Connect with us

How To?

How to Ski Smarter in the Age of Multi-Mountain Passes – The New York Times

Published

on

Advertisement
Supported by
U.S. SKI PREVIEW
Resort companies’ focus on season passes has changed skiing, but savvy skiers can dodge the crowds and reap the benefits.
Send any friend a story
As a subscriber, you have 10 gift articles to give each month. Anyone can read what you share.

The two companies that control the ski industry, Vail Resorts and Alterra Mountain Co., have spent years nudging skiers toward multi-resort season passes and away from single-day lift tickets. Along with the Mountain Collective, a third multi-mountain pass, they have continually added resorts, bumped up perks and this year, dropped the cost of passes. Meanwhile, Vail and Alterra have increased prices for one-day lift tickets beyond $200 at some mountains.
Skiing is now part of the subscription economy, and being tactical about a multi-resort pass can reduce costs and put skiers on the snow for more days among fewer people. Consider this a guide to selecting a pass, getting the most out of it and staying clear of crowded resorts and ugly lift lines.
The passes — Epic from Vail, Ikon from Alterra and a namesake from the Mountain Collective — work similarly, granting holders different amounts of access, based on price, to ski resorts across North America and beyond. Over the years, the passes have driven a good deal of intrigue: resorts switching sides, bidding wars for stalwart mountains and the various refund policies enacted in the wake of the coronavirus. This March, Vail surprised the skiing world with a 20-percent drop in Epic prices, making its full pass nearly $300 cheaper than Ikon.
Vail’s move salved Epic holders who felt jilted by a rigid refund policy last winter, and it gave Ikon loyalists a reason to consider Epic. It seems to have worked: In September, Vail said it had sold 42 percent more passes than at same point in 2020, and 67 percent more than 2019.
Despite last winter’s limitations, U.S. resorts saw 59 million skier and snowboarder visits, the fifth most recorded. If pass sales offer a guide, this season could be busier. Sensing a revenue opportunity, this year the ski resort operator Powdr introduced a “Fast Tracks” program, which will allow skiers at four of its Ikon-partnered resorts — Snowbird, Copper Mountain, Mt. Bachelor and Killington — to pay an extra fee, $49 and up, to bypass lift lines.
Now priced at $819, due to increase Nov. 21, the Epic pass grants full access to 34 North American mountains, with many resorts in Colorado and the Lake Tahoe region. Vermont’s Stowe and New York’s Hunter Mountain are among the pass’s 14 options in the Northeast.
Additionally, skiers get five or seven days of access to four mountains in the Canadian Rockies, 11 resorts in Japan, four resort areas in Europe (France, Italy, Switzerland, Austria) and full access to three Vail-owned hills in Australia. The Epic Pass comes in several variations, including the Epic Local, which is $200 cheaper and blacked out during popular dates around Thanksgiving, Christmas and other holidays. Vail also sells Epic passes focused on regions and resorts, including the Tahoe Local and the Keystone Plus passes.
The Epic Day Pass, which can be bought in increments of one to seven days, is an option for skiers taking one trip, as it can reduce the daily price to $60. Day passes purchased for four days or longer are valid at Epic partners and offer a hack to skiing Telluride and Sun Valley, where they roughly halve the daily cost to as low as $78.
The main Ikon Pass, which runs $1,149, grants skiers full access to 15 North American mountains and up to seven days at 22 other resorts on the continent. Ikon is strongest in Colorado, Utah, California and the Northeast. In Europe, the Ikon Pass grants seven days of skiing to Zermatt in Switzerland and to specific resorts in Italy’s Dolomites and around Kitzbühel in Austria.
Ikon gives Northeast skiers 10 hills to pick from, with some big destinations in Vermont’s Killington and Sugarbush. West Virginia’s Snowshoe gives Washington, D.C.-area skiers an option 4.5 hours away and New York’s Windham Mountain is 3.5 hours from New York City.
The Ikon Base Pass costs $879 and comes with holiday blackouts similar to the Epic Local, with only five days at partner resorts rather than seven. Base Pass access to Wyoming’s Jackson Hole and Colorado’s Aspen costs an extra $150.
Ikon’s $499 Session Pass gives skiers four total days across 38 mountains. Here, too, blackout dates apply.
As temperatures fall, many look forward to skiing or riding down a snow-covered trail. Here’s what to know to make the most of the season.
Skiers seeking value on multiple short trips should consider the Mountain Collective, which grants skiers two free days at each of the pass’s 23 resorts, with days three and beyond discounted 50 percent. The Collective comes in one form and runs $589, which can usually be recouped in just two weekend trips.
The lineup is similar to that of Ikon’s, but it’s missing some mountains such as Steamboat, Winter Park and Deer Valley. In Europe, the Collective grants access to three mountains around Chamonix, France.
Before the pandemic shut slopes in 2020, Epic and Ikon holders swarmed popular resorts, triggering backlash from some locals. Crowds will be a reality again this winter and major ski areas that are easy drives from large metro areas — particularly Denver, Salt Lake City and California’s Bay Area — can be jammed on weekends.
In Denver, many local residents hit the road early on winter weekends, packing I-70 and the slopes closest to the Front Range. To avoid this crush, ski the resorts closest to Denver during the week — Vail, Breckenridge, Keystone, Beaver Creek on Epic, and Winter Park, Copper Mountain and Arapahoe Basin on Ikon. For weekends, go farther out.
For Ikon skiers, that means Steamboat and Aspen. Steamboat can bustle on weekends, but it’s mellower than mountains closer to Denver. Aspen offers one of the best skiing experiences in the West, spreading skiers across four mountains, and a strong value for both Ikon and Collective skiers — a full-season pass there runs more than $2,000.
For Epic skiers, Crested Butte and Telluride offer sparser slopes and superb old towns. Epic skiers get full access at Crested Butte, but it’s twice as far from Denver as Vail’s flagship resorts. Telluride’s steep slopes dive straight into the 143-year-old town and rarely see lift lines. It’s the farthest major Colorado mountain from Denver and it lacks the big hotels that ring other base areas. Leveraging Epic here is a great value — a Telluride season pass runs nearly $2,000. The Epic Local offers no access to Telluride.
In Utah, Salt Lake City’s growth has put weekend pressure on Park City, Alta and Snowbird, so ski these during the week. The latter two, Ikon resorts, offer the additional challenge of Little Cottonwood Canyon, whose narrow road becomes a caterpillar of cars on Saturdays. When Park City’s 7,000 acres fill up on weekends, Epic holders should look to Vail partner Snowbasin, about an hour away near Ogden.
Ikon skiers have a lot of options in Utah. On Saturdays, skiers should head to Big Cottonwood Canyon, where Solitude and Brighton, which receive similarly large amounts of snow as Alta and Snowbird, offer slopes with fewer people. Deer Valley, positioned in Park City on the other side of the Wasatch, limits the number of skiers and is a good play on weekends. A season pass at Deer Valley, the only Alterra-owned resort at which Ikon passholders don’t receive full access, runs nearly $3,000, and single days can touch $249, so using Ikon here delivers good value.
In California, the Bay Area has seven million people and plenty of disposable income, which help crowd I-80 and resort parking lots. In Tahoe, Ikon and Collective skiers have one option, Palisades Tahoe, the erstwhile Squaw Valley-Alpine Meadows. The mountain offers legendary upper terrain, but its slopes can get overwhelmed on weekends. Epic skiers have three good choices in Tahoe. On weekends, rather than hitting Heavenly or Northstar, skiers should trek further south to Kirkwood and start their day early.
Farther south in the Sierra, Mammoth gives Los Angeles skiers a chance to use their Ikon and Collective passes. Mammoth, the best preserver of snow in California, gets busy on weekends, making the smaller June Mountain, which has 2,500 vertical feet of skiing about 30 minutes down the road, a good play for Ikon skiers.
Elsewhere, British Columbia’s Whistler-Blackcomb beckons skiers from across the world, especially Epic holders, who get full access. Wyoming’s Jackson Hole helps drive Ikon and Collective sales as a bucket-list destination. But last season Ikon and the Collective added Grand Targhee, a Wyoming mountain on the other side of the Tetons, an hour from Jackson. Targhee gives skiers a low-key change of pace with smaller lift lines on the weekends and even more snow than Jackson.
A few hours north of the Tetons, Montana’s Big Sky offers wide ribbons of intermediate terrain and challenging fall lines off Lone Peak (the tram requires a daily upcharge of $20 to $80 for Ikon and Collective holders). In New Mexico, Taos gives Ikon and Collective skiers a steep option that rarely sees lift lines. Big Sky gets busier during holidays and during March Spring Break, but Taos doesn’t see crowds outside of the prime week between Christmas and New Year’s Day.
Follow New York Times Travel on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. And sign up for our weekly Travel Dispatch newsletter to receive expert tips on traveling smarter and inspiration for your next vacation. Dreaming up a future getaway or just armchair traveling? Check out our 52 Places list for 2021.
Advertisement

source

Continue Reading
Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

How To?

5 education issues to watch as Tennessee lawmakers return – Chalkbeat Tennessee

Published

on

Filed under:
One year after tackling pandemic-related school challenges during a special legislative session called by Gov. Bill Lee, Tennessee lawmakers return to the Capitol this week with another major focus on students: how to fund public education.
Lee wants to overhaul the 30-year-old formula that determines how much money the state distributes to school systems, as well as how much local governmental agencies should contribute. He’s expected to work with fellow GOP leaders to offer a legislative proposal this month.
But some say the legislature shouldn’t rush that discussion, especially since it took years to come up with the current formula known as the Basic Education Program, or BEP.
“It’s OK to hold this and keep working on it if we need to,” said Rep. Scott Cepicky, a Republican from Maury County. “Let’s get this right.”
Lawmakers also aren’t inclined toward a lengthy session during an election year. They’ll look to pass a budget and wrap up by mid-April, if possible, so they can return home to campaign.
Until then, here are five issues to watch:
Since October when Lee called for a review of the state’s funding formula, Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn has spearheaded the process that included eight town halls and dozens of meetings with policymakers and education leaders.
Last week, she called the issue “the biggest policy decision we make” and said Tennessee should seize this “moment in time.” She also hinted a draft proposal will be unveiled early this week.
“There is funding that is potentially available, there is momentum. We see need across the state,” she told a forum hosted by Tennesseans for Quality Early Education.
The review, which aims to shift Tennessee to a more student-centered funding approach, has drawn public praise but generated private concerns about its intent. Many public school advocates worry the goal is to pave the way for a new private school voucher program halted by ongoing litigation, though the governor has denied that.
“I’m trying to keep an open mind and not draw conclusions before getting all the information,” said Sen. Ferrell Haile, a Gallatin Republican who is on Lee’s 12-member review committee to create a new strategy.
Schwinn said any future formula must factor in the needs of individual children. That includes students who have disabilities, are English language learners, or come from low-income families.
Currently, enrollment is the main component of the BEP, a formula with 46 components that determine how much school systems receive to pay for teacher salaries and other needs like textbooks, technology, and bus transportation. But districts have flexibility on how to spend that money, which explains why the BEP is considered a funding formula, not a spending plan.
“We want to put more money into education, but we want to make sure the money is being spent well,” said Rep. Mark White, a Memphis Republican who chairs a House education committee and supports forging a new formula this year. “Let’s give it our best shot.”
Whether the state revises its funding formula this year or not, the legislature must pass a budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1 — and is flush with cash. Tax collections during the pandemic’s economic rebound were higher than projected. The state also is sitting on hundreds of millions of dollars in federal grants intended to help working low-income families.
Meanwhile, Tennessee ranks 44th in the nation for student funding, according to the Education Law Center, which gave the state Fs last year for its funding level and funding effort.
The state’s BEP review committee, an influential panel of policymakers and education leaders, has urged the governor to prioritize more funding for school nurses and counselors to get Tennessee to nationally recommended ratios. A $110-million annual investment would fund 1 nurse for every 750 students instead of the current 1:3,000, and 1 counselor for every 250 students instead of the current ratios of 1:500 and 1:350 for elementary and secondary schools, respectively.
In addition to perennial discussions about raising teacher pay, there’s talk about expanding Tennessee’s pre-K program, which serves a fifth of the state’s 4-year-olds. Most districts have waiting lists.
During the pandemic, consensus has grown that pre-K and early grades are the best places for impactful interventions to address learning lag and social-emotional challenges.
“It’s a timely topic that is deserving of deep discussions,” Haile said.
A controversial proposal to limit which supplemental materials teachers can use advanced last year in two House panels before stalling in the Senate Education Committee.
Sen. Janice Bowling, a Republican from Tullahoma, promised to bring her bill back for consideration this year and address worries that “good” materials from organizations like the Tennessee Farm Bureau could be excluded.
The bill, co-sponsored by Rep. Terri Lynn Weaver of Lancaster, would prohibit teachers from using materials that supplant state-approved textbooks unless district leaders approve those materials in advance. Any approved print or electronic materials would be listed on district websites.
“We absolutely need to do something,” agreed Sen. Brian Kelsey, a Republican from Germantown, “but we need to do it in a way that doesn’t have unintended consequences.”
The president of the state’s largest teachers organization called the proposal “demoralizing” for teachers and logistically impossible for school districts. For instance, a teacher couldn’t use yesterday’s newspaper in a current events class.
“This is a move toward completely scripted lessons,” said Beth Brown of the Tennessee Education Association, noting that a new Tennessee law already restricts what teachers can discuss in their classes about racism, white privilege, and unconscious bias.
State testing went well last year, with a 95% participation rate despite the pandemic. But lawmakers are still expected to bring several proposals to change when and how tests are administered.
Expect one proposal to require that testing occur during the last 20 days of the school year, instead of the earlier testing window set by the education department.
“That’s going to give our teachers an extra 30 days of instruction time, which is a lot,” said Cepicky.
Other likely legislation would require students in grades 3-8 to continue testing on paper, while local school systems could opt to move students in higher grades to online exams.
This school year, Tennessee high schoolers are taking their exams online under the state’s plan to transition back to computerized testing after several years of technical snafus.
Should teachers be judged on how much their students know — or how much they grow?
Tennessee has mostly focused on the latter when evaluating their educators and schools through an academic growth model that measures learning over time, regardless of whether students are proficient.
But the complexity and opaqueness of the state’s statistical growth method, combined with increasing frustration over low student proficiency, could renew that debate among lawmakers this year.
“We’ve been doing this for 10 years, and where are we?” asked Cepicky, complaining that only a third of the state’s third graders are reading on grade level.
“Meanwhile, we’ve created an evaluation system where a teacher can get an A in academic growth even if their students aren’t proficient readers. We’ve got to get that commitment back to getting our kids proficient,” he said.
Such a move would mark a dramatic change for Tennessee, considered a pioneer in using “value-added” measurements to judge teachers and schools. For a decade, the guiding principle has been that all students can advance, regardless of out-of-school factors like poverty that might hold them back.
Other issues are sure to surface before this year’s legislature, including more funding for charter school facilities and how to address the state’s worsening teacher shortage. The statistics on the teacher supply is especially troubling, with thousands of Tennessee educators expected to retire by 2024 and fewer candidates entering teacher training programs.
“We’ve got to be creating multiple pathways to teaching in our state, and we’ve got to have a competitive wage,” said JC Bowman, executive director of Professional Educators of Tennessee.
The 2022 session of the 112th General Assembly convenes at noon Central Time on Tuesday. Visit the legislature’s website to track legislation, livestream meetings, and contact legislators.
Sign up for our newsletter.
Check your inbox for a welcome email.
Chalkbeat is a nonprofit newsroom dedicated to providing the information families and educators need, but this kind of work isn’t possible without your help.
Find upcoming Tennessee events
Check your inbox for a welcome email.

source

Continue Reading

How To?

Made a Lot of Money in the Stock Market This Year? Here's How to Lower Your Capital Gains Taxes. – The Motley Fool

Published

on

Returns as of 01/18/2022
Returns as of 01/18/2022
Founded in 1993 by brothers Tom and David Gardner, The Motley Fool helps millions of people attain financial freedom through our website, podcasts, books, newspaper column, radio show, and premium investing services.
Despite recent volatility, it’s been a pretty strong year for the stock market. And at this point, you may be sitting on gains in your portfolio, at least on paper. If you’re eager to sell some stocks at a profit and make those gains official, you should know that doing so could raise your tax bill significantly.
Whenever you sell investments at a profit, you’re required to pay capital gains taxes, the amount of which will hinge on how long you hold those stocks prior to unloading them. If you keep your stocks for a year or less before selling them, you’ll be subject to short-term capital gains, which are taxed the same way as ordinary income. If you hold your stocks for at least a year and a day before selling, you’ll be bumped into the more favorable long-term capital gains category.
But either way, capital gains could cause you to owe the IRS quite a bit of money. And so if you’re looking at a big profit this year, there’s one move it pays to make.
Image source: Getty Images.
Your goal as an investor is no doubt to buy stocks that make you money. But sometimes, that doesn’t happen.
When you get stuck holding stocks that are underperforming, sometimes, selling them at a loss is your best option. But the good news is that taking a loss in your portfolio is a great way to minimize the hit of capital gains taxes.
Say you’re sitting on $10,000 in capital gains this year. If you take a $10,000 loss in your portfolio, you’ll cancel out the capital gains taxes you owe. And, just as importantly, you’ll free up money you can use to invest in different stocks — ones that may perform much better or lend to more diversity in your portfolio.
Now you may end up with capital losses that exceed your gains for the year. But that’s OK, because you can use some of that excess loss to offset ordinary income — up to $3,000 worth, in fact.
So, say you take a $10,000 loss in your portfolio but you only have a $7,000 gain this year. In that case, you’ll still get to use your entire loss for the current tax year.
But even if that’s not the case — say, you have a $10,000 loss and only a $6,000 gain — you can carry the remainder of your loss into future tax years and use it to offset your tax bill at the time. So for example, in this scenario, you’d carry $1,000 of your loss into 2022 and potentially use it then.
Making money on stocks is a good thing, but only if it doesn’t cause a huge tax crunch for you. If you’ve profited nicely in 2021, it pays to see if there are losing stocks in your portfolio worth selling. Doing so could really help minimize this year’s tax burden, not to mention set you up with more money to invest with in 2022.

Discounted offers are only available to new members. Stock Advisor will renew at the then current list price. Stock Advisor list price is $199 per year.
Stock Advisor launched in February of 2002. Returns as of 01/18/2022.

Making the world smarter, happier, and richer.

Market data powered by Xignite.

source

Continue Reading

How To?

HOD tackles license portability, policy changes – American Veterinary Medical Association

Published

on

The AVMA House of Delegates (HOD) took on issues such as veterinary license portability across states and policy changes at a weekend meeting held January 7-8, during the Association’s annual Veterinary Leadership Conference.
The House’s Veterinary Information Forum addressed ways to make it easier for veterinarians licensed in one state to gain licenses in other states, as well as how to increase support for veterinary team members. During its regular business meeting, the House approved a new policy supporting collection of antimicrobial use data as well as updates to the AVMA policies on rabies and rabies vaccination waivers.
The AVMA News team reported on all of the HOD actions in articles published shortly after the meeting concluded. These are available for all in the profession to read online:
The House also said farewell to four colleagues for whom the weekend meeting was their last one as members of the House of Delegates. Please join in congratulating and thanking these volunteers retiring from the House of Delegates. Those retiring, their affiliation, and years of service were:
BLOG

BLOG

BLOG

source

Continue Reading

Trending