Friday, November 30, 2012

Heading into December


I looked at the calendar and I was reminded that today is the last day of November.  Hard to believe…..  I’m not going to bore you with the, “this year is better than last year”.. stuff, you’ve heard all of that and know that this year we had around 5 times as many trails this year vs last...(4 in 2011, 20 in 2012) . I will say that this year has been interesting. Snowmaking has been sporadic and I’m really happy with where we are with trail count at this time. Raymond and his staff have done a tremendous job!  The temperature has been all over the place this past week. You could see the temperature go up as soon as the clouds rolled in.  Then we would chase the temperatures up the mountain with snowmaking guns and back down in the early morning. The snowmakers were on the move this week making adjustments.  This time of the year is tough to move around as they need to use their walking sticks, 4-wheelers or snowmobiles depending on where we are making snow.
The plan will be to ski into Solitude on Saturday morning.  It looks like we will be skiing Heaven’s Gate and Coleman Brook and then down onto Mountain Road. From there to get back to Solitude, you will ski the rest of Mountain Road to Lower Arrow and then down Lower Arrow to Village Run and the base of the Solitude Express.  Also looking to add Upper Fall line, Sprint and Moments Rest from the Glades Peak Quad chairlift area.

With these weather patterns, the groomers are really doing their part.  They are out there every night and each morning cleaning up from skiing or snowmaking.  There are only 3-4 working right now depending on the day.  The groomers are also helping out the night custodial staff by getting them up to the summit lodge as well as helping deliver food to the summit lodge.  During a normal winter week we make 2 -3 food deliveries a week and the trash is also brought down each night.  A lot goes on during the night by this dedicated crew of staff.

Making snow in Solitude early morning

Looking at the Crystal ball, it would seem that there will be some downtime for the snowmakers for a couple days after this weekend with snowmaking looking to begin again Tuesday night into Wednesday.  Jackson Gore will be on the list as well as finishing the rest of Sapphire as well as Screamin Demon and also heading towards Lower Chief, Wardance, and Open Slope and begin looking at some of the Slopeside lodging trails.  There are many priorities and we are constantly shuffling and moving around.  This time of the year, there is a lot of chasing the temperatures!

Thanks as always for your support and I'd love to hear how we are doing.

Bruce Schmidt
Okemo GM

Monday, November 26, 2012

22-25 trails by the weekend!

Coming out of Thanksgiving weekend we are right smack in the middle of some cold weather and making snow 24/7. The skiing has been really good since we opened. The mountain ops staff and snowmakers brought back the conditions very nicely on Saturday after warmer weather changed quickly to a cold and freeze cycle. The conditions on Saturday, while not perfect, were pretty good considering the changing weather patterns. Snowmaking began early Saturday morning and on some trails, guests were enjoying the slopes while the guns were running. This isn’t something we normally do, but we felt it was important to help the conditions in some locations. Snowmaking will continue to be aggressive as we head into the first weekend of December. Our goal this weekend is to get the Solitude area opened up and then head towards Jackson Gore as well as some of the lower mountain trails like Wardance, Lower Chief & Open Slope. I anticipate having 22 – 25 trails for weekend skiing and riding.

I have been asked about the next 30 days which will be Christmas Day, and what is going to happen with snowmaking and skiing terrain. While it is hard to predict, I can assure everyone that we will work hard to meet our objectives. We will be heading towards trails in all parts of the resort. There are questions on the slopeside trails. Our plan will be to work on these as we go to the different pods. I can assure everyone that we realize the need to get those trails done quickly and will be doing all we can to make this happen.

Thank you to all our season passholders who attended the annual appreciation party this past Saturday evening. It was great to see so many returning guests and new faces. Okemo season passholders are a hardy bunch and very loyal to Okemo, and we appreciate your support.

Thank-you to everyone who supported our Hurricane Sandy Relief effort. Okemo will be making a significant donation to the Red Cross in the Tri-state area. Our thoughts and prayers are with all those affected by this weather event and especially the Okemo guests who were affected.

Thanks for your support and enjoy the snow.

Bruce Schmidt
Okemo GM