Flurry of Openings

Photo above from our New England correspondent Sam Shirley clearly shows the frustration of opening day at Sunday River ME this past weekend. But to be fair, the frustration has to be measured against the fun, which you can clearly see in Sam’s second photo below:

Difficulties seem to arise from an arrangement that would allow skiers to avoid the descent all the way to the base by offering mid-station loading. Problem with that is they were sending up empty chairs to allow the mid load, which resulted in painfully long waits — up to an hour — at the base. Despite the issues, Sam sez the lines cleared up nicely as the afternoon went on…speaking of Sam, we’re pleased to report that he’s now the ski school director at Black Mountain of Maine. Like they say, the cream rises to the top…Other openings….Buck Hill Minnesota, cranked it up Friday afternoon. I think they’ve closed until next weekend — but it ain’t due to conditions, which appear to be almost in mid-season shape…Steamboat Colorado now calling for a November 15 opening, saying that’s their earliest ever. They’ll be spinning the Christie Peak Express, which is that 6-pack that makes a mid-station turn and sends Texans sprawling all over the ramp after mom and dad argue about whether or not they should take the kids all the way up. Not only does mom win the battle, but she’s also proven correct by the resulting carnage…Loon Mountain NH also eyeballing a Friday opening; they’ve put down plenty of snow and are looking for a little natural help tomorrow. Plan right now is to have 11 runs open, with more to follow on Saturday…snow guns hammering in Southern New England as well, Wachusett MA also talking about a Friday opening, which is earlier than usual. Out in the Berkshires, Jiminy Peak saying they’ll open Saturday, also earlier than normal…Mammoth Mountain CA opened this weekend; they’re spinning as I type this Monday and I have to say their snowmaking efforts have been impressive considering the visible igneous surrounding the white stuff…and we’ll end up back where we started in Maine…it appears that long-shuttered Saddleback Mountain near Rangeley Lakes may return from the dead. Representatives of present owners Bill and Irene Berry announced that a deal was inked with Boston-based Arctaris Impact Fund for purchasing the hill. Outgoing Ski Maine CEO Andy Shephard slated to be GM, and they’re targeting Thanksgiving 2020 for reopening. Shepherd certainly has the experience, having led the revitalization of the aforementioned Black Mountain in Rumford.