Finishing My Ski Season
Friday, June 23, 2017
Written by Win Smith
When my grandson, Jack, turned thirteen, I offered to take him on a ski vacation. His mother did not want him missing school, so we waited to go until school ended last weekend. Jack’s father and uncle, both avid skiers, were able to join us. Knowing that 700 inches of snow had fallen at Squaw Valley this winter, Jack selected Squaw, the site of the 1960 Winter Olympics and a fellow member of the Mountain Collective. Squaw is also the Western home mountain of Roy Tuscany and his High Fives Foundation.
Summer was evident in the base area as temperatures closed in on 80 degrees last weekend, but at the 9,000’ summit there was still over 15 feet of snow depth. With lifts running from 10 AM to 2 PM, I managed to complete a 130-day season in some terrific spring conditions. Donning our swimming trunks, the four of us skied for a few hours, and then went directly to High Camp at the top of the tram for lunch and a swim. We topped off the day with some biking along the roaring Truckee River. What a great 13th birthday celebration!
Last weekend was also the Broken Arrow Skyrace at Squaw, where the most difficult race--a 52K mountain run--covered 10,000 feet of altitude change. It was impressive to see the runners traversing some of the same terrain that we were skiing, and doing so under the hot sun. The village of Squaw Valley was rocking as they were also holding their Peaks & Paws festival that supported the Humane Society of Truckee-Tahoe. I saw only one Berner, but there were hundreds of dogs present. Jack particularly enjoyed the Splash Dogs Dock Jumping Competition.
While the four of us had a great adventure, we also shared the camaraderie that I have been writing about recently. The fact that three generations of my family could enjoy the weekend we did speaks volumes to what skiing and riding is all about. I am really looking forward to similar weekends with my other children, grandchildren and in-laws in the years to come. Watching Jack ski, I also gained further appreciation for the coaches he has had at Sugarbush and for the experience he has gained by being part of our Adventure Blazer program. He has matured into a competent skier, but perhaps even more important is his enthusiasm for being on the mountain.
Returning to Sugarbush, my thoughts turned to our own summer with our mountain activities beginning this weekend. Our mountain team has Super Bravo ready and inspected for summer use, the mountain biking trails are in excellent shape despite the rains, and our zipline and bungee trampoline are set up and ready to go. The summer solstice is upon us, which is bittersweet. The solstice is the official start of summer, but also the longest day of the year. The days only get shorter until late December. But that also means that the days until ski season are getting fewer, as well, and for that reason, season passes are on sale again at our early rates through mid-September.
Work on our two new lifts, Village and Sunny-D, is progressing. The first step is to dismantle both lifts, which is well under way now that our permits are in-hand. We are selling a limited number of Sunny-D chairs on a first-come-first-served basis. The new snowmaking pipe on Which Way will arrive soon, as will new snowmaking pipe in our beginner area on the Lincoln Peak side. We are finalizing the purchase of 40 low-energy snow guns which will allow even better snowmaking in the early part of the season when temperatures can be marginal. This purchase will allow us to replace one of our 6,000 CFM electric compressors with one that runs at variable levels. This means that we can moderate the amount of electricity we are using to be more efficient. This has the double benefit of being good for the environment as well as for our bottom line. Energy efficiency continues to be a top priority for us. Soon, I will update you on one other capital project we will be undertaking that will result in a better mountain experience for all this winter.
Welcome to summer, and remember that when the temperatures become oppressive, come to the mountains. It is wonderful up here in the Green Mountains – and they are really green this summer.
P.S. Ski Magazine is currently running their best resort contest. If you're interested in helping us win please vote!