Last week I talked about all the new things you’ll see in Colorado this coming season (if you’re interested, go here). Now for all you eastern skiers, here’s a round-up of the capital improvements you’ll find in the Green Mountain State in ’14/’15:
Okemo Mountain Resort
Okemo will be replacing its Northstar Express Quad with The Sunburst Six, a new high-speed six-person bubble chairlift with heated seats – the first of its kind in North America. Operation Snowburst returns for a second season of snowmaking improvements with the addition of 100 new, energy-efficient HKD tower guns. This follows a $1 million snowmaking investment that allowed Okemo to open early with top-to-bottom skiing and riding last winter.
Mount Snow Resort
Snowmaking enhancements continue at Mount Snow with the arrival of 645 brand new low-energy snow guns; the largest single snow gun upgrade in the resort’s history. The entire snow gun arsenal is now 100% low-energy. Also making its debut this winter is Smart Snow; a state-of-the-art snowmaking control system, the same one used for the snowmaking operation at the Winter Olympics in Sochi. Thousands more feet of snowmaking pipe have been replaced and a number of trails have been electrified so high output fan guns can be operated on them.
Smugglers’ Notch Resort
The addition of 156 new high efficiency tower guns and one additional fan gun signals the completion of Smugglers’ conversion to a fleet comprised fully of high efficiency snowguns. This will be Smugglers’ third consecutive winter of snowmaking improvements. 250 new guns were incorporated into the fleet over the previous two winter seasons.
Stowe Mountain Resort
Stowe Mountain Resort’s state-of-the-art snowmaking operations have been supplemented by a three-year $9.8 million dollar snowmaking expansion. Totals for the 3-year project include over 100,000 feet of new snowmaking pipe — almost 20 miles worth, 615 HKD SV10 tower guns, 150 Ratnik Baby X2 land frames, 20 SMI Super PoleCat snow towers and 8 HKD Turbo snow towers. Stowe has also completely renovated its summit Gondola on Mt. Mansfield and improved family lift service on lower Spruce Peak with a new Quad chairlift and two new carpet surface lifts.
Stratton Mountain Resort
Stratton has invested in 58 new gondola cabins, 350 more energy efficient HKD snowguns, two new snowcats, new glades, buses and bullwheels, rental gear and more in year two of a total $21 million investment in the overall resort experience. With a trip of just eight minutes, the Stratton gondola carries 2,400 people per hour and runs 7,590 feet from base to the summit of southern Vermont’s highest peak. The latest HKD purchase brings Stratton’s tower snowgun fleet to over 1,000 and completely eliminates the use of diesel.
Sugarbush spent more than $1 million on both mechanical and electrical upgrades to the lifts. The resort also invested $1.8 million in snowmaking equipment, completing a five-year, $5 million capital project. Over the summer, crews installed 351 new Snowlogic, HKD, and Ratnik low energy snowguns, and made significant improvements to infrastructure, replacing a variety of snowmaking pipes, pumps and valves. The resort also replaced one of its winch cats with a new Pisten Bully 600. Parking for busy days has been expanded to create 450 new parking spaces. Permitting continues on a new Valley House lift. All told, the resort invested $4.5 million this year in infrastructure.
Killington continues to invest in essential infrastructure projects ahead of the 2014-15 winter season, including over $1 million in lifts and lift improvements, $2 million worth of new energy efficient snow guns, and continual trail and glade maintenance.
Bromley’s snowmaking system will be completely and efficiently up to date for the Winter 2014/15 season. Mountain Operations has taken full advantage of Efficiency Vermont’s Great Ground Gun Round Up, and traded in all the old air-hogs for new efficient tower guns. The snowmaking team is also working with HKD to develop portable ground guns on tri-pods to cover some of the tricky terrain that made those old inefficient ground guns necessary.
The Hermitage Club
After more than two years in construction, the Hermitage Club’s new 80,000 square foot, state of the art Club House is due to open for the 2014-15 season. The Club House will offer members gourmet fine dining, a fitness center with lap pool and hot tubs, full treatment spa, day care, retail, upscale locker rooms and more, all with a 360-degree view of Vermont’s Haystack Mountain.
Over $5 million in mountain infrastructure upgrades start with the new Stag’s Leap Lift which connects the lower mountain with the upper for the first time in over 12 years and offers a mid-station unload with access to more than 24 acres of learning terrain. Snowmaking expansion and energy efficiency initiatives continue with an additional 17 new Techno Alpin fan guns, an additional new 110 HKD Impulse Tower guns, 25 new Evo Rubis towers and additional 70 new Ratnik land guns.
This season Magic will have the capability of making snow on 75% of its terrain. In addition, each year Magic expands the “off-piste” opportunities by clearing out new glades.