Mother Nature continues to be a little indecisive this November. We received over a foot of snow at the summit since Sunday, we saw a few hours of temperatures below 25° Wednesday morning, yet now we are currently preparing for temperatures in the 50s and rain for most of today. After looking at the weather forecast and evaluating our snowmaking progress at upper elevations, we made the difficult decision to postpone Opening Day and change our operating plan to focus on Jester, Organgrinder, Allyn’s Traverse and Downspout. That’s the old school opening plan we used to run in years past. But by switching to a model that includes downloading on Super Bravo, we can get open sooner, so keep an eye on the snow report for more updates.
When you do make it to Sugarbush this season, you will notice that we made some nice improvements over the summer. At Mt. Ellen, we worked with Vermont Adaptive Ski and Sports to improve the base lodge. Part of that base lodge project is an addition specifically designed and constructed for Vermont Adaptive. This project will not only significantly improve their programs and offerings, but also provide a better Mt. Ellen experience overall. With Vermont Adaptive getting their own dedicated space, we were able to open space up on the main floor by removing the walls on the south side of the building to allow more light in and improve the traffic flow. We also added a new programming room, bathrooms on all levels, an expanded outdoor deck, upgrades to some of our back of house dining operations, and an interior facelift for the 1963 base lodge (new paint, carpet, light fixtures, and improvements to the heating and air exchange systems). Right outside the Mt. Ellen base lodge we are partnering with Miso Hungry to bring authentic Japanese ramen to the mountain, located right next to the ticket booth. Over at Lincoln Peak, we’ve expanded the Wunderbar downstairs into what used to be the Valley House Cafeteria. Now you’ll find a full bar where the cash registers used to be and both floors of the Wunderbar will benefit from the larger main floor kitchen.
Operationally, we made some other changes since last year. We will not have any capacity restrictions outdoors but will ask guests to stay masked up indoors unless seated. Other than that, we expect to operate quite normally, unless otherwise required by local, state, or federal regulatory requirements. You can stay up to date on our full health protocols here.
You will also notice the return of a number of the ideas that were developed out of necessity last season like online ticket ordering, rentals, and lessons, (remember the earlier you purchase [JH(1] [JH(2] the more you can save), take-out food options at all of our dining venues, Base Cabin rentals, and bag storage changes. We’ve also launched a brand-new website and Sugarbush App. Make sure to delete your old Sugarbush App and download our new one to enjoy the new features like access to all of our webcams, including the return of our lift cams, as well as some new scenic ones.
I hope you’re as excited as I am for the upcoming season, which officially kicks off on Saturday with the Big Kicker at the base of Lincoln Peak. We can’t wait to see you back on the mountain this winter. Until then, think snow and cross your fingers for a cold few weeks ahead.