With last month’s approval from the state of New Hampshire, Vail Resorts officially has closed on its acquisition of the Mueller family’s Triple Peaks LLC, parent company of Okemo (Vermont), Sunapee (New Hampshire) and Crested Butte (Colorado). With the sale, valued at $74 million, Okemo and Mount Sunapee now join Stowe as Northeastern resorts in Vail’s network.
“We are thrilled to offer pass holders even more one-of-a-kind experiences in the Northeast and in Colorado with the addition of Okemo, Mount Sunapee and Crested Butte to our network of world-class resorts,” said Kirsten Lynch, chief marketing officer of Vail Resorts. “Unlimited, unrestricted access to these resorts through the Epic Pass, Epic Local and Military Epic Pass, as well as access on the Epic 4 Day and Epic 7 Day, will be a tremendous benefit to skiers and snowboarders.”
The state of New Hampshire approved the deal following a review, an audit and a period of public input. Sunapee is built on public land but has been in private operation since 1998.
Vail Resorts also finalized acquisition of Stevens Pass Resort in Washington from Ski Resort Holdings.
Pico introduces Rent-A-Resort option
Vermont’s Pico Mountain is bringing new meaning to the concept of ski rentals by announcing a rental option this season — not just for skis, boots and poles — but for the entire resort. Beginning this season on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, the Powdr company ski area can be rented for $6,500 for private functions that include up to 250 guests.
The mountain rental season will run from Jan. 8 through April 4. Food and beverage services are available by request at an additional charge.
“This is a unique destination to host your next fundraiser, corporate event or family outing,” said Lee Cohen, group sales manager at Killington Resort and Pico Mountain. “It’s an unforgettable experience for you and your friends and a guaranteed way to get you first chair, fresh snow and no lift lines.”
Bromley partners with Arena Snowparks
Bromley has entered into a partnership with Arena Snowparks to create a family progression park at the area that caters to all skill levels with new features and a strategic mid-season rebuild. Arena is a rider-owned and operated company established in 2005 and currently has design, consulting and construction projects at resorts all over the world. The company will work with Bromley on design, development and build-out of its terrain parks and accessories, including rails, boxes and shaping tools.
Fletcher earns Spirit of Skiing Award
Nashoba Valley Ski Area founder Alan Fletcher Sr. this month will receive the New England Ski Museum’s Spirit of Skiing Award, presented for the 13th year to the honoree who personifies the famous saying by skiing pioneer Otto Schniebs that “skiing is not just a sport — it is a way of life.”
Under Fletcher, a Littleton, Mass., native, Nashoba Valley grew into one of the premier feeder areas in the East. At the same time, he encouraged ski racing, and the area was a regular stop on the professional circuit in the 1970s.
Previous winners of the award include the Caldwell Family of nordic skiing fame, Vermont’s Cochran family, Tom Corcoran, Penny Pitou, Herbert Schneider and Stein Erickson.
Olympian Ford takes Cardigan AD post
Holderness, N.H., racer Julia Ford, a former member of the U.S. Ski Team who competed in slalom at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, has been hired as assistant athletic director and director of alpine skiing at Cardigan Mountain School, the all-boys boarding school in Canaan, N.H.
Ford will help recruit alpine competitors, elevate training strategies and build a program that strives to compete with the best in the nation.
“We are so thrilled to welcome Julia to Cardigan,” said Christopher Day, head of school. “Not only is she a worldclass athlete, but she is also a tremendous person. I know she will have a positive impact on our students, our athletic programming and our ski team in particular.”
Ford, who is still racing, has started more than 40 FIS World Cup ski races and is a two-time U.S. national downhill champion. In addition to her ski-related duties, Ford will be coaching soccer at the school.
Pats boosts snowmaking
Consistent inconsistency. That’s how Kris Blomback, general manager at Pats Peak, describes Mother Nature, an assessment that rings true. And it explains why this season the ski area is unveiling capital improvements to temper Mother Nature’s unpredictable temperament. New installations that debut this season include a snowmaking compressor, additional energyefficient snowmaking fan guns and towers and a snowmaking powerline upgrade.
The new compressor will boost the air plant by 20 percent, allowing more snow guns to run at warmer temperatures. Four new fan guns from SMI Snowmakers and 20 new towers bolster the ski area snowmaking coverage, which already had been at 100 percent. And the upgraded power line will convert water at the guns with greater efficiency. “We have added an enormous amount of snowmaking capacity over the past years and this year will make our snowmaking system even better,” Blomback said.
“Cardigan’s perfect location, excellent facilities and supportive community offer an amazing opportunity for junior skiers,” she said. “They’ll train full time during the winter and play other sports in fall and spring. I can’t wait to get started.”
Promotions at Sunday River
Sunday River Resort announced recently the promotions of six team members and a new hire. Jim Largess was promoted to executive director of the Sunday River Community Fund. Peter Fallon was promoted to chief engagement officer. Amanda Gallant is the new director of human resources. Darcy Lambert has a new role as vice president of skier services. Jonathon Pasternak was promoted to risk and safety manager. Dean Stowell takes over as lift operations manager. Karolyn Castaldo was hired as director of communications.
Four honored by Ski New Hampshire
Ski New Hampshire’s annual conference and trade show, held this summer at Omni Mount Washington Resort, honored individuals who have made invaluable contributions to New Hampshire’s ski industry.
This year’s recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award was Bebe Wood, a longtime member of the Ragged Mountain community. The former director of the junior program at Ragged Mountain, Wood also served as the head of the courtesy patrol until her retirement but continues to be a mountain host on weekends.
The Bebe Wood Free Learn to Ski and Ride Program at Ragged is named in her honor and has introduced nearly 2,000 people to the sport of skiing since its inception just two years ago. Upon receiving her award, which was presented by the resort’s general manager, Ryan Schramm, Wood had just one thing to say: “Everyone in New Hampshire should learn to ski.”
The H.H. “Bill” Whitney Award was established in the mid 1970s by Betty Whitney in memory of her husband, to recognize an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the ski and snowboard industry in New Hampshire. The 2018 recipient was Selden Hannah for his commitment to safety within the industry. Hannah has been on the front line of ski lift safety for more than 45 years. Hannah has been an appointed member of the New Hampshire Aerial Tramway Safety Board for more than 25 years and currently serves as chairman. His award was presented by Chris Ellms, director of ski operations for Bretton Woods Ski Area.
The Al Merrill Award was established in memory of Al Merrill to recognize an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to cross-country skiing in the state of New Hampshire. This year’s recipient is Jim Rodrigues, former cross-country director for Temple Mountain in Peterborough, N.H., and Milford High School nordic team coach (winning five state championships). He is currently chief of competition at Lake Placid for cross-country events and the USSA Eastern Officials Coordinator.
The Chandler/McLane Government Service Award 2018 recipient is Congresswoman Ann McLane Kuster. As a child, Congresswoman Kuster grew up skiing at Wildcat Mountain and went on to race for the Dartmouth College women’s team. In Congress, she has re-established the Ski and Snowboard Caucus to bring recognition to the ski industry’s importance across the country.
Bode headlines new Hall class
Franconia, N.H., native Bode Miller, the most decorated American male ski racer in history, headlines the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame’s 2018 class of eight new members, which was announced in September.
The new class features New Englanders Hilary Engisch-Klein of Stowe, Vt., and the late Don Henderson of Fairlee, Vt. The class is rounded out by William Jensen, Tom Kelly, the late Tom Sims, Kristen Ulmer and Andrew Weibrecht. The induction will be celebrated in April in Salt Lake City.
Miller participated in five Olympics, winning one gold, three silver and two bronze medals. He has five World Championship podiums, including four victories. Overall, Miller made 438 World Cup starts, amassing 79 podiums and 33 victories. He won four crystal globes and the overall title in 2005 and 2008.
Engisch-Klein is a four-time women’s World Cup moguls champion while dominating skiing during the late 1970s and early 1980s. Skiing magazine’s one-time “greatest female mogul skier alive,” she is founder of Kids On Top, a nonprofit organization that provides children who are combating cancer and other serious diseases the opportunity to enjoy the fun and majesty of outdoor winter sports in a safe and supportive environment.
Henderson (1924-2018), a former head coach for the U.S. Ski Team, is recognized as a pioneer in ski racing. A veteran of World War II and the Tenth Mountain Division, he was a collegiate standout at Middlebury College in the late 1940s, going on to teach at the school for decades.