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The 2006 AlpineZone Ski Area Challenge: SKI SUNDOWN (Their First Challenge!!!)

thetrailboss

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Chris Sullivan, Mountain Operations Manager Ski Sundown has agreed to take the 2006 Alpine Zone Challenge!!! This is your opportunity to ask questions, offer suggestions, or say some praise to the men and women behind the scenes of the Northeast’s Ski Areas. Please post some suggested questions in this thread and we'll select ten to present for official responses.

Also please don't be offended if we edit/change your question for grammar, tone, or some other minor thing. In order to get in all of the questions we MAY merge some questions but we'll do our best to keep the substance of your question. If we don't get your question in, feel free to post a follow up after we get the results...we are encouraging the representatives follow the threads. :wink:

As always, please be respectful of Chris and keep it civil. Also, please refrain from asking specifics about skier visit numbers, financials, demographic information, etc. Sundown needs to be discrete about certain information.

We are honored to have Chris participate in this challenge, and it is their first Challenge, so please take advantage of this opportunity.

Ask away!

Sundown’s Profile
 

Greg

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Nice! Been waiting for this one. Here goes:

Let's talk moguls! I would like to first applaud you guys for the mogul run set up on Nor'easter this season. I know for a fact that several AlpineZone Members visited Sundown specifically to ski this run. There was a thread containing 79 posts, spanning 8 pages, this season about it so there is indeed interest. Personally, I estimated I skied Nor'easter 70+ times and really enjoyed it a lot this season. Despite Sundown being a feeder hill that focuses on learning, I feel offering a consistent expert mogul run can definitely attract local advanced skiers who are looking for a challenge close to home. A well done bump run is also useful for teaching upper intermediate skiers that want to take their skiing to the next level. I feel in many ways you accomplished this on Nor'easter this season.

However, there is room for improvement. Specifically, I think there are better trail options for a seeded bump run. I realize the number of routes down the mountain is limited, but the obvious choice is Gunbarrel. I also understand that Gunny is often used for races and race practice, but my impression is it's wide enough to offer a top to bottom seeded bump run on skier's right while leaving perhaps 2/3 of the trail on skier's left groomed for races and cruising. This also provides a way for those over their heads to bail out of the bumps. This would allow Gunbarrel to return to its former claim-to-fame as CT's best mogul run (read: marketing value).

In my mind, the next logical choice would be Temptor (a "double-black"). While not as steep and long as Gunbarrel, it's a better choice than lower Nor'easter (a relatively short blue). As I understand it, the reason for seeding bumps on Nor'easter was so Ski School could utilize it in intermediate lessons to teach mogul skiing and Temptor's double-black status was thought to be too intimidating. I think this can be overcome by allowing a single groomer pass on one side of a bump run on Temptor. This will provide an escape route as well as letting those who are unsure scope the run before committing. After that long-winded preface, here is my question: What are your thoughts on these ideas/suggestions?

Sorry for wordy comments/questions, but this is something I'm truly passionate about. As an aspiring recreational bump skier, I found having a good bump run so close to home extremely helpful for letting me practice and improve. You've appeased the park rats with a pretty impressive terrain park on Stinger, now let's give the bumpers an awesome run! While Nor'easter this season was 'good', I think you guys have the talent and terrain to offer a bump run that is truly 'great' next year. I'm sure we can get a group together to help ski it in... ;)
 
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2knees

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as an addition to gregs question, which i agree with 100%, i would also like to inquire about the mogul comp. you used to (try) to have in march. Is this something you would consider trying again in the future? I realize the last 2 times it was on the calender of events it was cancelled due to weather but it is something that would be of great interest to many.

I would also like to thank your team again for the bumps on noreaster. I probably would not have skied at Sundown at all this year had those not been done. I managed 4 trips specifically because of that.
 

Tin Woodsman

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I returned to Sundown this year for the first time in over a decade. While I was happy to see an impressive terrain park, it was disappointing that it took over what is arguably the best run at Sundown - Stinger. Are there any plans to move the park to Nor'easter or Canyon Run, or does the length and "look at me" value of the Stinger location make that untenable?

Also, are there any plans for terrain expansion, say to skiers' left of Gunbarrel or between Gunbarrel and Stinger? I ask b/c with Stinger now occupied by the terrain park, fully 1/3 of your expert terrain is off limits to those skiers who simply want to ski.
 

Greg

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Tin Woodsman said:
I returned to Sundown this year for the first time in over a decade.
Didn't know you hit Sundown this season, Tinny. Too bad, we could've hooked up for some turns...

Great questions.
 

Tin Woodsman

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Greg said:
Didn't know you hit Sundown this season, Tinny. Too bad, we could've hooked up for some turns...

Great questions.
Well I was stuck at my parents' house with my ski equipment the weekend of the big storm, so I had to take the opportunity when it presented itself.
 

bvibert

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Tin Woodsman said:
Also, are there any plans for terrain expansion, say to skiers' left of Gunbarrel or between Gunbarrel and Stinger? I ask b/c with Stinger now occupied by the terrain park, fully 1/3 of your expert terrain is off limits to those skiers who simply want to ski.
Damn, you took my question. Seems like you could open a decent trail inbetween lifts 1 and 2 that dumps out at the bottom of exhibition, and/or at the old mid-station. Also, as mentioned, it seems like you could do something to skiers left of gunny, above sunnyside. Maybe a dedicated terrain park with its own surface lift?

My second question has to do with your website. I see that you now have a forum setup for the terrain park guys, why not add catagory for the rest of the mountain? It might be a good way to get feed-back on the rest of the mountain and generate some interest.

My last question has nothing to do with skiing. I've seen in the terrain forum that there is some interest in opening up Sundown in the Summer for mountain biking. How serious of an idea is that? Sounds like a pretty big undertaking, but I think it would be worth it. Are there any other ideas for off-season activities there?
 

Greg

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Do you ever allow skiing under lift one (the yellow triple)? If there's enough natural snow, it seems like that could be skiable, although some of the chairs get pretty low in spots. Have you ever thought of grading that so there is enough clearance to open it as an official trail? I suppose the lack of natural snow most years limits making this worth it and you can't really install snowmaking on such a narrow liftline. Again, a new trail that that winds between and partially follows the two triple liftlines could be cool though.
 

Greg

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Can you give us a history on "The Horn", the traverse trail that runs between Stinger and Gunbarrel under the lifts. Do you ever open it anymore?

Probably by the time you get to these questions the April Freestyle Camp that's going on this week will be over. How did it go? Did you receive a good turnout? Is it something you plan to continue? How seriously would you consider a mogul camp?
 

Greg

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The Stinger Terrain Park was indeed impressive this season. What feedback did you receive on it? Were most people glad it was moved off of Gunbarrel and put on Stinger? Personally, I think Stinger is one of the mountain's best trails with a good balance of pitch and character. As a non-freestyle skier, the park there this season was somewhat of a disappointment. I understand it's a big draw, but perhaps as Tin Woodman points out, there is a better location for it? Canyon Run is a also a great run, but I would bet most people would be willing to sacrifice that to get Stinger back.
 

2knees

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Greg said:
Do you ever allow skiing under lift one (the yellow triple)?

now that would be interesting. You'd need to get rid of at least one boulder that i can remember but that would make for one heck of a trail for a CT ski area.

A patroller told me about a short tree area behind the sundeck. Any plans to put that on the map?
 

bvibert

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thetrailboss said:
Good group of questions. Let's aim for closing this one on Friday, unless there are objections.
Sounds good. There was another question I thought of, but I can't remember what it was for the life of me... :roll:
 

Greg

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Very good responses from Chris. I think Sundown did a great job for their first challenge. There are several things here that I am very psyched to read about:
Chris Sullivan said:
The response to Nor Easter this year was very positive. We have never had better bumps. Next year we plan to seed them from the sundeck down with a bail out to the skiers left uphill of the Temptor split. We also plan to intermittently seed a narrow run on the skiers right of Exhibition. (most likely not during X-mas week, MLK, or Feb. vacation).
The explanation as to why Nor'easer has been selected as the dedicated bump run makes a ton of sense. I'd love to have a steeper pitch of bumps, but I suppose trading off surface quality for pitch is not worth it. Bumps do us no good at all if they aren't sustainable; a very real problem for a ski area in CT.

What I'm really psyched about is to read the bumps on Noreaster will be extended to the sundeck. That is fantastic news and will make the run at least 50% longer, if not more. The bailout on skier's left up to the Temptor merge is a perfect solution as it will allow those in over their heads to get out of moguls which will likely clear up congestion on the lower steeper section where it sounds like there will be no bailout.

A narrow run of bumps on skier's right of Exhibition will also be a great addition and along with the Nor'easter bump extension will offer quite a bit more vertical worth of moguls in a single run. In essence, we'll have a bump line everywhere except from the summit to the sundeck and then on the flats of Canyon Run. I am very satisifed in regards to the responses to my bump questions/comments and Sundown's bump philosophy and plans for next season. I hope to be able to rip them with several AZers next season!
:beer:
Chris Sullivan said:
That being said I do not ride terrain features much and wish to have Stinger back as well. I think the answer is not to move the park to an existing trail, but to cut a new one for it.
Chris Sullivan said:
YES. Plans are in the works.
Hard to get a definite read here, but it sounds like there are some pretty solid plans to cut a new trail for the terrain park, thus freeing up Stinger. I hope we get updates when things become more imminent.

Chris Sulliva said:
In the past few years Ski Sundown has made an effort to offer something for everyone, upgraded race facility, dedicated bump trail, improved teaching terrain, progressive freestyle terrain, and more.
Well said. I think for a mountain with the limited skiable acreage of Sundown, you're doing a fantastic job of offering something for everybody. Again, I truly applaud the mission to include dedicated bumps in this mix! Great job, Chris. I'm going to do some exploring behind that sun deck this summer. ;) I can't wait until next season now.
:snow:
 
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2knees

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Extending the bumps up to the sundeck is the best news, short of giving us stinger, that i could hear. that makes for a run long enough to really make it interesting. the biggest problem with the way they were this year, was there was no margin for error or interuption. If you had a hiccup or someone cut you off, the run was shot. Awesome plan.
 

2knees

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too late to ask, but i wonder if they are going to wait until mid february to seed it. I would love to have had that available all year.
 

Greg

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2knees said:
too late to ask, but i wonder if they are going to wait until mid february to seed it. I would love to have had that available all year.
I think it was seeded earlier than when you first skied it, Pat. Brian can probably confirm. With the whacky weather in January, they had to mow it down and start over, I think.

In any event, you're right about any little hiccup on Nor'easter killing the run. A skier's left bailout may help alleviate some the instances of newbies being the cause of the hiccup. We have to remember that Sundown is a feeder hill so this is expected, but the extension and bail-out both seem like a great move to me.

Can't wait to rock and roll again with you next season, Pat! We need to get them to install some tunes on it, a la Beartrap at Mount snow! :idea: :cool:
:beer:
 

2knees

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no doubt looking forward to it. Now that i know about it in advance, i can see it being a weekly excursion for me.


Tunes yes, and how about building a kicker in there too!
 
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