Winter Sports Update 11.27.23
Hi Winter Friends,
It’s been a while since I’ve posted an update on this platform, but there is a lot to talk about, so I figured I was overdue for a blog post! Let’s get right down to answering some of the most common questions I’ve been getting:
When is Giants Ridge going to open?
I’m excited to announce that Giants Ridge will open for the season on Saturday December 2nd at 9am. Our hours this coming weekend will be Saturday and Sunday from 9am to 4pm both days. We will then be closed during the week and reopen December 9th and 10th.
How is snowmaking going?
Overall, really well considering we weren’t able to start making snow prior to Tuesday the 21st. This is, historically, at least a week (or two) late due to the warm November we’ve had. In case you missed the social media post about it, we were able to purchase 23 new snow guns this year, and added that to our fleet of 35 existing guns. For those of you math nerds like me, that is a 66% increase in the number of guns we have available!
So, what does that mean on the hill? Basically, we are able to make snow on twice as much terrain at a given time compared to prior years. Historically, we would make snow for opening weekend on: Innsbruck, Sarajevo, Sarajevo Pass, and the Beginners area. Maybe there would be a gun or two running on different runs, but that was about it. This year, we were able to make snow on: Innsbruck, Helsinki, Olympic Valley, Lower Olympic Valley, Sarajevo, Sarajevo Pass, Placid, the Nordic Stadium and the Beginner area!
I had the pleasure to get out on the hill with our Mountain Operations Crew on Saturday and witness their hard work first hand! I have to say, it’s crazy to see so many guns running on the hill at the same time! Each of the runs that we are making snow on are all at varying degrees of completion, but I can safely say that we will have a very good product for opening day! Enjoy a few pics from then!
A snowmaking whale at the top of the Sarajevo Express
Sean, our Director of Mountain Operations, checking snow quality as temperatures warmed up throughout the day on Saturday.
Dozing a snow road down to a gun on the Helsinki steeps to move it to a better location.
Building a platform to set the Helsinki Steeps gun on. Helsinki is a very difficult run to make snow on because of how steep and windy it is. So often we will make a pile of snow, and then flatten a platform at the top of the pile, and move a gun out onto the platform. This allows the gun to blow down onto the steepest section of the run. It also gives the gun more “hang time” which means the water droplets that come out of the gun have a longer time to freeze before they hit the ground.
So, what will be open this weekend?
Unfortunately, it is a little too early to say for sure, we will announce on Thursday or Friday when we have a much better picture of which runs we have enough snow on, and which runs will still need more snowmaking.
What else has the resort been working on?
All of our indoor departments have been working hard to implement a new Point of Sale Platform across the resort. We have been working since late summer to get this system up and running. We believe that it will make the sales process a lot more seamless for all of our guests. This new system further relies on the RFID tickets we switched to last year. For season pass holders wishing to utilize your season passholder discounts at the food court, or the Mountain Sports Shop (gift shop), all you will have to do is tap your pass on the RFID reader at the checkout terminal, and your discount will automatically be applied. This new system also makes it easier for us to track waivers, which everyone knows often slow down the ticket line. We are still working to iron out all of the wrinkles, but we are feeling very encouraged going into this first weekend with the new system!
Another big change that guests will see their first time up the mountain this year, is the new snowmaking valve house at the top of the mountain near the Helsinki lift. Local contractors spent all summer constructing this new building which is more than double the size of our old valve house. This upgrade was required as the first step to rebuild and replace our snowmaking infrastructure which will take place next summer. (Many future blog posts to come about that)
When/how can I pick up my season pass?
If you picked up your pass at our Warm up to Winter event, you are good to go straight to the lift.
If you still need to pick up your pass, our ticketing staff is available M-F 9am – 3pm, and will be available starting at 8am both Saturday and Sunday.
We are looking forward to be opening back up this weekend, and be sure to stay tuned for more details about what runs we will have available!
Director of Mountain Sports