"We're putting some heavy work into our lifts, for maintenance and infrastructure, to upgrade the system that we have and to keep the chairs spinning," said [R259R, Mountain Creek]'s Frank DeBerry.

"Our lifts are now 10 years old, but are still among the newest in the region; that said, it's time to get a comprehensive preventive maintenance program going," DeBerry said.

"Last year we brought on a new lift manager who's really been able to help us get ahead of our chairlift upkeep and maintenance," he said.

DeBerry said the work this year involves the eight-passenger Cabriolet Chair, the Vernon Triple and the Sojourn Double.

Ever wonder if resorts listen to skiers and riders? DeBerry said Mountain Creek does pay attention, including to what people say on various blogs.

"One of the big outcries that we've heard from guests is they want to see the Sojourn Lift continue to operate, linking our North and South mountains. We put some money into that so it can continue to spin reliably," he said.

"A lot of the feedback that helped us make these decisions are on the ski blogs and rider blogs that are out there. We listened to the discussion groups, and used those comments in making our decisions. Our customers do understand the finer points of mountain operations, and do care about things like lift maintenance."

Another indication that Mountain Creek is paying attention comes in the return of its Triple Play lift pass, which offers three visits for $69.

"We heard loud and clear from our three- to six-times-a-season visitors that they wanted the Triple Play back. We had eliminated it last year in favor of the My Mountain Card. Triple Play is a direct-to-lift product, scanned at the lift, avoiding the need to go to a ticket window."

Mountain Creek put $160,000 into a scanning system last winter, mainly to learn about customer behavior patterns.

"It's helped us redesign our pass products to offer people different ways to find the best value for them," DeBerry said.

"Another benefit is that we can offer more direct-to-lift products. In a metropolitan, day-skier environment, where 80 percent of our guests come on Saturday and Sunday mornings, we have to make it as easy as possible to get on the snow. The more people we can get on direct-to-lift products, the better their experience will be," he said.