Saturday, December 26, 2015

Holiday Week Update


Christmas has come and gone and Santa was a little stingy with our gift of snow or cold weather!  None the less we will stay true to the Okemo commitment and work hard to provide the best skiing experience we can.

We are doing all we can to get the snow where needed and make the experience the best we can with the temperatures we are facing.  The mountain operations staff is leaving a Snow Groomer up on the summit during the day in the event that we need to try to move some snow or patch an area. We also have a groomer on staff ready to roll if need be.  At this point the terrain on the summit is for advanced skiers and riders only.

Our multiple weather forecasts are showing that snowmaking is looking to return on Sunday afternoon into the evening.  This forecast is showing cold temperatures lasting into Tuesday.  This will be great news for everyone and Okemo will be firing up the guns as soon as we can. Our snowmaking plan at this point is to begin making snow on existing terrain. We want to get Nor’easter back on line, and patch up all the other existing trails we are skiing and riding on now. We also need to make snow around the top of the mountain near the summit lodge & top of Sunburst and Green Ridge.  Depending on the temperatures, we expect to be able to max out our system and this will mean we can go on new terrain.  Some of our objectives will be Wardance, Sweet Solitude, Coleman Brook and Southern Crossing.

There is a forecast for natural snow to fall.  While this forecast is a long way out, we are hopeful for some natural snow. Normally the first snow fall does not allow us to be able to open up any new terrain. Depending on any new snow fall, we will seriously look at some of the trails near the condominiums and ski on ski off homes and decide if we should run a groomer on them to help pack things down. The trail then at least could be used by homeowners if possible.  I don’t have to tell you that our snowmaking plan and natural snow fall forecast can be very fluid and flexible and may change quickly.

Okemo ski patrol and safety patrol will be out on the slopes with a presence to both help guests and enforce safe and in control skiing and riding.  We all understand that there is limited terrain and at times it can be crowded.  Our Ski Patrol and Safety patrol team will be visible around congested areas at different times during the ski day and will be working with skiers and riders to make everyone aware of the need to share the slopes and to do so at a speed that is with the flow of traffic.  Education is key and will be our first goal, but Okemo will take unsafe activities seriously and we feel this is best for all of our guests.

There have been questions on our terrain parks.  Okemo has been trying to balance the terrain we have with our guests needs.  For this reason we have been putting some terrain features on existing terrain.  You will notice we have been moving some around.  We will continue to do this, but also realize that getting a terrain park up and going is a priority and we will do this as soon as we can.
Guest service is important to Okemo. As a reminder to help making purchasing a ticket easier, The ticketing kiosks located at the base of the Sunburst as well Solitude will be open beginning on 12/26  Guests with Real.Easy cards who have registered them can load tickets on their cards on line and go direct to the lifts.  Okemo is also providing some other activities for guests to do beginning on 12/26.  For the latest information:

Thank you for your support and loyalty during this time.  We all are in this together and that statement sure rings true this season.  I don’t have to tell anyone about the weather. Everyone at Okemo is working hard to make the skiing and riding as enjoyable as possible.

Bruce Schmidt
Okemo GM

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Heading to Jackson Gore...


The Okemo snowmakers are working hard and the temperatures look like they will be cooperating this weekend.  We have a very aggressive plan to be executed. Snowmaking has been strong and many objectives were met.  Below are some highlights and information on where we are, where we are headed and the Crystal ball of the future

  • Snowmaking has been going on since Friday afternoon.  The objectives are to work on some of the existing terrain while at the same time heading into new territory.  Our plan is to run as many snow guns as possible with the temperatures that we have.  With Saturday night being the coldest night we fully anticipate having up to 200 guns running across the resort.  Okemo is working hard to have the Jackson Gore base area open by Monday.  We can assure our loyal guests that the entire Okemo team is laser focused to making this happen.
  • Our snowmaking plan continues to be to make snow on trails that will be for the good of many. What this means is that we will work on trails many people can ski and ride, we will be staying away from expert trails, we won’t be working on terrain park trails, but will put out rails and hits on existing terrain, and we will work to spread out across the mountain.
  • Once we get the Jackson Gore area open our anticipated trail count will be around 25. With these trails we will have 8-10 lifts operating during the holiday week.
  • Our Terrain park features will be on the upper section of Sapphire.  Okemo is committed to having some aspects of our terrain parks on the side of the Sapphire trail so all our guests can enjoy what they want on the slopes.
  • There will be a shuttle service between Jackson Gore and the slopes until the Jackson Gore Base area is opened. This shuttle service will be operating through the day to move skiers and riders as needed.  Okemo will also be enhancing our shuttle service through the Christmas Holidays in the Solitude condominiums and Solitude Single Family homes areas.
  • The ticketing kiosks located at the base of the Sunburst as well Solitude will be opening after Christmas.  Until that time guests will need to go down to the Jackson Gore base area or the Clocktower base area for their tickets. Guests with Real.Easy cards who have registered them can load tickets on their cards on line and go direct to the lifts.  A great suggestion for those who are not near a ticket location.
  • The long range forecast if for milder weather to return after the weekend and go through Christmas Eve.  Around Christmas it is looking like some colder weather will be in place for hopefully some snowmaking.
  • Our plan moving forward with the next cold snap will be to shore up any existing terrain challenges and then heads towards another trail in Solitude, Wardance or lower Chief, and look at some lodging trails such as Sachem or some in the Solitude area.  We also will begin heading toward South Face with Count Down, Sprint, Moment’s rest on the list.  This will happen when the next long term cold spell arrives.
I know these challenges have not been easy on anyone, but a large part of the battle is remaining positive and optimistic.  Negativity is contagious, but optimism will change attitudes and bring about a vision that things will be better.

Okemo appreciates the loyalty and support that you have given us and we look forward to getting through these weather challenges and will continue to work at providing the best possible experience you can have while at Okemo.

Happy holidays to everyone and Think Snow!

Bruce Schmidt
Okemo GM