East Coast resorts from the Canadian Border to the southern seaboard certainly didn’t let any grass grow beneath their lifts over the summer. They’ve made investments in resort facility upgrades that are certain to enhance your experience this winter.
Here’s what’s waiting for you this winter:
We’ve got lift-off
Southern Vermont’s Okemo in Ludlow has sped up its lift service by upgrading its quad chair to a new 6-seater, dubbed the Quantum Six. The Green Ridge triple chair is now the high-speed Green Summit Express. It services the outlet of the new Green Link trail, running from Upper Mountain Road and Roadhouse Run.
Suicide Six has sped up service in its beginner area with the addition of a weather-protected Sunkid conveyor lift.
The loon will be flying faster this winter as Loon Mountain has installed what they claim to be the fastest chairlift in North America, The Kankamangus 8 (named for the stunningly scenic byway nicknamed “The Kanc” that rolls for 34 miles on Route 112 in Northern N.H). The Doppelmayr D-Line (ropeway technology) is the only eight-passenger lift in the East and is said to be the world’s most modern lift. Look for heated seats, weather bubbles, and an adjustable loading carpet. It’s all part of Loon’s Flight Path 2030 expansion plan.
Sugar Mountain’s new four-passenger Dopplemayr fixed-grip lift will roll for 2,000 feet midway up the east side. The Big Birch chairlift services the slope of the same name and offers access to Oma’s Meadow. It replaces the Green triple lift and is the fourth new lift in the past six years.
Shawnee Mountain Ski Area in East Strousburg in the Pocono Mountains is adding a new surface lift in its Snow Tubing Park.
The venerable Avalanche Lift at Seven Springs has been replaced with a state-of-the-art Doppelmayr Alpen Star fixed-grip lift bringing travel time to just over four minutes. Uphill capacity will grow from 1,800 t0 2,400 people an hour. The unloading area is closer to Stowe Slope and Trail (no need to march across the top anymore to get to the lodge). The lift travels 1,956 feet over a 492-foot vertical.
Timberline: The new owners (Perfect North Slopes of Indiana) invested $10 million in two new chairs for last season. The Doppelmayr six-pack detachable quad, the first six-person lift in the state with the base painted West Virginia University blue and gold, races to the top of the mountain in just over four minutes. The new quad, 100 yards south, heads to the mid-mountain restaurant and offers access to intermediate terrain, a park, and, if conditions allow, glade skiing and riding. There’s also a new surface lift on a new beginner’s slope.
You’ll have to wait a year for the next step in Sunday River’s 2030 plan, but a fast new eight-passenger D-Line chair — the Jordan 8 — will open withstanding wind and weather for the 2022-23 season. It will service terrain in the Oz and Jordan Bowl peaks. A fixed-grip triple will open for selected dates only this season in the new Merrill Hill real estate development.
Wachusett Mountain isn’t adding a lift, but you can count on new terrain park features from Coastal Jibs with a Rainbow Rail and Down-Flat-Down trail.
More places to eat and snooze
Ragged Mountain in Danbury has renovated its lodges for the new season along with kitchen enhancements for food and beverage outlets at the resort.
Cranmore, the birthplace of alpine skiing as we know it today, opens the new Artist Falls Base Lodge serving the tubing park. The first floor is the ticket office and the second-floor houses a restaurant and bar. Construction has begun on the new Marriott hotel adjacent to the tubing park, scheduled to open for the 2022-23 season.
King Pine has improved wi-fi access, allowing for limited food and beverage sales at a newly built, larger snow tubing “shack.”
Shawnee Mountain’s Groomers Grill and Bar (formerly known as Hickory Licks) has been remodeled, including a more efficient kitchen layout for workers. There is more grab ’n go options and other upgrades to the three eateries.
Camelback Mountain’s 453 guest suites now sport mountie-sky-inspired blue paint with rustic furniture, modern fabrics, rich woods and polished marble. Walls are adorned with photographs of the state’s top landscape photographers. A new Big Pocono Food Hall grab n’ go collection offering items from salad bowls to fried chicken opens in Camelback Mountain Village. Look for Barellis Italian Chophouse, a stand-alone restaurant between the lodge and village, including a downstairs speakeasy as well as a new brasserie-style Cafe and Bar La Columbe in the lodge with goodies to go.
Wachusett Mountain will be offering a live cooking station in the cafeteria tossing up salads, pizzas, burrito bowls, and more. A new menu item — Monte Cristo Sandwich — is on the Black Diamond restaurant menu. Look for grilled ham and cheese on French toast.
They probably won’t be eating and snoozing here, but Mt. Ellen at Sugarbush has added an important new 4,000-square-foot addition to the base lodge, creating a state-of-the-art adaptive sports facility (an upgrade from 400 square feet). The idea is to offer plenty of relaxing space for preparation for lessons in a calm, no-rush way. An elevator makes it possible to enjoy all three floors of amenities in the base lodge as well.
And behind the scenes
Suicide Six in Woodstock has upgraded to more efficient snow guns which they say is a 10:1 improvement.
Bromley, the venerable family favorite near Manchester’s shopping Mecca, is using the Snowmaking energy Index (SEI) that allows its snowmakers to monitor and measure energy consumption and quickly adjust parameters. Bromley is one of the first ski areas in the nation to adopt the system.
Stratton Mountain has entered a power purchase agreement to be the recipient of solar energy produced by Sea Oak Capital’s 500 kilowatts AC solar array in Wallingford, Vt. That’s enough energy to power the entire Sun Bowl area, all retail and dining locations in Stratton Village, the Stratton Training and Fitness Center, and Childcare Center with kilowatt-hours to spare. They’re also partnering with MOOver, So. Vermont’s free public transit, to provide service to guests and employees in their easy-to-“spotted” black and white busses 7 days week beginning Nov. 2021.
Magic Mountain in Londonderry has made repairs to its snowmaking pipe on Black Line and hydrants have been added to Vertigo for expanded snowmaking on those trails. The fully refurbished pond pump house is online to blow plenty of snow. A deck and ramp have been completed for the Quad Summit Deck and the quad lifts — red, black, and green. Opening for summit lifts is set for Dec. 18, 2021.
Cannon Mountain and the Franconia Ski Club have completed the Mittersill Performance Center, a 9,000-square-foot facility at the base of the Taft Training Slope at Mittersill. It will host all of the club’s events and operations.
The snowmaking system at Pat’s Peak in Henniker saw an upgrade with additional snowmaking fan guns and two Prinoth grooming machines. They added five new, high-efficiency HKD Diablo fans while installing some new pipes.
Ragged Mountain in Danbury has invested in new snowmaking equipment to enhance coverage and efficiency.
King Pine has added to its rental fleet, while also improving wi-fi access for guests on the mountain that enables ticket sales and redemption. A new Prinoth Bison snow groomer has been purchased.
Shawnee Mountain has purchased 1,000 new pairs of Head snowboard bindings as well as hundreds of new snowboards, ski boots, and helmets.
Camelback is offering new RFID (radio frequency ID system providing hands-free lift access) and season pass and lift ticket holders can load their pass online and go directly to the lifts. A new app will assist in exploring the resort and organizing itineraries onsite. The resort also has invested in its snowmaking capabilities, changing to Low E (low energy, uses less air) equipment to minimize its carbon footprint, while still producing high-quality snow.
Bear Creek Mountain in the Lehigh Valley also has installed RFID technology on all lifts, loading at home and heading directly to the lifts. They’ve also added a new Prinoth Bison groomer.
Blue Mountain’s black diamond trail that opened for the first time last season has added snowmaking guns and LED lighting for night skiing. The seven-acre trail will be named soon and is accessible by the Comet Quad chair and connects into the Lazy Mile trail.
Elk Mountain has a long laundry list of improvements for the season including online, kiosk, and RFID ticketing; a new Pisten Bully groomer; new parking lot; new LED lighting on West Slope; widening of Mohawk and Iroquis slopes; transplanting up to 1,500 spruce trees to the slopes and more.
Roundtop, the definition of a true locals’ mountain, not only is adding the Epic Mix app for guests but has moved its terrain park to Susquehanna. Palisades, the first major trail addition in a decade, offers glade skiing and riding at the base of Upper Lafayette.
Liberty Mountain will open a new Bubly Tube Park and can use the new Epic Mix app for the day’s planning.
Sunday River in Newry has laid 9.5 miles of new snowmaking pipe on White Cap, Locke Mountain and Merrill Hill as well as two new fan guns and 131 tower guns on many other trails. Other upgrades to increase automation are continuing.
Sugarloaf’s snowmaking team did substantial maintenance to much of the mountain’s systems, updating miles of air and water lines and replacing hydrants. Several hundred new low-energy HKD tower guns were placed throughout the mountain. Downhill Supply Company received a new Wintersteiger-Jupiter tuning machine. Current plans are to begin construction next summer on the West Mountain development, permits pending.
Wachusett has added new outdoor locker rentals in the area that used to be Ski Watch. So, no need to carry stuff inside with you for lunch. New security camera will build on a track record of recovering more than 90 percent of lost or stolen items. New 3-Flex and 6-Flex cards will allow guests to come for 3, 8-hour or 6, 4-hour sessions. The parking lot also has been repaved.