Opening weekend for Blue Mountain will be the first opportunity to see whether this ski area's investments for the '06-'07 season, including the new six-passenger Challenge Express lift and improvements at both lodges, will pay off in terms of a better ski and snowboard experience.
Challenge Express, with its base near the Valley Lodge and service to the east side of the ski area, should improve lift capacity to the peak and cut down on problematic long lines. Although the new lift is not running for opening weekend, Blue is blowing snow on the double blacks Challenge and Falls and plans to open the chair in the next two weeks if conditions permit.
Blue has made no significant terrain changes for this season, but a new trail is planned for '07-'08. The mountain is still geared towards families with its variety of terrain and lifts that service green, blue, and black runs from the same point. Blue offers few mogul runs, so advanced skiers may plan to work on speed and handling the steeps rather than style on the moguls. Despite the crowds in the lodge and the lift lines, Blue has enough snow area that the trails themselves rarely seem crowded. Burma Road, the winding green that is prime area for beginners and kids' ski school, is an exception to this rule.
The lodge improvements, especially the Summit Lodge addition, could be a great help in crowd control. Parking at the Valley Lodge has previously been the key to avoiding crowds, but many skiers and boarders still prefer the amenities of the Summit Lodge, including the ski shop and bar. Overall expansion and renovation of both lodges should help with ticket and lunch lines and make for a less hectic off-mountain experience.