In The Spotlight
Boyne announced they will install North America’s first eight-seat, high-speed lift at Big Sky Resort over the summer and it will be ready for next winter, and additional improvements will focus on the Mountain Village.
As part of Boyne Resorts commitment to create the most technologically advanced chairlift network in North America at Big Sky, the state-of-the-art Doppelmayr eight-seat chairlift being placed on Andesite Mountain will include extra-wide, heated seats and "Big Sky blue" bubbles. The new chairlift will arguably provide comfort and the most technological advances ever experienced by passengers. Boyne also announced plans to replace the Shedhorn double chair with a high-speed quad, shortening the uphill ride by nearly two thirds.
The resort plans to transform the upper level of the Mountain Mall, creating a modern ski lodge food hall and event venue large enough to hold more than 700 guests. Indoor fireplaces and an elevator will be added. New curated coffee, wine and beer bars are planned and more mountain views will be opened with the expansion of the outside deck. There will be new food items: stone-fired pizza, sushi, ramen and crepe stations among others.
Boyne also announced that Big Sky is on a record pace for visitors this season expecting to go over 500,000 skier visits for the first time, but the new lift overshadowed other news.
"This is a very exciting moment in our company's history, being able to capture another industry first, with whom I consider the best lift manufacturer in the world, is truly remarkable, and as well an important time for Big Sky Resort in its journey toward becoming an internationally acclaimed mountain destination," said Boyne Resorts president Stephen Kircher. "Big Sky Resort is considered America's Alp due to its Matterhorn-like peak and we will now have lift technology that rivals the best of what Europe offers and is truly beyond anything that exists in North America today.”
Boyne has a long history of creating radical leaps in chairlift technology including laying claim to the world's first triple and quad chairlifts and America's first high-speed six-pack, which were all introduced at Michigan’s Boyne Mountain.
Snowshoe Mountain will be putting nearly $4 million toward upgrades this summer to snowmaking and grooming technology, allowing them to open significantly more of trails by early December and to maintain a high-quality snow surface throughout ski season.
The West Virginia Resort is one of 12 resorts purchased by Alterra Mountain Company last year.
The investment includes over 150 new snowguns, including 75 fixed position tower fan guns and 90 low-energy stick guns.
Further automating the mountain’s snowmaking system will increase efficiency, giving the maximum amount of production time during even brief snowmaking opportunities. Each snowgun will have access to temperature and humidity sensors that trigger the automation software and adjust air/water ratios to ensure both high quality snow and maximum snow production.
The re-tooled snowmaking system will return more than 5,000,000 kwh back to the grid, enough to power 500 homes for an entire year.
Situated at the southern end of Cheat Mountain, on the second highest peak in West Virginia at 4,848ft, Snowshoe’s elevation produces a unique microclimate keeping it cooler than the surrounding area.
Snowshoe sits in a snowy sweet spot – close enough to the Great Lakes for consistent upslope lake effect snow from the many passing Alberta clippers, and far enough east to cash in on big Nor’easters.
Snowshoe enjoys an average snowfall of 180 inches and is known for its surprisingly light, dry powder.
“This is the single most important investment our new owners, Alterra Mountain Company, could make in Snowshoe,” said Frank DeBerry, Snowshoe’s President and Chief Operating Officer. “As this past season demonstrates, Snowshoe’s unique microclimate and elevation provide us with the cold and snow we need to provide the best and most skiing and riding in the mid-Atlantic and Southeast. This investment further boosts and protects our greatest strength, all while taking yet another step towards reducing our impact on the environment.”
Nub's Nob, known throughout the Midwest for meticulous grooming and snow conditions, is actually a pair of 427-foot peaks that encompasses 53 trails and numerous glades scattered over 248 skiable acres. It’s an array of imposing steep, western-like slopes in front, narrow intermediate runs with a New England feel on the southwest side, and open bowls on the north side. Pintail Peak with its stunning overlook of Lake Michigan’s Little Traverse Bay is a separate outback experience. They routinely stay open through early April.
Trails. The front side boasts killer steeps such as Chute and Scarface, augmented with the double-black Powerline Glade. Nub's North offer wide-open bowls, as well as a terrain park. Novices and intermediates will feel like they're back East on Nub's South, where narrow trails slither through hardwoods. And Pintail Peak, a separate mountain, has 12 trails that boast an "outback" experience. Seven glades stretch across the front side, south side and Pintail Peak. One of their upper glade slopes can be accessed only by hiking up; just like out west. It’s one my favorite glade runs. Because of having to hike up, you frequently have it to yourself. The purple chairlift is free daily for beginners use anytime.
Lodging. Nub's is a ski area only, but as much as it‘s all about the skiing, you won't be stranded without lodging and nice restaurants, which can be found in nearby popular tourist destinations Harbor Springs and Petoskey. There’s a variety of condo developments within just a few minutes of the ski area that offer lodging packages, some are ski-in/ski-out. Others offer transportation to and from the ski area. In Petoskey you will find inns established in the late 1800s overlooking Lake Michigan.
Eat. The Nub's Nob cafeteria offers a variety of good homemade soups, sandwiches, baked goods and pizzas. The Winter Garden is a great spot to enjoy a hamburger off the grill and sun on those beautiful late winter days. City Park Grill is housed in one of Petoskey’s oldest buildings and was frequented by Ernest Hemingway. Today it’s known for steak, lake fish, famous hot biscuits, fine wine and Hemingway memorabilia. Vernales in Harbor Springs is one of Michigan’s top steakhouses. And, for a true roadhouse experience visit Teddy Griffin’s Roadhouse in Harbor Springs, great steaks and Great Lakes fresh fish.
Deals. Through the Petoskey Area CVB spring ski and lodging packages you can find one night lodging packages including two 1-day lift vouchers for Nub’s Nob and continental breakfast starting from $109.
The coming of spring is a bittersweet time for skiers and riders. But it’s also time to party hearty at a plethora of spring festivals and fun dots the calendar during the final weeks of the year.
SnoCountry.com went looking for some of the coolest parties of the spring and came up with this survey from around the country:
In the East, it’s Sugar Daze on March 17 at Okemo Mountain in Vermont. Blues Traveler headlines a half-dozen other acts in a free concert at the Jackson Gore Inn.
And at N.H.’s Mount Sunapee on March 23, Bode Miller takes to the NASTAR course to set a time to beat, and a lucky few get to ski with the World Cup champ in the afternoon. Miller then hosts a meet-and-greet in the evening.
In the Midwest, it’s happenin’ on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula on March 17-18. Krazy Daze at Boyne Mountain features zip lines, on-hill races and parties, tailgate parties, face painting and costume contest. Over at Boyne Highlands, Carnival Weekend parties go all weekend, with cookouts, live music and costume contests.
In the Rockies, Jackson Hole’s Rendezvous Festival goes March 15-18 with a ton of music both at the mountain and in town – and it’s all free. Headlining are Portugal The Man, Michael Franti and Spearhead, and The Mavericks. On Saturday, Olympic champ Red Gerard will be around for some slopestyle, autographs and partying.
At Alta, closing means a farewell party at the top of High Rustler called High Boy. Scheduled for April 29, the gathering requires odd and weird costumes, and the ability to ski down one of America’s iconic trails for the final time of the season.
On March 30, California’s Squaw Valley continues a tradition with the Pain McShlonkey Classic, a tribute to the late BASE jumper Shane McConkey. Highlights are a mass downhill race, small mountain snowblade competition, costume party and The World’s Greatest After Party.
Mammoth Mountain puts a cap on the season on April 7-8 with the Mammoth Invitational. A weekend’s worth of racing includes Olympians Stacey Cook and Kelly Clark. Past the finish line, it’s party, party, party to raise money for the Mammoth Mountain Community Foundation.