Hurricane? What hurricane? Vermont is back open for business, and it shows with the improvements made by almost all of the state’s mountain resorts for the 2011-12 season. On the list includes the return of the 2011-12 Winter Dew Tour to Killington, January 19-22, 2012. Look to the official press release from the Vermont Ski Areas Association on the details of each resort’s renovation.
MONTPELIER, Vt. – Among the variety of new construction and improvements at Vermont’s resorts, one theme unifies. These snow-centric businesses listen to their guests and year after year, strive to create the best possible experience for their extended family of skiers and riders. Here’s the latest:
BOLTON VALLEY RESORT
According to Bolton Valley Resort President George Potter, skier visits, which included lift ticket and season pass sales, were up more than nine percent last year from the previous season. Ski and snowboard school participation also increased from the previous year, an indication that Vermonters still turn to their local mountains to either learn to ski or ride or to improve their skills. Headed into 2011-2012, Potter and his team continue to run full steam ahead preparing for a December opening with an increase to the resort’s snowmaking efficiency and the addition of a new groomer. The resort will continue to expand its retail inventory.
BROMLEY MOUNTAIN RESORT
In advance of the new KidsRule Mountain Camps program, Bromley plunked close to $1 million into a brand new, 3,000 square foot kids facility and gave the Learning Area a top-to-bottom makeover. The resort added a “Kids’ Cabin” for bathroom breaks and warming up and installed a fully enclosed carpet lift.
To celebrate its 75th anniversary, Bromley has also added a new trail named “Orion,” a black diamond glade located between Havoc and Pushover on the East Side. Developed in close coordination with the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation and the Green Mountain National Forest, the goal of the new trail is to not only provide great new terrain, but to ensure a sustainable forest both in and around the expanded terrain.
As the home mountain to more than 50 Olympians, Burke has had its share of exciting winters, but this season may top them all. After much anticipation, a new high-speed quad will carry guests to the summit in one-third the time of the Willoughby Chair. Skiers and riders will enjoy more time on Burke’s winding trails or deep in the 100+ acres of glades. Burke also added five trails at the summit and a new wind turbine to help offset the energy consumption of the new lift and other resort services. At Mid Burke, the resort is breaking ground on some of the East’s most energy efficient and affordable ski-in/ski-out single family homes; this new construction represents Burke Mountain’s first mountain-run real estate. There’s plenty happening up north this season and it’s just the beginning.
JAY PEAK RESORT
What happens when you give a group of delightfully insane resort marketers a quarter of a billion dollars and ask them to invent a weather-proof ski vacation? Well, you get Jay Peak’s Pump House waterpark. This season Jay Peak will open the Pump House, a 50,000-square foot indoor waterpark ensconced in glass that guarantees happy memories, no matter what the weather. The park features a 50-seat bar overlooking the rides, a slide that drops its passenger into a free-fall and then shoots him or her upside down, and the Double Barrel Flowrider-a standing-wave ride that will allow visitors to “surf” in Vermont. And when the sun shines and the mercury heads out of the chill zone, the Pump House’s retractable roof will bring the outside in. Should folks be having so much fun they want to spend the night, the attached new Hotel Jay has space for more than 700 guests.
- The 2011-12 Winter Dew Tour returns to Killington Resort, January 19-22, 2012.
- The removal of the existing Peak Lodge with the new Peak Facility anticipated to open Christmas 2012.
- A new lift served Tubing Park.
- Olympic Gold Medalist Donna Weinbrecht joins Killington Resort this winter to teach women’s clinics and mogul clinics.
- Snowmaking upgrades across the six mountains with the purchase of several hundred new low energy snow guns along with new hydrants, valves and thousands of feet of snowmaking pipe.
- Four Prinoth snowgroomers will join the resort’s fleet arrive this fall.
- In the spring of 2012, The K-1 Express Gondola guest drop off area is being renovated and the loading area will be upgraded with a heated walkway and an overhead cover.
- Additionally, Tropical Storm Irene updates include a new deck and Meissl Umbrella Bar, named the “Roaring Brook Umbrella Bar,” new carpeting in all five of Killington’s base lodges and new landscaping around all five base lodges.
MAD RIVER GLEN
Over its 15 years of co-op ownership, Mad River Glen has invested more than $4 million in capital improvements, in keeping with Mad River’s goal to maintain and preserve the mountain experience. Both the skier-owners and the management understand that skiers come to Mad River for the unique combination of legendary terrain, sense of community, low skier density and intimate atmosphere. “We don’t want to mess with a winning combination,” President Jamey Wimble explains. The ability of Mad River Glen to consistently reinvest in the mountain’s infrastructure is a testament to the success of the cooperative. Co-op share sales are always important. New shareholders will know that their support will enable the co-op to fulfill its mission of protecting and preserving Mad River Glen’s unique ski experience for future generations.
Magic Mountain continues to invest in what it is known for and defined by; its exciting and challenging terrain, situated in a southern Vermont ski community. For the 2011-12 season, Magic will feature expanded off-piste tree-skiing, enhanced snowmaking on the legendary expert-only west-side; the addition of a new Bombardier snow cat to lay down consistent “corduroy,” a fresh-look for the “no wind holds” Red Chair, and expanded après ski offerings at Goniff’s Den, the social hub for ski-lovers since the 1960s. Magic was important in creating the Vermont ski culture in its earliest days and is celebrating 50 years since the first skiers descended the peak of Magic. This skier-first community is dedicated to keeping that legend alive for enthusiasts to enjoy for another 50 years.
Since Peak Resorts purchased Mount Snow in 2007, the company has invested more than $18 million in capital improvements, including the installation of America’s only high speed detachable six-passenger bubble chair lift, the Bluebird Express, expected to be on-line for the start of the 2011-2012 winter season. The Bluebird Express provides base to summit access in seven minutes. The bubbles provide similar weather protection as a gondola cabin with the comfort and convenience of keeping skis and boards on guest’s feet. Every night the bubble chairs will be stored in a climate controlled barn, increasing the efficiency of getting chairs back on the line after inclement weather. Other major lift improvements like new chairs with footrests and restraining bars can be enjoyed on a handful of the resort’s lifts.
In an effort to relay real-time information to guests on trail and lift status, many large LCD monitors will be installed throughout the resort. These monitors eliminate the need to distribute paper snow reports throughout the day.
1900′ Burger is Mount Snow’s newest eating and drinking establishment with a menu of gourmet Certified Angus Beef burgers, hand-cut fries, unique grilled cheese sandwiches and some of your favorite beers. Located in the former Timber House, 1900′ Burger is expected to be an instant favorite.
OKEMO MOUNTAIN RESORT
It was a busy summer for Okemo Mountain Resort operations staff. Okemo’s new Adventure Zone was the primary focus as crews built an 18-hole miniature golf course, a four-station bungee trampoline attraction, a new snack bar, picnic area and other summertime enhancements around Okemo’s Timber Ripper Mountain Coaster, a four season roller coaster ride that winds through trees and follows the contours of the mountain for a thrilling alpine experience.
Winter visitors will also see a number of improvements around the resort. Upgrades to Okemo’s snowmaking system will include 15 new HKD Genesis guns, rebuilt pumps and motors, plus miles of new pipe. Okemo is investing $125,000 in new alpine and Nordic equipment for its rental fleet. The Clock Tower ticket plaza has received a makeover with some repairs and the creation of additional green space. New technology upgrades around the resort include: equipment upgrades for Ski Patrol, new computers, an improved ticketing system, plus integrated services to create efficiencies in Okemo’s existing technology systems.
SMUGGLERS’ NOTCH RESORT
Smugglers’ has been working with Vermont’s Burton Snowboards to develop the next generation of the Burton Riglet Park, an on-snow play area on the resort’s Sir Henry’s Learning Hill with fun terrain features designed for introducing young children to snowboarding. The park’s focal point is a “treehouse,” an elevated platform with ramps that children can ride down, a balance area inside the treehouse and a lift chair that swings to help kids practice getting on and off the lift. Playing in the park on small rolling hills, miniature box-style rails, pyramids and a mini-halfpipe allow children to gain the necessary balance and muscle memory to begin sliding and making turns on sloped terrain.
Smugglers’ Notch Resort is expanding its group lesson experience to two hours, increasing the value for skiers and riders of all levels by allotting additional time for learning, feedback and practice with the resort’s Snow Sport University teaching staff. Daily two hour group lessons are included in the resort’s classic and summit vacation packages. For more details, visit www.smuggs.com .
STOWE MOUNTAIN RESORT
Stowe Mountain Resort has replaced the FourRunner chairlift on Mount Mansfield with a new high-speed detachable quad. Originally installed in the ’80s, the FourRunner has been Stowe’s most popular lift, uploading more skiers and riders than any other lift in the resort’s history. Now, amidst its premiere winter experience, access to some of the greatest terrain variety east of the Rockies will become even more seamless with a new state-of-the-art quad on Vermont’s highest peak. The new lift will debut this ski and ride season.
“Our goal is to provide the very best experience possible for all of our guests,” states Robert McEleney, CEO and President of Stowe Mountain Resort. “The terrain on Mount Mansfield is the heart and soul of the resort. This brand new detachable quad lift will provide superlative lift service to the very best alpine terrain in the East.”
STRATTON MOUNTAIN RESORT
This year, Stratton Mountain Resort honors its 50th birthday with a season-long celebration of its heritage, tradition and progression reflected through five decades of innovation. As Stratton commemorates its Golden Anniversary, every step taken towards the future builds on its pedigree. The 2011-2012 season will add new energy efficient snowguns and equip the gold medal grooming team with an expanded fleet that includes two new snowcats, together bolstering Stratton’s “Great Snow Guarantee.” As the resort and Burton celebrate the 30th anniversary of the US Open, a Vermont Chamber Top 10 Vermont Winter Event, Stratton is excited to announce the launch of Burton’s pilot Experience Snowboarding program, a 360 degree approach to learning snowboarding – the sport and lifestyle. Stratton will also be expanding its terrain this season, cutting four new trails in the Sun Bowl and adding an additional terrain park to Big Ben.
Sugarbush starts the new season with a complete Lincoln Peak base area. Designed in the Vermont vernacular, the space provides guests with an ultra-convenient and memorable winter vacation experience: slopeside lodging, shopping, specialty dining, instruction for skiers and riders of all abilities and – of course – access to some of the best terrain on the East Coast. The Schoolhouse, designed to resemble a traditional Vermont schoolhouse and decorated with murals and play spaces by celebrated local artists, serves as an all-inclusive home for children’s ski and ride programs.
Visitors to Sugarbush will notice a foods menu crafted under the guidance of new Food & Beverage Director Gerry Nooney, who moves on up from his role as executive chef. Nooney’s keen on making local foods a cornerstone of the Sugarbush experience – from cheeses and beef to beers and desserts.
TRAPP FAMILY LODGE
Trapp Family Lodge is proud to announce that on our 2,500 acres we’ve identified 40 km of perfect back country territory for laying tracks on un-groomed snow. The lodge offers a selection of back country equipment along with lessons and guided tours. Head for the back country! www.trappfamily.com/activities/backcountry