Smugglers’ Alley

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The warmer temperatures today changed the surface conditions to spring conditions. My trail pick of the day was Smugglers’ Alley. The snowmaking whales changed the shape of the trail.  The snowmaking whales were covered with soft moguls.  I had so much fun skiing up one side of the whales and back down another. I skied the Alley five times in a row and never took the same line twice.  I want to thank our snowmakers for providing us such great coverage this opening weekend.



Opening Day of the 2014 – 2015 Winter Season

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John Holcomb having fun on Thomke’s Express.

What a great start to the season. Mother Nature has been giving us some good snowmaking temperatures and 14 inches of new snow in the past 4 days. I had a blast skiing Thomke’s Express and Upper Exhibition this morning. It is wonderful to have trails open with just natural snowfall on opening day.


12 to 14 inches of new snow in the past 3 days!

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Alex Holcomb finds some fresh snow on Upper Exhibition.

We have had some great snowmaking weather along with nice natural snowfalls in the past few days. The opening day of the 2014 2015 Winter Season is this Saturday, November 22. We plan to have the Sterling Lift operating with intermediate and expert terrain open.


Snowmaking on Upper Rumrunner

photo (1) rumrunnerDue to the hard work of our snowmakers and some help from Mother Nature we are going to open this Saturday, November 22 and Sunday, November 23. We plan to have the Sterling Lift operating with 4 intermediate trails open. We will then be closed Monday, November 24 through Thursday, November 27. We will reopen on Friday, November 28th for the season.


Fan of the Fan Gun


Photo by Sharon Salls

Join our fan club! Millions of snow crystals are forming the largest fan club on the mountain. Temps are dropping, staying cold and snowmaking continues. Currently we are making snow on four trails on Sterling. Snow sports fans get ready!


Bread and Butter

SnowmakersRockin’ Ron for Hugh. I stopped by Snowmaking Headquarters to talk to Justin T and the Crew. Snowmaking is planned for tomorrow – perhaps as early as 6am. The snowmaking guns will be blowing on the “Bread and Butter” trails. These are the trails on Sterling Mountain that are the first to open and the last to close each winter. The trails are Upper Rumrunner, Crossover, Treasure Run, and Lower Exhibition. Guns may also be operating on Smugglers’ Alley, Thomke’s Express, and Birch Run, as well as a fan gun placed near Sterling Lift. Pictured here are Dave, Chris (buttering his bread), and the other Justin.



Sugar Frosted Mountains

sugar frosted mountainRockin’ Ron for Hugh. We received a light frosting of sugar-like snow on the upper elevations. This morning I took this picture from the front of the Base Lodge. You can discern a dusting in the distance. It won’t be long until Mother Nature and our Snowmakers make much more of the sweet stuff!


New Snowguns!

2014.10.14 Birch Run Snow Guns

Rockin’ Ron for Hugh. Our Head Snowmaker Justin T (that’s Thoelke not Timberlake) informed me that 155 brand new, energy efficient snowguns have been added to our snowmaking arsenal. These guns will increase coverage on our already extensive snowmaking network. Pictured here is the bottom of Birch Run Terrain Park with some of the new snowguns – Park Rats* rejoice! Also there are 3 new Fan Guns that can be transported by sled to various sites around the Resort. Our anticipated Opening Day is Friday, November 28th for Winter 2014-15 Lift Operations. I’m fired up about them firing up the ‘guns’, just don’t let the Blog editors fire me for bad puns :P

*Park Rats – an affectionate term for those who spend copious amounts of time jibbing, hucking, and performing quality control on terrain features.


Summer’s hard work supports Winter fun

It’s been a busy summer in Mountain Operations. Probably the biggest news on the mountain is snowmaking: this summer, for the third year in a row, Smuggs purchased another batch of new tower guns!

These guns are from two different manufacturers and are energy efficient, meaning they need less air to make snow. This will allow us to make more snow with the air capacity that we currently have. Efficiency Vermont provided a really great incentive plan this year which helped us to purchase the quantity of tower guns that we did this summer. We will be adding 120 more HKD Impulses, one more HKD Fan Gun and 36 Snow Logic Tower Guns. They will join our current fleet of 250 tower guns that we have purchased over the last two years.

We’ll be receiving the guns this fall to install for the start of the 2014-2015 winter snowmaking season; in fact, delivery may occur as soon as next week. The drilling rig that drills holes for the posts that the tower guns sit on has already completed the holes for the new posts. We’re excited to add to our fleet given the great performance of the guns added over the last two seasons. The high efficiency guns yield faster terrain coverage and quick refreshing of trails for the best possible onslope experience.

Our brush crew will be starting trail clean-up in early September. All part of winter prep!