Summer Solstice

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One of the most depressing days of the summer to some is this Friday, the summer solstice.  We eagerly await summer after the dark winter days and often wet and cool spring ones, and then it arrives with the longest day of the year.  So just after we get to 6/21, the daylight hours already start to get shorter.  But if one is an optimist one realizes that not only are there are many warm and sunny days ahead, but that winter is just around the corner. We plan to start making snow in only 134 more days and will be hoping for another “Snowvember”.

However, until then our mountain activities begin this weekend with lift-accessed mountain biking, a zip line, bungee trampoline, disc golf, and scenic lift rides to mid-mountain on the freshly painted Super Bravo lift.  And of course, taking advantage of the great mountain biking throughout the Valley, the fun swimming holes and the other activities such as the Farmer’s Markets Lawson’s new Tap Room and other restaurants. Almost all of which have great outdoor seating to enjoy the summer air.  Rumble’s Kitchen will open for breakfast lunch and dinner and starting July 8th we will be featuring 50% off meals on Monday and Cornhole tournaments on our “Toss ‘Em Tuesdays”. At the SHARC the outdoor pool is open for the season and New England Tennis Holidays is in full swing. And speaking of swings, I have managed only one full round of golf here at Sugarbush so far. While the course is really getting into excellent playing shape, I realized that my own swing is in urgent need of a tune up, so I will be visiting our pro, Roger King, very shortly.  Just like Terry Barbour is to skiing, Roger is the go to guy forgolf. He is a phenomenal coach who does not try to overly change you, yet can spot and correct a few things that will make your rounds that much more enjoyable.

Our 12th annual Brew-Grass Festival two weekends ago was a great success with around 1,200 guests filling our new courtyard and enjoying the many fine Vermont craft beers and local entertainment.  Mother Nature came through for us as it was a perfect day – sunny and just the right temperature.  This was the first test of the new courtyard, and we could not be more pleased with how it worked and what potential it has for future functions.  Speaking of which on Saturday, July 20th we are planning a Mid-Summer Harvest Celebration & Pig Roast under the stars in the Courtyard with live music from the Starline Rhythm Boys farm-to-table cuisine, and a top selection of Lawson’s beers.

This past week we began installing the new snowmaking pipe on the upper part of Sleeper Road. We have slightly widened the trail and now with snowmaking we will be able to groom it consistently to allow a way down to the main portion of Sleeper without having to ski a Black Diamond chute in Sleeper Chutes.  This will make one of our favorite trails accessible to many more.  We have also contracted with Pisten Bully for a new winch cat for Lincoln Peak to ensure that we are able to continue grooming trails such as Organgrinder, Ripcord, Stein’s and others.  And we have another winch at Mt. Ellen to care for the trails over there.  At the golf course you will notice a new fleet of golf carts which are working very well and looks really sharp.

This summer we have planned around $3 million of capital projects. The ones I highlighted above are some of the more visible one but there are others equally important to our operation which may not be as visible. You may have noticed the overhead powerlines that go from the base area up to the Castlerock lift and then up Lower Downspout to the Heaven’s Gate lift. With the increased volatility and intensity of storms and winters winds that we are experiencing we decided the overhead power lines are too vulnerable, and it would be too costly to lose power to this section of the mountain in mid-season.  So, we will be burying the lines over the summer at no small expense (plus it’ll look better).  This is one of the major projects there that are not very transparent but there are numerous others occurring all around the resort to made sure that we stay in tip top shape for our guests.

Last week I attended the annual global meeting of all Nature Conservancy chapters in Washington, DC.  In addition to a number of very interesting presentations and roundtable discussions, we visited the Vermont congressional delegation on Capital Hill. A major part of the focus this year was on Climate Change and what we all can do to mitigate it. As skiers and riders we all certainly have a vested interest in protecting our winters.  The Nature Conservancy is obviously focused on nature based solutions and it is interesting to understand the importance of healthy forests. For example an acre of healthy forest absorbs the carbon emissions from 22 automobiles driven for an entire year. Here in Vermont we are blessed with many acres of healthy forests and that is something we certainly want to maintain and hopefully even expand in the years ahead. The next time you are up on the mountain, pause for a moment and look around and thank all of those who came before us and had the vision to preserve the many forests that surround us.