Friday, April 4, 2014

Wrapping Up The Season

Greetings,
I know there have been some questions about Okemos closing date and I wanted to set the record straight that Okemo will be closing for the season on Sunday April 13th.  This closing date will give Okemo a 152 day ski and ride season and a fantastic winter season.  Okemo wants to thank all of our loyal seasons pass holders for their support this past season and for many, the past years.  We also want to thank our dedicated employees for their hard work this past ski season.  From opening day on Wednesday November 13th through the end of the season, it has been great to see the support from all every day.  I’m sure there are some questions as to our closing date, so I thought I would try to answer some:
How come Okemo is not extending their closing date with all the great snow?
Okemo thought long and hard about possibly extending our closing date, but we felt that sticking to our closing date was the best decision.  The weather will undoubtedly change and while Okemo doesn’t seem to run out of snow, we do run out of guests.  We wanted to end on a high note and remember this great season, especially the month of March. 

Why didn’t Okemo consider opening on Easter weekend?
This was thought thru and decided against for similar reasons such as weather changes and lack of guests.  We also want to make it easy for our winter staff to end their job here at Okemo so they can move on to their spring and summer jobs.  Okemo has never felt that opening weekends was beneficial as the momentum of operating is lost. 

Why don’t you care about your seasons pass holders who want you to stay open?
We very much appreciate our seasons pass holders and all our guests who have skied with us this past winter.  There are decisions that need to be made in regards to operations and we feel that the great early season opening right through the strong midwinter and then a killer March has been great for our pass holders and Okemo has remained dedicated to keeping lifts and trails, such as the South Face area, open right to the end of the season where possible. 

I bought a Skiesta card and now you are closing for the ski season?
The Skiesta card was available for guests beginning Monday March 17th.  Offering 28 days of skiing was actually more than we expected when this program was decided upon last summer.  With March being very unpredictable, we were hopeful we could get to this closing date, and Mother Nature obliged. 

How does this closing date compare to other years?
The closing date of Sunday April 13 is about average for Okemo in closing for the season. The 152 day season is a little longer than average.

Okemo Valley Golf Course and Tater Hill Golf Course will be opening as soon as the weather permits.  More up to date information will be available on Okemo.com as spring begins to take hold.  The Okemo Adventure Zone will open for summer operations beginning on Memorial Day weekend with weekend operations and then going into 7 day a week operations at the end of June.
Let me know how we are doing.  Email at bschmidt@okemo.com.

Bruce Schmidt
Okemo GM

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Spring has arrived...

Greetings,

Spring has arrived. Great news for all as it means warmer weather. Well at least we hope so. With Spring arriving on Thursday, there is no doubt Okemo will begin to see some better weather. There are questions on how the Okemo Spring season will go, and I will try to answer some.

Our plan will be to continue to run the bulk of our lifts midweek and almost all on weekends. Skier visits will dictate that plan. We will be shutting down the Morningstar lift beginning this coming week and will only operate the Morningstar on weekends for a few weeks. We plan to continue to operate the South Face lift as the sun gets stronger and the days longer, at least into early April.

Culinary options will wind down towards the end of March. We will continue to operate the Summit Lodge, Base Café, Sitting Bull and Round House towards the end of the season. Other Culinary operations will close towards the end of March. Our anticipated closing day for the Round House will be Sunday April 6 and our anticipated closing date for skiing is Sunday April 13.

These are great events that are going on during the Spring and lots of fun. Be sure to check out the events page on Okemo.com.

The blog will now happen more frequently. I have heard from a few of you that you have wondered were the blog posts were and I will do a better job of keeping everyone informed as to what is going on.

 Let me know how we are doing. Email at bschmidt@okemo.com.

Bruce Schmidt
Okemo GM

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Making the Superpipe


 Greetings,

The month of January has brought Okemo a real up and down weather pattern.  Real cold weather, a quick mid-January thaw with some precipitation both liquid and snow and now some colder weather.  Everyone has noticed the snowmaking that has been done on the slopes, but we also have been working real hard to get our Amp Energy Superpipe up and open.  I’m so proud to say that after a lot of hard work from our Mountain Operations staff, the pipe opened on Saturday 1/18.  Okemo has the only halfpipe open in the East

The Amp Energy Superpipe measures 500 feet in length, there are 18-foot high walls and a span of 54 feet between decks. The slope angle is 16 degrees.  We did this with a depth of 14 feet of snow under the bottom of the pipe at the high end. The total amount of snow required to build the Amp Energy Superpipe was 51 acre-feet, which required more than 10 million gallons of water.  Yes that would fill a lot of swimming pools.

Putting the finishing touches on the Amp Energy Superpipe
 
This superpipe project is a huge undertaking overseen by Eb Kinney Okemos Director of Mountain Operations. Snowmaking began on December 27th and work on the construction with the snowcats began on December 30th.  After the first wall is built, the team cuts the vertical side with a chainsaw and it is shaped with an excavator. By doing this the process is sped up when the Zaugg pipe cutter is put into the pipe.  Between beginning snowmaking and final shaping, it took 22 days, 8 hours of excavator shaping, 140 hours of snowcat and even more man hours to get the Amp Energy Superpipe up and going. 

Many thanks to the Mountain Operations team for taking on the challenge and making it happen out on the slopes.

Let me know how we are doing.  Email at bschmidt@okemo.com

Bruce Schmidt

Okemo GM

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Goodbye 2013, Hello 2014

Greetings,

As 2013 closes out Okemo ends a very successful year.  Between having a very successful ski season last year, to the success of our summer operations and Golf Course operations to a very successful Christmas Holiday week that just ended, 2013 was a great year.

January 1, 2014
 
None of this would have been possible without two partners.  The first being you, our guests.  The confidence that you have in Okemo Mountain Resort as well as the support that everyone gives is tremendous.  The reason that Okemo does all that we do is for you. As fans, you are there to cheer us on when needed and boo us when it is needed.  We in turn work hard to provide the best experience possible for the best value.  Okemo guests are the best around.  We cannot say thank you enough for trust you place in Okemo Mountain Resort.

The second partner is our staff.  None of our lights would turn on or our doors unlocked if it was not for this great team of employees.  Every day each and every Okemo employee gives their best to help make the Okemo Difference. The Okemo experience is second to none and it is because of the dedicated, passionate and competent employees who have chosen to work for the Mueller Family and Okemo Mountain Resort.  The team work is so evident each and every day and the members of the 55 departments we have all pull in one direction.
 
Snowmaking is continuing as we head into January. Work on the Amp Energy Super Pipe is taking place with snowmaking going strong and some shaping on one wall beginning.  We are also going to go after the rest of the snowmaking trails that have not had snow made on them yet. This includes Easy Rider, Upper and Lower Tomahawk, Easy Street, Home Stretch, Ledges as well as Lower Fall Line, Snow Trak, Dream Weaver & Triple Sec.  We will work on these trails during the next few weeks as well as resurface on many of existing trails as needed. These snowstorms have been helpful to make for some great skiing and riding.

Here is to a Happy and Healthy New Year and 2014 for all of our guests and all of our staff.  Thank you for all that you do to make Okemo the resort to ski and ride.

Let me know how we are doing.  Email at bschmidt@okemo.com

Bruce Schmidt
Okemo GM

Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Most Skiing and Riding in New England.....


Greetings,

If you have been out skiing or riding this week, you have probably seen a little of everything…..  10 days ago we were skiing powder, then some wet granular, back to loose granular then to Machine Groomed loose granular.  The past few days have seen a real swing in temperatures. Now that the temperatures have gotten colder, the snowmakers have been hard at work. 

Resurfacing has been the main focus, but so has heading to new terrain.  We have tried to balance the attack with heavy snowmaking happening over on Tuckered Out as well as the snowmakers were working on Promenade, Ledgewood and Kettle Brook to get them all open.  We also made on the main line trails from the summit. The plan will be to go to Easy Street & Home Stretch along with going to Punch Line and resurfacing Defiance.

The weather looks like we will have a warm up for the weekend which will probably affect snowmaking.  After the weekend a new cold front will be dropping in and with that we will head toward the Super Pipe and some of the terrain parks.  There is a need for more snow on Black Out to put in some features as well as some new snow on Nor’easter to add some character in the Super Park.  Also on the list will be the lower half of Timberline, Big Bang and eventually Upper and Lower Fall Line.
 
Because of all this aggressive Snowmaking and the committment to snowmaking with the purchase of over $1 Million in equipment, Okemo is leading New England with the most skiing and riding. 
 
           Most Trails open-74 Trails         
Most Lifts open - 18 Lifts
                 Most Miles open- 28.1 mile               
    Most Acres open - 445 acres

With the New Year coming all of us here at Okemo wanted to wish you a Very Happy and Prosperous New Year.  Here is to great snowmaking weather, sunny skies and lot of skiing and riding days.

Let me know how we are doing.  Email at bschmidt@okemo.com

Bruce Schmidt
Okemo GM

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Snowmaking info and thanks for your support of Cares and Shares


Greetings,

For the past 8 days Okemo continues to have the most acreage open in the East….As we head into the second full week of December let’s hope the weather change stays this way for a while and not the back and forth we have seen.  These warm spells with some liquid moisture sure doesn’t help things out on the mountain.  The mountain operations staff is working to stay ahead of these weather changes, but no doubt there are struggles.  Snowmaking came back strong starting on Friday night.  The temperatures didn’t quite get as cold as forecasted. If you skied on Saturday, you probably noticed some great and no so great.  Limelight was a little off, but by Sunday things had changed quickly. Limelight was resurfaced with the new SV-10 guns and then left ungroomed.  The skiing was noticeably different and some of the best of the season.  Upper World Cup and Sapphire were also left which made for some great turns.

The plan has remained the same with snowmaking.  With the good snowmaking temperatures forecasted, we should meet our goals of opening Sachem, Quantum Leap, Vortex, Moonshadow, Line Drive, Moments Rest, Sprint, Rimrock, Bull Run and into South Face.  At the same time we will be using some of our snowmaking capacity and resurfacing some of the existing terrain we are skiing on now.  I’m hopeful to have 55 trails and 10 lifts by the weekend.

This past weekend Okemo sponsored our annual Cares and Shares day on Saturday 12/7.  Each year Okemo offers a reduced rate ticket for those who bring in 5 non-perishable food items.  This year we took in 2,275 non-perishable food items for Black River Good Neighbors.  Also in your generosity, Okemo Skier and Riders donated $1190 to the Good Neighbors program.  All of us here at Okemo can’t thank you enough for your support and kindness with this program. One of Okemos values is community and we are proud to support and help the Black River Good Neighbors.  A little unknown fact that many may not know, any leftover food at the end of the day from the Clocktower Base café and Sitting Bull is taken to the Mountainside house in Ludlow which is a home for Teens. We truly enjoy our relationship with them and grateful that we can help in a small way.

Come on up and check out the skiing. You will be impressed…  Thanks for reading and enjoy the snow.  Let me know how we are doing.  Email at bschmidt@okemo.com

Bruce Schmidt

Okemo GM

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Where are the snow guns headed?


Greetings,

I wanted to thank everyone who spent their Thanksgiving and Hanukkah holiday at Okemo this past weekend.  We are so appreciative of the positive comments we have been receiving.  I can assure you that I pass them right along to our snowmakers and groomers.  The entire Mountain Operations team has been hard at work doing their part.

The weather this week has done a flip flop, so we have had to deal with some cloudy skies with some fog mixed in and temperatures above snowmaking thresholds.  It has allowed us to move some guns, make some minor repairs, give the staff some rest and be poised to go hard when it turns cold this coming weekend.  Snowmaking temperatures look to return by Friday. 

Guns ready to go on the Sachem trail
 
Jackson Gore is ready and will be opening on Thursday. The new guns have really helped us in many ways and opening of Jackson Gore with limited temperatures is just another example.  Our plan now will be to head towards Quantum Leap in Jackson Gore as well as head towards Sachem, finish Moonshadow, head towards Line Drive under the Morningstar lift, get Bull Run open as well as begin the trek into South Face.  We are anticipating winter to settle in somewhat more which should mean colder temperatures to stick around.  There is also some talk of snow early next week.  Look for some more different things done like we did on The Plunge this past weekend.  Leaving the snowmaking piles as they were made for some exciting skiing and riding and a little twist in things. There are also moguls on Sel’s choice as of today.

I know that early December is a busy time in everyone’s life, but I do hope that you can break away and sample some of this great early season skiing and riding.  Thanks for reading and enjoy the snow.  Let me know how we are doing.  Feel free to email at bschmidt@okemo.com

 
Bruce Schmidt

Okemo GM