Check out the summit at Stratton. Yes, that’s today, right now. October 17, 2019. I got a sweet boost of adrenaline just seeing the white stuff swirling around, gondola cars swinging on their cable in the background.
The season of white is fast approaching, and it’s time to start thinking about gearing up for the 2019/2020 ski and ride season. Let’s take a quick look at some changes that have taken place up north for the season ahead. We will run down the main things for you here. That way as you head north for that first slide down the slopes, or go exploring to a new mountain, the only surprises you might have will be good ones.
KILLINGTON is undertaking a complete replacement of the K-1 Lodge, which will be open for business next season (2020/2021). The North Ridge Triple has been replaced with a new quad chairlift that will reduce travel time back to the top. A fourth tunnel has been added to Great Northern, completing the redesign of that trail to improve safety and downhill travel off the new Snowdon Six Express.
MOUNT SNOW has been purchased by Vail Resorts, Inc., the conglomerate that owns Stowe, Okemo, Mount Sunapee, and long list of other ski resorts across the country. All existing passes will be honored at Mount Snow this season.
OKEMO was purchased last year by Vail Resorts, Inc., and this year is part of the Epic Pass system. The Summit Lodge and mid-mountain Sugar House Lodge have been revamped with new layouts and new food options. The Sugar House will have a definite focus on a kid-friendly environment. EpicMix is a new app that can be dowloaded to your phone to check conditions, reference a trail map, and record your vertical travel, and other elements of your Okemo visit.
STRATTON will see a minor trail count reduction. Upper Wanderer and Lower Snow Bowl Alley will be permanently retired as part of the conservation plan developed to put in the new Snow Bowl lift that began operation last season.
PICO will see major upgrades in its snowmaking capacity. Historically limited by stream capacity on the mountain, a pipeline has been installed to move water to Pico from Killington. This should improve surface conditions and open trail count across the mountain.
MAGIC MOUNTAIN will replace its “Black Chair”—which didn’t operate at all last season— with the Snow Bowl Quad which was taken down and replaced at Stratton last season with a new high-speed quad. The “Green Chair” is also being replaced this summer, and will be in operation for the start of the 2019/2020 season.
JAY PEAK, troubled by law suits and scandal, is up for sale. So far there are no buyers, despite it being labeled “A huge bargain.” If you’ve got some spare change…
LOON MOUNTAIN has upgraded its snowmaking capacity so that it can provide better coverage on major convergence areas. Lower Picked Rock and Lower Rampasture, for instance, get trampled and early season often sees thin coverage. The snowmaking upgrade should improve snow conditions in those areas.
BRETTON WOODS will have in operation its new 8-person gondola, and a new summit restaurant.
ATTITASH has been purchased by Vail Resorts, Inc. All passes will be honored for the 2019/2020 season. It is expected that the summit chair lift will be in operation for this season.
WILDCAT has been purchased by Vail Resorts, Inc. All passes will be honored for the 2019/2020 season.
CROTCHED MOUNTAIN has been purchased by Vail Resorts, Inc. All passes will be honored for the 2019/2020 season.
That’s it. We could find no other news about major changes at other ski areas in the New England region, but if we bump into any, we will be sure to pass it along.
In the meantime, get over to Avie’s Ski / Sports and check out the vast inventory of ski and ride gear. Some new brands are to be found, like Roxa ski boot, Auclair gloves and mittens, and Dragon goggles.