Thursday, December 22, 2011
This has been a challenging autumn for Team Sugarbush. First, we were hard hit by Irene and spent two months repairing both of our snowmaking ponds and our pumphouse at Mt. Ellen. It cost us nearly $800,000 to get everything back together and our Sugarbush staff did a phenomenal job of making sure we were ready for winter. Then it seemed winter just did not want to arrive.
Our snowmakers have been doing an incredible job. But just when we seem to be making progress, Mother Nature throws us a curve. The temperatures rise and we even get rained on. So it is back to the same areas where we had already made snow, working to make them skiable again.
Last weekend, we had some excellent snowmaking temperatures and finally we were able to pump the maximum amount of water possible on both mountains. Our trail count expanded to seventeen. We were top-to-bottom at Lincoln Peak and had terrain for all abilities. It was great to see first-time kids and adults riding the Welcome Mat and making their way down our beginner terrain on skis and snowboards. I met one family from New York who extended their stay by three days. Both parents and kids were first-timers and having a blast. And our more advanced skiers were having fun sliding down Organgrinder.
Then yesterday Mother Nature threw us another curve. Temperatures rose early in the morning and it started drizzling in the afternoon, then a cold rain came in. Fortunately, the trails where we made snow held up well. I skied on nice soft edgeable snow this morning.
Our snowmakers are turning the guns back on today, but because of the temps we will have to stay up high until tomorrow night. We will be making snow on Ripcord and Upper Organgrinder at Lincoln Peak and Elbow and possibly FIS at Mt. Ellen. As the temperatures cool lower on the mountain, we will be moving to expand more terrain at Lincoln Peak and get top-to-bottom at Mt. Ellen sometime over the weekend. The number of trails open should increase.
While we do not have our full mountain terrain available yet, I am really pleased with the quality of the snow and the grooming. As I skied along with John Egan this morning, we both remarked that it is hard to believe that we are not on natural snow. And as John said, the skiing is fantastic.
Speaking of natural snow, we are likely to get a couple of inches tonight on this, the first official day of winter. While that alone may not open many more trails, it is certainly going to look nice for the holidays. And on top of the trails where we have good snowmaking depth, this new snow will mix-in and make for some really great skiing and riding tomorrow morning.
Our Holiday Week begins tomorrow, which means that our ticket prices are at the holiday rate and the Bravo lift opens at 8 AM. Once we are top-to-bottom at Mt. Ellen, we will open GMX at 8 AM on weekends and holidays.
We really have a fun series of holiday events beginning this Saturday with our traditional non-denominational Christmas service led by "The Rev" who is one of our veteran ski instructors and the Chaplain at Norwich University. It begins at 6 PM in the Gate House. Over the next week we have Teen Night, Kids Movie and Pizza Night, a Family Snowman Building Contest, a natural science Raptor Encounter, the Pairing of the Passions tasting, a Family Pig Roast and Ski Movie, our second annual Dog Parade, a Nimble Art's Circus Mayhem, plus fireworks and New Year's Eve parties for kids in the Gate House and for adults in Timbers and in Castlerock Pub. See our schedule of events for details.
Of course, we also will have festive apres ski in Timbers, Castlerock Pub and the "new" Wunderbar throughout the week. And RJ has lots of exciting things to do at the SHaRC -- from the bounce house in the Kid Zone to our new spinning classes, tennis, rock climbing. There is a lot to do there for all ages!
Our fabulous Valley has much to offer, too, from movies at Big Picture to fine dining at The Pitcher Inn. And only thirty minutes away is Ben and Jerry's ice cream factory. I encourage you to use the Mad Bus to get around the resort and the Valley. It is a safe and convenient way to travel, it is fun, and it is also good for the environment.
When you are here, don't miss a trip to The General Store at Sugarbush where you can get beer, wine, groceries, snacks and candy and also shop for some great gifts. On the way in, join the daily East Shore Vineyard wine-tasting beginning at 1 PM. And while you're there, reserve a relaxing massage in the adjacent luxe treatment rooms (call 583-6700).
Keep your fingers crossed for snow. And be assured that our mountain team is doing all that is humanly possible to make the slopes fun for everyone. All of Team Sugarbush is here to make your holiday vacation enjoyable and memorable.
Lili and I, Rumble and Zoe look forward to seeing you soon on the slopes and around the resort.
Happy Holidays to all!