goal eluded her in her illustrious career, the fearsome Streif in Kitzbühel, Austria. The 38-year-old said: “Only when you ski the Streif are you a real downhiller. The Streif is the pinnacle of all downhills, the most difficult course in the world. Nobody believed I could do it. After all my injuries, to now get the once-in-a-lifetime chance to kick out of the starting gate here and fulfil my dream is incredible…I’ve always had respect for the men that raced down the Streif, but I have even more respect now, because it’s one thing to go down it and another thing to ski to win; and now I can fully understand what that means. It has given me greater perspective how truly amazing these men are.”

Vonn had not raced a downhill course in four years but pushed out of the start gate and entered the notorious Mausefalle (Mousetrap), with an 85% gradient. Setting off in the dark from the original start in preparation for the iconic race, Vonn crowned her career in spectacular style.

How Vonn trained for the Streif

She prepared intensely in preparation to push herself to the limits once again despite the severe knee injuries suffered in a career that brought Olympic gold, 82 World Cup victories and saw her crowned a multiple World Champion. Vonn borrowed the skis from US star Ryan Cochran-Siegle and had them prepared by her former service man Heinz Hämmerle. Hitting speeds of more than 100km/h at night added further drama to an already intense occasion.

“I felt like I was jumping over the edge of the world,” said Vonn. I don’t think I’ve ever been so nervous before a start in my life. I’m a thrill seeker. I’m an adrenaline junkie, and I love pushing myself to the absolute limit; being on the verge of being scared. I live for a challenge like this.”

Vonn was coached by her compatriot Daron Rahlves, himself a course winner in 2003. He said: “To see Lindsey finally have a chance to ski on this track in this kind of situation is incredible. I had no doubt she could ski it, but I was questioning if she was going to really ski it with a lot of determination – I was really impressed that she did. This is true downhill, if you make one mistake, you can have some bad outcomes. But the way she just came out to own it was really impressive.”

Vonn also revealed she took on the challenge for her mother Linda, who passed away in August. She said: “I knew she was watching me and was there as a guardian angel to help me accomplish this dream. I know she is proud of me. As she always ways.”

– Watch Vonn’s run here:

Utah’s Ski Area Opening Dates

park city with snow

Park City and the upper Wasatch range finally have snow! It feels early and not just because we’ve had this colorful, record-warm fall that swiftly ended with one storm. The clouds passed over us Sunday leaving up to 25 inches in the higher elevations. We went from yellow to white in a finger snap. Even the streets of Salt Lake City saw a dusting. Utah’s ski area opening dates have been some of the earliest on record. Is this La Nina toying with us? Lots of early snow only to strip us of everything from the holidays to March? Let’s be optimistic instead and believe that we have a entered a neutral phase.

Utah's ski area opening dates
Mayflower side of Park City- photo courtesy Bonnie Maclaurin

There’s another little storm coming tomorrow but then sadly a high pressure moves in. According to local snowcasters, there does happen to be a storm brewing off the Pacific for Halloween and the first weekend in November but, honestly, that’s so far out that the predictions are bound to change. Suffice to say that the ski season is but a month or so away.

Don’t blow the confetti and horns just yet. Last season’s opening was beyond lackluster. That infamous “white ribbon of death” on those two or three manmade, groomed trails, catering to thousands of hungry season pass holders became brown ribbons of death from exposed dirt and rocks that pretty much lasted through the Christmas holiday. Still, the ski stoke is running high in these parts now that the annual ski porn has premiered, Park City has a white cap and most resorts have announced their “official” opening dates.

Utah’s Ski Area Opening Dates

Alta Ski Area

November 18, 2022 (Estimated close April 23, 2023)

Beaver Mountain

Dec. 8, 2022

Brian Head Resort

November 04, 2022 (estimated close April 16, 2023)

Brighton Resort

November 11, 2022

Cherry Peak Resort

Dec. 8, 2022

Deer Valley Resort

November 29, 2022

Eagle Point Resort

December 10, 2022 (estimated close April 2, 2023)

Nordic Valley

November 23, 2022

Park City Mountain

November 18, 2022 (estimated opening April 9, 2023)

Powder Mountain

December 9, 2022

Snowbasin Resort

November 18, 2022


November 18, 2022

Solitude Mountain Resort

November 11, 2022

Sundance Mountain Resort

December 3, 2022

Woodward Park City

November 18, 2022


The Ski Utah Passport program for 4th, 5th, and 6th graders is on sale now for $49. The pass is in its 24th year of offering three days at each of the 15 resorts in the state but there are some big changes this season.  Every participant will get THREE days of skiing- even the 6th graders- at each resort but all resorts will black out: Dec. 26, 2022 – Dec. 31, 2022 | Jan. 14-15, 2023 | Feb. 18-19, 2023. For more information, check out 4th, 5th and 6th Grade Ski Utah Passport – Ski Utah.

Ikon Pass Class Action Lawsuit Settlement

Jackson Hole Ikon Resort

Alterra Mountain Company finally agreed this week to reimburse 2019/20 Ikon Pass holders, well kind of. If you think a $10 credit towards a 23/24 Ikon Pass is good enough restitution, then you can feel like a winner. According to Alterra/ Ikon Pass class action lawsuit settlement offer, if you used your pass more than seven days, that’s what you’ve “won.”

Under the terms of the settlement, class members can choose a pass credit or a discount lift ticket voucher where the values depend on the number of days you used your 2019/2020 pass. The Pass credits can be used towards the purchase of a 2023/2024 or 2024/2025 Ikon Pass season pass. Lift product vouchers can be used towards the purchase of a single-day lift ticket at any Alterra resort on or before July 31, 2025.

The settlement announcement has to be finalized by the District Court of Colorado but, if it is, it will resolve all claims that Alterra unjustly kept customers’ money after ski resorts closed due to Covid-19 in 2020.

The Ikon Pass Class Action Argument

According to the class action lawsuit against Ikon Pass, the plaintiffs in the case paid hundreds of dollars for unlimited access that promised “no blackout dates.” Although no one could predict the COVID-19 outbreak, the class action lawsuit argued that Ikon Pass still had a responsibility to refund customers who did not get the full benefit of their season pass purchases. Among other points, Robert Kramer et al argued that because Alterra laid off most of their resort employees, they could easily afford to refund customers due to decreased operating costs.

The expensive season ski pass included a pitch for “unlimited” ski days but the Covid-19 caused a spring lockdown that shuttered every ski area on the planet. However, while theme parks, hotels and airlines refunded consumers for tickets cancellations, Alterra with their Ikon pass product did not.

Alterra tried to assuage the angry mob back in the spring of 2020 by offering to double its “renewal discount” for 2020-21 passes which was laughable since the company had raised their prices nearly as much as the “discount”. Consumers would basically save $50 on an Ikon Base Pass or $100 for the Ikon Pass if they purchased it by May of that year.

The current settlement offer would provide a refund of up to $150 to American skiers who bought or received as a gift an Ikon Pass resort pass for the 2019/2020 season and who used their pass on one or more days before March 15, 2020. (See the details at the end of the post.) FYI- This is not for those who never used their pass.

The settlement offer keeps Ikon and Alterra from admitting any wrongdoing and anyone who doesn’t opt out of the class is bound to the terms of the settlement. You won’t be able to sue, continue to sue, or be part of any other lawsuit against Alterra for the same complaints. There is one option though, that seems buried in the Settlement language…

You can OBJECT

Instead of excluding yourself from the Settlement, you may object to it; give reasons why you think the Court should not approve the Settlement. The Court will consider all objections before ruling and they could conceivably throw it back to Alterra and tell them to “do better.” You have until Nov. 18, 2022, to object and it has to be done by snailmail. Your objection must contain: (1) the name of the Lawsuit (Kramer v. Alterra Mountain Co. and Ikon Pass Inc., Case No. 1:20-cv-01057-RM-SKC (D. Colo.)); (2) your full name and current address and telephone number; (3) the specific reasons for your objection; (4) any evidence and supporting papers (including, but not limited to, all briefs, written evidence, and declarations) that you want the Court to consider in support of your objection; and (5) your signature.

You must mail your written objection to the Settlement Administrator at:

Goodrich v. Alterra Mountain Company Settlement Administrator
Attn: Objection
P.O. Box 58220
Philadelphia, PA 19102

More Deadlines

The final approval hearing for the Ikon Pass refunds settlement is scheduled for Jan. 19, 2023.

In order to receive settlement benefits, class members must submit a valid claim form by Jan. 2, 2023.


The Settlement Offer

Pass Credits

  1. Pass Credit Amounts. For any Settlement Class Member who used their 2019/20 Ikon Pass to access an Ikon Resort a total of one or more days on or before March 15, 2020, the following Pass Credits are available:
    1. A single $150 Pass Credit for Settlement Class Members who used their 2019/20 Ikon Pass to access an Ikon Resort exactly 1 day; 
    2. A single $125 Pass Credit for Settlement Class Members who used their 2019/20 Ikon Pass to access an Ikon Resort exactly 2 days;
    3. A single $100 Pass Credit for Settlement Class Members who used their 2019/20 Ikon Pass to access an Ikon Resort exactly 3 days; 
    4. A single $50 Pass Credit for Settlement Class Members who used their 2019/20 Ikon Pass to access an Ikon Resort exactly 4 days; 
    5. A single $20 Pass Credit for Settlement Class Members who used their 2019/20 Ikon Pass to access an Ikon Resort exactly 5 or 6 days; and
    6. A single $10 Pass Credit for Settlement Class Members who used their 2019/20 Ikon Pass to access an Ikon Resort 7 or more days. 
  2. Pass Credit Delivery. Unless a Settlement Class Member submits a Valid Election for a Lift Product Voucher in lieu of a Pass Credit, the appropriate Pass Credit amount will automatically be applied to each Settlement Class Member’s Ikon pass holder profile without any requirement to fill out a claim form or take any other affirmative action. The appropriate Pass Credit amount will be loaded into the online Ikon pass holder account of the primary pass holder associated with the Settlement Class Member’s profile as of the date of disbursement of the Pass Credit. 
  3. Pass Credit Scope of Use. Each Pass Credit must be used in full in a single transaction, and may be used at any time during the standard applicable sales period toward the purchase of any Ikon pass product available for use during the 2023/24 or 2024/25 Ski Seasons that the Pass Credit recipient is eligible for. A Pass Credit may be applied toward the purchase of an Ikon pass product at an already discounted price or be applied with other available discounts (e.g., renewal credit, nurses discount, college discount, and so on).
  4. Pass Credit Transferability. The Pass Credit amount is not transferrable except to another Ikon pass holder associated with the same primary pass holder account (an “Affiliate Ikon Pass Holder”). To request a qualifying transfer to an Affiliate Ikon Pass Holder (that is, someone within the same primary pass holder account), the primary pass holder must contact Alterra’s standard call center. 
  5. Stack-ability. Upon transfer, Affiliate Ikon Pass Holder Pass Credits may be used in combination, to purchase one or more Ikon pass product(s) as described above for anyone who is an Affiliate Ikon Pass Holder. Each Pass Credit, however, may only be used toward the purchase of a single qualifying Ikon pass product, and any unused remaining portion of said Credit will be forfeited.  

Lift Product Voucher 

  1. Lift Product Voucher Amounts. For any Settlement Class Member who used their 2019/20 Ikon Pass to access an Ikon Resort a total of one or more days prior to March 15, 2020, the following Lift Product Vouchers are available to elect instead of a Pass Credit:
    1. Settlement Class Members who used their 2019/20 Ikon Pass to access an Ikon Resort exactly 1 day, may elect to receive one 50% Lift Product Voucher;
    2. Settlement Class Members who used their 2019/20 Ikon Pass to access an Ikon Resort exactly 2 days, may elect to receive one 40% Lift Product Voucher;
    3. Settlement Class Members who used their 2019/20 Ikon Pass to access an Ikon Resort exactly 3 days, may elect to receive one 30% Lift Product Voucher:
    4. Settlement Class Members who used their 2019/20 Ikon Pass to access an Ikon Resort exactly 4 days, may elect to receive one 25% Lift Product Voucher; and 
    5. Settlement Class Members who used their 2019/20 Ikon Pass to access an Ikon Resort exactly 5 or more days, may elect to receive one 20% Lift Product Voucher.    
  2. Lift Product Voucher Election and Delivery. If a Settlement Class Member submits a Claim Form and makes a Valid Election (in lieu of a Pass Credit), the Lift Product Voucher will be applied to the individual Ikon pass holder profile and placed in the account of the primary pass holder associated with the Settlement Class Member’s profile as of the date of disbursement of the Lift Product Voucher. To make a Valid Election, a Settlement Class Member must submit a properly completed claim form by the Court-approved deadline that includes, among other information, the name, address, email address, and unique Customer ID or Pass ID associated with their Ikon pass holder account.
  3. Lift Product Voucher Scope of Use. The Lift Product Voucher may be applied toward the purchase and use on or before July 31, 2025 of one single-day lift ticket at any single Alterra Mountain Company-owned or operated resort. The Lift Product Voucher may be redeemed and applied toward the purchase of a single day lift ticket online through the applicable Alterra Mountain Company-owned or operated resort’s website or at the walk-up window. A Lift Product Voucher may be applied toward the purchase of a single day lift ticket at the posted full or Advance Purchase rate, but may not be applied to an already discounted rate or combined with other available discounts.
  4. Lift Product Voucher Transferability. The Lift Product Voucher is fully transferrable and may be resold once by each Settlement Class Member recipient. To complete a transfer, a Settlement Class Member will, using their online Ikon pass holder account, enter the email address of the transferee. The transferee will then receive an email prompting them to accept or decline the transfer. To accept the transfer, the transferee must have or create an online Ikon account, though they need not make any purchase. A Lift Product Voucher may not be transferred or resold a second time.

Another Crappy Utah Ski Season? La Nina to Strike Again

canyons resort during La nina

Seriously? Climate forecasters are calling for a third shitty ski season in a row for Utah. El Nino, will you please put Baby in the corner?! If you live in the Beehive state and live for winters, you might want to rethink your plans for the 22/23 season.

Not only is this bad news for skiers but next summer’s water babies too. Utah’s most popular watering holes like Flaming Gorge, Lake Powell, and the Great Salt Lake reached all-time lows this summer and, without a decent snowpack for 2023, the paddler’s future looks pretty bleak.

Why Does La Nina Torment Utah?

It’s no surprise that global warming and climate change have taken its toll on the world’s ski resorts and things don’t seem to be getting any better. Weather forecasters are going out on a limb already and predicting that the bitch is back. Usually La Nina’s occur every 3 to 5 years and not normally on successive years. However, La Niña conditions will bring around another warm, dry winter to the western part of the U.S. for the third time in a row! Remember last ski season (if you can even call it that)? The latest NOAA outlook says there’s more than an 80 percent chance of that happening again from November to January.

What is El Nino

According to, El Niño and La Niña are the warm and cool phases of a recurring climate pattern across the tropical Pacific. With El Nino, you get a warming of the ocean surface in the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean that brings increased rain to that area. Winds that normally blow from east to west along the equator (“easterly winds”) weaken or start blowing “westerly”.

In California in the 80s, we lived for El Nino. Even now, an El Nino forecast would make a Sierra skier swoon. In fact, five of the top eight El Ninos since 1966 produced at least 170 percent of normal snowfall.

Where The Snow Will Be in 2022/23

If La Nina shows her ugly face, all is not lost for Utahns as long as you have an Ikon pass. The Pacific Northwest will be cooler and wetter along with Southern and interior Alaska. Perhaps start saving up for that epic Alaska heli excursion in April?

All Is Not Lost

There is yet another pattern besides El Nino and La Nina and that’s called Neutral. During a Neutral phase, conditions in the ocean and the atmosphere are near average and all bets are off. So far, Neutral looks to be our best hope. states that there have been 24 La Niña winters in our historical record. Of those, only one (2016–17) changed to neutral in December–February. And guess what, Folks? Brighton reported nearly 700 inches of snow that season!

Four other La Ninas transitioned to neutral in January–March and one (2000–01) by February–April. Forecasters and computer models right now are fairly confident of a La Nina until at least February 2023 but several models do hint that La Niña will transition to neutral in January–March. If that happens it will only be the fifth time in 73 years. Maybe it won’t be too late to save Utah’s winter.

Epic Snow

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