Need new reasons to return to your favorite classic alpine ski resort this winter?
Here, a slew of them - from major terrain expansions to aprés-ski activities - here at home, up north in Canada, and across the pond on Europe's most popular slopes. We also found a handful of growing areas awaiting discovery with juicy new enticements, plus a few traditional resorts with consider-worthy updates.
On the slopes: Peak 6, baby! You've been eyeing it for years and drooling over the possibilities. Now it's open. Breck's much-anticipated expansion onto Peak 6 adds 400 lift-served and 143 hike-to high-alpine acres, including two coveted above-treeline intermediate bowls and 10 new trails - a 23 percent increase in terrain. A new trail leads from Peak 8, a new fixed quad provides access from Peak 7, and a new, high-speed six-pack whisks skiers to Peak 6's above-treeline summit.
On the slopes: The resort has upgraded the Mountaintop Express from a quad to a six-pack, increasing capacity by 33 percent and providing faster access from Mid-Vail to the Back Bowls and Blue Sky Basin.
SQUAW VALLEY, CALIF.
Dine: The resort and its neighboring sister resort Alpine Meadows are rolling out Mtn Roots, two food trucks serving regionally sustainably sourced fare. And Alpine's new Bavarian-themed Sierra Beer Garden serves California beers, pressed sandwiches, sausage plates, and raclette in the Chalet, the resort's renovated midmountain lodge.
• The acquisition of Montana's Moonlight Basin by adjacent Big Sky Resort creates one of North America's largest alpine resorts with 5,750 acres of skiable terrain on a 4,350-foot vertical laced with 30 lifts and tows. bigskyresort.com
• An additional 75 acres of terrain bumps Sunday River, Maine, to New England's second-largest ski area. sundayriver.com
• In Sugar Bowl, Calif., take the new triple chair to the previously hike-to glades, chutes, and cliffs on Strawberry Fields, a black diamond belt-notcher where two new groomed runs provide an escape hatch for those who overreach their skills or stamina. sugarbowl.com
• Snowbird, Utah, has made it faster and easier to reach the Gad Valley's coveted powder stashes by replacing the Gad 2 double with a high-speed quad, cutting ride time from 7.9 minutes to 4.3. snowbird.com
• Savor the views and food at two new on-mountain day lodges: Four Points, constructed at 9,716 feet above sea level on the slopes of Steamboat, Colo. (steamboat.com); and Talons, a 500-seat restaurant with gourmet dining options sited at the finish of the World Cup Birds of Prey downhill course at Beaver Creek, Colo. (beavercreek.com)
WHISTLER BLACKCOMB, BRITISH COLUMBIA
On the slopes: Moving around Whistler Blackcomb gets faster this season. A high-speed six-pack replaces the Harmony quad on Whistler Mountain, and a high-speed quad replaces the Crystal Zone triple on Blackcomb.
Off-slope recreation: In the valley between the peaks, thrill-seekers have two new zip-line experiences. Reach speeds of up to 65 mph on the Superfly zip lines or drop 30 stories on Ziptrek Ecotour's new Eagle line.
Dine: Carb-load for the day with brioche, croissants, scones, cookies, and other heavenly delights at Purebread's new location on Olympic Plaza in Whistler Village. Savor artisan pizzas, small plates, farm-to-table grilled specials, and specially paired wine-and-cheese flights at the Westin Resort & Spa's new Grill & Vine restaurant.
RED MOUNTAIN RESORT, BRITISH COLUMBIA
Red has long been a sleeper favored by in-the-know diamond hunters who covet the consistent fall lines; serious steeps, trees, chutes, and couloirs; and the mind-boggling 360-degree possibilities off each of Red's three mountains.
On the slopes: This season, the Kootenay powder powerhouse expands its appeal to mere mortals with the addition of a fixed-quad chair on Grey Mountain, opening 997 acres previously only accessible via snowcat. Experts gain with double-black drops, but intermediates win a slew of color-me-blue glades and trails on the 2,919-foot vertical. Cat-skiing fans take heart: Red has added 150 in-bound acres of snowcat-serviced intermediate and advanced glades on White Wolf Ridge.
Dine: Break for brats and brews at the new Wiener Take All, located at the base of the Grey Mountain chair.
On the slopes: For decades, Arlberg skiers have gazed longingly at the downy slopes of Warth-Schröcken. Although the resort is adjacent to Lech Zürs, the road between them is closed in winter and the only access has been an off-piste excursion. This season, the new Auendfeldjet 10-car gondola, stretching more than 1.25 miles from Lech's Weibermahd station to Schröcken, connects the two resorts. The combined area offers nearly 120 miles of slopes and trails serviced by 47 lifts. Add in Arlberg's other connected areas - St. Anton, St. Christoph, Sonnenkopf/Klösterle, and Stuben - and the result is more than 210 miles of terrain and 94 lifts in three valleys, all accessible on the Ski Arlberg pass.
COURCHEVEL, LES TROIS VALLÉES, FRANCE
On the slopes: Accessing the world's largest linked alpine area is faster and easier this season with the redesigned La Saulire cable car and the addition of the Bouc Blanc six-pack chair connecting La Tania to Chenus. An innovative hybrid grooming machine gives Courchevel's white trails a green polish.
Dine: For lunch, snag a terrace seat at the new La Cave des Creux bistro/brasserie for regional specialties.
Stay: At press time, the Oetker Collection's ski-in/ski-out L'Apogée Courchevel (from $1,195) was scheduled to open in mid-December in Jardin Alpin at Courchevel 1850. The hotel shelters guests in 33 suites, 20 rooms, a penthouse, and a private five-bedroom chalet with its own spa.
Stay: The pod-shaped, 216-room InterContinental Davos (from $480) caps the new, architecturally stunning Stilli Park Davos retail and residence complex. The Studio Grigio lounge and restaurant delivers dreamy views from the top floor. The hotel's other dining venues are Matsu, serving north Asian fare, and Capricorn, an all-day restaurant.
Dine: Pair different views with lunch at the View pizzeria or the Roof bar-grill and lounge at the Summit, opening this season on Jakobshorn.
FOUR VALLÉES, SWITZERLAND
On the slopes: The new Siviez-Plan du Fou eight-passenger gondola expedites travel between the Siviez and Tracouet regions and a new gondola from Le Chable eliminates taking the bus to Bruson, a remote mountain town favored by in-the-know skiers for its off-piste tree skiing.
Stay: Slumber in comfort at the ski-in/ski-out W Verbier (from $539), in Verbier's new Les Trois Rocs project in Medran. At press time, the hotel - W's first hotel in Switzerland and its first alpine ski property - was scheduled to open in December with 123 rooms in four adjacent chalets and 15 full-service residences. At Restaurant Arola, the W's signature dining spot, two-star Michelin chef Sergi Arola adds a Swiss touch to his Spanish cuisine. The new 62-room Hotel Nendaz 4 Vallées (from $372) has its own funicular stop and an expansive spa with indoor and outdoor pools.
Info: verbier.ch, nendaz.ch
Egyptian developer Samih Sawiris rouses Andermatt with a master resort plan for this traditional village cradled at an altitude of nearly 5,000 feet between Switzerland's St. Gotthard, Furka, and Oberalp mountain passes. Plans outline six hotels, 490 apartments, 25 private chalets, and an 18-hole golf course, as well as a ski-area modernization project to add and update lifts, expand terrain, and connect Andermatt with neighboring Sedrun.
Stay: The Chedi Andermatt (from $702) opens this season. The Chedi luxury hotel group's only European property offers 106 rooms and suites, a spa, and five restaurants and bars, including a wine and cigar library.
After roughly 40 years of discussion, Arosa and Lenzerheide have finally connected their two resorts, creating the largest contiguous ski region in Switzerland's Grisons.
On the slopes: The new mile-long double tram from Arosa's Hörnli to Urdenfürggli and two high-speed six-packs on the Lenzerheide side make it easy for skiers based in either village to enjoy the combined 140 miles of terrain serviced by 42 lifts and tows.
Dine: Pair panoramic views with grilled fare at Scharmoin, Lenzerheide's new on-mountain restaurant.
Stay: Tuck in at Lenzerheide's new Privà Alpine Lodge (from $644 per person, per week), which blends hotel-style personal service with private accommodations in 96 apartments spread out among 13 chalet-style buildings.
• In the Portes du Soleil region straddling France and Switzerland, the Pleney gondola has nearly doubled capacity, and the Prodains cable car linking Morzine to Avoriaz is now a high-speed lift. en.portesdusoleil.com
• A new cable car eliminates the need to bus between Zinal and Grimentz in Val d'Anniviers, Switzerland. valais.ch/en