Thursday, October 23, 2014

Greetings,


Work on the Sunburst Six is coming together, and the Okemo Team is in high gear to get the new lift constructed.  During the next few days, the return terminal (base terminal) will be taking shape.  This will involve putting the bullwheel on, erecting the internal frame, as well as putting on the sides of the terminal.  This work involves using a large crane and lowering and lining up all the pieces.  At the same time, Okemo has been receiving the six-passenger chairs. They are delivered in a shipping container, as they were sent over by boat from France.  Each day, one or two trucks arrive with the chairs to be unloaded.

The cable for the lift arrived last week and was set in place by a 100-ton crane.  The idea is to set the cable spool where it does not have to be moved again before it is unspooled on the towers.  The chair storage barn is coming along on schedule. The building itself has the walls and roof almost completed, as well as the cupolas are in place.  Inside the foundations for the towers which hold the rails for the chairs are also ready and we expect the steel for the rails soon.  The next focus will be the drive terminal on the summit, and we expect that to be leaving the factory in Grand Jct., Colorado early next week, for the trip across the country.  The Sunburst Six lift project is on schedule, and we anticipate a mid-December opening.
There have been many questions on how the seats on the new lift are heated.  I wanted to give an overview of how this works:

The Seat Heaters:
The Sunburst Six detachable is unique in many ways, and one of them is that the seats are heated.  How does that work, you ask?  This new technology involves a couple aspects of the lift and efficiencies of how the lift works.  On the top of the haul rope grip, which is the part of the chair that attaches to the cable, there is an electrical current collector.  This collector has a pair of insulated electrical wires that run down the side of the chair hanger and into the chair seat and then connect to 6 coils which are built into each chair seat (6 per chair).  Each seat has its own coil.  Situated around the coil is insulating material similar to that used in “Hot Seats” which are used for cold weather events.

As the chair comes into the lower station, the collector on the top of the chair receives an electrical charge. This charge in turn warms up the coil and thus the insulating material.  As the chair goes around the station, the chair is charged 3 times.  As guests are loaded on to the chair and head up the mountain, the combination of the heated coil, insulating material and your own body heat keeps the seat toasty for the ride to the summit.  With the bubble closed and no wind in your face, every ride to the top of Okemo will be an experience to remember.

So that gives you an update as to how things are going.  The Okemo staff is working 7 days a week to get the Sunburst Six constructed and open to our ski and ride guests.  Everyone is working hard, and we are excited about the biggest lift project in Okemo's history coming together for this winter.

Bruce Schmidt
Okemo GM





Wednesday, September 24, 2014


Greetings,

The first day of Fall has arrived, which is always a time to really be thinking about the winter that is ahead.  I’m sure many have been following the progress of the Sunburst Six on the Okemo Facebook page. If you haven’t, I would encourage you to take a look and see how much is happening.  The Okemo team has been hard at work getting the new lift together and in place.  All the concrete has been poured, and the tower locations as well as the top Drive terminal and bottom drive terminal have been backfilled with gravel around them.  As you can imagine, there are many parts that are used to put a lift like this together, and those parts are coming on trailer trucks 2-3 times a week from Grand Jct., Colorado.  The project is moving along well as is the chair storage barn at the base of the lift.

There have been many questions about this project, and I wanted to try to answer some that are being asked.

Will the lift be ready for this winter?  The answer is an enthusiastic YES.  The project is on schedule.  Things will come together quickly as the lifts components come are shipped to Okemo.  We are still looking at an early December opening

What will our plan be for early season skiing?  Our plan will be to start snowmaking on Buckhorn, Count Down, Upper and Lower World Cup.  The main access to the summit will be by using the Sachem and Glades Lifts.  Depending on the weather, we will be working hard to get the Base Quad lift open as well as the Green Ridge.  With new SV-10 guns on Heaven’s Gate and Screamin' Demon, I would anticipate that the Solitude area would open quickly also.  Of course, we have the potential to make early season snow on Nor’easter and Upper & Lower Arrow, depending on how the season is progressing.

What is the Sunburst Six opening date?  Okemo is comfortable with an early December opening. Of course some of that will hinge on the weather.

The storage barn is on schedule.  The walls are about done and the wood framing will begin soon. This is expected to be completed by mid to late October.

So that gives you an update as to how things are going.  The Okemo staff is working 7 days a week to get the Sunburst Six constructed and open to our ski and ride guests.  Everyone is working hard, and we are excited about the biggest lift project in Okemo's history coming together for this winter.

Bruce Schmidt
Okemo GM


Wednesday, August 27, 2014


Greetings,

With some great weather on hand, the construction of the Sunburst Six is staying on schedule.  Today the helicopter will begin its work pouring concrete on the lift line.

During the past couple of weeks the Mountain Operations staff has been preparing the tower foundations with wooden forms and steel so that the concrete can be put in.  Towers # 2, 3, 4, 10, 11, 18, 19 & 20 had the concrete poured by the truck.  This will mean a few less trips with the helicopter. 

While this work is going on, there is also a crew working on the concrete forms for both the drive and return terminals as well as site work will begin on the chair storage barn.  Word is that some of the towers and other lift parts have begun there trek across the country from Grand Junction, Colorado and should be at Okemo during the next 10 days or so. 

While work is going on with the Sunburst Six, there is also snowmaking pipe being installed to replace the main line feed from the river pump station. This 16 inch pipe is buried near the mountain road and then crosses into Hot Dog Hill.  Ski trail mowing will begin next week and there is also work being done on the snow groomers and other equipment as the summer progresses.

Enjoy your Labor Day weekend.

Bruce Schmidt
Okemo GM

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Greetings,

It may be nearly 90 degrees outside, but what’s the big news today? Snow. Or more specifically, snowmaking equipment. Okemo will be adding 100 new HKD SV-series tower guns to the fleet for this winter.  We’re calling it Operation Snowburst II.

HKD Tower Guns in action!
These snowmaking guns are highly efficient and very versatile, making it easy to adjust the flow of air and water as we transition from high to low temperature performance, without the need to change snow gun nozzles. These new additions bring our fleet total of HKD tower guns to 1,125. Wow!

These new guns will be located in the Solitude area and other mainline trails across the mountain, which allows us to react to changing temperatures more quickly and without having to move guns around in advance that night before. Less time moving guns, more time making snow. Easy, right?

What this all really means to you is that we will be able to make more snow when it really matters, and the plan is to once-again open the season with top-to-bottom skiing and riding in mid-November.

Stay tuned here and at the Okemo Facebook page for all the latest updates and photos on this project and lots more.

Can’t wait to see you back on the mountain!

Bruce Schmidt
Okemo GM

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Greetings,

I hope this finds everyone is enjoying your summer as much as we are here at Okemo.  Since closing day Okemo has been on the go getting our golf courses ready, opening up the Adventure Zone, getting ready for hosting weddings and preparing to install a new chair lift…

What was the last item mentioned you ask?  Yes we are installing a new Chairlift!!  The Northstar Detachable will be removed to make way for a brand new Leitner-Poma 6-passenger, heated seats, bubble chairlift.  This new chairlift will load and unload in the same location as the Northstar.   This new bubble chairlift will be the only one of its kind in North America. 

Work has already begun on this big project.  The first step is to take the chairs off of the cable, then the cable will be spooled up which will then allow work to begin on the tower bases on the lift line.  At the same time the return and drive stations will be removed.  The Northstar detachable will be heading over to Mount Sunapee to replace the Sun Bowl chairlift. 

This project will require many of our staff to help on the construction.  We expect to be working on this 7 days a week with an anticipated opening date of mid-December.  There will be web cams installed at the summit and base area for everyone to be able to follow the construction of the new chairlift.  You will also be able to stay in touch with what is going on by visiting the Okemo website and our Facebook page.

We are very excited to be announcing this new chairlift and more information will be forthcoming on the blog or on okemo.com at okemo.com/orange.

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

Bruce Schmidt
Okemo GM

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