Vermont’s resorts have been busy improving lodging, restaurants, lifts, off-slope amenities and hosting an historic event.
Killington Resort brought FIS Alpine World Cup skiing back to the eastern US for the first time in 25 years when it hosted a Women’s Giant Slalom and Slalom in November. If you want to test yourself on a trail that challenged the best in the world, Killington’s Superstar is one of a handful of trails that bear that distinction in the East. Other eastern US Alpine World Cup sites include, Whiteface, NY, Waterville Valley, NH, and Cannon Mountain, NH.
Magic is under new ownership. An initial 5-year plan to invest capital into lifts and snowmaking is in place. Magic will have more snow in 2016-17, made earlier than ever before to improve the consistency and reliability of skiing on both the easier East Side and more challenging West side trails. For the first time in years, both bottom-to-top summit lifts (1,600’ vertical) will be in full operation. There’s also a new daycare facility for young parents and some refurbishing to the lodge and Black Line Tavern
Stowe Mountain Resort
Stowe Mountain Resort is opening an 80-million-dollar Adventure Center. This state-of-the art facility sets a new standard in the industry for kids and family amenities. Located at Spruce Peak and adjacent to Stowe’s new outdoor Ice Skating Rink, Stowe’s Adventure Center is home to all Stowe’s children’s programs. From beautiful daycare facilities to ski and ride programs for kids 3 and up, the new Adventure Center has significantly advanced and expanded family amenities and services at the resort. 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. The new FunZone with its expanded space, mix of features, and improved services underscores Smugglers’ continuing commitment to serving the interests of its family visitors through innovative programming and activities. 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 to complement the refined yet understated aesthetics of the Clubhouse.
Burke Mountain Resort
The Burke Mountain Hotel and Conference Center opened its doors on September 1st. 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 bedrooms with onsite amenities including a pub, restaurant, heated pool & 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 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 increased the snowmaking capacity to its LZ and Jug Handle parks by 60%, ran a new waterline up the Interstate trail and installed 20 new guns along the Interstate. The expansion not only allows Jay Peak parks to open sooner, but also allows 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 expanded its snowmaking system again. 18,000 feet of new pipe introduced snowmaking capabilities on Catnap and Suncatcher in the South Face area. A Prinoth Bison X park cat, equipped with a Caterpillar 400 horsepower, tier 4 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 Volkl 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 announced an addition to the vibrant slope-side Village dining fleet– Karma: an Asian fusion experience. The menu is inspired by the Asian travels of Karma’s chef. It features traditional ramen bowls, fresh dumplings 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 has a new computerized control system, allowing snowmakers to record real time energy use for increased snowmaking efficiency.
Mount Snow Resort
Winter 2016-2017 welcomes Mount Snow’s greatest season pass offering yet, 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 our Ski Baba Lift with a 400’ SunKid conveyor called Grommet (Lift One). Lastly, taking advantage of the dry spring this year Mount Snow increased trail and glades work. So far over 1600+ 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 has replaced 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., installed 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. Recognized as one of the oldest ski areas in the country, Suicide Six has a rich history. Today, Suicide Six is one of Vermont’s leading family-friendly ski resorts featuring more than 100 acres of skiing on 24 trails and slopes with terrain suitable for all abilities.
Sugarbush has invested $750,000 into improving lifts and their snowmaking pond. Last season Sugarbush installed the Valley House Quad. With the new quad, Sugarbush’s uphill capacity is one of the largest in the northeast, while still managing to spread traffic across 16 lifts and two mountains. The resort has also completed Gadd Brook Residences, sixteen 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. The ability of Mad River Glen to consistently reinvest in the mountain’s infrastructure is a testament to the success of the Cooperative. 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.