Since the snow melted, there’s been a flurry of activity at ski resorts across the East.

This season, skiers and snowboarders will ride faster lifts, cruise down new trails and kick back in sparkling new lodges.

Some resorts have new owners who now make it possible to visit a number of mountains on a single pass. And, instead of attaching a lift ticket to a wicket, an RFID-enabled pass in your jacket will be automatically scanned.

Resorts have also added more snowmaking and, using new technology, are making snow more efficiently and in marginal conditions. After a $30 million investment in its snowmaking system, Mount Snow in southern Vermont was able to kick off its season on Oct. 27 — the earliest in its 64-year history.

In the 1950s, snowmaking was the first radical improvement for ski areas. According to the New England Ski Museum, the first successful snowmaking test was at Connecticut’s Mohawk Mountain in 1951. The snow-making equipment was developed by the Tey Manufacturing Co. of Milford.

Three years later, Walter Schoenknecht, Mohawk’s owner, would open Mount Snow, where he offered not only skiing, but a heated outdoor pool, indoor ice rink and a space car-like lift from a hotel to the ski lifts.

Another Connecticut native — Preston Smith, of Guilford — opened the Killington ski area in Vermont in 1958. As Smith grew Killington into the largest ski resort in the East, he designed and expanded snowmaking, added new lifts and trails. In the 1960s, he introduced the first resort “experience,” called The Ski Week. The week came with lodging, lessons, rental equipment and plenty of time to party during apre ski.

Today, ski resorts continue Smith and Schoenknecht’s vision to improve not only their their mountains’ infrastructure, but the customers’ “experience.”

Here are some of the coolest things you’ll experience at eastern resorts this winter.

Ski trail tunnels: A ski trail underneath a ski trail? That’s different. Killington in Vermont has dug two tunnels on Snowdon Mountain. The tunnels will allow skiers on Bunny Buster and Chute to have uninterrupted top-to-bottom runs now that the popular Great Northern trail will pass underneath. The tunnels will be between 110-140 feet long, 15 feet high and 32 feet wide, the same width of about one and a half snowcats. And, yes, snow will be blown inside.

The tunnels are part of Killington’s so-called “Year of More” $25 million investment that includes a Snowdon Six Express bubble chairlift, new K-1 gondola cabins, re-installation of lift service in the South Ridge area and trail re-routes at Bear Mountain/Skye Peak and the move of the Snowdon Poma to Ramshead.

Hunter North: At Hunter Mountain in New York’s Catskills, a third more terrain has been added with five new trails and four glades. The new area will be served by a six-person detachable lift.

New lodge at Carinthia: Mount Snow in Vermont has a new $22 million Carinthia Base Lodge. The 42,000-square-foot lodge is five times the size of the old lodge. It features a coffee bar, restaurant, two bars, cafeteria, retail, rentals, ski school, ski patrol and ... 55 toilets — 42 more than the old lodge.

Rent your private ski area: For the first time, you can privately rent Pico Mountain in Vermont during the 2018/19 season. How much? The rental is $6,500 for up to 250 guests and available to rent Tuesdays and Wednesdays from Jan. 8 through April 4. Additional guests over 250 is $15 per person.

Faster lifts: There’s a new Snow Bowl lift at Stratton in Vermont, the major project in this year’s $10 million-capital plan. The high-speed quad is positioned to minimize wind impact with lower towers and built with a parking rail for all 98 chairs to combat overnight icing. With a 1,000-foot-per-minute speed, ride time is reduced from 14 to five minutes.

Bretton Woods in New Hampshire has the state’s first eight-person gondola. Windham in New York adds the Westside Six, a nearly mile-long detachable lift that will shorten line lines. Magic in Vermont has a new base-to- mid mountain double chair, which will helps broaden the accessibility of Magic’s classic terrain to young families with novice and intermediate-level skiers.

Cabin Cat Adventures: Want to catch some fresh tracks on new snow before the lifts start turning? Sugarbush in Vermont will offer snow cat rides up the mountain for first tracks on powder days. The decision will be made by 1 p.m. the day before and posted on the snow report. Sign up on a first-come, first-served basis at the Lincoln Peak Guest Services desk. Put together a group of six or more and they’ll take you up the mountain on the snowcat any day, before the crowds get there.

Hi-tech tickets

RFID cards. Having lifties checking passes is becoming a thing of the past. With RFID (radio frequency identification) technology, there will be no more bar coded season passes or traditional lift tickets. The RFID card which will give guests hands-free lift access. The RFID card will be kept in a chest or sleeve pocket for the gates. Among the resorts using the RFID cards are Sugarbush and Killington in Vermont, Ragged Mountain in New Hampshire and Windham in New York.

The card also makes purchasing and loading lift tickets on your computer or mobile device quick and easy.

Ski resorts have new owners

The sales mirror a national trend of companies consolidating ski resorts.

Okemo and Sunapee. Owned by Tim and Diane Mueller since 1982, Okemo in Vermont area is now owned by Vail Resorts. The deal closed on Sept. 27 with the acquisition of Triple Peaks, LLC, the parent company of Okemo, Mount Sunapee Resort in New Hampshire and Crested Butte Mountain Resort in Colorado. The company purchased Triple Peaks from the Mueller family for approximately $74 million. Vail Resorts also owns Stowe Mountain Resort in Vermont.

Sugarloaf, Sunday River and Loon Mountain. In May. Boyne Resorts, closed a sale of six resorts with Ski Resort Holdings. Among the resorts are Sugarloaf and Sunday River in Maine and Loon in New Hampshire. Boyne also owns also owns three resorts in northern Michigan and the Big Sky Resort in Montana.

Maple Valley. Closed for 18 years, this 375-acre ski area near Brattleboro was purchased earlier this year for $745,000 by a Connecticut LLC — Sugar Mountain Holdings — based in Simsbury. According to the Vermont Secretary of State’s office, Sugar Mountain is “member managed” and Keane Aures, was the only person mentioned. Aures, a 2006 UConn School of Law grad. is counsel in the Hartford office of the law firm of Gordon & Rees. Aures specializes in construction law. New owners have not released any plans for Maple Valley.

Catamount. The Catamount Ski Area in South Egremont, Mass., owned by the Gilbert and Edwards families for 45 years, has been sold for $3 million. It was purchased by owners of the Berkshire East Mountain Resort in Charlemont, Mass. The new owners are renovating the base lodge, adding an outside patio with fire pits. There’s a new triple lift and a trail down from the summit. Catamount is one of the few areas you can ski in two states because the New York/Massachusetts state line is in the middle of the area.

Magic Mountain. Entering is second season under new owners, Ski Magic LLC, this classic Vermont area has added a new lift and new pump house for much needed snow making.

More ways

to buy tickets

Buying lift tickets at the resort window is so 1980s. And, so expensive. Most major eastern ski resorts sell tickets online with savings up to 50 percent. Prices vary by the dates with weekends and holidays costing more. The catch? You need to select the dates early and tickets are not refundable if you can’t use them. The best deals are midweek, early and late seasons.

There are so many cards and pass offers out there, I can’t list them all. The best way to find them is go to a resort’s website, find and passes/tickets and look for the best one that works for you. Often it’s a matter of just doing the math; divide the cost of the pass with how many times you plan to ski or snowboard.

This season there are more multi-mountain passes; cost varies on age, how many days and unlimited access.

The Ikon Pass The pass offers access to 37 areas in the west, east and foreign destinations in Japan, Chile and Australia. Eastern resorts include Killington, Sugarbush, Sunday River, Sugarloaf, Loon and Stratton.

The Peak Pass good for 10 northeastern resorts including Hunter Mountain, Mount Snow, Wildcat and Attitash.

Finally, where do you find the cheapest lift tickets?

Psst, join a Connecticut ski club. Because on selected Awareness Days, you show up at designated resort, show your Connecticut Ski Council membership cards and you’ll often pay half-price for a lift ticket.

Details are at skiclub.com.

Jim Shea is an editor at Hearst Connecticut Media Group.