Friday, April 11, 2014
Normally when I leave Sugarbush in the winter we get a dump of fresh powder. Last weekend I traveled to Connecticut for my newest grandson's christening, and Sunday turned out to be a beautiful day for spring skiing. I managed to glance at the Sugarbush app several times and saw with envy the bluebird skies and people enjoying the mountain. It was a great way to end the season at Mt. Ellen. Fortunately, it looks like we will continue with many more sunny spring days at Lincoln Peak, and at this point it appears that this weekend should be really nice. Warmer temperatures and the powerful spring sun will start to eat at Castlerock and North Lynx, but the many trails with abundant manmade snow in addition to the natural snows of February and March will hold up well for awhile longer. Our Parks crew has done a nice job setting up over twenty features on Racer's Edge, and the snowpack is holding up quite well there.
This weekend is our first wedding of the season, so Timbers will be closed for lunch and dinner on Saturday but open for all three meals on Sunday. If the sun shines on Saturday and Sunday, we will be setting up a barbeque outside Gate House Lodge where the spring sun is at its best.
The 2014/15 winter season is still a summer away, but I want to remind you all that the best rates on next season’s passes are available only through May 7th. With the exception of the For20s Pass, which is $20 more than last spring, all pass pricing has remained the same as last year. Prices will increase quite a bit after May 7th so this is the best time to buy.
The cash that is raised from spring pass sales goes into our summer capital account, and our first priority is lifts. Our team has presented me with a list of projects well beyond the significant normal preventative maintenance that we do each summer. They have identified slightly more than $1 million of mechanical and electrical upgrades to the following lifts: Super Bravo Express Quad, Gate House Express Quad, Heaven's Gate Triple, North Lynx Triple, North Ridge Express Quad, Summit Quad, and Sunshine Double. I have approved all of them. These upgrades should give us the reliability that we all expect. Additionally, we are proceeding with the permitting of a new Valley House lift. Timing will not allow installation this fall, but if we get our permits now we will be in a position to begin next spring. The fixed-grip quad we plan to install will triple the uphill capacity of Valley House and the ride itself will be considerably quicker.
Additionally, we continue to do major upgrades to our snowmaking system. Although replacing pipe, rebuilding motors, and upgrading hydrants is not work that is very visible, it is nevertheless essential in keeping our system healthy and efficient. We will be investing approximately another $1 million in these mountain projects.
The other major item this summer will be permitting and construction of additional parking across the Access Road from Lot E. When Lot E is full, this will become the next parking area filled and the shuttle will be able to loop-in easily there. Only after that new lot is full will we use the current Lot F on Inferno Road. We believe this will make for a much better guest experience on the six to ten days of the year when parking is at a peak.
Both Passover and Easter are late this year, so I hope that many of you will make plans to be here this April. Easter falls on the weekend of April 19th. Timbers will be having its usual delicious Easter Brunch and Reverend William Wick from Norwich will be holding his traditional non-denominational service in Allyn's Lodge. The Bravo lift will spin for the service at 6:50 AM and will stop loading precisely at 7:10 AM, so please plan ahead and give yourself plenty of time that day. Of course, there will be an Easter Egg Hunt for the kids as well, and the Easter Bunny will be available for portraits afterwards in Timbers. Hopefully, as in some past years, it will be a beautiful sunny morning.