Thursday, July 6, 2017
Written by Win Smith
On July 4th each year we celebrate our nation’s independence. This year, our Sugarbush parade theme was “Proudly Independent”. As we see increasing consolidation in the ski industry, we are proud to be independently owned and operated by a few families who love the Mad River Valley. Larger corporations certainly have the financial strength and many other attributes, but we believe that there is also room for independent operations like ourselves, Mad River Glen and a few other areas in the northeast and out west. While we may not be as large as some of the larger conglomerates, we feel that we have the freedom and flexibility to remain true to our mission of “cultivating a lifelong spirit of adventure and camaraderie” by remaining focused on placing our client’s interests first and not feeling pressured to deliver short-term results. And, just like our revolutionary forefathers did, we have allied with the independent resorts of the Mountain Collective to supplement what we can offer ourselves.
Of course, to remain independent one has to be financially successful and sustainable, and for that to happen we know we have to deliver the product and service that our guests have come to expect. While we can’t be all things to all people, we have to be superior at what our guests want and that means we have to strive to be better each and every year.
I have previously highlighted the capital projects we have undertaken this summer to improve your experience: two new chairlifts, two new groomers and two new snowmaking pipes are the major ones. We now have added three more projects to the list. Over the summer we will be installing RFID gates at our base lifts, thus replacing the old scanning system we have used for the past decade. As you probably know, RFID cards are kept inside your clothing and a radio frequency opens a gate to allow you access to the lift. This should make your experience in the lift line more pleasant. It will mean, however, that all season passholders will have to get new media this year before coming to the lift for the first time. Thereafter, the card may be used again. For someone buying a day ticket, the card can be re-used again by reloading it online, saving the need to go to the ticket window.
We have also decided to replace one of our 6,000 CFM Electric Compressors at Lincoln Peak with one that operates at variable rates. Since our new snowmaking guns use so much less compressed air, this will allow us even more efficient snowmaking, which has the double advantage of saving money for us and helping the environment by using less electricity without making any less snow.
Finally, we are also purchasing another 60 SnowLogic guns to make sure that we continue to improve our capacity to make snow whenever Mother Nature gives us the temperatures necessary.
While we have had an extraordinary amount of rain this spring and in the early days of summer, the sun came out just in time to celebrate another beautiful Independence Day here in the Proudly Independent Mad River Valley.