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AZ Challenge 2011: Win Smith of Sugarbush

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Nick

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Win Smith, President of Sugarbush, has agreed to participate in the 2011 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.

Sugarbush Profile

2009 AlpineZone Challenge Results
2007 AlpineZone Challenge Results
2006 AlpineZone Challenge Results
2005 AlpineZone Challenge Results
2004 AlpineZone Challenge Results
 

deadheadskier

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There has been Sugarbush master plan renderings in the recent past with significant upgrades including lift/trail expansions.

I was particularly excited about two new trail pods and lifts in the renderings for Mt. Ellen; the expanded terrain above Inverness and a lift going down into the Lower FIS valley.

Do you have a realistic time table for when these projects will move forward?
 

xlr8r

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Is the Lincoln Peak Village now complete, or is there a further phase to be built? With the added capacity of the two new buildings added last year, will the valley house lodge continue to be utilized in the future or are its days numbered?
 

thetrailboss

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Win, thanks for several great seasons at Sugarbush.

Any more thoughts to extending Mount Ellen's season, especially in seasons like the last two when there was more snow on Mount Ellen side compared to Lincoln Peak?

With the proposed long-term expansions at Mount Ellen, are there any plans to expand or replace the Ellen Base Lodge?

When can we expect the older doubles, such as Valley House, Village, and Sunny D, to be retired and replaced with new lifts?
 

jimmywilson69

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As I understand it, Slidebrook Basin was not able to be developed into ski slopes due to Black Bear Habitat. However, you guys were able to secure a permit to operate guided back country tours in there. Is there a possibility in the future that Slidebrook could be opened up to everyone similar to bracket basin at Sugarloaf? I understand this would require the installation of lifts and trail network to enable people to return to Lincoln Peak or Mt. Ellen.
 

steamboat1

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Any thoughts about doing a Sugarbush MRG interconnect. There was a lift line cut at one time from the top of Inverness to MRG that has long since overgrown.
 

Northernflight

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Are there any plans to bring more nightlife to the area? The only thing I didn't like about my trip to Sugarbush a few years ago was that everything seemed to close @630. There seemed to be a lack of things for even family's to do at night.
 

steamboat1

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How about replacing the Heavens Gate Chair with one that actually goes to the top so you don't have to climb herring bone hill to get to Organ Grinder or Jester? Better yet how about a new bottom to top lift over the old Organ Grinder lift line?

I do like the idea of a lift going up lower FIS at Mt. Ellen though. A few more trails in that area & snow making would make it perfect.
 

deadheadskier

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Win,

Under your tenureship, Sugarbush has been one of the most aggressive areas on the East Coast in offering skiing late into the spring. Any chance of altering the plan and moving spring skiing operations to Mt. Ellen? Without question, Mt. Ellen has the BEST set up on the East Coast to offer skiing as late as possible. The product you've delivered on Lincolon late season has been good, but without a doubt, Ellen is the better set up with the high elevation lift.

I've skied Superstar at Killington in mid-June in the past. I skied the Jet at Jay in early May this season. I think spring skiing at Mt. Ellen could trump both easily. Any chance of moving spring OPs to Ellen for this upcoming season? I think combining an epic spring skiing season on Ellen with your current 420 pass promotion would create serious buzz that Sugarbush is THE PLACE to be for diehard skiers and riders in the east. Spring skiing on Mt. Ellen is a competitive advantage that can't be beat by any other area in the east.
 

jimmywilson69

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Have you considered converting the Slidebrook express to a bubble quad? I don't know if that kind of modification is possible with the current lift setup(towers, cable, etc) due to the additional weight. It would make that lift ride a bit more attractive,as it would essentially be a gondola.
 

steamboat1

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Win I just wanted to say thank you for offering free skiing on the last day of the season this past season. Although I didn't take advantage of it it was a very nice gesture on your part. I did ski May 1 just not at your area.

I also agree about Mt. Ellen being the better area for spring skiing but understand why you use Lincoln Peak since most of your investment is put into that area. I remember one spring day several years ago (before you bought the area) that I skied Lincoln Peak in the morning & by 11am the mountain turned into slush, even up on Heavens Gate. I took one boot off & drove over to Mt. Ellen & to my surprise still found mid winter conditions there. Mt. Ellen just seems to stay cooler & holds the snow better as I'm sure you already know. I used to spend many spring days at Mt. Ellen & miss having the option to ski there late season.
 

teleo

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Win,

Is phase 3 of LP moving forward? Any indication of possible timetables? And how will it integrate with the old Sugarbush Village if at all?

You had a long range plan for Sugarbush on the old website that included phase1, 2, 3 of LP. Now that phase 1 & 2 are complete, have you updated the plan looking further out than phase 3? What would be the next major items on the plan?
 

WWF-VT

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Tropical Storm Irene damaged the snow making pond, German Flats Road sustained damage and there has been ongoing repaving of the Access Road. What impact, if any will there be on snowmaking this season based upon these events? What improvements to snowmaking and recovery from the inevitable freeze/thaw cycle are planned for this season?
 

ThinkSnow

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Win-- Thank you for the great job you're doing as the resort's current caretaker, and for listening to the customers voices & opinions.

With so many people these days being involved with "fantasy" sports, I was wondering what your "fantasy ski-resort" would be, and if you hope to incorporate any of those details into Sugarbush in the future?
 

lpy

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You can still see the lift line in question on google earth. Was that done by ASC?

I could be wrong, but I think this was cut to serve a new pod in the 60's but was found to be beyond Glen Ellen's property lines and abandoned? This trail map from '68 shows "future facilities and trails":

http://www.nelsap.org/skihistory/glenellen68tm.jpg

I'd also be very interested to hear about proposed upgrades to ME.
 

steamboat1

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I could be wrong, but I think this was cut to serve a new pod in the 60's but was found to be beyond Glen Ellen's property lines and abandoned? This trail map from '68 shows "future facilities and trails":

http://www.nelsap.org/skihistory/glenellen68tm.jpg

I'd also be very interested to hear about proposed upgrades to ME.

I like the lift ticket rates in your link.:p
 
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