Wednesday, January 4, 2012
Happy New Year! It was great to see many of you during our holiday weeks. If you were here, like me you experienced what I would call the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. I will explain what I mean by that, but first a bit of perspective.
The winter of 06/07 -- only five years ago -- was uncannily similar to this season so far. Entering the holiday weeks we had nearly the same number of trails open and almost exactly the same paltry year-to-date snowfall. In fact, that year we did not open the Gate House lift until December 29th. It was roughly two more weeks before the snows came in earnest, and it was almost the end of January before we were 100% open. If I remember correctly, we were the first in the Northeast to be 100% open. Then you know what happened? It was the year of the later holiday storms. Four feet on Valentine's Day. Big dumps on St. Patrick's Day and on Easter. And skiing and riding into May.
Winter has just begun and let's hope that history repeats itself.
Now for the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. Going into the holidays in December, we rode a weather rollercoaster. Some cold days when snow could be made, then warm days when we lost a lot of what was made. For awhile we were seeing too much rain and not enough snow but eventually we started to see progress and our open trail count was approaching 30. Then we received a special surprise last week. What was forecasted to be a couple of inches of snow turned into well over a foot. A snow cloud just settled on our mountaintops. By Thursday we were skiing and riding fresh powder on 90 trails -- the most in the Northeast and maybe the most in the USA (I didn't get to check that out though).
Thursday, Friday and Saturday were very special days on the mountain and everyone here really had a great time. That was the Good. Then it warmed up New Year's Eve. On New Year's Day it was more like spring skiing and many of the natural trails where snow had not been made got skied-in, snow melted, and we came down to 49 open trails by Monday. That was the Bad. The Ugly was some of the natural trails on Monday where we could not groom because, when the temps fell, they set-up and were really hard. Our groomers got out early in the morning and did the best they could with some challenging conditions.
Last night, three inches of new snow once again made for some nice runs this morning. So now it's back to the Good. We have excellent snowmaking temperatures and are currently blasting on Hot Shot and Sleeper and should have them open either tomorrow or Thursday.
After this we will assess whether we should make more snow on Snowball, Spring Fling and Birdland or move our equipment back up to finish Ripcord. Temperatures will determine where we go. Over at Mt. Ellen, we will focus on Riemergasse for a few days so that Tony can get the terrain park sculpted. (It takes approximately four days of heavy work to get that done once we have made enough snow.) After that, we will move to Elbow and Northstar.
The forecast does not indicate any serious warm-ups and it looks like we will see a series of small snow squalls the rest of the week. "Lake effect" squalls can surprise, so stayed tuned and see if we luck out again.
The bottom line is that the mountain is coming together and by this weekend we should have some really nice skiing and riding even if we don't have thigh-deep powder. And by Martin Luther King holiday weekend we should be full into winter mode. For MLK we have another set of fun family events including a torchlight parade and fireworks on Saturday evening.
As you know from a prior message, we have initiated the next phase of our residential development at Lincoln Peak and are seeing some nice interest in the project. We are taking reservations now, so stop by our real estate office in The Farmhouse and speak with Wendy, Kyle or Heidi.
This is a multi-stage development and the first unit will have only fifteen two-bedroom to four-bedroom condos -- all with superb views and ski-on/ski-off locations with a short walk to Chez Henri, Mountainside Ski Service, Mutha Stuffers, Pizza Soul, Pine Tree Pub, and only a bit further to the Lincoln Peak Base area in all seasons. We still have some units left to sell at Clay Brook. And we have a new Sugarbush Living website.
When you are next at the mountain, I would recommend trying the Wunderbar for lunch or apres ski and The Grill Down Under at The Sugarbush Inn for dinner. Both have new and different menus this winter and are getting nice reviews.
It was wonderful to see so many people in the Valley over the holidays. The restaurants were full and there was a great turnout for our various family events here at Sugarbush. SHaRC was really busy, too. Also a special shout out to Atlas who put on a great New Year's Eve fireworks display!
I hope each of you has made their New Year's resolutions for 2012. Mine are to get trimmer and fitter and ski 100 days. Lili's is to get me away to a sunny place in January so that it dumps snow here at Sugarbush, which it usually does when I am away. Rumble's is to be less shy and greet all his old friends and make new friends among the many new faces we are going to see this winter.
Mother Nature's is to deliver us another 300 inches of snow and keeping us smiling into May.
The powder is coming. That is a promise!