Resorts worked on everything from summer operations to new learning areas.
HERMITAGE CLUB, VERMONTThis past spring the Hermitage Club in Vermont launched a handful of major projects including a new clubhouse, improved gladed terrain, new chairlifts, snowmaking improvements and terrain park enhancements for the private club’s members.
The four-story, 80,000-square-foot Club House is set to be completed by Nov. 30, 2014. The Douglas Fir timber structure will feature 10,000 square feet of heated exterior decks and 360-degree views of Haystack Mountain. Amenities include a spa, salon, fitness center, teen editing studio (kids can edit videos they took with their GoPros and then view them on a full-size movie screen), game room, daycare and pool.
More than 32 acres of gladed terrain were thinned and maintained over the summer, providing steep, expert terrain as well as moderate grade terrain that will service a wider demographic of ability levels. The glades are not new; historically, they have been designated on the trail map, but had become so overgrown they were not passable. The cutting over the summer was so substantial that those 32 acres now have the look and feel of a state park (on a mountainside.)
The area is currently installing its second new chairlift in the last year. The new Skytrac Stag’s Leap quad is a lower mountain lift that will go from the gatehouse to just above the new Club House, with a mid-station drop at Stag's Leap (a New England village-style development that is just below the base area). The new lift opens up four lower mountain beginner trails.
Snowmaking improvements include new pipe installations, 17 new TechnoAlpin T40 fan guns and 112 new HKD SV10 Impulse tower guns. The area will also see the addition of two new terrain parks, offering a variety of features that will cater to all ability levels.
RED MOUNTAIN RESORT, BRITISH COLUMBIARed Mountain’s two-year expansion project on Grey Mountain continues. The expansion began in August 2012, and marks one of the single largest expansions of an existing resort in North America in four decades. In all, it adds 997 acres and 22 new runs to Red, bringing the total skiable acres to 2,787.
During the 2012-13 season, the resort shuttled skiers, in groups of nine, to the top of Grey using a new Alpina Sherpa, a sort of oversized snowmobile bus. This past summer and fall, the area began the installation of a new Leitner-Poma quad chair. The new chairlift was projected to be completed in November 2013, with a capacity of 1,500 per hour, and a length of 1,660 meters. It will provide a higher carrying capacity than the resort’s existing Motherlode and Paradise chairs.
Funding for the new chairlift came in part from a loan from the Southern Interior Development Initiatives Trust (SIDIT). SIDIT’s funding specifically targets investments in self-sustaining projects that support the 10 mandated themes as defined in legislation. Performance measures include job creation, retention and enhancement, increased revenues, sustainability, leverage, and economic diversification to the southern interior area of British Columbia.
The terrain expansion places Red Mountain on the scale of resorts such as Jackson Hole, Wyo., and Breckenridge, Colo., in terms of skiable acreage.
HEAVENLY MOUNTAIN RESORT, CALIFORNIAThis past summer, Heavenly, Calif., partnered with Bonsai Design to develop the Discovery Forest Canopy Course, a tree-based zipline canopy course with several routes designed for a wide range of ability levels. Located in the forested area between Tamarack Express and Big Easy runs, the course serves as a self-paced aerial tour. Trained guides will be stationed at key locations within the Discovery Forest to observe activities, provide environmental and interpretive information, and ensure that platform transfers are done properly. The tour will join two new ropes courses and two zipline centers in Adventure Peak, located at the top of the Heavenly Gondola, creating a varied aerial park. The activities are set to open to the public in summer 2014.
One ropes course is in a self-guided climbing structure, the Black Bear Challenge. This will be located adjacent to the existing Bear Cave Children’s Ski & Ride School building. It includes two levels of rope bridges, walkways and similar climbing activities. Participants will be tethered to the structure with safety harness equipment and can move back and forth across the different climbing elements, as well as vertically on different levels. It will allow participants to develop skills and gain confidence as the level of difficulty increases.
The second ropes course, the Boulder Cove Challenge Course, will consist of a series of vertical wooden columns, platforms, and rope walkways and bridges. Built near the base of the Gondola stairs, the canopy layout will be curvilinear and closely follow the terrain contour. The routes, which will vary in degrees of difficulty, will be stacked vertically with two routes per level.
Construction on most of the activities was completed by early November; work on the four-line zipline center will resume in the spring.
GUNSTOCK, NEW HAMPSHIREThe area’s new $175,000 terrain-based learning center will be one of the first of its kind in New Hampshire. The project includes expanded snowmaking, lighting and extending the surface lift to create a completely new learning experience for guests.
The new one-acre Learning Center has been entirely reshaped, requiring the surface lift to be moved and lengthened to accommodate the increased area. The terrain-based learning area will include rollers, a sluice, The Dish, The Spine and a mini-pipe, all designed to help the skier or rider “feel” the mountain and use their natural movement to change the direction of the ski or snowboard.
The terrain-based learning program is aimed at both adults and children. Gunstock will also add new balancing tools for children in the Base Camp Children’s center to help with the indoor-to-outdoor transition during lessons.