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May 2016

Industry Reports May 2016


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After more than 75 years in operation, Wilmot Mountain, Wis., is getting $13 million of improvements courtesy of new owner Vail Resorts. On-hill, three new four-passenger chairlifts will replace existing lifts, the terrain park will get a new rope tow, and the beginner area will have two new surface conveyor lifts. The new lifts will increase uphill capacity by up to 45 percent. Snowmaking upgrades include new energy-efficient snow guns and pumps to increase capacity.

A state-of-the-art children’s ski and snowboard center is also planned. It will be located adjacent to the learning terrain, which is being regraded to make it more accessible for teaching beginners. The base lodge will get 400 more seats, plus a new bar and Wi-Fi. The Iron Kettle restaurant will be redesigned to include a new lounge and bar for parents.


Big things are in the works at North America’s biggest ski resort. Whistler Blackcomb plans to invest C$345 million over three phases of development in what the resort calls the “Whistler Blackcomb Renaissance.” Major components of Phase I include a year-round, 163,000 sq. ft. adventure center with activities focused on water-based play, a new high-speed lift, mountain coaster, ropes course, and bike park expansion with 50 km of new trails. Cost is estimated at C$90-C$100 million.

Phase II includes infrastructure projects and real estate development, with an estimated price tag of C$105 to C$115 million. Phase III will focus on revitalizing Blackcomb’s upper Base II area, plus additional real estate. That is expected to run C$140 to C$150 million.

Before any work can begin, though, governing bodies must first approve the projects. Once they do, W/B expects Phases I and II will require four to five years to complete.


Even after a lackluster winter, Killington, Vt., is planning to invest $850,000 this summer to install new warm season attractions, including dual zip lines, summer tubing lanes, and a 40-foot tower jump. Also part of the investment is a new fleet of rental bikes, new downhill mountain bike trails, upgrades to food and beverage facilities, and new kids camps.

This comes on the heels of last summer’s $3.5 million investment into summer activities, which included a mountain coaster and a high ropes course.

The new downhill mountain biking trails being added this summer are part of phase three of the five-year Killington Bike Park buildout designed by Gravity Logic. This phase constitutes a $375,000 investment, with six new trails, a pump track, skills park, kids strider bike park, and designated uphill mountain bike route. Killington hopes to make mountain biking the hub of its summer ops.


Current SIA Nordic director Reese Brown will be executive director of the Cross Country Ski Areas Association after Chris Frado retires in October. … Amy Reents is now the president/executive director of the Midwest Ski Areas Association, succeeding Chris Stoddard, who held the position since MSAA was founded in 1991.
In the East, Bruce McCloy, director of sales and marketing at Mount Sunapee, N.H., is retiring after 45 years in the ski industry. … Steve Wright is now general manager at Jay Peak Resort, Vt.

Out West, John McLeod is serving as interim GM of Mt. Bachelor, Ore., after the departure of Dave Rathbun. … Erik Slade is the new group sales manager at Sunlight Mountain Resort, Colo.


Tom Kelly, USSA VP of communications, was honored with the Tony Wise Birkie Spirit Award. … Greg Sweetser, executive director of Ski Maine, will be inducted into the Maine Ski Hall of Fame in Oct.

The U.S. Ski Hall of Fame class of 2015 was inducted in Aspen on April 10. New members include Genia Fuller, hot dog/freestyle skier; David Ingemie, retired head of SIA; Olympic bronze medal winning snowboarder Chris Klug; Jim Martinson, adaptive equipment inventor and Paralympic gold medalist; freestyle innovator and aerials World Championship gold medalist Bob Salerno; resort hospitality visionary Edgar Stern, and longtime Skiing Magazine publisher and U.S. Ski Team fundraiser Henry Kaiser.

Ski Utah recognized several members of the Utah media. Harriet Wallis was given the Local Media Member Award, Evan Thayer received the Weather Enthusiast of the Year Award, and Tyler Tate was recognized with the Social Media Influencer of the Year Award.


Marvin Collins died on Jan. 27. Collins was VP of mountain operations at Sunday River, Maine, before joining Prinoth in 2013 where he co-developed the Prinoth Snowhow program. ... Notable ski racer and industry leader Egon Zimmerman died Feb. 26.

Benoit Boulanger, former president and CEO of Mont Sutton, Que., died on April 12. Boulanger ran the mountain from 1987 until its recent sale in March.


John Walbrecht is now president at Mountain Hardwear. … The Chill Foundation welcomes Alex Bornstein as its new executive director. … Byron McCann has been promoted to marketing manager at Bergans USA.
Jimmy Lawrence is retiring from MountainGuard. He spent 28 years at Heavenly Ski Resort before joining MountainGuard in 2000..