60th gondola courtyard fun with kids

We’re Officially 60 Years Young

Win’s Word

Happy New Year. Sugarbush is now officially 60 years young and looking forward to its life beginning all over again. 2019 is another milestone year for Lili and me. She gets to experience life beginning again, and I discover what the next decade will offer. One thing we both know is the joy of experiencing what Sugarbush and the Mad River Valley have to offer our growing family. With Lili’s eldest daughter getting married in a couple of weeks our family grows by one more. They recently moved back to Vermont and are of course avid skiers! The above photo is of my granddaughter, Viv, and Cooper and my grandson Henry and Ellie in the Gondola. Both of their mothers learned to ski here at Sugarbush as young girls. They have now exposed the next generation to the same joys of skiing and camaraderie at The Bush.

I have never really liked New Year’s resolutions because I have found that I make them with all the right intentions but often fall short. However, one resolution we have at Sugarbush every year is to continue improving and creating even better experiences for our many guests. Listening carefully is so important to achieving that goal. While we receive many compliments it is important to understand when we have erred and to listen to suggestions on how to improve. One way we do this is through guest surveys. You might have already been contacted by one of our Ambassadors carrying around a tablet to ask for your email. We also send surveys to those who lodge with us or purchase tickets and passes online. We review this with our team on a weekly basis and find it very helpful.

The most important data we get from surveys is called the Net Promoter Score. It essentially tells us who is a “promoter” and will recommend us enthusiastically and who is a “detractor” and will not. The input from both is incredibly helpful to us. We also carefully follow Trip Advisor and Yelp reviews and also various social media channels. Of course, we can not be all things to all people. But listening to as much as possible allows us to learn more about how we can make the experience better. I also always encourage anyone to contact me directly at any time at wsmith@sugarbush.com. The only thing I will not tolerate is rudeness to any member of our team. While this rarely happens, when it does our teammates know that I will always have their back.

The Holiday period was a bit of a roller coaster. After such outstanding early conditions, a couple of warm rain events made for less than ideal skiing and riding. Our mountain operations team has worked long and hard and have done the best they could to improve our surface conditions. Hopefully Mother Nature provides us with some more natural snow soon. It really won’t take much more to get the slopes back into great shape with the base that we now have.

You may have noticed that we have yet to make snow on Ripcord. Unfortunately, we have to repair a broken snowmaking pipe up there. It is located near the top on the very steep portion. It needs a special excavator to get up the mountain and get winched down. That machine is already doing similar repairs at some other Vermont ski areas so it will not get here until next week. At that point we will have to close the Heaven’s Gate trails for a day why the repair is being done. In the meantime, our snowmakers will be hard at work at both mountains hitting the last few trails for the first time and refreshing those that need it.

We are spending much of this year celebrating our history and the many people who made Sugarbush what it is. But we also want to keep our focus on the future. In future Win’s Words, I will be introducing you to many of my teammates. In the meantime, keep thinking snow!

All the best,