Thursday, July 3, 2008

Meet "The Beast"

Although the Fourth of July marks the unofficial start of summer for most folks, for me it's time to crank up the volume on my efforts to promote winter. Budgets for the year ahead are in place and capital improvements are underway. We're 20 weeks away from the start of ski season! I know, I can practically hear the collective groan of blog readers, but believe me, that's not a lot of time to get the word out about everything going on at Okemo right now. SKI Magazine has already compiled the results of its annual "Top 50 Resorts" and the industry is buzzing with talk about rankings. Brochures and websites are being designed, trail maps are being updated and I'm writing press releases as fast as my fat fingers can fly across the letters on my computer keyboard.

I don't want to give it all away at once, so in the coming weeks I'll use this blog to keep you updated on what we're working on and the progress we're making.

In this post, I'd like to introduce you to "The Beast." Although a demo model was seen making the rounds of eastern resorts last season, Okemo is officially the first eastern resort to add the Prinoth BR500 grooming machine to its fleet. Okemo Snow Groomer Operator Kyle Marten got to lay some corduroy with this behemoth last winter and sent me some photos he took of the grooming machine that the guys in the maintenance garage are calling The Beast.

The 500-horsepower, dual-turbocharged, mechanical monster is about eight feet wider and ten feet longer than the next largest model, the BR350. The Beast sports a 24-foot-wide tiller and a 20-foot-wide blade. With engineered efficiencies, additional width and an ability to travel at the same speed uphill and downhill, the newest machine in Okemo’s grooming fleet will bring the art of grooming to a new level. In addition, Okemo will be replacing three other machines with Prinoth BR350s, one of which will be outfitted as a park cat for grooming the terrain features in Okemo’s five ski and snowboard terrain parks. Just to make certain that we're optimizing this investment, Okemo sent Kyle and another groomer to Cutters Camp last spring. Terrain park aficionados will have a chance, this winter, to sample what the guys learned during their trip out west.

Stay tuned. There's lots more to come in the next 20 weeks. Cheers!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Culture in the Greens!

Boy, what an evening!

I took my sweetheart to see the Vermont Symphony Orchestra last Friday night at the base of Jackson Gore Peak. WOW! Despite the prognostications of the regional weather people, and the gloomy cloud cover at 6:30 pm, the evening was a huge success. If I didn't know any better, you'da thought that Okemo ordered up the blue skies, no bugs and perfect temperatures. Add the wonderful sounds of the VSO, some wine, cheese and crackers, a blanket and someone to share it with and do you get.....perfection!

As it turned out, the clouds and rain left the area around 6:45 pm and the sky was crystal blue, right through the sunset. It was a true Vermont summer night. All topped off with fireworks and the 1812 overture. I hope you were able to go. The VSO is still traveling around this week, so check out their website and get to one of their outdoor concerts....wonderful.

Summer 2008 has been true to form for the past few weeks, warm, humid, full of surprise thunderstorms, sunshine; great for swimming and getting outside.

And remember only 20 weeks 'til winter. Get out there and play!