By Chris Dehnel At Waterville Valley, variety is the spice of life

October 31, 2007

The buzz word these days at Waterville Valley is variety. By literal definition, the word means a collection of different things. That can certainly be said of the resort in general, and specifically about many of the trails.

Take, for example, Valley Run. An intermediate bump field will be molded into the terrain to supplement the cruising. Such diversity will be the rule rather than the exception this season at Waterville. "Our focus over the past few seasons has been toward on-hill improvements," says Waterville Marketing Director Deb Moore. "Yes, we concentrate on snowmaking and grooming, and we are using them to deliver a variety of terrain. We want to make sure each level of skier and snowboarder has options."

That means there are big bumps, medium bumps, and small bumps to entice skiers and riders of all abilities to navigate them - and perhaps catch a little air. That means there are glades classified as blue in addition to the advanced tree runs. That means there are special zones for kids. That means some trails are half-moguls and half groomed cruisers. That means there are terrain parks for all levels of snowboarding and freeskiing.Waterville Rail

"We've learned by the popularity of the parks that everyone wants the opportunity to try them out," Moore says. "A lot of it has also been listening to the parents and what they want to see in the parks for the kids." Waterville's parks now total six and range from the Exhibition Park and regulation 400-foot superpipe for the advanced right down to the Little Slammer Mini Park. In between are a Burton Progression Park, the Psyched Bordercross Park and The Boneyard. The pipe and the Exhibition Park are serviced by their own surface lifts.

In all, Waterville features 259 acres that can be skied and ridden, and the longest run is 3 miles from the summit elevation of 4,004 feet. Its 52 trails and 2,020-foot vertical drop make it a prominent player in New Hampshire's White Mountains.

The breakdown of trail difficulty illustrates the variety:
- 20 percent novice.
- 60 percent intermediate.
- 20 percent advanced.
- 5 glades covering all ability levels.
- 6 mogul fields of different dimensions.

The trail system is serviced by a pair of high-speed quad chairs, two triple chairs, three double chairs, and five surface lifts. Snowmaking covers the entire resort.

The ski and snowboard school features seasonal programs, private and group lessons, a Burton Learn To Ride program, and a Nordic program. Kids programs include the junior seasonal offerings, and the Venture Kamp program. Waterville also has one of the better adaptive programs in the East.

WatervilleWaterville spent more than $525,000 over the summer on capital projects.

The improvements include:
- 20 more snowmaking tower guns have been added to the existing fleet. Snowmaking capacity has increased. The goal is to open trails like Exhibition Park and the Lower Meadows learning area earlier.
- A new winch cat has been purchased to help Waterville groom its famous Sunnyside trails like the double black diamond True Grit, home of freestyle skiing, and the headwall leading to expert terrain on Ciao and Gema.
- Freeskiers and snowboarders will see a revamped Street Hubba in the Exhibition Park with new stairs and new rails and boxes. The layout has been designed by Waterville ’s new terrain park manager, Luke Mathison, a former pro rider and High Cascade Snowboard Camp coach.

- Rental customers will find new skis and service areas at Top Dog Ski and Snowboard Rentals. Waterville has replaced 75 percent of its rental stock for the season and updated all service areas.
- An expanded Buckets Restaurant will now be open every weekend and during holiday periods. What started as a fun outdoor deck for BBQ’s, Buckets became so popular last season that it will now have a full kitchen setup and expanded menu including pulled pork and shaved steak sandwiches and specialty fries to go with its buckets of ribs.

- A new Kids Venture Kamp check-in area has been created to streamline the sign-up process and better service families with kids in the Explorer Kamps.
- A new retailer, Sport Thoma, is on board with an extensive fleet of demo equipment to "try before you buy" including women's specific skis for all ability levels. The Race Room @ Sport Thoma also debuts at Waterville Valley this season with the latest in products and tuning services for competitors.
- Two new trails have been added to the Waterville Valley Nordic Center. Swayzeytown Trail for intermediate skiers leaves just below the summit chair of Snow's Mountain and connects with Lower Snow's Trail. The new Connection Corner Trail provides a beginner loop right at the North End Trails parking area, connecting the Greeley Path, Connector, and Livermore Trails.

Waterville plans to open Saturday, Nov. 17, and the 2007-08 winter events calendar kicks off on opening day with Special Blend’s First Chair/Last Call followed by the Northern Lights Festival over the Thanksgiving weekend.

A full-day adult ticket is listed at $59, and a teen (13-18) ticket is $49. College students with a valid ID pay the same price. Youth tickets (6-12) and senior passes (65 and older) are $35. Those 5 and younger ski and ride for free. Second-day add-on tickets are $10 less.

A full posting of all lodging prices and package deals, and a calendar of events are located at

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