Monday, December 31, 2007

New Snow


What a day! What more could you ask for? After dumping six inches of fresh powder on top of groomed corduroy, the sun is starting to poke through the clouds.

More snow on the way - stay tuned to the Okemo snow report. Here's wishing everyone a safe and happy New Year. Cheers!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Holiday Hijinks!


Okemo is known as a family-friendly mountain, but not many people realize it's not just human families we strive to please. For years, a pair of penguin siblings named Toby and Philamena lived happily in the Snow Stars Children's Program building at the Main Base. When the Snow Stars Program was expanded to the Jackson Gore (J.G.) Base Area several years ago, the penguin pair was split up, with Toby being sent against his will to the other side of the mountain. Upon seeing how distraught his sister was over losing her only brother, the Snow Stars Penguin Protective Detail was born.

Sworn to secrecy, this crack-squad of kids’ instructors uses whatever non-violent means possible to keep Toby and Philamena together. After being reunited at the end of last season, Toby again disappeared around the beginning of December. Rumors claiming Toby was back at the J.G. Snow Stars H.Q. were impossible to confirm until yesterday. Upon learning of the location of their beloved bird, the S.S.P.P.D. sprang into action late last night.

It is my honor to announce that the penguin duo has once again been reunited! Although a ransom note has been dispatched to the J.G. Snow Stars staff, the demands are not expected to be met. A Jackson Gore Snow Stars official who refused to be identified said, "The Waffles aren't the issue so much as the smelling of [Snow Stars Assistant Manager] Kyle's feet!"

It is hoped that by publishing the previously classified details of the on-going penguin war, public outcry will lead to a d├ętente between the two sides. Stay tuned for more information...

Arriving Just in time for the New Year!

Did you see the forecast for tonight....NEW SNOW!!! and Just in time to ring in the New Year. The mountain's been quite to sight this week. When you drive up VT Rte 103, all the trails are white and there's snow in the woods. There's snowmobiling, x-country skiing and of course everyone who likes to slide down hill.

I like to ski and have fun, just like the next guy, but I can say from experience, please, please, take your time when getting around the mountain and around the valley this week. We're all here to have fun and enjoy time with friends and family. Let's share our space with new people and we'll all have a really good time. When possible, remember to "pass it forward"....being nice has a great way of building up your Karmic energy reserves.

Speaking of good times and reserves. Have fun on new Year's Eve. Make reservations at a party or at a local hot spot. Drink responsibly, drive safe and see you on the snow on New Year's morning.


Cheers,
-Dex

PS. It's supposed to snow on New Year's Eve too. Sweet!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Ross Gives SoBe Superpipe a Thumbs Up!

Okemo's first Ride with Ross Day of the season is taking place today and the group of enthusiasts started their morning with a few runs through Okemo's SoBe Superpipe. Ross gave the pipe a thumbs up and said that it's in great shape. Okemo Freeride Team Member Ben Farrow said that the snow in the pipe is nice and soft. This is the kind of day to practice those tricks you've been working on.

Mark your calendar for the next Ride with Ross Day, Sat., Jan. 5. Meet up with Ross at the bottom of the SoBe Superpipe at 9 a.m. Depending on what the group wants to do, Ross will lead on a jibbing tour of the mountain or ride the halfpipe, demonstrating the steez that won him Olympic Gold.

Friday, December 28, 2007

The WAA WAA Sisterhood


Is alive and well at Okemo! Okay women, here is your chance to take your skiing or riding up a notch!

WAA stands for Women's Alpine Adventures ~ a women's only learning program here on the mountain. I've attended 2 years in a row, and am counting down the days until my first clinic this year, which runs over a 3-day weekend January 11-13. In fact, I'm signed up for two sessions this season!

If you're a great skier, an okay skier, or even a non-skier, this is the place for you! My first year I went from a non-skier (not able to complete a parallel turn) to skiing blues and blacks in just two days! Something about being taught by women, in a group of all women, gives you confidence you didn't know existed.

Skiing aside for a minute, the clinic offers so much more. Led by one of "America's Best Instructor's" (according to Skiing magazine), Maria Tomaselli leads morning strectches, fear and balance clinics and offers support in just about any facet of the sport. Add to that the delectable delights of a hot breakfast in the morning and lunch ready and waiting as you come off the hill, and it just can't get much better! (Okay, maybe a soak in the hot tub when the lifts stop turning!)

Anyway, if this sounds up your alley, definitely check it out.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Terrain Park Update

There are some cool new slideshows posted of all the features in our terrain parks, including the Dew Zone, Hot Dog Hill and the Nor'easter Super Park. Check them out.

And looking ahead to the weekend, don't miss our Ride with Ross Powers Day this Saturday ~ join two time Olympic Medalist Ross Powers at the bottom of the SoBe Superpipe and take a run with him!


Then, it's the Okemo Powers Series Slopestyle at 11 am. If you'd like to participate, registration begins at 8am in the base lodge mezzanine. And this year it's important to come to all three of the Okemo Series competitions as Okemo has put $2000 on the line for overall winners. Prizes for each competition will be handed out as well. Bring your board, bring your skis and go big on this slopestyle competition.



CU on the hill!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!




Was Santa good to you? I certainly got what I asked for - a white Christmas with great skiing and riding! Of course the new digital camera, the sweater, the mittens and CDs I wanted weren't bad either. Thank you, Santa Claus.

I guess I should thank him in person, since he's here at Okemo right now. That fat dude is like the EverReady Bunny - he just keeps going. After a round-the-world-trip of delivering presents and sliding up and down chimneys all night, he made a point of coming back to Okemo this morning to take a few runs and to hand out some sweet treats to his friends on the slopes. He doesn't look any worse for wear and his "ho ho ho" is as sincere as these winter nights are long.

Okemo Videographer captured some footage of Santa during his pre-flight visit to Okemo Saturday night. Check out the video online and have a very merry Christmas. Cheers!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Definitely a White Christmas


The doom and gloom of yesterday's weather forecast was much worse than what actually happened. I heard one forecaster predict we would receive so much rain, it would turn all the snow into frozen cement that would last all winter long. In keeping with the theme of the season, I say bah humbug to that! Okemo survived the drizzle beautifully and the only real problem was the wind that affected lift service to upper elevations yesterday afternoon.


The latest forecast is for a dusting of snow later today and tonight. Won't that make it feel like a real Vermont Christmas? I can practically hear the sleigh bells now!


Santa Claus paid us a pre-Christmas visit on Saturday evening, to the delight of all the children visiting Okemo's Jackson Gore Inn. That jolly old elf arrived by snow groomer (rumor has it he was out taking a test-flight with the reindeer and parked his sleigh at the summit) to the cheers of hundreds. After a snack of milk and cookies and a session of last-minute gift requests, Santa headed for the Ice House, Okemo's new skating rink. What a treat it is to have that fully operational in time for the holidays this year. You may still catch a glimpse of Santa on ice at our photo-of-the-day page. After making a few pirouettes, he made a mad dash for the summit with a fist full of carrots for his patient team of reindeer. And I heard him exclaim as he dashed out of sight, Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night! Cheers.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Winter Winds Are Blowing

Into each life a little wind must blow. Okay, so that may not be exactly how the saying goes but that's the best description for what's going on at Okemo today. High winds at upper elevations have forced us to cease operations of our upper-mountain lifts this afternoon. We apologize for any inconvenience but your safety is our primary concern.

Besides, didn't you have some shopping you wanted to do for that special blogger in your life (hint hint)?

Cheers!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Superpipe Opens!

A few updates and reports to pass along to all you Terrain Park adventurers:

Today marks the official grand opening of the SoBe Super Pipe!! If you’re ready for the big air, Okemo is the place to be! We’re the FIRST IN THE EAST to open our Super Pipe for the second year in a row!!


From Ross Powers, Olympic Gold Medalist and Okemo Snowboard Ambassador...


"The pipe opened today which was great. Not only did Okemo have the first pipe in the east, it was in great shape. It was the best East coast opening day pipe I can remember."


And from Dennis Brady, Parks & Pipes Manager...

We still have a flat box, barrel jib, 20ft. jump, down rail, and a C-box on sapphire. Ride them while they last. They will be taken down soon. Apparently there is a high demand to free ski/ride Sapphire trail.

We just finished the first part of the build on lower Nor Easter. A big thanks to Jeremy, Marty, Bill, and My main man Jonny B. Thanks for all your hard work and long hours.

Look for a park tour of Nor'easter with photos in our Parks & Pipes section very soon! (The guys are out taking photos this morning!)

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Making my Job Easy!

I'd like to formally and publicly thank Mother Nature for the weather the past six weeks. As one of two Snow Reporters here, my job has been both easy and fun thanks to the seemingly endless string of good weather we've been experiencing. It's actually a ton of fun to let everyone know we just received six, eight, ten or more inches of new snow, or to announce we're opening more terrain, or even to spread the buzz about the impending opening of the SoBe Superpipe!

I've been skiing and snowboarding at Okemo since I was 12, and I can only remember one December that was anywhere near as good as this one has been so far. With the 10+ inches of new snow we have so far from today's storm, we're going to be close to 100% open in a New York minute. Not only is it fun to report we have that much terrain open, it's also going to be fun to ski and ride that much open terrain!

So thanks, Mother Nature. You've been doing a great job...keep up the good work!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

"There's Room at the Inn"

Do yourself a favor and book a room for tonight. Enjoy great skiing all day today, and hunker down for tomorrow's festivities! We're looking at predictions of 14-20". YAHOOOOOOOOO! Powder Day! You don't want to miss that do you?

Call: 1-800-78-OKEMO!

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Ridiculously Good!

The Ski Guru hit the slopes of Okemo this past weekend and reports "the quality of the snow surfaces and the amount of open terrain was so So SO...impressive." Get his whole report on the Ski Guru Blog.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Yukon Kornelius

Yes, the rumors are true. Stefan Lessard of the Dave Matthews Band is putting together a little supergroup for a benefit concert at the Pickle Barrel Nightclub on Wednesday, January 9. Joining him onstage will be Ed Robertson of Barenaked Ladies and Adam Gardner of Guster. Actor Jason Biggs (American Pie) will serve as the event's host, and will be welcoming some very special guests to the stage (more on that soon...)

The proceeds of the show will benefit the Vermont and New Hampshire Food Banks, Reverb and the Ross Powers Foundation. Tickets for this event are available through www.picklebarrelnightclub.com. It promises to be a very special night, so grab your tickets today and we'll see you at the show! Stay in touch with the Okemo blog for more. Look for a special Okemo lift ticket deal for concert ticket holders for skiing and riding on January 9. Details soon.

Sunday into Monday Snow Storms

It's a sweet blessing from Mother Nature, when the snow falls from a Sunday into Monday. There are many reasons why this is good and not all of them are selfish reasons. It may be tough to get to work, but if you work weekends all you can think about is using and abusing gravity on the mountain. Knee deep un-tracked powder is what we all crave. This past dump was nice because it lasted all week. Pow stashes were still available yesterday - Thursday. The early week storms are great, because they allow us mid-week riders uninhibited freshies. These storms are also good for the resort's base. The snow does not get completely skied off and is easily groomed in to solidify the base. Storms of this caliber can only help us stay open later. It also allowed us to jump off and open up more trails. We have not seen early season snow like this in years, so get your boards and planks sharpened and get here!
Us mid-week folk will save some for you!
GravityHound

Yukon Kornelius to play benefit


If you're a fan of the Dave Matthews Band, Barenaked Ladies or Guster you don't want to miss this special holiday treat!

A benefit concert is in the works for Wednesday, January 9th at the Pickle Barrel Nightclub in Killington. A collaboration between Okemo Mountain Resort and Warren Miller Entertainment, the Pickle Barrel will host this special event with proceeds to benefit charitable organizations including the Vermont and New Hampshire Food Banks and the environmental non-profit group Reverb.

Tickets go on sale beginning December 10 at 12 noon. Interested? Check the Okemo Newsroom for details.

PS Did I mention its snowing! Yipeee!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Mother Earth still loves us!

She must, otherwise we wouldn't have such phenomenal conditions out on the hill right now. I went out yesterday morning and skiied from South Face over to Solitude......and I never heard my skis.....that's a wonderful thing.

The condition right now feel like mid-winter....really. and I'll admit, i love getting out on the hill mid-week. Sorry to all you Mon-Fri office slaves....but you really should consider taking a "personal wellness" day sometime soon.

Anybody who's come up for Hanukkah is in for a pleasant surprise. Because if you were here last winter......eewww...it was nasty. Last year Okemo had 11 trails open...this year...between yesterday and today...the hill opened 13 trails....go figure....and there are now 71 trails open....the most terrain in the EAST!

So get up here and get out on the snow...and if you can't get to Okemo....get somewhere and get on the snow.

-Dex
PS. goin' out again today.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Silent on the hill

Yep you read it correctly. I made some turns first thing this morning and the only sounds were the hum of the lift, the white noise of the snow guns on Lower Nor Easter and in the Dew Zone, and the occasional hooting and hollering from fellow skiers and riders.

This is absolutely the best early season skiing I've ever had. I'm not kidding. The conditions were packed powder, perfect corduroy, and some untouched trails to get the legs burning. Skiing over at south face was silent - sometimes the occasional squeak from the cold snow, but that was about it.

All I can say is this - get up here. It doesn't get any better. These are the conditions we dream of for December (or February for that matter!).

This weekend we've got the Rome Rail Jam, and the first stop this winter for the Mountain Dew Vertical Challenge. Come up and enjoy the snow - it is perfect in every way!

Time To Ride

Since the snowstorm dropped nearly a foot-and-a-half Sunday night into Tuesday, I have been working on my snowboarding turns. I’m trying to learn to slash into a drift, heel-side, like a surfer cutting out of a pipeline. Having skied for most of my life, snowboarding has become a refreshing change. I have never surfed or even skateboarded before, at least with any proficiency. To me, skiing has become quite like power boating… How fast can I go from point A to point B? Quite frankly, it’s become a bit boring. At my age (read: comfort zone), there’s not much more to learn on skis, and you won’t find me launching off booters in the park. My technique is my technique and that’s it. I can get down most anything and look okay doing it, but my feet aren’t leaving the snow surface any more, at least not on purpose. The only new excitement for me is changes in terrain, or skiing somewhere new and different.

Snowboarding has become for me a lot like sailing was. Not as fast moving, feeling the terrain under my feet, and exploring the sides of the trails, turning back and forth, using the hill, standing against gravity, well, tacking and jibing my way down. Maybe it’s my past experiences 20-plus years ago racing sailboats on Long Island Sound. Or maybe it’s just a newfound connection with the mountain, I don’t really know for sure. All I do know is that it’s a great way to unwind, chill out and appreciate being in the moment. It’s also sobering to try a new sport from the ground up. Or should I say, from up to the ground?

I have been wearing wrist guards lately, at least until my proficiency and confidence builds. These are essentially Velcro wraps with a bent piece of hard plastic that supports and protects the underside of the wrist in case of a forward fall. Most people cannot resist the urge to stiff-arm a toe-side fall, usually resulting in a trip to First Aid and a few weeks in a cast. Since the wrist guards are worn under the glove and cuff, they are in close contact to the wrist, so there’s no room to wear a wrist watch. Yeah, I know, I’m old school, or maybe just old… why wear a watch when I carry my digital pocket watch (cell phone) and every lift shack at Okemo has a clock for skiers and riders to reference on every lift ride?

I suppose that’s precisely the point… the only time of day that matters is when it’s time to ride!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Gotta luv da powdah!

OK, I've been quite absent from the blog lately, but a winter storm like this gets me all pumped up! whether you consider it a "pant-load" of snow, or you said it was "pukin' outside"......what it all comes down to is tons and tons of fresh snow. And....if you haven't been out in it yet....your loss.

14-16 inches of new powder on top of Okemo's monster snowmaking capacity has given the hill something to show off.......46 trails as of the snow report I saw this morning. Plus the trails at Jackson Gore are scheduled to open on Thursday. That expansion will put the hill at 50-60 trails by the weekend.....perfect for some Hanukkah holiday turns....and another reason to skip Christmas shopping. The snow was great on Monday....and winter is in full-swing today....nice and cold and snowy!

I finished all my wood splitting and outdoor projects just in time........as the snowflakes started to fall on Sunday afternoon. Did I mention I have great neighbors? They helped me plow out my driveway on Monday...which it quite long.

Remember, there's no such thing as a bad weather day when you are skiing and snowboarding, just a poor choice in clothing.

See you on the snow!

Jackson Gore to Open Thursday!

Well, that blast from Mother Nature sure does make it feel like winter. Okemo received 14-16 inches of the white stuff and we're dropping the ropes on trails all over the place ... with Jackson Gore slated to open on Thursday. Sam, our snow reporter extraordinaire will be out taking some photos today, so check out the online photo of the day.

Apologies on the live cam - we're, as they say, experiencing some technical difficulties and hope to have the live video back soon. Cheers!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

It's Headed Our Way!


A big storm is coming - the first of the season.
Get ready for a powder day on Monday!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow


The weather outside is delightful! Snowguns are blastin, Mother Nature is rejoicing, and it's cold and blustery. It's winter! This morning's snow will taper off to sun this afternoon, but then clouds roll back in for tomorrow and then (drumroll please) the snow arrives! Early indications from Accuweather are for 2-4 inches through the night, with an additional 1-3 inches coming Monday. Our friends at weather.com are throwing around the possibility of a foot or more. Only time will tell - stay tuned to the snow report for more info.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

When does Jackson Gore open?

Huge question this time of year! What a lot of people don't know is that we have agreed not to begin snowmaking operations at Jackson Gore until December 1st. Why you say? Well it has to do with bears. Yes, I said bears.

There is a 30-day buffer around which to protect a bear migration corridor that exists atop the mountain at Jackson Gore. The date by which the bears are supposed to be "clear" is November 1 - so add thirty days and we're at December 1st. Enter Okemo snowmaking.

Right now our target date to open that base area is by Friday, December 7. (Of course, you all know that is contigent on weather - that goes without saying right?) Following closely behind will be opening of the snow tubing park and the snow playground, which we currently target for December 22. As always, stick close to the snow report for developing details.

Oh, and I almost forgot: The Ice House. We've been building the base layer of ice and I believe we're up to about an inch. The ol' rumor mill suggests maybe this weekend? Who knows, only time will tell.

One last thing: it's snowing. Life is good @ Okemo.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

2007 - Best Year Ever

Not to steal the fame from VH1's "Look who's having the best week ever", but Okemo's having a fantastic 2007. We finished with one of the best spring skiing years in history, and winter arrived quickly again with great snowmaking temps and a little help from Mother Nature. On the events side of things, the season is off to a good start. We had our "What I Learned This Summer" Rail Jam this past weekend. With over 80 in attendance we saw people throwing down huge tricks and some people that obviously didn't learn anything all summer (check out http://community.freeskier.com/videos/video.php?video_id=295). We're working our way toward the Mountain Dew Vertical Challenge and the Rome Rail Jam for the weekend of the 8th and 9th, and the events don't stop then! Stay tuned to the events calendar for updates.

Also, don't forget to check out the line up at the Sitting Bull on Saturday and Sunday evenings from 3-6pm. We're bringing back the old favs and adding some new talent to the roster as well.

That's all for now - back to work for this guy - and then out on the slopes tomorrow morning for the free Nordica Demo's!

We All Know One

It's that friend, family member or co-worker you know who sees your excitement and passion for snowsports, but who always has an excuse for why they don't try skiing or snowboarding.

"I don't have any equipment ... it's too expensive ... it's too hard ... what if I don't catch on right away and I feel stupid ... what if I invest all that time and money into lessons and then don't like it? ... it's been years since I've been on skis ... I tried it once but I don't think I'd remember how to ski ..."

The list goes on and on.

Okemo just put an end to the excuses! From now through Dec. 21, 2007, anyone age 7 and older can learn to ski or snowboard for free. I don't normally read minds, but I know what you're thinking ... "if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is ... there's got to be a catch ... this has got to be some scheme to turn my friends into marketing victims of some pyramid scam ..."

See, there you go - sounding just like your friends with all of their excuses.

The truth is, there's no catch, nothing to buy, no brand-loyalty brainwashing or anything. It's simply a complimentary group lesson package that anyone can take advantage of. It includes a level 1 or level 2 group lesson, specialized beginner rental equipment and a lower-mountain lift ticket ... all for FREE.

Still skeptical? I would be too. Check out the details and see for yourself. Cheers!

Helping each other is important

Many thanks to all who helped out on the Okemo cares and Shares day on Sunday 11/25 The following comment was sent to me from the Black River Good Neighbors in Ludlow:

"I don't know if you get this kind of input, but I am VERY THANKFUL to Okemo this evening, after the food drive today. We inventoried 1,001 items that will be used in the food baskets. We took approximately another 350-400 items back to the store for distribution, as they were not items for the Christmas dinner baskets (not on our menus). thanks and congratulations on a job well done." - Ray - Black River Good Neighbors.

Thank you to all the Okemo Staff and Okemo Guests who supported this great program. I can't thank you enough for making this such a success.


Bruce Schmidt
Vice-President & General manager
Okemo Mountain Resort

Monday, November 26, 2007

Not a Slave to Fashion


Okay, so I do make an effort to stay reasonably current with the fashion trends - I mean, I'm not out there in neon colors or anything (Although I have to admit I was during the '80s). And I really just don't get it when it comes to sagging pants - but hey, every generation needs to make its mark. But the outfit I saw yesterday made me do a double take and compelled me to hug a total stranger. In the right setting, I would have thought I was seeing a real live Big-Foot, but this Yeti was wearing ski boots. When I realized I wasn't actually in any danger, I couldn't resist hugging this six-foot teddy bear. The hooded feaux-fur jumpsuit was not a costume or a homemade get-up. It's part of Spyder's 2006 line of outerwear ... and I hear that it's reversible (and very warm). Cheers!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Sensational Sunday

Supberb skiing and snowboarding suddenly spread to Solitude and sunny South Face Sunday! Simply slip into ski boots and slide on sumptuous soft snow. So sorry for sesquipedal sentences of snake sounds - such silliness! See snowreports!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Pantry Raid!


Got your attention? Look closely -it says "pantry" (with an "r")! You know - the place in the kitchen where you keep all your non-mentionables ... I mean non-perishables! All those canned vegetables, jars of spaghetti sauce, dried beans, pasta and rice are really going to come in handy on Sunday, November 25.


During this season of giving thanks, it is also time to consider the needs of those less fortunate. Okemo is hosting its annual Cares and Shares Food Drive tomorrow, November 25. When skiers and snowboarders donate at least three non-perishable food items, a new child’s toy or new clothing item, their generosity will be rewarded with an entire day of skiing and riding at Okemo for just $25.


Okemo Mountain Ambassadors will be accepting contributions outside the Clock Tower base lodge throughout the day and Black River Good Neighbor Services Christmas Basket Program will help distribute the donated items to needy families in time for the December holidays.


So dig deep, clear out one of those pantry shelves, and Okemo will thank you for your generosity with a deeply discounted lift ticket.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Snowmaking On!

Wow, what a difference a day makes! I can hear the buzz of the snowmaking guns even tucked into my warm office here at the base of the mountain.

The snowmaking teams are at Solitude today in hopes of Screamin' Deamon and Heaven's Gate for the weekend.

They've also been spotted at South Face making snow on trails including Blind Faith, Stump Jumper, Upper Wild Thing and Sun Dog.

The news just keeps on getting better! Stay tuned to the Snow Report for official updates!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Okemo Base 68

So you've heard about the snow, you've heard were making snow and you can't believe Okemo is open with 19 trails.......what can be better? Well how about checking out the new look in the Base Lodge. The new name says it all Base 68. The Okemo Base Lodge was built in 1968 and thus the name. There are some 60's colors, groovy looks and some great carpet.

Probably the biggest change is the new "No Bags under the tables" policy. Yes you heard correctly. NO BAGS UNDER THE TABLES. What a change that will be for the dining experience!! Actually having space to sit down and stretch out your legs. We've built some new cubbies to hold your bags and the basket check will still be available. If bags are left under the tables, they will be pleasently moved to the nearest cubbie until you return.

All of us here at Okemo are excited about this new change. You will see Okemo staff members around the lodge reminding guests about our new policy and we are hopeful everyone will understand we are trying to make the skiing experience at Okemo that much better.

Let us know how we are doing.


Happy Thanksgiving,


Bruce Schmidt
Vice-President & General Manager
Okemo Mountain Resort

A Day of Rest for Snowmaking

It looks like Mother Nature may be giving Okemo's top-rated snowmaking team a day of rest today. With temperatures already inching their way up toward the freezing mark in these pre-dawn hours, we're in for a temperate day on the slopes.

Just to give you some idea of Okemo's dedication to snowmaking, we've already pumped 50 million gallons of water through our snowmaking system. And as soon as the mercury drops in the thermometer, we'll be out there making more snow. We're testing out some new technology on lower elevations. We've installed 15 SV10 HKD tower guns on the Open Slope above the Clock Tower base area. They are able to make snow efficiently at close-to-freezing temps. Assistant Mountain Manager Eb Kinney says, "They're wicked efficient."

Where will the guns be fired up next? The plan is to start working our way toward Solitude and then South Face. Once we get into December (and all the migrating bears are deemed safely asleep in their winter beds) we'll start blasting the guns on Jackson Gore.

So make a plan to gobble up the gobbler (and all those yummy fixin's) and head to Okemo for a great weekend of skiing. We're working toward a goal of having 25 trails open and 8 lifts running this weekend. Get all the details at our online snow report or call Okemo's snowphone at (802) 228-5222. Cheers!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Finally...

...got to take my first turns of the season! I've been sitting in my office like a caged tiger since Friday and today was finally the day. And snow? Boy do we have snow. I bet this storm dropped upwards of 4-5" up top. Hats off to Mother Nature. Coverage was excellent.

Do you ever get that feeling, though, on that first trip out each season...."Am I going to remember how to do this?" The first run is always interesting, but by the bottom you start to get back into the groove. I guess skiing is a lot like riding a bike, not really something you forget.

My first trip up the Northstar was with a few girls from the Cannon Mountain ski team. They were participating in a two-day Turkey Day Training Camp. Sounds like the perfect way to spend the holiday to me.

My trail pick goes to Sapphire. Lots of snow, plenty of room to turn. And lots of tricks to watch as practice continues for Saturday's rail jam. If you're a jibber you should check it out - its open to all abilities and the purse is $500! Check the events calendar for details.

Anyway, the fun is offically over. I have to get back to work.

Blanket of Snow




There's nothing like a fresh blanket of snow to make the world a happier place ... at least this little corner of the world. Okemo received a few inches at the base, and by the looks of that cloud hovering over the mountain, from about the third lift tower up, I'd say it's probably still coming down at upper elevations. One of our bloggers is out there now and I'll have to get her to post some first-hand accounts upon her return. For now, you'll just have to live vicariously through the skiers in this pic. Visit the snow report page on our website for more conditions info. Cheers!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

G.M. Update

Well we've gotten open for skiing and riding and it is looking good. Things had to be better than last year's opening and it has been!! Top to bottom skiing on the 2nd day of skiing is always a good thing. Can't say enough about the hard work of all the Okemo staff members to get the ski season started. Snowmakers have been hard at work making the snow and the groomers have been coming in early to lay it out. They even had the winch cat out on Saturday working on Defiance! The other behind the scenes staff are all those in the other operations. Maintenance, Culinary, season's passes, call centers, lodging, Housekeeping. The list is endlesss. With out the team work, it wouldn't be possible.

Our plan for the next 10 days or so will be to continue to add and expand terrain. We'll be concentrating on the South Face area with snowmaking on Rimrock and then down Blind Faith. I anticpate that opening before Thanksgiving. We'll also start moving towards the Solitude area with snowmaking on Coleman Brook & Heaven's Gate/Screamin Demon. At the same time of working to expand terrain, we'll also be trying to get Lower World Cup Open as well as trying to widen and adding base depths to the existing trails we have open.

I'd anticipate 25 trails opening for the Thanksgiving Holiday period and probabaly around 8 lifts. Of course this is contingent on the weather holding out.

Happy Thanksgiving

Bruce Schmidt
V.P & G.M.
Okemo Mountain Resort

It's a Top-to-Bottom Bluebird Day


Ahhhh, what a beautiful day it is. The only clouds in the sky are the low-lying ethereal clouds of snow being generated by the snowguns. From my vantage point, the base area appears in soft focus - like a leading lady close-up in an old-time movie. Were it not for the roar of the compressed air escaping from the valves of the HKD snowguns, I'm sure I'd hear a choir of angels singing the Allelujah chorus. After all, this is the weather we've all been praying for as this season gets underway.

We're skiing top-to-bottom on 13 trails today and we have terrain for all ability levels. Keep up-to-date on conditions at Okemo's snow report page or call the snow phone at (802) 228-5222.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

More Terrain Just Opened!

Great news! We've just added 7 more trails to today's lineup for a grand total of 12 open trails!

Advanced and Intermediate skiers can now enjoy Timberline, Sapphire, Route 103, Upper and Lower Arrow, Double Dipper and Lower Mountain Road.

Check the snow report for full details. See you on the hill!

The Dawn of a New Day at Okemo


Yes, it's a new day at Okemo and the start of the season's first weekend of skiing and riding at the big mountain that gets the little things right. The snowmaking guns were blasting on 11 trails overnight and we'll continue to make snow on several trails today (not any that are currently open - so you don't have to worry about skiing through the roar of the guns). We're working hard to provide skiers and riders with top-to-bottom runs and will drop the ropes on more trails as they become ready. We're sorry we don't have anything available yet for you beginners out there. We're working on it. In the meantime, we have some nicely groomed intermediate and advanced terrain for you seasoned snow sliders chomping at the bit.


A couple of inches of natural snow that fell Thursday night and Friday has transformed the mountain into a portrait of winter - creating a lovely alpine glow in today's first light. Stay tuned to our website for conditions updates or give a call to hear Okemo snow reporters Chris and Samantha tell it like it is at (802) 228-5222. Cheers!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Gotta Love Those Perks


VP of Marketing Scott Clarkson took our new snow reporters for a special preview ski down Buckhorn yesterday. We like to make sure our reporters get a first-hand look at the conditions. There are some serious benefits to working in the marketing department at a ski resort.


The word is that the base has set up nicely and when the temps drop again, the guns will be blasting out some of that oh-so-good snow Okemo is famous for. That's when the groomers get to work their magic. In a recent issue of SKI magazine, readers recognized the resort’s commitment to providing an excellent snow surface by rating Okemo second in the East for grooming, and number three in all of North America – surpassed only by Deer Valley and sister resort Mount Sunapee, in N.H. In the snow category, Okemo placed fourth in the East.


Get the 411 on trails, lifts and pricing for our opening day, Friday, Nov. 16, at Okemo's official snow report page. Cheers!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

OPENING FRIDAY!


It's true! Things are going so well with our preparation for the start of the 2007/2008 ski season, we decided to open a day earlier than originally planned. Although the mountain is a little socked-in today, snowmaking temps are expected to return Wednesday and we'll be firing up the system to add more snow to the trails we've already started covering.


We expect to offer up to to a dozen trails on Friday, Nov. 16, with five lifts turning for your skiing and snowboarding pleasure. The lifts will be: the F-10 Carpet, Sachem, Glades Peak Quad, Northstar Express and Green Ridge Triple. Check the snow report for pricing and up-to-the-minute information.


It's time to brush the dust off those boards and head to Okemo for opening day, this Friday! Cheers!


Monday, November 12, 2007

Snow Guns A-Blazin'!


I've always thought of snowmakers as the cowboys of the East. There's a certain romanticism associated with the wild west and the independent lifestyle of the rugged men who embrace the elements and roll along like a tumbleweed.

Like cowboys, snowmakers are a different breed. They are a hearty lot with a willingness to work in all elements, hauling hoses and lugging snowguns around in freezing cold and wet conditions - day or night.

It's not a job that I'd want to tackle. I like knowing that while I'm snug in my bed, those hard-working souls are out on the mountain, braving the elements to prepare a surface for me to experience the thrill of a well executed turn on skis. I get to come as close as a person can get to the sensation of flying, thanks to their willingness to combine compressed air and water in the chill of the night.

Opening day is just a few days away and it's looking like we could have as many as four lifts accessing up to a dozen trails. Stay tuned at okemo.com for up-to-the-minute info. Cheers!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Rock on Mother Nature!

Check out the forecast here for the next few days... couldn't ask for much better, really. Snowmaking continues this morning so look for updated photos in our gallery later on today.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

mid-week whites

Temperatures on the mountain were favorable and cool enough last night to continue coverage in the Summit areas and Buckhorn. The snow is just accumulating! Okemo's snowmaking teams are preparing to blow again tonight and into tomorrow as conditions permit.

With the help we’ve been getting from Mother Nature, we’ll be skiing in no time!

Monday, November 5, 2007

Weekend Progress Report


My morning commute is filled with anticipation at this time of year. I live south of Okemo so I make the drive up Rt. 103 each morning. There's a spot down around Bixby Field, when the full panorama of the mountain presents itself and my eye quickly scans the expanse to get a visual update of snowmaking progress as the start of the season approaches.


What a treat it was to see snow covering the top portion of World Cup, one of my favorite trails on the mountain! It looks like our team of snowmakers was busy this weekend and we're expecting to fire up the system again tonight as temps permit. Mother Nature is coming around with some favorable temps and humitidy levels so snowmaking is expected to continue. We might even see a little of the natural white stuff at upper elevations - at least that's what the local meteorologists are saying.


We'll be updating our snowphone (802-228-5222) and website snow report, so stay tuned for updates. Cheers!


Friday, November 2, 2007

And we're off...


It's official. Snowmaking began for the 2007/2008 season this morning at 4 am. The crews were out on Buckhorn and the Summit, and well as the Northwest corner of the Glades Peak Quad. You can bet as long as temperatures permit, we'll be out there full tilt in anticipation of opening day. Stay tuned...the countdown is officially on.
Look for a slideshow of great photos within the hour on Okemo.com!

Snowmaking, finally!!!

I've been wokring out with my sportcord (deep knee bends and such), doing lunges an chopping firewood to get in shape plus getting my house ready for winter.....and waiting, and waiting, and waiting for the temperatures to drop. Well, it finally happened! Last night Okemo finally turned on the snowguns last night. They blasted snow up at the summit....and the compressors are still running this morning. cool! Remember to do your cold weather dance, scheduled opening day is right around the corner.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The million dollar question...


When will snowmaking begin? There is a lot of buzz here in Vermont as a few mountains have taken the plunge into snowmaking. We got some really cold temperatures for a day or two, but then they showed moderation. In fact, temps today and tomorrow are expected to top out near 55 or 60 degrees. Soooo...we are looking at possibly firing up by the end of this weekend and into next week. So don't worry, we're still on target for a November 17 opening, and there is nothing I trust more than the snowmaking prowess of head Okemo snowmaker Barry Tucker. He's been in this business for longer than I've been alive and he's got it down to a science, literally.

Friday, October 26, 2007

And Speaking of Air Compressors ...

In addition to the portable compressors pictured in the previous blog entry, Okemo has a large snowmaking compressor that is a permanent fixture here. As part of Okemo's overall plan to reduce, reuse and recycle, we've just spent $30,000 to upgrade that compressor with an SCR catalytic converter so it will produce 95 percent fewer NOx emissions. Nitrogen oxides (NOx) include various nitrogen compounds like nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and nitric oxide (NO). These compounds play an important role in the atmospheric reactions that create harmful particulate matter, ground-level ozone (smog) and acid rain. Okemo's installation of a new SCR catalytic converter is going to help Okemo improve air quality while providing the same serious snowmaking power it is so famous for.

SCR, or selective catalytic reduction is a means of removing nitrogen oxides, often the most abundant and polluting component in exhaust gases, through a chemical reaction between the exhaust gases, a (reductant) additive, and a catalyst.

Last year, Okemo made news with its commitment to environmental stewardship through the purchase of renewable energy certificates - enough to offset 100 percent of the resort's annual use of electricity. In addition, Okemo owners Tim and Diane Mueller purchased enough kilowatt hours of wind-generated power to offset the electrical need of their other two resorts as well. That same commitment to the environment continues with the purchase of renewable enrgy certificates this year - and other aggressive programs like the one mentioned above.

“Protection of the environment is one of our core values. It is also very important to our guests,” says Tim Mueller. “We have the ability to demonstrate that Okemo, Mount Sunapee and Crested Butte are good community and corporate citizens working toward energy independence for America through clean, renewable sources like wind energy.”

Cheers!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

A Sign of the Season


Like the falling of leaves and the season's first frost, a sure sign of winter's imminent arrival is the delivery of Okemo's snowmaking air compressors. It's one of those special behind-the-scenes moments that turn a resort worker's thoughts to snow-covered trails and first tracks on newly opened runs - one of the perks of working in the ski industry.


With Okemo's Blogger Central offices located within earshot of those compressors, it's just a matter of time before we hear those first blasts of air that signify the arrival of cooler temperatures and the start of snowmaking operations.


Although Okemo's crews have the process down to a science, the concept of snowmaking is relatively simple. When you combine compressed air and water in the right combination, based on temperature and humidity, the result is snow! The serious cost to snowmaking comes through the production of that compressed air. It takes energy to do that.


Okemo has made huge investments in reducing the amount of energy used to make snow. The most visual of those energy conscious efforts can be seen in the resort's arsenal of HKD tower guns. Old-fashioned ground and sled-mounted snowmaking guns generally produce snow at an air-to-water ratio of 10:1. HKDs can cover trails more efficiently and with a broader spread, using a ratio that is as little as 1:1. Imagine the savings in energy being used at that rate! And, because the water and air are being combined in nozzles attached to elevated towers, it gives the water molecules more "hang time" to crystallize and form nice, big, fluffy snow "flakes."


This year, Okemo will demo some new HKD technologies that will allow the resort to make snow efficiently at closer-to-freezing temperatures. You can read about this and other "what's new" news online at Okemo's Press Room. Cheers!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Parents Magazine Picks Okemo!


In the November issue of Parents, Okemo is one of four resorts (and the only one in the East) highlighted in their travel feature titled "Snow Much Fun!" Executive Editor Kate Lawler asks, "Looking for a great family getaway this winter? Check out one of these kid-friendly ski resorts."

She starts her review of Okemo, "Popular with East Coasters, this resort is stepping up its services for parents and kids alike."

It's always interesting to see a magazine's top picks for a story like this and Okemo is in some good company here. Other resorts featured are: Jackson Hole, Wyoming; Beaver Creek, Colorado; and Northstar at Tahoe, California.

The November issue of Parents is on newsstands now, so pick up a copy. And if family travel is of particular interest to you, you can pick up some great tips at the magazine's blog Wish You Were Here. Cheers!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Opening Day Less Than a Month Away!?


I have to admit that I'm as thankful as the next person for the extended summer-like weather ... one more round of golf, a little extra time in the garden, another visit to the farmers' market and one last hike in shorts and a t-shirt. But winter will be here in a flash and Okemo's crackerjack team of snowmakers is already keeping an eye on the sky for cooler temperatures and the call to action. These guys have it down to a science and will take no time at all to turn grassy hillsides into snow-covered ski slopes.


We're ready for winter ... are you?


Okemo's "Get In Snow Shape" Lodging Package is book-able online right now and includes:
-Friday and Saturday night deluxe accommodations at the Jackson Gore Inn
-Access to the new Spring House fitness and aquatic center
-A ski- and snowboard-specific pilates class
-An hour with a personal trainer to develop a fall workout program
-An Okemo water bottle to keep you hydrated while you are working out!




See you on the slopes soon. Cheers!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Say No to Butts

I had the fortunate experience last spring of joining Green Up Day at Okemo. Honestly, it was a lot of fun - getting outdoors during those few first warm days and soaking up the sun, and of course cleaning away all the trash from a season gone by. Heck, anything to spend a day outside away from my computer right?

Anyway, you wouldn't believe what we found. Dirty diapers (okay, that's gross), ski poles, socks and mittens, some loose change (but not much), the backs of lift tickets ( ALOT!), tons of soda and beer cans... but by far the most?
Cigarette butts. We probably picked up 1,000 butts each (there were about 10 of us, including Tim Mueller himself). The bad news was there were about 500,000 more we didn't. It honestly looked like it had hailed cigarette butts. We could have spent a week just picking them up.

So here is my plea: if you do smoke, I am begging you not to drop your butts on the snow in the base area this year. Pretty please? I don't want to have to pick them up come Spring. I know, selfish me.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Base Lodge Retro Redo

Did you know the Okemo clocktower Base Lodge was originally built forty years ago? Okay, maybe you did. :} Well, it got a facelift.

The redo became the summer project of Okemo owner Diane Mueller. And, if you know Diane, you should know that when she sets her mind to something you better watch out. No cheating, no cutting corners. The inside of the base lodge is now vintage 1968, and the cafeteria is now known as "Base68".

So, what’s old is new again with some crazy avocado green paint, funky carpeting, all new chairs, and ORANGE Formica countertops! Skeptical myself, I took a walk up yesterday to view the "work of art". I left pleasantly surprised... it really does look good!

Now I could post a picture so you could get a little preview....but that would take away all the fun. I might just make you wait and come see it up close and personal. What do you think?

Monday, October 8, 2007

The countdown is on...

As of today, we have just 40 short days until anticipated opening day of the 2007/2008 winter season at Okemo. Are you ready? It could be earlier...

Thursday, October 4, 2007

FREE, seriously


I know, in this day and age its hard to really trust free. But you can really count on these two deals...they are really free. Skiers and boarders take note...

Crested Butte is giving away Free Lift Tickets between November 25 and December 15, 2007. Absolutely, positively, incredibly, 100 percent FREE, no strings attached! Check their site if you want to read more.

At Okemo you can learn to ski or snowboard completely free. Free lower-mountain lift ticket, free rentals, and a free level 1 or 2 beginner lesson. No joke. Tell a friend and come on out! Read more on our site.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Don't Let The Season Pass!

It’s already that time of year when the air is a little more crisp, the brightly colored leaves begin to fall and your thoughts turn to how many days you plan to ski this winter, and more importantly, where. As you may know there have been a lot of ski resort transactions in the area with the dissolving of American Skiing Co. The new owners of Killington seem to be focused on the skiing. That’s a good thing… we’ll see. The new owners at Mount Snow are betting the farm on fan-type snow guns. Meanwhile Okemo’s owners (for the past 26 years) remain consistently focused on providing the best overall skiing experience possible, from the snow surface on up. Okemo has once again scored highly in Grooming, Snow, Terrain Parks, Family Programs, Lifts, On-Mountain Food in SKI Magazine’s Reader Resort Survey, October 2007. So, go with whom you know and spend your season with your friends at Okemo. The best laid plans are made by Monday, October 8th to get the best season pass rates this fall.

I’ve learned that Okemo’s opening date has been slated for Saturday, November 17, 2007, weather permitting, of course. Or should I say temperatures permitting? We all know what Okemo’s mountain operations team can lay down when Mother Nature cooperates.

As for variety, there’s truly an offering for just about everyone. Whether you are a weekday, a weekend, or a weekend/holiday slider. Or maybe you’d like to try nearby Stratton Mountain on occasion, or perhaps venture to Crested Butte Colorado. If you’d like to save all season, you should consider the Flex Card that offers between 25% and 50% off every day of the season on full-day as well as half-day and Sunday Solution tickets. There is also the 8-Pack and 12-Pack which is a good bet for primarily weekend holiday skiers and riders that gives you one free ticket with the purchase of seven, or two free tickets with the purchase of 11 tickets. 8/12 Packs are transferable, Flex Cards are not. Season passes are direct-to-lift. Flex Cards and 8/12 Packs require a stop at the ticket window.

You don’t have to own a second home in the mountains to enjoy the many cool benefits of owning a season pass. The best value is value’s namesake, the Value Pass Plus, aimed at weekday and weekenders this pass has only 17 black out days (those holidays, when you probably have other commitments anyway!) all season and is good at Okemo, Mount Sunapee and Stratton.

For the gotta-have-the-best set, the Ultra Pass may be used at Okemo, Mount Sunapee, Stratton or Crested Butte every day the lifts turn. For first trackers, Okemo and Stratton will send you up the lifts at least 15 minutes before the rest so you can enjoy a few magical moments of powdery bliss or corduroy solitude like only a ski patroller can.

I can't believe my eyes

My morning commute almost always includes a stop at the bottom of Okemo's access road. Sweet Surrender is an a.m. oasis of fresh-baked goodies and hot Green Mountain coffee. A set of well-worn wooden stairs leads from the parking spaces to a wide wooden porch and on a cool fall day, the heat of the ovens meets me at the screen door like a welcoming warm embrace. Although the glass case is stocked with sweet treats, the "counter intelligence" (as the countertop tip jar indicates) workers know my preference and have a whole wheat blueberry muffin in a bag with the top neatly folded over, waiting on the counter before I finish fixing my coffee the way I like it.

The joke among marketing folks in the industry is that ski season starts August first. All the prep work that goes into ad buys, brochures and press kits starts well before that, but it all reaches the boiling point in mid-summer. By October, we're counting down the hours until opening day and everyone in the department is consumed by thoughts of winter and hopes for plentiful snow.

Granted, I can be in a fog before that first cup of java brings the world into focus ... and I have been surprised to find the weather in Ludlow much different from my point of origin 20 minutes south, but one day last week I found myself wondering how in the world it could have snowed in September!? I could hardly believe what my eyes were seeing as I made my daily pilgrimage to, as one co-worker refers to it, the muffin place.

The ground beneath the stairs was covered in white and as I climbed each step I felt certain I was in a dream. A light dusting of snow appeared to have fallen - but it was 60 degrees! It had the look of a typical first snow - just a light cover of granulated crystals that collect on less-than-frozen ground and melt away within hours of settling. It was as bright white as the season's first snow and it looked like a light breeze could send the frozen flakes aloft again.

It only took a few seconds for me to realize that what I was seeing was the result of a delivery-gone-bad. A wayward bag of sugar destined for the baker's oven must have broken open, leaving a coating of what my winter-obsessed mind could only interpret as snow. I felt foolish and delighted at the same time and was thankful for the brief premonition of the season ahead.
Cheers!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

A Refreshing Environment

Have you ever found yourself enjoying your job? Have you ever worked in a setting, where all your colleagues like their jobs and people in their department? I've had many jobs I liked, but usually all the corporate BS surrounding the gig has made me crazy. This is not the case at Okemo. I'm the new guy and boy it is great. I have never worked in an environment, where communication happens and everyone plays as a team! It took me a few weeks to get used to it, but now I am settled in just fine. Okemo not only projects a great image on the surface, but if you dig deep into its working parts you will find a group of people who are passionate about their job and sport. The concept of teamwork really does exist! I may have been tainted by corporate America in the past, but now I have found a home. You may have heard about it - Okemo Mountain Resort!

That's the word on the street - Gravity Hound

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Apples to iPods


A friend recently told me about a really cool promotion the VT Department of Tourism has developed in conjunction with VT apple growers.

My eleven year old who had proclaimed "apple picking is boring" is now ready to climb trees until the sun goes down. Hey, whatever works!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Searchin' for My Lost Shaker of Salt


The trees may be turning color and the days of summer waning, but the whirr of the blender and warm, sunny days like today are keeping me in a Margaritaville state of mind.
You can savour the season too, when Okemo hosts a Parrothead Party October 6. For more information visit http://okemo.com/okemosummer/resortinfo/pressroom/releases/page.asp
Cheers!


Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Okemo's Outdoor Fall Makeover

Hey There!

I haven't chipped-in in a while...so here it goes. As much as Ludlow's lookin' all fancy and new....did anyone look up on the hillsides around the valley. The colors are already changing. At my house I've seen really bright reds from the maple trees. If you get a chance to drive by some VT bogs (not blogs) or swamps.....they are approaching peak colors.

and.....and....did you know there's less than 2 months until the snow flies? yup......at least if Mother Nature cooperates.....there will be snow soon. Are you getting in shape yet? I've been slacking for a few weeks...so it's time for me to go running again.

Get off yur duff and get outside?

-Dex

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Ludlow got a makeover!

If you haven't been up to Ludlow this summer, you're in for a nice surprise on that first trek this season. Roadwork started in May, and while it was particularly painful for those of us that commute from points South of Ludlow, it was well worth it in the end.

VT Route 103, from Chester to Ludlow has been completely regraded, repaved, repainted and new guard rails now sparkle on either side of the road.

Plus! - the crosswalks in downtown were all redone in brick and new lamposts line the streets. Should make for a great Norman Rockwell scene come winter.

Kudos to all the road and paving crews. You guys did a great job!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Okemo Icon

Greetings,

I normally don’t talk about individuals when I write for the blog. We are all a TEAM here at Okemo and inadvertently, I will miss someone who should be mentioned. I am going to break my own rules this time.

There was a surprise birthday celebration held at the Maintenance shop on Friday August 24th. You might ask, why would anyone have a birthday party in the end bay of the Maintenance shop? Well it was fitting that Barry Tucker was honored for a milestone birthday. Due to scheduling difficulties, I was unable to make the party, but from what I hear, it was well attended and a complete surprise to Barry. I wanted to summarize what I would have said if I had attended…..

I have known Barry Tucker most of my life, either as a ski racing figure or as an Okemo employee. You do not even have to mention his last name at Okemo. When “Barry” is mentioned, it is well known who is being described. Barry has his quirks no doubt. We all know he drives too fast. He supports his staff to the nth degree. I never knew we had so many guys in Mountain Operations who were “the backbone of the operation”……. and depending on the job that needs to be done, he’ll tell you that it will take at least 1-2 weeks longer than it really does…….

The other side of Barry is his ability to provide a special form of leadership. The type that you only read about in books. Barry leads by example and makes you want to work harder than you feel you can. His can do attitude and sense of humor makes the job go that much faster. As someone who worked side by side with Barry for over 12 years during the early Okemo construction projects, I know first hand how his presence and leadership can affect staff and the ability to complete a project.

The celebration of Barry’s birthday is also a celebration of him as an Okemo Icon. Probably many people do not even know that it took two tries to name a trail after him. The original name for “The Plunge” trail was actually “Tucker’s Revenge”. Barry did not feel that should be the name, so it was changed. When we named the trail in Jackson Gore, Tuckered Out, we did not even ask him about it. We knew the answer!!

I can honestly say that I would not be were I am today with out Barry’s help and guidance. Barry was very humbled with all the fan-fare for the celebration of his birthday and thanked everyone many times. It is probably we who should be thanking him for his part in making Okemo Mountain what it is today.

Happy Birthday to Barry Tucker from all of us at Okemo Mountain Resort.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Yurts Yearning for new Homes - Props to MTN Ops!


I showed up for work today to see the parking lot coned off. I thought to myself, oh, they must be repaving the lot at the administration building. I couldn't have been more wrong. At about 9:30am a low-boy trailer showed up carrying a yurt. Our mountain operations staff had managed to move this huge structure early in the morning, put it on a trailer at the Solitude Lodge, and drive it down the hill to the Clocktower base area! With about 15 guys on hand, and one very skilled driver, the Yurt was quickly delivered to its new home, right next to the rental shop. This year the yurt will house the Salomon and Atomic Demo Center, a great place to go demo the latest equipment and have a tune done on your current skis.

Props to the Mountain Ops team for carefully moving the building into place. It amazes me what the staff here can do.

One thing to note though - while watching them I could only laugh and think about "that guy with his hand on the mattress on top of his car"! Apparently we hired all our ops guys straight out of ESPN's World's Strongest Man competitions.

Box o' Bees


Literally. Take a look at where these little creatures set up shop for the summer! Sorry guys, the fun is officially over!!!

Friday, August 31, 2007

School is back in session


Wow, sometimes I just don't know where the time goes. Summer is over. The kids are back in school. The nights even seem cooler. Can you believe it? Next we'll be talking about the brilliant colors of Fall.


The VT Dept of Forests, Parks and Rec says, “We’ve experienced many bright sunny days and received plenty of moisture this summer, which has created ideal growing conditions for all vegetation ... We can look forward to another brilliant fall foliage season.”


I hope they're right. Fall certainly can be beautiful in the mountains. If you're planning a trip, be sure to get it in before the first week or so of October. That's when they predict the colors will be in peak for the majority of the state.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Sleeping Under the Stars

It's been a long time since I spent a night sleeping under the stars. I was a camp counselor and back then the greatest challenge was keeping the girls in their sleeping bags and staving off the pranksters carrying pans of warm water.

It wasn't with the intention of dozing in starlit darkness that I ventured out the other night with a quilt and pillow. A cold front brought crystal clear skies that coincided with the Perceid meteor showers. Vermont Public Radio held a star gazing party up at Burke Mountain and conducted a live broadcast with call-in questions and commentary by my favorite Eye On The Sky meteorologist Mark Breen. I cranked up the volume on the radio and headed out to the front lawn. It was pretty chilly for a midsummer night, so it felt good to have Nelson, my dog, curl up under the covers with me.

The Perseids are a prolific meteor shower associated with the comet Swift Tuttle. I learned that the streaks of light darting about in the night sky at this time of year are actually pebble-sized fragments hitting the earth's atmosphere 100 miles above us. The light show is supposed to improve as the night wears on and I tried my best to keep up with the proliferation of shooting stars, but the radio talk of constellations and galaxies yielded to classical strains that lulled me to sleep and the next thing I knew, I was waking to the low growl of Nelson warning off imaginary night specters. I dragged my dew-covered quilt into the house, thankful that no warm-water-wielding marauders had happened upon me.

When was the last time you settled back to take in the night sky? Cheers!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Happy National S'mores Day!


It's true - August 10 is National S'mores Day. It's one of the best things about a summer camping trip or a winter visit to Okemo Mountain Resort's Coleman Brook Tavern. It's so much fun to see families taking a break from skiing and gathered around a table-top "campfire" on a winter day. Of course it's even more fun to be the one toasting a marshmallow to golden-brown perfection and smashing the gooey gob of stickiness between two graham crackers ... and don't forget the slab of milk chocolate! Mmmmmmm ... can't you just taste it? We have the Girl Scouts to thank for the first recorded version of the s'mores recipe, found in the Girl Scout handbook of 1927.

So build yourself a campfire or just make a marshmallow mess of yourself at Okemo.

The Jackson Gore Outdoor Music Series continues tonight with a free concert by The Brightwings. The Brightwings, a Boston-based band, consists of three singer/songwriters: Matt Rafal, Dave Dombroski and Dan Holden. Jayme Tardiff rounds out the line-up on drums. Their name is taken from an episode of the television show "The Wonder Years," which was set in the late '60s and early '70s. The Brightwings are influenced by that same era, hinting at the honest and simple sounds of The Eagles, CSNY, Tom Petty and Lynyrd Skynyrd. The band incorporates this nostalgic vibe into their songwriting, creating modern songs with a classic rock feel. Three part vocal harmonies, acoustic guitars and heartfelt lyrics are all key elements of the Brightwings sound. On Friday nights throughout the summer season, the lawn in the courtyard at Okemo’s Jackson Gore Inn is transformed into an outdoor concert venue featuring renowned local and regional entertainers. Admission to the Jackson Gore Outdoor Music Series is free and the grounds open at 5 p.m. Concerts are slated to begin at 6 p.m. and end at 9 p.m. Families are welcome and all attendees are encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs or blankets. In case of rain, the concerts will move undercover. An outdoor barbecue is available, as well as dining in Jackson Gore’s Coleman Brook Tavern. Cheers!

Monday, August 6, 2007

Only 4 weeks left until school starts......

Hard to believe that summer has gone by so fast. If you didn't get outside this weekend, you missed a fantastic 3-days. Oh, did I say 3-days! Yup. I played hooky on Friday and went over to Lake George, NY. Met up with longtime friends and spent the weekend in the water.

Now, keep in mind, winter is less than 90 days away(assuming the season starts at the beginning of November), so the weekend was not all lounging and drinking. I went running on Sat and Sun morning...after the humidity broke. Saturday afternoon I hopped on my Laser and sailed all afternoon....the wind was fantastic..... and the water was warm, warm, warm. What a perfect afternoon.

Which brings up the topic of sunscreen. No matter how diligent you might be when applying sunscreen.....Mother Nature and the sun god always find the one spot that you missed. The back of my right arm....needless to say....it was crispy on Saturday night. I thought I'd slathered every piece of exposed skin.....even my feet were covered. I'm blaming the burn in "life vest rub". It simply wore off the sunscreen.

And lastly.....I can't believe there's only 4 weeks until the kids go back to school.....and for some towns it's even earlier. Oh well, all good things must come to an end. I hope they enjoyed summer camp, soccer camp, sailing camp, lacrosse camp, hockey camp, horseback riding camp, etc. Whatever happened to the daily rec department program and swimming at the local lake......everyone is so programmed these days.

So remember, get out there and exercise. Winter is coming fast and you want to be in good shape for your first turns of the winter.

-Dex

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

I'm Digging It!







Okay ... I am not personally digging it, but 11 archaeologists from the University of Vermont Consulting Archaeology Program have spent the last two weeks excavating an area at the entrance to Okemo's Jackson Gore and they have come to a conclusion that Paleoindian nomads who roamed the area 11,000 years ago, returned to this spot repeatedly over the course of a decade or more. In addition to thousands of pieces of spear tip fragments, the group found two in-tact spear points!


In the course of planning a new nine-hole golf course at Jackson Gore, Okemo Mountain Resort has underwritten excavation of an area, first identified as a Paleoindian artifact site in 1999.

Paleoindians were the first Native Americans to appear in North America about 500 years after the glaciers receded. They are thought to have been a nomadic people who traveled in small extended family groups. Evidence shows they were superb at stone tool manufacturing, but preferred to make their spear heads (this was prior to the invention of bows and arrows) of stone indigenous to areas now known as northern Maine and Pennsylvania.

The big mystery is - how did the stone from so far away end up at Jackson Gore - through trade or did the natives travel that extensively in their nomadic lifestyles?

Okemo’s Jackson Gore seems like an unlikely place to find evidence of a people who appear to have preferred high, sandy terraces and large river valleys, according to Project Supervisor Jess Robinson. “This must have been an exceptional place,” he said, “one of fine east/west access or perhaps an established travel corridor for game and hence, natives."




It was pretty cool to touch, and hold in my hands, stone tools crafted 11,000 years ago by people visiting this area. Cheers!

Monday, July 30, 2007

Clouds part for Jackson Gore Music Series


Pie Boys Flat took the stage last Friday as thunder rumbled in the distance. The sky's looked threatening, the rain was surely falling in Belmont and Mount Holly, but we decided an outdoor music festival should be held outdoors! The unique sounds from the NYC based band rocked the slopes at Jackson Gore until 9pm, and by that time the sky's had cleared leaving a great night for stargazing.

Those who agreed with my weather forecast enjoyed a beautiful evening on the lawn, great food from the BBQ, and a perfect summer evening.

This week the stage will once again come to life with the unbelievable voice of Skyla Burrell and the Skyla Burrell Blues Band. Again, I'll do my best to make sure it doesn't rain - so come on out and enjoy the show! Skyla's music is listed in the Jackson Gore Music Series page at Okemo.com.

More Snow Early!

Good news!

I just heard that thirty new HKD tower guns designed to project snow with pinpoint accuracy will be installed on the mountain this coming season. This will enable us to open trails like Sachem and Kettlebrook ~ where more focused snow blowing is required ~ even earlier. Yahoo!


Plus - we'll be offering up a "taste test" of sorts with a variety of new, highly efficient snowmaking guns on the lower mountain. Come sample the snow from guns produced by Snow Economics, with four different configurations. Did you know that things like adjustable water flow levers, nozzle versatility and new valving technology all contribute to the texture of the snow? The goal is to be able to produce more snow at closer to freezing temperatures. Our snowmaking gurus will be testing about 15 of them so that they can decided which are the best to invest in for next year.

What it means for you is more snow and more trails early... I say that's pretty good news on a Monday morning! Don't ya think?

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Rain?

What Okemomma meant to say was snowmaking pond filler...not rain.

And, does anyone have some children I can borrow....for dancing in the rain. Sounds like there will be plenty of opportunity later this week. I recall from childhood (blurry as it was) that storms were best spent in mud puddles. So be sure to have plenty of puddles for your kids....make 'em wide and slightly deeper than they expect.

as for those mice......sounds like Silver Linings has started a deep sea diving program for her local herd of furry critters. I must admit, mice do like to proliferate in the VT countryside. I used to think they were only a winter probably, as they came indoors to enjoy the warmth and some free food. But now I realize, with my own house, that mice like to hang out all summer long too.

-Dex

Friday, July 20, 2007

Singin' in the Rain

When was the last time you played outside in the rain with your kids?

Next time it rains, just do it.

Double dog dare ya.

It's All About the Segue

My humble little log cabin was transformed into a chamber of horror yesterday, with a little help from the Orkin man. Telltale signs of a fury intruder started showing up in a kitchen drawer and the occasional sqweak from the direction of the kitchen stirred Nelson T. Airedale (the "T" stands for "The") from a deep sleep for a close inspection of the space betweeen the fridge and the kitchen cabinets. When I finally reached the point of feeling tormented (rattling of a wrapper in the pantry or finding dog bisquits from Nelson's cookie jar stashed in dark places for winter sustenance), I knew it was time to call in the big guns. I guess I didn't give it too much thought ... assuming there might be some sort of deterent spray or powder that could be applied to baseboards or under the kitchen sink. Instead, upon my arrival home yesterday afternoon, I found an arsenal of "glue traps." At first glance, the adhesive-smeared plastic tiles seemed like a simple solution for ridding a home of unwanted rodents, but the reality of the ghastly scene is that unsuspecting little gray fur balls with pink feet and cartoon character faces become imobilzed in a permanent scampering position once their feet hit the soft glue. So there they are, still very much alive, but frozen in action until they - what? ... starve to death? So I spent the entire night dropping license-plate sized glue traps, with Mickey and Minney attached, into the pond for a somewhat humane end to their suffering. In my mind's eye I can picture myself in a well-deserved afterlife eternity ... feet firmly planted in a plastic tray with thick glue plastered deep on one side.

Okay ... so here it is ... here's that segue I've been building up to in the telling of this story ...

Speaking of one side ... The Jackson Gore Outdoor Music Series continues tonight with ONESIDE and their "banjo-sweetened music that ranges from indie-flavored jangle pop to straight-out newgrass."

(Ah, I can almost hear the groans as I type the words)

In a time when banjos, fiddles and mandolins are often used for excessive jamming, Boston-based band ONESIDE puts them back in the framework of concise, well written songs. While ONESIDE offers up plenty of solos and tasty licks, the band's songs are also chock full of carefully crafted hooks. The leads are there to serve the song. This organic variety of music has been fondly dubbed "Electrified Yankee Roots/Rock" by lead singer/songwriter Ned deBary. "I see many bands with banjos, fiddles etc… playing strictly "old timey", bluegrass and traditional songs. I love those types of songs and love to play them, but I don't see us being limited to one style of music just because of our instrumentation. I think all these instruments fit very well in the context of a modern pop/rock song." Critics have likened ONESIDE's music to that of Wilco, The Shins, and early REM, but with a stronger basis in Americana. For more information about the band, visit http://www.onesidemusic.com/.

On Friday nights throughout the summer season, the lawn in the courtyard at Okemo’s Jackson Gore Inn is transformed into an outdoor concert venue featuring renowned local and regional entertainers. Admission to the Jackson Gore Outdoor Music Series is free and the grounds open at 5 p.m. Concerts are slated to begin at 6 p.m. and end at 9 p.m. Families are welcome and all attendees are encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs or blankets. In case of rain, the concerts will move undercover. A barbecue buffet is available, as well as dining in Jackson Gore’s Coleman Brook Tavern. Cheers!