Happy New Year everyone! The ground is now white, more trails and lifts are open and the forecast is looking like snowmaking will be in full force for a while. Great news as we head into 2016.
Speaking of snowmaking temperatures, the long range is looking pretty good heading into this coming week -- cold nights and daytime temperatures in the teens and 20's, increasing to the 30's towards the end of the week. This will give Okemo snowmakers some great temps to lay down the snow. We are working in several directions now with guns running on Count Down/Sprint/Moment's Rest as well as Rimrock, Defiance and also over on the lower half of Sapphire. Also on the snowmaking map are Sachem, Quantum Leap, Coleman Brook, Sidewinder and then we'll probably look towards Moonshadow. We are still looking to open additional trails in different lift pods with the slope side housing trails also an important part of our plan. We also hope to have the beginner teaching carpets ready to go by next weekend.
Terrain parks are on our mind. While no firm commitment has been made, we are looking at beginning with Black Out and the zone area and moving on from there. We do realize there are no mogul trails yet and will do our best to find a place to make some soon.
Okemo remains committed to our race and competition program and we are going to make snow on Wardance which will allow us to begin holding race training and race events. We do need to make enough snow to allow for fence installation so it does take a little bit more snow. We also understand that we need mogul trails and some terrain hits for snowboarding training. It is never easy to get all the different priorities, but we will continue to try.
Okemo ski patrol and safety patrol have been 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. 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.
I realize that not everything was smooth this past Christmas Holiday week. No doubt some or many of you were caught in long lines, including lifts lines that were longer than normal. Many of you probably also feel that we should rethink our new RFID ticketing program. We have had some glitches, but we are constantly working out the bugs. The Tuesday and Wednesday of the past week were tough. I would agree that we should have had two base quads and the Sachem lift running sooner this week. We were up against such a weather issue that we just did not have the time or temperatures to make enough snow to get those two lifts running. The wind on Tuesday was tough and our communication on wind holds, shuttle services and other things that changed were more than likely not up to par in many instances. My guess is that we probably upset many of you who are our skiing guests. We had lines in our culinary departments and lines trying to book ski and ride lessons. While it is no excuse, our staff has worked hard and because of the weather in November & December, we were unable to do as much training as we normally do. Again, not your fault or an excuse, but more of a reality.
My reason for mentioning these things is not for any sympathy or to excuse instances when we have fallen short. It is to let you know that we realize we had some issues, we do have some weaknesses and we do need to improve. I apologize for any inconvenience; we are sorry if you missed some skiing time and will do our best to make all of this up to you during the season. The Okemo TEAM is 100% committed to making your ski and ride experience the best possible and we are going to work doubly hard to keep you as a satisfied and loyal guest. The weather is a challenge, but out of our control. Our commitment is to improve and make better those things we can control and not worry about those things we cannot control. Our staff will remain positive and upbeat and look forward as 2016 arrives as we are all in this together!
I want to take an opportunity to THANK all of our loyal guest -- seasons pass holders and Okemo Friends who have supported us this season and the past Christmas vacation week. There has been some great skiing and riding and no doubt some not so great skiing and riding, but the worst is behind us and now we are moving forward. Cold weather and hopefully some snow are on the horizon and we are looking forward to it.