The Boston Herald - Moira McCarthy
December 4, 2013

It’s all about technology and “gun power” at the resorts of the Green Mountain State this season. Even with the bounty of cold and snow Vermont was blessed with last season, resorts across the state tweaked systems, upgraded snow guns and did all they could to make sure we skiers and riders get the conditions we love this season. Here’s a run-down of what’s new and improved at Vermont resorts this season.

At Smugglers’ Notch Resort a second season of snowmaking enhancements brings 100 new HKD tower snow guns to intermediate and advanced terrain on Sterling and Madonna Mountains. New tower fan guns will provide additional coverage on the learning area on Morse Mountain and at the Sterling base. Last winter’s investment of over $1 million in snowmaking included 150 high efficiency tower guns. This two-year investment enhances the snowmaking product for skiers and riders, allowing more snow to be made at a wider temperature range, and improving the early and late season coverage with greatly reduced energy costs.

This past summer, Stowe Mountain Resort’s continued investment in its state-of-the-art snowmaking operations included an additional $3.4 million in new equipment and upgrades, including 100 HKD tower guns, three Super Pole Cat fan guns, a new pump-house and miles of snowmaking pipe. In addition to supplementing snowmaking, the improvements allow Stowe to operate with greater energy efficiency. From a skier’s standpoint, the new snowmaking increases potential for more early season terrain, raises overall snow quality and allows mountain operations to resurface the mountain quickly.

The Trapp Family Lodge Nordic Center will have newly upgraded trails and a stadium facility for this season.

“This year is a monumental season with Trapp Family Lodge hosting the 2014 Junior National Nordic Ski Championships,” Nordic director Paul McNeil said. The stadium construction has included a widened start area, a new lap lane, a new timing shack location and finish terrace. In addition, trail work on the race course has continued with the widening of climbs and the reshaping of berms.

Bolton Valley replaced 6,000 feet of snowmaking pipe during the offseason. One third of the ski and snowboard rental fleet was updated with new equipment from Rossignol and Burton as well. Base lodge upgrades included a new outdoor staircase and new carpeting.

Sugarbush Resort’s Mt. Ellen peak celebrates its 50th anniversary this season. They should have lots of snow to celebrate, since the resort is currently in the process of installing 77 new HKD snow guns and 11 Snowlogic stage towers. Sugarbush also purchased two new groomers to add to its biodiesel fleet. Renovations on Mt. Ellen’s base lodge and Lincoln Peak’s Valley House will be ready for opening day, as well as improved seating in the Gate House.

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