Montpelier, VT – As temperatures drop and the seasons change at ski resorts across the Green Mountain State, they look forward to a winter season ahead with a full slate of lodging and restaurant renovations, lift and off-slope amenity improvements, and historic events. Here’s a round-up of what you’ll find waiting at Vermont resort this winter.
Killington Resort is bringing Alpine World Cup skiing back to the eastern U.S. for the first time in 25 years when the Audi FIS Ski World Cup takes place November 26-27. Giant Slalom and Slalom races will pit the best female technical alpine skiers against one another on Superstar trail, the infamous New England steep that is regularly the Eastern U.S.’s last remaining open ski trail through late May or June. The general public is invited to view the women’s giant slalom and slalom races in a free general admission area at the base of the trail with a jumbo screen for watching the full race course, plus a weekend loaded with festivities including free live music, multiple movie premiers and additional surprises to be announced.
Magic will be under new ownership in 2016-17 as SKI MAGIC LLC purchased the ski area with an initial five-year plan to invest capital into lifts and snowmaking. With a robust operating budget and new snow guns, Magic will have more snow in 2016-17, made earlier than ever before on both the easier East Side and more challenging West side trails. For the first time in years, both bottom-to-top summit lifts spanning the mountain’s full 1,600-foot vertical drop will be in full operation. There will also be new daycare facility for young parents and some refurbishing to the lodge and Black Line Tavern.
Stowe Mountain Resort
Brand new this winter at Stowe Mountain Resort is the opening of an $80 million Adventure Center. Located at Spruce Peak and adjacent to Stowe’s new outdoor Ice Skating Rink, Stowe’s Adventure Center will be the new home to all Stowe’s children’s programs, including daycare facilities and ski and ride programs for kids 3 and up. The building also includes new shops, an Indoor Climbing Center (called Stowe Rocks) and family-friendly dining.
Smugglers’ Notch Resort
After investing $5 million in snowmaking enhancements over the last four winters, Smugglers’ Notch Resort is turning its attention to the resort village’s most popular amenity for families, the FunZone, with expanded space, a new mix of features and improved services. One section of the new FunZone will feature inflatables, games and areas for imaginative play with primary appeal to families with kids ages 2 to 10. A second area will offer features with appeal to older children and adults such as a ninja warrior-type obstacle course, laser tag, a climbing wall, column walk, slot car racing, and arcade and redemption center. The new FunZone, a $4 million investment, is expected to open mid-winter 2016-17.
Queeche Ski Area
The Quechee Club ushers in a new experience for its members, visitors and area guests this winter season with the completion of a newly constructed Aquatic Complex and fitness club expansion. The complex includes a new indoor pool area with an aerobics room, in addition to implementing a new retention pond. The indoor complex, approximately 10,000 square feet, is twice the size of its initial pool and includes four lap lanes and an open concept design with natural post and beam architecture.
Burke Mountain Resort
In receivership after the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission charged the co-owners of Burke Mountain and Jay Peak with fraud in April, The Lodge at Burke Mountain finally opened its doors at the beginning of this month after nine months of delays. The 116-room hotel is situated mid-mountain and provides a true ski-in ski-out experience. Suites range from a standard studio to three-bedroom with onsite amenities including a pub, restaurant, heated pool and hot tub, fitness center, arcade, retail and repair shop for guests to enjoy. Striking views of the Willoughby Gap and Burke Mountain can be seen from nearly every window in the hotel. Reservations are live and can be made at either skiburke.com or by calling (866) 966-4820.
Jay Peak Resort
The folks at Jay Peak are still of the mind that the 5,000 acres between their borders represent one massive terrain park, but they understand the need for focus. So this season the resort is increasing the snowmaking capacity to its LZ and Jug Handle parks by 60%, running a new water line up the Interstate trail and installing 20 new guns along the Interstate. The expansion will not only allow Jay Peak parks to open sooner, but will also allow the resort to open learning terrain at its Tramside area earlier in the season.
Okemo Mountain Resort
After several years of major snowmaking improvements totaling more than $1 million, Okemo is expanding its snowmaking system again. A full 18,000 feet of new pipe — more than three miles — will introduce snowmaking capabilities on Catnap and Suncatcher in the resort’s South Face area. This upgrade also includes $30,000 of new snowmaking hose and secures Okemo’s snowmaking coverage at 98 percent of its trails.
A Prinoth Bison X park cat, equipped with a 400-horsepower Caterpillar engine that meets all federal emission standards, is the newest addition to Okemo’s fleet of grooming machines as Okemo enters its third year of partnership with Snowpark Technologies. Rental equipment upgrades include 515 Völkl skis, 153 Burton snowboards and more than 1,000 pairs of boots. Also, Okemo has joined the M.A.X Pass family of resorts this year. Okemo season passholders can take their pass on the road – up to 30 mountains with an Add-On upgrade.
Stratton Mountain Resort
Stratton has announced a new restaurant in the village, Karma: an Asian fusion experience. A menu inspired by the Asian travels of Karma’s chef will debut with traditional ramen bowls and dumplings fresh-made with local ingredients, imaginative entrees and craft cocktails with a twist like vodka filtered through Herkimer diamonds for a side of positive energy.
Stratton’s snowmaking fleet is getting a new computerized control system this winter, allowing snowmakers to record real-time energy use for increased snowmaking efficiency.
Stratton’s Mountain Sports School is also welcoming Tim Massucco as its new Program Manager for the Stratton Winter Sports Club Freestyle. Massucco’s 16 years of coaching experience will enhance the training curriculums critical to the success of weekend and full-time competitive freestyle skiers.
Mount Snow Resort
Winter 2016-2017 welcomes the Peak Pass, which features a total of six pass options valid at seven different mountain locations across four states in the Northeast.
With the success of the Grommet Jam Series, Mount Snow is increasing the uphill capacity in its beginner terrain park by 50 percent, by replacing the resort’s Ski Baba Lift with a 400-foot SunKid conveyor called Grommet (Lift One).
Taking advantage of the dry spring this year Mount Snow increased its trail and glades work. So far over 1,600 hours have been spent pruning, mowing and clearing new lines through tree skiing areas in preparation for powdery runs this winter.
Suicide Six Ski Area
Woodstock Inn & Resort’s Suicide Six Ski Area is replacing its chair #1 with a new quad chairlift that will double capacity, offering a more comfortable and rapid ascent to the summit. Leitner-Poma of America, Inc. is installing the lift at an estimated cost of $1.5 million. Funding for the new chairlift is being provided through a grant from the Laurance S. Rockefeller Fund.
Bromley Mountain Resort
With a focus on both establishing new habits and reinforcing current good ones, Bromley rethinks trash, recycling and composting food waste to implement a “Go Green” initiative this winter season. The intent is to eliminate organic waste and all recyclables from the Bromley dumpsters containing refuse destined for the landfill. Recycling for bottles and cans has always been available around the resort, but not universally across the base area, and composting has never been an option. While Bromley works towards keeping the planet beautiful, they’ve also announced that base area buildings have also received a makeover.
Over the past year most suites and 25 hotel rooms at Bolton Valley have received major upgrades. The units have seen improvements such as new carpet, drapes, furniture, painting, renovated bathrooms, new mattresses and new artwork. The improvements enhance guest comfort in the rooms that had become a bit dated.
Sugarbush has invested $750,000 into capital improvements for the 2016-17 winter season which include lift improvements and improvements to the snowmaking pond. The resort has also completed Gadd Brook Residences, 16 ski-in/ski-out condominiums at the base of Lincoln Peak available as two-, three-, and four-bedroom units.
Mad River Glen
Mad River Glen’s goal is to maintain and preserve the experience rather than overhaul or upgrade it. Both the skier-owners and the management understand that skiers come to Mad River for the unique combination of legendary terrain, sense of community, low skier density and intimate atmosphere. In 20 years of co-op ownership, Mad River Glen has invested over $5 million in capital improvements.
The Hermitage Club
Southern Vermont’s private Hermitage Club provides one of the fastest and most efficient ski experiences in the northeast. Not only do the club’s members enjoy the absence of lift lines, its high-speed summit lift is a six-person heated bubble chair that zips skiers to the top of the mountain in less than six minutes. Meanwhile, prospective homeowners await approval of the Club’s Act 250 permit to construct their own private mountain oasis.