Friday, November 7, 2008

Almost Time for a Magic Carpet Ride

Fresh off the boat from Europe, it’s hard to imagine why this bright orange container would get stuck at Customs, but at last the final pieces of our new loading and unloading carpets for the South Ridge Quad B have made their way to the mountain. Our operations crew is hard at work putting the jigsaw puzzle together and assembling the carpets so they’ll be ready just in time to shoot you onto the lift like you’re a piece of produce at the grocery store. Whether you’re a delicate little tomato who’s just getting acquainted with the whole skiing or snowboarding thing or a hot shot jalapeno, the carpet will take you to the top of the lift with ease and efficiency.

All vegetable metaphors aside, this technology is the hottest thing to hit the slopes since ‘80s day-glo, and it’s European, so you know it’s good. The buzz has reached as far as my home state of New Jersey, where we especially love all things imported from Europe, like pizza and french fries.

If you haven’t noticed, we’re goin’ bananas here at the mountain in anticipation of opening day and we hope you are too. We'll have to wait a little while until we have snow at the base to ride the new rugs, but the upper part of the mountain is set to open November 15. We're all really anxious to get our magic genie on, but please do not try to ride your grocery store’s checkout counter. Trust me, it won’t be the same.

Afternoon Update:

The cement void beneath our South Ridge Quad B has been filled with the frame for our new loading carpet this afternoon. Next, our mountain operations staff will mount the rubbery tread on the frame, plug it in, and scour the resort to find a willing test pilot. Weeeeee!

You can see a teaser vid of the loading and unloading carpets in action here. Enjoy.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

May I climb? Climb away!

There are times at Okemo when the multitude of activities slow for a few short weeks. Yes, the golf course is still open, yes there is snow at the top of the mountain, yes the Spring House fitness facility at Jackson Gore calls my name every time I loosen my belt, but occasionally I want a totally different activity. That's when it is great to be at the center of it all. Just a short drive up Rt 103 and you're in Rutland Vermont, home of the Green Mountain Rock Climbing Center. With the days a bit shorter now and no time to play 9 holes of golf after work we're forced to find alternatives. Last night I was coaxed into indoor rock climbing. Now I don't exactly have the body of a rock climber (more the body of a sturdy belay base), but I'm always up for something new.

For a little more the $20 I got a lesson in rock climbing safety, and 2 hours of climbing (you can climb all day if you want, we just went from 6pm until they closed at 8pm). After two hours I was ready to plant my feet on the ground for a while. Having never climbed before I was surprised at the relative ease of the sport - until we started taking 'routes'.

There are a lot of rocks on the walls all around you, and if you just climb up using whatever is close it's really not that hard. We then started taking routes up. Rocks marked with various colors of tape (for different difficulty levels). The object being that you can only use, for instance, a rock with a red mark next to it. Let me tell you, that adds a lot of difficulty to the sport. With a little team work and a lot of trust in each other we were able to make it up MOST of the routes we tried. What's going to keep me coming back? We made it up MOST of the routes we tried, and the hardest route we tried was level 2 of the 8 or so levels they offer.

So, when you visit Okemo this winter and you're looking for some Apres Ski activity for the kids, head up to Rutland for the Green Mountain Rock Climbing Center - I'm sure you'll have a great time working together to get to the top. Remember, when you get up, tap your head on the ceiling - the mark of success.

Ready to climb - Ready to belay - May I climb? - Climb away!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Put Yer Dukes Up Fall

We all make mistakes, and so it turns out I was wrong when I said Halloween marked the end of warm weather. The forecast for this week is far from wintry, but with every last warm day I know it’s only a matter of time until they’re a thing of the past and it’s all-out wintertime. Our thermometers have been shooting up and down like those strong man games at carnivals guys hit with the giant sledgehammer to win their girlfriends cheap stuffed animals, and it appears that the battle is on. Fall and winter are in a game of tug of war, and I think we all know who’s going to come out the victor.

With Okemo’s state-of-the-art snowmaking equipment and our team of snowgun slingin’ outlaws, I highly doubt fall will rear its rain-favorin’ head around here for much longer. Our guys got the snowmaking underway this weekend up on Buckhorn and Countdown, but they’ve had to holster their snowguns for just a little bit until the temps dip back down. I took a trip up earlier to check out their handiwork and couldn’t help but let out a big yeehaw!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Snowy Sunday @ Okemo

It's a great day at Okemo! The sky is blue, the temperatures are cold, and the snow is flying!

In fact, we officially kicked off the 08/09 season last night, when our Snow Pros took to the mountain and began covering the mountain in a beautiful blanket of white! Snowmaking commenced around 6pm and will continue throughout the day today. Snowmakers concentrated on covering the area around the summit with a eye toward covering Buckhorn, Count Down and Upper World Cup.

Opening day is planned for Saturday, November 15th - just under two weeeks away!

Get your skis and boards ready - it's going to be a FANTASTIC season.