Michael Ames is a reformed Idaho ski bum. But thanks to Liftopia and the Mountain Collective pass, he recently fell off that wagon. To see his non-ski-related work, visit www.michael-ames.com

The Adventure Taken: Looking Back on the Mountain Collective Chronicles

Air travel is disorienting. This is why, given the chance like the one that the Mountain Collective pass offers, I’ll drive anywhere. After our last day at Alta, Sesko dropped me off at SLC International Airport, and as he drove… Read More →

Another frigid, beautiful day at Alta.

The Mountain Collective Chronicles, Chapter 9: The Cold and the Light of Alta

For two days at Alta, there was a rainbow around the sun. It’s called a sun dog, or a parhelion for weather nerds. Sun dogs are especially common in cold weather and at high altitude, and at Alta, the wind… Read More →

A view better than the one you’re looking at now. (Photos Courtesy Alta Ski Area)

The Mountain Collective Chronicles, Chapter 8: Alta in Photos

If you live in a cold and damp city, it may feel like winter will never end. Storm after storm blows through and leaves you with nothing but icy sidewalks and a treacherous commute to work or school. But as… Read More →

The Mountain Collective Chronicles, Chapter 7: The Road to Zion

If you ski and hike all day in subzero temperatures and skin-shattering winds, and if you manage to make it back to a warm lodge and a cold beer, it’s hard to feel anything but delusional joy. This alchemy of… Read More →

This is not a "Yoga Tram."

The Mountain Collective Chronicles, Chapter 6: Pushing the Boundaries at Jackson

Jackson Hole humbles you. Before you even get on the snow, before you reach the top of Rendezvous Peak and are carried out of the tram by a surging mob of helmeted speed freaks, you realize that this mountain is… Read More →

Warning Signs at Jackson Hole

The Mountain Collective Chronicles, Chapter 5: Storm Threats and Powder Straps

It was dark and late and a glass of whiskey was waiting for us somewhere in Jackson, Wyoming. There was no moonlight, and as we drove the side-streets on the south side of town, I could barely make out the… Read More →

The Mountain Collective Chronicles, Chapter 4: The Lonely Road

Driving 507 miles in a single day is not, in the broader context of human history, a great endeavor. But when you’re in the middle of moving your life across North America in the back of a Subaru, driving 507… Read More →

The Mountain Collective Chronicles, Chapter 3: Aspen, The Civilized Ski Town

Every ski town has its own DNA. There is a unique culture that makes Telluride Telluride, and Mammoth Mammoth. These are small places with outsized personalities, and every town strives to be a destination like no other. The Mountain Collective… Read More →


The Mountain Collective Chronicles, Chapter 2: Searching for Aspen

The first thing I saw was the wok. Granted, there is nothing quite like walking off a plane in a distant city and meeting an old friend at the curbside. Brother Sesko looked happy behind the wheel of his Subaru,… Read More →

Skis at Aspen/Snowmass

The Mountain Collective Chronicles, Chapter 1: The Call

Editor’s Note: Liftopia travel bloggers Michael Ames and Michael Sesko have just embarked on the road trip of a lifetime. In a mere two weeks, they’ll be hitting up all four Mountain Collective resorts: Aspen/Snowmass, Jackson Hole, Alta and Squaw… Read More →