Angel Fire Resort announces ski season changes

Resort plans mountain improvements, skiing under the stars and terrain park expansions

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This ski season, Angel Fire Resort says visitors can enjoy a longer ski season (Dec. 8, 2017-March 25, 2018), several mountain improvements - including a new black diamond trail - and new nighttime ski and snowboard lessons.

"For the past few winters, we've seen the best snow come in March," Andy Whitacre, director of mountain operations, said in a statement. "These late winter storms are often the driest powder and create the perfect late season skiing for spring break families. We've decided as long as the weather cooperates again this year, we will be open an additional week."

The new hike-to-access black diamond trail this winter, to be named C-4, is located in what was previously out-of-bounds territory north of the ski mountain. C-4 is a new 9-acre challenge with a 1,000-foot vertical drop for the expert skier and a must-hit on a bluebird powder day. From the top of the Southwest Flyer quad chairlift, skiers and snowboarders will need to hike for 15 minutes to reach this isolated trail, which will be opened when snow conditions allow. Additionally, skiers and snowboarders can enter the black diamond trails Nitro, Detonator and Baa-Da-Bing via the same hike-to-access trail as the C-4 run, which all descend into the Back Basin.

Under the direction of terrain park designer Jon Eppler, Angel Fire Resort's three parks - Liberation Park, Sweet Street and Night Rider - will be expanded with new or improved features and jumps. Eppler, who has created parks for major events, including The Winter X-Games and The Burton U.S. Open, completely redesigned Liberation Park in 2014 and has continued to develop and improve the parks each season.

Angel Fire Resort remains the only resort in the state to offer its popular night skiing and snowboarding. The terrain includes 50 acres of groomed trails on the front-facing side of the mountain, as well as the Night Rider terrain park. Now the resort is offering new skiers and boarders an opportunity to learn under the stars with "Sunset Private Lessons." Whether you're arriving midday and can't wait to hit the mountain or just have extra energy to burn, the "Sunset Special" provides a one- or two-hour lesson and a lift ticket, but is only available during night skiing. (Weekends and holidays, weather permitting.)

Angel Fire Resort has improved its snowmaking equipment this season with two new TA-40 fan guns, a newly released TR8 demo fan gun and some new state-of-the-art stick guns. Additionally, the resort has installed 2,900 feet of new snowmaking lines on the popular blue run, Jaspers. Alongside Exhibition and Headin' Home, this improved groomed run will offer skiers an alternate way down the mountain in the early season.

Furthermore, the resort's famous Chile Express, a high-speed, detachable quad chairlift, is receiving an electrical upgrade. Built in the mid-1990s and known as one of the longest and fastest chairlifts in North America, the upgrade will allow the scenic chairlift ride to run smoother and with more efficiency.

"This year, we're adding brand-new way finder signs on the mountain," said Whitacre. "While it offers our mountain an updated look, it will also help our guests navigate the newer named trails."

Angel Fire Resort is a member of the Powder Alliance, which allows all season pass holders three days of free lift tickets at 15 partner resorts, including Crested Butte, Colorado; Sierra-at-Tahoe, California; Stevens Pass, Washington; Timberline, Oregon; Schweitzer, Idaho; Bridger Bowl, Montana; China Peak, California; Mountain High, California; Arizona Snowbowl, Arizona; Mt. Hood Skibowl, Oregon; Silver Star, British Columbia, Canada; Whitewater, British Columbia, Canada; Bogus Basin, Idaho; La Parva, Chile; and Kiroro, Japan. This is a total of 45 free lift tickets.

In addition, Angel Fire Resort season pass holders are offered three days of free lift tickets at Brian Head, Utah; Powderhorn, Monarch Mountain and Ski Cooper in Colorado; Snow King in Jackson, Wyoming; and Ski Apache, New Mexico. By partnering with a total of 22 resorts this winter, Angel Fire Resort season pass holders will receive a total of 66 free days of skiing at partnering resorts.

Angel Fire Resort offers dedicated programs and activities for families:

• Angel Fire Resort continues improvements to its full-service Children's Ski School and on-site day care, known as "Snow Bear Camp." Several programs are in place to help parents get the most of their time on the slopes while their children are actively engaged learning to ski and board, making new friends and having fun.

• The parenting pass - This interchangeable pass allows two parents to take turns coaching and skiing with their child. It also allows parents to take turns on the mountain in a single day while the other stays behind to care for an infant or toddler who is too young to ski.

• Pre-ski/pre-ride programs - For the tiniest of tots just learning how to ski and snowboard, the resort offers an additional unique program for 2-3-year-olds. These programs offer little ones a short private lesson, lunch/snacks, plus day care and activities at Snow Bear Camp. This allows the parents a full day on the slopes themselves, knowing their children are in good hands for the whole day. Additionally, the resort offers the Lil' Chile Ski Program, which is a full ski day for ages 4-5.

• Lil' Poppers Snowboard Program - This is a full-day snowboard program for 4-5-year-olds to complement the Lil' Chile Ski Program. Lessons will incorporate Burton Riglet boards and "Feature Enhanced Learning."

• The family season pass - Through Oct. 31 for $1,299, a family of up to six people (two adults and four children ages 17 and younger) can purchase an unlimited ski and snowboard pass for each member of the family. Pricing will increase starting Nov. 1, 2017.

• Fifth-graders ski free - All fifth-graders are offered a free lift ticket with their report card and completed form.

• Kids 6 and younger and seniors 75 and older ski free. Seniors 70-74 ski for $29 a day.

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