Sugarbush first Vermont resort to open

Wed 22 November 06

For the first time in recent memory Sugarbush was the first mountain in Vermont to open for the season

For the first time in recent memory (and possibly the history of winter sports) Sugarbush was the first mountain in Vermont to open for the skiing and riding season. Historically, a hill south of Sugarbush has grabbed First Honors, but round-the-clock snowmaking operations and Mt. Ellen’s lift configuration, allowed Sugarbush to open for the 2006-07 today. The Warren resort started spinning its Mt. Ellen Summit Chair at 9 AM this morning.

“It’s been ‘go-go-go’ ever since the temperatures dropped last Friday night,” said Sugarbush’s Vice President of Mountain Services Hardy Merrill, referring to the pace of snowmaking operations. “We’ve had some good [snowmaking] weather over the last five to six days and have been methodically working our way from the top of Mt. Ellen down to mid station.”

Sugarbush commenced snowmaking operations on November 2nd and succeeded in laying down a two to three foot base before unseasonably warm weather and rain moved into the Northeast. Clouds and intermittent rains blanketed most of New England for a good portion of early November. Many resorts in Vermont, including Sugarbush, had hoped to open November 18th, but the poor weather made it impossible.

“Mother Nature threw us a curve ball early,” remarked Sugarbush President Win Smith. Smith, speaking as he waited to board the resort’s Summit Chair this morning, said Sugarbush had rescheduled opening to Thanksgiving Day, but a prolonged spell of unexpected cold weather opened a window of opportunity. “We had planned on opening tomorrow (Thursday), but we got some great temps over the last few days and our mountain crew just gave it there best effort. I am really excited that we are the first resort in Vermont to open this year.”

Mt. Ellen is the first peak Sugarbush opens every year followed by Lincoln Peak the second week in December. This year Lincoln Peak is scheduled to open on December 9th and with it comes the debut of the new Lincoln Peak Village. The new base area, the largest capital-improvement project in Vermont to open to the public this year, features three new buildings. Clay Brook, a luxury hotel, and Timbers, a post-and-beam slopeside restaurant, open on December 15th. But when Lincoln Peak’s chairs spin on December 9th, visitors will be welcomed by the brand-new Gate House. Double the size of the old facility, the new lodge features a food court, a pub and café with an outdoor patio, a dining room with vaulted ceilings, and an expanded locker and changing facility.

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