Dick Butler
By Dick Butler
Editor of www.Snowsportsna.com

Improvement Report
Issue #1 October 31, 2010

Early Season Confusion


Eastrern Resort News

Bretton Woods
Bretton Woods, NH

This ski area, the largest in New Hampshire, just got a bit bigger with 30 acres of glades on Mt. Stickney. Part of the long awaited plan to develop Mount Stickney, the new glades will offer a classic New England back country experience. "We are very excited to be able to offer our guests even more tree skiing this winter. The Mt. Stickney expansion has been on the table for many years, and it feels good to get it started." says Chris Ellms, director of ski operations.

Mount Washington Hotel
Photo by RR Butler

In addition, a new public slalom course set with 20 to 30 "brush" gates will be set up on either Range View or Fabyan's Express, depending on snow conditions. Running the course will be free, complete with a timer. Just show up and go.

This destination resort is set amidst nearly 800,000 acres of White Mountain National Forest. The grand Mount Washington Hotel and Resort is just a two-minute shuttle ride away and offers all the amenities imaginable.


A grand masterpiece of Spanish Renaissance architecture, the Mount Washington Hotel was a two-year labor of love for 250 master craftsmen when first opened in 1902. The hotel is on the National Register of Historic Places.

This is a beautiful area in a beautiful setting, including views of adjacent Mount Washington.


Just East of Manchester VT

Bromley is known for value. Not only is it bright and sunny (in case you don't know, it is the only Eastern Mountain that faces South). Bromley has enough deals to fill a whole web page. So here are a few:

  • Family Fridays - Combine Bromley's $44 midweek/non-holiday ticket with Bromley's fantastic Family Friday deal, where each paying adult pays just $15 per kid for up to three kids. Family Fridays are good to go every Friday this winter season except during the holiday periods - mom or dad can take their two kids and one of their friends for a whole day of skiing or riding for $89. A family of four skis for just $118.
  • $49 Lifts & Lunch Tuesdays - Bromley is offering a special $49 lift & lunch ticket on most Tuesdays throughout the season. It includes a full sit down waitress served lunch at the Wild Boar Tavern. Everything is included (except a tip), all day lift ticket and you're pick of the menu. Lift and Lunch Tuesdays are December 14, 21; January 4,11,18, 25; February 1,8,15; March 1,8, 15, 22.
  • Value Tickets - Save up to $15 off holiday rates this season. Buy a minimum of 5 tickets before December 7, 2010.
  • Sun Mountain Specials - Watch for the Sun Mountain Special icon - look for the flashing sun - on the homepage. These are web only lift ticket deals that run from time to time throughout the season, that are not available at the ticket window. Sign up for NewsLetter emails and you'll be notified ahead of time when a Sun Mountain Special is forth coming.
  • Lifts & Lodging Package Deals - Make your reservation now at one of the local Inns that participate in online Midweek and Weekend special package deals starting from just $59 per person, per day with double occupancy.
  • MLK Monday Madness - Monday, January 17 - Special Holiday Rate $49
    Ski or ride Bromley on Monday, January 17, and save your used MLK Day lift ticket. It's good for $10 off your next weekend ticket or holiday ticket!
  • Mom's Day Off - Friday, February 4. Show a picture of your kid and ski or ride all day for a $15 donation to the VT-NH Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
  • Kids - Kids Five and under ski/board FREE at Bromley.
  • Sunday Morning Getaway - $57 rate from 8:30 a.m. 1:00 p.m. (not available during Holiday Periods)
  • Sunday Afternoon Passport - $29 all ages, good 12:30 through 4:00 p.m. (not available during Holiday Periods)
  • College Break - Just show us a valid college ID and save $10 off our posted rates. Discount can be applied to all day regular priced tickets only!
  • Military Discount - Just show us an active military ID and save $10 off our posted rates, anytime! Discount can be applied to all day regular priced tickets only!
  • Special Needs Rates - Bromley offers a 50% discount off retail weekend lift ticket rates for Special Needs and handicapped skiers/boarders. We also offer a $25 lift ticket for Special Needs skiers/boarders midweek.

See Bromley's website for specific information and limitations.


Cannon Mountain
Franconia Notch, NH

As part of a multi-year, multi-million dollar improvement program, a new double chairlift is being installed at the recently re-opened Mittersill Backcountry Area in the location of the original double chair at the area. New grooming machines, snowmaking upgrades and a 9,000 sq. ft. addition to the base lodge are also being purchased and constructed.


North Conway, NH

Tower guns, a new quad chair and more tubing lanes highlight improvements this season. Cranmore is spending approximately $6 million on major improvements to the resort. The South double chair will be replaced with an energy-efficient, fixed-grip quad chairlift. The existing South chair will be relocated near the Beginner Basin. Terrain in Beginner Basin will be altered to make room for the chair as well as provide additional beginner terrain. The tubing park will be relocated and enlarged to ten lanes along with a new Sun Kid surface lift.

A year-round Mountain Coaster is being installed. Other improvements include the installation of 70 new energy-efficient tower guns that will increase the quality and quantity of snowmaking, especially during early season periods. The Arlberg Lodge is being converted into a state-of-the-art children's center, a new ticketing system will make for smoother transactions for guests, and other buildings will be upgraded.


Gore Mountain

North Creek, NY

Opened in 2008-2009, the Burnt Ridge section of this popular Adirondack resort continues with development. This season will prove to be no exception with the opening of Barkeater, a 3500' glade connecting the summit of Burnt Ridge Mountain to Roaring Brook Bridge, from which skiers and riders can either access the base of the Burnt Ridge Quad, or Little Gore Mountain trails to the North Creek Ski Bowl.

Gore Mountain will also commemorate the historic event of its Interconnect with the North Creek Ski Bowl. Five trails will offer terrain for all abilities, serviced by the new Hudson Chair.


Hunter Mountain
Hunter, NY

Named the Kaatskill Flyer after a contest, Hunter will be boasting the completion of New York State's first six-passenger detachable chairlift. The lift is 5400 feet long and has a vertical rise of 1477 feet. The new lift, holds 82 chairs and can travel at speeds of 1000 feet per minute. The ride will only take 5.5 minutes, compared to the previous lift's 6.5 minutes. Hunter's Express Quad, which was installed in 1987, is being moved to Hunter West and will undergo extensive upgrading; it will be operational as a new West Side lift for the winter season of 2011/12.


Jay Peak Resort
Jay, VT

Jay Peak Resort is undergoing an immense expansion valued at 140 million dollars encompassing both on and off snow activities.

Most notable for winter fans are:

  • increases in snowmaking coverage (100 new high-efficiency tower guns)
  • an enclosed beginner lift (plexiglass covered 250' surface conveyor)
  • a new Nordic center ( doubles as a Golf Clubhouse in spring, summer and fall)
  • an indoor ice arena (NHL size rink with shop, lockers & rental center)
  • a parking garage (220 spaces, with 176 under cover, free & in walking distance of lifts)
  • a state-of-the-art ticketing system (RIFD i.e. radio frequency identification system)
  • a new groomer. (manufacturer: Prinoth)


Loon Mountain
Lincoln, NH

Loon is adding 20 acres of new tree skiing over the summer. $1.2 million is being spent on improvements to the snowmaking system, including 428 Low-e HKD tower guns allowing more terrain to be opened earlier in the season. A new Beast Grooming Cat has been added to the fleet of groomers. Other additions include a loading carpet for the Seven Brothers chairlift and a 48% increase in capacity for the North Peak chairlift thanks to 35 additional chairs.

Mount Sunapee
Newbury, NH
Photo courtesy of Mount Sunapee

A third carpet lift, named The SunKid Lift, is being added to the learning area at this popular southern NH resort. This new 130-foot long carpet lift is located in the South Peak Learning Area. The SunKid lift will be used by beginner snowboarders and adult skiers to

Scenic view of Lake Sunapee
Scenic view of Lake Sunapee
transition from the base of the Learning Area to the Flying Carpet. "We are excited about the addition of this new lift, it will make one of the most unique learning areas in the East even better," said Maura Gorman, director of the Learning Center at Mount Sunapee.

The Learning Area at Mount Sunapee is quite unique as it is totally separate from the main mountain. It has six lifts and 14 trails, a beginner terrain park and easy glades.
Skiers and riders will experience the benefit of enhanced snow making as well with nearly $200,000 of improvements to the system. These improvements will assist the resort in maintaining its reputation of best snow in the East by SKI magazine several years in a row.

Scenic view of Lake Sunapee
With the addiction of 58 high-efficiency snow guns over the last three years, Mount Sunapee has reduced its electrical consumption by 16% over the past five years.


Okemo Mountain Resort

We have come to expect great things from Okemo over the years since the Muellers took the reins. The resort is famous for it's grooming, and with the addition of another monster groomer, we expect the manicuring of snow to keep improving. This BR500 Prinoth 500HP groomer has a 24' wide tiller and a 20' wide blade. This will be the third Primoth machine, nicknamed "The Beast", in control of trails and slopes at this popular resort.

Okemo Cat Okemo Cat
Photos courtesy of Okemo


Okemo's Jackson Gore gets yet another attraction, a 3,100 foot long Mountain Coaster, set to operate year round during most weather conditions. Named the "Timber Ripper", the coaster will have two-passenger cars and will take a five minutes to complete the 1,600' ride up. There will be an exciting 3,100 foot ride down, following the natural terrain. The ride will commence and end near the bottom of the Coleman Brook Express lift. For riders aged 7 and up, the coaster will reach speeds upwards to 25 miles per hour, all controlled by the rider. Ted Reeves, VP of Okemo Real Estate and Development is quoted: "It will become another fun, alternative, family activity in summer and winter."

Okemo, once famous for the longest reputed Poma in North America, will replace its last remaining Poma with a more user-friendly 180 foot long magic-carpet lift. Adjacent to the original base lodge near the Clock Tower, the new lift will get Okemo's youngest skiers (Snow Stars) up the hill faster and safer, and simplify their learning curve, according to Okemo Ski + Ride School Director Dan Bergeron.


Smugglers' Notch Resort
Jeffersonville, VT

Partnering with Flaik, a Boulder Colorado based GPS service company, Smuggs will use their technology for a 2nd Winter season. The program will be offered to all students in Snow Sport University ski and snowboard camps (ages 3-15) as well as adults in Mountain Experience Camps. The program provides a way to capture on-mountain fun. Kids and adults will be outfitted with Flaik GPS units that will track the miles, vertical and trails skied each day and cumulatively. The units allow a parent the comfort of knowing exactly where each child is and where they have been. At the end of each day, participants can log on and review data with friends and family to share their total on-mountain experience and plan exciting adventures for the next day.

Rentals will be available for $19.95 per day with the same capabilities.

The Burton Learn To Ride program at Smuggs returns for a second season. The programs goal: to provide the latest and greatest in specialized snowboard equipment from Vermont-based Burton Snowboards. Boots and bindings are also softer flexing, allowing easier guiding of the board when turning. More than 100 new boards, boots and bindings will be available at Smugglers'.


Carrabassett Valley, ME

If you have been to the "Loaf" you know its big. Its about to get much bigger. If you love trees and glades you are in for a treat. How big you ask? 655 acres of side country expansion onto Burnt Mountain is big by any standard. Opening in three phases, Phase 1 will be this season with 270 acres creating 2,300 vertical feet of side-country adjacent to the southern edge of the existing mountain. Phase 2 will add another 135 acres and Phase 3 yet another 250 acres. The total will double the size of Sugarloaf and add another peak to the package. Big news indeed.


Wachusett Mountain

Wachusett has coined the phrase "more white, more rails, more space, more green" to sum up improvements for this season.

  • MORE WHITE: The addition of 32 new state-of-the-art HKD snow guns this season paves the way to Wachusett's goal of a fully automated snowmaking system. These replacement guns include 3 fully-automatic computerized guns on the top of 10th Mountain Trail which will allow snowmaking crews to make quicker adjustments for temperatures and humidity.
  • MORE RAILS: Wachusett's 2 Alpine Parks will be stepping it up this season with the addition of 15 new rail and box features in production by Destoy Terrain Parks of Maine. These new features include 4 new rails - including a new 24-foot down rail and 11 new boxes - including a unique new "connection" set which allows for multiple configurations on the Look Mom Terrain Park. The new features will also include 5 new "progression park" boxes for Wachusett's smaller terrain park area on Frannie's Folly. All the new features are expected to be in place when the Park's scheduled opening in December.
  • MORE SPACE: Skiers and snowboarders will enjoy major renovations in the base lodge with improvements to the Wachusett Cafeteria and Mountainside Ski & Sports Shop this season:

    Wachusett Food Court
    A new renovation includes more open entrance to make the food court area easier for customers to access the variety of stations. The scramble-style cafeteria does not require waiting in a traditional cafeteria-style line and allows guests to move immediately up to the station they desire - grill; hot entrees; deli-style sandwiches; salad bar; sushi; or soup & chili.
  • Mountainside Ski & Sports
    The Mountainside expansion increases the square footage by 500 square feet (20%) and improves the shop's entrance; check-out area; helmet display area; snowboard department and Instant Action Demo Center.
  • MORE GREEN: Wachusett Mountain has taken its commitment to the environment to a higher level for this season.


    As part of a major renovation in the food court area, Wachusett has significantly reduced its energy foot print in the cafeteria:
  • Tankless Water Heaters - Feeding hungry skiers and snowboarders takes a lot of hot water (and energy) for cooking, hot beverages and cleaning. Wachusett's Food Service Department installed state-of-the-art tankless water heaters this winter to improve its environmental efficiency by using 40% less energy than the most efficient storage tank heater.
  • New refrigeration units - Twin walk-in coolers were installed to replace the older less efficient units. During the colder winter months, they utilize a form of renewable energy cold "polar power" which is the mirror image of "solar power."

    Ski Shop:

  • The Mountainside Ski and Sports Shop completed a major expansion for this season and implemented a significant program in the Service Department by implementing the use of "green" wax. This wax eliminates the use of traditional ski waxes which introduce fluorocarbons into the environment during production and use. This new "green" wax, produced by Green Wax of Boston, Ma. will be used in 100% of tuning in rentals, demo skis and snowboards, and every day waxing in the Mountainside service center. (www.greenskiwax.com).
  • Wachusett's location in close proximity to a major metropolitan area affords the mountain with a large visitor population base. Getting patrons to the mountain is getting easier with the following public transportation options. In addition to the Ski Train from Boston - a partnership with the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority and the Massachusetts Bay Commuter Railroad, Wachusett is expanding public transportation options this season with additional public bus service from both Boston and Worcester. In conjunction with Boston's Radio 92.9 and SnowRiders, Wachusett is adding regular bus travel from Boston on select dates (12/19; 1/9; 1/23; 2/13; 2/27; 3/13). Details at www.myradio929.com. Wachusett is also adding regular weekly bus service from Worcester in conjunction with the Worcester Regional Transit Authority starting in January. (Details at www.therta.com). Efforts are also underway to provide a public transportation option from Providence, RI.


Waterville Valley
Waterville Valley, NH

Waterville Valley plans to turn a usual ski weekend into a real mini vacation thanks to an early 12:30 pm Friday check in and extra late 3 pm Sunday check out. The extra time on and off the slopes comes at no extra charge.

"We started offering extra late Sunday check-outs last winter. Our guests were thrilled that they could enjoy Sunday morning on the slopes instead of taking prime ski time to pack the car", explains Jim Wefers, Director of the Waterville Valley Resort Association. "This season we're focusing on starting the weekend off right by giving guests more Friday time. The ski season is too short as it is so we're going to make sure everyone gets the most out of their weekend".

"Wicked Long Ski Weekends" as the program is called, are offered on 2 Night Ski & Stay Packages, over 12 non-holiday weekends. Prices start at $89 per person/night, double occupancy in December and $158 per person/night, double occupancy in Jan, Feb, and March. For an even longer weekend, the resort offers a Sunday Stayover for 50% off the lodging. Skiers can then take advantage of Waterville Valley's popular 2 for 1 Mondays.
All Waterville Valley 2010-11 Ski & Stay Deals include access to the White Mountain Athletic Club, skating at the indoor ice arena and use of the shuttle bus. Horse drawn sleigh rides, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, the Curious George Center and resort restaurants and shops centered in Town Square, are all available.

The Black Bear Lodge, Golden Eagle Lodge, Snowy Owl Inn, Town Square Condominiums, Valley Inn, and Village Condominium are all participating in the "Wicked Long Ski Weekends" program.


Windham Mountain
Windham, NY

Windham Mountain will celebrate its 50th year of skiing and riding this winter.
Over the summer, Windham's snowmaking reservoir was nearly doubled in size. Ted Davis, Windham's Mountain Manager, said that the expansion will enable the resort "to produce more snow in a shorter period of time, enabling it to run at full capacity for longer." The expansion will prove beneficial for the quality and consistency of snowmaking and grooming efforts. Snowmaking efforts cover 98% of Windham's terrain. Windham Mountain also installed approx 4,000 feet of new snowmaking lines to service Wonderama and Lower Wheelchair trails more effectively.



Western Resort News

Alpine Meadows
Tahoe City, CA

Safety breakthrough at Alpine

Alpine Meadows will unveil several resort upgrades this winter.

The Lake Tahoe resort has redesigned its children's center, which includes a modern, indoor open space for children and parents, complete with automated registration kiosks and interactive educational stations. The center also sports an outdoor snow play area with a new magic carpet surface lift that provides access to an improved "mini terrain park" as well as newly installed snow tubing lanes.

Alpine Meadows has installed the Magnestick system at the Subway and Meadow chairlifts. The seatbacks are now equipped with a magnet that holds a child wearing a Magnestick vest in a secure position for the duration of the lift ride. When a child reaches the chair lift deboarding platform, the Magnestick vest is deactivated, allowing for a seamless release from the seatback.

Alpine has purchased two newly introduced grooming machines, which are equipped with the latest technology, speed, and engineering. The Beast, manufactured by Prinoth, the new model grooms 40 percent more terrain per hour than a traditional grooming machine. The Beast is also equipped with the cleanest and most fuel efficient engine of any snow grooming machine.

Alpine will also unveil a redesigned outdoor seating area at its base lodge. The 7,500-square-foot sundeck, which offers outdoor slopeside seating, features an inviting space for relaxation around a new fire-pit.


Diamond Peak
Incline Village, NV

New digs at Diamond

Construction of a $4.5 million skier services building at Lake Tahoe's Diamond Peak has been moving along.

The project is the second phase of a two-year year, $8.5 million renovation project. The $4 million first phase was finished in 2008 and featured a complete makeover of the Base Lodge. The Incline Village General Improvement District, which owns the snowsports resort, hired Collaborative Design Studio Architects to create a state-of-the-art "customer-centric" facility that is designed to alleviate congestion and improve traffic flow.

Diamond Peak wants the renovations to "enhance the overall quality of the customer experience immediately upon arrival at the resort," according to a resort news release.

In the past, skiers and riders used three separate outdated buildings that were spread throughout the base area. All of that will be combined into one modern 10,950-square-foot services building. The new building will consist of a child ski center, the ski and snowboard school, newly designed ticket windows and rest rooms.

The new base area configuration will allow customers to gather in a new plaza directly in front of the services building, just a few steps from the base lodge and lifts. There will be stairs connecting the upper and lower parking lots allowing people to move between the lots without having to go through the base lodge.

The newly designed ticket windows, along with the guest services window will be on the northeast side of the plaza and next to them will be the children's entrance.

The northwest side of the plaza will house the ski and snowboard school and the Ski Patrol facilities. The second level will include the marketing, mountain operations and reception offices.

"The project continues on-schedule and on-budget despite difficult weather at the start of the project in May," says Brad Johnson, IVGID Engineering Manager. "The large scale underground and earthwork portions of the project are nearing completion with work now focused on installation of building footings and below slab utilities. Work will rapidly progress this month into vertical construction and the frame of the building will begin to take shape."

Johnson said the project is expected to be completed in time for the 2010-11 season. Skiers and riders can view the construction process Web cam.


Las Vegas Ski & Snowboard Resort
Mount Charleston, NV

Major pond expansion in Vegas

The Las Vegas Ski & Snowboard Resort has expanded its snowmaking capabilities for the 2010-11 season.

For years, the snowmaking reservoir at the snowsports area, located 45 minutes from the Las Vegas Strip, had been able to hold just less than 2 million gallons. A summer-long construction project has increased capacity to about 7 million gallons. It designed to take advantage of the natural springs in Lee Canyon and collect the snow that melts each spring.

Close to 3 million gallons are in the reservoir for snowmaking this season.

Ski Vegas is also expanding its Ski Bus program. The snowsports area, which sits on land leased from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Division of Forestry, received a federal grant last summer to provide transportation to and from the mountain during the season. That grant was renewed last spring. Tourists and locals now ride the Ski Bus to and from the mountain on a daily basis. The routes will run from Henderson to the south of the Strip, to Town Square on the Strip, and to Santa Fe Station north of the city.

A stop at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas will be featured on Fridays.

A state grant will be funding a loop route between Lee and Kyle canyons. Several hotels are also partnering with the resort's Ski Bus for ski-and-stay packages.

Ski Vegas is coming off a record-setting 220-inch snowfall last season.


Mount Rose
Reno, NV

Anotable improvement at Lake Tahoe's Mt. Rose this season will be the
addition of renewable energy sources to the Winters Creek Lodge.

Three of what the resort is calling "extreme weather energy
windspires" will be installed on the north side of the facility
between the parking lot and the walkway to the lodge. The resort says
the intent is to use wind power to provide electricity, thereby
offsetting some of the electrical costs of the new lodge. Resort
officials say the three windspires should cover the lighting costs of
the Winters Creek Lodge for the upcoming season.

Installation was planned for Nov. 3.

The average wind speed at the Slide Bowl of Mt. Rose is 14 mph, but
the windspires are designed to handle winds up to 160 mph. Extensions
on these spires will make them 30-feet tall to take snowpack into

For details on the windspires themselves, visit http://windspireenergy.com

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