News Roundup 12/21/16 — Rock Around the Clock

21 December 2016 — The clock is ticking rapidly toward Christmas week, which will set the tone for a lot of resorts this season. Fortunately it looks like most areas are already rocking and rolling, with terrain expansion and ropes dropping daily…Vermont’s Stratton fans looking forward to the Sun Bowl opening some time around this weekend. I tell you Stratton takes a lot of grief for being an “uppity” resort but when they’re firing on all cylinders it’s quite a ski area. The Sun Bowl section adds some much needed acreage, seldom any lines on that part of the hill…Minnesota’s Wild Mountain way up by Duluth knows how to rock around the clock, they’re now 100% open…neglected to report that last week marked the debut of Mad River Mountain Ohio’s new multi-million dollar base lodge; the old one had been destroyed by fire. Not exactly what owner Peak Resorts needed amidst all the EB5 delays at other properties, but it’s here, it’s open, and it’s fantastic; see photo above…quite possibly the end of an era as Bode Miller says he will not be returning to the World Cup circuit this season, this announcement following a judge ruling in favor of Head skis in the Bode vs. Head legal battle. Bode wanted out of his contract with Head, preferring to ski on a new brand, Bomber. Miller says he’ll re-evaluate next season — he’ll be 40 years old — while the US Ski Team sez he may return in January. In other words, Bode marches on in his usual enigmatic and inexplicable manner even in retirement. Or not retirement…New England Ski Industry website has analyzed and is reporting verrry slight increases in lift ticket prices for that region. New Hampshire and Massachusetts, for example, prices up 3%, while Connecticut & Rhode Island resorts averaging a mere 1% increase. And if you aren’t familiar with it, yes Rhode Island has a ski area, it’s called Yawgoo Valley…Oregon’s Mt Bachelor tells me they’re “100% open when conditions permit.” When you think about it, that’s kind of obvious, no? Kind of puts them in the same boat as every other ski area in the country? Or is there a resort somewhere saying, “to hell with it, conditions are hazardous let’s open 100%, because we don’t want to be 100% open when conditions actually allow us to do so.” I’m going to recommend this line to every marketing intern at every ski area — forget the morning report, just announce that you’re 100% open when conditions permit! I think what Mt. Bachelor means is that because they opened the summit chair this weekend, they can be 100% — you guessed it…Utah’s Powder Mountain opening the Lightning Ridge section as I type this…California’s Boreal looking real strong this early season, they’ll be rocking and rolling in their famed “Neffland” terrain park when the clock strikes Friday…

Photo above shows the fabulous new lodge at Mad River Mountain, Ohio. Courtesy Peak Resorts. Photo below is a fond remembrance of the old lodge, recently lost in a fire.