Mountain Spy

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In this month’s Mountain Spy, we play eager guest. As winter wound down, Mountain Spy Liz Mettler called to see about what projects resorts were working on. As usual, it’s not the question that matters, but the answer.



QUESTION: I VISIT YOUR AREA QUITE A BIT AND WAS WONDERING IF YOU HAVE ANYTHING NEW PLANNED FOR NEXT YEAR OR IF YOU'RE WORKING ON ANY PROJECTS?



MOUNTAIN 1, VT


First contact: Automated machine. Chose operator.
First contact: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Umm, I’m not sure. It’s a little bit early in the game. We’re still wrapping up last winter so I don’t have anything to give you for new things for next winter now.
SAM: All right. I just thought I’d ask. I’m planning to buy a season pass so I was just checking in to see if there will be anything new.
Staff: Yeah, it’s just that it’s a little early. I think that any sort of announcement will be forthcoming, but there’s nothing definitive at the moment to put out there.

Rating: 5
Comment: A little dry. She could have at least touted their awesome summer offerings.



MOUNTAIN 2, VT


First contact: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Ahhh, you know, I don’t think so. (silence...)
SAM: Um, OK. So there’s nothing really new going on?
Staff: Not really. Like we have our summer offerings, but that’s about it. (silence...)
SAM: Mmm. OK then. Thanks, I guess.
Staff: Yeah. Like you can check our website, but there’s nothing really new, sorry.

Rating: 2
Comment: I’m sorry, too. At least there was a website mention.



MOUNTAIN 3, IN


First contact: Automated machine. Chose operator.
Answering phone: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Hmmm, we do. I’m trying to think if I’m the person to explain it all the best…
SAM: Oh, well, no worries. I was just trying to get some basic info.
Staff: OK. Sure. So we’re re-doing the beginner area and there will be an extra carpet lift, I believe, in that area. And it’s going to be a lot larger area. That’s one of the features that will be noticed most by the customers.
SAM: That sounds great. Lots more room for those first-timers.
Staff: Yeah! And then we’re doing other projects that are behind the scenes that people might not know of. We’re building a large new maintenance building that will transition a lot of that over there. But the main thing that customers will see is the change in the beginner area. It’s going to grow a lot and have that new lift and the carpet will be shifted around to accommodate that.
SAM: That will be great because I take my kids there!
Staff: Yeah. It will make it a lot more functional on the weekends when it gets a little crowed in there!
SAM: Definitely. And that will be ready for next season?
Staff: Correct. Yup!
SAM: Sounds good, thanks!

Rating: 8
Comment: Solid effort to relay all the information about what’s happening.



MOUNTAIN 4, WA


First contact: Automated machine. Chose operator.
Answering phone: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Umm, yes we are! There’s quite a bit of information on the website, but we’re going to be replacing two chairlifts this summer.
SAM: Awesome!
Staff: And there’s some detailed information on the website that talks about exactly what we’re doing and what kind of chairs we’re replacing those with.
SAM: Even better!
Staff: Yeah! It just gives you allll the details and it’s really quite interesting! And with X chair, for example, we’re keeping it in the same general area, but we’re moving it slightly down and slightly off into the trees to so it will have better accessibility getting off at the top.
SAM: Great. Does it open up any new terrain?
Staff: Um, I don’t believe so, but from what I’ve been told it was pretty difficult to unload the chair. You needed to be a pretty good skier I guess to get off the top. Because we’re moving it though it will be a lot easier for intermediate skiers to unload.
SAM: That will be helpful! I remember how difficult that chair was.
Staff: Yeah! All the information is on our website, like I said, that you are welcome to look through. At the very top you’ll see “news” and if you click on that you’ll see the first thing that pops up is “two new chairlifts for 2014/15.” And then it talks about, let’s see… we’re doing the two chairs and we’re also getting an Y snowcat, a new backup diesel generator… so yeah there are quite a few new things we have for next season.
SAM: That’s fantastic. So you have quite a bit going on! I can definitely check the website for all those details. Is it all going to be done by this coming season?
Staff: It will! They’re going to be working on it all summer long so it will be done by this coming season.
SAM: Thanks!

Rating: 9
Comment: Minus 1 for no website address, but otherwise an enthusiastic and informative call.



MOUNTAIN 5, UT


First contact: Automated machine. Chose operator.
Answering phone: Male.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: As of right now, not that I’m aware of.
SAM: OK. I just thought I would check in to see if anything was happening in the future.
Staff: Our mountain is actually currently closed until June 12th.
SAM: OK. I didn’t know if there were any construction projects going on for next year, but if not, no worries.
Staff: Yes ma’am. Not on the mountain. We haven’t been doing anything that I’m aware of.
SAM: All right then I guess. Thanks.

Rating: 2
Comment: Are you aware of the massive new on-mountain restaurant overhaul or snowmaking expansion? Guess not.



MOUNTAIN 6, PA


First contact: Automated machine. Chose operator.
Answering phone: Male.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: For next winter? Umm, nothing that I’m aware of at the moment. We’re in the summer season now so we don’t have any winter-type information. But I can take your name and contact information and as soon as we have something I can get it off to you.
SAM: I think that’s OK. I was really just calling to see if anything new was going on at the resort or if you had anything planned for next year.
Staff: OK… (silence...)
SAM: So I guess I could call back later and see if anything has changed.
Staff: Hmm, OK. Thanks for calling.

Rating: 1
Comment: No mention of the ginormous lodge and water park being built as we speak. Whoops.



MOUNTAIN 7, NM


First contact: Automated machine. Chose operator.
Answering phone: Male.
Staff: Um, yeah! Plenty of new stuff coming for next season. The biggest improvement is going to be the Kachina Peak lift that will be installed and operational for next season.
SAM: Awesome. What’s that about?
Staff: Well, it will be a new chair up to Kachina Peak. So if you’re familiar with the mountain as you ride lift 4 and get off the lift you’re right at the base of Kachina Peak.
SAM: Yup!
Staff: Right and then you traverse over to Hunziker Bowl. Right there before the climb will be the lower terminal. It will be a fixed grip triple that will head up and will terminate just below the peak. It will be about a five-minute ride and will give the resort 3,000 lift-served vertical feet. And will increase access for everyone to experience the peak of what the locals have been raving about now for years.
SAM: Well that’s really exciting! And you said it will be ready for next season?
Staff: It will be! The bullwheel is actually sitting up top as we speak. So they brought that up mid-April. And now we’re just waiting for snow melt off to begin installation.
SAM: Fantastic. Well that’s definitely something new you’re working on!
Staff: Yeah. The other project for the winter potentially is glading the Wild West area, which is up West Basin ridge and hike out toward Wonder Bowl and where all those chutes are. If you drop off the backside of that it will actually filter you back around down just above the bottom of lift eight. That will be approximately 35 acres of intermediate and expert glades through there.
SAM: Oh wow. That will be super fun! Thanks!
Staff: Definitely! And then the third main upgrade is kind of for ski area nerds, but we’re also replacing our snowmaking compressors so we’re installing two new compressors that will be replacing the 30-year-old equipment. And it will allow us to increase our early-season snowmaking and operate at a more efficient level snowmaking-wise and conservation-wise.
SAM: That’s cool. Does that mean you can open earlier?
Staff: Um, I think typically we’re still looking at a Thanksgiving opening, but what it means is hopefully just more terrain open on opening day.
SAM: Gotcha. That will be huge. You guys are doing a lot!
Staff: Definitely. And we’re kind of in the midst of a whole base area redevelopment which is itself a huge project. That will probably be a 10- to 15-year project.
SAM: Sure. Well thank you so much for all the info. I’m really looking forward to next season.
Staff: Most definitely! And we look forward to having you up. Feel free to give us a call anytime and if you want to read more you can always visit our website at www.xxx.org. Follow us on Facebook as we’ll be doing gallery posts of the new lift installation and keeping people up to date on the first new lift in 25 years!
SAM: Amazing. Thanks!

Rating: 10
Comment: Patience, explanations, enthusiasm, website and social media mentions. I have no further questions.

IDENTITY REVEALED: TAOS




MOUNTAIN 8, NH


First contact: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: For trails you mean?
SAM: Sure. New trails, new lifts, new anything!
Staff: Yeah! We’re working on some new trails. Did you come here last year with X opening?
SAM: I did!
Staff: Perfect. We have a couple new trails that are being added back to that area as well.
SAM: Awesome.
Staff: Yeah! That’s kind of our main focus this summer. So there’s potential for other things, but we’re defintiely focusing on those trails now. If there’s time for anything else, I guess we’ll just see what’s on the board.
SAM: Are those new trails all kinds of levels or what are they like?
Staff: Yeah, um, they’re trying to do a mix of all of them. There are a few beginner and intermediate and I know there will be some black diamond glades too. They’re trying to get a nice mixture of everything.
SAM: Great. So how many new trails will there be?
Staff: This year I know we’re definitely working on two I believe. So that would total three that will be open new for next year.
SAM: OK, sound good. Thanks!

Rating: 7
Comment: Friendly and enthusiastic. Just wondering how big the “mixture” can be on three trails?



MOUNTAIN 9, NH


First contact: Automated machine. Chose operator.
Answering phone: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Ummm, next season they haven’t really, um, no plans have been finalized for next year except for the X condos, but it’s still pretty far out that they may add stuff for next year, but nothing has really been discussed yet.
SAM: Gotcha. So they might be adding something else?
Staff: It’s a possibility, but it’s really an unknown because we really just wrapped up getting our summer up and running and, you know, they’re building the condos late summer so I’m not sure if anything is going to be added for next winter, but it’s still a possibility because it hasn’t even been discussed yet.
SAM: OK. Well, I guess I’ll just keep my ears open.
Staff: Definitely.

Rating: 4
Comment: Anyone else get a clear answer? Didn’t think so.



MOUNTAIN 10, NH


First contact: Automated machine. Chose operator.
Answering phone: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: For, for like the ski season?
SAM: Sure. Or any new resort projects in general.
Staff: Um, we’re adding more snowmaking. They’re putting in snowmaking pipes right now and they’re adding more snowmaking guns so we’ll make more snow quicker.
SAM: Awesome. So maybe you’ll open sooner?
Staff: Ummm, yeah. The weather hasn’t, um, it seems to me the last few years the weather hasn’t gotten that cold that quickly, but when it does get cold we’ll be able to make more snow faster.
SAM: OK. Cool. Anything else?
Staff: Umm, like as far as a new lift? No.
SAM: Yeah or anything else at the resort I guess.
Staff: Um, we are building a new, um, actually it will be the longest single zipline in the continental U.S. and that will be done in July.
SAM: Very cool!
Staff: Yeah and we’ll probably run that a little during the winter during big holiday times.
SAM: That would be awesome!
Staff: Yeah and so that will go from the top of X down to Y in one, in like one, single zipline all the way across. So…
SAM: That will be so much fun! And that opens in July?
Staff: Yup, probably toward the end of July because they’re building it right now.
SAM: Great. Thanks so much!
Staff: No problem. And keep checking back on the website because they’ll have updates on the zipline as well.

Rating: 7
Comment: Whew. She almost forgot the LONGEST ZIPLINE in the U.S.! Good save and website mention.



MOUNTAIN 11, MI


First contact: Automated machine. Chose operator.
Answering phone: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Umm, probably kind of too soon to guess that.
SAM: OK.
Staff: Yeah… (silence...)
SAM: Yeah. All right then.
Staff: Yeah. You can keep an eye on the website, but I’m not aware of anything, yet.
SAM: I guess I can do that.
Staff: Yeah. OK. Have a great day.

Rating: 2
Comment: Yeah. Not so much.



MOUNTAIN 12, CA


First contact: Automated machine. Chose operator.
Answering phone: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Oh gosh! You know I don’t know myself, but I can get you over to guest services. Just one second…
SAM: Thanks.
Answering phone: Female.
SAM: Restated question.
Staff: Hmm. Not that I have heard, yet, but we’re still focusing on our summer activities at this point and what we’re going to be doing come July and, ah, that stuff. So I would recommend checking back in the fall season if there’s anything we plan on changing or adding.
SAM: OK. I can do that. Can I check your website as well?
Staff: Yes. The website is always a good tool for finding out what we’re doing.
SAM: Sounds good, thanks.

Rating: 5
Comment: Not much information on anything…



MOUNTAIN 13, CO


First contact: Automated machine. Chose operator.
Answering phone: Male.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: For the winter?
SAM: Sure, or summer. Just seeing if anything new is planned.
Staff: Um, not that I’m aware of. We’re kind of focused on summer right now. I could transfer you to tickets who might have a better idea.
SAM: Only if you think so? I was just calling in general to see if any projects were underway for next season. (Why would tickets know any Staff: No. I mean not that I’m aware of. No new trails or lifts or anything like that as far as right now goes. We just opened for summer operations so that is kind of the focus right now of getting that geared up.
SAM: OK. Understandable.
Staff: Umm, yeah. But thanks for calling.
SAM: OK then, thanks.

Rating: 3
Comment: If summer is your focus (and you are adding quite a bit to your summer offerings), tell me about it!

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