It looks like the snowmakers are going to be able to spend Thanksgiving Day sharing their feast with their families. This is great for them, but not for the rest of us. Warmer temperatures have migrated in to the area and it looks like the guns will be off until Saturday. The forecast for the weekend is colder temperatures returning on Saturday. When that happens, we will be firing up the snow guns.
The snowmaking plan will continue to be shoring up existing terrain and expanding as quickly as possible. We are planning to finish up Jolly Green Giant and Lower Arrow. There is also some work to be done in the base area off of the top of Quad A. New terrain that will be worked on will include Sunburst, Escape, Defiance. We will then head towards Solitude and Rimrock. The temperatures will dictate where we are headed and how much can be accomplished. Some of the longer range objectives will include Wardance, Lower Chief, Open Slope, and the Galaxy Bowl and of course Jackson Gore after December 1st. We will also be looking at beginning work on some of the slopeside trails around the resort as we head into December. The team looks at what will be best for skiers and riders as well as flow around the resort.
There have been questions on how we decide on ticket pricing. When deciding ticket prices I discuss with our VP of Marketing and Director of Operations some different scenarios. We try to find a balance of the value of the product, competition and market constraints. I feel that guests know that there is an expense to the skiing product which is being offered and expect to pay between 30 – 40% of a normal day ticket in early season. They also understand how the steps happen as more terrain is added. There are numerous discussions on these step increases and we are working on trying to make fewer steps, but at greater amounts as we work towards the normal ticket prices. The other factor we face is that many guests use vouchers or coupons during the early season, so many do not pay even our full-discounted price. I realize we won’t please everyone and there will always be naysayers, but in the end I feel our review and thought process is sound and fair.
Some have asked about the terrain features on Sapphire. Sapphire is a normal trail we use early season. Eb Kinney, Okemo's Mountain Manager; Dennis Brady, Park Manager; and John Boudro, our Park Groomer all work hard to provide a good early- season park that can mesh with the skiing public. We appreciate your support in our parks and understanding of the need to share the trails as we work to add terrain.
Reminder that Okemo will be supporting Hurricane Sandy relief beginning on Friday, Nov 23 and running thru Sunday, Nov 25. The first 1000 guests who give $50 or more in donation to the relief fund will receive a voucher for a midweek ticket good any day during the season. This comes on the heels of Okemo's $10,000 donation to the tri-state area Red Cross to benefit those in need after the storm. Help us raise more than $50,000 in support of our neighbors who were affected. This is Okemo's way of thanking those loyal guests as well as everyone who supported and helped Okemo, Ludlow and Vermont after Hurricane Irene last year.
Happy Thanksgiving, thanks for your support, and enjoy the snow.
Bruce Schmidt Okemo GM