Friday, September 9, 2011

Okemo is "Vermont Strong"; Winter is On Schedule!

Dear friends,

It's been a difficult couple of weeks since Hurricane Irene passed through Vermont, leaving many friends and neighbors with personal challenges of their own. Communities have rallied in support of those in need and the newly created motto, "I am Vermont Strong," has taken on the status of a battle cry.

Okemo Mountain Resort did not escape Irene’s fury unscathed, but most of the damage has already been repaired. Okemo's Mountain Operations and Facilities Operations staff worked their usual magic and got the job done. Okemo’s Clock Tower Base Area suffered most of the damage. Flooding washed out Mountain Road below the snowmaking pump house. Water and mud washed through the base area, depositing several feet of silt and sand in the Snow Stars learning area, also known as Galaxy Bowl. There was some wash-out along the sides of Okemo Ridge Road, near the Morning Star lift and the road to Okemo Valley Golf Club was washed out temporarily.

On the positive side...

The Jackson Gore Inn never even lost power during the storm and the Jackson Gore Base Area suffered no damage at all.

Okemo Valley Golf Club was accessible and open for play on 18 holes starting at noon on Tuesday – just two days after the storm. Tater Hill also reopened with 18 holes of play that same day.

Mountain Road was repaired and autumn leaf peepers will be able to wind their way to the summit of Okemo Mountain for colorful vistas this foliage season.

Recovery is underway and we are aggressively tackling clean up and repair around the Resort and throughout the community. Ludlow has gone from being one of the hardest-hit Vermont villages to one of the quickest to recover. We spent the first few days in the aftermath of Irene cut off from the world due to washouts and road closures. Most roads have been repaired and access to Okemo Valley and Okemo Mountain Resort has been restored.

We’ve received an outpouring of support from Okemo guests and homeowners, and we’re grateful for their concern and contributions to our neighbors in need.

We are using social media, Facebook and Twitter, to chronicle the recovery status of Okemo and the surrounding communities. We’ll be out and about, speaking with locals and snapping photos of the progress, so fans and followers can see that Okemo Valley is ready to welcome visitors.

We’re looking forward to a spectacular fall foliage season and the start of another brilliant ski season soon afterward.

Bruce Schmidt,

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

More Ways to Help Ludlow, a message from Diane Mueller

Although a lot of hard work is bringing Ludlow back from a devastating storm, there are many people whose lives have been impacted in a way that is hard to totally comprehend. Okemo employees and residents are literally shoveling out and throwing out their worldly possessions. People have lost everything from their homes to clothes to furniture.

Not all the destruction is visible, but filling garbage bags in a basement filled with mud and rotting food made it clear to me that people have immediate needs and longer term needs as they put their lives back together.

Vermonters are resilient and industrious, as was evidenced at Okemo where we have repaired much of the damage and are open for business. Now we are focusing all our efforts on helping people rebuild their homes and their lives. If you are looking for a way to help, please join us in buying gift cards at local and other businesses and sending them to this address. Alternatively, for those wishing to help that are not not in the area, please consider sending a donation.

Okemo Mountain Resort
Attn: Flood Relief Aid
77 Okemo Ridge Road
Ludlow, VT 05149

These will be distributed to Okemo employees and local residents who are victims of Irene. We suggest buying gift cards in increments of $50 or less. Thank you for helping us get back on their feet before the snow flies.

Local businesses selling gift cards:

Aubuchon’s Hardware
LaValley’s Building Supply
Singleton’s Market

Other businesses close by might also have gift cards where people can buy clothing, food and building supplies.

Diane Mueller
Executive Vice President
Okemo Mountain Resort