Ski Resorts All Around Will Get a Lift for Winter

Times Staff Writer

From the Colorado Rockies to the Swiss Alps, ski resorts all around the Northern Hemisphere are gearing up for what they hope will be a long, jolly winter. Some have new state-of-the-art lifts, others offer lessons that guarantee beginners a good time from day one, and some work on the non-skiers with such enticements as great restaurants, resort facilities and shops--anything to get those skiers on the slopes.

Northstar-at-Tahoe has a new high-speed gondola lift with 79 six-passenger cabins, plus a village expansion that includes a child-care center, plus several new ski runs and two new beginner trails. A beginner's special package includes equipment, lessons and lifts for $35 a day.

Varied Terrain

The Northstar resort has 1,700 acres of varied ski terrain including 50 groomed runs--40 kilometers of trails in all--plus limited lift-pass sales to keep lines to a minimum. The resort is in the heart of the Sierra Nevada mountains, 40 miles from the airport at Reno, 100 miles from Sacramento.

Accommodations at Northstar's 200-plus units range from hotel-type rooms and condos to four-bedroom vacation homes, housing from one to 10 people. Phone toll-free (800) 822-5987. Daily ski reports are available at (916) 562-1330. For ski school information, phone (916) 587-0270.

Scattered around Lake Tahoe are 18 major alpine ski resorts and a variety of cross-country ski areas. Annual snowfall averages more than 450 inches, and 75% of the winter days boast clear skies. Light dry powder, challenging bowls and beautiful surroundings draw skiers. Tough runs include KT-22 at Squaw Valley and Gun Barrel at Heavenly Valley. Mount Rose wins praise as an extra long beginner run. Reno/Tahoe claims it has "the best skiing in the West."

For information on Alpine Meadows, Sugar Bowl, Sierra Ski Ranch, Boreal Ridge, Kirkwood Meadows and other ski areas, as well as the 23,000 rooms available in the area, or a free copy of the "Skier's Planning Guide," phone (800) FOR-RENO.

Birthday Parties

Aspen/Snowmass in Colorado plans something a little different to celebrate 40 years of skiing in Aspen. They're joining birthday parties with Harper's Bazaar, also marking its 40th year, for "Looking Great! Skiing Great!" from Jan. 25 through Feb. 1.

The weeklong special will combine skiing, fashion and fitness seminars for men and women. Agendas include ski techniques, martial arts, skin care, makeup and dance classes. Fashion shows, banquets, receptions, mountain picnics, celebrity workouts and wardrobe make-overs will keep skiers busy trying to squeeze in time on the slopes. Packages cost $922 to $1,424 through Aspen/Snowmass Vacations, phone (800) 824-6280.

At Aspen Highlands ski area, three miles southwest of Aspen, free ski school is offered this season to all who buy a Highlands lift ticket for four or six days. Besides the free lesson, the ski school has a couple of other specials: Thursdays you can get lifts and an all-day lesson for $38; Saturdays you get lifts, lessons and equipment rentals for the same price.

The regular Aspen Highlands learn-to-ski package, with the option of using the graduated (ski) length method, costs $125 for three days, $175 for five days. For details phone (303) 925-5300. Stay within walking distance of the Highlands at Heatherbed or Maroon Creek lodges, or use the free bus service from Aspen. For accommodations, phone the Aspen Resort Assn., (303) 925-9000.

Big New Lift

"The world's highest vertical transport high-speed quad chairlift" will be installed for this ski season at Copper Mountain Resort, 75 miles west of Denver, doubling the capacity from the main base area to the slopes, according to Al Roman, vice president of operations. "American Flyer" will reach the Indian Ridge area near Copper Mountain's 12,360-foot summit in about nine minutes.

The new chairlift will be the 20th lift serving the 1,180-acre mountain and its 75 ski trails. A $40-million expansion program is ongoing at the resort, to increase the skiable acreage by 70% by 1991. Village development is also taking place, including plans for a hotel and convention center, condominiums and town houses. For information phone (800) 525-3878.

"Our 185 ski instructors think of Breckenridge as a 1,460-acre institution of higher learning," says a brochure from the Breckenridge Ski Area (division of Aspen Skiing Co.). "These personable, fun, patient instructors help you make skiing easy and fun." Call them at (303) 453-2368.

Classes cost $27 all day, $20 for half a day, and individual lessons cost $45. Then Breckenridge offers you 107 trails, from miles of uninterrupted ego pleasers to acres of open cruising terrain or steep and deep plunges.

The Breckenridge Ski Area begins its 26th year with $5 million of mountain development and $38 million of town development. Its three ski mountains are 85 miles west of Denver in the Ten Mile Range of the Arapaho National Forest. Skiers who purchase three days of skiing and three nights of lodging get a fourth day and night free in a "Ski Free/Stay Free" package. Prices are $162 for four days or $255 for six days. Phone Breckenridge Central Reservations at (303) 453-2918.

Travel agents have details on other Colorado ski packages as well at such popular resorts as Keystone, Vail, Winter Park, Telluride and Snowbird.

Vermont Improvements

Mt. Mansfield at Stowe, Vt., has put in $2.4-million worth of improvements including the region's first high-speed detachable quad chairlift, reducing the base-to-summit ride from 13 minutes to 6 1/2 minutes.

The special package this year at Mt. Mansfield is "Take Five!" which can be purchased with lodging at one of 60 inns, lodges, condominiums or motels in the Stowe area for guests who check in on Sunday and out on Friday. A sample: $430 per person at the Inn at the Mountain. That pays for two meals a day, accommodations, lift tickets and access to the brand new Toll House Health Spa as soon as it opens in December. Phone (800) 253-4SKI.

A bargain is available to Southern California skiers bound for the Canadian Rockies this winter in a program offered by Air Canada and UTL Holiday Tours through travel agents.

The "Skitrek Special" packages begin at $469 for round-trip air fare, seven nights' accommodations, transfers, lift tickets and daily breakfast. Hotel choices include Banff Springs, Inns of Banff Park, Mount Royal, Charlton's Cedar and Evergreen Courts and Banff Rocky Mountain Resort. Lifts are to the Sunshine, Mt. Norquay and Lake Louise ski areas.

To the Swiss Alps

For skiers to the Swiss Alps, Swissair offers nine departures this year of a seven-day ski package to St. Moritz, staying at Badrutt's Palace Hotel. The package includes train from Zurich to St. Moritz, a six-day ski pass, transportation to the slopes, breakfast and dinner daily. The cost ranges from $984 to $1,398 plus air fare. Phone (800) 221-6644.

According to the Norwegian Tourist Board, 655 3rd Ave., New York 10017, SAS and Bennett Tours have a "Ski Norway" program featuring downhill and cross-country packages to Oslo and Lillehammer. Six-night Oslo ski packages cost $335 plus air fare; Lillehammer, $295 plus air fare.

Oslo has 1,320 miles of marked cross-country ski trails of which 92 miles are floodlit for night skiing. The Norwegian capital also has more than a dozen alpine slopes. Lift tickets cost about $8 a day and ski rentals cost $20 a week, cross-country, and $40 a week for downhill equipment.

Lillehammer has 250 miles of marked cross-country trails and numerous downhill slopes.

Hut-to-Hut Treks

Holmenkollen Ski Tours and SAS are also marketing cross-country ski tours in Norway. Hut-to-hut ski treks, nine days, cost $765 for accommodations, most meals, guide and round-trip economy air fare from New York. The Norwegian Tourist Board has details.

Alitalia, Italy's airline, has ski packages to the Italian Alps featuring 13 resorts including Cortina, Courmayeur and Bormio. The package features accommodations, six days of skiing at any resort in the program, bus transfers from Milan's Malpensa Airport, free rental of ski equipment and a 30% discount on group ski lessons and guided ski excursions. The minimum price is $667 including air fare from New York.

And the Austrian National Tourist Office at 500 Fifth Ave., New York 10110, mentions an autumn ski bargain good until Dec. 20 at Feichten in the Kaunertal near Landeck in Tyrol. For $121 you can stay in a simple bed-and-breakfast room for seven nights or splurge on a hotel room with private bath for $205 a week. And a six-day lift pass is part of the deal. Not to mention dinner every day if you choose the more expensive plan.

Why, you can hardly afford to stay home!

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