Perisher’s new partnership with American ski fields is so good, it may just be the excuse you need to ski year round.

When one of North America’s largest ski companies Vail Resorts took on Australia’s Perisher into its haul of world-class mountain destinations in 2015, it created an extraordinary win-win situation for local skiers and snowboarders.

They can now take advantage of the most generous multi-resort ski season pass ever offered by the industry, the Epic Australia Pass, and access not just one but eight American resorts plus Perisher.

The Epic Australia Pass grants full-season lift access in 2016 to Perisher in NSW, plus eight other world-class ski resorts, bar a few holiday blackout periods in the Northern Hemisphere’s 2016/17 season.

Resorts covered include the newest and now-largest ski field in the USA, the Park City Mountain Resort formed by the linking of Park City and Canyons last year. The others are Araphoe Basin; Keystone and Breckenridge in Colorado; Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood in California; plus Afton Alps, Minnesota and Mt Brighton, Michigan. The pass also includes 10 days at Vail or Beaver Creek in Colorado, or a combination of the two.

The holiday restrictions are short. Blink and you’ll miss them: 25-26 November 2016, 26-31 December 2016, 14 January 2017, and 18-19 February 2017.

Another benefit is that while no announcements have yet been made, there is the very real prospect Vail Resorts will give Perisher a long-awaited facelift. Vail Resorts has a tendency of overhauling the infrastructure and property of its new acquisitions.

But wait, there is more. Epic Australia Pass holders can enjoy improvements made as a result of Vail Resorts’ US$500-million investment into its ski fields in the last five years.

Visitors to the new Park City Mountain Resort, for instance, are the first to benefit from new additions the Quicksilver Gondola and Miners Camp Restaurant, several more ski runs, plus upgrades to two key lifts and the Red Pine Lodge eatery.

Guests visiting in 2016 will also play their part in ski industry history, being some the first to carve tracks across the 2,954-hectare behemoth.

When the resort opened in November last year, it easily beat the previously largest resort in the USA, Montana’s Big Sky (2,347 hectares) into second place and the company’s own Vail (2,140 hectares) into third.

Park City has in its favour the best accessibility of any mountain destination in the US, being only a 35-minute drive from Salt Lake City Airport.

The quaint Victorian town also bears the glint of Hollywood glamour thanks to the Sundance Film Festival, now in its 32nd year and feted by the world’s biggest movie stars each January.

As a result, the pretty streets hold more than their fair share of excellent restaurants, such as Riverhorse on Main and Zoom, the latter owned by Sundance Festival creator Robert Redford and named after the camera lens.

In more recent times, The Waldorf Astoria chose the Park City region to establish one of its opulent establishments, more proof this pocket of skiing paradise is definitely on the up and up. Watch this space.

Words: Bronwen Gora

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