Employee Rally

Justin&Ian-HKDPrior to each season Smugglers’ holds an employee rally. It’s fun to see returning faces and meet new folks, and it’s a great way for resort staff to learn about what’s new for the season through various presentations. One of the sessions today was hosted by snowmaking manager Justin Thoelke and Ian Jarrett of HKD Snowmakers. Justin and Ian talked about the resort’s improvements in snowmaking over the last several years, including the completion this summer of the pipeline that enhances the water supply for snowmaking. They also described the balance of weather, resources, and timing that affect the art and science of snowmaking. Employees asked a lot of questions that included wondering what types of snowguns Smuggs has, what temperatures are optimal to make snow, and where current snowmaking efforts have focused on the mountain (thus far, efforts have focused on intermediate trails on Sterling and on Sir Henry’s for beginner terrain).


Thanks to Justin and Ian for sharing their expertise!


Winter prep continues

Our opening day, November 27, is in sight! The stretch of warm and dry weather we’ve had this fall has been perfect for continuing winter season preparation on the mountain. Those efforts include:

Snowmaking – All snowmaking lines have been tested. Installation of new snowmaking pipe on the Magic Learning Trail is almost completed, which will improve the coverage on this beginner trail. As for the top of mind question – when will snowmaking begin? – Mother Nature typically dials down the temps mid-month. Our snowmaking team is ready to jump into action as soon as temperatures support their efforts.

Trail clean-up – Our brush crew is done sprucing up the upper mountain trails and is now focusing on Morse Mountain’s trails.

New headquarters for the Morse Ski Patrol – The building that was our new mountain biking shop this summer and fall is being winterized for patrol. That building is adjacent to Sir Henry’s Learning Hill and behind the Magic Lift.

The Riglet Park gets a new home – After 3 years on Sir Henry’s, the Riglet Park is now in its new home on the Village Green. The park will continue to support young riders as part of our new expanded learning playground for skiers and riders ages 3-6. Kids in our Snow Sport University programs will acquire their first skiing and riding skills while having a ton of fun on sculpted snow features. They’ll also enjoy features like hoops, a snowball wall, and more that will encourage them to move around and develop confidence on the snow. Wander by and check it out once the season starts!


Hail to the Brush Cutters

Brush Cutters 2015

October 1, 2015
Photo by Kim Martin

“Oh hail to the brush cutters, brush cutters, brush cutters.
Hail to our belov-ed brush cutting crew.
They climb and they cut.
And they seldom will fuss.
Hail to our won-der-ful brush cutting crew!”

…all credit to Mike Chait, SSU Snowboard Program Manager


Winter news

Started your winter countdown yet? We have, and we’ve got exciting news to share! First, snowmaking enhancements continue. Over the last three seasons, Smugglers’ has added more than 450 high efficiency tower guns and additional fan guns to fully convert the snowmaking fleet to fully high efficiency snowguns. New snow gun placement this winter will serve Wanderer, a favorite learning trail where novices at Smuggs enjoy their first experience with natural features in Billy Bob’s Bear Den. Many Smuggs skiers and riders also know the Wanderer trail as a favorite access trail for stops at Father Winter’s slopeside tipi.

This year, work was completed on a new pipeline for water access to support an expansion in snowmaking coverage from the current 60 percent to 80 percent coverage in upcoming seasons. The pipeline project will increase conservation flows at the resort’s existing withdrawals, and ensures optimal water availability while adhering to the resort’s own goals for environmental responsibility as well as state benchmarks for environmental management.

These snowmaking initiatives, a $5 million investment, are part of a comprehensive effort to enhance Smugglers’ snowmaking product for skiers and riders. The new guns have yielded faster terrain coverage and quick refreshing of trails, and allow our team to make snow at a wider temperature range. That ability has improved early and late season coverage.

More news … there will be a new on-snow playground with learning features for skiers and riders ages 3-6. Conveniently located on the Green in the center of the resort Village, a new learning area will launch the ski and ride experience for young children with sculpted snow features like a 100-foot mini pipe, rollers and fun learning tools like stop signs and obstacle courses that accelerate skills development. Smugglers’ Riglet Park for young snowboarders with its unique Treehouse will be moved to this location, helping to anchor this new dedicated space for young skiers and riders to develop their skills under the guidance of Snow Sport University coaches. And the very popular wagon will still transport these little skiers and riders to Sir Henry’s for the next stage of skill development in their SSU camp experience.


Countdown to Winter begins!

Thinking Winter yet? As the season’s countdown begins, we’ve got a few guest bloggers lined up to share winter news with you throughout late summer and fall. Drew Tolbert, Smugglers’ ski & ride sales and promotions manager, is first up …

You may have heard the reports of hail on Madonna last week and recalled the faint smell of cold precipitation. Maybe you’re zeroing in on a deal for the latest and greatest tech layer. Perhaps you’ve thrown an old ski and ride flick in the player to pass the time on a rainy evening. Our time is near fellow Smugglers—soon we’ll be pulling up our boots and pulling down our safety bars. The glory of white powdery gold will again be central to our lives and majesty of winter will descend on the notch!

But first we have work to do. Smuggs Ski & Ride is visiting our local colleges and helping them understand why our terrain is unparalleled and why lift access has to be double or nothing! From the JSC Fall Rail Jam to the St Mike’s Gear Swap to UVM’s Activities Fest, we’ll be recruiting attendees for our various on-snow parties. We’ll be at the Burton Sale spreading the word of our superior Riglet Program while we stock up on superfluous soft goods. The team will also be returning to trade shows in Boston, Toronto, Ottawa and other city markets. We’ll get quality time with our adoring fans while encouraging other east coast sliders to ‘Be A Smuggler!’

We have a few new items to promote this season, starting with the Learner’s Permit Plus. The same great package that gets folks hooked on skiing now includes skis and bindings for those who complete all the lessons! The Family Pass received an upgrade too—families can add members ages 6-26 for the price of a youth pass. You may have graduated college but your parents can still get you a great deal on a Seasons Pass! Finally we’re adding the Corporate Season Pass—companies can now purchase a Season Pass for their staff to share!

The days are shortening, the beards are lengthening and Ski & Ride is getting stoked for another memorable winter at Smugglers’ Notch—only 15 weeks until lift service!!


Closing day is Sunday, April 19th.

greg fisThe Madonna I lift and Sterling Lift will be operating for closing day. We have 44 trails open with terrain for experts and intermediates. The conditions are just fantastic with great coverage and corn snow everywhere. I took advantage of the Madonna I lift operating today and made Upper FIS my first run. Pictured here is Greg Fatigate tearing up Upper FIS. Greg is a Snow Sport University Snowboard Instructor, Snow Sport University Training Manager, and Smuggs Park Groomer. Tomorrow’s forecast is mostly sunny skies with temperatures between 41 and 52 degrees. I’m really looking forward to one of the best closing days that I can remember.