The winter season has launched with the usual iffy weather and plenty of skiers and riders ready for the lifts to spin up another season of carving turns and powder stashes.
At Bromley Mountain Resort and Stratton Mountain Resort, there are big birthdays to be celebrated.
Bromley opened its 85th season when its lifts spun to life Nov. 26. Around the corner, Stratton launched its 60th season a day later. Completing the mountain trifecta, Magic Mountain is busy making snow toward a planned opening on Dec. 18.
At Bromley, Vermont’s Sun Mountain, flat-rate ticket pricing will again be in effect. Anyone 6 and older will pay $89 no matter the day of the week or on holidays.
Lift tickets will need to be purchased in advance online and can only be purchased the day a skier or rider visits the mountain.
Guest services window attendants cannot sell lift tickets.
Bromley will continue many of the programs launched during the COVID-19 pandemic a year ago, including KidsRule for children 6 to 12 years old, Bromley Outing Club skiing and snowboarding, and Mighty Moose for kids 3 to 5 years old.
Many programs discontinued because of the pandemic are also back this year, including the Innkeepers Race Series, Febfest and Fireworks, Passholder’s Appreciation Day, St. Patrick’s Day Gold Hunt and Spring Fling.
To keep everybody safe, face masks will be required by everyone in high-traffic areas like rentals, kids center and first aid. Other indoor areas will strongly recommend facemasks. No masks are required outdoors while skiing or riding, on lifts or in lines.
As Stratton celebrates its 60th anniversary this year, the first of several events will be held Dec. 29, with parties and social media events, trivia contests, a limited edition poster and wall calander featuring the stunning photography of Mr. Stratton — Hubert Schriebl.
New this year is the Stratton Mountain mobile app featuring resort information, with navigation, maps and directions, food options with mobile ordering, and the ability to purchase tickets for tubing and ice skating. The app will also allow you to track your runs, total vertical descent or link up with your friends on the mountain with real-time ski tracking and more.
The mountain has partnered with MOOver to offer fare-free public transit between Manchester and Stratton Mountain, making four to eight daily trips. The service will run through April 1.
Stratton has entered a power purchase agreement to be the sole recipient of solar energy produced by Sea Oak Capital’s 500-kilowatt AC solar array in Wallingford. The agreement makes Stratton Mountain a leader among state ski areas.
“It is our priority and responsibility to be stewards of the natural environment in which we live, work, and play by incorporating a sustainable point of view into every business decision,” the resort said in a statement. “Our sustainable point of view is based on the intent to reduce our footprint by actively pursuing innovative solutions, particularly in the areas of land, water, air, energy, and waste management.”
One big step toward that sustainability movement is the addition of a new groomer. Stratton added a Prinoth Bison X Snowcat, the second in the fleet.
The new snowcat will be used on frontline grooming needs, including specialized terrain park shaping and grooming. The new groomer offers a snow-depth tracking system and is more efficient at managing the snowpack and maintaining trails thanks to its low energy consumption with fully electronic engine management.
Knowing that attracting workers would be hard this year, the mountain has added 150 beds in employee housing to go with the MOOver transportation.
The company had already raised minimum wage increases to $15 per hour for full-time, year-round staff, but this year Stratton made $15 the minimum wage for all workers, including seasonal staff.
Known as the ski area “Where skiing still has its soul,” Magic is continuing to be the Mountain that is a little different from large corporate ski resorts.
Owner Geoff Hatheway, who bought Magic Mountain five years ago, continues to revitalize the ski area and make fixes and improvements.
Magic Mountain hopes to spin its lifts to life by Dec. 18 but snowmaking has been underway for weeks now.
Early season rain hurt snowmaking efforts throughout the region, but colder temps have the guns humming again.
The ski area installed 2-miles — 18 tons — of haul rope on the Red Lift recently to get it spliced and in place for opening day.
A new drive will be installed before the chairs will be replaced. The lift will be tested and inspected.
At the same time, work on the Black Quad lift towers will be ongoing in order to be tested, inspected and ready to go this season.
Magic Mountain will feature entertainment and skiing fun this year, with a trilogy of extreme ski/ride competitions, including the TUCK IT! Radar-gun speed races on New Year’s Day.
It’s the only pure speed competition in the East where the fastest skier or rider wins.
The ski area has instituted COVID-19 protocols recommending masks be worn in all indoor spaces and are required for those who are unvaccinated.
Vaccination cards may be required for some indoor events.