The Killington Skyeship Gondola ran five days a week last season in a cost-cutting move that saved money but angered customers.
The decision was made in-house by the Killington/Pico management team, and proved to be a learning experience for all involved.
"The Skyeship will run seven days a week this season," Tom Horrocks of Killington said. "We looked at the overall costs of running the lift vs. the extra gas to drive up to the basin areas, and it's obviously a plus for customers, it saves a gallon of gas and cuts 12 to 15 minutes off the trip."
Running the gondola seven days a week also means the entire mountain is available all the time.
"People come to Killington to seek out and explore, with a sense of adventure, at a mountain where they can start at one end and work over to the other by the end of the day," Horrocks said. "This will let them do that."
As in any acquisition, the new owners had looked for ways to cut costs and cover some of their investment.
"That first season, a number of things were scaled back for a number of reasons," Horrocks said. "The main reason, we had to take this company to a point where it was financially responsible, and to increase the value of the product and the level of the experience for our guests."
POWDR, the new owner, had come in after a decade of neglect, however benign, by financially troubled American Skiing Co., the former owner.
That neglect showed up in many ways, including oodles of deferred maintenance that POWDR began to tackle immediately by pumping in $3.5 million on top of already budgeted maintenance. The new owner found itself faced with lots of fairly urgent capital needs in addition to its $85 million in acquisition costs.
That led to a decision on limiting gondola operations that, a year later, has been reversed.