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What’s New for the 2017-18 Ski and Snowboard Season in Vermont

John Egan and Babic Darian ripping down Sugarbush, March 2017. Photo by John Atkinson.
Chloe Elliott, chloe@skivermont.com 802-223-2439 Montpelier, VT

Winter will be here before we know it and to prepare for another great season Vermont’s resorts have been hard at work improving and expanding upon their resort offerings like season passes, base lodges, off slope activities and of course, trails, lifts and snowmaking. 

So, what’s new for the 2017-18 season? Find out below and start planning your sick days! 

Snowmaking, Lift and Trail Improvements

Bolton Valley
Bolton Valley is upgrading its snowmaking system prior to the 2017-18 winter season. The pumps at the Timberline pumphouse will be balanced, allowing for more water to be pushed uphill, more quickly. The resort is also expanding its gun and hose inventory. Combined, these two upgrades will allow the resort to blow snow in multiple locations at the same time. The additional guns and hoses will also reduce downtime when the crews need to change locations. The overall benefit will be more snow earlier in the season and more trails getting covered faster than last year. 

Burke Mountain
This year Burke Mountain will install 13,400 feet of new snowmaking pipe which will be in the ground and ready to blow for the upcoming 2017-18 winter season.  This new pipe will increase efficiencies on the lower mountain while adding snowmaking for the first time to two new trails on the upper mountain. These new additions are a part of a larger-scale project currently underway to replace a POMA lift that services the Warren’s Way training hill. A new high speed Leitner POMA T-bar surface lift is being installed and will increase Burke Mountain’s uphill capacity by nearly five times.
  
Magic Mountain
Magic’s new ownership continues its capital investment in one of Vermont’s throwback ski areas. After winning Liftopia’s award for best ski area in North America, Ski Magic LLC builds on its successful inaugural winter by putting more capital to work expanding the snowmaking system, adding two new lifts and enhancing the classic lodge where the Black Line Tavern is recognized as one of the East’s most spirited après ski scenes. Key to Ski Magic’s efforts is broadening its ski offering to welcome more beginner, novice and intermediate skiers/riders. Magic will now have a new beginner area with a StarLift carpet conveyor lift for its Learning Center. The addition of the new Green Chair Lift servicing base-to-mid mountain intermediate and beginner terrain allows easier access to classic skiing for all ability levels. In combination with expanded snowmaking and grooming capabilities, the new Green Chair area will allow Magic to open earlier than ever by Thanksgiving. 

Mount Snow Resort
Always a pioneer when it comes to snowmaking, Mount Snow has completed $30 million in snowmaking upgrades for the upcoming season, including doubling their ability to make snow and increasing storage capacity six-fold. These upgrades give Mount Snow one of the most powerful snowmaking systems in the East, meaning more trails opening faster to start the season, and better coverage all winter long.

Okemo Mountain Resort
Okemo’s dedication to creating a superior snow surface continues with the addition of two new grooming machines to its fleet of Prinoth Beasts. The Prinoth Bison demonstrates excellent maneuverability and climbing ability - even in adverse conditions - and the Bison X is the ultimate park vehicle. Snowmaking upgrades include a new feeder pipe from Okemo’s Base Pump to mid-mountain Pump Station, and additional pipe upward. Okemo is also adding HKD SV 10 snowguns, bringing its arsenal of HKD snow guns to 1,300 mountain-wide. Okemo continues its rental equipment replacement program with the purchase of more new skis and snowboards, and, to keep all that equipment in top condition, Okemo is upgrading tuning equipment in the shops at both base areas. 

Stratton Mountain Resort
Stratton’s 2017-18 fleet of 11 groomers includes two new Bison X Prinoth cats equipped with state-of-the-art fuel burning technology, decreasing harmful emissions, snow depth technology which guides the team in crafting seamless corduroy and terrain park features and transports guests to mid-mountain for a starlight gourmet dinner held every Saturday this winter. Combined with more than 1,200 efficient (HKD and fan) guns, Stratton’s seasoned operations team creates epic snow with less energy, including a 40% reduction in diesel use with the switch to electric compressors. 

Sugarbush Resort
Sugarbush is also replacing the old ticket scanning system with RFID gates at all base lifts. Other projects to improve the guest experience include purchasing new SnowLogic guns, replacing the motor for the North Ridge Quad, installing a new snowmaking pipe on Which Way, new air compressor for snowmaking and purchasing two new Pisten Bully groomers (one specifically designed for the terrain park).

Suicide Six
Suicide Six Trail improvements continue, with widening, stumping and thinning of glades in many areas across the map. Contour and grade changes will allow for faster and better snowmaking coverage, as well as newly constructed load and unload decks at the recently installed summit quad. Snowmaking improvements continue with the addition of new snow producers, as well as pipeline and infrastructure repairs. Look for better coverage and higher quality when you visit this season and expect more to come in the future.   

On and Off Slope Renovations

Bromley Mountain
Over your head and under your feet, that’s what’s new at Bromley this winter season! The cozy base lodge is getting a whole new roof, the Sun Deck has been resurfaced (all the better to support après firepit hangs), and the rental equipment fleet has a superbly restocked quiver. Don’t own your own? Bromley is expanding the high-performance options in the rental shop this season with more new Rossignol Experience 80 skis, plus all new junior boots in the latest comfy model for happy kid feet. 

Jay Peak Resort
Jay Peak is adding reels and rappelling to its list of activities for the coming winter. The resort will open a new 142-seat movie theater and Clip ‘n Climb climbing facility in the 15,000-square foot Clips and Reels recreation center opening at the Stateside area of the resort. And in an expanded focus on employee perks, Jay Peak is opening a new 12-plex of mountain cottages dedicated to employee housing. The cottages, along with Jay Peak’s renovation of its Inglenook Lodge, will provide the resort with the ability to house up to 150 employees. 

Smugglers’ Notch Resort
Smugglers’ Notch Resort continues to build on their award-winning programs and amenities which aim to provide an exceptional experience for fun-lovers of all ages. The completion of the FunZone 2.0 hits that mark and then some. With activities like a multi-course Smugglers’ Warrior Challenge, massive laser tag arena, Smugglers’ themed Mountain Rally Races slot car track, arcade, and transparent climbing tower, everyone in the family is included in the fun. Of course, the elements which made the original FunZone such a hit are still included, in the second floor of the complex, known as the Ozone. Additionally, toddlers can ignite their imaginations in the Littles’ Loft toddler play area. With features such as bouncy castle, pirate ship inflatable obstacle course, and Vermont inspired country store, toddlers can let their energy out while playing like the grown-ups they admire. 

Mountain Happenings and Season Passes

Killington Resort
The Beast of the East will kick off the 2017/18 season in mid to late October, conditions permitting, with the return of the Audi FIS Ski World Cup taking place over Thanksgiving Weekend, November 24-26, 2017 with new entertainment opportunities kicking off the weekend on Friday. The 2017-18 season also brings new, lower season pass pricing on their Unlimited Season Passes offering unrestricted access to the longest season in the East at an even better value than last season. Killington continues to replace snowmaking infrastructure to ensure their ability to deliver a consistent ski and ride experience. 

Mad River Glen
Mad River Glen’s goal is to maintain and preserve the experience rather than overhaul or upgrade it. The ability of Mad River Glen to consistently reinvest in the mountain’s infrastructure is a testament to the success of the Cooperative. Both the skier-owners and the management understand that skiers come to Mad River for the unique combination of legendary terrain, sense of community, low skier density and intimate atmosphere. In over 20 years of co-op ownership, Mad River Glen has invested well over $5 million in capital improvements.

Stowe Mountain Resort
Stowe Mountain Resort is now Epic for the 2017-18 winter season. Starting at only $859, the Epic Pass offers unlimited, unrestricted access to Stowe Mountain Resort and the Epic Local Pass, $639, will offer 10 days of skiing at Stowe. The iconic, East Coast resort is the newest among 45 of the world’s most renowned mountain destinations to be offered with the Epic Pass – which includes the best of the West throughout 10 world-class destination resorts. 

Sugarbush Resort
Sugarbush has joined the Mountain Collective this season, an international alliance of premier ski destinations providing the Mountain Collective Pass. In addition, the resort is replacing two of its older double lifts, the Village Double and Sunshine Double, with new fixed-grip quads.

Trapp Family Lodge
North America’s first cross-country skiing center is turning 50! Join Trapp Family Lodge this season and join in the celebration from January 20-26 for a week of events including a celebration at the Bierhall, a ski with the von Trapps and a specialty brew by von Trapp Brewing. They’ll be celebrating all winter so come ski for the day or get a season’s pass and celebrate all winter.