From the return of the one-piece suit to the rise of Asian resorts, leisure skiing saw new trends this year in fashion, gear and vacation style. A few of our favorites:
Indoor Snow Centers – 2013 marked the 25th anniversary of indoor snow centers, which now go far beyond the famous Ski Dubai resort. The world’s largest, SnowWorld in The Netherlands, offers an impressive 35 kilometers of terrain and the ability to host FIS World Cup events. A new resort in East London, scheduled to open in 2015, continues the wave of indoor facilities, which now exist in India, Japan and Serbia. The United States will soon feature three new indoor ski hills, slated for existing resort areas in North Carolina and New Jersey, and (unsurprisingly) Las Vegas.
Vail’s Epic Pass – To the long-awaited delight of powder hounds everywhere, Vail Mountain expanded its resort offerings to include Canyons Resort in 2013, expanding a trend of multi-mountain season passes. Although such passes have risen in popularity over the last three years, Vail is the first to cross state, and even country, lines. The Vail Epic Pass features unlimited access to 12 resorts across three states and five days each at Verbier, Switzerland; Arlberg, Austria; and Les 3 Vallees, France.
Skiing in China – A growing force in many industries, China has also become an active player in alpine ski tourism. The populous country has more than doubled its skier visits in the last decade and jumped from 6 million to 7.5 million skiers from 2011 to 2012 alone, according to the Vanat 2013 International Report on Snow & Mountain Tourism. Although most of China’s skiers are novices, with 80 percent of the country’s 350 ski areas offering beginner-only terrain, 20 resorts (most notably the popular Yubali ski area in the Heilongjang Provice) are approaching Western standards.
The “Weekender” Ski Getaway – Time-crunched skiers hoping to sneak in more time on the mountain have discovered the ease of the weekend ski getaway, booking three-day trips to accessible destinations like Park City and Tahoe, which offer easy flights from big cities and resorts less than an hour from the airport. Skiing’s weekend warriors are more likely to make their shorter trips a getaway with pals or a couple’s retreat, while keeping their longer family ski vacations over the holidays.
Snow Sugar – This collection may have made one-piece suits cool again, but these high-tech, form-fitting Bond girl numbers are hardly your mother’s old Bogner. The $1,199 Rocky Road suit boasts water and wind resistance, a vinyl outer shell and thick poly insulation — the perfect piece to pair with Snow Sugar’s runway-ready accessories like the Babooshka Kiss Hat and Candy Tote.
Private Chalets – Following a trend of multi-generational families and generally larger groups traveling together, skiers traded traditional hotels for a more private experience in 2013, opting instead for full-service vacation homes and condos. These catered chalets often include a full staff, concierge, car service and private chef. The Resorts West Reserve Collection expanded services in 2013 to include a luxury SUV rental and dedicated housekeeper. Property managers like Alp Services LTD flourished in Europe, and long-standing vacation planning companies like Abercrombie & Kent upped their vacation villa offerings as well.
Après-Ski Cocktail of 2013:
The Moscow Mule – This simple vodka-and-ginger-ale cocktail saw a 2013 resurgence, making it the unofficial après-ski beverage of the year. Park City’s High West Distillery made a mean drink with its house-distilled 7000′ vodka, and for a home-shaken Mule, Joss & Main now offers a set of the traditional copper mugs.