Monday, October 31, 2011

Season Preview Outtakes: Whiteface

Following is the fifth and final Season Preview Outtake. In this post, Whiteface Mountain's General Manager, Bruce McCulley, and ORDA’s Public Relations Coordinator, Jon Lundin, expand on some of the topics that we covered for my Season Preview article on Adirondack

Jeff: I know you’re doing quite a bit of work in the base lodge this year.

Bruce: We changed the food in the J.Lohr cafĂ© last year, it’s really high quality food but the kitchen is kind of marginal, so we’re renovating that. We’re bringing in new Rossignol skis from for the rental shop that will use rocker technology, and putting in a whole new racking system to organize the rental area better. We’re completely renovating the retail shop, it had been old and outdated, kind of dark.

Jeff: How about snowmaking and grooming?

Whiteface Mountain as it appeared just before the start of the 2010-2011 season.

The Saratoga Skier and Hiker, first-hand accounts of adventures in the Adirondacks and beyond, and Gore Mountain ski blog.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

2 Wheels for my Quiver

This is the time of year when skiers start posting pictures of their ski quiver, like this,

Historical ski quiver, from The Real Jay Peak Ski Report

Monday, October 24, 2011

Season Preview Outtakes: Willard Mountain

Following is the fourth in my series of Season Preview Outtakes. In this post, Chic Wilson, owner and General Manager of Willard Mountain, talks about social media and summer operations, among other topics.

Jeff: What kinds of changes are in store for skiers this winter?

Chic: We’ve significantly re-graded the Bunnyhop trail. I can’t even begin to guess how much dirt we’ve moved to eliminate the flat section in the middle and make the trail more skiable. We’ve shifted the whole trail over to skier’s right and built it up by about 10 feet. It should make a big difference this winter, and we’ll do more work on it next year too.

With all that work on Bunnyhop, we thought it would be a good opportunity to come up with a new name. So we reached out to our friends on Facebook with a contest, and the overwhelming consensus – 60% – was to keep it as Bunnyhop. Facebook has really allowed us to communicate and interact with our customers, to keep them engaged and feel like they are involved with Willard in the off season. That’s one reason why we’re New York’s Coolest Little Ski Area.

Jeff: How about snowmaking?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Upcoming Fall Events: Flicks, Swaps and Shows

Warren Miller’s 62nd winter sports film "…Like There’s No Tomorrow," hosted by skiing icon Jonny Moseley, is your annual reminder that winter is on its way:

Monday, October 17, 2011

Season Preview Outtakes: Hickory Ski Center

Bill Van Pelt's investment in Hickory Ski Center two years ago breathed new life into the ski area, allowing it to re-open after having been shuttered for four winters. In the following interview - the third in a series of outtakes from my Season Preview that ran in Adirondack Almanack last month - I talk with Bill about the progress that's been made at Hickory over the past two years, as well as where Hickory is heading.

Jeff: There have been some really significant, visible improvements at Hickory since 2009, but the one question at the top of everyone's list is whether there will there be snowmaking at Hickory. That could be a real game-changer. I understand that you have approval to draw water from the Hudson River.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Owl's Head and Roaring Brook Falls: 10/09/2011

Looking up Cascade Pass from Owl's Head.

The Saratoga Skier and Hiker, first-hand accounts of adventures in the Adirondacks and beyond, and Gore Mountain ski blog.

It turns out that one of the nicest weekends of the summer fell in mid-October. With bright skies and temperatures in the 70s, the peak autumn foliage (at least at lower elevations) was just icing on the cake.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Season Preview Outtakes: West Mountain

Following is the second in a series of interviews with Adirondack ski area personnel. In this post, I talk with Mike Barbone, General Manager and owner of West Mountain Ski Center in Queensbury.

Jeff: Last year you installed the new SnowDAG electronic ticketing system, how has that worked out for you?

Mike: Some people resisted the idea of spending $5 on the card, but most people went along with it fine. It gives us a lot of opportunities going forward to make skiing convenient for our customers. For example, somebody could come over, park at the triple chair and make a couple runs – the RFID will allow us to do stuff like that. Why should somebody have to buy a full ticket when all they want to do is make a couple of runs? A lot of Canadian areas already use the RFID ticketing systems to do skiing-by-the-hour or even skiing-by-the-run. Now that we’ve got the system, we’ll move towards options like that. It’s all about convenience for the customer.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Teaser from Sunday River, Maine

For the past four seasons, Sunday River has been the first Eastern U.S. ski resort to open, and it is looking as though they will extend that streak. Last night and this morning, Sunday River fired 50 snowmaking guns in a pre-season test. If this short video clip doesn't get you stoked for the start of ski season, nothing will!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Season Preview Outtakes: Gore Mountain

Following is the first in a series of interviews with Adirondack ski area personnel. In this post, I talk with Gore Mountain's marketing manager, Emily Stanton. I've intentionally omitted the parts that have already appeared in my Season Preview article on

Jeff: The snowmaking improvements this year are really impressive. Can you give an update on the status of the 30 additional guns that are slated for Showcase and Wild Air?

Emily: They have not been ordered, however they have been prioritized. There is still time, and we are hoping that order gets approved.

Jeff: What details can you give on the new terrain at the Ski Bowl?

Emily: There will be two new black diamond glades located north of the Hudson Chair. The northernmost glade will be named Ski Bowl Glade. The glade closer to the lift line will be named Hudson Glade. It will follow some of the historic Ski Bowl terrain, and will also provide a by-pass to 46er. They’re both going to be really nice, clean glades.

Jeff: Speaking of 46er, will that trail get snowmaking for this winter? You have the pipe on hand, right?