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Overheard Changes at Okemo

spiderpig

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Hello everyone! (first post)

Forget that long-term plan for a gondola at the base of Jackson Gore. From mountain operations, I learned of a couple of interesting plans for the near future that can actually be accomplished in a reasonable time frame.

The most sensible addition of the two, Okemo is looking to replace the Green Ridge Triple with another high-speed detachable along the same liftline, above Timberline. However, the base of the lift would be accessible from Mountain Road. That would make the new chair an option for beginners and those coming from the Jackson Gore Express to get back to the main summit. What this would do to the new glade trail, The Shadows, remains to be seen. I use the Green chair often during crowded days, so this sounds great to me.

Another potential addition would be the cutting of new trails below the South Face area along with building new condos with day lodge built off of the road to Trailside. These would be to the left of Trailside as you look up the mountain. Apparently, a private developer would do the building while Okemo provides the trails and lift. I have always seen the potential for a lodge at South Face since before Jackson Gore was built, so this would make sense if there are potential buyers for the new development which the mountain does not really need.
 

Big Game

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Hello everyone! (first post)

Welcome!

Forget that long-term plan for a gondola at the base of Jackson Gore. From mountain operations, I learned of a couple of interesting plans for the near future that can actually be accomplished in a reasonable time frame.

Thanks for the news. A gondola from JG to the peak make 0 sense. And expensive lack of sense too. There is no real run that it would serve. Ture it would get you top to bottom with on one lift, bot most of the traffic would still tend to congregate at the botton of the northstar express.

The most sensible addition of the two, Okemo is looking to replace the Green Ridge Triple with another high-speed detachable along the same liftline, above Timberline. However, the base of the lift would be accessible from Mountain Road. That would make the new chair an option for beginners and those coming from the Jackson Gore Express to get back to the main summit. What this would do to the new glade trail, The Shadows, remains to be seen. I use the Green chair often during crowded days, so this sounds great to me.

This is great idea. On busy days it can keep you off of the northstar. Its crowded getting on and getting off. This makes the most sense. Begginers can stay on the greens that its serves without being forced to make the tight squeeze down mountain road to the northstar express. Plus corrct me if I'm wrong, but that would allow you to go from JG to South face without ever having to hit the Northstar.

Another potential addition would be the cutting of new trails below the South Face area along with building new condos with day lodge built off of the road to Trailside. These would be to the left of Trailside as you look up the mountain. Apparently, a private developer would do the building while Okemo provides the trails and lift. I have always seen the potential for a lodge at South Face since before Jackson Gore was built, so this would make sense if there are potential buyers for the new development which the mountain does not really need.

Would be interesting to see if going lower on Southface would work out. Every trail to the south of the that quad is interesting. I like the terrain and conditions always more on the south side. And it stays the least crowded.

I'd like to see the Glades Peak Quad converted to high speed first. All those great fall lines challenger, triple sec (which are way to short -those should be extended underneath the powerline all the way to moments rest (the run out for the glades from the south face). Plus trim up some glades down in there and off of Rim rock and that makes that horrible horrible catnip (really...a blue?), while giving experts a little more room to find some pitch. A new quad there would totally make the bowl a little destination where you can spend hours without having to schlep to another part of the hill.
 

deadheadskier

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I like the idea for the Green Ridge.

I don't see the terrain below South Face being anything too exciting. Good for the Condo Developers I suppose. Having another Day Lodge certainly wouldn't hurt on the weekends.
 

spiderpig

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Yes, that would make it possible to go from Jackson Gore to South Face without using Northstar. You can take an extra lift, Solitude, to do that now, assuming Catnap is open. I think that is a blue because Dream Weaver was originally a blue, meaning there was no green trail from the top of South Face, except for sneaking around to the top of Upper Mountain Road.

I never had thought of extending Triplesec and Challenger, but that would be a great idea. Knowing Okemo, they would probably try to name those two new trails. However, they when they added glade trails for this season, they did take three trails away (one connector trail and two parks that counted) to keep the count at 119 for some reason.

They would probably need to keep the Glades chair as a fixed grip for days like what they had this week with the Northstar not being able to open due to freezing rain/sleet.
 

deadheadskier

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I don't really see a point with extending Triple Sec or Challenger across Fall Line. All you would get is another couple of Sprint type trails with only a slight bit more pitch. The only reason Sprint was even cut was to create direct access from the Northstar to the South Face. What you sacrifice in cutting those <500 foot long trails is creating two additional intersections and screwing up Upper Fall Line. Don't get me wrong, despite how short they are, I dig Triple Sec and Challenger, but I think it's overselling them to suggest there's some great skiing to be had by cutting across Fall Line and the Power Line to Moment's Rest.

If there's any sort of terrain expansion in that area that I think would be worth of considering it would be glading out the entire bowl from Outrage all the way over to Rimrock. Before the Southface ever came to be, I had a couple of tree shots that I'd ski off of Rimrock that would empty out on Moment's Rest. They weren't very good due to all the pucker brush, but the terrain was pretty good. A little manicuring, but not going overboard like Double Diamond and it would offer some very fun skiing during a good snow year. Having grown up skiing Okemo probably over 500 days total during the 80s and early 90s, I do understand their natural snow limitations and such terrain would probably only be open an average of a month a season at best. That said, it would add a unique experience to the area when the gettins good that they currently don't have.

I do understand the appeal in turning that lift into a HSQ. It does seem long and slow, just as the Sachem lift does. I just don't see the Glades Peak terrain becoming a "destination" trail pod on the mountain by having a faster lift and creating a couple of connector trails to Moment's Rest.
 

Big Game

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I don't really see a point with extending Triple Sec or Challenger across Fall Line. All you would get is another couple of Sprint type trails with only a slight bit more pitch. The only reason Sprint was even cut was to create direct access from the Northstar to the South Face. What you sacrifice in cutting those <500 foot long trails is creating two additional intersections and screwing up Upper Fall Line. Don't get me wrong, despite how short they are, I dig Triple Sec and Challenger, but I think it's overselling them to suggest there's some great skiing to be had by cutting across Fall Line....

For me, Fall Line domestic do anything. I'd be happy if it was closed so Triple Sec and Challenger could be extended. Yes, still not going to be all that long.

Agree 100% about gliding out that bowl. Shoot do that and I won't mind a nice long lift ride together a rest.

Looking at the topographic it look like it get real flat downhill of the south face and glade quads. But one of the trails the kids love the most is Sachem. And I got to admit...it is really one of the best greens around. Having that as access to a condo is not so bad.

Did you ever shoot down the poweline, DHS? I'm not sure if it is possible, but we always talk about doing it every time we are on the glade.
 

jaytrem

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I always thought the Okemo gondola was an excellent idea, though I seem often to be in the minority. I figure if I'm at the bottom of Jackson Gore I want to get to either 1 of 2 places, the top of Jackson Gore or the top of Okemo. The gondola would provide a one seat ride to the latter, rather than the current 3 seat ride. With the most of the higher density lodging going in on the Jackson Gore side I would think that would be very helpful. It's not a lift that would be useful for lapping, but who wants to lap a gondola anyway. It would also be very nice compliment to the rest of the summer attractions they've been building at the Jackson Gore base.
 

deadheadskier

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Looking at the topographic it look like it get real flat downhill of the south face and glade quads. But one of the trails the kids love the most is Sachem. And I got to admit...it is really one of the best greens around. Having that as access to a condo is not so bad.

Did you ever shoot down the poweline, DHS? I'm not sure if it is possible, but we always talk about doing it every time we are on the glade.

Yes, skied the Power line back in the day, but that was 20 years ago, so I'm not sure what it's like today regarding brush. I basically have covered most everything from Rimrock to Solitude. Me and my buddies would scour the entire mountain border to border looking for trees to ski because back then the only glades were Double Diamond, Outrage and Whistler. Unfortunately, Okemo had zero glade skiing fans back then because most of our off map "tree skiing" consisted of bushwacking for a hundred feet to find a couple of good turns and then bushwack again. It was a real eye opener for me when I moved to Stowe when I was 20 and discovered vast "locally maintained" off map tree skiing. I was unaware it existed in the East until then.

Sachem is great. I'd rank it top ten for green runs in the East that I've skied except for the icy days when the top and bottom big hairpin turns can get pretty treacherous for a novice. It's a great slopeside accommodation experience as well. Before my parents bought their place out near Lake Rescue, they did seasonal rentals for two years off of Sachem trail. Sachem is not only fun during the day to ski on, but really fun at night to sled on. Once the lifts closed for the day, we'd take a few laps sledding the Sachem. My dad would pick us up in his car at the base and bring us back up to the top. So much fun.

Yes, the terrain is very flat down below the South Face. When South Face was in it's planning stages which really was happening all the way back before when the Solitude area was being built (hell even Mount Holly expansion was discussed back in the 80s), there was actually talk of adding an access road up from route 100 near the town dump and putting in a second base area over there. If they were to pursue just putting condos and a day lodge in now with access off of the trailside road, I hope they set it up like Solitude is now where the lodge would be at the top of the condo access lift and at the base of the South Face Express. My big complaint about both base areas at a Okemo is that when you go down to either the main base or Jackson Gore, you need to take a feeder lift to get to another lift that takes you to anything worth skiing. It was because of this reason that we'd always do lunch at the Sugar House. On the first run of the day we'd bring a cooler and a backpack with all the food and supplies we needed for the day and not return to the base area until we were leaving.

I always thought the Okemo gondola was an excellent idea, though I seem often to be in the minority. I figure if I'm at the bottom of Jackson Gore I want to get to either 1 of 2 places, the top of Jackson Gore or the top of Okemo. The gondola would provide a one seat ride to the latter, rather than the current 3 seat ride. With the most of the higher density lodging going in on the Jackson Gore side I would think that would be very helpful. It's not a lift that would be useful for lapping, but who wants to lap a gondola anyway. It would also be very nice compliment to the rest of the summer attractions they've been building at the Jackson Gore base.

I hear you that it would be great to park at the Jackson Gore base area and grab one lift to the summit. Same could be said for the base area, though at least there it's only two lifts instead of the three from Jackson. As was pointed out though, a JG to Summit Gondola couldn't be lapped and for that reason it would be always underutilized. People would use it to get out of the base area in the morning and then probably maybe one more time a day if they decided to head back to Jackson Gore for lunch or to ski that trail pod for awhile. That makes it a bad investment. I also have a hard time envisioning a Gondola unloading at the summit when it's already a zoo between the Northstar and Greenridge unloads and the summit lodge and the lack of land to physically put in a Gondola top station.

Now, making the Green Ridge a HSQ starting from Moutain Road on the other hand would be a great investment. It would reduce all traffic from that side of the mountain heading to the Northstar. Even the biggest pinball trail on the Mountain (Lower Arrow) would see vastly reduced traffic. Plenty of people ski Upper Tomahawk, Upper Saphire and Upper Timberline, then grab Arrow back to the base to avoid the slow Green Ridge lift. Making the Green Ridge a high speed lift would make people stick to that pod a bit more.

Great Discussion OP. I've only skied Okemo about a dozen times since the late 90s, but I hold the place dear. I skied there about 50 days a season between 1984 and 1994. Okemo is essentially my childhood. So, it's cool to have a positve talk about the future of IMO a great place; instead of the usual SlOkemo bashing the place gets on internet message boards.
 

Newpylong

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Green Ridge to a HSQ definitely sounds like a great idea that would keep people off the Northstar / Lower Mountain Road, which is the biggest sh*t show of anywhere in my opinion.

I don't agree with turning the Glades Peak into a HSQ. It is a long ride but there isn't really a lot of terrain to send more people down, you already have South Face dumping tons of peope on a couple of feeders that turn into ice rinks.

Don't care one way or the other about Jackson, I think that place stinks and has a terrible layout.
 

Big Game

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Thanks for comments DHS. I learned to snowboard later in life thanks to okemos midweek pass. The lack of slope do nest really matter to me so much. I'd prefer to carve on a blue than scratch on a black.

I like your story of growing up there. Pretty cool stuff.

I'll be going up Wednesday ...if it were my chocie I'd head further up. But trying to keep the family closer together so it's Okemo. Going to try to get my 3 year old on skis. He's a careful lad. The only way I can get him to do something is if his older cousins go first. And luckily they'll be there.
 

witch hobble

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The Green Ridge thing is a real good idea. Lets the beginners avoid Lower mtn rd/Lower Arrow chaos. You can definitely bypass Northstar to get to South face. And it adds one more decent run that you could lap (Upper Tomahawk to Heaven's Gate) off the Green. They did a similar thing when they replaced the Green Poma and moved the loading for the triple down so that you could ski Tomahawk/Whistler/Timberline. Laps on that Green Poma as a kid are some of my fondest memories of early skiing, but it was pretty limited as to what you could take and still get back to it.

DHS, like you I used to ski all over the place at Okemo (on my Dynastar Course SLs). Not a ton of room between most trails, but fairly open hardwoods. If you go back now, you will see that with all the teenagers and kids running around there these days, there are little tree shots everywhere, and an open boundary to boundary policy too.
 

Boston Bulldog

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Okemo could benefit from turning the Northstar into a 6 pack, but maybe the plan for the Green Ridge conversion makes that un-needed
 

spiderpig

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Okemo could benefit from turning the Northstar into a 6 pack, but maybe the plan for the Green Ridge conversion makes that un-needed

I was thinking about this while I was at Hunter on Sunday. They swapped their main HSQ for a six then moved the HSQ to Hunter West a couple years later, replacing two doubles (though its new location is somewhat horrible). I would consider this same tact for Northstar/Green Ridge, but I wonder if Okemo has something against 6-packs or cannot be cleared for that increase in capacity.
 
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