Top Five Fridays - April 8, 2016 // Ski Industry News
#1: New Jersey Gets an Indoor Snow Center:
As Summer creeps closer, we’re bound to hear plenty of news about ski resort upgrades and expansions. This week gets the ball rolling in a major way with a trio of announcements concerning just that. First on the list is the news that New Jersey’s new “American Dream” megaplex will include a 180,000 square foot indoors snow center. Billed as “Big SNOW America,” the snow center will be a towering 12 stories and feature skiing, snowboarding, and snow tubing during all months of the year. In addition to these activities, Big SNOW America will also feature an array of aprés ski inspired restaurants and shops, creating a complete mountain resort environment in the heart of New Jersey. While we’re a bit skeptical of how this aprés ski environment might be interpreted, we’re still super excited to see an indoor ski area finally become a reality here in the states.
#2: Mt. Sunapee Expansion Cleared to Move Forward:
Next up in the world of expanding ski areas is Mt. Sunapee in New Hampshire. This week, the New Hampshire council approved a plan to increase the skiable terrain at Mt. Sunapee resort by between 56 and 75 skiable acres. This would grow the resort by about 25% when all is said and done. Originally submitted for approval in 2014, this ruling would open up an area of Mt. Sunapee known as “West Bowl”. For those at the resort and who own local businesses that rely on tourism to the resort, the ruling is a success and is being praised as a step towards economic prosperity. For others, it represents the mountain taking land from public use areas and raises environmental concerns. If you follow stories involving ski area expansions, then you’re already familiar with this constant debate of privatizing land for economic growth vs. reserving it for public use. As such, it should come as no surprise that a group called “Friends of Mt. Sunapee” have already threatened to take the ruling to court. We’ll keep you posted on any further developments, but for now it looks as though Mt. Sunapee’s master plan is clear to move forward and visitors can look forward to accessing new terrain in the near future!
To learn more about Mt. Sunapee’s expansion plans, you can visit their website here.
#3: Whistler Dropping Heavy Bills on Four Season Expansion:
Last up in expanding resort news is the goliath that is Whistler Backcomb. One of the originators of the four season mountain resort, Whistler broke news this week that they are planning a $345 million expansion that will further enhance their year round activities. Amongst the high budget plans are new real estate opportunities, huge upgrades and expansions of their existing hiking and mountain biking trails, upgraded chairlifts, and new lodges. Perhaps the most exciting part of the expansion is the promise of a new $90+ million indoor water park that will feature state of the art deep water surfing simulators, a wave pool, watersides, and our personal favorite: rock climbing and cliff jumping (indoor cliff jumping? Yes please!). Of course for $345 million, Whistler is going to get way more than we could possibly describe here, so if you’re interested then we’d recommend heading over to the Whistler Blackcomb Renaissance website that’s been created to describe all of the details of the plan.
#4: Cue the Snowguns, it's Time to Make Some Snow in Maine!:
Well, it’s that time of year again! In preparation for a long and prosperous winter season, Sugarloaf Mountain and Sunday River ski resort in Maine fired up their snow guns this week! Wait, what? It’s April? Oh. Right. Well, regardless these two Maine resorts resumed their snowmaking efforts this week in an effort to extend their season into the Spring. To say that snowmaking in April is abnormal would be a total understatement, and yet here we are. In what serves as yet another testament to how desperate the snow situation on the East Coast has been, these two resorts are essentially playing their trump card in hopes of giving their customers their money’s worth this season. So, despite the awkwardness of announcing snow making efforts in April, hats off to these two resorts for making an effort to extend the season even though they’ll likely lose money on the effort.