Feeder Hill Highlights: Wachusett Mountain, MA // Ski Stories
Regular readers of Chairlift Chat have probably noticed our new Feeder Hill Highlight series. For those uninitiated, the employees of SkiEssentials.com come from a wide variety of feeder hill resorts across the Northeast, giving us a special appreciation for their role in the ski industry. It’s a topic we feel passionately about and have discussed numerous times on the blog (take for example our “Forgotten Feeder Hills” article). This year, we’re taking that appreciation a step further with a new series called, “Feeder Hill Highlights,” in which we shine a light on small ski areas that play a huge role in keeping people interested in the sport of skiing.
For episode #3 of the series, we got in touch with Tom Meyers, the Director of Marketing over at Wachusett Mountain in Princeton, MA. If the goal of feeder hills is to introduce new people to the sport of skiing, then Wachusett Mountain is Jim Lange, the host who eagerly matches millions of skiers to be with the new love of their life. Due to its close proximity to Boston, Worcester, and Providence, as well as its family friendly vibe, challenging terrain parks, and race series, Wachusett Mountain is a skier’s mecca for those performing the weekly hajj. Being residents of a a New England ski town, it’s not at all uncommon for us to meet and/or work with skiers who grew up skiing at Wachusett, so we knew from the beginning that we’d need to highlight this amazing resort. So without further ado, we’re extremely excited to present to you our highlight of Wachusett Mountain!
TRAILS: 26 LIFTS: 8
AVERAGE SNOWFALL: 100"
NIGHT SKIING: Yes
RACE TEAM: Yes
TERRAIN PARK: Yes
Hey Tom, thanks for doing this interview with us! Can you start off by telling us who you are and what your role is at Wachusett?
I’m the Director of Marketing.
Awesome. And what can you tell us about the history of Wachusett?
Owned and operated since the late 1960’s by the Crowley Family, who also own the Polar Beverage Company. Skiing on the mountain since the 1930’s – original ski trail cut by the Civilian Conservation Corp.
What’s the importance of having a ski area like Wachusett in regards to the communities (Princeton and Westminster) that it’s in?
We are approximately 1 hour from a population base of an estimated 8 million people between Boston, Worcester and Providence. As a result, we are an excellent feeder mountain giving scores of skiers/snowboarders their first on-mountain experience.
Have there been any notable skiers or snowboarders that grew up skiing at Wachusett?
Ski: Current US Ski Team member Nick Krause. Snowboard: Cole Navin, X Games Real Snow Contest participant and Transworld Snowboard Rookie of the year; Mike Ravelson, top pro snowboarder and social media sensation.
What’s your favorite part about Wachusett?
It’s a great family mountain. Small mountain feel with amenities and service of a large resort.
In your estimation, how far away do your guests come from? What are the closest cities to your resort?
Worcester, Boston, Providence
Who would you say your core customer is?
Depends on the time of day and day of week, being so close to the market. Midweek Mornings—senior skiers, members of the Wachusett Old Time Skiers Club. Midweek mid-morning to early afternoon – stay at home moms with kids, homeschool programs. Midweek afternoons to early evening – School Groups. Approximately 10,000 school kids annually. Bus groups from 200+ schools from MA, RI, CT, Southern NH. Evenings – Night Race League racers; working. Weekends – families; seasonal instruction / training programs.
Does Wachusett do anything to generate Summer business?
Host weddings and private outings (company events; proms, trade shows) during May – August). Host weekend festivals in September and October and early November.
What’s one thing that's unique about Wachusett?
“Mountain Fun! Minutes Away!” is our slogan. Well known for our jingle on radio and TV – “Wa wa chusett” With 1,000-foot vertical, we offer a real mountain experience close to home.
Are there any annual or marquee events that Wachusett hosts?
Winter – Polar Express Christmas Celebration; New Year’s Eve Celebration. Fall – KidsFest; AppleFest, BBQFest.
When’s the best time of year to visit Wachusett?
One of the things that Wachusett is known for, at least regionally, is the Town League race series. How long has that been going on for?
About 30 years.
"Mountain fun! Minutes Away!"
- Wachusett's Motto
How many people usually compete in the Town League races?
Roughly 800-1000. Approximately 30-40 teams Monday through Thursday nights from January to March.
How competitive is the league? Are there any prizes up for grabs?
Includes everything from recreational racers to ex-college racers. It’s as competitive as people want it to be. Head to head runs. Nightly prizes plus big prizes at end-of-season championships.
In your estimation, what’s the overall goal of a place like Wachusett?
Our mission statement sums it up pretty well: “Wachusett is a state-of-the-art, family-run ski area, with excellent/efficient customer service, focusing of creating future skiers/riders, while providing a fun, safe & environmentally sound operation for all.”