Thursday, January 31, 2013
Well, last week was definitely cold. Temperatures dipped into negative territory and didn't get into low double-digits until late in the weekend. However, as I have said many times, there is never a bad day of skiing, just bad equipment or clothing. I was out on the mountain every day and I can tell you that the conditions on our snowmaking trails were excellent. After blowing snow on Birch and Sunrise and then grooming them for both Saturday and Sunday, they were definitely my favorite runs of the weekend. Because these trails are groomed late and they get the early morning sun, they were perfect trails to be skiing on a cold sunny morning.
One of the great things about Sugarbush is that our trails face in different directions and on any given day some may be better than others. Sunday was a case in point. With a brisk northerly wind at higher elevations, Mt. Ellen was nasty. Panorama, or "Baldy" as it is affectionately called, was windswept, as were Upper Rim Run and Elbow. However, over at Lincoln Peak there was not a whisper of wind at the top of North Lynx and some early breezes at the top of Bravo gradually subsided. As the word got out, you could see the number of skiers and riders on Birch and Sunrise grow. Each day is different and some parts of the mountain may be better than others that day.
We had a break in one of our main snowmaking pipes at Lincoln Peak, so snowmaking was shut down late Saturday until it was repaired. By Sunday afternoon, however, the snow guns were blowing again on Cliffs and setting it up for the next two months. Monday began with temperatures in the single digits (good for snowmaking) and we got some fresh new snow. By Tuesday afternoon, we had picked up six inches at the base and summits. That was the first weather front to arrive and unfortunately it was followed by another front that brought in warmer air with showers and some heavy rain on Wednesday night and Thursday morning. Now the temps are falling again and our snowmaking has resumed. Forecasts for next week are looking very favorable for some long-awaited cumulative white stuff.
I am attending the National Ski Areas Association board meeting in Denver this week. Following the meeting, Lili and I are taking a busman's holiday to ski a few days at Beaver Creek. Historically speaking, my being away should ensure that we get snow here in the Valley.
You may have heard that Porsche held their Winter Driving Experience at Sugarbush last week. It was the first such event in the Northeast. Porsche dealers invited their clients and guests to test drive the new 911 Carrera 4S as well as Cayenne Diesels and the Panamera 4. Under the direction of Porsche, our mountain team created a challenging winter course on the driving range at Sugarbush Resort Golf Club so that guests could practice on ice and snow, coached by certified Porsche instructors. Participants were then treated to a scenic drive along Route 100 and other roads, enjoying quintessential Vermont scenery while driving these amazing performance vehicles. While this was an invitation-only event, Porsche allowed us several spots so that some of our guests could participate as well. Lili and I did. It was great fun and we were really impressed with all the Porsches as well as the friendly professionalism of their team. Hopefully they will come again next year.
Despite the weather, construction at Rice Brook is moving along and remains on-schedule. We will be swinging the final steel next week and then start the framing. There is strong interest in Rice Brook right now and inventory is dwindling. We have also closed on four Clay Brook units in the past couple of weeks and have another under contract. The real estate market here is definitely showing strength. If you haven't yet stopped by our Rice Brook sales office in The Farmhouse, I encourage you to do so and take a look at the masterplan.
I was pleased to read that Vermont again has been named the Healthiest State by the United Health Foundation. Just one more reason to settle here in the Valley, which in my opinion is the healthiest of the healthiest.
By the way, we have just about hit the halfway mark of the winter season. There should be at least two-and-a-half more months of skiing and riding ahead -- maybe more. And, you know, the next three months are usually the best.