Stowe, Vermont’s 10-year development effort at it’s Spruce Peak area will get a decidedly family-flavored makeover starting later this spring. This next phase comes after extensive conversations with homeowners, club member, and guests.
Stowe, the classic eastern ski resort, is in the midst of massive capital improvements, with more snowmaking capacity at the core of those projects.
The northern Vermont resort receives an average of more than 300 inches of natural snow annually. But, the periodic vagaries of winter weather on the eastern seaboard likely precipitated a half-billion dollar master plan that began with the formation of a 116 million gallon water storage area.
It was a long time coming, however. Stowe’s Jeff Wise told SnoCountry.com that concept “was over a decade in the making after Vermont Act 250 approval in 2001.” Act 250 is the state's tough environmental process.
Stowe’s investment, in that time, has included new lifts, access systems and terrain. Stowe has been cognizant of its’ environmental stewardship, while enhancing the on-hill guest experience.
“Through a pair of conservation easements donated to the Vermont Land Trust and the Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife, over 2,000 acres of wildlife habitat has been permanently protected,” Wise said.
“Those lands include 10 acres of summit ski terrain on Spruce Peak that have been restored to their natural state, providing crucial habitat for the Bicknell’s Thrush, and dense forests adjacent to the base village that provide nesting sites for Peregrine falcons, and habitat for moose and black bear.”
Stowe, in 2010, became the first eastern resort to receive the Sustainable Community Certification from Audubon International.
Investments continued this past summer in its snowmaking operations, including an additional $3.4 million in new equipment and upgrades, which consist of 100 HKD tower guns, three Super Pole Cat fan guns, a new pump-house and miles of snowmaking pipe.
That is in addition to the $4.7 million invested last summer, bringing their snowmaking arsenal to 445 HKD tower guns, 150 energy efficient land guns, 20 Super Pole Cat fan guns, and another seven miles of new snowmaking pipe.
Wise said the improvements allow Stowe to operate with greater energy efficiency and eliminate more than 100,000 gallons of diesel storage, use and emissions.
From a guest’s standpoint, the snowmaking buildup increases potential for more early season terrain, raises overall snow quality, and allows mountain operations personnel to resurface quickly after adverse weather.
“Stowe is scheduled to open Nov. 23 with top-to-bottom terrain off the new FourRunner Quad,” Wise said.
Photo: New snow guns installed at Stowe (Stowe Mountain Resort)