Happy New Year…biggest industry news this week, aside from super cold in the east and snow finally falling in Colorado, probably the debut of the new gondola at Belleayre in southern New York. Yes it took them a while to get this thing going, and yes, it was expensive, and yes, it remains to be seen if this investment will pay off. My opinion is, it immediately elevates the ski area. Most of the brains around the northeast ski scene are of the opinion that this will pay off not only by improving the prestige of the ski area, but more importantly through recreational income during the other three seasons. Let’s hope that proves correct. Long time skiers Mark & Nolan Smith happened to have their first ever visit to Belleayre coincide with the debut of the gondy, here’s what they had to say:
Gondy was awesome! it was -6F when we started skiing and we were only able to ski all morning because of it. The trail over the road was cool, they did a very good job of constructing it but it is a funnel point and most likely will be a bottleneck when the place is crowded. I really like this place
…while we’re on the subject of the northeast, Sam Shirley checked in from recent stops at Whaleback (his chilly photo above) and Dartmouth Skiways. These are two old school New Hampshire ski areas that are close to the Lebanon NH/White River Jct VT I-89 and I-91 junction, and close enough to each other that Sam knocked off both on New Year’s eve. Here are his summaries:
…very cold day today [12/28/17] at Whaleback. Temperatures were below zero and a light wind made it even colder which brought wind chills down to around -20. There was plenty of snow, but only some ungroomed trails and glades were open due to a crust hiding beneath 8″ of powder. The groomed trails all skied very well, and so did the ungroomed terrain after the crust was broken up. Due to the temperatures there were no crowds and both the T-bar and chair were ski-on all day.
I skied both Whaleback and Dartmouth Skiway today [12/31/17]. At the Skiway, Holt’s Ledge was closed due the cold, but everything on Winslow was open and the snow was great. In the afternoon at Whaleback there were a number of trails which had just opened and there was also great snow. Whaleback is now at about 50% open and just needs some new snow to bury the crust to be close to 100%.
…and here are a couple photos Sam forwarded from Dartmouth:
Now I previously mentioned Colorado; indeed Arapahoe Basin finally got enough snow that they’ve got Pallavicini open, and looking hard at Montezuma. I expect another snowfall will have that section going, although I’m not gonna predict anything regarding the East Wall…also good news up north at Steamboat, where they’re now at 2300 acres including Christmas Tree Bowl and the Chutes…back to New York, small but mighty West Mountain seems to have turned things around the past couple seasons. They were in a mighty big heap of trouble until a local investor took over the place a couple years ago; West just dropped the ropes on the Northwest Mountain section last week. So if you New Yorkers ever wondered what that area is off the side of the Northway on your way to Vermont, this is a good time to find out…speaking of Vermont, Sugarbush and Mount Snow both went to 100% open last week…down in Southern California our friends at Mountain High still spinning 8 lifts today; don’t know how they’re doing it with temps in the high 50s but that sounds like easier to deal with than the zeroes on the opposite coast…and we leave you with another chilly photo from Sam’s day at Whaleback…I feel cold just looking at it…