Thursday, December 25, 2014
Happy Holidays to everyone! I wanted to take some time, as the Holiday week approaches, to give an update as to what is happening around the resort.
The weather that has been around for the past couple of days has now moved on, and we are looking at some winter weather returning. The good news is that the mountain and trails held up pretty well. As the temperatures get colder, we will no doubt end up losing some of the natural trails and most likely the gladed trails. Grooming should be able to bring back some of the trails as they harden up. The moisture in the snow will be draining out and with more skier usage and grooming; the surface should remain Machine Groomed.
Snowmaking is looking to return this afternoon into the evening. The first priority of snowmaking will be to head to existing terrain. The temperatures will force snowmaking up on the top half of the mountain. We will light up guns on Sapphire, Upper World Cup, Nor’easter, Count Down and get as many going as we can. The next step would be to get guns going on Easy Rider, Rimrock, Lower Limelight and some others. The plan is to get to the base area of both the Clock Tower and Jackson Gore. As we are making on existing terrain and those trails that have snow made on them, we will head to new terrain, such as Quantum Leap, Vortex, Black Out, Sel’s Choice and the halfpipe. Snowmaking will be a priority for all of us here at Okemo for the next 10 days.
Many guests have been very appreciative of the new SPT-designed terrain parks that have been built at Okemo. We are very excited about our partnership and happy with the outcome. Our plan with the terrain parks is to make more snow on Black Out, so we can get the Crazy Train (Progression) Park up and going. Until that happens, we are planning on leaving the features on Sapphire. Sapphire is a temporary trail we use for terrain parks in the early season. Normally we would be out of there by now, but with the up and down snowmaking temperatures we have had, we have not been able to make as much snow as needed on Black Out. The Okemo Parks staff has been doing a good job of putting rails and features on Sapphire and keeping them to the side of the trail. I am hopeful we can co-mingle on Sapphire for a little while longer and then head to Black Out.
Guests have been concerned and commenting on the practice of trails being put on hold. The term “On Hold” is used when a trail won’t be open or may be closed due to snowmaking, grooming, weather or some other reason. I really try not to put trails “on hold” if they are going to be closed for an extended period of time. “On Hold” is used to let guests know that the trail is not open and they should not anticipating being able to ski or ride it. The main reason “On Hold” is used at Okemo is that we are trying to give good information, but at the same time we don’t want to have our trail count to bounce up and down with opening and closing of trails. I know that there are some guests who may not agree, and I can appreciate that, but in the end I feel “On Hold” works to give skiers and riders information on the status and allows us some flexibility during the ski day. Our main concern is safety and experience, and sometimes it takes our Ski Patrol to check them out later in the day.
This past week, we have seen some weather issues and hopefully these are behind us now. Our priority is to get the Sunburst Six open on time. Early morning decisions are made when there are weather issues, and we prioritize the Jackson Gore lifts and then a route to the summit. The mountain operations staff works hard to do what they can and always have the guest safety and ease in their decisions. For the next 10 days, thru Sunday January 4th, opening time will be 8am for the lifts. A reminder, that the opening time for South Face Express, Green Ridge Express and Glades Peak is 30 minutes later each day. (8:30 Weekends/Holiday and 9:30am Midweek).
In closing, I want you to know that Okemo is working at providing the best possible vacation experience for all our guests. While we cannot control the weather, we can be helpful and friendly and work at providing an enjoyable resort experience with a positive attitude and making your visit fun. We will continue to do this and strive to make you want to return to Okemo Mountain Resort. Thanks for your support and patience. Your loyalty is appreciated.
Happy Holidays to all