Barbara Green, president of Blue Mountain in Palmerton, Pa., is looking for a good winter.

"There are a lot of acorns on the ground, and that always means a snowy, cold winter," Green told OnTheSnow.com. "We're hoping to be open Dec. 1."

Green has been in the resort business long enough, however, to cover all bets, and has invested $1.5 million in expanded snowmaking capability.

"We automated two major trails this year, Main Street and Lazy Mile, with Johnson Controls Borax B6 tower guns," Green said. "We have them on three of our other runs. This makes five altogether."

Blue Mountain also added five tower-mounted Areco fan guns, strategically placed around the resort to make snow in high traffic areas.

Blue also is adding an RF-ID system that will allow direct-to-lift access for all passes and tickets, she said. Passes will be renewable online.

Green said other work at Blue includes a $1.25 million project to upgrade the courtyard at the summit and make the outside eating area more attractive, as well as adding space to the lodge to accommodate growth in the rental and ski school operations. The work will pay off with summer events, she said.

Blue is looking to create a 19-acre water park, Summit Splash, starting in March, Green said, which has taken up much of the attention of the area's operators.

That project, and ongoing concerns about the impact of a wind turbine on migrating birds, has put the wind power plans on a slow track, she said.

"The wind power issue is birds and how much I want to spend to study them before I put anything up," Green said. Wildlife officials have estimated a study would cost $200,000.

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