AlpineZone Challenge 2012: Win Smith of Sugarbush

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  1. #1

    Thumbs up AlpineZone Challenge 2012: Win Smith of Sugarbush

    Win Smith, President of Sugarbush, has agreed to participate in the 2012 AlpineZone Ski Area Challenge!

    The AlpineZone Challenge is your chance to offer up questions, suggestions or praise to the people who run the mountains in the northeast. For more information on the challenge itself, please see the stickied post at the top of the forum.



    We will pick ten of the questions asked here and submit them for review and response, and post them in the Challenge area when complete!

    Caveats: we may edit/change your question for grammar, tone, or something similar. Questions may be merged. If we don't get to all the questions, we will encourage followup from the representatives, but no promises.

    Please be respectful as well to those answering questions - please refrain from asking specifics about skier visit numbers, financials, demographic information, etc. as these may be confidential to the mountain.

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  2. #2
    I don't have any questions for Win but I will take to opportunity to commend Sugarbush for the excellent spring skiing. Too many resorts start closing terrain whenever there's a bare patch but I've been able to ski Casterock and Sugarbush woods late into the season where the terrain was half bare.

    This is awesome for die-hards and those who believe it should be your choice to risk wrecking your skis if you're willing to ski it. Sugarbush is my spot for spring skiing and will be as long as this continues.

    Here's a question, actually. Sugarbush (South) tickets are among the most expensive passes in New England. Will you work with Liftopia to offer more significant discounts to those willing to buy tickets in advance? I have not seen much in terms of Liftopia discounts for Sugarbush in recent years. Mt. Ellen is a fair price lift ticket at least.
    2016/2017: * = powder day
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    Sugarbush [January 2]
    Telluride [March 27, March 28*]
    Whiteface [February 12]

  3. #3
    Win I will echo what I am sure many here will, that Sugarbush is a really special place. I hope to get back there in the spring again this year.

    My question is with last years snowless winter, are there any plans for sugarbush to add capacity to their snowmaking system?
    2017-2018

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  4. #4
    Sugarbush has been my vacation home location for 25 years and, obviously I've seen many changes during this time period. Suffice it to say that the current ownership is some of the finest in the business and really cares about the skiers, the mountain and the Mad River Valley. Thank you Win!

    My questions are somewhat general in nature, but here goes:

    1. I understand the logic behind building additional real estate to support the business in general, but after the new condos are built, what will your on-mountain focus be to continue to add/improve to the skiing? Additional snowmaking and/or capcity? Additional lifts or terrain? The area above Inverness makes my mouth water and seeing the old lift line that was never used would greatly add to terrain.

    2. While not mountain specific....have you given any thought to rearranging or reconfiguring the seating in the Gate House lodge? During busy times, the tables are only half filled, but access to them is always so cluttered with the plastic chairs? Perhaps some benches and or fixed seating might improve capacity?

    3. Any plans to develop the base around Mt Ellen? This is my starting point most days; (especially with family due to the easy access), but think there is so much potential.

    Thanks Win. Also, thanks for the incredible ticket discounts offerred. With a bit of creativity and planning, a family of 4 can actually get a lot of skiing in during the season without having to commit to a pass (which more often than not I find more difficult to use).

  5. #5
    thetrailboss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimmywilson69 View Post
    Win I will echo what I am sure many here will, that Sugarbush is a really special place. I hope to get back there in the spring again this year.

    My question is with last years snowless winter, are there any plans for sugarbush to add capacity to their snowmaking system?
    I agree with this comment and add that we left Vermont last year and I know that this is a point that I did not agree with at first, but after very late starts in 2010 and 2011, it became clear to me that while there is some great work with adding HKDs and replacing pipe, they just don't have the compressor power to quickly build base or recover. It was painful in 2010 to see them struggle to get open. I know that folks have commented on this and Win has been very quick to disagree, I think the issue is that they need more water and air pumping capacity, which is not cheap and probably not in line with their plans right now. The long season was what made it for us. In 2010-2011 we lost three weekends at the front end, and at least three or so on the back end, which was a lot of skiing that we did not get. I know that you can't control the weather, but other places were open. It just seems that they have either given up on that or are pursuing a different plan. It's not the Sugarbush we came to know. Hopefully they are working on improving that.

    I also don't understand why they are adamant on not doing early season skiing at Ellen or extending its season when it has the best aspect.

    Just my thoughts as a skier. They've done an amazing job over the long term, but the skiing product just is not improving or is relying too much on natural snow that may or may not come when you want it.
    Live, Ski, or Die!


  6. #6
    steamboat1's Avatar
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    The addition of the new Gatehouse lodge hasn't really alleviated the problem of overcrowding on busy days. There seems to be so much wasted space in the cafeteria. Are there any plans to reconfigure the cafeteria area so that additional seating could be added?
    On the same subject of overcrowding in the lodge there appears to be ample room to add an additional level above the existing seating area. Are there any plans to take advantage of that space?
    Now that lift tickets are no longer sold in the Gatehouse lodge are there any plans to take advantage of that space? The changing & storage area is insufficient on busy days & could be easily expanded utilizing that area I would think.
    I ask these questions because out of all the areas I ski Sugarbush is the only area where I regularly see people sitting on the floor eating there lunch because of lack of sufficient seating. Otherwise the mountain is terrific.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by steamboat1 View Post
    The addition of the new Gatehouse lodge hasn't really alleviated the problem of overcrowding on busy days. There seems to be so much wasted space in the cafeteria. Are there any plans to reconfigure the cafeteria area so that additional seating could be added?
    On the same subject of overcrowding in the lodge there appears to be ample room to add an additional level above the existing seating area. Are there any plans to take advantage of that space?
    Now that lift tickets are no longer sold in the Gatehouse lodge are there any plans to take advantage of that space? The changing & storage area is insufficient on busy days & could be easily expanded utilizing that area I would think.
    I ask these questions because out of all the areas I ski Sugarbush is the only area where I regularly see people sitting on the floor eating there lunch because of lack of sufficient seating. Otherwise the mountain is terrific.
    On the topic of relieving crowding in the base areas, are there any plans to offer additional food options on mountain? Because nearly everybody is forced to go down to either base area for lunch. Any chance that Glen House and or Allyn's Lodge could be expanded to be full cafeterias or restaurants? The options in those buildings are limited and seem to act more as warming huts than lodges. Also the location where the Gatehouse, North Lynx, and Slidebrook Chairs converge would be make a great location for a new on mountain lodge and restaurant.

  8. #8
    I agree last year I went there in the warmest day of spring skiing and there was a trail where only 30% the trail was actually skiable

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by xlr8r View Post
    On the topic of relieving crowding in the base areas, are there any plans to offer additional food options on mountain? Because nearly everybody is forced to go down to either base area for lunch. Any chance that Glen House and or Allyn's Lodge could be expanded to be full cafeterias or restaurants? The options in those buildings are limited and seem to act more as warming huts than lodges. Also the location where the Gatehouse, North Lynx, and Slidebrook Chairs converge would be make a great location for a new on mountain lodge and restaurant.
    Alyn's lodge doesnt have water so its limited to selling packaged goods.
    but i agree that the area by nl and slidebrook would be a good spot for a new lodge/cafeteria if alyn's can't be expanded and upgraded.

  10. #10
    I like the idea of full mid-mountain food at Allyns or the top of GHQ to alleviate crowding at GH caf and distribute skiers on busy days. Top of GHQ could potentially be used for weddings since GHQ is already used for weddings. Although it doesn't do much for apres. So for questions:

    1. Is it even possible to get permits for a full service lodge mid mountain at either location? If so, would/have you considered it?
    2. With the expansion of residences at LP, are there any plans to upgrade SHARC?

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